Category: Cricket computer games | reviews, previews and downloads | PC, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Wii (page 1 of 3)

Cricket Captain 2017 – PC review

Cricket Captain – formerly International Cricket Captain – has been updated pretty much annually ever since it first came out in 1998. It’s always been a must for fans and also for administrators. However, we haven’t actually reviewed it in ages, so we thought we’d better address that.

Let’s deal with the obvious question first.

Can you pick Kevin Pietersen as England’s spin bowler and bat him at nine in a Test match?

Of course you can! He didn’t complain or anything. We took this as definitive proof that they could have kept him around after all and it wouldn’t have been a problem. Maybe he wanted to bat at nine and bowl more all along. Maybe that’s what they should have done.

That said, we were slightly taken aback when KP took 5-98 in his first match back in the side. We were far happier with his feisty lower order 41 off 37 balls, which was exactly the kind of thing we were looking for when we selected him.

Can you restrict the game to just Test matches?

Yes! It may not sound much, but this is perhaps the single most important tweak we can remember in the history of the game. In early versions we’d spend hours honing our Test side only to effectively sabotage its chances by half-arseing all the one-dayers. Playing meaningless one-day series was boring, but if you skipped them all your best players lost form.

You can also choose to focus wholly on one-day cricket, T20 or any combination of the three formats. This holds true at both domestic and international levels.

Are the graphics any good?

Do you care? Do you honestly care? This is a strategy game. It’s built on numbers, tables and graphs.

The graphics are fine, albeit far less amusing than those seen in Ashes Cricket 2013 with its ominously waddling umpire and his spectacular effect on fielders.

The menus are clear enough; the main highlights are maybe a bit dated looking, but perfectly serviceable; and Hawkeye is pretty much the same as on TV (although you can’t review decisions, unless we’ve missed something).

Are the numbers, tables and graphs any good?

Yes. Even those who are unconvinced by the worth of beehives, Manhattans and pitch maps in TV coverage will see their value here. They give you a means of deciphering what is and isn’t working in your attempts to bowl out the opposition.

Consult the graphics and you can quickly and easily see where the batsmen are scoring runs and where chances have been created.

Probably worth bowling a bit straighter at Imad Wasim.

Can you play the 1998 series between England and South Africa?

Yes.

Donald v Atherton; Dominic Cork deliberately being an arsehole to Brian McMillan to get him out; Darren Gough suffering from the wild shits; and good old Angus Fraser.

We’re not saying the game simulates all of these things, but you can play the series and fill in the gaps using your imagination.

Any flaws?

We’ve spent long hours playing this game over the years, so there’s an element of nit-pickery about this, but we’ve always thought that it was slightly caught between two stools.

There’s the strategy game, where you pick players, train them and combine them to make your team; and then there’s the tactical game, where you set your field, decide where to bowl and make your bowling changes.

The two are obviously linked, but there are times when the tactical side can feel like time-consuming micromanagement that’s keeping you from discovering whether your long-term masterplan will come to fruition. Sadly, autoplaying matches is still greatly counterproductive, so it isn’t really an option.

Does it feel realistic?

This is often a stumbling block for cricket games. When you’re forever being bowled out for under 100 or you can’t help but rack up 500-plus every time you bat, gameplay suffers, regardless of whether the opposition is making similar scores.

We haven’t done a full 20-season test run-through, but from what we’ve seen so far, the game performs well in this department. Batsmen approach Twenty20 with the correct boundary-hitting intent and Test totals have taken in everything from whopping declaration totals to fourth innings skittlery on a deteriorating pitch.

Worth the investment?

It’s available via Steam for £18 at the minute, which isn’t too sizeable an outlay in this day and age. If you haven’t played it before, it’s definitely worth a go. If you have, you may find the latest version resolves a few of the irritations from some of the older instalments.

We’ve found T20s particularly good because you can come up with a system and the games are of manageable enough size that you can watch more of the highlights and get a bit more of a feel for how things are panning out.

There are mobile editions too, although we haven’t played those. Let us know if you have and what they’re like in the comments section.


Don Bradman Cricket 17 is the best cricket action game there’s ever been (+ video)

We’ll freely admit that we haven’t actually played Don Bradman Cricket 17 yet, but our keen deduction skills have allowed us to reach the conclusion that is the best ever cricket action game anyway.

Our reasoning, in short: Don Bradman Cricket 14 was the best cricket action game at the time of its release, they’ve improved it a bit since then, and nothing else has come out in the meantime.

Sure, the developers could have utterly sabotaged what they already had, but that’s pretty unlikely. It’s just not how things work. Annual videogame updates generally mean ‘new database’ and ‘improved menus’. They’re not actually new versions in any conventional sense.

You can trust us on this. Once upon a time we used to review computer games as a sort-of-job. We are therefore an authority on this subject.

don-bradman-cricket-17-screenshot

Career mode is still ‘the thing’

You create a player, you play the game only as that player and you (hopefully) rise to international cricket as you get better at everything.

