Cricket 07 PC & PlayStation 2
Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99 (PC) £39.99 (PS2)
Just in time for the ashes we have Cricket 07 from EA Sports. With England finally winning the Ashes last time around some significant interest for the sport was generated and where there’s interest for a sport, there’s usually a console or PC game to pick up on it. As you’d expect form EA Sports what we have here is a pretty comprehensive cricket game in terms of teams and modes that it offers. All the teams have correct player names, logos and uniforms etc. This year we even have a new control scheme which attempts to redefine how we play cricket games.
The modes on offer in Cricket 07 are impressive. As well as the Play Now, quick match option you can also take part in 2005 or 2006-07 Ashes series, as well as some 2005 Ashes scenarios. On the International side of things you can take part in the World Championship, World Series, Knockout Cup, Test Series and Tours. Domestic cricket offers a choice of playing Australian or English domestic cricket. The Australian competitions are the State Season, Pura Cup, One Day Domestic Series and the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash. The English competitions are the County Season, Liverpool Victoria County Championship, Natwest Pro40, C & G Trophy and the Twenty20 Cup. In addition you can also create your own player and enter the practice nets to sharpen your batting or bowling skills.
There’s no doubt that the most significant addition this year is the new Century Stick. Essentially the right analogue stick is used to mimic the movement of the cricket bat. In previous cricket games you had to press buttons to play the shots but here you move the right analogue stick in the direction that you want to play the ball, the further the stick is moved in the appropriate direction the harder the shot will be. You can also press the L1 & R1 buttons (or PC equivalents) to play safety and lofted shots. On the whole the Century Stick control system works well and feels natural. Should you not like it though you can switch it off and return to button pressing to perform your shots. When playing on the higher difficulty settings you’ll also have to consider a batsmen’s confidence before making the riskier shots, which is a nice touch.
We were fortunate enough to play both the PC and PlayStation 2 versions of Cricket 07. Whilst we encountered no control issues with the PlayStation 2 version we had no such luck with the PC version. The game would not recognise the right analogue stick on our Xbox 360 corded controller. We tried everything to get it to work but finally gave up and had to revert back to the classic control scheme. The PC version doesn’t throw you into a tutorial like the PlayStation 2 version which does seems strange. Of course both games play identically (assuming you can get the right analogue stick to work on your PC controller or that you are using the classic control system). Both play an OK game but you get the feeling that Cricket 07 doesn’t do anything to improve on the cricket games that are already available. The bowling feels like little effort has been put into it and in actual fact doesn’t feel satisfactory, which is completely at odds with the intuitive Century Stick batting control system. Disappointingly no version offers online multiplayer which seems a missed opportunity because had it been included it would have given cricket fans a strong incentive to buy the game.
Graphically Cricket 07 looks like a PlayStation 2 game, even on the PC. Of course the PC version can be played at higher resolutions, therefore looking sharper etc. but it still doesn’t look as if it was designed especially for the PC. The player likenesses are not that good in all honesty, which is a shame given the level of authenticity with the names and logos etc. In terms of presentation the game looks OK. The menus on the PC version look quite poor and don’t appear to have been custom made for the PC (it kind of looks like the PlayStation 2 menus stretched out to fit the screen). On the whole the game doesn’t appear to have the presentation values and the trademark EA Sports polished look to it that we’d expect from a FIFA or Madden game.
Sports games don’t really make a special effort for deaf gamers and Cricket 07 is just as unaccommodating as many other sports titles we’ve seen to date. Match commentary isn’t subtitled. The tutorial that plays when you first start the PlayStation 2 version isn’t subtitled and any advice you’re given in the practice nets is also not subtitled. To make matters worse the manual is rather thin on useful information. Of course once you’re up and running the game will pose few problems but really there should have been a comprehensive and subtitled tutorial to allow you to easily get into the game.
Cricket 07 offers a lot of modes and the new Century Stick control scheme certainly offers something a little different. For the most part the game doesn’t do anything a whole lot different to make itself more appealing to those looking for a cricket game whilst the Ashes is being played. The failure to include an online multiplayer mode is unfortunate and we’ll have to wait for next year’s Brian Lara game for the first online cricket experience. The bowling is disappointing and you could definitely argue that it’s Cricket 07’s Achilles heel. Fans of the series might want to pick the game up and give the new Century Stick control system a whirl but on the whole you can’t help but feel that the game could have been better.
The Century Stick control scheme actually works surprisingly well but the bowling is uninspiring and the failure to include an online multiplayer mode is very disappointing.