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Brian Lara International Cricket (PS2)

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14 Reviews

Manufacturer: Codemasters / Genre: Sports

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    14 Reviews
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      07.08.2011 17:09
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      Arguably the best cricket game ever released. An easy must for a those who like cricket games

      With EA Games practically dominating the sports market of video games, there was one sport which they couldn't quite crack. Not that they were bad games but EA's Cricket 2002, 2004 and 2005 were marred by the fact that the batting system was easy and pleasurable, while the bowling system was too sensitive and therefore difficult. With no other developer giving EA Games competition (at the time, the last cricket game not made by EA was back in 1998/99), Codemasters returned to the scene, following their rather successful Brian Lara Cricket '99 game (this was the last game made by a none EA group, as previously mentioned) to try and correct what many had criticised EA for not being able to do.

      Released as Ricky Ponting Cricket in the 2 main Australasian countries, Codemasters certainly did rectify problems which EA couldn't bother to do. First of all is the batting system. It's quite similar to EA's, in which the X button allows for an attacking shot, Square for defensive shots and O for a slog/lofted shot. However it feels more smoother and easier to navigate on this game than it did on EA's 3 games. It's difficult to explain, but when you play, you know exactly what I mean. The big improvement is the bowling system. Playing EA's cricket games, the player had to take extra care to place a ball in the correct spot. If they went at it too hastily, it would end up being well wide of where it was intended to be and the alloted time to place the ball would run out, consequently resulting in a wide ball. In Brian Lara 2005, there are no such problems. The marker for setting the ball has no sensitivity whatsoever, making it impossible to bowl wides. Delivery selection is similar to the EA games, where you can select off and leg cutters, slower balls and the stock delivery for the seamers using the main 4 buttons. However, unlike EA's games, where you moved a marker on a ball in the corner, to control swing, it's as simple as pressing R1 and L1 to find in or outswing, depending on the hand the batsman uses. A much simpler and guaranteed method to find swing, Codemasters ought to be commended for this addition. Another bonus addition is that the quality off spinners in the game can bowl the doosra as well as the leggies bowling the googly. EA's games didn't allow for offies to bowl the doosra for some strange reason, but happily Codemasters, to their credit, did. Each spinner also has the quicker ones as well as their stock deliveries.

      As well as doing exhibition test or ODI's (this game was released long before T20I's were popular), the two tournaments around the time, the 2003 World Cup and 2004 Champions trophy are included. The practice mode is a useful feature to hone your skills and to get a better feel for the game and doesn't take place in nets like EA's practice did. Creating players, a given in any sports game, is available and experience points can be gained when they play matches. But the area where this game promised to change the features cricket games had (it didn't) was the Challenge mode. A series of challenges, straight from the past, could be attempted and upon completion, the player was rewarded with historic, classic photos. Challenges such as playing as Sir Garfield Sobers to recreate his feat of hitting six sixes in an over, bowling out Australia for a low total in the Bodyline challenge, bowling out Pakistan's tail as the West Indies or playing as Pakistan's tail to get a draw against the Windies in the brilliant series tussle of 1987-88 are included in an excellent feature. It's a masterstroke by Codemasters to allow you read about those historical moments and then attempt to relive or recreate them. Even more clever is Codemasters going the extra mile by making the older challenges, such as the first Ashes, in black and white. The Classic XI mode also shows a group of worth players that Codemasters believed would make the classic XI. Sobers and Imran Khan are more worthier all rounders than Kapil Dev, which is what an ICC (Indian) fan survey surmised.

      The gameplay itself was quite revolutionary at the time. I believe Jonathan Agnew is the lead commentator for this game, not Richie Benaud as EA employed. Both are respected pundits and great to listen to, even though they say the same stuff over and over again in their respective games. However for the first time in cricket games, the player could use licenced bats from GM, Slazenger and Kookaburra to name a few. Hawk-Eye also made its debut in a cricket game. It's nice little touches like that which made this game superior to the 3 EA cobbled together. And while not part of the gameplay itself, the soundtracks featured on the main menu (they change every time following your return to the menus from a game) are absolutely brilliant. Words cannot do justice to how great the music really is, and if Codemasters released a CD of it, I would have been one of the first to buy it.

      Naturally, you can expect some problems. The most obvious is the unlicenced kits and names. With EA holding the rights to the names and most of the kits, they refused to sell or share them out with other developers, which results in the names in the exhibition matches being wrong. However, the names are correct for the 2 tournament modes. The gameplay is also far too easy when you select the easiest mode. There's no need to set up a batsman to take his wicket and it's a free slog-a-thon when batting. A few problems, but forgivable considering it was Codemasters returning to the cricket market.

