Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 Reader Review
Another quick review, written over lunch.
In a nutshell, this gets 3 out of 10, as the AI in this game is broken.
Playing as England, I've just bowled Kenya all out for 18 runs off 3.4 overs, in a 50 over match, at Test level. And I dropped three slip catches during their massive innings. Enough said - any serious cricket fan expecting a realistic simulation of the game, well, tuck the willow under your arm and shuffle off now...
I had high hopes. As I've posted before in various threads, my expectations would be that the all new version of Lara would ramp up the difficulty and realism somewhat. This is, after all, a sports game, where realism should be paramount. Instead, we are presented with borked AI that can't bat or bowl or respond to the game in any intelligent manner whatsoever. I hit four fours, the AI responds by, well, doing nothing... there's still no players whatsoever guarding the boundary. As Monty, I bowl the exact same ball 5 times to five different players, and pick up 4 wickets in an over. At Test level. At this point I could introduce a Powerplay. Except they don't exist. The only thing that's difficult is the catching, and it could possibly be argued that it's actually TOO difficult. Other problems are that the keeper misfields too often, and the players run too fast - online, it's quite easy to run a single when the ball goes behind the wicket to the keeper, if he's stood back far enough.
On top of that, I'm playing cricket on acid. It's an over-coloured, bloom-infested, slightly blurred surrealist nightmare. Some player models are accurate enough, to be fair, but there's lots that look like frankenstein models, or bizarrely animated mannequins. The interface however is generally well designed and easy to use, and the controls mapped to the pad feel natural enough.
Online is solid and lag free, though the problem is that in my experience everyone wants to play 6 over a side slog-a-thons. For me, that's not really 'cricket' at all, as the whole match just boils down to who can time the B Button best and thus whack the most sixes. (When you're playing 6 overs, taking wickets isn't really much of an issue...) However, if proper matches could be arranged between like-minded fans, then online would be fine.
There's pretty much every mode you could expect in a cricket game, and the World Cup is reproduced entirely accurately - you can even start at the warm-up stage if you like. New features include sweep shots and throwing to both wickets.
As I said though, the problem is the realism of the gameplay. The AI is clueless. I mean, on the hardest level, bowling an entire team out in 22 balls! (There are many other similar examples of AI madness posted in the EG Lara Forum, which I won't reproduce here).
I've been looking forward to this game for months, and I'm extremely disappointed. What's the point of playing a game when you can win without trying every time you play it, and in such a ridiculous, unrealistic manner? Unless I find some games of decent length online soon, I'm afraid it will be going back. I Never thought I'd say that about Lara.
3 / 10