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Jeremy Jastrzab
18 Jul, 2005

Cricket 2005 Review

Xbox Review | Will it bowl you over or hit you for six?
It has been a tough road for cricket fans. Across the entire time that video games have existed, the majority of popular world sports have been represented and been represented well. Cricket seems to be the only sport left behind. The best titles so far have arguably been the ICC series. However, they were only management titles so the casual crowd got left behind. Codemasters made Shane Warne Cricket (Brian Lara Cricket in the UK) some time ago now and it is still considered the best cricket sim to date. Over the years, EA have had numerous attempts but none were able to top the Codemasters effort.

EA's history in cricket games is checkered. They made decent titles for 1996 and 1997. However, for the next few years they repeatedly used the 97 engine to build the next two games. Following that, EA tried to move the game into 3-D with disastrous effects. Cricket World Cup: 1999 and Cricket 2000 were abominable titles that were full of bugs and were virtually unplayable, simply because they were very poor controlling titles. Cricket 2002 and Cricket 2004 refined the 3-D format to be actually playable but bugs, AI and programming issues remaines. Roughly one and a half years after the last title, Cricket 2005 looks to buck the trend of poor cricket titles.

For those who don't know how to play cricket, this game isn't going to help much. There is no tutorial mode and the training mode doesn't encompass the true state of the game. If you don't like cricket, there is no reason for you to be interested in this game and you can stop reading this review now. This game is not for you.

If anything, the game is incredibly up to date. Most squads are accurate down to about April of this year. While most of the squads are available from the previous title, a couple of new ones have been added. Playable squads include all the international teams that were in the last World Cup, all Australian and English domestic teams, a couple of South African and West Indian teams (Caribbean nations), some "A" teams and miscellaneous XI’s. You've got a host of customization options. You can create your own players and manage your squads as you please. It builds off the previous version very nicely.

As you play, you'll accumulate numerous stats, numbers and modes that will definitely satisfy a lot of cricket fanatics. Stats include pretty much everything win/loss ratios to best bowling figures, they're all here. The game modes are plentiful as well. World Cups, knockout tournaments, test series and tours and even the domestic tournaments from Australia and England. There certainly isn't a shortage of what you can do, though isn't any different from the 2004 edition. On the box, it says that you can play Twenty20 tournaments and it hallmarks this as a new feature. Anyone whose played cricket games would probably have been playing 20 over games long before this format was introduced. However, the game starts to fall apart from here.

Effectively, the shiny options and possibilities make this game a sheep in wolves clothes. This is because, gameplay wise, the game is not up to standard. Though most EA sports titles give very accurate yet accessible simulations of real sports, Cricket 2005 follows the trend set since 1999, by failing to do so.

Run away! Giant ball on the loose!

Run away! Giant ball on the loose!
Close
Cricketing rules have been streamlined a bit for this title. Thankfully, the game still remains credible. The LBW decisions have been cleaned up a bit from previous versions but still aren't perfect. The same goes for the line ball decisions such as run-outs. There aren't any of the ambiguous rulings such as handled ball, obstructing the field or a batsman being timed out. Though these are rare in reality anyway. Rain rules (Duckworth-Lewis) have still not been included in one-day games Despite this streamlining, the game still doesn’t make the grade.

While the batting engine was slowly improving with each title, Cricket 2005 looks to provide a new engine based off the old ones. As before you can play one of three shots: front-foot, back-foot and a charge. A fourth option is a leave. On consoles, you hold a trigger/shoulder button to add power to the shot or effectively make it a "six hit". Using the analog stick or d-pad, you set the direction of the shot. Down for a straight hit, left for an offside shot, and right for an onside shot. You have the confidence meter from the previous title, though no other improvement has been made. The new engine has obviously made the batting much more aesthetic. Shots look very authentic and are great to watch.

But that doesn't mean that it works. It's disappointing because the games were progressively getting better. One step forward, two steps back. The problem is that the batting mechanics and physics are too limiting and that they don't seem to be designed with to coincide with the games other mechanics.

The major problem is that regardless of your shot selection, there are only so many paths that the ball will travel. If you drew a circle, with ten lines through centre, each 36 degrees apart, this would give you a fair idea of where the ball will travel when you hit it. The big problem is that there is more often then not, a fielder standing along this line. While there are more edges and variations in this edition, they don't help making the experience more enjoyable. In a game, you’d expect batting to be fun, fast and furious. Instead it’s quite frustrating due to these restrictions.

