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Cricket 22 Review: Knocked Down or Knocked Down?

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(Pocket-lint) – In the pantheon of global sports translated into video game form, cricket has long been a poor relation. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Codemasters’ Brian Lara Cricket franchise achieved a high level of popularity, but in recent years, only Australian developer Big Ant Studios has kept the game of cricket burning.

Luckily for cricket fans, Big Ant’s 2021 effort Cricket 22 is out now – just in time for the start of the sport’s most epic Test competition, the Ashes. But will it knock you down, or is it more knocked down?

Our quick review

Overall, Cricket 22 is by far the most modern cricket game ever made, both in terms of the way it contains all the different varieties of modern competitive cricket and of its production values, with players modeled after their real-life counterparts and so at. However, when it comes to those production values, it never lets you forget its low budget compared to megabuck sports games like EA Sports and 2K. His players, for example, look pretty much like their human counterparts, but not in a particularly convincing way.

In a way, this reflects the general status of cricket in the world of sport. Beyond the feverish melting pot of the Indian Premier League, the sport is far from awash with money, which today seems to be the main factor dictating a sport’s visibility. Cricket 22 reflects this: it’s not a pretty or polished game; but it does at least get the basics, to a greater extent than any of its predecessors, which it seems is all cricket fans can ask for these days.

Cricket 22 Critique: Knocked Down or Knocked Down?

For

  • Bowling Control Systems
  • Of hitting and pitching well honed
  • Fun Career Mode
  • Allowed for all competitions except IPL
  • Includes women’s cricket
  • A great tutorial
  • Lets master the basics
Versus

  • Visually unimpressive
  • Equally unimpressive comments
  • No split-screen mode
  • Feels unavoidably low budget compared to other sports games

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Official license

Cricket 22 has the official license for the Ashes, plus a host of other official licenses that make a lot of sense in the context of a game of cricket, including the 50-over and T20 world championships, the all-new Hundred and Australia’s answer at the IPL, the Big Bash League.

Only the IPL itself – naturally, given that concentrating this competition on the big bucks would surely result in exorbitant licensing fees – is missing. The men’s and women’s teams are equally represented, with England and Australia captains Heather Knight and Meg Lanning sharing cover with their hastily installed male counterparts Joe Root and Pat Cummins.

So, Cricket 22 covers all tastes of cricket, which is commendable. It’s also easily the most ambitious cricket game ever made – the first designed to run on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X – and Big Ant Studios has visibly revamped many of its key aspects from its last game, Cricket 19.

But as with any modern cricket game, caveats must be applied. It just doesn’t budget in the same league as the best modern sports games such as FIFA or Madden NFL, so if you’re used to the level of polish found in those games, Cricket 22 will feel distinctly rough. edges.

While it has 4K visuals, its texture handling is far from state-of-the-art, and occasional but noticeable visual glitches are evident, although not once you step onto the playing field. Its commentary is rudimentary too. , despite the presence of luminaries such as Michael Atherton and David Gower.

polish the ball

If you can overlook the lack of polish – which is an inevitable result of it coming from a small developer on a shoestring budget – then there’s a lot to admire in Cricket 22. For starters, it has by far the best tutorial ever for a game of cricket, which does an excellent job of teaching the deliciously obscure laws of cricket in the most succinct way possible, while clearly laying out the mechanics of its gameplay.

Big Ant StudiosCricket 22 reviews photo 3

While these game mechanics are largely familiar to anyone who has ever played a Big Ant Studios game of cricket, they have received a number of thoughtful tweaks and additions that ultimately provide the best approximation yet of what it looks like. actually the game of cricket, given that you have a joystick, as opposed to a bat or a ball, in your hands.

You can choose from two control schemes: an arcade-style one that derives its timed inputs from button presses; or a professional who is more or less confined to joysticks and triggers. We much prefer the former, finding the latter somewhat tricky.

Bowling is familiar enough – once you’ve set the type of ball (from an impressive array, including cross seams and doosras) as well as its length and direction, two timed presses are required for fast bowlers ( representing jumping into your delivery stride and delivering the ball) and just one for spinners, with the left stick providing minimal after-touch.

A new aspect is instantly visible the first time you bowl: Cricket 22 adopts an enlarged camera angle that allows you to watch your bowler run into the wicket. It takes a bit of getting used to at first, as the batsman is quite far away, but a color coding system that denotes length helps enormously: blue for Yorker length balls, yellow for full balls, green for balls good length, red for short bales.

Big Ant StudiosCricket 22 reviews photo 1

This color-coding system is also highlighted when you strike, giving you crucial split seconds to decide which shot you’re going to use using the right stick, before timing that shot with one of the buttons. It’s quite similar to the system used by previous cricket games and works well.

Cricket 22’s pitch system has also received a useful overhaul, with a bit of risk/reward added if you sniff out a potential leak, letting you choose which end to throw to and throw safely to the keeper or bowler, or shy at the stumps and risks conceding knockdowns.

Start your career

Once you feel like you’ve mastered the controls, you’ll find an almost bewildering variety of matches or activities to engage in. You can start with a full streak of Ashes or just one game in the competition of your choice. Or you can jump into Cricket 22’s Career mode, which picks up where Cricket 19’s equivalent left off, but has received a few tweaks that mostly make it a bit more believable.

Big Ant StudiosCricket 22 reviews photo 2

Career mode allows you to connect with an agent, first plying your trade for a top team, before – once you’ve improved your bowling, batting and fielding skills – hitting the county stage and placing yourself in the international framework. Net and gym workouts (the latter involving mini-games which can be quite fun) allow you to work on specific areas of weakness or strength so you can eventually transform into any type of cricketer – a super wrist spin, say, or a mid-order tear-cum-cross-out fast pitcher.

In Career mode, and indeed any match in the game, you can choose to control the whole team, choosing and controlling batsmen and bowlers and setting pitches, or controlling a single player, quickly switching to periods games in which he or she is involved. The latter is particularly sensible in Career mode, but also proves useful when you want to dive into a quick play session and get a feel for what it would be like to play as, say, Ben Stokes or Joe Root.

In other words, Cricket 22 displays as much flexibility as you could want from a game of cricket, and its control system – responsive, supporting all the intricacies of cricket and as intuitive as you could hope given the sport’s innate complexity – is exemplary. . Without a doubt, the game gets its most important aspects spot on.

Big Ant StudiosCricket 22 photo reviews 5

However, beyond the visible visual flaws in the build-up to matches and the tendency of commentary to bear no relation to what actually happened on the pitch, there are a few other quibbles. Chief among them being the lack of a split-screen mode which would have allowed two cricket fans on the same sofa to play against each other.

Cricket 22 supports online competitive multiplay; at the time of writing it was fairly sparsely populated which meant finding random opposition was a time consuming and sometimes unproductive process, but we could at least play against some cricket-loving friends.

To recap

This cricket sim isn’t a pretty or polished game, but it does at least get the basics right – and to a greater extent than any of its predecessors, which, it seems, is all cricket fans can ask nowadays.

Written by Steve Boxer. Edited by Mike Lowe.

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