EA Sports steps back up to the plate with the latest in its spectacular Triple Play Series

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Sports
Genre: Sports
Origin: U.S.

When Triple Play 98 hit shelves last year it was considered by many to be the best PlayStation baseball title because of its tight gameplay and myriad of options. Electronic Arts is hoping to recapture that success with a follow-up that includes many new features and some significant gameplay fine-tuning.

The first new feature is an improved sound engine that the company gleefully calls "living Stadium Sound." EA Sports likes to name every feature they add to a game with some marketing friendly moniker, so let's hope that this one is a more significant improvement than V-Polys or Liquid AI.

Another new addition is an "offense only" action mode that enables players to test their batting and base-running skills. Also, a quick start feature enables players to jump right into a game without having to wade through endless option menus. Finally, a new first person batting mode enables players to see what it's like to have a 99 MPH fastball headed straight for the side of their head.

Fine tuning includes more of the excellent color commentary that helped last year's title stand out from the rest of the baseball titles, and new teams such as the expansion clubs from Tampa Bay and Arizona. The game also enables atmospheric effects to change the ball physics and player control, so watch out for slick grass!

EA Sports has been on a bit of a run lately, improving its titles (except for Madden) by leaps and bounds in 97, and hopefully this run will continue in 98. If the company doesn't slip into old habits and release another barely improved game, Triple Play 99 could be one of the best sports titles of this year.