Cricket 2004
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Cricket is a gentlemen’s game and it consists of a lot of activities related to the physical abilities like running, jumping, catching, diving and using your eye and hands with good co-ordination. It can be a difficult work to simulate all of these things in a computer game as the players use different styles of bowling, batting and fielding. Cricket 2004 is the successor of Cricket 2002 from EA Sports and we hope it is going to be a good one if we take a look at the progress and approach of the last game. So here I get started with the Batting.

Batting has improved and you will be pleased to know that your shots will get full marks if you time them correctly. Perfectly timed shots will be placed in a gap between the fielders automatically and it makes the gameplay better than any other featured in recent years. Fast bowlers can be hit to the boundary so easily on any full length or good length bowl. Only the short bowls can give you headache but just a minor one. But don’t think that you’ll survive on any mode of difficulty as easily as there are the demonic Yorkers waiting for you each in one over. You have to be careful and should defend them at any cost instead of trying to hit them for a 4 or 6. That will result the removal of the stumps from the ground and send them flying in the air. You can hit the shots in any area whether the game features only 8 directions to hit the ball. Your shots will travel in all the areas of the ground depending on their timings. Spinners can trouble you a bit until you get the right shots to hit on each type of delivery they bowl. They can be crucial when they bowl those top spinners and the arm bowls. If you miss the shot and caught right in front of the stumps, the umpire won’t hesitate to give you out. The shots are divided in three categories to make the life easy for the batsmen at any difficulty level. You can use grounded shots without taking any risk against any kind of a bowler. As I said before, time them correctly and get the reward of 4 runs. Next type is hitting the ball with full power without leaving your batting crease. Early timed or late timed shots will get you in trouble, so be careful before using them. Find a sweet area and spot to hit them and get the benefit as 4 or 6. The third type is damn aggressive. No pity on any kind of a bowler, whether he is a faster or a spinner. Only thing you need to do is to time your shot a bit earlier. The batsman will dance down the pitch and send the bowl flying in the sky. It is a major weapon of the batsmen against the spinners especially the tail-enders. They are not perfect batsmen but, using the advance shot can help getting big scores. The bugs you might notice a few times are the sweep shots that you can hit to the fast bowlers. It’s a rare kind of shot which can be hit to the spinner only. Another thing that doesn’t exist in this game is the edges to the slip and the wicket-keeper. But other awesome things make it ignorable.  

Bowling in Cricket 2004 is not so enjoyable because you can’t find the weaknesses of the batsmen easily. The computer batsmen will hit you anywhere they want and that will frustrate you a lot when you’re bowling either to a no. 1 batsman or no. 10. It’s a strange thing that the batsmen will miss-time the shots of his own on a bad bowl and lose his wicket. Poor bowling features make the game hard to continue and winning the match is not easy at all. For example,  you’ve scored 150 runs in 10 overs with your hard work; the computer batsmen come in and start firing at you to get that run rate of 15.0 per over. They play non-stop and make you cry like a kid. Bowling at normal level matches to hard and at hard, it matches to extreme. So I recommend you to practice bowling in the nets and do it till you’ve got enough to take on those monster batsmen, almost invincible.

Fielding is designed so tightly that it divides the players in two zones. The first zone of players has good fielders who have the accuracy of 100% to catch the ball. The second type drops catches and field 50-50. They are not assured to gather the ball perfectly and through it quick. You can control the fielders manually but you’ll give up as soon as you realize that this is just useless. So overall the fielding looks impressive in all aspects whether it’s diving, catching, running and throwing.

Umpires look straight forward to the decisions and they give the batsmen out if they are caught in the line of the stumps. It’s a shame that the game doesn’t use the most trusted Hawk-Eye system which can be called a minus point for it. Few bowls which are wide aren’t called. Run-outs seem to be taken out randomly as the replays are not accessible. It can be called waste of the features which make a Cricket game alive.

Graphics of the game are OK. There is lack of the models used in the game and the faces look so ugly. EA hasn’t done its homework in case of graphics by keeping them up-to-date and it can’t be ignored as well. Stadiums and outfields should be called average for quality. The game lacks depth of field in the graphics whether they look good when the camera is close to any model. Also the camera angles provided for the gameplay doesn’t satisfy much.

Cricket 2004 has got some very unique features of batting, fielding, and average in bowling. Enjoy the game in co-operate mod and multiplayer mode as one player can control the bowling side and the other takes control on the batting side. These features make Cricket 2004 the best game for cricket lovers.