      To this day, this game is probably the best cricket game released on video game consoles. While Codemasters didn't really change the formula too much with their following games, it makes this game all the more better. For those that haven't played it, it's worth purchasing and because it's old, the price isn't even going to leave a dent in your wallet.

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      10.08.2009 16:26
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      A fun game at the time but Codemasters must progress now.

      I remember I played this game to death for awhile in 2005 but recently as the Ashes started again I thought that I would give it another go as my PS3 has backwards compatability. The game was released around the famous Ashes 2005 series and is called Ricky Ponting Cricket in Australia. Have Codemasters missed a trick not calling it Andrew Flintoff Cricket here? The game was a more arcade style of cricket game in comparison to EA Sports Cricket which felt like more of a simulation.

      The game contains the majority of cricket playing nations, including those that are not test nations such as Kenya. Every team is unlicensed except in events that Codemasters have the rights to which are the 2003 Cricket World Cup and the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy. The game has licensed bats and balls as well as fully licensed stadiums in those two game modes I mentioned. You play the game just like you are watching it on television with a camera at the bowlers end looking towards the batsman. Realism is added to the 'television' experience with features such as hawkeye and wagon wheels used.

      You can play a test match, one day international, Codemasters special two over game between two man teams and if you want to do a Twenty 20 match you can just reduce the overs in a match. There are several difficulty settings which is helpful depending on your level and if you do an exhibition there are a lot of options. For example you can choose from one of many venues around the world, whether you want a sticky wicket, dry wicket or flat wicket and what weather conditions you play in. There is also a Classic XI mode where legendary players such as Garfield Sobers can be unlocked. The game also has a decent scenario mode where players can take on historic events in the cricketing past. This involves famous moments such as hitting six sixes in an over and the infamous Bodyline series. You also are given the opportunity to create a player and increase his abilities over time. I made a leg spin bowler and took him in an Ashes series I created.

      The game recieved decent ratings and was regarded as the best cricket game at the time. For me though there are some major flaws. In my opinion the action happens a tad too fast and the actions do not look realistic. The player faces do not look very human and there is not much scope for editing either. You can not move down the pitch when batting or do a direct hit or an overthrow when going for a run out. The most annoying thing though is the batting and bowling both seems flawed and it is easy to get players out once you are used to the game and his boundaries off nearly every bowl. Overall though it is a fun game to play and I hope the new Ashes Cricket 2009 will revamp the gameplay and make it more like cricket.

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        24.07.2009 16:55
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        9/10

        Brian Lara cricket is one of my most looked forward to games ever. The game is fairly easy to pick up and play, whilst providing a decent challenge to those who have played it for a while.

        The amount of tournaments to play is quite good and the classic matches are good to practice on but once you've played a number of times they become fairly easy.

        The batting against the computer is easy for experts unless the bowler has extreme pace (such as Aktar or Harmison) and the A.I. for field settings is pretty disapointing. For instance if you keep hitting the ball through fine leg the computer doesnt block this route at all.

        Bowling against the computer is frustrating especially in one day matches, when the batsmen refuse to hit out, even when faced with high run rates.

        Against a friend, the game becomes more of a challenge as the element of surprise is increased.

        Overall I love the game but it could have been so much better.

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        06.06.2009 10:01
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        The best cricket game ever

        Cricket is one of those games that is really difficult to get perfectly right but to be fair to this game its still the best cricket game i've ever played.

        The game was created when the West Indian batsman Brian Lara was the best player around the game has a number of menus and features and is well worth a look.

        Menu's

        This was a really good feature, prior to a game you can pick your skill level from village cricketer through to international, you can select how many overs will be played and choose conditions, do you want the bouncy wicket of Sabina Park in the west indies or would a damper English Wicket better suit your bowlers. Once you have chosen your settings you then move on.

        Options

        You can now choose whether to play a wide variety of games from one day friendlies through to World Cup or ICC tournaments, you then pick your team and from reviewing player stats choose the 11 players you want to represent you. One criticism is that the game only covers internationals and is really dated although you can create your own players too.

        Gameplay

        So you've picked your team and your out in the middle, you now toss the coin and choose or are told to bat or bowl.

