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    Don Bradman Cricket: Review

    Cricket is one of the most loved sports in South Africa and there isn’t a year that goes by that we don’t berate, celebrate or dispensing advice to our beloved Proteas.

    But there is one thing in this world game developers just simply cannot get right: develop a successful cricket game. It seems like a strange thing, as Electronic Arts can make games like American football, baseball and even ice hockey, and get the precision down to exactly the nuances and the technicalities that one can see on the ice.

    But for some strange reason, cricket just seems to go completely over the heads of any developer that has ever tried to develop a game for cricket lovers. The latest studio to do so is Big Ant Studios and even though it is not a new game Don Bradman Cricket was first released for Xbox 360 it has now made it turn onto the Xbox One.

    If you have play the Xbox 360 version, nothing has really changed between the previous version and the Xbox One iteration.

    For starters, when you first fire up the game you are immediately asked if you would like to import custom players created by others into the full games roster, as this title doesn’t have the licensing for real names and real teams. That already raises a red flag with me, if you asked the community to actually contribute to make the game somewhat better.

    But when all is said and done and the update has completed, you can at least play with the current rosters of all 79 teams. Right, let’s get onto the mechanics…As mentioned, there is fundamentally nothing that sets the Xbox One version apart from the 360 title.

    When you start the game, you can choose to start a career mode which will take you through the motion of playing county cricket and then onto an international team, or if you prefer you can just play the single matches in all the modes of cricket that is available like T20, ODI, Five day or the English County Pro 40 league.

    Don Bradman Cricket has some nice ideas and tries very hard to implement them, but ultimately the title falls in the trap that cricket is an extremely complex game to get right in terms of mechanics.

    To bowl a ball successfully, you have to go through this weird up-down-up motion with the analogue sticks, which control your jump height and where your foot crosses over the line. We know it’s a difficult motion to assign actions to, but innovation would have gone a long way here.

    Batting is no different: sticks select the shot type and direction you want to aim, while the triggers determine if it is a ground stroke or a power shot. Once again we acknowledge that it’s tricky to get right, but innovation is what drives the industry.

    Fielding a whole different kettle of fish, and if you have about three hours to waste during the day, try it. You’ll be walking on the field with nothing to do, until the odd chance of the ball actually coming your way.

    Don Bradman Cricket could have been so much better, if it wasn’t for the shoddy and repetitive commentary, strange ball physics and action mechanics. But that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t grab yourself a copy. If you love cricket, you might just find enjoyment in it. It’s not the best game, but it better than the rest.


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