Developer: Big Ant Studios
Publisher: Big Ant Studios
Platforms: PC, PS4, XB1
Release Date: November 16, 2017
Even though Don Bradman Cricket 17 was a major disappointment, I was willing to give Big Ant cricket games another chance when Ashes Cricket was announced with fully licensed Australia and England teams.
My experience with the game started out very nicely. The menus and HUD have all been re-done and they look incredible. Gamers now can choose between two control schemes – “Standard” which feels a lot like the controls in Brian Lara Cricket games and “Classic” which is essentially the same controls as Don Bradman Cricket 17. I decided to play a five-over match between the two licensed teams in the MCG. When the match loaded, I was amazed by how good everything looked starting from the players to the stadium and the crowd in the stands. I was welcomed by the voice of Michael Slater, a seasoned cricket commentator. The welcome was not as warm as I'd hoped because it was at that point the game started falling apart.
There were very few lines of commentary and they were so monotonous that I eventually decided to completely turn it off. Even though the players look great and the animations on their bodies are excellent, there are no animations or expressions on their faces. The camera angles are awkward and the screen twitches while transitioning from one shot to another.
Things started going even further downhill when I tried to play with the unlicensed teams. Ashes Cricket has a “Cricket Academy” just like the previous Big Ant games where one can download community-created teams, players, stadia and more. While the Academy was a smooth experience in both the previous titles, I found the one in Ashes Cricket to be quite troublesome. I managed to access the community after trying six times. I was shocked to see that the unlicensed players are all using the character models and animations from Don Bradman Cricket 17. The low-resolution texture bug from that game also carries over to this one. Consequently, when you play with one licensed and one unlicensed team, it feels like two different games merged together.
Surprisingly, Ashes Cricket contains even more bugs and glitches than DBC17. Quite often, dismissals do not take any effect. Sometimes, the fielding team appeals for review even though the umpire has already given out. The batsmen run very slowly and often end up running in the same direction.
The batting team shows no aggressive intent regardless of the format of match or the required run rate. The fielders move at a fixed pace that does not vary according to the pace of the ball. They do not stop running even when the ball has gone past the boundary. It's an absolute shame that a cricket game in 2017 fails to measure up to the Brian Lara Cricket titles from the late 90s in terms of the AI.
Overall, Ashes Cricket is a broken, unfinished game and I feel it's almost criminal for the developers to charge $50 for a game that is so devoid of quality.
Nony Khondaker is an introvert who complements his non-existent social life with video games, Netflix and a whole lot of ice-cream. Send him memes and cat videos to cheer him up at fb.com/NonyKhondaker