        Bowling;

        Bowling is an acquired art, you pick your bowler, fast bowler, medium pace, swing, or spin and you can move the man to come in from a wider or more narrow angle, you then move the cursor on the green to a position where you want the ball to bounce, you then usee your buttons to decide the pace, swing or spin and then bowl, it takes some getting used to, but once you do, you'll be sending in seamers, outswingers, bouncers and leg breaks before you know it, its best playing practice games to get used to it, the only thing I would say is that certain spots seem to almost always bowl the lesser batsman and once you learn these it can make the game a bit easy.

        Fielding is a case of watching your man chase the ball and getting an arrow to hit another arrow and press your button to throw, you also have to time things perfectly when attempting a catch.

        Batting:

        This is my favourite part of the game, you watch the ball come in, set your guard and then play the ball, you have to take into account the conditions and the ability of your batsman as timing is key, attempt a shot at the wrong time and you could edge it to slip or get a nick to the keeper, time it right and you could sweep it for four or bang the ball back over the bowlers head for a six. Batting really does take concentration and it is hard to play a concerted innings defending and attacking as the natural instinct in games is to attack, therefore you'll run up 300 in 30 overs but be all out, i've never managed to play 5 days partially as I can bowl everyone out and win easily but also because the game doesn't have the realism to achieve this, if I had the concentration to bat for 2-3 days of a 5 day game i'd score around 1500 runs and thats not realistic.

        Overall the game is great fun, it looks good and apart from some minor glitches such as bowling people out through a certain spot it plays really well, it'd be great if they ironed out these issues and produced a new game for the current era.

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        01.06.2009 15:05
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        A fun batting game which will soon get quite annoying because of all the niggles

        Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 (BLIC) is the best Cricket game currently available on the market (that is not to say that it is an excellent game). I expect this soon to be massively eclipsed by the new Codemasters title Ashes Cricket 2009 which is due out in July.

        BLIC is an entertaining if flawed game that, if nothing else, beats the pants off EA's attempts at Cricket games. The batting is fun and you can hit many, many runs with your favourite cricketers. The number of available shots is quite poor on the other hand. Also, the option to come out of the crease is not successfully explored. Bowling is an absolute travesty, as it was with the original PS One version of the game. Firstly, there is not enough variation in delivery types. Secondly, it is impossible to work out how to produce a ball that is going to cause the batsmen trouble. You should be able to press a combination of buttons or something that will (if done correctly) create a juicy delivery. This takes away a lot of the fun of the game because I think bowling is just as fun an aspect of the game to take control of. Hopefully, this will be fixed in the newer version of the game.

        Multiplayer is alright but it's too easy to restrict someone by hurling in a Yorker at their toes. This restricts the type of scoring strokes they can make. Whereas if you continuously bowled such balls in a real cricket match the batsmen would soon work out to advance down the pitch and turn the ball into a full toss. This was a serious grip for me.

        All in all, like I say, this is the best game of Cricket you can get on a Playstation at present. If you want a cheap bit of batting fun then by all means by this for a quick crack. Otherwise, I would suggest waiting Ashes Cricket 2009 which promises to be a much more rounded game.

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        20.03.2009 21:22

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        great game - go 4 it

        Brian charles Lara = cricket god. I think this man is fantastic and the game, for me, lives up to the legend who it is named after. This game was really fantastic. I was able to hit over a thousand runs for no wickets lost on the easiest mode, although this may be considered slightly pointless by many, it is good fun and meens the game is suitable for young fans of the game as well as older game adicts who are arble to use the much harder professional mode and test match mode which do provide a considerable challenge, as well as being enjoyable. This game has something for people with every ability with regards to cricket and gaming technique, to really get the most out of this game it is best to know a few of the basics of the game although there are tutorials to guide the total novice through. It is a game which offers all you would expect from a cricket game with different pitch types as well as different climatic conditions which have a realistic effect on the gameplay. The variety of bowling types makes this game more varied and enjoyable and the famous cricketers add an aspect of reality to the gaming experience, something which is a major benifit over the cricket 200... serier which do not give real names but have to use mispelt names instead. For me this was a great game with few disadvantages. A great buy.