This alone is enough to elevate Don Bradman Cricket above all of its zero rivals.

You may be aware that playing even one Test innings demands quite a lot of concentration. It is therefore utterly baffling that other simulations demand that you play as all eleven batsmen. Before this game came along, many a pad-mashing cricket innings was cut shot by a bit of ‘actually, I’m kind of sick of this now – let’s see if we can defend 120’ slogging.

The big career development for this 2017 instalment is that you can be a woman. And we don’t mean being a woman controlling an on-screen man. You can be a woman controlling an on-screen woman, or a man controlling an on-screen woman.

don-bradman-cricket-17-screenshot-2

Tattoo mode!

You can also tattoo your player in this latest version.

We presume you can go for the classic modern ‘sleeve’. If so, remember kids – the tattoo denotes the ‘doing arm’.

More about Don Bradman Cricket

Here’s our full review of Don Bradman Cricket from back when it came out.

And here’s a link where you can buy it from Amazon. It’s available on PS4 and Xbox One and quite possibly on PC via Steam, although we could only find the demo when we looked earlier.


Thank you to Childish Things

A quick thank you to Childish Things, the guys who make International Cricket Captain, for agreeing to sponsor the site for the next month (although the hours we’ve lost to the game over the years, frankly they owe us). If you’re not running ad-blocking software, you’ll see a big, long ad for the 2014 version of the game just to the right. If you are running ad-blocking software, you may not – but you will see this post.

We’ve not played this latest version yet. We’d expect it to be some way more sophisticated than the 2009 instalment, which is the last one we did a proper review of. They say the match engine’s been refined to ensure greater realism, although the below screenshot does feature an Alastair Cook hundred.

icc-pc-screenshot

You can buy the game from the Childish Things website.

Advertising on King Cricket

If anyone else wants to sponsor the site, get in touch. You can have an ad for a month and a thank you post as long as you’re a proper company with a proper product and not just some 19-year-old emailing people asking for links because you work in SEO.


England v India ODI fantasy league

All Out Cricket’s Test series fantasy league is over. Our mini league, The Kingdom, was won by… er… did anyone actually check before they deleted the league? We’d guess it was either Balladeer’s Bhangra-Morris Fusion side or Patrick’s p = mv, both of which were almost certainly in the top 11 overall as well.

We think we (The Courtiers) came third or fourth in the mini league, which is respectable enough. We anticipate doing far, far worse in the one-day league.

Here’s what you need if you want to join that:

We managed to get 40-odd teams in our mini league last time around with minimal warning. We’d like to see more in this one. If nothing else, it’s quite a good way of retaining interest in one-day cricket. You could also adopt our selection of strategy of picking players you don’t really like so that when they do well, at least you get something out of it.


All Out Cricket fantasy game for England v India series

If you don’t already know, All Out Cricket magazine do a fantasy league thing. We’ve entered and set up a mini league. If you want to join and compete against us, it’s called The Kingdom and the not-so-secret key to gain access is ‘Rob Key’. Our team’s called The Courtiers.

The deadline for entry’s 10.30am on the morning of the first Test, which is tomorrow. Apologies if you miss out, but we only just registered ourself.

Update: It would be good if you could identify which team is yours in the comments as well. Or just pick a team name which makes it obvious. Or remain anonymous – that’s fine too.


Don Bradman Cricket 14 review | Xbox 360 and PS3

Don Bradman Cricket 14 - much better than the first 13 editions

Buy Don Bradman Cricket 14 from Amazon

No, you haven’t missed 13 iterations of this game. That 14’s the year. Quite why the year’s relevant when the game’s named after a guy who died 13 years ago is beyond us, but there you go.

Why Don Bradman?

It’s unusual to name a game after someone other than a current player, but the Don’s name has a bit of clout. His is also the only name you’ll recognise within any of the teams, although there’s a bit of a workaround there. When you start the game, you have the option to download ‘community’ players and teams which have supposedly been created by other users.

The downside of this is that the developers didn’t feel the need to create approximations of known players. One of our favourite aspects of these sorts of games is the chance to play as Shaun Whiston or Kelvin Petersong. Ah well. Maybe someone in the community will create them for us.

Any good?

Yes. Don Bradman Cricket 14 is the best cricket game we’ve played. It’s not perfect, but none of its flaws or bugs are so great that they undermine things and there’s much to enjoy.

We’ve put more info about the mechanics of batting and bowling on other pages to keep this review from getting too long, but suffice to say that both work pretty well – even if the former demands some rather complex manoeuvres with the controller.

Genuinely one of the harder shots to play in this game

The balance between bat and ball

Every cricket game ever has fallen down in this regard. You might be hitting every ball for six, struggling to lay bat on ball or bowling sides out for single figure scores. When the balance is wrong, it takes you out of the moment and at best this makes the game far less absorbing; at worst, it turns it into a joke.

