Cricket 19 Review – Solid, But Unpolished

Fans of Big Ant Studios’ previous cricket games will enjoy Cricket 19, but the game is still rough around the edges.

Posted By | On 31st, May. 2019 Under Article, Reviews | Follow This Author @shubhankar2508


Judging by sheer numbers, cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, but when it comes to video games, it’s never quite been able to make its mark in a convincing fashion. Sure, there have been some, like EA Sports, and Codemasters, and now Big Ant, who’ve tried their hand at simulations of the sport, and they’ve all actually delivered some pretty good games over the years, too. But still, the sports genre is largely dominated by the likes of basketball, motorsports, American football, and real football, but cricket, for some reason, has never managed to permeate the gaming zeitgeist.

Cricket 19

"Those who’ve played Big Ant’s previous cricket titles will be quite familiar with what’s going on here. It’s better in some important ways, and more nuanced, but it’s more of the same."

Big Ant Studio’s Cricket 19 won’t do anything to change that. Those who’ve played Big Ant’s previous cricket titles will be quite familiar with what’s going on here. It’s better in some important ways, and more nuanced, but it’s more of the same. For those who were hoping for vast improvements over Big Ant’s past works, Cricket 19 might fall a bit short, but those who’ve enjoyed the studio’s previous cricket games will find that there’s plenty of fun to be had here.

Cricket 19 makes some important improvements on the pitch, the biggest of which has to be the AI, which actually puts up a decent fight here. Even on normal difficulty, I found that opposition batsmen were much better at managing the pace of their innings and placing their shots, while opposition bowlers would constantly try to change things up and try and bowl to the field. Matches, as a result, are much more engaging, and victories feel much sweeter as a result. Having to contend with batsmen who are wary about things such as finding gaps in the field or rotating the strike to make sure that more adept hitters of the ball are on strike, or with bowlers who, for instance, will deliver more leg deliveries if they figure out that’s your weaker side makes for an experience that demands much more active participation from the player.

The AI still feels a bit spotty on the fielding side though- fielders run at a sluggish pace more often than not and fail to catch up to shots that are all but crawling their way toward the boundaries, while often they also drop catches that they should have no business dropping whatsoever. It’s especially disappointing because at times it lets other improvements in the AI down, and because such things end up happening often enough for them to become a bit of a nuisance.

Cricket 19

"Cricket 19 makes some important improvements on the pitch, the biggest of which has to be the AI, which actually puts up a decent fight here. Even on normal difficulty, I found that opposition batsmen were much better at managing the pace of their innings and placing their shots, while opposition bowlers would constantly try to change things up and try and bowl to the field."

Off the pitch, Cricket 19 makes improvements in other key areas as well. For starters, the career mode is a much more engaging experience. It offers the option to play either as a rookie or an established player- I went with the former, and getting to build my own player and rising through the ranks, from club matches in parks to big international affairs in fully packed stadia, was great fun. There’s an enjoyable sense of progression in the career mode, and though it started feeling a bit grindy after a while, and though the mode isn’t the deepest, most expansive career mode you’ll see in a sports title, it’s still worth investing time in if you’re a fan of the sport.

Scenario mode is also a great addition. It allows you to customize, as the name suggests, the scenario for a match right down to the minutest of details, and share them with other players online. The level of customization on offer here is impressive, and tackling well-designed scenarios from the community is something that has the potential to encourage plenty of replay value. Big Ant have certainly provided the tools for the community to deliver a solid stream of content to itself, and I can see scenario mode becoming a popular addition with fans of the game.

Beyond that, there’s exhibition matches to play, which come in all shapes and sizes, as you’d expect- from ODIs, to T20s, to test matches, to even those with 5 over-innings apiece. Cricket 19 also adds women’s teams for both England and Australia – true to its Ashes license – which is a nice addition as well. All in all, there’s enough content here to keep you engaged for a while, and enough nuance in the on-pitch gameplay to make sure that that content is backed up by enjoyable moment-to-moment gameplay.

Cricket 19

"It’s in the presentation department that Cricket 19 falters. Cutscenes breaking up the action during matches are lacking in variety, and after you’ve played even more than a couple hours, you’ll start getting bored by their repetition and monotony, and the stilted and lifeless commentary does nothing to improve the dull atmosphere either."

It’s in the presentation department that Cricket 19 falters. There’s certainly improvements here to speak of as well- pre-match cutscenes exhibit much more flair than ever before, and are perhaps the best example of these improvements. But the game’s presentation ends up falling short regardless. Cutscenes breaking up the action during matches are lacking in variety, and after you’ve played even more than a couple hours, you’ll start getting bored by their repetition and monotony, and the stilted and lifeless commentary does nothing to improve the dull atmosphere either. Those mid-match cutscenes, by the way, also suffer from some pretty frequent frame rate drops.

The bland visuals also work to the detriment of Cricket 19’s presentation. Things such as the stadia and the pitches are sorely lacking in detail, crowds look like they’ve been made out of of poorly drawn cardboard cut outs, while the faces of the players and the umpires also look unnaturally stiff. It looks like a game from a decade ago, to be brutally honest, and while that doesn’t affect the playing experience much, it does, as I’ve mentioned, impact the presentation- and presentation is more important in sports games than it is in most other genres.

The lack of licenses definitely hurts as well. Cricket 19 is the official Ashes game for the year, which means England and Australia get fully licensed teams and stadia- but no other nation does. It’s not a game-breaking issue by any means, and there will be plenty of player-made roster customizations to download and make use of to remedy this issue, but for now, it’s enough of a problem to be noticeable.

Cricket 19

"If you’re able to get past these issues and get down to the meat of the actual moment-to-moment play, fans of the sport will find no shortage of fun."

But if you’re able to get past these issues and get down to the meat of the actual moment-to-moment play, fans of the sport will find no shortage of fun. Big Ant Studios have built on the foundation of already solid on-pitch gameplay with important upgrades, while also adding a compelling new mode and improving an existing one. Presentation issues still hold it back from delivering a truly authentic experience, but getting past those surface issues still leaves you with a solid cricket simulation.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.

THE GOOD

Noticeably improved AI; Career mode can be plenty of fun; Scenario mode is deeply customizable and adds replay value.

THE BAD

Lacklustre presentation; Bland visuals; Lifeless commentary; Lack of licenses.

Final Verdict

Cricket 19 is rough around the edges, but it makes some notable improvements in key areas. Fans of the sport will find plenty of enjoyment here.

A copy of this game was provided by developer/publisher for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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