It’s been years since cricket fans have been able to experience a game developed towards their sports needs on a console. Don Bradman has stepped onto the playing field and it may leave cricket fans wondering if it’s finally their time to be out in the virtual sun with the other sports fans.
Don Bradman Cricket 14 was developed by Big Ants Studio who haven’t developed much in video gaming industry thus far. Once upon a time they developed a couple of Spyro games, some racing games, and one Australian football game. Nothing in their repertoire showed promise of creating an accomplished cricket game but at least they successfully tried, unlike so many others.
Graphics and familiar faces
If you don’t import teams from The Cricket Academy, most players you are able to choose from will not be familiar to you. Importing them not only gives a likeness to the character but it connects them with the correct attributes to the corresponding players. In truth, Big Ant Studios fell short on creating similarities with virtual and real cricket players but the community has stepped up to correct the issue - props to those game players!
The graphics themselves are not the worst but could definitely be improved - the stadium is relatively simple, the crowd is lifeless but the replay features are above average.
Basically, the graphics shouldn’t ruin gameplay for you, unless you’re extremely meticulous and are expecting something similar to that of FIFA 14, which has set a precedent for any future sports games to come.
Basic controls aren’t so basic
To put it simply, there will need to be some practice with the controls, especially when it comes to bowling and batting.
For bowling, each bowler has specific and different run speeds you’ll have to adapt to but that shouldn’t be a problem with repetitive play. Releasing the spot where you run up to bowl depends on the speed of the player. You use the bumpers either to bowl a fast ball or a slow ball. But you have to push the stick up to start your jump, then push it down when you’re ready to aim and release at a specific speed. Keep in mind initially the game will give you bowling tips but they’re not detailed enough for a first time player. However, after bowling a few times you should understand the mechanics much better.
As for batting, use left analogue stick to move, right analogue stick swings the bat. Simple movements can cause different results. Factor in power shots, defensive shots, the different kinds of bowlers (and their bowling tricks), and your own style of play and what sounds simple enough suddenly turns into a method of strategy.
Don Bradman Cricket 14 may not be the game cricket fans of been waiting for explicitly on the edge of their seats these past few years but it is by far the best created up to this point.
The gameplay, menus, and tips can feel clunky at times. The graphics aren’t substantial but they’re nothing to cause a player to turn away from. The controls lack simplicity until used several times and could have definitely been worked on longer before game release. And definitely the character designers could’ve studied the pros in cricket more thoroughly - some of the fun is playing as your favourites, but it’s definitely worth giving a shot since it’s the best cricket game on consoles to date.