Cricket 22: The Official Game of the Ashes (PS5) Review
Ah, the cricket. It’s a sport so steeped in tradition that when Australia and England come to blows, they don’t compete for silver but for a small urn. Cricket 22 came out just in time for the Ashes, and if Big Ant Studios were to bank on an exciting series to generate sales for six, well, he’d be scratching his head watching the Poms’ performance so far. Instead, the studio will have to rely on fellow Australians feeling empowered enough to hurt Joe Root and his team even more.
Obviously, MLB The Show games are a huge inspiration here, with hitters built around three types of shots: accuracy, power, and defense. You will need to choose the right type of shot based on the length and line of the bowl you are facing, and find the gap between the defensive players in order to score points. Bowling relies on a triple click counter similar to what you’ll find in a game like Everybody’s Golf, but you can select what kind of spin you want on the ball and even apply an aftertouch. There are also analog options for those who want a greater challenge.
Considering the frigid pace of traditional cricket testing, it’s an acquired taste, but the ability to lock the gameplay down to a specific player speeds up matches and feels great here. This, of course, also extends to career mode, which was heavily inspired by Road to the Show. Here you go from rookie county cricketer to international superstar, boosting your stats and adding perks that suit your style of play as you go.
There is 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 authoring suite means fans will be able to create any missing players or clubs and share them online, which should fill in the small gaps that exist.
The biggest downside, then, is just the underlying lack of budget: Cricket is pretty popular, but it’s not baseball, and it’s clear Big Ant Studios just didn’t have the resources to master. key game mechanics, such as the terrain, which appears flat. and unrealistic due to the limited selection of animation cycles in its library.