Cricket 2007: Smashing Hit! (4 out of 5)
EA Sports Cricket 2007 was released on November 2006 in the UK for cricket aficionados who relish the excitement of the Ashes tournament and Twenty-20 version of Cricket. With the introduction of these two opposing versions of the game (Ashes is Test series between old rivals England and Australia while Twenty-20 is a rapid form of cricket), EA sports has proved its mettle in every genre of sports.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
Cricket 2007 is all about the game of bat and ball, skills and some baseball styled action. The game comprises of different popular international tournaments including the World Series, World Cup and Test series. But, the inclusion of the legendary Ashes and latest version of ‘quick’ cricket, Twenty-20 has added more enjoyment to the 2007 edition. There are also some popular English events such as the C&G trophy, NatWest Pro40, Liverpool Victoria County Championship.
The three significant areas of this sport viz. batting, bowling and fielding have improved a lot from previous versions. The inclusion of a new control system, ‘The Century Stick’ by EA makes batting more pleasurable. The century stick is used to imitate a cricket bat’s movement. Previous versions stressed more on keyboard-mouse combinations to move the bat. With the century stick, a player just has move the stick to play the ball on a particular direction. But, for the century stick control system, you need a gamepad to be well acquainted with the strokes. There are some drawbacks though, as the game may find hard to recognize the century stick if you are using a compatible gamepad. I would better recommend switching to the classic keyboard-mouse control system to play Cricket 2007. While batting, you can choose your shot style and direction. Changing shot directions to back foot or front foot depends on the bowler’s delivery. The game boasts a range of popular branded bats including Puma, Gray Nicolls and Slazenger.
The bowling department allows you to spin and swing the ball in the desired pace and direction. Bonus deliveries including the bouncer and the Yorker are available, provided the AI batsman is low on confidence. The fielding boasts three modes: automatic, semi-automatic and manual fielding. I would prefer choosing the automatic fielding mode because you may get fed up with the batting and bowling controls let alone dabbling with the keys for manual fielding.
The EA Cricket 2007 interface is very user-friendly. It is easy to navigate. Locating your tournament stats is very simple and EA did not attempt to commit anything flashy for the opening menu screen.
Graphics (4 out of 5)
Graphically, Cricket 2007 fares well as far as 3D player modeling is concerned. You will find some realistically looking player models of popular cricketers like Andrew Flintoff, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, and Sachin Tendulkar. The camera angles are quiet intuitive and impressive. But do not expect any ground-breaking graphics like the ones in FIFA or NBA. The game requires a 32MB 3D graphics card.
Sound (4 out of 5)
Cricket 2007 features expert in-game commentary of the legendary Richie Benaud and Mark Nicholas. I loved the commentary part, but wished there were more such commentators from every country. Sometime the comments do get repetitive for some shots.
The ambient sound perfectly matches a particular tournament. You must play the Ashes tournament to hear the English and Australian crowds go wild chanting and roaring with every shot played. The unique EA Trax system allows various songs to be played on the background while browsing the interface.
Overall (4 out of 5)
Cricket 2007 was a huge success in cricket-playing nations like England, Australia and India. Apart from some nagging controls, the game does well as compared with its counterparts, especially for some new improved gameplay mechanics in the bowling, batting and fielding departments. So, if you are a cricket fan and love to cherish the great cricketing moments, make sure you include this game in your collection.
Developed by HB Studios, Published by Electronic Arts
Operating System: Windows 2000/XP
Processor: 1 GHz
RAM: minimum 256 MB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 1.2 GB
Graphics Card: 32MB graphics card