on 10 August 2009
Let me start this review off by very plainly stating that Ashes Cricket 2009 is by far the best cricket game made to date. Of course, this is no major feat considering the drivel that has come before (EA Sports' almost unplayable Cricket 07, anyone?), but at least it's a step in the right direction towards a really solid cricket game in the future.
The biggest downside is, unfortunately, the title game mode. A game that bases itself on cricket's premier test match affair, the Ashes, should accurately recreate it. Ashes Cricket 09 does this to some degree - England and Australia are fully licensed (meaning the player names and "likenesses" appear in the game). However, this does not extend to all aspects of the mode. Ashes Cricket 09 contains one major, nearly gamebreaking, flaw.
The AI batting team seems not to have realized that they are playing in a test match. Although they are dressed in the whites and are playing with the red ball, they start attacking from the first ball of the first over, 20Twenty style. And I'm talking ATTACKING here - if you bowl even average balls, you can easily concede 10 - 15 runs in the over.
Once you figure out how to bowl a good line and length, it's easier to keep the AI batting team to around 7 or 8 an over. Problem is, this is still too high. Bowling becomes about preventing 4 boundaries in the over and hoping for a lucky wicket somewhere.
Right, with that major thing out of the way, let me get onto the good. I feel that Codemasters has implemented a really solid batting aspect here. Timing is, as with the real thing, vital. You have quite a bit of control over shot selection if you use the back foot/front foot buttons, and it really is the most fun aspect of playing the Ashes.
However, where this game really shines (and the only reason I gave it a 4 stars rating for "Fun") is online play. The game takes on a whole new dimension when playing against human opponents, and there is a fair amount of unpredictability to it when compared to the single player experience. There is a real thrill requiring 12 runs with only 2 wickets remaining, facing your opponent's best bowler with your tail-enders. The 20Twenty mode in particular provides just over an hour's with of intense gameplay.
The good and the bad
In summary, here is a more detailed rundown of my view of the positives and negatives of the game:
+ Great batting controls
+ Fun online play
+ The bowling mechanism is more fun than in previous cricket titles.
+ Excellent tutorial mode
- Absurdly aggressive AI batting mentality.
- No byes or leg byes. Ever.
- No wide balls bowled by the AI. Ever.
- Some minor bugs somewhat mar the experience.
- Graphics are a little outdated, and player likenesses are terrible.
All in all, if you are a cricket fan, you will probably enjoy this game as long as you are aware of the quirks it contains. The package is somewhat lacklustre, with average graphics and presentation. Although the online play is utterly addictive and fun, the single player experience suffers a bit from a completely unrealistic AI batting mentality.
Codemasters has delivered a game that does somewhat of a good job of recreating cricket, but it certainly raises hopes for the future of cricket videogames.
on 17 August 2009
This is a superb cricket game and im not even a big fan of cricket, yet this game manages to capture that same feel you have watching the Ashes or a big test match on tv.
Some of the reviewers on here obviously havent played the full game and have probably just played the demo. Yes it has minor niggles but most games have. But unlike one reviewer on here that claims you cant be out via LBW or bowled has probably played it for 5 minutes. You can quite easily be bowled, caught or LBW if you screw up the shot youre intending to play, its purely about timing. BUt rather than being monotonous, the bowling changes within each over, so you do have to play each shot based on how you see the delivery, sometimes you cant play the shot and have to defend. Sometimes you go for a shot and you are edged. Sometimes you play a good shot but havent given it enough power and youre caught in the outfield. Its got it all. Play a full innings and you will see all of these things happen. Ive been caught, ive been LBW and bowled clean. The best about the game is that the officials sometimes dont know so ask the tv replay and sometimes they make decisions and get them wrong (ie: keep you in when you were clearly out) so the batting cant be faulted. Also, another reviewer said its hard to get singles, but it isnt its about ball placement. If the bowler throws a ball real close to you then all you can do is defend the shot or play a quick single.
Yes it can be too easy at times to get fours and sixes, but thats only once youve mastered the batting, you still need to be on youre guard, especially in Hard Mode, its all too easy to slug a shot only to find youre caught out or you miss-time it and are clean bowled.
