Reviewing Baseball Video Games: Triple Play 2002

One fine day I got a notion that reviewing baseball video games – in an effort to find the best ones of all time – might be a cool idea. After showing one to Mr. Cistulli, he agreed. Thus today I bring you the first in a series of baseball video game reviews, with notes to help dictate the future form.

Vitals:
Game: Triple Play 2002
Platform: Playstation 2
Developer: EA Sports
Modes: Single Game, Season, Playoffs, and Home Run Derby
Cool Feature: DVD Extras (Luis Gonzalez motion capture)

Columnist Note:
For games that have video footage online, a video would go here.

Categories
Realism: 3/10.
Graphics: 7/10.
Difficulty: 7/10.
Details: 6/10.
Playability: 5/10.
Intangibles: 35/50.          
Total Score: 63/100 (D)

For this first review, let me break down each of the categories a little bit. For realism, I like to think in terms of “could this be a way a game would reasonably play out?” For graphics, it’s definitely relative to the time the game was put out. Difficulty is pretty self-explanatory; is the game extraordinarily easy or hard, or somewhere in between? For playability, I like to think of it as the ‘play again’ factor; would you play it over and over again? For me, for intangibles it was really to get it on a scale of 100, and to help to try quantify some ‘feel’ to the game (and also to help get a Jeterian element into the mix).

To set a few ground rules:
Game will be played with teams of Mr. Warne’s choosing.
Game will be played on a medium skill level.
Game is played in exhibition or single game mode.
No player movement allowed (if applicable).
No part of the game will be simulated.
Game can not be restarted, except in instance of system freeze.
If my wife asks, I am working.

With all these rules considered, if any reader suggests one that should be added, it shall be considered.

Pros:
Fans heckle the umpires.
Rendering of player faces is very accurate
CPU-controlled defensive players move smoothly.
Runners round the bases rather than station-to-station.
Double plays turn smoothly with good graphical transitions.
Ball actually clangs off seats in centerfield at Metrodome on a home run.

Cons:
Runners rounding bases get back too easily, drawing too many unnecessary throws.
On default setting, pitch location is given away to each human player.
Home plate collisions have no graphical cohesion whatsoever.
Sometimes throws go to random bags, with no real reason.
Home runs are hit completely arbitrarily. Not dependent on squaring up good pitches.
Harold Reynolds on commentary.
Any ground ball not hit directly at an infielder means human controls the outfielder to field it.
Fielders randomly don’t cover their bases, like second baseman on double play and first baseman on back end of 3-6-3.
Batting interface is not intuitive. Have to swing very early to even make contact.
Similarly, one hitter pulled a ball with authority that was two feet outside.
Baserunning is a complete mess. Sometimes runner responds to buttons.
The ball drifts too much on fly balls. At least for an indoor venue like the Metrodome.
Ground balls are too difficult for outfielders to track down, resulting in tons of XBH.
Every left-handed hitter gets the Thome shift as a default.
Computer-controlled batters don’t chase anything, and slaughter everything in strike zone.

Summary:
Obviously realism suffered quite a bit with this game, as the Devil Rays scored more runs in this game than the club did most weeks during the 2002 season. The primary issue centered around the D-Rays not chasing anything outside of the zone, but absolutely destroying any pitch inside that square. When combined with the cavalcade of other issues – such as grounders only fielded by infielders if hit right to them – and it’s pretty obvious why my guys allowed an astonishing 26 runs. Another big negative was that fielders would just arbitrarily not cover their respective bases, leaving a couple routine plays not finished and innings extended for both clubs. On a final realism note: Jason Tyner hit a home run. Come on!

But it isn’t all negative with Triple Play 2002. The rendering of the faces was pretty amazing; the polygonal, emotionless Doug Mientkiewicz was particularly on point. Additionally, hitters were able to hit the ball to all fields with authority (Jones HR was oppo), which is something I had experienced difficulty with in other games from around that time frame. I also enjoyed the heckling of the umps, which I also experienced in a previous game that I’d reviewed. This time, it was sprinkled in with enough scarcity to make it interesting. All told however, it’s difficult to give the game a positive review, and the pros-to-cons disparity serves notice.

Starting Lineups

Tampa Bay Devil Rays:
1. Jason Tyner CF
2. Brent Abernathy 2B
3. Greg Vaughn DH
4. Ben Grieve LF
5. Toby Hall C
6. Steve Cox 1B
7. Aubrey Huff 3B
8. Chris Gomez SS
9. Randy Winn RF

SP Paul Wilson RHP

Subs used: Doug Creek and Ariel Prieto in relief.