In Don Bradman 14, batting is harder than bowling, but not ludicrously so. It’s possible to make runs, you tend to make them at a fairly plausible rate and we reckon it could become easier should the complex controls ever become second-nature (they aren’t for us). Bowling is a bit easier, but you still have to work for your wickets, trying different things out to see what works in the conditions.

Career mode

We spent most of our review of International Cricket 2010 going on about how there should have been a career mode. Perhaps the developers of Don Bradman Cricket 14 read it, because this game has one and there are two huge, huge advantages of that.

Firstly, you don’t get bored of having to play an innings. Real batsmen play one innings and that demands rather a lot of concentration, so why should gamers have to play as all 11 batsmen?

The second advantage relates to the aforementioned balance between bat and ball. If you’re shit at batting but ace at bowling, you don’t end up successfully defending double digit totals in 50 over games in some unrealistic world where every team’s populated by 11 Curtly Ambroses. No, the scores remain realistic because you only control one player’s contribution. If you’re shit at batting but ace at bowling, your team’s results remain credible and you simply bat at number 11. You also get to face different match situations, which adds even more depth to the game.

If there’s a downside, it’s that poor batting can lead to career mode becoming ‘bowling career mode’. Get a first-baller and you’ll probably want to go and spend some time in the nets having forgotten how to lay bat on ball. That said, it’s funny how tense you’ll feel when you do next come to the crease. It’ll make you think differently about batsmen enduring a poor run of form, we guarantee it.

Worth buying?

Yeah, we’d say so. You can buy it from Amazon or any of the other places where people usually buy these things.

If you’re in two minds, you can read about batting and bowling in more detail via the links below:


Ashes Cricket 2013 looks jeffing amazing

At least it does if you’re a connoisseur of games which have really bad bugs. We once spent an entire afternoon trying to get a game to reproduce the caption “Docking completercycle”. As such, this looks magic to our eyes.

They should rename it “Stuart Broad v The Netherlands Simulator”.

This video’s our favourite. As well as one of the batsmen overtaking the other, watch out for the ominous umpire. What will happen when he makes contact with the fielder near the stumps? The slow build-up’s everything here.


Ashes Cricket 2013 videogame preview

There’s always an Ashes cash-in game. The latest is somewhat unsurprisingly titled Ashes Cricket 2013.

Only it’s not out yet.

As far as we can tell, they decided they’d make the game from scratch, rather than doing the usual thing of updating the database and recording three more lines of commentary for the previous version. As a consequence, it isn’t finished. They’ve basically said that they could have released it, but after giving it a quick go, it turned out to be rubbish. That’s unusually considerate of them and fortunately the 2013/14 Ashes provides a second deadline, so maybe something will appear then.

Sadly, there is further bad news in that the game will feature official licensed Australian and English cricket teams, so there won’t be any amusing near-miss names. No Shaun Whiston. No Bert Jackson. No Jenny Bristow. No Kelvin Pieterswoggle.


The best players for a fantasy IPL team

We selected a fantasy IPL team on Cricinfo and were about to set up a league so that people could compete against us when we suddenly thought: ‘No, wait, this is bollocks.’

Do you want to know who the best players are for a Cricinfo fantasy IPL team? It’s whoever happens to be playing today. That’s the game.

You have a ridiculous number of transfers open to you, so the game is basically just to go into your account daily to transfer players. It’s not about picking guys you think will perform well; it’s about staying on top of things. It’s about checking the fixture list and ensuring you have the maximum number of players appearing each day.

You know you’re having a bad week when you’re this angry about the rules of a fantasy IPL game. You might say we should get some perspective, but that isn’t the problem. This isn’t what we’re annoyed about. This is just overspill.


Cricket management games – a must for administrators

It’s December the 24th and we’re feeling festive, so we’re going to write about everyone’s favourite pastime – administration.

In short, we have a demand: all potential cricket administrators should be forced to play four seasons on a cricket management game before they can be considered for any job.

We reached this conclusion after downloading a trial copy of the latest version of what was originally Marcus Trescothick’s Cricket Coach last night. We started a new game, decided to be England and were immediately confronted with a World Twenty20. This caused us to sigh wearily.

This always happens in cricket management games (International Cricket Captain is the other). Basically, the games suffer not because of how they are made, but because of what they are trying to simulate. Turns out managing an international cricket team is REALLY BORING, because you’re forever competing in some no-mark tournament or tri-series that you don’t give a toss about.

If cricket administrators had to play through the repetitive formulaic shenanigans of a five-match one-day tour of India – picking pretty much the same bloody team again and again and adopting the same bloody tactics match after match – they would know not to schedule two such series within the space of 12 months.

When it comes to measuring the sporting value of a fixture, the ‘skip match’ option is a very accurate barometer.

Happy Christmas to those of you who live in a country where that’s meaningful. Have an equally Happy December 25th, the rest of you.


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