With the 2006 Ashes Series underway, EAS Cricket 07 should be a very tempting purchase for the legions of Cricket fans who are walking around like Zombies while trying to maintain a new nightlife style. With Brian Lara staying in the Pavilion until next year, it would have been great if EA had delivered a grill size at the right time, but unfortunately that’s not the problem.

The novelty of this year is the Century Stick, which, as you may have discovered, is responsible for all the punches of your batsmen during the crease. The right analog stick simply needs to be pushed in the direction in which you want to play the ball – as if you were playing the shot yourself. If you see a play through extra cover, hit the bat in that direction, and assuming the ball is there to play and you adjust the shot correctly, hit a boundary or make a few runs. The more difficult the difficulty level, the more difficult it is to take time shots, and the backs can do little more than hit the ball.

By default, everything that is touched is possible with a movement along the crease until the ball is handed over, and the L1 and R1 buttons (on the PS2 Pad) trigger a relief shot and a run on the wicket, respectively. More control can be added on the left analog stick, but it is really only intended for players who understand more than the basics of the sport. This stick can be used to control the foot while you are playing your shot, whether it is the front or back foot, depending on the height of the delivery.

Although it is not a perfect system, it is very intuitive and can be suitable for both beginners and experienced cricketers. The problem is that the game never looks like real Cricket, regardless of the difficulty level. Play in a simple environment and it is far too easy to throw balls into space for easy boundaries, with the opposing team captain simply reacting to each shot and closing the gap, leaving another hole elsewhere on the field. Play with a tougher attitude, however, and the game turns into a real grind: the boundaries dry up and the fielders almost always close the small shots usually scored in real Cricket.

Bowling is nothing more than choosing a type of delivery (depending on the bowler), aiming for the height of the ball, then stopping one meter as high as possible before continuing and causing a No-Ball. You can throw in special supplies from time to time, and you will have some control over the swing or rotation of a ball, but this is not really enough to make you believe that you are doing something that requires more than an ounce of skill. The worst thing is that I have often lost doors that seemed unlikely. The ball disfigures more than the starship Enterprise, suddenly appears in the hands of a fielder, and sometimes the ball removes the chains after the stumps have not been found by a few centimeters. Not good at all.

To be honest, there are many game modes, with fully licensed English events such as the Liverpool Victoria County Championship, Natwest Pro40, the C&G Trophy and the Twenty20 Cup. There are also many Australian events and international tournaments, as well as the Big One: the Ashes. EA certainly knows how to ride the wave of excitement around the 2006 Ashes series, and the Option to play the 2005 or 2006 series can be found in the main menu. They even included a number of Ashes challenges, but all this is considered useless because the basic Gameplay is not as fun.

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