Minnesota Twins:
1. Jacque Jones LF
2. Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
3. Corey Koskie 3B
4. David Ortiz DH
5. Torii Hunter CF
6. A.J. Pierzynski C
7. Luis Rivas 2B
8. Cristian Guzman SS
9. Brian Buchanan RF

SP Radke RHP

Subs used: Johan Santana and Eddie Guardado in relief.

Venue:
H.H.H. Metrodome – Minneapolis, Minn.

Final Score:
Devil Rays 26-37-1
Twins 6-14-0

WP – Wilson
LP – Radke
SV – None

Game Notes

Devil Rays:
Tyner 5-7 HR, 2 RBI (Player of the Game)
Vaughn 4-7 4 RBI
Grieve 5-7 3 RBI
Huff 3-6 4 RBI
Wilson 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R/ER, 2 K, 0 BB
Creek 0.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R/ER, 0 K, 0 BB
Prieto 3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R/ER, 0 K, 0 BB

Twins:
Jones 3-5, HR, RBI
Rivas 1-4, HR, 3 RBI
Koskie 3-5 RBI
Radke 4 IP, 13 H, 9 R/ER, 0 K, 0 BB
Santana 3 IP, 15 H, 9 R/ER, 0 K, 0 BB
Guardado 2 IP, 9 H, 8 R/ER, 0 K, 0 BB

Purchasing:
The game is available on Amazon for for a penny (plus shipping and handling). Seriously. Despite a largely negative review, the game is easily worth a buck to add to a baseball game collection.




Print This Post

In addition to Rotographs, Warne is a Minnesota Twins beat reporter for 105 The Ticket's Cold Omaha website as well as a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com


44 Responses to “Reviewing Baseball Video Games: Triple Play 2002”

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  1. erik says:

    You must review MLB featuring Ken Griffey Jr. for N64! More of an arcade game than a sim, but easily one of the best baseball games of all time.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Ryan says:

    MVP Baseball 2005 is one of the best and more realistic games..If only the 2k series didn’t buy out the license and ruin the baseball video games..

    +13 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Santos says:

      Truth. If you can find it for the PC there is a whole community that develops updates (rosters, stadiums, players, faces, uniforms, etc.).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Max says:

        Wow really? I didn’t know that. I still play the game with the original rosters. It really is very good, the only thing I wish I had was today’s players. I shall look into that….

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  3. Blueyays says:

    Obviously, you have to review the three MVP Games (2003, 4, 5). They are still the greatest ever made.

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  4. Shawn C says:

    Thats pretty epic with Tyner hitting a home run, as in his career, he had 1home run in 1467 plate appearances.

    MVP 2005 is still the best baseball game known to man. I played that for 6 years before I broke down and got a new game.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • totalnerd says:

      Weird, Been playing MVP 2005 since 2005.
      Just last night started a new “owner mode” with the M’s, doing a fantasy draft and only taking players that are still playing today (not that easy)
      Long story short, Willie Mo Pena (reach) is batting cleanup.

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      • Nathan says:

        Wily absolutely destroys lefties in MVP 2005. I always have a sweet platoon with him batting in the middle of the order against LHP.
        Jayson Werth is also a great platoon bat against LHP. Might I also suggest Henry Blanco as a defensive replacement at catcher. 99 arm strength, 99 accuracy.
        Think I have to go fire this game back up. Fantasy draft is the way to go.

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  5. Person says:

    I’d suggest a High Heat review as part of this series, but nothing would top this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnvCGfbiO3M

    Then again, HH03 would definitely score higher than TP02 on the realism scale. Graphics, not so much…

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  6. michaelfranko says:

    Can you do the MLB 2K with Tim Lincecum on the cover?

    I want you to experience the pains of fielding with a shortstop in that game.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Sure can. Any idea what year it is, off top of your head?

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      • Ryan says:

        mlb 2k9. It sucks, btw.

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        • Chris says:

          So does MLB 2K10.

          The game is only like half finished for the Wii, and they randomly generate minor leaguers and leave you with craptastic version of some real MiLB players (think too old for prospect or near prospect bust types) while managing to not have a team’s top 10 prospect list. I had to generate Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis for the Indians.

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  7. glassSheets says:

    How much baseball video gaming have you done in the past? I realize it’s the first foray into the game in almost a decade, but 26 runs to to this Tampa squad is just awful on anything considered “medium difficulty”.

    Ground Rule suggestion: play one game against another human and one game against the computer.

    I’ll suggest a review for Base Wars on the NES.

    The return of Johan Santa!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Good question. Actually, quite a bit.

      That’s why allowing that many runs is so harrowing. It was spread over the course of the game equally too.

      In fact, this game should be called SlugFest. The batters don’t chase anything, and pound everything in the strike zone.

