Every year, the same few developers put out yet another revision of their baseball games. Each time out, they try to pack as many new features into their games, simply so they can issue press releases that list how many more features they have than the other guys' game. But when it comes right down to it, MLB 2000 hasn't changed much this year. In fact, other than a few minor modes and some touched-up graphics, MLB 2K is the same game as MLB 99.
Yeah, you guessed it. The real teams, stadiums, stats, and players are still there. And yes, you can still play in various modes, such as quick play, season, playoffs, spring training, and home run derby. But new to this year's game are the general manager and manager modes. In GM mode you can draft, create, trade, call up, waive, release, and sign players. In the manager mode you can check out scouting reports during the game, warm up relievers in the bullpen, and try to guide your team to the World Series.
Controlwise, the game is virtually identical to last year's game. The total-control batting (where you try to guess in which zone the pitch will be placed) is still there. As far as the batting is concerned, the only real revision is you can now choose between target batting and traditional timing-style batting. What's extra nice is that you can choose which batting style you'd like to use in a two-player game, which is great for beginners who just want to jump right in and play with someone who is more experienced.
The game's AI is decent, but it definitely isn't flawless. The biggest problem we found was that the total control batting let you slap the ball up the middle every time. The computer player didn't do anything to combat this other than swap out his pitcher and try to pick off one of your runners. As far as stats are concerned, MLB 2K has it covered - more than 90 different categories per player are tracked and saved.
MLB 2K's graphics are just about the only area of the game that has noticeably improved. The flat-looking fields, stadiums, and crowds from last year's game have been dramatically improved. The visible cuts in the grass give the field a more realistic appearance and also helps with your depth perception when you are fielding a ball. Also, I wouldn't normally commend a game for the look of its interface, but I must say that the interface is visually impressive, as well as extremely easy to navigate.
MLB 2K is a little flat on the audio side. Vin Scully and Dave Campbell call the action, but they don't really ever say anything funny or even interesting. Actually, there is occasional humor to be found, but only when the commentary messes up and claims things like a player just got hit in the helmet with a pitch right after you watched the pitch bounce off the batter's leg. The organ music in last year's MLB has been removed, leaving only the crowds boos, cheers, and occasional bleacher stomp in the ambient sound department.
So which game wins? Triple Play 2000 or MLB 2000? Having played both games quite a bit, I can honestly say both are great. But I had more fun playing MLB 2000, thanks mostly to the terrific control. It's hard to go wrong this year, but I'd still recommend renting both games so you can see which one works out better for you.