Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Whenever a cricketing occasion comes along it seems that Brian Lara Cricket is never far away. The 2005 game was the first Brian Lara title in around a decade, and was released during the Ashes series of that year (and topped the charts as a result), whilst this 2007 edition has earned its top five sales success due to the World Cup that is in full swing at the time of writing.

The 2005 edition was a fantastic game, although the graphics were pretty lacklustre it has to be said. Whilst Brian Lara 2007 doesn’t really cut it as a next-generation attraction, there’s certainly much more polish to be found in the overall look of things this time around. The players are pretty detailed, and whether swinging the bat, diving for catches, or chasing and throwing the ball, their animations are wonderfully fluid and realistic.

As for the game itself, little has actually changed. EA attempted something a little different with batting for their Cricket 07 game, although Codemasters have opted to keep the old system. As the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. EA’s batting may have been more user-friendly in some respects, but typically, Brian Lara is a far from difficult game to get to grips with.

Batsmen can now attempt sweep shots and dance down the wicket, whilst the timing and confidence (for both batting and bowling) meters once again play their part to help you keep tabs on how you are performing. It’s things like this that makes the series so eternally approachable, and non-cricket fans can still have some fun courtesy of the fantastic coaching mode, which is home to the nets for practicing both your batting and bowling, an excellent tutorial that covers absolutely everything that you would want to know, and finally a glossary of cricketing terms for those who aren’t clued up on the rules of the sport. Don’t fret if you are one of these people, soon enough you will know what LBW stands for and what exactly the rule entails.

Bowling is improved thanks to a ball that acts more realistically during its flight, whilst fielding now allows you to run out the batsmen at both ends, something which, due to a bizarre oversight, couldn’t be achieved on the previous game. The latter feature should have already been included in 2005, whilst other little tweaks will only really blip on the radar of those with keen observation skills.

Obviously you are given the opportunity to bring glory or tears to the international team of your choice in the ICC Cricket World Cup mode, although there’s also a number of other modes. The ICC Champions Trophy, Custom Tests, ODI’s and 20 over matches are also present, which all round up quite a nice set of options. With the International Cricket Council licence intact, only the World Cup and Championship Trophy modes have the correct player names, although why this should affect your enjoyment is beyond us.

The major new feature is definitely the online mode, and Codemasters have good reason to boast, as it’s the first cricket game to feature such a mode. Boasting would be without merit if the game ran at snail pace, and as cricket is a sport that relies on quick human reactions, it certainly wouldn‘t do the game any favours to be plagued by unplayable lag. Fortunately Codemasters have got things right, and rarely have we experienced anything to complain about in what is generally a very smooth online experience.

Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 is an improvement over the 2005 game, although if you’ve already played that one then you’ve essentially played this one (they‘re both games of cricket after all). The series remains the pedigree for its simplicity and, whilst the batting may be a debateable point, Codemasters’ game certainly has better bowling than EA’s rather shaky system, and having strengths in both areas makes Brian Lara the best cricket game that money can buy.