Cricket 07 also features a new Quickplay cricket setting that lets players crank up the game speed, ease back the difficulty setting and join the excitement of Limited Overs or fully-licensed Twenty20 extravaganzas by playing a fast-blast match of hard-hitting sixes – or slow the pace down, slide the difficulty up and steel yourself for a five day Test. For a sustained challenge, gamers can choose from a complete schedule of Australian State and English County tournaments or lead the charge in this year’s eagerly anticipated Ashes campaign in the 3-mobile Series Down Under.
For the first time in a cricket game, players can enjoy full control over foot choice, shot, direction, power and timing, all governed through the use of both analog sticks. A back or front foot stroke is selected with the left stick, then shot timing and direction are judged with the right stick. Power is determined by how far the stick is moved – a slight tap can nudge the ball for a quick single or a firm push can send the ball fizzing away to the boundary. Allied to new cameras that deliver a more natural behind-the-stumps batting perspective and a wider view of the field, cricket has never been so easily accessible. With embellished gameplay, a wealth of tournaments, genuine equipment and authoritative new commentary from Mark Nicholas and Richie Benaud, you won't experience cricket this authentic without donning whites and walking down the pavilion steps yourself.
It was a huge achievement for England to regain the Ashes last year after 18 years out in the cold. It was a tough, uncompromising series, that produced some of the greatest test match cricket seen in the modern game. Now it’s the return leg … and there’s no doubt that it’s going to be a tough series for England away from home, but there’ll also be considerable pressure on the Australians to regain the Urn in their own backyard. I for one, am really looking forward to the contest … it could be a real cracker!
Now onto the game …
The Ashes has to be the biggest Test Match event on the cricketing calendar this year. Although this is an event that only involves England and Australia, the history and drama of the event cannot be missed by the neutral. EA Cricket ’07 has focused some considerable attention on the Ashes as a standalone game mode, and the mode has its own distinct flavour and style.
By selecting ‘The Ashes’ on the main Cricket ’07 menu, the user has the choice of playing the 2006-07 Ashes series, the 2005 Ashes Series, or the 2005 Ashes Scenarios.
Let’s start with the 2006-07 Ashes Series.
Replicating the much anticipated Ashes series in Australia, Cricket ’07 offers the user a chance to play through the Full Ashes Tour or alternatively, the shorter and more focused test match experience of the ‘3 Mobile’ Ashes Series. Playing the full tour offers all the authenticity of the warm up matches between England and Australian State Cricket opposition, the one day series, and the actual Ashes Test Matches themselves. For a slightly lighter Ashes experience, the user can choose to omit the warm up matches and One Day Series, and just focus on the 5 Ashes Test Matches. This is done by selecting the 2006-07 ‘3 Mobile’ Ashes Series. Remember, these matches are played in an Australia environment … and home advantage and knowledge of local playing conditions can have an impact!
The great 2005 Ashes Series (well … great for England fans anyway) is also represented in EA Cricket 2005. Re-live the key moments of the series by playing through the Full Tour or focusing attention on the Test Series itself by selecting the NPower Ashes Series. Each ground and associated pitch will have unique playing properties … and expect bad light and rain interruptions to play some part in a series that was played through a typically unpredictable English summer.
The 2005 Ashes Scenarios are an additional feature that EA Sports Cricket ’07 offers. There are 40 unique scenarios to complete (20 England based and 20 Australian based), with each scenario unlocked for play once the preceding challenge is successfully completed. Each scenario replicates a key moment in the 2005 Ashes series … and it’s up to the user to replay or re-invent the outcome. Different pitch and weather conditions, field placings, and varied batman skill and bowling attacks should make for a very challenging experience. Every scenario also has real-world TV footage to set the scene and emphasize the objectives, and this footage is unlocked when a scenario is successfully completed. The real-world footage really takes you back to the 2005 Series, and hopefully that will inspire the user to focus their skill and attention on making sure history plays out correctly, or re-writing history to ensure their team comes out on top.
So … bring on the first Ashes Test at Brisbane on the 23rd November! Can England retain the Ashes, or will they be retaken by Australia … no-one knows. What we do know, is with Ashes tickets already sold out and record crowds expected, there will be a lot of cricket fans who’ll be watching it as it happens down under. If it all goes wrong for either side, there’ll still be a chance for the fans and players to make amends with a gamepad ?
Cricket ’07 Producer Justin Forrest
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