Cricket games have been hit and miss over the years and none have really captured the essence of the sport. With developer Transmission Games at the helm and with the use of the power that the current machines possess, can Ashes Cricket 2009 finally be the cricket game we have all been waiting for?
In Ashes Cricket 2009, you get the choice of playing the full 2009 Ashes Series recently played in the UK and One Day Internationals, either a one-off exhibition match or a tournament with up to 8 teams. There is also the option to play a single Test match or a Test series and then there is the newest form of the game, 20-20 matches. You can either play 20-20’s as a one-off match or a tournament with up to 8 teams. In terms of online modes, you can play Ashes, custom Test, One Day International and 20 Overs modes online, both ranked and unranked.
When it comes to playing Ashes Cricket 2009, one thing is very noticeable, and that is that 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 fielder’s 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. While Bowling and fielding are better in Ashes Cricket 2009 than previous cricket games, it is still the part of a cricket video game that most will want to bypass as batting is far more exciting.
When it comes to batting, one of the most annoying things 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 or 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 the right time or you will either miss the ball completely or get an inside or outside edge which will most likely result in your dismissal. With the changes to the batting mechanics, stepping up to the crease in Ashes Cricket 2009 is more realistic than ever.
If jumping straight into the game seems a bit daunting, then you can give the Legends Coaching mode a go. In this Sir Ian Botham and Shane Warne take you through the basics of the game. You also get to take on a variety of challenges, with scenarios drawn from cricket history.
The graphics in Ashes Cricket 2009 are of a decent quality. Whilst not the best eye candy going around, the graphics represent the game of cricket well. The animations are for the most part, very well done. There are minor glitches here and there that you notice while you play, but they don’t detract from the overall look of the game and don’t affect the gameplay at all. The player likeness for the licensed teams is okay, but nowhere near of the level that is in the EA Sports Fifa and NBA live series.
The sound in Ashes Cricket 2009 is almost as good as could be expected from a cricket game. The commentary is well done, but inconsistencies do crop up the more you hear it. The usual cricket sounds of the ball hitting the bat etc are done well.
There is definitely plenty to do to keep you playing Ashes Cricket 2009 for months to come, whether it be battling out a Test series against the AI or playing with mates. If you are a fan of Cricket, Ashes Cricket 2009 will give you value for money, but if you are not particularly interested in the finer points of the sport, then be cautious whether or not you put your cash down for it.
While Ashes Cricket 2009 is definitely the best cricket game we have seen, unless you are a fan of cricket, you are most likely only going to give this a quick play through. A solid sports game that represents the gentleman’s game very well.
AAG Score: 7.5/10
1. It's Cricket, so if you are a fan of the sport, you will enjoy this.
2. Plays better than previous Cricket games
3. You can play through the 2009 Ashes Series
4. A solid representation of Cricket
1. It's Cricket, so it may not appeal to the masses
2. Graphics and sound lack polish
3. Bowling/Fielding can be a bit boring
Reviewed and Written by Craig Cirillo