Ashes Cricket 2013 preview
30th May 2013 | 16:40
It's almost time for the Army to go Barmy again
Pommy-bashing, Test Match Special, the record-breaking beer snakes, it's not long now before the Aussies are back in town hoping to get their hands on that little urn. With England and Australia set to meet each other in back-to-back Ashes series this year what better time to resurrect the Ashes cricket franchise to fill in the time when the covers are on?
Last released in 2009, we got a hands-off look at some test match gameplay between England and Australia to see how the new version of the game is shaping up ahead its launch on the 21 June, which is some weeks before the first test at Trent Bridge.
Ashes Cricket 2013: vs Ashes Cricket 2011
The first Ashes game was largely an enjoyable effort, but not without its issues like the frustrating quick time event fielding and some of the computer AI, but it still comes as a surprise that 505 Games has decided to start again from scratch.
From animations, batting and bowling systems, to the new movement engine, everything has been overhauled to create what it says will deliver the kind of in-game physics that accurately recreates the unpredictability of playing the gentleman's game in real life.
Once again licensing has been reserved for just England and Australia squads with an additional 14 unlicensed teams, 10 original teams and two local village sides - one from England and the other from Australia that make it into the game.
505 Games says it sought the expertise of players, coaches and umpires to help with on-field realism and add to the sense of authenticity with decision-making and the motion capturing.
Ashes Cricket 2013: Gameplay
The new-look batting system has 80 different animations with numerous variations to generate a wider range of strokes and allow players to pull off some of the more unorthodox shots that have recently appeared in the game.
While that's good news for the batsman, it also means the bowler can now aim to find thick and thin edges making dismissals more unique throughout the match. With bowling, a new line and length system is a change from simply pointing your spot on the wicket and should give a better understanding of the basic cricket fundamentals of bowling.
Fielding almost feels like an afterthought in cricket games, but in Ashes Cricket 2013 there's more freedom to individually move players around, which reminds us of Super International Cricket on the Super Nintendo or alternatively select from 60 different field set-ups.
Players now have different strengths and weaknesses in the field so it will cost you if you put a great close field catcher out on the boundary.
Ashes Cricket 2013: Features
One of the features we loved from 2009 was the impact the weather had on pitches affecting the bowling and batting conditions. Now stadiums from around the world have been mapped to geographical data, so you can expect dry, crumbly spinner-friendly pitches when you head to the subcontinent.
For cricket novices struggling to work out whether they need to up the run rate or switch up the bowling attack, commentators will play a key role in offering advice to make sure you are on course to win the game or get the right result.
If you want to enter the real names for the Windies squad or simply want to put yourself in the game there's a player editing feature with 200 individual items from the likes of Puma and Gray-Nicholls to kit yourself out in.
Ashes Cricket 2013: Verdict
Visually, Ashes Cricket 2013 at first glance doesn't look dramatically different from the last instalment and with players still bumping into each other in the outfield there's still some bug fixing to be done before it launches.
With experience of making cricket games for more than 20 years there's probably no better team to create a cricket game that can be rightfully named alongside Brian Lara Cricket, but we will wait to get our hands-on before giving it the thumbs up or the raised finger.
Ashes Cricket 2013 release date: 21 June 2013
Ashes Cricket 2013 price: £30.99