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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: Ashes Cricket 2009
By: | August 22nd, 2009 | Xbox 360
Review |X360

Ashes Cricket 2009

The world of video game cricket has been around for well over a decade, delivering us an array of truly diverse titles, from Brian Lara Cricket ’96, to the more recent Flash phenomenon, Stick Cricket. However, the mere fact that the sport of cricket is an almost unknown in the United States and parts of Europe has alienated huge markets for gaming developers.

Ashes Cricket 2009 attempts to open up that market for new gamers to experience the wonder of our colonial sport. But does Transmission Games defy all expectations and hit this title for six? Or do they merely cower before the in-swinger and hit the ball onto their own stumps?

See? Bad cricket puns already!

When you first jump into the game you are met with an opening screen incredibly similar to that of Ricky Ponting Cricket 2007, which, funnily enough, was developed by Ashes Cricket 2009 publisher, Codemasters.

This may very well disappoint fans of the genre who were hoping to see massive overhauls and additions to the latest cricket instalment. If Transmission Games can’t even make an improvement on the main menu, what could they have possibly done to the game’s mechanics?

That, unfortunately, is a question many cricket fans may be asking themselves after they purchase this title.

For beginners, though, the lack of improvements over two years is unlikely to pose a problem. In fact, there is a lot to like about how Ashes Cricket 2009 teaches newcomers to master the game. There are three deep tutorials for players to partake in: Batting, Bowling, and Fielding, all containing a handful of important lessons for players to widen their abilities. Both Shane Warne and Sir Ian Botham have lent their voices to the tutorials, which is a lovely touch, especially when Warney calls you out for losing your wicket.

Ashes Cricket 2009

Jumping into a game without properly learning how to use the controls is a hazardous endeavor that will ultimately result in your demise, even on easy settings. Taking half an hour to properly master all of the intricacies and tactics will go a long way to making this game a more-than-one-play experience.

Codemasters slated Ashes Cricket 2009 as being the biggest and best title of the cricket franchise to date, but for all their talk they still failed to deliver on arguably the most important variation in the modern game: Twenty20 cricket.

Okay, sure, they advertise on the back cover that you can compete in International twenty-over matches, but without the flare of the big introductions and boisterous fans that have become so inherent in Twenty20 cricket, the matches simply end up feeling like shortened One Day Internationals. And don’t even get me started on the absence of the Indian Premier League.

Which brings me to my next point: official names. While the Australian and English players are officially licensed, with correct names, stats, and uniforms, every other country in the game boasts carefully hilariously altered caricatures of their players; an excess of bobbleheaded cricketers can be quite disconcerting.

This lack of professionalism has been a hindrance on every cricketing game to date. Perhaps some gamers will have no problem adjusting to the ridiculous names and excess use of turbans, but for me it felt like playing Pro Evolution Soccer – you simply cannot immerse yourself into a reality that fails to believe in itself.

Ashes Cricket 2009

The most irritating part of the game, without doubt, is running. The developers somehow got it into their heads that it would be a good idea to be able to queue your running. So, if you press the Y-button twice, you will attempt to earn your team two runs.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, somewhere along the lines something went wrong. After you hit the ball into a gap, you instinctively press the run button. However, the delay time on the run button is so immense that players will find themselves hitting the button a second time, just as the player begins running.

Naturally, you think to yourself that you mustn’t have pressed the button hard enough the first time. Wrong! More often than not you will be run out for attempting a second run, even after the wicketkeeper or bowler is holding the ball.

It takes a lot to frustrate me to the point of trying to break my controller, even playing through Braid I never once got to the point of attempting to decapitate my white, buttony friend, but the running element in Ashes Cricket 2009 absolutely did the trick.

Despite these setbacks, the actual gamplay can be quite rewarding when playing with a friend. Single player against the AI easily becomes tiresome and bland, especially when playing a series of five-day Test matches. However, the improved batting and bowling experience, including how your player is holding up under the pressure, and having this affect their performance, is a big thumbs up for cricketing games of the future.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly the problem. Ashes Cricket 2009 excels at a handful of things, but fails miserably at others, making it just another biannual cricket title pumped out under time constraints.

Ashes Cricket 2009

I was still waiting for something special to happen that would elevate my opinion of this game. Maybe a streaker? Or the umpire getting hit in the face by my square-leg drive? Disappointingly, neither of these things happened, and the unremarkable visuals were starting to make my eyes water.

Bowling animations are choppy, and batsmen don’t look much better. While taking a catch in super-slow-motion is unique and exciting, it does little to lift the overall static look of each match.

Thankfully, there is a saving grace to Ashes Cricket 2009. Multiplayer. If playing with a friend makes the game passable, playing online makes it a must-rent, if not a must-buy. There really isn’t anything better than jumping into a slog-fest with a Pom on the other side of the world. Something incredible happens when playing sports games online; they suddenly take on a whole new element of difficulty and entertainment, and Ashes Cricket 2009 is no different.