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    • Dan says:

      This unfair review system will penalize Base Wars for everything that makes it glorious. Unless, of course, Carson reviews that game. Then, I predict the realism points will go through the roof.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • laerm says:

      Base Wars was one of the best old-school baseball arcade games. Whichever team had the 1B named Ford was unstoppable. And as long as we’re talking NO realism, Baseball Simulator 1.000!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • I’ll gladly 10-run my wife if it means you’ll all come back and read the next review.

      Note to self: 10-run my wife is not a phrase to say in real-life.

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  8. dzugan8926 says:

    One of the most memorable I’ve ever played was MLB Slugfest (2003 GCN)

    Sure that will put Gooseegg in you “Realism” category but there wasn’t much not to like about that game. Certainly not a masterpiece like MVP… but awesome in a different way,

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  9. jimmy says:

    Like to see a review of the only BB video game that matters:

    http://www.nintendocity.com/pictures/nes_cart_scans/baseball_stars.jpg

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Eric says:

    I would like to see a comparison of games across platforms MLB 2K on Wii vs. XBox and/or Playstation, for example.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Yirmiyahu says:

    RBI Baseball for the NES.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Any year specifically?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • glassSheets says:

        The first one. Just RBI Baseball, none of this 2 or 3 garbage. This is one game where playing against the CPU is a big difference compared to playing against another human (especially if you only play one game, because you will ten run CA in two innings and not appreciate its glory).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

        • reillocity says:

          RBI Baseball 2 was awesome for its era and definitely an improvement on the original RBI Baseball (deeper rosters of fairly well-evaluated major leaguers).

          RBI Baseball 3 was a travesty and should be avoided like chlamydia.

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  12. I will absolutely be reviewing MVP. Don’t fret. :)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Adam Schoolcraft says:

    Can I suggest you test the All-Star baseball 03 or 04 games. I really enjoyed playing those back in the day and loved how they had an expansion mode.

    Btw, I definitely agree that MVP baseball 2005 was the greatest baseball video game ever made. Damn 2k sports…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • mattinm says:

      FWIW, the exclusivity deal with 2K ends in 2012 and they currently have no plans to renew as the MLB 2K series has pretty much been a sink-hole for them. Even with multiple systems, I’m pretty sure The Show outsells MLB 2K, and they don’t have to be the ridiculous third-party fees.

      Also, I’ve heard a lot of doom and gloom about Madden from the EA camp. I’m pretty sure both companies are going to be left with sour-tastes in their mouths after these exclusive deal periods end (I think Madden is 2012 or 2013). Which means we could (hopefully) see EA jump back into the baseball scene and 2K back into football, which would be good for fans of both sports.

      I’m thinking it’s probably best if EA doesn’t target the PS3 right away, but instead builds a solid foundation and word of mouth on the 360 before attempting to challenge The Show. SCEA already have a solid engine in place, and one has to assume that they can better utilize the PS3 hardware.

      It would have been interesting if Microsoft released a new High Heat game for the 360. They purchased the series from 3DO and never really did anything with it, sadly.

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  14. mattinm says:

    While nostalgia is good (I’m a huge fan of MVP 05), I’m really hoping to see The Show somewhere down the line. I own each iteration and it’s been fun watching the game get more and more in depth each year.

    It sucks that you have to purchase the “Advanced Statistics” from the PS Store — and sucks even worse that their idea of “Advanced” precludes FIP/xFIP/DIPS and wOBA/UZR, but instead includes many simple-to-calculate statistics such as: RC, ISO, RF, etc. I definitely hope the advanced stats are expanded and added by default next year, and that I can look them up in my locker room in RTTS.

    Also, are you just playing the standard “playable” sims? Or would you consider reviewing a more GM-oriented series such as OOTP? Definitely a longer term commitment than firing up a game in “exhibition-mode” and slugging it out against the CPU, so I’d understand if you didn’t want to go down that route.

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  15. Thomas says:

    Mlb Power pros 2008, it’s like the best game ever

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Toasty says:

    On the off chance you have Sega Saturn handy, 3D Baseball is a treat. Also, Griffey Presents Major League Baseball on the N64 is lovely.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. I do, in fact, own a Saturn.

    Man, I’m going to be spending all my allowance, er, yeah…on baseball games.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Cliff says:

    Another vote here for Ken Griffey Jr Presents Major League Baseball on the Super Nintendo.

    Still play it on occasion, been a while since I’ve updated the rosters. I turned Willie Greene into Griffey for the Reds. Greene’s ratings weren’t comparable to Griffey’s, but he was left-handed and could hit 550 foot HRs if he got hold of one good.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. Nick says:

    EA’s MVP series was great, and I liked 2K’s series back in 2007 and 2008, but then I tried out MLB The Show…. and it just blows everything away. Been hooked on that since.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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