Then comes the problem that the controls are not tight at all. They're quite sloppy and still in need of refining. It's extremely difficult to time a good shot and even on the easy difficulty level, the opposition will easily run through your batting lineup. Surprisingly, the game attempts to help you on easy difficulty level by choosing automatically whether a shot is front-foot or back-foot. Not surprisingly, just like all the previous games, this doesn't work at all.

The batting has ended up being worse than in previous titles. However, the bowling mechanics are solid. Again, it builds on previous versions where you press a button to select the type of delivery, as the bowler runs in, maneuver a circle to indicate where the ball will land and on approach, a meter will fill indicating the delivery speed. Press the button in time to release the delivery and make sure that the meter doesn't go too high, otherwise you'll bowl a no ball.

Does it look familiar?

Does it look familiar?
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New features include an arrow that you can move to indicate how much seam, swing or spin you want to put on the ball and a bowling confidence meter. It works similar to the batting meter, where if you bowl a few scoreless deliveries, the meter will fill. Once it fills, the player has an option of a "special delivery". You’ll have access to deliveries such as pre-set bouncers or yorkers. However, used once and the meter will back to zero or it may drop if runs are scored. The better bowlers will fill their meters faster and have more deliveries to choose from.

Combined with the current mechanics, it works quite well bar three major problems. Regardless of the difficulty level, opposition batsmen will still belt you for runs at virtual will. Your yorkers will get a few wickets but they will definitely be hit for six, something which is completely unfathomable in reality. Elements such as swing, seam and spin don't come into play as much as you'd like them to, even in the most favourable of conditions. Finally, bowling just happened to be very boring.

Overall, the gameplay has nowhere near the same polish as games like FIFA, Madden, NBA or even Tiger Woods. There are too many limitations, too many glitches and bugs and the AI has an incredibly unfair advantage over you. As a player, the batting and bowling mechanics aren't designed well enough to work in tandem, which makes the game more frustrating than fun. To add to that, a single game of cricket still takes a long time to play. In reality, 15 overs are bowled in an hour, and it takes roughly an hour to complete a 10-over a side game. I doubt that many people have that much time to spare but it defeats the purpose of playing a video game simulation. You might as well go and play for real.

This must definitely look familiar!

This must definitely look familiar!
Close
Multiplayer mode evens out the field a bit. You don't have to deal with the AI issue but the other issues are still present. You can play up to four players. In four-player mode, you'll be co-operating by rotation. One player will bowl from one end, the other from the opposite end. One player will control one batsman, the remaining player the other. There is some fun to be had from this, though it won't keep people going for a very long time. There is no online play on any format.

The graphics are solid, without being too much of a leap from the previous version. If anything they're much cleaner and have less visual glitches. A few players from major teams actually have a slight resemblance to their real-life counter parts. Though for the most part, there are a lot of players with very ugly mugs. Stadiums are quite accurate though they lack personality and uniqueness. It makes little difference if you play in one of another. Player animations have been improved greatly but it doesn't help with the overall game. Presentation wise, you've got a wide choice of replays but the camera angles have been but down, which is disappointing. Arguably, this game has the best presentation of the series, though that isn't really saying much.

The sound if horrific and completely broken. There are a few solemn yet sleepy tunes, the crowds are very muted and the sounds in the field are completely lost in it all. The worst part however, is the commentary. If it's not bad enough that there are very few lines of dialogue, they're completely and obviously broken. Though the game uses the voices talents of Richie Benuad and to a lesser extent Jim Maxwell, the commentary is totally butchered. The real Richie does not butcher player's names as badly as this imposter. To add to that, lines are said totally out of time. For example, the batsman may block and the commentators will compliment a nice shot to the boundary.