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        31.08.2008 12:17
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        a great cricket game

        The legend is back! After making his debut on PS1 he finally releases a game on PS2!
        The game doesnt dissapoint. The great world cup and champions strophy modes really excel. The players look realistic and have their actual names!
        But if you want to just play a friendly/test series you have to cope with names such and Flantiff, pattison and Vorner! Although if your patient like me you can edit all the names from every team and that just makes the game even more fun when its all done!
        Gamplay is very effective in the game the shape buttons are used to bat and also bowl different deliveries so the game is not too hard to pick up! Swing can be added to bowls using the L1 and R1 which is deadly when used correctly.
        The graphics are impressive with each shot looking very realistic and lifelike. IN world cup mode the players looks just like they do in real life which is rather nice!

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        17.05.2007 00:59
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        Insert "Bowling A Maiden Over" gag

        Brian Lara ended his illustrious career at the recent Cricket World Cup, which was held in his native West Indies. He is destined to be remembered as one of the most talented batsman ever to have graced the sport – he remains the only player to have scored an innings of 500 in first-class cricket, and against England in 2004, reclaimed his all-time Test record as he smashed 400 not out – the first (and so far only) player to have made a quadruple century at the highest level. As well as having had a remarkable playing career, Lara’s legacy also stretched into gaming, as he put his name to one of the greatest sports video game series of modern times.

        Codemasters’ use of the Brian Lara Cricket franchise was a far cry from the typical ‘annual update’ tradition we are used to today. From it’s Mega-Drive debut in 1994, it would appear (at sporadic intervals) four more times; a 16-bit update in 1996, a single PlayStation appearance in 1998, a PS2 début in 2005 and what is likely to be the series swansong (given Lara’s retirement, though I suppose that never stopped the Tony Hawk franchise) arriving in 2007. Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 was the series first reappearance in seven years, and whilst it perhaps isn’t quite the powerhouse its predecessors were, it is still a very complete cricket-sim.

        What has changed in seven years and a generation leap then? Well, very little in terms of the basic groundwork’s, as they were all very solid to begin with. Batting still essentially limits you to hitting the ball in the eight directions the D-Pad allows, but there is greater emphasis on timing your strokes than previously – there is now a bar that indicates whether you were early or late on the shot. Good as this is, the real icing on the cake is the Confidence Metre; which can be filled through a succession of successful strokes – the greater the confidence, the better the players movement will be at the crease and also shots are more likely to connect. Another major improvement is the individuality of batsman; previously, every player had the same attributes and shots at their disposal, but now tailenders can usually be rolled over with a few accurate balls at their stumps, plus they are harder to rack up runs when you are playing as them. These additions can’t be faulted, though the batting is perhaps marginally less satisfying than in previous games, due in part to the relative ease and flow of scoring – opposing teams often leave rather big holes in their field set-ups, and tend not to cover gaps even when you smash a dozen boundaries into the same exposed area. That said, at times it is brilliantly addictive and it becomes very hard to resist ‘one-more-over’ syndrome; hours fly by at an alarming rate as you set about racking up the runs.

        The bowling has for a long time seemed a rather less interesting element of the cricketing video-game experience, and Codemasters have run a major risk by opting to remove the handy ‘Generate Innings’ option of old that basically allowed players to skip the process. Although on the higher difficulty settings it can still be rather ponderous and unrewarding at times, there is considerably more depth to the bowling than in its PSOne predecessor. The player can impart swing and use unpredictable bounces to fox their opponents, but as with the batting side of things, it’s the confidence bar that makes things a bit more intriguing. When filled, it allows bowlers to unleash ‘special’ deliveries such as rib-cracking bouncers or toe-crunching yorkers for the fast bowlers, as well as quicker balls or ones that turn ‘the other way’ in the case of the spinners. It’s pretty immersive and at a least a bit more enjoyable than some games of the past, though it can become a bit of chore when a team decides to defend for long periods.

        The fielding is another area of relative success for BLIC2005 – much of it is done automatically, with just enough player interaction to maintain the interest levels. Throwing and catching must be timed, and this is a fine setup because it doesn’t place any emphasis on thankless running around trying to find the ball, just the bits that are important in preventing runs, instigating run-outs and taking catches. LBW appeals are now granted an explanation when they are turned down and the acclaimed 'hawk-eye' technology shows off a myriad of technical fancies to maintain the feeling of broadcast authenticity. The video-replay is called upon to judge run-outs though it is used far too frequently. Every time a player dives to make their ground, a replay is called upon, even when the batsman in question is safe by a good four or five feet, plus wicketkeepers have an annoying habit of whipping off the bails after a throw comes in from the field. Still, the video-replays most memorable use has to be in the Classic Match mode, as it seems so hilariously out of place in a 19th Century Test – I wonder what WG Grace would have thought of waiting for a TV replay to tell him whether he was out or not?

