Howzaaaaaaaaa! Don Bradman Cricket 14 Demo Steps Up

By Alice O'Connor on May 23rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Get in, my son!

I enjoy a spot of cricket myself, knocking a ball around the park with chums on summer afternoons, but have never played a cricket video game. Seeing that a demo for Don Bradman Cricket 14 arrived on Steam yesterday, I thought I’d not only share that news with the awfully English RPS readership but have a crack myself. Grabbing the only controller I have at hand, I launched into it and, er, felt like a horrible old Luddite mumbling “It’s not much like cricket, is it?”

It’s not meant to be, of course. Like FIFA, Madden, and all those other sports games, Don Bradman Cricket 14 is nothing like the experience of playing the sport. It doesn’t feel like standing on grass, testing the weight of the bat, practising strokes, catching the bowler’s eye and sharing a smile then they charge up and let loose and you watch the ball dance and reach back and swing.

No, we’re the insufferable sort of spectator who knows what players should do better than they themselves do, the kind of chuffing great fool who’ll sit 100 metres away jeering that the batsman should’ve knocked that ball for six, as if they made a conscious decision to let it hit their wicket. But in Don Bradman Cricket 14 we are that jerk, blessed with the magical ability to force our will upon players. Leave that ball! Belt that one! No, not like that you idiot!

In my short, frustrating visit, I mostly missed balls in the nets. That said, I did immensely enjoy the jeers of “Ayyy! Howzaat!” and “Azzaaa!” and “AAAAAAA!” when the bowling machine got me out.

I like to think I’m an acceptable batter (unless it’s a slow ball, in which case I’ll inevitably watch it drift under my bat) but I didn’t hit a single ball over several minutes in the nets. But that’s fine. The demo has numbers too. Lots of teams and lots of players and lots of stats and lots of fielding patterns and lots of tour schedules and lots of all of those sorts of things. Not following professional cricket, it meant little to me.

Don Bradman Cricket 14, then, is not a demo I would recommend to casual cricketers. If you’ve lived this long without playing a cricket video game, it’s probably not for you. If you do like cricket video games, however, I suspect this may have all the sorts of things you expect from such a thing. It seems very sports video game-y. That’s probably good? I suspect Don Bradman himself–born 1908 and died 2001–might be baffled too. The full game will launch on June 26.

It also has a character creator too. I tried making myself. It could’ve gone worse:

That'll have to do.

, .

37 Comments »

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  1. leeder krenon says:

    “I didn’t hit a single ball over several minutes in the nets.”

    did you push the left stick forward at the same time as moving the right stick? i had this problem too until i realised you had to use both sticks :-)

    • leeder krenon says:

      (the left stick controls your footwork and the right stick your shot, and the shoulder buttons allow you to play defensive or aggressive)

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        I SEE. I’d assumed my timing and stroke selection was the problem (they are also part of the problem). Cricket games, eh?

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          Rikard Peterson says:

          Surely I’m not the only one who miss the days when games and other computer software came with manuals? These days, you’re too often just expected to somehow know how everything works.

          • leeder krenon says:

            Indeed, although this info is buried away in a menu screen in the game.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            Lacking documentation is strangely common in this Information Processing Machine Age. Perhaps it’s an assumption that someone else will handle it with community wikis, forums etc.

            My favourite scenario is finding a promising mod’s website and they neglect to tell you what game they actually modded.

            Another one is when a manual exists but also an extensive in-game tutorial so you think it’s safe to skip reading. But of course some important things were left out by the evil tutorial designer goblins.

            In Skyrim, I learned about ordering followers around to pick locks, step out of my way and not walk on traps etc when looking through the manual ~70 hours in…
            /rant

        • Han says:

          I feel it’s a bit unfair to say this game is not suited to casual cricket fans when the basis for this conclusion is the writer not reading the controls properly. The developers have aimed this at all cricket fans from the outset, and it is no more difficult to play than any other sport game (provided you know the rules of cricket of course).

          I would hate for someone to read this article, assume its too complex for them, and miss out on probably the greatest cricket game since Brian Lara 97.

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      JiminyJickers says:

      It took me around 30 mins of frustration until I figured this out. Wish the demo would let you bat out in the field for an over, but it is just the nets. Still, I quite like sports games and may pick this up as long as the AI don’t go beserk, like in the last PC cricket game.

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    Snidesworth says:

    Is that a controller cosy?

  3. pupsikaso says:

    Cricket is still a thing? O.o

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      thedosbox says:

      Cricket is still a thing?

      Yes, the Twenty20 format has become very popular and kept interest in the game alive.

      On an unrelated note, I think this could be the first in a new RPS series – castle shotgun writers playing demos badly.

      • Dijeangenie says:

        Test cricket is just as popular as ever, T20 cricket might help to gather some interest, but it is really ODI cricket that suffers.

        • FurryLippedSquid says:

          Only in England.

          • Ingall says:

            Australia also. And as far as test cricket goes, England and Australia is all that matters ;)

            …. under the southern cross I stand…..

        • iucounu says:

          ODI seems to have gone stagnant. I much prefer T20 and Test… would be happy if 50-over cricket just quietly disappeared.

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        We each have our specialist subjects, and should be forced outside them. So very far outside.

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          thedosbox says:

          As the news editor, can’t you make this happen? I’d love to see/hear John’s attempt at FIFA 14 for example.

          • Alice O'Connor says:

            What if, in revenge, he forces me to play Hearts of Iron IV? Then I’ll act out and make Alec play Dota 2, and it’ll all careen downhill from there.

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            Fiyenyaa says:

            I would love to see you playing a HoI game, and I’d love to see Alec playing Dota 2, and I’d love to see John playing Fifa.
            Well, the Dota bit might have me gnawing on my own desk in frustration, but I’d still watch it.

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          thedosbox says:

          What if, in revenge, he forces me to play Hearts of Iron IV? Then I’ll act out and make Alec play Dota 2, and it’ll all careen downhill from there.

          Use your power for nefarious purposes. Also remember to submit your controller for tomorrow’s bargain bucket on rock plushie shotgun.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Cricket is still a remarkable thing.

    • fish99 says:

      Test cricket is still one of the most fascinating, deep, refined and absorbing sports, and it can be very exciting too, but it takes a ton of time to understand what’s going on as a viewer and you need 5 days free to watch a test match.

      You also sadly need Sky (in the UK) to watch it live and personally I think Rupert Murdoch is rich enough already.

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    DrollRemark says:

    I let a double bouncer roll under my bat this week. I am a fantastic batsman.

  5. DarkFarmer says:

    but will the doombringer extend his arms to signify that north and south are now east and west?

  6. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Alice – are the D-pads and the rest of the face buttons under all that luxuriant fur? Do you have to feel around to find them?

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      They’re there! I know where they are, though the right shoulder button does keep getting snagged on one of the internal staples.

  7. brulleks says:

    Am I missing something, or is this one of the stingiest demos ever? Managed to get a grip of the batting controls fairly quickly (not boasting Alice, honest!), so decided to try a game, but nope. Nothing. Not even match practice, or just a few overs, to give an idea of what the game engine proper is actually like.

    • leeder krenon says:

      It would appear the demo is more of a front end for people to create teams and players, as the game isn’t licensed. So they get the fans to do all the work on that. Sneaky eh!

      I asked the devs on the Steam forums if they could add a bit of a proper game to the demo and it doesn’t sound likely :(

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        JiminyJickers says:

        Aw, not licensed, that is not good. Mind you, still looks decent.

      • brulleks says:

        It’s a shame, as I like what I’ve seen of the control system for batting, but without seeing how the rest of it plays there’s no way I’d part with money for it yet.

  8. Tony M says:

    I bought one of the old EA Cricket games many years ago. It shipped with a bug where if you hit too many runs in one quadrant of the field, the game would crash and you couldn’t continue. Players discovered the bug on day one, but EA never bothered to release a patch and just expected you to buy next years version.

    Kids think EA is evil now, they were proper evil back in the day.

  9. iucounu says:

    There have never been any really good cricket games.

    If you try to simulate it at the level of individual deliveries, there are serious problems. First, are you going to play every ball of a Test match? No. Especially when you often get 10 seconds of dead air between each one as the bowler picks up the ball, wanders back to his mark, gets ready.

    Second, every implementation I’ve ever seen has a marker showing where the ball is going to pitch in order to give the batting player a chance to actually hit the ball, seeing as we don’t have the reflexes of actual cricket pros, and cricket is an extremely tough hand-eye coordination sport. You end up in a weird interface where the more accurate the bowler is, the easier the ball is to hit because you know where it’s going to land. Or some kind of broken version where the best plan is to bowl continual yorkers, or play continual sweep shots, or something. It never plays like cricket.

    So it seems the thing to do, to get more accurately simulated cricket, is to go to a slightly abstract version where you’re not directly controlling every ball and shot, but you’re managing the players’ attitudes and strategies. This is the International Cricket Captain method – set some sliders, click to bowl over. But this just means you’re setting sliders and clicking. It makes for realistic matches, but it’s uninvolving.

    The game I’ve played that feels most like cricket, recently, is a deck-building card game a friend is playtesting, which plays a bit like Ascension, oddly.

  10. Frostyvegi says:

    Have been playing this game for the last 7 weeks on the PS3, eagerly awaiting the PC release (for better graphics and sound reasons). The bugs in the original release have been worked on and ironed out, still another patch to come to improve things a heap more (mainly relating to balance issues). Very fun game, career mode is simple but well done, forces you to actually care about your wicket. Bowling is like batting in that everything is at your control, uses the analogue sticks and thus makes it difficult to deliver a perfect ball every time (just like in real life). No longer a game of ‘look at the mark on the pitch’ when batting or bowling, but playing like they do for real, watch the ball, judge the line and length, hope it doesn’t deviate too much, and not always gonna smash it for 6.

  11. SylentEcho says:

    I like how the title of the article uses the phrase, ‘Step up’ that originates from Baseball for a cricket article. Ha!