Sky Sports 2-for-1 Cricket Pack 2009

At a time when everyone involved with cricket seems to be intent on making the game as short as possible (presumably to stop one half of the crowd falling asleep while the other half gorges itself on burgers and alcohol) it might seem odd that Player One is combining two different cricket titles and wrapping them up together in one, rather huge, package.

Then again, when you consider how far the game has moved on even in the last year or two, re-releasing the year old Michael Vaughan's Pro Cricket '08 and the two year old Flintoff's Power Play Cricket together in one money saving title makes perfect sense, especially as the two games offer very different takes on the sport.

For instance, Michael Vaughan's Pro Cricket '08 is - like the man himself - fairly straight, offering up every form of cricket imaginable (one day internationals, the brand-spanking new 20-20 variation, triangular series match ups and your own, custom, tournaments) and giving it a solid base on which to be played.

The game focuses on teaching you how to play cricket with precision and skill, almost as if you could take what you've learned out on to the field and thwack a couple of sixes high into the sky.

With an in depth Tutorial mode, every shot imaginable is on offer, while the game perfectly captures the sense of euphoria that grips players when they catch a rival 'out', a quick tap of the '5' key the only input needed.

As John Meadowcroft explains in the original review, "If there's a gripe it's that matches can be too short and only last a few overs, and the casual gamer may feel intimidated by how tough it can be to get used to the controls, but Pro Cricket '08 offers the perfect mixture of both variety and challenge to keep your interest, whilst also providing plenty of depth."

It all acts as the perfect counterweight to Flintoff's Power Play Cricket, which introduces a far more arcadey take on the sport. While there's no front-page tabloid action to be had, Power Play's most notable addition to cricket is the ability to score more than six points a shot, the delicate tapping of certain objects around the arena adding bonus points that can swing a match in your favour in just a couple of hits.

Indeed, batting itself, just like fielding, is incredibly straightforward. As Chris Pickering highlights in the original review, "Fitting in with the quick-thrill nature of the game, batting is an inherently simple affair. Take a peek at where the bowler fancies chucking his delivery, and line yourself up accordingly.

"Once the ball leaves his hands, you simply hold down the '5' button in order to charge up your power meter, pick your shot direction with the '4' and '6' keys, and thwack the ball as far and as high as possible to score the maximum number of points."

It's this no-nonsense accessibility that marks Flintoff's Power Play Cricket out as a complementary experience to its more considered brother, rather than an unnecessary repetition.

There's a fair chance that anyone who picks up Sky Sports 2-for-1 Cricket Pack 2009 will find something to like, as there's ample opportunity here to approach the game from your own angle.

Whether you want to feel every shot and every run, playing out your own dream tournament, or just thwack that ball after filling up your 'power bar', Cricket Pack 2009 has the game for you.

Sky Sports 2-for-1 Cricket Pack 2009

Serving up the perfect compromise between simulation and super-swish arcade thrills, Cricket Pack 2009 might be comprised of two titles supposedly past their sell by date, but it offers top quality cricket that's both realistic and wild
Score