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Thread: 10 Hour review of BLC (long post)

  1. #1
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    10 Hour review of BLC (long post)

    Brian Lara 2005 review

    Ok, this is not a “fanboy” review, I enjoyed the previous Codemasters game a few years ago but was by no means overawed with it, secondly, I will try not to make too many comparisons with EAC2005.

    So Brian Lara 2005.

    Front end.

    Firstly installing the game, I should have booked a table at the local restaurant before installing this game – it took 15 minutes to get the files from DVD, and has a whopping footprint on your hard drive. Still as long as the content is worth it..

    The front end itself is pretty good. The opening splash seems scaled up from a low resolution, but the menu’s themselves are pretty self explanatory, though when choosing “nets” as my first port of call (to bowl) I was immediately asked to pick a batsman (which confused me – simple boy that I am)

    Played around, changed the key set up. This is improved over the demo which wouldn’t let you change the button setups for batting without affecting the bowling setups (and vice versa)

    Music better than most (actually left it on 15 minutes before disabling it – a record for me)

    Ok Gameplay

    Batting.

    If you are familiar with cricket games since Graham Gooch’s, then this will be almost second nature, The bowler sets down a marker circle (the intended aim spot) giving you an idea of the line and length. You have limited movement horizontally (yes you still get in line before the bowler even starts his action , not realistic, but pretty universal) then prepare for the shot.

    Hey, but then some good new touches.

    The circle narrows to the impact point, but IT CAN MOVE!, you get an idea of the movement by the colour and angle of an arrow marked on the pitch with the ball impact market, but you get in line for an off drive, the ball cuts in, you have to adapt quickly to an on drive (the percentage shot for the in –cutter) or risk nicking it

    The defensive shot can be used to score runs. You can direct your defensive shot, open the blade, close the blade run the ball into gaps.

    Batsmens skill against various bowler types and deliveries are also pretty well represented.

    Not so good points.

    Well, no front or back foot options. I’ve heard arguments that say these are not missed. I would prefer them to be honest. It’s not a game destroyer for me, and the subtely you can employ on the higher levels to run the ball around almost makes up for it

    No wandering out of your crease.
    Dedicated keepers will miss this, it is a shame (obviously it’s allied to the issue above) but still a shame. Not seen a stumping as yet. Maybe they are “contrived” somehow (I hope not)

    Bowlers accuracy circle is still a very flawed idea. In my opinion it is just as much of a hiderance to the batsman as the bowler. Sometimes it’s that big you have no idea where to position your batsman and can’t pre-empt any shot really.

    Bowling

    OK so I’ve mentioned the circle and all it entails. Overall though bowling is a big plus. Each bowler has separate ratings for in swing/out swing / offcut/legcut and accuracy (though not pace – more on that later)

    Bowling as you would try in real life actually works.

    Three away swingers followed by an off cutter gets an inside edge sometimes - just often enough for you to believe that you are actually engaged in a real game of cricket, though not often enough for it to become predictable. The result of the inside edge also varies (4 down to fine leg, 4 to wide midwicket of long on even) though a chop onto the stumps, a catch to short leg or a smack in the breadbox are also in the list of possible outcomes (though the batsman reading the delivery and playing it correctly is the most common result – and quite rightly so).

    You have real control over line and length, can quite easily try a yorker (oops low full toss worked to square leg for four) the bouncer (damn swung to far down leg side)These and every other possibility I can think of (including getting it JUST right) happen just about as often as you would expect dependant on the skill level of the bowler.

    Bad points

    Only one, but it’s a real niggle..Pace

    My “Career” player, opens in a one day international with Andy “wingnut” Caddick, and despite being a “Fast” bowler, can rarely get the ball over 45 MPH

    45 MPH !!!! The ball wouldn’t reach the flipping batsman, that’s slower than Ashley Giles slower ball Eh ??????? What is up with this !


    Well. I have worked out what is up with this ( I think)

    Timing !!