Bowling its much harder than batting, but in a good way, you can vary the shots, change the pace of the shot mid run up or the length or speed. You can bowl No Balls easy enough too if you dont time it right, and on a good match it really captures the atmosphere of 'wanting to get these wickets urgent' feeling. Theres nothing worse having scored 200 runs in your innings all out only to see Australia on 127 for 2 and Ricky Ponting is walking into the crease. That feeling in real life of "oh god i wish it wasnt him next' plays out in the game too because some batsmen are more stubborn that others. But i have LBW, caught and clean bowled batsmen..if anyone out there wants a tip try changing the bowl mid run up, straight to in-swing is good! and again, some bowlers are better than others.
So what this game really captures is that feeling of cricket really well, you can also save at any point so if you are halfway through a good innings it wont go to waste. The pitch gets worn as matches go on, bowling and batting personal get worn down if they bowl or bat badly and you get rewards for hitting 50 or 100 and unlock stadiums and kit.
The bad bits are what some others have said, the commentary is ok but it is a bit repetitive and bit monotone and could easily have been better. Also the crowds could be better animated too with more detail, though the detail on the pitch cant be faulted with nice cut scenes and player animations.
All in all this is a fine cricket game and above all else, it captures that feeling of simply being a good game to play, its pick up and play perfection. Its a shame that no one seems to be online as its made for that, but i guess a lot of people probably think a game will last ages but in reality they skip along pretty well with 20/20s the ideal match for Live online.
Well worth a punt and good effort by Codemasters, a good sports title that draws you in.
on 11 August 2009
I have been following this title for quite some time now, ever since EA attempted to corner the Cricket games market with the rather slapdash attempt that was EA Cricket 07. I had hoped that Codemasters had learnt from their mistakes on previous BLC games - However, I am not overly convinced that they have released a credible, let alone finished, product.
Hopefully I can put forward a balanced yet constructive review that will help you decide on your purchase. I will start by breaking the game down into its different components.
Presentation wise, this is a slight improvement on BLC. The game itself looks relatively "pretty" when played on an HDTV (having bought this for my Xbox Elite). The grounds are well designed which is a plus.
The players for both England and Australia (being the only licensed boards) are easily distinguishable. Obviously I would be a fool not to laugh at some of the 'depictions', such as James Andersons oversized jaw and the somewhat warped features of Mitchell Johnson - but on the whole a good effort.
Unfortunately, the game lets itself down graphically in a number of areas.
Firstly the bats are WAY too oversized for the players. Movement is also an issue and the level of detail put into motion capture could have been improved a lot. Fielders and batsmen alike run in "jittery" fashion, the bowling actions aren't impressive and look as if a child is throwing a ball in the back garden. Some shot movements also appear "unnatural" and aren't as fluid as you would expect or normally see in a real-life game. Finally, to see a bowler hurling the ball down at 92mph+ and having the ball simply "loop" slowly in the air off of the edge to the keeper is somewhat of an annoyance.
Codemasters have exceeded themselves in acquiring the vocal talents of Aggers once again and added the likes of Beefy (Ian Botham), Warney (Shane Warne), Ian Bishop etc which is an impressive addition to this title. Its nice to have different commentators in each match which can (or should) increase the lifespan of the game and not force you to play in silence once you've heard the same clichés over and over (ala previous EA/BLC games).
I have started to detect notable repetitions creeping in from time to time, but I am sure that it won't agitate the masses as much as it did in the past. The commentary, or should I say comments/one-liners, put forward by Warney in the training mode can be aggravating after a while though...
"Codies" have aimed/attempted to give Ashes Cricket 09 a more lifelike gameplay style compared to BLC. A very pleasing aspect to this is shot placement using the analog stick, which allows you to, if timed correctly, pierce the infield with aplomb. It is also down to the user to choose which foot to play the shot from (back or front), which will determine what type of shot is played - it is also important that the player is able to read line and length of each delivery to make this selection a lot simpler.
Fielding controls have been greatly enhanced with two new systems. Firstly the "quicktime" event for catching, where the player must time a button press in order to catch the ball, as viewed from the fielders perspective. At times this can be tough, but you can't expect to catch everything now can you? Also, the user can use the right stick to choose which end the fielder will throw to, which is vital if one of the opposing batsman is struggling to make his ground.
The training modes are well set-out and provide depth (rather than simply a net session), and it gives the player a chance to hone their skills and shows how to really make the most out of each facet of Cricket, be-it Batting/Bowling/Fielding.
