Ricky Ponting is back on the Xbox 360 and the PC, with International Cricket 2007. We got to have a crack on the hallowed turf with both versions and it was time well spent. There is a full roster of World Cup crews on hand for you to control, which includes the Netherlands and Bermuda if you like impossible dreams.
You can play random ODI (One Day International) games, compete online, win the World Cup or have a crack at 20/20. The game delivers a full compliment of challenges and the difference between looking like a klutz and a world class athlete is all in the timing.
Batting is really easy. Just check out the field and select an area to hit to. Then you pick one of four shot types and blaze away. You can play a defensive shot and try and pinch a quick single, go for a solid cover drive, or take the risk and loft it over the infield for a boundary. There is even the option to charge down the pitch and hammer the ball for a six!
All of the batsmen have different skills and you can step away from the stumps to give yourself more room or move into the ball to go after a spinner who has lobbed the ball off target.
Bowling is the most advanced skill. There are cutters, bouncers, ‘yorkers’ and full tosses. You can also adjust the speed of your delivery by timing the release of the ball with a power meter. You can even vary the pitch of the ball in mid air, mesmerising the batsman with irregular flight.
This works incredibly well, especially with a spinner. Trapping the batsman plumb for LBW is at first huge fun. However this is a minor flaw in the game, as it is too easy. It is much harder bowling them out or orchestrating a clever catch - to a hard core cricket fan, this just feels wrong. The catching mechanics when combined with quick changes in camera angle is awkward as well.
Minor grumbles aside, the game has a lot of atmosphere. The postage stamp sized grounds from the West Indies are all featured and the commentary, featuring Gower, Agnew and Greig works well. There are even some great animations with the players scowling or jumping for joy depending on how a particular ball went.
This Review appeared in the April, 2007 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine