Cricket 19 is now doubt a vast improvement on previous games, but with cricket as much an art form as a sport, it is still very difficult to perfect in the virtual world. Not a huge amount has altered from Big Ant Studios previous release Ashes Cricket, but with a World Cup and an Ashes to look forward to this summer, there has been no better time to get cricket on your console.
You will feel a lot more control when batting at the crease this time around. In particular, defending feels a lot more realistic as playing the right line is crucial. Cricket 19 has clearly added more realism over your stroke play, and makes playing the correct shot more rewarding. You may not realise this playing on the easier difficulties, but as you progress up, shot selection and timing will affect the execution all the more.
Online is another area that has improved, in the fact that players can actually take part in a match. However, there is no incentive to stick it out, with one of our matches being forfeited after the opponent had batted.
Although not vastly different to the previous game, the graphics have more consistency with fewer glitches and more realistic movements and emotions which really improve the feel of the game despite it being such a small matter. A few mad moments can still occur in the field and a few things still need to be ironed out such as the colour of the ball depending on what format you’re playing (see images below).
Areas of concern
Swing bowling is a tricky skill to master on the game and it lacks the control that other areas have. Resorting to short balls and ‘cross-seam’ straight deliveries can negate the lack of control.
Online has received great development, but with esports growing and growing, it would have made perfect sense to introduce some league or rankings system. The variations available to the bowler gave the game a new dimension as it felt like a real cricket match as opposed to a computer game.
The Five5 format (5 overs, 5 wickets) is a perfect length of time for online play, and would love to be seen by the die-hard fans next time around.
Licensing. An issue with cricket games dating back to the days EA Sports last released their own cricket game. Downloadable teams (see below) get around the issue however it would give the game just a bit extra to have the player likenesses and professional teams ready to go. Having both male and female sides is great to see, with bowling speeds accurately reflecting who’s playing.
Beating the Old Enemy
Winning the Ashes is the pinnacle of cricket for England and Australian fans and The Ashes game mode allows you to do just that. With fully licensed teams and real players it is the most realistic game mode available on Cricket 19, and should burst into life later in the summer.
As with most cricket games the matches can be time consuming, therefore the ability to play as an individual benefit the game dramatically. Simulating the bowling innings reduces the time spent playing for players only interested in batting.
Playing as Ben Stokes on an Ashes adventure allows players to contribute with bat and ball, although David Warner may hit you around the park!
Attempting to swing the ball, you can find yourself unable to keep the ball on a regular line and leaking runs. Spin bowling does not encounter this problem with line however it can be tricky to judge the deviation off the pitch, especially when considering an lbw appeal.
The batting experience was enjoyable and complete with quality graphics and cut scenes, the marking of the guard and drinks breaks especially realistic.
A Star in the Making
The Career Mode on Cricket 19 is not vastly different from the previous game, however it is a much smoother and more enjoyable experience. This game mode will be a favourite among fans as you can choose almost every aspect of the game, this means you can tailor your career to suit you.
Starting off at a local club side is daunting as it feels like an age before being noticed, especially as a bowler, but this can be changed with the selection difficulty tool.
Each part of the game can be adjusted too, all contributing to an enjoyable gaming experience when working your way to the top.
One area which is difficult to overcome is the duration of career mode. Simulating innings and only controlling your player does shorten the game length, but it is still time consuming, especially if your piling on the runs.
The Cricket Academy allows you to edit and create all manner of things, from bats and sponsors to umpires and stadiums.
The ability to create your own players and teams too makes the game personal and unique and lets players update their squads regularly.
This feature also allows you to download content created by other users which gets around the licensing problem. Some created teams and kits are spot-on so worth downloading, especially for the World Cup.
Other Game Modes
There are plenty of other game modes available, notably scenario mode where you can recreate a real life match and put your own stamp on it. This is a brilliant new introduction and could expand and offer more scenarios to test yourself in. Plus, due to the full customisation, more scenarios can be created and downloaded form the Academy.
Competition and Tour mode are both self-explanatory, but it offers players the chance to set compete in their chosen tournament. Playing this mode you will want to use the Cricket Academy to download squads you wish to use, or put up with generated players.
Training mode will take you through the basics of the game and is a must for cricket game novices.
A better version of Ashes Cricket despite its similarities and an enjoyable game for cricket fans.
RealSport Rating: 6/10
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