Most EA sports titles are very good and at least accurate simulations of real life sports. They provide fun for the fans of these sports and can have excellent lastibility. You could play a World Cup in one afternoon or play 18 holes in half an hour, rather than need to play over the virtual length of a real game. Over the years, EA have improved the way they play and the gamers have benefited from it. On this level, Cricket 2005 fails dismally. For every step forward, two steps backwards are taken. It has the platform but is still unable to join the other titles in the upper echelon of gaming. For as long as an Australian fast bowler's yorker is being hit for six by the USA number eleven batsman, it's just not cricket. Nor is it good gaming.
The Score
Cricket 2005 fails to take cricket to the next level of video gaming goodness. Cricket fans may find some slight satisfaction but if you don't love cricket, there's nothing to see here. Frankly, you're better off playing cricket down at the park or the beach.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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13 Comments
8 years ago
I picked up Cricket 2004 earlier this year for $20 - was enjoying it for a couple of days....until the bugs kicked in.

Eventually, the game actually completely broke - I couldn't get off the menu. I'd scored over 600 with Hayden in a 50 over one day match, and was only two overs away from ending the innings icon_sad.gif

Sounds like very little has changed.
8 years ago
What do you expect, EA always does very little with these kinds of sporting games.
8 years ago
criket, plz
8 years ago
I stupidly brought it before reading any reviews...and yes it is even worse than what Jermey said...i would of given it a 3 or 3.5 only for the fact that i like cricket as a sport...i don't think cricket will get any new fans with this game. Looks like im trading this game in @ eb. Hopefully i might get $35 for it...that way its only a loss of $40 & my dignity.
8 years ago
great........um yeh i think

If you're incapable of thinking before posting, DON'T POST. - Brendan
8 years ago
celerystalksme wrote
I stupidly brought it before reading any reviews...and yes it is even worse than what Jermey said...i would of given it a 3 or 3.5 only for the fact that i like cricket as a sport...i don't think cricket will get any new fans with this game. Looks like im trading this game in @ eb. Hopefully i might get $35 for it...that way its only a loss of $40 & my dignity.
icon_lol.gif
8 years ago
i reckon chilcrist deserves to be on the front cover i reckon it we'll be very fully sick
8 years ago
i have being sick... means i miss work and i don't get paid...
8 years ago
nick faidy wrote
i reckon chilcrist deserves to be on the front cover i reckon it we'll be very fully sick
We dont want Chilcrist getting sick though! So maybe not a good idea icon_smile.gif

Ive been playing through Cricket 2004 also, its alright. Graphics are quite splendid and the gameplay is bearable although it dosent really compared to such games as Fifa. Dont think ill be getting this one - just preordered NRL 2.
8 years ago
This is a TOTALLY AWESOME game!!!
8 years ago
I think it is good that they have Freddie Flintoff on the front cover ( icon_biggrin.gif ) But I still think that Shane Warne deserves being on the front cover either aswell as Freddie, or being on the back cover.

icon_arrow.gif Skywalker1902
8 years ago
Hmmm... i've played the previous one, and i quite liked it with all the bowling and batting structure, just great to make the game that much more realistic. But i could never figure out how to hit 6's it does that super hit and the ball just goes staight up, then your gone icon_sad.gif. Anyway then new games screen shots look way kool icon_biggrin.gif.
8 years ago
AI advantages:
- Batsmen will always, without breaking a sweat, wallop you for a six no matter what kind of ball you bowl. You will chew off your own head before your batsmen hit a six - which, anyway, is near impossible.
- Your fielders will constantly fumble the ball, miss boundries and drop catches. AI fielders never EVER miss anything. They even do boundry catches - which, not suprisingly, your fielders can't do.
- AI batsmen confidence meters literally shoot up after every delivery - even if they didn't score a run or where hit by the ball (this assists them with the hitting sixes with every ball). It's a soul destroying mission to get your batsmens confindence up - they first have to hit 20 fours and 10 sixes - which, again, is basically impossible.
- Twice, AI bowlers have delivered no balls (the bowling meter goes red) and nothing is said and no run is added to the score.
- AI bowlers will always bowl you out or LBW you. This is done so easily it's almost funny. Try and bowl an AI batsman out. Go on!

Other issues:
- You can only score off the leg side. Don't even try score anywhere else. The magician-like fielders will catch you out every time.
- Players that have neither bowled nor batted will be named Man of the Match. Amazing!
- There are never 700 million people at a cricket match, as the crowd graphics suggest. They also never remain standing through a game and hardly ever move side to side in unison for the entire duration of a match.

Bollocks game. Has it's moments, but f***ing frustrating.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  EA Sports
Developer:
  HB Studios

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