TRIPLE PLAY BASEBALL, FOR PLAYSTATION _ Last year's TPB was one of the all-time greats. Guess that's why EA decided to put it out again. The company says this year's version of the game is the last for the PSX, and that being the case, it has basically just updated the rosters and stats from last year's model.
There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you're honest with people. TP2K1 was a terrific game, one of the best hardballers ever, and TPB (notice the absence of a model year) is as well.
There are a few new bells and whistles _ a nice little Easter egg function that rewards good play with power-ups, hidden players and ballparks, and a CPU that's smart enough to make trades during the season _ but unless you just have to have this year's rookies and free agent signees, you might be better off waiting for a different game.
Jonathan says: The miniature players battling it out in the living room from TPB2K1 is my favorite moment in a baseball game. Grade: A-
Chip says: If you don't have last year's version, by all means grab this one. If you do have last year's, rent this one before you buy it. Grade: A-
Overall rating: A- _ Rent it for all ages.
PHANTASY STAR ONLINE, FOR DREAMCAST _ If you've followed the Phantasy Star evolution from the Sega Master System to Genesis and on to Saturn, then your mouth is probably already watering in anticipation of this one.
If you haven't followed this evolution, it doesn't really matter. Just as millions of newbies found Final Fantasy VII without playing the first six, you'll be able to jump right into Phantasy Star Online.
You're a colonist from Earth on the planet Ragol. But what's happening on that planet is nothing like what you knew at home. The inhabitants have grouped themselves into three camps: hunters, who prefer to settle matters hand-to-hand; rangers, who prefer guns to fisticuffs; and force users, practitioners of magic. You create a character and decide which group to ally with.
You can play this one as a single-player RPG, and it's pretty darn good, but the real fun starts when you take the character you create online to challenge hundreds of other gamers in an amazing virtual world. You have to have an online subscription, and the Dreamcast keyboard helps you communicate with other players, but the extras are worth the investment.
Jonathan says: I know where I'll be for the next six weeks or so, if anyone needs me. Grade: A+
Chip says: Not if I get there first. Grade: A+
Overall rating: A+ _ Buy it for ages 12 and up
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