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April 15, 2005
EA Sports Cricket 2005 - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
7/7/2005EA SportsHB Studios1-4$89.95

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Now that's a great stadium!
We don't like cricket, oh no, we love it! It's going to be a great year for cricket lovers on the PS2. Not only will Codemasters be releasing Ricky Ponting Cricket 2005 but EA Sports will be releasing their third cricket title on the PS2, EA Sports Cricket 2005. The first two titles were adequate but quite bug ridden. This third game, three months from release is, at the very least, much improved graphically. In fact it's quite possible that this will be the best looking cricket game ever. But what else are developers HB Studios bringing to the table?

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Note the sponsors logos...
Once again EA's cricket title includes all the international teams, as well as bonus squads (let's hope they include Australia A as well!), but more importantly the developers are now including domestic teams from England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Naturally the developers ahve secured the livenses from Cricket Australia, ECB, NZ Cricket and the South African Cricket team. As well as Test Matches and One Day Internationals the developers are including an all-new Twenty20 tournaments - a format which was trialed in Australia last summer to great success. In terms of gameplay field positions can now be set, as well as the option for automatic or manual fielding.

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Australia is at 1/15.
Over 35 accurately modeled stadiums from around the world including Lords in England, Calcutta, Melbourne, Auckland, Cape Town, Barbados and Lahore are includes while EA Sports Cricket 2005 includes a variety of pitch types and conditions, detailed real time weather effects, and night modes for Day/Night matches. One area where HB Studios seem to have placed much effort is in the detail in players’ faces and bodies, including varied player sizes all modeled using the EA SPORTS skeleton. Over 1000 new Motion Captured moves allowing amazing player animations across all areas of the product. The game is also presented in the same style as TV with overlays and replay features.

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Bowling to Langer.
One of the major upgrades to this title appears to be the graphics. Although we're yet to have hands on time with the game the screens certainly do look impressive with improved player models and superb textures on the pitches. It must be said that this game looks even better then Codemasters Ricky Ponting Cricket 2005, although that game still has a couple more months development.

Commentary is being provided by the legendary Richie Benaud and Jim Maxwell. Sound effects are based on real sounds from around the world with their excitement levels changing according to the action on the pitch.

Every indication is that HB Studios have got EA Sports Cricket 2005 moving in the right direction in terms of quality. Certainly the graphics look improved and there have been quite a few general enhancements. If they can keep the bumber of bugs down then this should finally be the cricket game that we've all be waiting for. Expect a July release in PAL territories.