Ashes Cricket – Xbox One Review

Ashes Cricket by Big Ant Studios is a sports game which attempts to recreate the passion, drama, and excitement of the annual cricket Test Series held between England and Australia. Ashes Cricket is an officially licensed game of the tournament and is the evolution of the Don Bradman Cricket series. Ashes Cricket includes all the official players of both the men’s and women’s team as well as cricket grounds of England and Australia. Anyone who was unfortunate enough to have played the last Ashes game developed by 505 Games will be pleased to know that this is a lot better.

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If you’re a fan of cricket but the thought of playing a Test Match doesn’t appeal then you’ll be pleased to hear that the game offers you the ability to create your own tours, set up groups of test matches or a quick T20 game. Ashes Cricket has a great career mode where you can rise up the ranks with a custom made player. Once you’ve built your custom player it’s your job to prove your ability at county level with the ultimate goal of reaching international status. When playing in this mode you get the option of playing as a single player or the whole team, just like the be a pro mode in one of the FIFA titles. Ashes Cricket does offer an online mode but if you’re looking to play as anyone other than England or Australia, unfortunately you’ll need to build these teams yourself as the official license only extends to Australia National and domestic teams and the England National Team.

A tutorial mode gives you the chance to learn how to bat, bowl and field however, none of the tutorials are particularly descriptive on why something is done the way it is. That’s fine if you’re a big cricket fan, (and arguably most people who buy this game will be) but if you’re a beginner and new to the world of cricket, you won’t understand the nuances of a fast bowler compared to a spin bowler or what circumstances you would want to play them.

There are multiple difficulty settings available covering both batting and bowling however it’s only once you start tweaking the settings that you’ll realise what’s being changed. You’ll work out quite quickly that the more difficult you set the game, the more precise your timing will need to be with both bowling and batting.

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Ashes Cricket offers solid gameplay, with both graphics and the two control options, analogue or push button giving you great feedback and an immersive experience. You’ll want to keep coming back for more as you begin to perfect your technique. The players move fluidly and feel like they are walking on the grass rather than floating above it, particularly with the animations sequences of the batsman and bowler. The batting looks particularly good with the animation on shots being smooth and realistic. That said, collision detection could be a lot better.

Occasionally, the fielders seem a little robotic and stupid – don’t be surprised if they clatter into each other whilst trying to catch the ball – but thankfully this doesn’t take too much away from the overall gameplay experience. When there is a chance you can make a catch then the gameplay goes into slow motion which gives you time to adjust the controls and move the player to make the catch. Talking of robots, the graphics on the faces are quite realistic if a little vacant, similar to the dead eyes seen in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

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The learning curve in Ashes Cricket is steep. Prepare for several hours of frustration trying to get to grips with the controls before it all starts to come together. While this felt annoying at the time it makes success taste even sweeter. You get a great sense of satisfaction when you take your first wicket or hit the first six. As you might expect, Bowling is a lot harder than batting as it involves more coordination. It took a lot longer than we expected to be at a point where we felt in control and able to get a wicket.

Our biggest annoyance with the game was the commentary. Trust us when we say it will start to get on your nerves very quickly. It feels like in-game commentary from 10 years ago with canned phrases that have no relation to what’s happening on screen and repetition to the point of annoyance.
We would have loved the game to include an option for Sledging – the art of throwing insults in Cricket – as this would have been a great addition to add a little humour.

Overall, Ashes Cricket offers an enjoyable experience which you’ll want to keep coming back to play however, the number of annoying features and difficulty levels mean that you might not be coming back for long.

Ashes Cricket is available to purchase from retailers or can be downloaded from the Xbox Store, priced at £49.99.

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