Ah, cricket. It’s a sport so steeped in tradition that when Australia and England come to blows, they compete not over silverware but a small urn. Cricket 22 has released just in time for the Ashes, and if Big Ant Studios was banking on an exciting series to drive sales for six, well, it’ll be scratching its head watching the Poms’ performance thus far. Instead, the studio will have to rely on its fellow Aussies feeling empowered enough to pour yet more pain on Joe Root and crew.
Clearly the MLB The Show games are a huge inspiration here, with batting built around three shot types: precision, power, and defence. You’ll need to pick the right kind of shot based on the length and line of the bowl you’re facing, and find the gap between fielders in order to score runs. Bowling relies on a triple-click meter similar to what you’d find in a game like Everybody’s Golf, but you can select the type of spin you want on the ball and even apply aftertouch. There are also analogue options for those who want a greater challenge.
Given the glacial pace of traditional cricket tests, it’s an acquired taste, but the ability to lock gameplay to a specific player speeds up matches and feels fitting here. This, naturally, expands to the career mode as well, which has been heavily inspired by Road to the Show. Here you work your way up from rookie county cricketer all the way through to international superstar, raising your statistics and adding perks that suit your playstyle as you go.
There’s an absolute treasure trove of licensed content, spanning both men’s and women’s teams, with only the lucrative Indian Premier League the notable omission. However, a robust creation suite means fans will be able to create any missing players or clubs and share them online, which should plug any small gaps that do exist.
The biggest downside, then, is just the underlying lack of budget: cricket is popular enough, but it’s not baseball, and it’s clear that Big Ant Studios just didn’t have the resources to nail key gameplay mechanics, like fielding, which feels flat and unrealistic due to the limited selection of animation cycles in its library.