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July 24, 2005
Ricky Ponting Cricket 2005 - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
29/9/2005AtariCodemasters/Swordfish Studios1-4$99.95

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Graphics look nice enough.
"We don't like cricket, oh no, we love it!" If you're like many Australians then Cricket is your primary Summer sport, be it for physical exercise, or TV channel surfing. The Playstation 2 has had two cricket titles to date, both from Electronic Arts Cricket 2002 was first out of the blocks in December 2001 and was respectable, albeit bug-ridden. Two years later in 2003 and Cricket 2004 it the shelves. It was a marked improvement, although still a surprising number of bugs slipped through Sony and EA's quality control. Now Codemasters is joining the cricket world. Codemasters Shane Warne Cricket '99 is still widely regarded as the best Cricket title ever. Ricky Ponting Cricket (which will be released outside Australia as Brian Lara Cricket) is the spiritual update to that game and will be released in late 2005 - just in time for our Summer cricket season.

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Bowling down leg side.
If you're reading this then I assume you know what cricket is so I won't be going over the rules or object of the game. Needless to say this title promises everything from One-Day Internationals, Test Matches, and Double Wicket games. Double wicket games you ask? Essentially this is a 4-player game with two bowlers and two batsment. As expected Ricky Ponting Cricket will include many of the worlds tournaments as well as re-creations of historic matches including the 1882 test match between England and Australia which led to the creation of the Ashes.

Ricky Ponting Cricket 2005 will include the worlds best cricketers with 16-players per each squad (which actually seems a little low to us) as well as many legends of the game for those historic matches. Not only this but the developers will include real world records, such as Brian Lara's 501 runs, so that if you beat it in the game you get your name into the record books, and unlock special rewards.

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Return the ball.
Before hitting the main game it will be possible to hit the nets to improve your skills while you will also be able to select and edit your own cricket squad. What will really make or break this title is the control system which should allow you to hit the ball to all corners of the ground, and bowl everything from a bouncer to a full toss. Time will tell how well this develops.

Codemasters are also promising 4-player action in Ricky Ponting Cricket with 2-players per team. It will even be possible to join in a game part way through - not bad if a mate is playing a test match for a couple of hours. The only thing missing seemingly is online gameplay - let's all start hoping.

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Bowling on target!
Graphics are already shaping up nicely in Ricky Ponting Cricket. The developers are accurately modeling stadiums from around the world and player models look adequate at this very early stage of development while over 800 player animations have been motion captured for use in the game. Finally, the developers have secured the likes of Tony Greig and Bill Lawry to provide the commentary with the promise of even more commentators to be announced soon.

Ricky Ponting Cricket is a game that cricket fans will be dying to get their hands on. EA's two previous titles have been good, but not great while nothing has been seen of EA's next cricket title as yet. Expect a release for Ricky Ponting Cricket in late September.