Guest Review: Don Bradman Cricket 2016

Welcome back to another Guest Review!  This week we’re once again joined by Galoot24 and his thoughts on a particularly niche game, Don Bradman Cricket ’16.


To quote the ever so eloquent Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while he encounters Casey Jones, “Cricket! Nobody understands Cricket. You gotta know what a crumpet is to understand Cricket.” To which Casey Jones replies, “I can teach you.” I hope Don Bradman will be a great teacher, and I hope to be an opened minded, patient student.

Australia’s Big Ant Studios brings us Don Bradman Cricket 16. Don Bradman 16 is the follow up game to 2014’s well received Don Bradman Cricket 14. As soon as I pressed the X button from the Main Menu to enter the World of Cricket, I was welcomed with the suggestion to replace the default teams and characters with better, stronger and more balanced teams and characters that the online community has created. I thought this was a great suggestion as it levels the playing field for all players; whether it be experienced veterans of the Cricket battlefield or baby faced fresh noobs new to the sport.

cricket_emblem

Once the new community-built rosters finished downloading I was welcomed (almost overcome with, really) the option to select my team, as well as build and customize it to my liking. I didn’t play around in there for very long as I know nothing about the sport of Cricket, and there were 79 teams to wade through. Instead of going with the namesake team, which is Australia, I chose Team Somerset. Why? Their team emblem is a Griffin; need I say more? I think not. I’m perfectly comfortable in acknowledging that I chose a team based on its emblem.

 

 

Game Modes and Rules

With my team set and ready to play I was presented with quite a few options of game play:

  • Casual
  • Online
  • Career
  • Tour
  • Competition
  • Don Bradman Academy (this is your team editor mode)
  • Practice

I immediately jumped into the Career mode and was assigned the position as fielder. With Career mode I was hoping to ease into learning the basic controls. My hopes were left for another day as all I could accomplish after an hour of playing the field was running around while I longed for the ball to be hit my way. On the few occasions that the ball was hit in the direction of my fielder, I found the controls to be a little late responding. It appeared as though I couldn’t move my player until the ball was in the field of play, meaning the ball was hit by the batter. On the brighter side I found bowling to be fun and interesting. The controls take a little getting used to and when I finally did I had a fun.

The following is a very basic overview of how the game of Cricket is played:

  • A match consists of two teams, with each team consisting of 11 players. One team will be the “fielding” team, while the other team is “batting”.  The batting team will have two batters on the field at any given time.
  • The fielding team primarily features the “bowler”, analogous to a pitcher in baseball. Their job is to bowl (read: throw or pitch) the ball and hit sticks behind the batter, called wickets.  Striking the wickets in this fashion will cause the batter to be “out”, and replaced by another batter.
  • The batter’s job is to protect the wickets, hit the ball and hopefully score. Scoring can be accomplished in a few different ways:
  • Striking the ball far enough away that the batter can run from one end of the “pitch” to the other. Note that both batters, one on each end of the pitch, must make it to the opposite side to register their run.  If enough time is allowed, they may run back to their original position, scoring more points.  (In Cricket, the pitch is the patch of ground on which the bowler, batter and wickets are all placed)
  • Striking the ball directly to the edge of the playing area, called the boundary. If the ball reaches this area by hitting the ground and rolling across, 4 points are awarded.  If it sails plainly over the boundary, 6 points are awarded.  Think homerun here and you’re not far off.
  • An inning is over when ten players have been bowled out of the batting team. A variety of traditions exist to dictate the number of “overs” played, but generally innings will determine the game length.

Growing tired of running around and not making any “real” progression I decided to enter the “Practice Mode”.  Here I entered Net Practice, the batting cage where I can work on my swings.  You also have the option to enter Match Practice. In Match Practice you can learn how to bowl and field. Bowling seems very intricate, fun and fast paced. I should have entered this mode first. I can imagine spending several hours in Practice mode working on becoming familiar with the controls. The controls feel very responsive yet nuanced.

Graphically, Don Bradman Cricket 16 is very pleasing to the eye. I spent three hours rock climbing prior to starting this game and I found the green grass of the field to be calm and relaxing, especially with the acoustic guitar music.

Overall I would say my limited time with Don Bradman Cricket 16 was well spent. While I don’t see a huge market in the United States for a cricket game, I can see this being successful in Europe, India, New Zealand and especially Australia where cricket is a televised sport and has a large following. While Don Bradman Cricket 16 isn’t the most beginner friendly game I can see this game filling those late night cricket cravings of the die-hard fan.

Final Thoughts and Rating

If I had to rate this game I would say it’s a “First Date with possibility of a second date.” Sure there were some awkward silent moments where I didn’t know what to do or say. But there were some highlights and hopefully on our next date Don Bradman will let me hold his bat. 😉
Pros:

  • Large Online Community
  • Replay value is high

Cons:

  • Not beginner friendly

$60 seems a bit too high, $40 seems a more reasonable price