Hands-on: Ashes Cricket 2009

icon_preview1It feels a little strange to be writing a preview for a game that’s going to be in stores within a week. But we were invited over to the Microsoft office to try out Ashes Cricket 2009, and of course we obliged. No one was able to confirm to me whether or not this was the final build, but this close to release, I’m going to assume that it was. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to play the demo on Xbox LIVE or have, but are still on the fence about whether or not to pick it up, hopefully this will help you out.

[singlepic id=1222 w=450 float=center]
For those who haven’t played the demo, it’s safe to say that, in terms of pure gameplay, this is probably the best cricket game yet. The core mechanics work great and the basics of batting and bowling are spot-on. Fielding is satisfactory as well, although the QTE-based catching system could have been better and fielders often give away one more run than they should.

Since I was well accustomed to the gameplay after having played the demo quite a lot, the first thing I did when I got my hands on the full game was to head into the Edit mode. The developers promised detailed and comprehensive customisation options, but anyone who’s played other sports games will realise that the player customisation here is as bare bones as it gets.

[singlepic id=1221 w=450 float=center]
You can rename players, but with the character models looking nothing like their real-life counterparts, you’d obviously want to change their look as well. But you can’t customise individual facial features such as eyes, nose, jaw, cheeks, etc like you can in other games. Instead, you’re required to pick from 60 preset heads, and the chances of finding the right look amongst those are pretty slim. Besides that, you can choose hair style and one of three skin tones – West Indies, India, and England. You can also edit kits for each individual player and pick from a selection of accessories from various brands.

Attributes can also be re-adjusted, but you’re restricted to distributing a fixed number of stat points across various batting and bowling skill attributes and you can’t increase or decrease a player’s overall skill. I was hoping that the team edit section would allow us to edit the team’s attire, but all you can do here is shuffle the squad around and select your ideal starting eleven.

[singlepic id=1211 w=450 float=center]
Once I was done with editing, I headed over to the Legacy training mode, which includes batting and bowling tutorials as well as challenges in the form of pivotal Ashes moments from over the years, which you’re required to relive. I didn’t spend much time here, but the tutorials seemed quite similar to BLIC/YSIC 2007.

What I was most interested in though was to find out if the AI in the full game was as erratic as it was in the demo, and I’m happy to report that that is not the case. I started an Ashes Test match on Hard difficulty and batted first. On the same difficulty level in the demo, I was able to comfortably score 40-50 runs in three overs. But here, I was all out for 72 within 12 overs. Bowlers bowled a consistent line and length and, more importantly, they bowled to their field.

[singlepic id=1217 w=450 float=center]
The difficulty also seems to have been tweaked here and timing is a lot more important than in the demo. I never felt the need to use the block button in the demo, but here there are times when you will have to. When the bowler bowls stump to stump and pitches it up (which they will do quite a bit), the only real stroke you can play is the straight drive. But chances are that if you time it right, fielders at mid-on or mid-off will cut it off. That is the positive outcome. If, however, you mistime the straight drive, you’ll either present the bowler with a caught-and-bowled opportunity, or if you go for a lofted straight drive, you’ll probably sky it and not even clear the infield. So rest assured, you will use the block button, and more so as you move lower down the batting order.

Another thing that may not be evident in the demo is how you will need to change your timing based on whose bowling. It doesn’t matter when facing Johnson and Siddle, because the timing required to face both is quite similar. But once someone like Watson comes on, you’ll need to readjust how soon into the delivery you play your stroke.

[singlepic id=1219 w=450 float=center]
A lot also depends on the confidence of your batsman. Going back to the stump-to-stump situation I mentioned above, for a batsman who is new to the crease, you’re best served to block or attempt a straight drive. But once you’re set and your confidence meter stands at ‘Confident’ or ‘Fearless’, you can attempt to play more square off the wicket, and a skillful player like Pietersen can often pull it off.

While I came away impressed with the batting, I can’t really say the same for bowling. Like in the demo, I was unable to take any wickets, even after going at it for 13 overs and trying every bowling option. I only had one catch opportunity which too went down on account of the finicky catching system. The AI plays both defensive and offensive strokes and also lets many go through to the keeper, but it just doesn’t seem to make any mistakes. Naturally, when that happens, you start trying something different, and get rewarded by getting walloped for 20 runs in the over.

