Ashes Cricket 2009 Hands-On

Codies gave us a second helping of Ashes Cricket, this time on the Nintendo Wii.

Earlier this year, Codemasters announced that it had been selected by the English and Australian cricket boards to develop a game for this year's Ashes. We saw the Xbox 360 version last month and were impressed with how Brian Lara's successor was shaping up. We recently got our first look at Ashes Cricket 2009 on the Nintendo Wii, and we're pleased to report that Nintendo fans can also expect a high-quality delivery from the first cricket game to grace their consoles.

The Wii version is being developed by British team Gusto Games, and while it doesn't deviate too much from Transmission Games' Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, it has been tweaked to match the Wii's control scheme. The basic controls for both bowling and batting are very straightforward. A flick of the Wii Remote swings your bat, while button modifiers allow you to perform soft, defensive, chip, or big shots. If you require greater control, then you can take aim with the D pad. Shaking the nunchuk makes your player run, and as a nice touch, you'll hear the batsmen's calls in the remote's speaker. A meter indicates how confident your player is, and the more confidence you have--which makes the meter's "sweet spot" wider--the easier batting will be. Conversely, getting struck by the ball will shake your confidence and make things harder.

Unleashing your bowler on the pitch is also easy and rewarding. When the bowler is about to release the ball, you flick the remote to perform a successful delivery, and this moment can also be assessed on a bowling meter. You can shine the ball by rapidly flicking the remote up and down, and a mid-bowl twist of the wrist will perform a spin bowl. If you don't know Flintoff from Panesar, fret not, because all bowlers can produce tricky deliveries using reverse swing and seam attacks. Performing three successful bowls will earn a "perfect" ball, which, when bowled, reduces the batsman's timing window. You can leave fielding completely up to the AI, choose from five presets, or drag and drop players to precise locations, and you can also choose which end to throw the ball to. From our brief time with Ashes, we found the controls easy to get the hang of, and while the game might lack the depth that some players crave, at least it shouldn't bamboozle newcomers.

Ashes Cricket 2009 boasts a tutorial mode, exhibition matches, one-day internationals, Twenty20s, and test matches, including The Ashes. In addition to regular cricket, there's a Double Wicket mode, which makes a return from Brian Lara International Cricket 2005. This tip-and-run game is suited to quick sessions and is limited to six overs and two batsmen. The aim is to chalk up as many runs as possible, and while batsmen can't get bowled out, you lose five runs for every action that would normally result in the loss of a wicket. It certainly looks like it'll be a fun addition, and there's also a two-player variation where both players take turns as a batsman and a bowler. Ashes also features a "scenarios" mode, which offers various challenges for each of the included international sides: Australia, England, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and West Indies. There are seven challenges for each team--56 in total--and they include such goals as getting a wicket within 20 runs or holding out until lunch.

Ashes Cricket features all five English venues, including the hallowed home of cricket, Lords.

Fully licensed Australian and English sides are included in Ashes, complete with player and kit likenesses, while other teams will feature unlicensed look-alikes. The Wii version features fewer stadiums than the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, but it has all five official Ashes 2009 venues and five international locations, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sabina Park. The game features a broadcast-style presentation, and all of the menus and in-match graphics are well suited for the pomp and circumstance of The Ashes.

For more on Ashes Cricket 2009, read our Xbox 360 hands-on, as well as our interviews with the developers and Australian captain Ricky Ponting. We also plan to bring you more of the game on all formats, so stay tuned for more cricket coverage over the summer.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Luke Anderson

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....
Cricket (2009)

Cricket (2009)

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22 comments
Ausnick2001
Ausnick2001

Playing online could be a real winner. It would take the crappy AI out of the equation and will make it much more realistic and rewarding to play. Imagine out foxing your opponent with a well disguised slower ball when he is smashing you around, or knocking him over with an in swinger after setting him up with numerous out swingers, it could be epic! Just hope the people online are good sports and don't do loads of "rage quits", that could really ruin it.

xblane
xblane

@mammojo I think I read that the Wii version wont have online *sad face*. Oh well, but it is the only console I own so it will have to do.

ReD_FeLony
ReD_FeLony

DEFINITELY ps3, hopefuly it's only a matter of time before codemasters realise theres 1:1 motion control, and in near future make you bat in first person view, and in the further away future create the same thing but with graphics that dont hurt your eyes on the ps3.

josh4qpr
josh4qpr

I'm in the same situation as mammojo, i have a wii and a 360, and regurlary use them both, i want the 360 version as i can almost gaurantee it will be a rather realistic gam with great graphics, but i also want the wii version simply for the fun of it!!

mammojo
mammojo

still undecided. wii version or ps3? i play the ps3 10x more but the motion controls and the fact that my mate has a wii with online aswell makes it tough. the reviews probably wont help because they'll be the same score. anyway wii or ps3 it doesn't matter because i'll be getting this. go aus!!!

trayb18
trayb18

vicsrealms yeah nah buddy so ur saying that the game industry ran out of ideas 12 0r so years ago when cricket games were brought out??? GTFO

SirTruant
SirTruant

i doubt this one will come out in the US.

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Cricket.....the video game??!!! Well, that definitely tells the world that the game industry is completely out of ideas. ~grin~

WiiandXBOX360XD
WiiandXBOX360XD

dam y is it the ashes it should be the t20 world cup 09 cause pakistan won go pakistan

gronk-bonk
gronk-bonk

if its good, ill be buying. go the aussies

Petercairns
Petercairns

i hope its gud, sport games r the main games i would play on my Wii apart from ur mairo's and zelda's...is this motion +..??

abosh1
abosh1

sounds like it could be ok...

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Think I'll be renting this first. More intersted in the PS3 version!

GamerBaboo
GamerBaboo

I think they're gonna need two end points in a remote to resemble a bat rather than just one. Plus, the dull and pixelated graphics of Wii make me perspire this great idea all along. Maybe I'll wait till they bring this game with better graphics to PC with webcam or Ps3 Eye.

kevin3834
kevin3834

"A flick of the Wii Remote swings your bat, while button modifiers allow you to perform soft, defensive, chip, or big shots." Um... that doesn't sound very interactive, does that mean the same motion with the remote regardless of the type of shot?

leon_trunks
leon_trunks

Ashes on PS3, PC and X360 is being developed by Transmission games, on Wii by Gusto Games. I'll probably get it on PS3 and Wii both :D Wish the Wii version would have used motion plus, hopefully next time.

halberdierv2
halberdierv2

here's to cricket on the Wii!! but they should have used the motionplus!

Cathan
Cathan

That interview bored me to tears.

kavmohammed
kavmohammed

Oh yes. WM+ would have been preferred but i'll take what i get.

xblane
xblane

it has been a long wait for cricket on the wii... here's to hoping it doesn't suck :D