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DON BRADMAN CRICKET from a Scottish point of view

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Don Bradman Cricket released originally as Don Bradman Cricket 14 on the PS3 and Xbox 360. It has been available on the current generation consoles (PS4 and the console one does not wish to mention) for around 7 months or so. Developed by Big Ant Studios in Australia, its release was never going to reach the heights of the EA Sports AAA titles and whilst I finally got my hands on a copy just over a month ago (after a solid recommendation most salesmen would envy) and even then found that finding a copy was as hard a challenge as it would be facing a Mitchell Johnston fast ball.
The game itself doesn’t have the great look of what one would expect from the current generation, nor does it have the fancy soundtrack, in fact when you first start up the game none of the teams or players from world cricket is even in the game. Then later, mainly due to licencing costs and the other missing factors, are probably down to the small developer, but in all honest truth this game does not need the big fancy flashy things to make it the great and enjoyable experience that has had me put hour upon hour into the game. 
In order to overcome the lack of real world players, Big Ant (and credit to them) has included a community creation option whereby you are able to create your own team and players for you to then share them online. With having this option within a couple of minutes, one is able to download a creation database which installs and gives you access to all the teams and players one associates with cricket in the modern and past eras of cricket. From the Big Bash to the IPL, all the current teams and players are available, with realistic stats on par to their real world counter parts, as well as a few from the past including the great Don himself and Dennis Lilly (with the headband included).


Career mode is generally the only mode I have played to date, and I've spent a big chunk of my time there. This mode sees you create a player, choose your role e.g. batsman, bowler or all-rounder. You then select your team and away you go. The game has your player start off in domestic cricket and depending on how good you are the sky is the limit in terms of obtaining the ultimate goal of captaining your country. If you continue to play well and score runs and take wickets you progress up through the ranks from Domestic to International cricket as well as gaining selection for the various T20 tournaments that are held throughout the world. However there is a catch, continuing to play well will see your players stats increase, while playing a poor game where you get out cheaply or bowl a bad ball, you will soon see your player stats will slide. Even once selected for your country this is not a guarantee as I found out early after being selected for the England One Day team. A poor showing during a tournament saw me dropped and sent packing back to the domestic league.
The game play is where the game is at its strongest, and gone are the hold your hand tips and tricks of previous cricket games that have graced a console. In short this game is as realistic as one can get without donning on the pads and gloves and walking out to the middle of the oval and this is because it all comes down to one thing TIMING. Without going into details, when batting, the controls are all about shot selection foot position and getting it all right at the right time to get the cherry to hit the meat of the bat. A mistimed shot can see you edge to first slip, a wrong selection trapped LBW and there is no tutorial to prepare you for the reverse swing or unexpected body line bouncer. The game does have a practice nets session available before every game and it's vital to spend some time in there to hone in on your skills and also increase your stats.



Bowling on the other hand is just as brutal as batting, controlling the type and speed of each delivery, one also has to perfectly time their approach to the crease to avoid over stepping the mark as well as a timely release to avoid a wild wide or no ball. Once again it’s all about timing. Get it right you can be in line to hit the stumps or get it to swing through to the keeper, but don’t expect an easy time with the opposition. As in the real world the bowler has to get into the batsmen head and play him into going for that leg cutter with the hope he has a big edge to second slip.
Don Bradman Cricket on the PS4 has been around for 7 months since its release, 2 weeks ago it finally had an update, and as T20 has put the fun in watching cricket in the real world, the new update has definitely put the fun into what was already a solid and enjoyable game. The main feature in the update is online CO-OP, where you and a friend can team up and take on the cricketing world together. Last night Red and I gave it a few goes (I say a few as Tassie ADSL isn’t as smooth as the mainland NBN) and boy what a great few hours of fun and laughs. Both control a batsman at the crease and as in the real world communication is the key. The call to go for that third run after a drive through the covers, or not run the risk and be content with two, and yes there were a few run outs when things didn’t go to plan. The laughs though would always come at the last ball of an over whereby one would try and run a single and hog the strike whilst the non-strikers end would push circle on the controller for a big 'NO'. Bowling is the same as batting whereby each takes turns at an over and the other player controls the field, it’s an enjoyable experience and I believe Red is still to take a wicket. In coming to a close it usually is a long time between drinks for cricket games and even though its release was nearly over a year ago, Don Bradman Cricket on the PS4 isn't about to stop for stumps. In fact it's only the tea break on day two and the wicket has lot of life left in her before she crumbles and breaks up.


(RATING 4/5) + Realistic controls and gameplay + Replay value (no game is the same) - Previous generation graphics

Andrew Roy
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