Hardcore fans of the cricket franchise will undoubtedly pick up this game for retail and, if they aren’t as fastidious as I, may very well become enchanted by its intricacy. For beginners, however, I can only recommend that you rent it and play online. While multiplayer is a magnificent accomplishment in the world of sporting games, single player is simply one big flaw.

Rating Category
4.0 Presentation
Simply put, the graphics are not worthy of an Xbox 360 release. All of the grounds are licensed, but there is only so much you can do with a stadium.
How does our scoring system work?
5.0 Gameplay
One Day Internationals are great fun, especially online. However, Test matches are excessively long, and Twenty20 feels like a rip-off without the Indian Premier League.
7.0 Sound
Despite the sickeningly repetitive title music, the on-field calls, sound effects, and aural environment all mesh to create a pleasant gaming atmosphere. The commentary is top-class, however I would have liked Shane Warne to appear more frequently, if only to add diversity to a sometimes-dull commentary panel.
7.5 Longevity
For traditional cricketing enthusiasts who enjoy the length of a five Test series, there is a great deal of time you can commit to this game. The question is: would you really want to? Online play is where the true longevity lies.
5.5 Overall
Ashes Cricket 2009 is a rent-first, buy-if-you-dare title. There is a lot to like in its online capabilities, but for a game that promised to elevate the cricketing genre to stellar heights, it has fallen far, far, short of the mark.

  1. avatar AliensInfoTech

    Shane Warne – The best bowler Australia has ever produced has opened up his mind to the media. He exposed his discontent regarding umpires. According to the ace spinner barring a few exceptions like Simon Tauter and ASAP Rauf other umpires went awry in terms of performance .Expressing disappointment that the standard of umpiring has deteriorated to the worst extent in the past twenty years of time he opined that though umpiring was a hard job, the performances of the umpires in the Ashes series had been consistently so ordinary. As far as Warne is concerned umpire Billy Bowden whom he expected to deliver correct judgments was also not consistent in performing his duty.
    The spinner repents that there are too many instances of such bad judgments, which is increasingly becoming a cause of concern. He directly made a mention of names of umpires Daryl Harper and Billy Bowden, accusing them to be adamant in not confessing their wrong judgments. He also tried to strengthen his claim by mentioning that several players were not having a good opinion about those umpires in their minds. Warne insisted that the umpires should maintain a friendly attitude towards the players by shedding their high-handed attitude Warne also expressed his view repetitively that fifty over match should be withdrawn once for all as if such a change is brought about it would enable the players to spend more time with their families and relieve them from exhaustion.

  2. avatar aliensinfotech

    Younis khan, the incumbent skipper of Pakistan cricket team , has proclaimed that outwitting India will be his top priority in the Champions Trophy, when the two sides confront on September 26 in Centurion. Earlier team mate spinner Umar Gul also expressed the same. Sunday, and underline Pakistan’s poor record against India in ICC events.
    The fact that Pakistan lost two times to India, in 2007 when the twenty-twenty tournaments were introduced had offended the feelings of his teammates, said Younis. Regarding team India as a highly talented one-day side, he said his teammates were looking forward to a vengeance. A long gap has been left since the last victory of Pakistan over India in the 2004 Champions Trophy. Relations between the two countries have been strained after the terror attacks in Mumbai last November, and this tension reflected in cricket too as both the teams have not played withy each other for an year.

  3. avatar aliensinfotech

    Soured bats for Dravid On seeing the above title do not think that Soured Gangly has given up his decision to quit from all the versions of the game of cricket and is back in the scene. E mean to say that Soured, nicknamed as ‘Dada’ by the fans has hailed the decision of the selection committee to bring back Rahall David and thereby proving that only form was the problem associated with senior players and age had nothing to do with performance. Sourav expressed hope that the right hander would fare well in the upcoming tri-series. For the past one year Rahu l Dravid – ‘ The wall’ had been away from the one day format of the game. Sourav tried to strengthen his contention by citing the inclusion of Nehra as another example. Sourav’s statement assumes significance in this scenario as we find the three batsmen Laxman, Dravid and Sachin who are at mid thirties of age, delivering a consistent good performance.
    Five players who were part of the squad that defeated West Indies in the latter’s soil failed to earn a place in the newly announced squad. Dines kart hick was lucky to be included as the last man replacing the recovering Sehwag. The same squad will be retained for both the traceries (in which Srilanka and Newzealand are other participants) and the following Champions trophy to take place in South Africa. Suresh Raina- A player who had established his capability many a time missed out previous tournaments due to a broken thumb has recovered completely. He is back in the squad. Selectors have shown mercy on the other player Yusuf pathan.

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