    Never have I played a cricket game where timing is so vital. In most games shot selection is WAAAYY more important than timing. In Brian Lara 2005, they are about the same importance. And obviously a rookie quick shouldn’t be able to make life as difficult as Brett Lee. I’m hoping that your pace is a product of your overall bowling skill (if you are a quick that is)

    It does wobble the realism levels some what, but again not a game killer for me. (if it doesn’t improve as your player progresses though then Codemasters better get a patch out PDQ)


    Fielding

    Errm you press a button at the right time to catch the ball, you press a button at the right time to throw that ball. Simple as that. All ground fielding (picking up the ball) is automatic, and it does add a little to the game to have some control. It actually makes field placing more important. Put a fielder with a rubbish catching skill but a good strong arm out on the cover boundary – vice versa in the slips, nice.

    Other points


    Career mode.

    It’s ok, but not what I expected, the skill level build up is great, The bats are great – though my 3lb 1oz Big Kahuna is not available – discontinued by Kookabura. But nice to look roughly like yourself , with your own kit on when you go out to play. Progression seems to work ok as well, though as I’ve only played for 10 hours I don’t know for sure

    Would much preferred to be “only myself” during a game. i.e when batting the game autoplays till I’m in, then I only face the balls I’m due to face. I field (on autoplay) till a catch comes or it’s my turn to bowl.

    I still suffer from “one out all out” syndrome with most cricket games. Where my first 3 or 4 batters graft to a decent score, then I get bored and the rest get out for next to nothing - ‘cause they all have the same mindset – MY mindset.

    A missed opportunity here I think. Career mode could have got over this, and I was expecting it to . Ah well
    Graphics

    Yup they are cartoony. If you don’t like (good) caricatures then you won’t like these. Andy Caddick’s likeness had me in stitches NOTE they are in some cases NOT the same as in the demo

    For me though they are easily the best graphics in a cricket game to date. Looking at the whole “graphics package” it’s the animation that stands out.

    Loads of different shots, all played nicely with no skipped frames or jolty movements, several different bowling actions for each bowler type. Little things are right.

    My pet niggle in sports games is that the running stride animations rarely relates to the amount of ground that the player covers stride for stride. They are often “swimming in treacle” or “sliding down a conveyor belt” Not in BLC2005. If the guys stride is 3 feet – he moves forward 3 feet. Like real life.

    Not like some other games I can mention where the keeper just “appears” next to the ball played square on the on or off side to run you out.

    Well done for that

    Bad points.

    Stadiums really aren’t brilliant. OK, but not brilliant. Crowd repeats more often than a vase on a pedestal during a chase scene in Scooby Doo.

    Sound

    Well the only one that really matters is the sound of leather on willow. It’s ok. Not the best I’ve heard.

    Like the “scratching” in the crease you get


    Overall

    For my money the best action cricket game to date. Beating both Cricket 2002 and Brian Lara 1999. Not perfect. Seems easier to progress in career mode as a batter than a bowler, Village play mode is ridiculously easy, Bowling speed needs fixing (or explaining at least).

    Overall though a very worthy effort, that even unpatched gets a good 80% or so from me, with the potential to push 90% if the issues above are fixed and the career mode tweaked.

    Lastly my credentials as a reviewer of cricket games. Going back to the Spectrum in 1983 with “Cricket” and “One Day Cricket” by Cases Computer Simulations,(on the A and B side of the same cassette) through “Howzat”, a game called “Cricket Captain” for the Speccy, Graham Gooch cricket on Speccy and C64.
    Robin Smith’s cricket several other games called “Cricket” for the Amiga. “Tim Love’s cricket”, a game from Challenge software (whose name I forget)

    Yet another game called “Cricket Captain” for the Amiga (which required a dongle in the serial port to play) Ian Botham’s cricket (developed by some Spanish development team I think) and every PC cricket game I can get my hands in (5 iterations of ICC, EA Cricket 96, 97, 1999, 2000 , 2002 (Wahaaayy, the “false dawn”) 2004 and 2005 (First cricket game I’ve ever taken back in disgust)

    Brian Lara for Amiga (Audiogenic / Codemasters) Michael Vaughan cricket, Dan Thomas’s “International Test Cricket” Lots of freebies, and of course Brian Lara and Brian Lara 2005 (an lots of others I can’t even begin to remember) So I know of what I speak

  2. #2
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    is there autoplay in the game?

