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Old 23-06-2009   #1
1337 Sauce
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: India
Posts: 271
PSN ID: bharat4ever
uh... Ashes 2009?

Any one's interested in the upcoming Ashes 2009 game?

Planetcricket's guys have written a short preview of the game... i'll go right ahead and post them...
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Old 23-06-2009   #2
1337 Sauce
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: India
Posts: 271
PSN ID: bharat4ever
Bowling
General
There is no power bar for bowling, only a 'goodness bar'. Basically, if you stop the meter near the top, the ball will be harder for the batsman to hit well. Simple really. Also, the location of the pitch-point marker is shown to be an easy or a hard ball to hit by the colour of your marker as you choose your aiming point.

Swing, seam, spin, etc.
You choose your delivery type by pressing one of the face buttons to stop the 'goodness bar'. There are different 'sets' of face buttons, too. For example, pace bowlers have a swing set (where left face button is outswing [RHB], bottom face button is no swing, and right face button is inswing), a cut set (right face button = cut right, etc.) and a 'reverse' set. The reverse options can only be chosen when the ball is old enough and the bowler is good enough. You can find out which deliveries are available by moving the right analogue stick south. This presents you with a menu which lets you look at bowler speeds, ratings, how old the ball is, how old it needs to be to reverse, etc. It's quite cool actually.

Bounce
The bounce still seems a bit too high. I kept getting wided for bowling what I thought were good bouncers. However, I was playing a Sydney which I believe is supposed to be very hard and bouncy, so maybe it was that.

Line and Length
As mentioned above, the bowling marker changes colour depending on whether you are aiming in a 'good' place or not. I was playing for ages on the assumption that green meant good for the bowler, and yellow bad for the bowler, but it was actually that green means good for the batsman! Also, it seems that the 'good' line and lengths given by the game are in fact far too full for real life cricket. I suspect that this has to do with the slightly-too-loopy bounce, and hope that this can be changed by someone before release. I suspect, however, that this would change too many other things like the AI batting grids etc, so we might just have to live with it.

Speed
Bowling speed is awesome. That comes with an important caveat, though. I was playing with England, and Harmison was bowling 90-ish mph which looked and felt good. Broad and Anderson (who are now arguably faster than Harmison) had their speeds set to around 75-ish, which was a little disappointing. Jamie (the producer) said that he was currently checking all the player speeds and stuff before it goes gold, so this may be fixed. Plus, we were not playing the latest available build.

When the speed of the bowler is correct though, it works really well. When you see replays of boundaries, wickets, etc., the ball speed looks absolutely smack on, unlike the EA games which always look like they are rocket propelled, and unlike BLIC 2007 which usually had everyone bowling at 65mph.



Can't think of anything else for bowling.
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Old 23-06-2009   #3
1337 Sauce
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: India
Posts: 271
PSN ID: bharat4ever
Batting
Front and Back Foot Shots
Front/back foot shots are chosen automatically by the computer, unless you hold one of the left trigger buttons. The top one (I forget its name on Xbox, but it's L1 on PS3) means you play front foot shots, and the bottom one means back foot shots. It works as you would expect.

Shot Placement
Exactly the same as BLIC, except that choosing FF/BF for yourself makes the aiming cone thinner. I don't really know why, but it does.

Shot Choice
For the first time in any cricket game I've played, you can actually play shots to balls in an inventive fashion. For example, if the ball is full outside off stump, and you choose to play a FF shot to square leg, the batsman will stick his foot outside off stump, and calypso it through square leg. This is bloody awesome. I would imagine it would work with pulling short balls outside off stump too, but I didn't try this out.

Similarly, you can play paddle sweeps from outside off stump if your brave enough. Sometimes, if the ball is a little bit shorter and therefore bounces a little too high for a normal sweep, the batsman will play a high sweep shot, from pretty much face level. This also looks awesome.

Defending
Continuing from BLIC having the best defensive system around, allowing you to play defensive shots in specific directions, you can, unsurprisingly, do this in AC2009. The power of these shots seems slightly higher than before if you time them, and the ball bounces nice and high if you play the ball hard into the floor, rather than just rolling along the ground.

You can most definitely get edges from defensive strokes. I think, however, that they are less powerful than edges from attacking shots, and the amount by which the power is reduced is a little too high. But it's a start.

Ground Strokes
These can now go in the air and you can be caught. This is a massive improvement on BLIC 2007 and BLIC 2005. You really do need to keep an eye on your timing when playing attacking shots. Also, it's far harder to get the ball to the boundary than other games. You really have to have a bad ball or a good bit of timing to get it right. And it's far more satisfying when you do - a bit like scoring a screamer on PES is more rewarding than scoring a screamer in FIFA.

Running between the wickets
This is a HUGE improvement, and is probably the most well-rounded thing in the game. I can't see that any improvement whatsoever is needed in any future game. You can do the standard press a button to run, press another to cancel that we all know very well. Now also, there is the dive/slide-bat-in button. This means that if you have a tight run, you need to press the dive/slide button to avoid being run out. It takes a little getting used to but really works well. It feels really good to steal a tight single, running your bat in, and getting home by way of the 3rd umpire.

Also, one thing I noticed which showed a great attention to detail in this game (regular readers will know I prattle on about attention to detail like it's going out of fashion) is what happens when you cancel a run having just set off. Instead of the batsmen doing the 'slow-from-sprint-turn-round-and-run-again' animation, they turn straight round and stretch for the crease with their bat. It sounds minor, but it kind of shows a little bit of extra thought has gone into the game design.
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