by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Fielding has also been done quite well too. Once a ball has been hit in the air towards a fieldsman, a status bar appears above the fieldsman. Pressing a key at the right time will allow the fielder to make the catch. Pressing too early or too late will result in a dropped chance and all your hard work will go unrewarded. This does take some getting used to, especially for slips catches, but as with most games, practice makes perfect. Fielding a ball which has hit along the ground is done in the same manner. Once the overhead status bar reaches the optimal point, pressing a button will allow the fieldsman to throw to the wicketkeeper or bowler. Again, getting closer to the optimal point will result in a better pick up and throw.
One area where Ricky Ponting excels is in the sound department. The Jamaican themes at the menu and loading screens emphasize the Caribbean feel to the World Cup. But it is not just the music which gives Ricky Ponting the full cricketing flavor. The use of the commentators is also superbly done. Jonathan Agnew and David Gower provide the main voice talent, but Bill Lawry (a personal favorite of mine), Tony Grieg and Ian Bishop also put in a supporting role. All the commentators have excitement in their voices when commentating and this certainly helps to lift the game a notch. Of course, over many games, the commentary will inevitably become slightly repetitious, but his has been kept to a suitable level. In addition, the crowd and game sound effects work well. A suitable cheer when a wicket has been taken or when a batsman reaches a milestone adds to the feel of the game.
Watching the Game
Graphics have definitely improved in cricket games in recent times, and Ricky Ponting is no different. Stadiums have been designed from the originals and you can actually tell whether you are playing at the MCG or Lord's. The MCG has its three tier stands and massive light towers, whilst Lord's has its old-style pavilion at one end and the modern media centre at the other. Also, the crowds look to have been individually rendered, which is a far cry from the old-style circles and dots for crowd faces. Being licensed by the ICC, the players have also been given a face-lift. Each of the players has been rendered in their likeness, although some players would probably be upset with their likeness in the game. It is slightly disappointing, but doesn't affect the gameplay. Another thing that will likely to annoy some gamers is the fact that all the players seem to have the same slightly overweight body type. This would of course make larger players such as Inzamam-ul-Haq pleased though.
The user interface and menu system is very simple to use and navigating your way around the game is very intuitive. It takes almost no time to get a basic game started and changing options such as which ground you play on, the weather conditions and level of difficulty are easy to make. Saving and loading games are just as simple, being just a matter of selecting save game or load game from the menu system and then choosing the slot to save or load. There are 15 slots available, so you can be running multiple tournaments at once if you'd like.
Also, if there is one part of your game that needs a bit of work in the batting, bowling or fielding departments, there is a tutorial available. In the tutorials, the gamer is shown how to do a particular task, such as hitting a lofted shot and then with this knowledge, the gamer must complete the task himself. The tutorial is especially helpful with getting used to the controls and helping with timing of shots and catches.
Overall, Ricky Ponting International Cricket 2007 is a terrific improvement on past cricket games. The batting, bowling and fielding (which is the core of all cricket games) has been well implemented and the increased range of shots for batsmen and deliveries for bowlers is a definite advantage. The player graphics is the main disappointment of the game, but as mentioned earlier this does not detract from the enjoyment and fun of the game. The minor touches such as watching umpire Billy Bowden's crooked finger salutes after you hit a six, the use of Hawkeye and the reggae tunes just put Ricky Ponting in a class above other cricket games.
So for now, I'll head back to the crease to resume my innings. I now have something worthwhile to play between the time I get home and the time (in the wee hours of the morning) that the coverage of the World Cup begins. And at least I can have Andrew Symonds and Brett Lee in my World Cup team.
No Pros and Cons at this time