AI, as in most games, sadly lets the party down... From ridiculously aggressive batting (even in test matches), to some unbelievable bowling choices by the computer (over-the-top with the amount of yorkers, I counted 28 in a row against me the other day!), as well as slow to react fielders (not throwing the ball in for what seems like an eternity) - the game just feels as if it was patched together and the kinks weren't ironed out during testing.
Perhaps my final point on this subject would fall under another heading, but it can be subheaded as "Realism". It pains me to see wicket keepers diving full stretch in front of third slip off of a spinner to snare a split-second diving catch. To see the likes of James Anderson/Stuart Broad (who bowl around 88-92mph in tests) bowling at 80mph in the game makes me feel as if this was a real botched job and that those in charge had no real affiliation with the subject matter they were working with. There has to be some form of fluidity to the way the game is played and depicted in comparison to the real thing.
Apologies if the above goes on-and-on, I just feel a little let-down with the final product that Codemasters have set upon the world. As an avid cricket fan and player, I just wish that one company can put the time and effort into releasing a credible title that doesn't feel like a cheap cop-out.
Graphics/Pres. - 2.5/5
Sound/Comm. - 3.5/5
Gameplay/AI - 2.5/5
Online/MP - 4/5
OVERALL - 3/5
If I was to give any advice, I would say that if you want a game that you can pick up and play every now and then for a quick Twenty20/One-Dayer and have no real issues with authenticity/realism then this is the game for you...
...If you are however, like me, someone that wants something more than an arcady simulation (an overpriced version of Stick Cricket if you will), then I would strongly point you towards renting this before parting with your cash (sorry Amazon!)
The question would be asked, why can't the likes of EA put this type of game in the hands of the developers of such pretty and well presented titles such as Fifa/Madden/NBA - the answer to this unfortunately is that they do not feel it would make as much money for them, which is a vicious cycle as with every half-baked Cricket game that is released, the less chance these big companies have of enveloping the market.
HERE'S TO HOPING!!!
on 16 March 2010
Cricket is understandably a difficult sport to convert to a console atmosphere based on quick results and short attention spans. However, within those confines Ashes 2009 doesn't do a bad attempt.
Batting is simple, but very effective, allowing a wide range of movements and shots around a full 360 degree axis. The loft function also allows for decent shots to be played over the outfield, and it seems a fairly realistic combination of shot timing and selection that makes for wickets.
Bowling is again simple with the typical place and drop bowl system, accompanied nicely with an array of bowling types from cutters to swingers that can genuinely have an effect against batsman and offer the opportunity to make the most of bowlers.
The game takes into account the confidence of batters and bowlers when playing shots or bowling, both of which are effected by outcomes such as boundaries, played and missed, mis-timed shots etc... At least in longer forms of the game it requires patience as would real test cricket.
The fielding is decidedly suspect and becomes somewhat comical as fielders trot to the boundary slowly or bowlers look the wrong way to receive a throw. But as this is the same for both sides it does little to diminish enjoyment, simply takes something from the realism of the game.
All the test and the major one day international sides are available to play, with the option to edit players abilities and add a small selection of created players to play with. It offers players the opportunity to update squads, although it is annoyingly not possible to edit either Australian or English squads as they are both licensed.
As seems to be the case with most cricket games, playing against the computer can be difficult and at times tedious, but the game has a simulation mode to 'fast forward' where necessary. There is however stadiums to unlock and awards allocated which make such a challenge more rewarding.
Online can be difficult because of the time it takes to complete a game, but offers much again for those with patience. But even in the test arena it can at times be a little easy to start whacking the ball to all corners of the ground.
For someone who understands the pace of cricket, and enjoys the sport I would recommend this game. It may not be perfect, but it is very playable.
on 9 October 2009
Despite being a big fan of the sport, i've not been tempted to buy any cricket video games beforehand as they were pathetic attempts in comparison to the long established football alternatives.
Ashes Cricket 2009 has completely changed my view.
Having played it at a friends house, i found it extremely difficult, especially batting. However, the commentary, graphics and game-play had me interested.
A few days later, my Amazon copy arrived. A couple of hours in, i became increasingly frustrated by the difficulty. In 'normal' mode, i was getting skittled out for under a 100 runs and i was ready to agree with some reviews that it was just too hard to play. However, after reverting to 'Easy' mode and building up experience over a week, 'Normal' mode is now struggling to give me a challenge! The key is to utilise all the various controls you are provided with.
