Cricket 24 is this most faithful recreation of the real thing, but there is still some way to making this akin to many AAA sports titles.
This game has enough for cricket fans to have a fun time with, but if you’re not a fan of the sport, you’ll be bored and turn this one off almost straightaway.
In all honesty, for someone who first picked up a cricket game in the days of Brian Lara International Cricket on the PS1, this is lots of fun to play but does have a number of shortcomings in the gameplay department. The most satisfying part of this game is the batting. The feeling you get when you adjust the player’s feet and hit the ball with the meat of the bat releases those endorphins perfectly.
The difficulty settings on this game are superb. You can adjust every slider within the game to match exactly how you want to play; however, be aware these sliders can cause a bit of a headache for those who don’t enjoy menu grinding.
Now, onto the bit that is quite boring and iffy. The bowling feels very hit-and-miss (if you pardon the pun). I played with a number of the top and worst bowlers, and there is genuinely no consistency as to who to use. I suppose that is the point. The game wants you to experiment with different bowlers, but I honestly got frustrated with the higher difficulties. I really did struggle to get batters out, no matter the level or style of bowling I tried.
The fielding is the most inconsistent part of this game. The catching mechanic is superb and does make you earn those vital outs dependent on how the ball is flying through the air. The negatives come when you think a player will make it to stop a four, then for some reason just stops in their tracks; simply bizarre. Sometimes, there are times a fielder somehow makes the most amazing run outs and looks to have magic powers as they seem to be aiming at one end of the stumps but then throw the ball to the other end.
The worst aspect of gameplay is definitely the commentary. New commentator Adam Gilchrist is okay, but he and the rest of the commentary team seem to have forgotten what game they watching or just seem to be about 10 minutes behind the action.
Graphics and Licenses
This is a very hard to compliment part of the game. Cricket 24 boasts over 300 players who have had their faces scanned, and the likes of Australia captain Pat Cummins and Afghan star Rashid Khan do look very much like their real-world counterparts. The licensed uniforms also look superb, like the gold on the Mumbai Indians’ kits and the gloss on the stickers of the players’ bats.
On the other hand, the attention to detail does seem to be lacking. The hairstyles of some players just look so poor, and it seems like some of the players haven’t been updated in ages as Stuart Broad (who has retired now) doesn’t have his signature Karate Kid headband that he sported in the latter stages of his career.
The game does have a number of licensed franchise formats and teams, including The Indian Premier League, The Hundred, The Big Bash League, and several other franchise tournaments, which takes the total of playable formats in Cricket 24 to twenty-three.
While this is impressive, it is definitely about quantity over quality as the graphics, for the most part, haven’t changed much in years. There are some detailed textures, but there are just some bizarre bits missing in this game, and it doesn’t look like a truly next-gen sports title. Then, there are the myriad graphical glitches in this game to contend with. We already spoke about the issues with the fielders, but sometimes players become invisible, the camera clips into player models and players with ponytails seem to turn into Venom when running.
I also experienced a number of crashes during my time with the game, and I did have a few freezes, especially when trying to play online.
While the core gameplay of batting and bowling is enjoyable and you do get a sense that the team at Big Ant Studios really does have a love for the sport, the game needed a lot more polish before coming out. I could maybe have understood why the game was made for this year given the Ashes series that concluded in July, but maybe they should have cooked this one up for the next series in 2025 and ironed out more of those bugs.
The number of teams and players on display here is impressive, and there is a game mode or format of cricket to satisfy pretty much every fan of the sport, but it does seem like there needed to be more done to iron out the licensing inconsistencies rather than just chucking it all into this game and hoping for the best.
Overall, while the core gameplay is fun, there are just too many issues with this one to make it a must-buy for anyone outside of cricket fandom. In summation, a bang-average game that will be on huge reductions by Christmas and might be worth a look if it gets added to an Xbox Game Pass or PlayStation Plus catalogue in the coming months.
Developer: Big Ant Studios
Platforms: PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X, PC, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 5th October 2023