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    U19 Captain barmyarmy's Avatar
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    Good review. I'd agree with most of it. Both me and my flatmate are disgusted with C2k5.

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    International Regular King_Ponting's Avatar
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    good review mate. BLIC certainly seems to have pleased more than dissapointed....... Hopefully EA will learn from this


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    Not seen it ! Don't think it' there (at work at mo' so can't check)

    Then I haven't looked for it.

    Definately should be one IMHO. After all it's not a net based game, so if you want to "whizz" through an innings..that should be your choice. You could manually manage your own career in the way I described in the original post if there was an autoplay mode for the other players..but like I say, I haven't seen one (strange considering how many games have them as standard)

    Another point is the viewpoint.

    In the original BLC 99, you could play from several different views. (my favourite was "helemt cam") the game even reversed the controls correctly to account for the 180 degree change in viewpoint..it was very good.

    Doesn't seem to be in here either !!


    Hmmmmm

    Clarker

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    BLIC2005is better than Cric2005

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad83
    is there autoplay in the game?
    Nop

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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend andyc's Avatar
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    so it's worth the buy then? i'll look for it in eb next time i'm down at the mall...
    Quote Originally Posted by flibbertyjibber View Post
    Only a bunch of convicts having been beaten 3-0 and gone 9 tests without a win and won just 1 in 11 against England could go into the home series saying they will win. England will win in Australia again this winter as they are a better side which they have shown this summer. 3-0 doesn't lie girls.

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    U19 Captain barmyarmy's Avatar
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    I definitely say so especially if you've bought EA games in the past.

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    Yes worth it.

    Not perfect,

    but in my opinion - worth it

    (sits waiting for a certain someone to to foister his alternative opinion as fact on this thread)


    Clarker

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Cracking review.. I'm enjoying BLIC, not flawless, but very nice..
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  12. #12
    U19 Captain barmyarmy's Avatar
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    Anyone played a doublewicket tourny yet?
    I played with Kevin Pieterson and Graeme Pollock in a series of 6 over matches. It's kind of like a giant net session cos it doesn't really matter if you get out. You don't have to play the next man in, you can just slog from the off.
    Back to my tipple of choice, I've been really impressed by the pacing in the test matches thus far. About 100 runs a session depending on pitch/opposition etc and hard to get wickets. Only major downer is how easy it is to get the tail out. I got the opposition 6 down and the last four all went first ball.

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    rather mad Norwegian Magrat Garlick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langeveldt
    Cracking review.. I'm enjoying BLIC, not flawless, but very nice..
    Yep. Agreed with everything there. Wimp that I am, I played a Test on village level with Sri Lanka, and still lost (mainly owing to taking runs that wouldn't even have been there in ODIs - leave the 8 button alone!), so I still think I've got a bit to learn, but I'm enjoying the game a lot, and think I'll spend a lot of time with it.

    Important thing for me - people who have played CM/FM or Civ3 will recognise this feeling - "Just one more over!" I couldn't tear myself away from the thing...that, for me, is one of the most important things of a game, not necessarily how realistic it is (then again, I wouldn't know much about realism in batting or bowling )
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  14. #14
    rather mad Norwegian Magrat Garlick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barmyarmy
    Anyone played a doublewicket tourny yet?
    I played with Kevin Pieterson and Graeme Pollock in a series of 6 over matches. It's kind of like a giant net session cos it doesn't really matter if you get out. You don't have to play the next man in, you can just slog from the off.
    I think you have to set "penalty runs" to ten for the double wicket mode to mean anything. I had a quick 2-over bash in a commercial break in a TV programme - found it ok, nothing special tho

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    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    What I like about the bowling is how the swing/seam you get can be varied, depending on how early or late you press the relevant button!
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