So, as with any other good game, you can't just pick it up and play expecting to be Freddie Flintoff. It certainly takes perseverance, but the rewards are there. It's immensely satisfying getting that first 50 and 100, especially against the Ozzies! A nice catch from a experimental field placing will get you punching the air in satisfaction, whilst a perfect spinner that rattles middle and off will get you on your feet! I even found myself clapping the team's effort...
Drawbacks? It's certainly a time killer. A quick game is impossible, but you can save whenever you like. This is essential as my game has crashed a couple of times during a long match, so be sure to save progress regularly. Apart from that, i would just be nit-picking. Yes, commentary is a little repetitive, but it brings a familiar and realistic background noise to the game. Replays aren't that great, but then you have fantastic features such as hawkeye to fall back on.
The most annoying thing for me is a lack of LBWs. A few times i have hit a batsmen square in the pad and my bowler didn't even appeal. AI for run-outs could be improved too, as it's a little awkward. There was also a bug once where my batsman was standing in his crease but was given as run out! He was on 98...
As i said, this is nit picking, and doesn't distract from an otherwise brilliant game. That's not brilliant for a cricket game, nor a sports game, it is up there with the best games i've played on the Xbox, full stop.
on 13 August 2009
Really like this game having had it for a few days now. Typical niggles about run scoring rate (which never really drops beneath 5) are a given, as I suppose they're trying to keep it entertaining and not too much like watching a 5 day test!
A sign of how much I like it is how minor my big gripes are. Firstly the commentary - it's really, REALLY annoying that the commentators don't use the players names. They're licensed teams, yet you get phrases over and over again like "the quickie to bowl another over", or "the seamer to start again", or "one more to the batting team". Why oh why can't they refer to players by their names, or teams by name? Is quite unbelievable.
Second the training is good fun, but it's pretty much impossible to recreate in a match. There's quite a few sessions on how to defend and push singles, but in an actual game it's nigh on impossible to actually do that.
Third the running's a bit annoying, as they're very slow to react to a cancelled run (which you need a lot if you've got into the habit, from the training, of trying for quick singles!). Can lead to a lot of run outs until you learn to not bother trying for singles!
I also just do not understand why I can't pull up a hawkeye of any ball, or a replay of any ball, or the wagon wheel at any stage. Sometimes it'd be nice to see them when I want to see what happened, or how close something was. Footy games have allowed total control of replays since about FIFA 96 - is cricket really more than 13 years behind?!
Overall though, and aside from the somewhat repetitive "so tell me what you think about inswing", or "what do you think is important to be a good batsman" commentary that goes on forever and is just a bit silly (when you get the same 5 minute monologue three or four times in an afternoon of gaming) a really fun game and a real improvement from Brian Lara. If you like cricket in any way, well worth getting.
on 21 August 2009
Ashes 2009 is a superbly thought out cricket game. The different options for each ball gives you an edge against your opponent. Maybe you throw in a little cutter, or a slower ball, which work to great effect. You also have the option of an in swinger or out swinger. The ageing of the ball and individual player skill makes for greater variety.
The batting is pretty average though. Anything down by your feet you can charge down the wicket and hit down the ground. The timing is key. If the xbox gives you an out swinger and you play it late, it is very likely to go to the slips(though quite a few times it doesn't carry).
The only thing that really disapoints me is the lack of fun gameplay. There are no options to repeat great matches from years ago, like there is with Brian Lara. The game could potentialy get boring after a while without xbox live.
The gameplay graphics are really great but the actual graphics of peoples faces are very weak.
Overall it a fun game if you have someone to play against at home or on xbox live, and I would recommend it to everyone.
on 4 June 2013
Official PlayStation Magazine awarded the game an 8 out of 10.
IGN UK scored it at 8.2,
The Guardian and Times newspapers each giving it 4 out of 5 stars.
Planetcricket.net gave it 7.5.
SPOnG.com's Tim Smith awarded the game 85%.
In the Game there is a Legends Mode (not in Wii version) where Sir Ian Botham and Shane Warne give you tips on Batting, Bowling and Fielding. There are also Batting and Bowling challenges which you can complete. The 360, PS3 and PC version ranked at the top of the all format UK charts according to Chart Track during the first week of release.
I rate this game 2/5. It is very hard to find a good cricket video game. Stick cricket still is my favorite. EA Sports Cricket series disappoints too. Here is why I think this game is just about OK -
1) The gameplay is super easy. The hard mode is not that hard. Once you are used to it, u really can't lose.
