EA released its first cricket game about a year ago, and the thought of getting the annual update didn't inspire us one iota. Having sat down and played through every type ot match, we're still singularly unimpressed. It's not that it's a terrible game, and if you're the sort of person who's quite happy to sit in the stands at Lords for five days and watch a test match without: a) drinking yourself stupid; or b) falling asleep, then this is probably the one item your life is missing. The trouble is, cricket isn't an easy game to code and the ills that are served up here are replicated in the previous version and Codemaster's Brian Lara. You never really feel like you're in control of the game, and exciting subtleties (like a ball nudging to the slips) are as dull as a pair of biscuit-coloured Y-fronts.
Another criticism is that Cricket 2000 doesn't have the glitz or the glamour of other EA titles. Where FIFA and even Ice Hockey are getting the big budget treatment, the company seems content to make this look like a very distant cousin, with poor and unfinished animations heading up the list of suspects.
You do get more control than in Brian Lara. If you're batting you can move your man while the ball is being bowled and this gives you the freedom to move off the wicket to play a stroke. Bowling is a bit more tedious. A target moves around drunkenly and you get to place it as accurately as possible - it's not as hard as it sounds - and add spin. It's far too easy to move the ball and it's too easy to send accurate delivery after accurate delivery.
On the default settings we managed to bowl Australia out for 27 and then struggled to win the game (admittedly, we were playing as England). But if you persevere with the controls and ramp up the difficulty settings, there's a game for cricket boffs and toffs the world over. Us? We're praying for rain and dying to ask EA what the difference is between this one and last year's effort.
Download Cricket 2000
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP