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My honest review
#1
My review:



After playing this game solidly for a week now and thoroughly looking into all aspects of the game, I’ve reached my final verdict. I’m sympathetic to the glitches which are likely to be fixed in the upcoming patch and won’t be making any reference to these. I haven’t been influenced by any reviews or views on the game from others. These are my own. I don’t take reference nor am I influenced by what has been said and hyped by others, or in consideration of the resource constraints of the developer etc. This is the view of a gamer picking up the game and playing it like any other game. Not someone overly sympathetic to or against the developer or anyone else. I’m not taking into account what has come and gone when giving my scores. I’m delivering this simply in the context of a game representing the real-life game of cricket.



Bowling: 6/10

Having to sustain user input for the duration of a delivery renders it more than engaging and enjoyable than simply picking a delivery type, placing an aiming circle and looking to see what happens. There are areas of major improvement required though. If you watch cricket on tv, things happen fast. In the game, a ball delivered being at 148 km/h is released by a bowling action that is generic and robotic. The ball apparently travelling at an awesome speed seems to just trundle down the pitch, and then bobbles through to the keeper. The physics is questionable in this regard. There is just no sense of awe that you would see when a Dale Steyn delivers a high speed bouncer at the throat. Even if you hit the batsman he just stands there like nothing happened. It takes away from the experience, and leaves a hollow feeling.



Batting: 5/10

I appreciate the intention Big Ant has in recreating the real life batting experience. However the constraints of complex controls, under-developed mechanics, an incorrect risk/reward system pertaining to shot selection, and constrained visual cues limit this from being a more authentic representation. For example, when batting in real life one learns to subconsciously pick up a lot of cues about the line and length of a delivery when the bowler is in the delivery stride and winding up to deliver the ball. Even though the ball is coming down very quickly, they also pick up a lot of things just in the action of the bowler. The game does not represent the picking up of such cues as the mechanics of the bowling actions are too constrained and generic to allow for differences and the line and length indicator only appears once the ball leaves the hand. The complex controls also don’t facilitate reflex reaction based on muscle memory. There are simply too many dexterous fine motor skills required to be executed in such a small amount of time to perform even a simple defensive shot – in contrast to batting in real life where a simple gross movement is all that is required. Hence not an ideal representation. Essentially this renders the batting experience to be largely pre-mediated, based too much on chance, and overall it is unrealistic. And the learning curve required to be even close to competent in executing this consistently and effectively is too much for the average gamer to expect to undertake. Again, the physics is questionable is some regards. A ball will come off the bat at the same pace from a nudge off a slow spin bowler as it does a quick bowler, rendering fast bowlers as easily the most difficult to face in the game. In real cricket, facing extreme pace at least has the potential reward of the ball flying to the boundary quicker. In the game this does not appear to be the case.



HUD elements: 2/10

Not having a fielding radar or at least having the ability to readily pick out fielders in the outfield is horrible. Picking out the field is an essential element of batting the game of cricket, yet the game doesn’t allow the user to readily facilitate this. It doesn’t represent this aspect of the game well enough. It is bewildering why this hasn’t been included. The use of a radar in a previous AFL game from the developer was essential to facilitate realistic gameplay by allowing you to spot up leads and open players up the ground. The lack of anything like this takes away from facilitating realistic gameplay, not adding to it. Not even having the option to turn on a radar or similar is non-sensical.



The bowling hud is useful when used, but the sheer ridiculous size of it I don’t understand. When bowling, I appreciate that the game facilitates the use of visual cues in the bowlers actions for input. This is good.



The lack of hud options available when batting in matches is strange, particularly when considering the extreme learning curve. You cannot turn on anything that would offer feedback, such as a timing guage (which is present in the nets). Feedback is essential to learning a new skill. A strange absence, particular when considering what is available for bowling, which is already much less difficult given the batting deficiencies of the AI.



Graphics: 3/10

Grainy graphics, tearing, and lack of detail is disappointing and doesn’t capture the essence of beauty that real cricket gives on those first morning of a test match for example. It looks like a dated game. Sparse and building crowds are a welcome element, however seeing the same crowd ‘pattern’ in each block of a grand stand just looks plain weird. This would all be justified, in my opinion, if there were more stadiums, or customisable options for stadiums. Unfortunately there isn’t.



AI: 6/10

The AI batting mentality, especially in career mode and in modes representing actual full duration formats (eg: full 90 over a day, 5 day test matches) is poor. They give their wickets away inexplicably with bizarre and seemingly situational unware shot selection. Quality of the ball delivered by the human doesn’t seem to linearly relate to the likelihood of the batsman getting out. The AI seems just as likely to get out to poor deliveries as to good ones. This itself takes away from the bowling experience and the incentive of putting in a concentrated effort to bowl well. In the shorter versions, the AI is more competitive and seems to be more responsive to quality of delivery, and it makes for competitive and enjoyable games.



When batting, AI seems solid. They make appropriate adjustments to the field based on where you have been hitting shots. They ‘set you up’ with bowling patterns such as short balls followed by Yorkers, or inswingers followed by a ball outside off to entice the edge.



When fielding, I won’t comment on the bugs that will likely be fixed that currently renders it unacceptably unfit to remain in its current state.



Customisation: 9/10

Cricket academy is fantastic. The flexibility, community input of it all is perhaps the best I’ve seen in a sports game.



Sound: 8/10

Surprisingly it is solid. Leather on willow is beautiful. Player chatter, ground announcements all sound great. The crowd is generally good to, however I am disappointed in there being no differentiation in crowd noise when in the subcontinent or the West Indies for example compared to the golf claps of England. Very strange this is not in the game, as it takes away from the ambience and uniqueness of playing in different countries. Commentary – I’ve heard worse.



Game modes: 5/10

Career mode is awful. There is no other word for it. I have slogged my way through 3 years of it, and I appreciate Big Ant’s idea, and the potential of it is huge, but it’s been implemented extremely disappointingly. The difficulty balance between bat and ball is ridiculous. You play with the same team mates for your entire career, at the same wrong grounds and customisation is locked in concrete at the start and can never be changed. The scheduling of the seasons is incorrect, you miss playing finals, fixturing is for no reason cut short. The learning curve associated with batting is stupidly too difficult to sustain any interest in persevering with it for the long term, but what makes it worse is that its accompanied with a polar opposite level of difficulty with bowling. As an opening batsman averaging under 7 with the bat for my entire first season, then randomly being thrown the ball and taking 9 wickets on debut and no bowling again for the rest of the year – the whole thing is bewildering and nonsensical. Again, relating it to the context of the career of a real cricketer, it’s a poor representation.



Online: My experience online have been nothing short of atrocious. Lack of sound, lagging, strange glitches where visuals disappear – it is just not enjoyable. There is no essence of competition. It is just frustrating and that’s about it.



Casual and competition: The customisation options for these modes is excellent, and this is where the game shines I believe. The difficulty is more balanced, and although it seems these modes are more amendable to shortened versions of real-life formats (eg: T10, test matches with reduced overs), this is where you can at least get an enjoyable and competitive match experience against the AI.



Tour mode: The overall idea I can appreciate, however it is majorly let down in my opinion by the fact you cannot choose the stadium to play in. It gets extremely tedious playing in the same stadium. All. The. Time. If this could be changed it would be great.



OVERALL: 5/10
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#2
Good, honest review. I don't agree with all your points but, can understand where you're coming from. I know we can be a bit touchy when it comes to Big Ant and Ross at times but, you kept it professional and like any game developer they do have to be held responsible for any short comings in a title they release. Hopefully the patch's can revamp the game enough for you to enjoy. Anyway, onward and upwards for DBC now and in the future because this is certainly a great foundation to build off.
"I'm not saying it's ugly but, that tackle clearly wouldn't get many valentines cards" - Eddie Hemmings '17
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#3
Yeah, I disagree with the harshness of some of the scores and some of the perceived weaknesses, but overall it didn't come across that you were just being nasty or anything of the like. I have to respect the fact you seem to have set out to just put forth an honest critical review and there's merit in some of what you've said.

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#4
An honest review but a bit harsh in my opinion.
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#5
I think giving the HUD elements 2/10 and the graphics 3/10 is extremely harsh. Surely, at the very least the graphics are passable? (They look like PS3/Xbox 360 graphics and not the PS2 graphics like Ashes Cricket 2013).
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#6
Are you using an HDMI cable? If not, get one... It will improve the graphics ALOT! I agree with some points but in the game of cricket, Batsmen will get out to poor balls. Trust me i've bowled them and gotten out to em.

Batting should be simplified a little. Something like on the left stick its just a forward/back motion not the whole way round. Last night i was punished (yet with another duck) for blocking the wrong line. Its hard enough trying to get all my fingers trying to do a 1000 things in order to block a ball. Batting in real life aint that hard.
Still on batting,can the controls be changed so the default shot wont go in the air EVERYTIME? If im not getting bowled or LBW (cause of wrong line as per above) im getting caught ALOT. The slog button should be the risky one!

Bowling is fine. 69 wickets in the Shield season so far (taken more wickets then runs scored) The A.I. are a little dumb with shot selection but thats after i set them up then using variation to get them out.

Caught and Bowled should be looked at too. My player drops the simple ones and takes the diving across to mid wicket catches. Simple as in the ones straight back and dont have to move much.
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#7
like a few have said its a good honest review I don't agree with a lot of the scores either but, hes entitled to his review, for a first iteration of a game on a small budget I am happy no absolutely delighted with what has been produced I havnt touched anything else since I got it, all I look forward to at the end of work is a few matches of cricket so it works for me. I am slowly mastering batting still go out to lost concentration shot selection as in real life, and have found and I am a natural left hander who was taught at school to use my right hand, that batting as a left hander my scores have straight away doubled go figure, bowling is easy on pro so when I make my bowler it will go up a difficulty, but as for the hud I love it one of the best features, in the real game of cricket we don't have a magic circle with fielders in our eyes we have to commit to memory where they are i think its been executed well and its very clean, graphics wise go have a look at ashes 2013, this is a 10 compared to that lol!

all in all good honest review I rate it a lot higher as far as cricket games go, we have had a lot worse and this version is definitely changing the way people look at cricket games, and it was always going to get a mixed bag of reviews.
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#8
Seems weird to say the bowling is too slow and a ball at 148kph trundles down the wicket without any pace, but then to say everything happens way too fast to bat properly with instinct. Try playing the game on Legend you will notice it is a lot sharper and bowlers hit top speeds more. Also upping your bowlers fitness levels will see a longer and more consistent string of pacey deliveries.
But 5/10 is probably a fair overall when considering what can be done with this game. Putting it against other titles it blows them all away. You make fair points but maybe playing higher difficulties, changing your approach and giving the game more time then a week will see a different view.

Edit - 5/10 just seems way too low. The game is a gem and well above average in my book. Way better than anything we have ever seen although there is room for improvement - as is the case with any game that will ever be made
#Thegreatestgameofall
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#9
(04-10-2014, 12:34 PM)PJ6 Wrote: Seems weird to say the bowling is too slow and a ball at 148kph trundles down the wicket without any pace, but then to say everything happens way too fast to bat properly with instinct. Try playing the game on Legend you will notice it is a lot sharper and bowlers hit too speeds more. Also upping your bowlers fitness levels will see a longer and more consistent string of pacey deliveries.
But 5/10 is probably a fair overall when considering what can be done with this game. Putting it against other titles it blows them all away. You make fair points but maybe playing higher difficulties, changing your approach and giving the game more time then a week will see a different view.

Edit - 5/10 just seems way too low. The game is a gem and well above average in my book. Way better than anything we have ever seen although there is room for improvement - as is the case with any game that will ever be made

This game definitely has a strong foundation on which to build. The only question is whether or not it's full potential can be realised in a sequel.
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#10
DNAngel it really is a quality base to work off. I love it and am grateful BA put in the hard yards to get it out. And Sir Don Bradman - what an expert touch to get the legend on board and the Bowral Oval - great stuff. There is a hell of a lot to like about this game and the customization has to be strongly applauded. Match editor and sharing of teams/players is a great leap in sports gaming. So much fun to be had with this one and the future looks very bright.
#Thegreatestgameofall
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