        BLIC2005's array of game modes is tremendously comprehensive, and will cater to even the most demanding of cricket fans. You can take part in officially-licensed versions of the ICC World Cup of 2003 and the Champions Trophy of 2004, both of which impressively feature rosters that reflected the teams of the time. You can of course also play exhibitions and Test Series', as well as a novel World XI series which sees you battling through eight progressively tougher super-teams. Strangely, these modes aren't licensed though, therefore the accurate player names and likenesses present in the One-Day tournament modes go entirely out the window and this is disappointing. At least you can edit the names if you feel the need.

        A long-standing perk of Codemasters' series has been its Classic Matches, which make a welcome return here. You are given the chance to re-enact or change the outcome of nine matches from varying stages in cricketing history, with a nice touch being that there are often two scenarios (batting and bowling) to each. Whilst you aren't given the chance to smash the Aussies with Ian Botham in the Headingly Test of 1981, or emulate any of Brian Lara's mammoth batting records, there are some atmospheric and enjoyable tasks (such as hitting six consecutive sixes), with the grainy black and white picture used in the older matches topping things off nicely – it's just a shame there aren't more than nine challenges to tackle.

        The range of extras is modest, though will prove a nice incentive for fans, who are sure to get the most out of the additional content. There’s a nice photograph gallery to view, with individual photos and trophies being made available for completing a range of tasks and tournaments within the game, and the same goes for the range of unlockable legendary players, who include the likes of Donald Bradman to Wasim Akram. The developers’ passion for the sport really shows through here as not only can you view the extra players’ career statistics, but you can also view a very readable and informative mini-biography for each of them too.

        Graphically, it’s pretty middle-of-the-road. Player likeness varies depending on the mode of play, as the real ones look pretty good, whilst the non-licensed ones look a bit naff. The batsman and bowlers movements are very well animated, though the fielders run in a rather peculiar manner at times. There is a comprehensive selection of stadiums from around the world and all look fine, though the crowds leave a little to be desired. Nevertheless, the replays show off what visual finesse BLIC2005 does possess, and the presentation of the menu-screens is very slick.

        The commentary is rather difficult to score. The selection of personnel delivering the lines is excellent – Jonathon Agnew is joined by (depending on the fixture) Tony Greig, David Gower, Bill Lawry and Ian Bishop, and the lines are delivered with enough conviction to come off as sounding authentic, and at times it does feeling like you are watching it all unfold on the TV. However, you quickly notice certain lines being repeated a lot (“no run scored” will get on your nerves quickly when bowling) and bizarrely, much of the dialogue has been ripped straight from the 1998 PlayStation version that Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott voiced, with many of the formers lines sounding suspiciously similar in delivery and the latter’s having simply been re-recorded by the other commentators – therefore many of the lines will sound overly familiar to long-term fans of the series.

        With a huge selection of game modes and a decent helping of extras up for grabs, there’s a good few weeks of play in here. The ‘Test’ difficulty level provides a stiff challenge, though computer batsman continually defending can ware away the resolve of even the most patient of players. The longevity of the package is improved slightly by the inclusion of a player creation facility which, at least in terms of playing attributes, can allow a fair amount of customization. Scoring runs, taking catches and claiming wickets all lead to the improvement of your player, and the ‘experience’ points can be spent to evolving them in a surprisingly diverse number of ways – the only down shot is that you can’t view your own career statistics as you go along.

        Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 delivers what is ultimately a welcome (and overdue) return to the gaming scene for Codemasters’ celebrated series, after a seven year break. Due to the nature of the subject matter, things can become a grind at times and there are a few areas that could easily have improved with a bit more thought, but for those looking for an absorbing and (for the vast majority of the time) enjoyable cricket-sim, this comes with more or less all the trimmings you could wish for, and as it can be found for less than a fiver these days, it represents decent value.

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          10.04.2007 09:32

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          Good cricket game, worth checking out.

          It is not clear which version this category is for so I will be reviewing the recently released 2007 version which has been timed to cash in on the current World Cup, quite sensibly there is an absence of any English players on the cover as there were no picture of pedaloes at the time of release.

          The major focus of this game is the one day version and even for someone who is no big fan of cricket I found it a great game to play, even though I have limited knowledge of the rules and tactics of cricket I found the controls so easy to master that I was soon able to enjoy playing the game. There is a test match option but I must admit I preferred to play the one day version. In fact there are a number of different versions to play on the game so you can always provide a little variety to your matches.

          All sixteen teams in the World Cup feature although the murder of one of the team coaches does not and in this mode all of the players names are authentic however for some reason the licence does not extend to the other game modes like test match as the names then are different for the players.

          I found it easy to master the controls for batting, buttons decide whether it is a lofted or ground shot and direction is via the direction stick, the key to good batting is shot selection and timing, it takes a couple of games to master but once you are in the groove it becomes a lot easier. Bowling is jut as easy, with four basic delivery types and the location of the ball and what is useful is the ability to change the flight and direction of the ball once it is released to further confuse the batsman.

          Visually this is not the greatest of game but it gets the job done, the main thing that looks a little off is the movement of the fielders, the stadiums and other player movements are pretty good.


          This game is well worth getting hold of and at £24.98 new on Amazon it is reasonable value however it is also available for £19.99 from the new and used section.

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          18.09.2006 18:15
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          The best way to experience the feel of cricket from the comfort of your armchair.

          Overview
          **********************************

          As with it’s football counterpart, Cricket games are divided into roughly 2 divisions. The EA sport variety and the non EA sport variety. As good as the EA sports brand name is, it has often failed to live up to being the dominant gamer in many sports. In football the Fifa series has been playing second fiddle to Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer games. In cricket, EA sports has been in battle with Codemasters to establish itself as the leading name for cricket games. Comparing EA sports Cricket 2005 and Codemasters Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 (BLIC) you will find that EA Sports has once again produced the inferior game.


          Graphics
          ************************************
          BLIC also released as Ricky Ponting International Cricket 2005 in Australia and New Zealand is an easy to pick up cricket game unlike Cricket 2005 which takes a long time to master on even on ‘easy’ difficulty. Graphically Cricket 2005 wins hands down, there is simply no question of this. BLIC has not advanced to much in the realm of graphics, the players have a cartoonish feel to them and look physically peculiar to say the least. Having said that the cricket environment still looks pretty realistic and the movement of batsmen and bowlers is pretty accurate as well. The graphics have improved from the last version of BLIC but that’s hardly a surprise since that game was released six years earlier than this version. I am of the opinion that a game doesn’t have to be brilliantly graphically to constitute itself as a good game, nevertheless this is always helps with realism in particular for sporting game and is something that should be looked at in the future for Codemasters.

          One disadvantage this game has over Cricket 2005 is the name licensing, while EA sports have captured the rights to use the real cricket names, BLIC fans must be content with using slightly modified versions of the real names. This is bearable but still rather annoying. The stadiums look fairly good and though I can only claim to have been to a couple of the stadiums, the ones I do know look reasonably authentic. The crowd, however, is forgettable, and I do believe there is only one set of umpires regardless of where, who and what you are playing.


          Gameplay
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          The main appeal in the game is the gameplay and the balance between bat and ball. These are the fundamental requirement to create a successful cricket game. If scoring is ridiculously easy but bowling is really hard then it will becomes frustrating after a while and vice versa. The beauty of BLIC 2005 is that given a bit of time, both batting and bowling can be learnt well, but to master it is a different case.

          The controls have been a major problem in cricket games of the past, but with BLIC, Codemasters has overhauled the "traditional" control scheme used by all of the EA cricket series, and created an easy to learn, intuitive control scheme that really does set BLIC apart from the EA series.


          Batting
          ************************************

          In BLIC, you have a button for the attacking shot along the ground, a defensive shot, and an aerial shot, giving entirely more control over shot selection as opposed to the one shot button used in EA's cricket series, and the L1 and R1 shoulders buttons are used for movement around the crease, making batting a simpler task. However, there is no button to advance down the track or leave the ball, which really does hurt the realism of batting in this game, as both are used frequently in an actual game of cricket. Batting like most cricket games comes down to timing and the correct choice of shot for the appropriate ball. This simply requires some practise to achieve.


          Bowling
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          Bowling has also been overhauled, and it is now far less predictable for batsmen, meaning that there should no longer be insane totals on anything greater than the lowest difficulties, unless of course one of the players is a no-hoper, and leading to some very bowling dominated contests (something not seen in any cricket games to date). The run up is initiated with the X button, and a power meter appears, which fills up as the bowler approaches the crease. To achieve maximum speed (or turn for a spinner), the player must stop the meter on, or as close to the line as they can get, without the bar filling over the line, in which case the bowler oversteps and delivers a no ball, however it is worth noting that the fastest deliveries are the balls that are the slightest amount over the line, not so much as to be a no ball, but just on or over the line. Any of the 4 face buttons on the controller can be used to stop the meter, and each one produces a different type of ball depending on the type of bowler, for example for a right arm fast bowler to a right handed batsman, the X button will produce a standard, fast ball, the Square button will produce a leg cutter that will move away from the batsman off the pitch, the Circle button will produce an off cutter that will move into the batsman off the pitch and the Triangle button will produce a slower ball intended to produce a false stroke from a batsman expecting it to come faster.

          A handy new control feature is the control of swing using the L1 and R1 buttons after the ball is released, meaning the batsman will no longer know what the ball is going to do until it happens, making bowling a much more enjoyable, and bearable task. Another cool control gimmick not seen before is the control of fielders, and while you do not actually move them around or field the ball, you do control the strength and accuracy of your throws, and the catching of your fielders with a meter that you must stop as close to the small white centre line as possible, and while it does get annoying to have to throw the ball in almost every delivery, Codemasters must be applauded for bringing something new into the genre.

          The gameplay is without doubt the best available anywhere, with the difficulties enabling the game to play like an arcade slogfest, great for quick, fun games with mates, to serious test match like scenarios, with barely seconds to react to quick bowlers and viciously turning pitches, making batting a nightmare. My biggest gripe with the actual gameplay of BLIC is the fact that even on the fastest bowlers in the world, even at 160+kph on a good length, if the player hardest, difficulty the worst tail enders can still crack giant sixes off the just uses the circle button. This makes the BLIC feel overly like that of an arcade game for the hardcore cricket fans, but on the flip side also creates a wider audience for the game. Another minor problem is the fact that your fielders can only throw in the ball to the keepers end, and the run outs are always assisted, which can be frustrating as often there would be a certain run out if you could throw to the bowlers end. There is a limited create a player mode in BLIC, in which your character starts as a very average player, but as you score runs, take wickets and make catches/run outs, you score points to improve your batting, bowling and fielding respectively, however it takes barely any time to reach the maximum stats at which point your player becomes like a cricketing mastermind (although it seems even the best created fast bowlers are only capable of bowling at a fast medium pace)


          Sound
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          As far as cricket games go, sound normally refers to either noises on the field/crowd or that provided by the commentary team . Brian Lara International Cricket brings together the voices of cricket, including David Gower, Tony Greig, Jonathan Agnew, Ian Bishop, and Bill Lawry, to form the biggest commentary team ever featured in any cricket game. The commentary on most part is accurate and largely beneficial to the game. Cricket 2005 players will no doubt be aware of the commentary glitches prevalent in that game and the fact it takes away focus from the actual game. BLIC suffers none of these problems. The other sound is accurate enough, you don’t quite get the feel of a lively Twenty20 game as such but nevertheless it is pretty accurate.


          Tournaments
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          As for the different variations in the game, most cricket fans will tell you that one-day and Twenty20 stuff isn't the real game. They'll tell you that the only way to determine a good cricketer is over a five-day test match. Now this presents a dilemma for cricket games as it is inconceivable that even the most avid of fans will be prepared to play up 2 five days of a match in the normal sense. Therefore inevitable corners have been cut and there is a greater emphasis on the shorter form of the game. This is understandable as not many will have the patience nor the will power to play a full on test series of 5/6 test matches. ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy are the two main one day tournaments that can be played and both are licensed by the ICC (International Cricket Council). There is also the option of playing Test match tours at home and away. This is mainly for the enthusiastic cricket fan as one tour can take a long time to play.


          Multiplayer
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          Multiplayer feature isn't too bad. You principally have two options. You can play together with a partner as the same team, where in batting one person controls one batsman, the other player the other batman. When it comes to bowling is just an over at a time, i.e. each player bowls an alternative over each. The other option is the classical one, in which you and a partner compete against each other, it's exactly how you would imagine, not much to it. The only thing I would say is that for this type of game to be competitive it is required that each player be equivalently of the same experience else there will be many a one sided match. That goes without saying really for any sporting (or even most fighting games)


          Conclusion
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          Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 is quite comfortably the best cricket game available is likely to be so until the 2007 version is released. Only if Cricket 2007 (which is scheduled for release in Nov 2006) is markedly improved by EA Sports will BLIC face any competition as the best cricket game available. It does lack in licensing and is not as good graphics wise but the core of the game, i.e. that of batting, bowling and fielding are head and shoulders above that of it competitor, the EA Sports series. For a realistic, fun and entertaining cricket game then look no further than Brian Lara International Cricket.

          Comments

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            12.01.2006 11:19
            3 Comments

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            Good game for beginners. Not very challenging for experienced gamers.

            When I purchased this game I was really excited as I had bought previous titles in this series.

            On first impressions the game looks really good. An easy to look at menu screen and splendid graphics makes this game look good. Gameplay is relatively easy too with not many buttons needing to be pressed to bowl or bat.

            However after only a couple of hours of gameplay one thing shone out to me- the game is just too easy even on the hardest level. It is relatively easy to smash the ball for ten runs an over and easy enough to keep bowling maidens as the computer does not take any risks as regards running for runs.

            The Classic games are quite good with the early games being played in black and white- a neat little twist in my book.

            The game also includes a thing called Career Player. This is where you create a player and can assign points to different areas (bowling, batting, fielding). You can play this player in your team then you are awarded points on account of how many runs you score, how many wickets you take and how many catches or run outs you do in the field.

            Overall this game is good for beginners to cricket and is easy to play. However the more experienced gamer may get infuriated at how easy the game becomes. And as a last word.. be warned if you play a test-match it can take a long time to complete a game!!!

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              25.11.2005 11:28
              3 Comments

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              Very enjoyable game and (in a very entertaining way) easy to get involved with

              Ever wanted to know what it was like playing international cricket? then get some coaching and maybe one day you will.
              Otherwise you could get this game, with its intuitve controls, despite not having the option of playing shots off either the front or back foot(they are automatically selected by the computer), it still has the simplicity within the game to make it fun and lasting. Also despite having to play all of the innings both when batting and bowling, this can be a problem if you are bowling against a strong side, as innings, while still quite exciting as you never know when that wicket is going to fall, can be quite drawn out and take a long time to play. However with the length of the innings sometimes being drawn out, you an get very involved with the game and will soon be jumping around pleading with the umpire to give that lbw decision.
              A fun game with more arcade like gameplay but still keeping the basic cricket game at its heart. With great features mainly the inclusion of the hawkeye system, which is used for lbw decisions and at the end of overs it is both helpful and fun.

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                18.09.2005 00:23
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                Great grpahics, not very impressive from last version

                After Cricket 2005 was released, I thought that it would be a great game but I found it very hard to play and got bored of it. Two months later I heard Codematsers were going to release Brian Lara cricket 2005 and thought that it would be better than Cricket 2005. When I played Brian Lara I was very disappointed. The graphics were a big improvement but the game play was not. The player’s names were spelt wrong as I think Codemasters didn’t have rights to input the original player’s name. The controls were the same from the previous version and there weren’t a lot of strokes to be played.

                I think that this game is for kids and is kind of a babyish game as I did not find it hard. ONE of the biggest disappointments in this game is that there is no generate innings or auto-play, as if you play a 50-over match then you will have to bowl and bat for the whole 50 over’s without skipping any over’s. The double-wicket competition in the game is a new feature and is great to play as I played that all the time. In the double wicket competition you have to pick any two players from any country and they will have to bat for four over’s and bowl four over’s. This is very quick to play to play because you do not want to play test matches or 50-over matches as they will take you a very long time. I was also impressed by the classic matches in the game as if you play a classic game which was played in the 60’s 0r 50’s then you will have to play the game in black and white.

                Overall, if you looking for a challenge from this game by looking to play different range of shots then do not buy this game as it is very simple. If you are a beginner to playing cricket games then buy this game as it very simple to play.

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                  29.07.2005 16:55
                  7 Comments

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                  In summary this game is great for hardcore cricket fans who want to play a proper cricket match.

                  The new Brian Lara game is great if you have nothing else in your day to do - it is very long as you cannot generate an innings. The graphics are great and there is not much waiting around for loading to do.

                  There is such a wide range of types of games to play. The best thing about this game is the multiplyer as you do everything.

                  Be warned catching is hard so make sure you read the manuel first!

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                • Product Details

                  The legend of cricket makes a welcome come back after years of absence and does it with style. Take part in a World Tour, tournaments and a Challenge mode where you can relive some classic cricketing moments (the graphics even go black and white) like the first Ashes match where England lost back in 1882. Simple controls make the game as pick up and play as you could possibly want so you don't need to be a cricket genius to enjoy the game or understand what's going on.