Another cricket title from Big Ant’s production line of sporting titles sees a wonderful mix of old school cricketing mechanics and grass roots teams combining to make an enjoyable, albeit stock, title.
Returning fans of the genre will see many of their old favourites, with T20, One Day and Test Match game modes on offer. As seen in previous “Ashes” titles, the main game mode sees Australia face off against the old enemy in the traditional 5 day match, this can be played as both ‘Mens’ and ‘Womens’ Ashes matches, which is of course a common theme with the elevation of the Womens game onto the main stage alongside the Men.
The most in depth mode is of course, the Career mode, allowing you to take control of an existing “Star Player” or utilising the “Create A Player” feature. Those opting to create a player can start off their careers playing at club level, which is a welcome addition to the franchise. Having the ability to star for local teams such as Wollongong and Mittagong will bring joy to those who love their grass roots cricket.
As your created player starts to make a name for themselves, they’ll find themselves being called up to the big stage of “First Class” cricket, representing their home states and can even earn themselves a spot in an English County team.
With all sporting games, the most glory is sought on an International stage, and earning a call up to play for your country is of course the end goal. As the player progresses through their career, they’re rewarded for their efforts with ‘skill points’ that can be spent on their batting, bowling and fielding skill sets. The addition of skill tiers means that players will need to acquire “Ability Points” to unlock new tiers, to achieve this, players will need to perform consistently and meet in game objectives, such as hitting a certain about of boundaries.
Perks have been included in this release, and with plenty to choose from, the player is able to gain an extra edge that lines up with their career players style. Included are perks such as “Slogger”, “Traditionalist” and “Catch It!”. Depending on the style of player wanted, you can obtain more perks as you progress through the levels, up to a maximum of 8 selections, at the level 50 mark.
Unfortunately, unless your career player is an all rounder, the up-skilling of your player in all 3 areas will be a tough ask… that is of course, unless the created player is captain of their side! Achieving the captains armband unlocks the ability to select your batting lineups, bowling lineups, fielding positions and even in-game tactics.
As with all Big Ant titles, the graphics are stock, with many noticing the similarities with previous titles. A moderate uplift of the game presentation has been delivered however may will find themselves skipping the introduction to get to the gameplay. The audio track is again re-used, right down to the annoying “click-click” that can be heard during the game.
The other game modes available offer the chance to compete in a competition, in both Mens and Womens, partake in a tour, again in Mens and Womens, as well as “Scenario” mode and “Cricket Academy” which allow the player to hone their skills before attempting to climb to the summit of cricketing glory.
The main game modes, are of course, the World Championship and the Ashes Series. In the World Championships, players are given the option of competing in 3 Mens tournaments across the 3 formats, however, only the Womens One Day and T20 world championships are available.
Of course, the big one, the Ashes Series is available in both Mens and Womens.
A big annoyance for Australian based players is the default of the options to the Imperial system, which sees speeds and distances displayed in MPH. Its an easy fix from the options menu, but an annoyance none the less.
There isn’t much to dislike about this title, with Big Ant Studios rolling another sporting title off the production line with an update to the presentation and player database. A worthy addition to the catalogue if you’re a cricket fan and a free inclusion in XBOX Game Pass.
+ A new cricket game
+ Multitude of game modes
+ The sound of bat on ball as you middle one down the ground.
– Soundtrack is generic
– No noticable difference in gameplay from previous titles
– Lack of visual upgrades to match generation standards.
Keg, for One More Game