Brian Lara International Cricket 2007
Probably the best cricket game ever. Right?
Xbox 360, PS2, PC
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Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 hit the shelves just in time for this year's World Cup. As a Scot (with the second worst team in the game's roster), it's not something I've ever paid attention to before, so I was pretty surprised when the heads at Kikizo passed me this one to review. I suppose now if there's a Caber Toss game released I'll be first to get it after my moaning...
"Within 30 minutes I was pleasantly surprised to find myself hooked!"
The Codemasters series has been around a long time now (almost as long as Lara's lengthy career itself) but this is the game's first chance to show itself off on a next gen console. Beginners such as myself are eased into the game with a comprehensive training mode which starts off with the fine art of bowling and moves on to the fielding and batting disciplines.
The graphics in BLIC2007 have been revamped and improved (as has the gameplay), however like PES6 they fall short of being all they could be on the 360. The standard is certainly much better than minimal; watching the bowlers run and throw and fielders catch is all good, although let down slightly by the textures in the replays. The animations are superb for the bowling and batting and the graphics do the job they're there for. I'm sure PS2 cricket fans will be delighted.
Commentary is handled as well as any other game I've played, and entertaining for the first few games before it gets tired. It's always a tough job to get just right however I haven't come across any glaring errors or had the commentators struggle to catch up with the game. The opening theme is a catchy reggae dancehall tune (obviously not quite up to the BBC 2 cricket's Soul Limbo) and has your feet tapping while you scroll through the options, however lack of music during gameplay is definitely a minus. I understand this isn't staying in vein with a true cricket experience, but a jingle or even reprise of the main theme when you scored a 6 or bowl a wicket would have been a nice touch.
The element of depth Codemasters have worked into the game really shines through and bowling is a deep journey through wet wickets, LBW's and off stump googlies that takes time to master. The batting is a rather more straightforward affair, however picking your zone of landing and matching your shot to the ball thrown will cause upset if the timing isn't perfect.