24th July 2009 - Earlier this evening, the Ashes Cricket 2009 demo was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The demo comes in at 563.42 MB which doesn't take too long to download. The demo is pretty short as it only allows you to play as Australia or England in a 3 over per side match. Even though you only get 3 overs to bat and 3 overs to bowl, you do get a pretty good feel of what the full game is going to be like. I must say, after a few goes at it, I can't wait for the full game to be released.
Cricket games may not be everyone's cup of tea, but as an avid cricket fan myself and club player back in my earlier days, I can tell you that this is the best cricket video game to date. The player now has more control than ever over what goes on in the game. In previous cricket games, gamers complained that bowling and fielding were boring and lacked control. In Ashes Cricket 2009, you now have a lot more variety in the types of deliveries you can produce, with a variety of swinging, cut and reverse swing deliveries on hand for the quick bowlers. You can easily switch between bowling around or over the wicket and when it comes to fielding it is up to you to press a button in time to catch the ball and you control which end the fielder throws the ball by a flick of your right analogue stick. Changing your fielders positions is easy too, with preset options which are chosen by a button press, or if you are a cricket buff, you can bring up a detailed screen of your current fielder positions and move them as you desire. Bowling and fielding is now more strategic and enjoyable than ever before.
When it comes to batting, one of the most annoying things for me of previous cricket games was the lack of ability for the batsman to move down the pitch. In Ashes Cricket 2009, you use the LT and LB buttons to chose whether you want to hit on the front foot, back foot or advance down the pitch. Whilst batting you also choose the direction of your shot with the analogue stick and you choose whether you defend, attack of go for a lob shot by pressing either the X, A or B face buttons. In previous cricket games it has been relatively easy to just slog sixes. Not in Ashes Cricket 2009! An important aspect of real life batting is timing. In Ashes Cricket 2009, for you to hit a good shot, you are going to have to press the face buttons at exactly the right time or you will either miss the ball completely or get an inside or outside edge.
In terms of graphics and sound, the graphics are done really well. They are not the best going around, but they represent the game of cricket well with reasonably realistic player movements. The sound effects were pretty plain and the commentary was okay, but it is only a demo, so we will see what the final game produces.
So whilst the Ashes Cricket 2009 demo is not huge, it gives us a taste of what is sure to be a great cricket video game. I am not sure it will appeal to those that aren't cricket fans, but for those that are, this is the game you have been waiting for!
For more of the latest screenshots of Ashes Cricket 2009, go to our "Latest Screenshots" section on the left had side of the Home Page.
Review by Craig Cirillo