2) The autonomous fielding is total crap. It fails you on a regular basis making it so much harder to pick wickets.
3) The "auto run" feature is novice. You can auto run an over or an innings. But, can not auto run to fall of wicket. If you want to play as a particular batsman who bats in the middle order, you can't unless you play as the other batsman.
4) There aren't enough tournaments and records
5) The games are quite buggy. Sometimes in ODIs it allows some bowler to bowl more than 10 overs.
6) Online gaming leagues are few. There are not many players to play against. The computer/console is all you got.
7) If you step out to smash a bowl and just in case you miss it, you can be rest assured that you'll be stumped - the batsman hardly responds to go back to the crease.
8) Most sub-continent players have weird names. Possibly because Codemasters could not use real names due to some legal issue?
Did I like anythin about this game?
Sure. I did. It's a decent game. I would be happy to play it once in a while. But, its not my favorite.
NFL, NBA, Tennis, Soccer - all have some great video games. Cricket video games all suck. I hope this changes soon.
on 29 November 2010
I`ve read any number of reviews on this product - most of them will tell you there are gliches in the game - and there are - lkike the random shy at the batsman stumps by what we vcan only imagine are hyper keen fieldsmen - even when the batsman has been in his crease for three days and nights - (slight exaggeration) -
The animation speed is not quite right - you can choose two teams to gpo head to head but can only control the designated team in game - which for the single player is a tick in the minus column.
But I guess it really depends on you - and what you are looking for from a console cricket game. It`s fun to play - but I suspect the novelty of the fun would wear off after a short while.
If you wanna give the Aussies (or the Poms) a good bashing - then this will let you do it without breaking into a sweat.
If you play on easy level you can happily smash endless sixes out of the stadium.
But if you look for realism (which is what I look for) - well its not quite cricket is it!
Ive heard that console games and cricket are hard to get in sync - maybe maybe not - Im not a tech head so I don`t know - but I think with more care - and attention to the details, (ironing out the gliching in pre production would do that - wouldn`t it?)
I have EA Sports Cricket 07 and its superior in every way - and even tho it`s PS2 - the graphics are not far away from the mighty XBOX 360
What Im saying is this - Ashes 09 is fine - and Id recommend you give it a try if you love cricket - but it suffers by not having all the proper licences - and neglecting to provide sufficient customisation options to allow the user to remedy that.
If you want realism - as I do - then Ashes 09 is not going to disappoint you too much - but like I say - PS2`s Cricket 07 is still the best Cricket game for console play to date.
on 9 August 2009
Ashes Cricket 09 attempts to recreate the video version of our popular game. Well, it ain't half bad actually, you get to bowl, bat and field the various types of games such as One day, Test Match and the Ashes.
Heavily licensed and aimed at the 2009 Ashes campaign, it delivers on most things the sport of cricket has. Firstly I noticed the clean menu system - this is very good and easy to save games, matches etc. Played upto the 4th ashes test, and it plays well with bowling easy to just pick up and play, but the batting takes a bit of trial and error, and am still getting used to that, but its good.
The feature I like is when you catch the ball. Whenever a bat is nicked, edged, ball in the air etc - you get 3 circles eg: Yellow, Green & Red, with the idea the cricket bloke is under the ball and you got to hit the button when the circle turns Green, Get that right and you catch the ball, although you can use Yellow, but its only a 50/50 chance of making the catch. If it goes in the red, you drop the ball/fumble it.
Cricketers look pretty good, uniforms are accurate and the graphics are excellent, especially the pitches! BTW, the pitches all react as they would on the grounds/stadia, and depending on weather conditions.
One poor point is the commentary - it will drive you nuts, and I'm not talking about the severe lack of it, its worse than WSC 09!
This is certainly a 'batting' game, and where taking your time is key to success. The computer batsmen seem to treat Test matches like One Dayers, they will slog the ball for more fours than my Golf game, so getting them out early is wise or they'll run away with the game - but thats where your skill lies and no doubt the whole point of the game, just like in real cricket.
One disappointment is there's no Season mode, a shame, but it shouldn't stop the enjoyment as I found myself strangely becoming addicted, especially wanting to catch them out more, and run outs are most satisfying hearing the bails being knocked off.
Not a bad game at all. 3 or 4 star rating is about right for this.