Game Review: Cricket 19 plays well and that is what matters
It has been years since EA Sports abandoned cricket, and our obsessed country is thirsty for a replacement. Does Cricket 19 fill the void?
Big Ant Studios has been the official game of the Ashes for years now, but with Cricket 19 they seem to have dropped the Ashes moniker from their name. However, they are still the official Ashes game, boasting of two teams — England and Australia — where you can play with the official players.
Considering there is barely a real cricket game to speak of out there (RIP EA Cricket), it is sad that Big Ant is stuck to Ashes, when they are clearly capable of so much more, which can be seen in their World Championship Mode. The one thing Cricket 19 does get right is the gameplay. You can control every ball you throw and every shot you take. The AI handles itself pretty well, though it does
seem more proficient at batting than at fielding.
The games happen in real time, which means a single game can take hours minus ads and other breaks. Of course, this being regular cricket you need to pace yourself and not go all out T20 style. Hitting big initially seems like fun, but it is risky, as the AI never misses an opportunity to catch a badly timed ball. This can be a problem for players who want to play a short quick match — this is solved partly by the inclusion of scenarios and the World Championship Mode.
The scenarios mode is by far our favourite. The mode lets you have a set of conditions that need to be fulfilled before you win the match. Being able to specify conditions means you can recreate historic matches, set challenges for yourself and even take up community challenges.
World Championship Mode lets you take part in international matches, which is a decent break from the long-winded Ashes games. However, here, you have to let go of accurately recreated players as the community designs most of them. You can also participate by checking out the 'build your own cricketer' mode, which means you could build a lookalike of your favourite player. The best part is that the community is active and many players you are thinking of, are already in the roster. The game is designed for cricket fans — people unfamiliar with the game may find it harder to understand.
For example, the batting console is simple to understand if you are into cricket. However, there isn't any explanation on how to play the game, so it isn't friendly for people who know nothing about cricket. The same goes for bowling — nothing is explained, the game just assumes you know all the cricket jargon and what their speed gauge on the right side means. It does work well, offering a range of bowling action from a limited selection of buttons on the PS4 controller.
Graphically, Cricket 19 is not the best — the player models seem a little off, especially with the head and body proportion, disappearing headgear and glitches in the matrix. The load times are ridiculous, some heavier games like God of War and Spiderman load faster. The audience at the stadium is repetitive and not evenly dispersed in the stadium, which would be distracting if it wasn't for the commentary, which brings real match feels to Cricket 19.
For a game that has only official English and Australian cricketers, Cricket 19 could have a wider appeal for the Indian audience, thanks to community created cricketers. It is not the best solution, but it works well. Scenarios mode is also a game-changer and extends the life of the game. Despite its glaring faults, Cricket 19 plays well and that is what matters.
Developer: Big Ant Studios
Publisher: Big Ant Studios
Platform: XBOX, PS4
Price: Rs 3,999
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