The Cricket series has been around for about ten years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how they fail to really evolve. Shane Warne's Cricket (or Brian Lara's Cricket, depending where you come from) was a great place to start, but none of its successors have built upon that strong foundation. The changes which come with each newer version seem to be superficial more than anything else, leaving you scratching your head in frustration.
Cricket 07 is a farce.
Let's begin with the controls, which are good in theory. Left analog stick to determine whether you want to play back foot or front foot, right analog stick to decide your shot, L1 to qualify a big hit.
On the harder levels (which is where the competition is), hitting the ball without the L1 qualifier is problematic at best. You'll rarely beat the field, and it's even unlikelier that you�ll find the boundary. This makes the game extremely frustrating, and forces you to rely on the big hit to the extent that predominance of your score will come from boundaries, (and the majority of those will be sixes).
The problem here is timing, which is generally an all or nothing proposition. Time it, and it'll be a six (especially with the on-drive slog, which is where you�ll get the bulk of your runs). Don't - or just miss timing it by a whisker - and the ball will be skied and inevitably caught. Thus batting is extremely limited.
The gameplay itself has numerous quirks - things like atrocious LBW decisions, wides given when they go inside the batsman's legs, the batsman too frequently being unable to run because he's been hit by the ball (even if it hits him in the hip or torso), and both batsmen ending up at the same end and the over resuming instead of the run-out being effected. It gives you the impression that the programmers have never played a game of cricket, or watched a match, a day in their lives.
Bowling involves choosing your delivery, placing the cursor on the pitch, and another timing meter - the closer you get to optimum, the better the delivery. In theory. It doesn't really seem to matter, and I'm sure most players will find themselves generating the opposition's innings, and setting themselves for a chase.
This is another feature of the game which is exasperating. If you play a World Cup (which, obviously, is the One-Day highlight), you'll regularly find the minnow nations (i.e. Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland, Ireland, etc.) ousting the superpowers (i.e. Australia, England, Pakistan, etc.). It's something which really robs the game of atmosphere and leaves you scratching your head in bemusement.
There are other contests available - World Series Cricket, Knockout Cups (starting from the quarter-finals of a World Cup), Test series, the Ashes series (which is mission based), and even the Australian and English domestic competitions, including Twenty20 competitions.
But it�s all so cosmetic, the interface unfriendly. Worst are the squads. Australia, England, New Zealand, and South Africa's are there, but the rest have fictional names, these usually some sort of derivative of the player's real name (i.e. B.Lara was B.Lawrence). If you can spare the effort, you can edit all the names, but you'll then find the squads are completely unrealistic. For example, Australia's bowling attack featured McGrath, Lee, Clark, and Jason Gillespie. West Indies attack was led by Merv Dillon and Reon King. Who's picking these teams?
I could go on and on - about how you have to pick your team every game throughout a tournament (so that it doesn't keep your default), that there's no career mode - but playing the game has taken too much time out of my life, so I'll only write three more words about it.
What a shocker.
1 / 10