[singlepic id=1220 w=450 float=center]
When you’re batting, the game lets you know after each shot what you did right and what you did wrong, but that isn’t the case with bowling. You’re never quite sure if you should continue to bowl the same way or try something different, because whether the AI hits you, blocks you, or leaves the delivery, it does it so reassuringly that you don’t really know if that approach is ever going to get you a break through. I sincerely hope that there is something I’m missing here because otherwise, this is going to be yet another cricket game where no one wants to bowl.

Still, I (rather leniently) see my inability to pick up wickets as more of a challenge than a deficiency in the game, and after playing for roughly two hours today, I am even more certain that Ashes Cricket 2009 is the best cricket game I’ve played.

Title: Ashes Cricket 2009
Developer/Publisher: Transmission Games/Codemasters
Genre: Sports
Rating: 3+
Release date: August 7, 2009
Platforms: PC (Rs 499), PS3 (Rs 1,999), Xbox 360 (Rs 1,999)

Join the discussion at the IndianVideoGamer Community forums

Published by Sameer Desai

Sameer is the co-founder, owner and editor of IVG. He has been a writer and journalist for over a decade, most of it focussed on gaming. Having initially worked in news media (TV and online), he switched to tech and video games journalism in 2006. He was editor for the Indian edition of UK-based games trade publication, MCV. He has also written India-focussed columns for Gamespot, and been featured as a games expert by MTV, Mumbai Mirror and The Guardian (UK), among others.

Join the Conversation


  1. I just want to mention I am just all new to weblog and definitely liked this web page. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your site . You really come with wonderful well written articles. Appreciate it for sharing your webpage.

  2. Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thank you Nonetheless I’m experiencing problem with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar rss drawback? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  3. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation however I to find this topic to be really one thing that I believe I might never understand. It sort of feels too complex and very large for me. I’m taking a look ahead in your subsequent post, I will attempt to get the dangle of it!

  4. I as well as my friends have been taking note of the best tips and hints on your web page while the sudden I got an awful feeling I had not thanked the website owner for those techniques. These people are already certainly stimulated to see all of them and now have extremely been tapping into those things. Thanks for genuinely indeed accommodating and then for selecting this form of ideal guides most people are really desirous to understand about. My very own honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.

  5. You could definitely see your expertise within the paintings you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart. “A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.” by Joe Moore.

  6. What i do not understood is actually how you’re not really a lot more well-preferred than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You know thus significantly with regards to this topic, made me in my opinion consider it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved unless it’s one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs excellent. At all times care for it up!

  7. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is fundamental and all. Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this blog could certainly be one of the most beneficial in its niche. Wonderful blog!

  8. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit of evaluation on this. And he in reality purchased me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If attainable, as you grow to be experience, would you thoughts updating your weblog with extra details? It’s highly helpful for me. Large thumb up for this blog post!

  9. Its such as you read my mind! You appear to understand so much about this, such as you wrote the e book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few percent to power the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  10. What i do not understood is actually how you are no longer actually a lot more smartly-liked than you might be right now. You’re so intelligent. You recognize thus significantly when it comes to this topic, produced me in my view believe it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like women and men don’t seem to be interested unless it is something to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs great. All the time take care of it up!

  11. Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.

  12. What i do not realize is in reality how you are now not really much more neatly-appreciated than you may be now. You’re very intelligent. You realize thus significantly in relation to this matter, produced me individually imagine it from numerous numerous angles. Its like women and men are not fascinated until it’s one thing to do with Girl gaga! Your personal stuffs nice. At all times handle it up!

  13. This website is really a walk-by for all of the data you needed about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and also you’ll undoubtedly uncover it.

  14. Great blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a part of community where I can get suggestions from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Kudos!

  15. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  16. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  17. An fascinating dialogue is worth comment. I feel that it’s best to write extra on this matter, it may not be a taboo topic however generally individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  18. Hey, you used to write excellent, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your super writings. Past few posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

  19. This is very attention-grabbing, You are an overly professional blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look ahead to seeking extra of your wonderful post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  20. Hey there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  21. An added important issue is that if you are an elderly person, travel insurance for pensioners is something you should really take into account. The more mature you are, the more at risk you might be for getting something negative happen to you while in another country. If you are never covered by quite a few comprehensive insurance, you could have quite a few serious issues. Thanks for giving your guidelines on this website.

  22. The heart of your writing whilst sounding agreeable initially, did not really work well with me personally after some time. Someplace throughout the sentences you actually managed to make me a believer unfortunately only for a short while. I however have got a problem with your leaps in logic and one would do well to help fill in all those breaks. In the event you actually can accomplish that, I could definitely end up being impressed.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *