As a big cricket fan, I was looking forward to trying out Big Ant’s brand new official Ashes cricket title. For those who don’t know, the Ashes is contested between England and Australia in a 5 test match series. The winner wins an urn containing the Ashes from the first set of stumps used between the 2 sides. Cricket games are few and far between. Don Bradman Cricket, also on the PlayStation 4 is the only real option for fans of the pedestrian sport.
On starting the game, you are met with the usual menu screens. You can play solo, multiplayer and online. You can choose to play a full Ashes series, or take part in any competition around the world. You also can choose to play a test match, a 50 overs one day international, or a fast-paced T20. You can play an in international or a domestic version of any of the 3 versions of the game. Even better, you can play as the England or Australian Women’s team.
Unfortunately Big Ant Game’s only has the license for the England and Australian men’s and Women’s teams. However, you can create your own team manual and create your own MS Dhoni or Chris Gayle. You can also import players online from others users if you want. The licensed players do look realistic, however. You actually feel as if you are playing as Alistair Cook and James Anderson. Graphically the game is decent. The stadiums look impressive, although the only noticeable crowd movement seems to be from replays.
You begin any game with a coin toss. On winning or losing the toss, you will either bat or bowl. First, we will talk about batting. You can choose to play on easy or normal. On easy, you are assisted by the game, where hitting boundaries and sixes is relatively easy. On the normal setting, your timing needs to be a lot better. To bat, you use the right stick to move on the wicket, you use the left stick to aim your shot, and press the circle button to slog, the cross button to play along the ground and triangle button to play defensively. It’s incredibly good fun.
Bowling, however, is slightly less interesting. You choose either seam or spin bowling. The quickies require you to select a length to bowl and using the left stick to aim, use swing and aftertouch. The spinners bowling is fairly similar getting turn on the ball is always satisfying. You also, as the fielding side, get to throw the ball at the end you think you may get a chance to run out the batsman.
The game does have a few negatives though. Whilst batting, you can’t see the full field and so guess at times where the fielders are. Running between the wickets can feel risky due to not being able to see where the ball is and not being able to see how close the fielder is away from the ball. The commentary (Michael Slater and Mel Jones) is a touch inaccurate at times saying you hit a 4 when you actually hit a 6. Also, the fielders and wicketkeeper are extremely pedestrian, which is frustrating on trying to run a batsman out.
But despite the negatives, Ashes Cricket is the perfect game to play during the Ashes series. If you love cricket, then this is definitely worth a look. Especially if playing against a friend. If however, you aren’t a fan of the sport, there’s nothing really here to win you around to the sport.
An enjoyable but slightly flawed cricket game which with a bit more effort, could have been great, but just falls short. Despite its flaws, it’s still one of the best cricket games ever made.
Batting is incredibly good fun
Huge amount of content
The licensed players look great
Bowling isn’t as fun as batting
Graphics hardly push the PS4
Only England and Australia are licensed
Overall score 7/10