It’s been a long time since PC gamers had a cricket game. With the last few games setting the standard very low for cricket games, there were slim hopes from this one.
Out of the box, Don Bradman Cricket 14 has 1 licensed team, 2 licensed stadiums and a Licensed Don Bradman. Now this isn’t very encouraging especially if your Licensed team is Russia (I’m not kidding! Russia has a cricket team). But out of the box, it also comes with a “Best Teams” feature which makes use of Don Bradman Cricket 14’s Online Community to pretty much by pass any licensing woes for at-least the most popular teams. Further more it’s got an extensive editing feature which let’s you edit everything, from Team Kits to Match Types. Users can also download other players or even Umpires from the Online Community. In many ways Don Bradman Cricket 14’s biggest strength is its online community which makes the game feel much more authentic!
Don Bradman Cricket 14 brings in a lot of changes from the previous cricket titles in its gameplay. For starters the animations are much more realistic, be it batsmen nicking the ball or taking an easy single, everything is pretty much authentic. Little details like ball wear and tear and bowler fatigue have also been kept in mind.
The difficulty level varies too, it’s not extremely easy to just start hitting sixes at will over here. The batsman needs to have significant confidence to do so. If a bowler is too fatigued, he’d find it hard to bowl the desired line and length. Even AI Confidence comes into play here, so if a bowler from has taken some quick wickets he’s bound to trouble you a lot more than someone who’s being hit around the park.
This isn’t the regular cricket game, which is easily mastered after a week’s play. Its unpredictable and the AI hardly ever fails to put up a tough fight!
The game also features a Decision Review System (UDRS) which it calls (BARS), it lets you challenge the umpires decision. Here things like Hawk-Eye, Snicko and Hot-spot come into play. My experience with UDRS hasn’t produced very satisfactory results, while a couple of times it did give the right decision, a lot of other times the decision was completely biased towards the computer, which can soon become frustrating.
Just like the real world UDRS, it’s best to keep DBC 14’s BARS switched off.
As for the control set, the batting controls are pretty straight forward and impressive. The 360 degree shot selection is a welcome change given that 360 degree shots in previous games meant shots in just eight
directions! That being said, the 360 degree shot selection comes at a cost, it prevents the game from being played using a keyboard.
The bowling controls are a little underwhelming though, since there’s only limited stuff you can do with them. There’s no option to try and reverse swing a ball or to ball a zooter. In fact there’s little you can do decide where you want to pitch it. However, they aren’t much of a deal breaker.
Bowling Controls are pretty basic. But not much of a deal breaker
In Depth Detail and Customisation
There’s a lot of detail to be found in Don Bradman Cricket 14. As the match progresses you’ll find the ball wear and tear making it more suitable for spinners. Bats to get red marks after playing for long hours. You also get to see a neat little presentation ceremony on winning a tour! Tiny details like these make the game quite enjoyable.
There are a lot of game modes to be found here, from complete international tours including practice matches to round robin of knockout tournaments all them are customizable and can tweaked to suit the users need.
The game also features the entire ICC future tours program schedule for preset tours.
There’s also a match type editor in here, so you can go ahead and create exciting five over matches or even day / night test matches.
A career mode has been on pretty much every cricket gamers wish list ever since the advent of cricket games. This one finally grants the wish.
Basically you start as a 16 year old in the domestic team of your country and then move up to eventually playing in the national team. It’s about 20 years of cricket that you play with your cricketer.
A Career Mode. Yay!
Don Bradman Cricket Academy
Don Bradman Cricket 14 is one of the most customizable games I’ve ever played. In many ways Don Bradman Cricket Academy’s online community makes the game the brilliant game it is.
With just a single licensed team one would think DBC 14 would never reach the authenticity level of a fully licensed game like FIFA. But it’s cricket academy covers that and brilliantly!
The options to create a player and a team are extremely customizable and easy to use. You’d be surprised how easy it is to create a certain player with complete likeness and a team with a completely authentic
There’s nothing you can’t customize here. Players, Teams, Kits, Jerseys, Match Types and even Tours & Tournaments are all extensively customizable. All this also adds up to the longitivity of the game.
Pro Mode Cameras
There’s some innovation to be seen in the in-game cameras too. Specially the batting ones.
The pro mode allows you to get right behind the helmet and experience the game as it is. It’s nothing more than a gimmick though, as it’s extremely hard to bat that way in a cricket game when the visibility is
restricted to certain angles only.
Pro Mode is gimmicky but its fun to be behind your favorite player’s helmet and bat like in the real world!
The camera behind the batsman is perhaps the most comfortable way of playing the game. Similar to Stick Cricket’s batting camera. This one allows you to place the short in the right direction with so much more
The regulars exist too, like the broadcast and behind the bowler view.
Differently styled Teams
Another big move in Don Bradman Cricket 14 is the ability to play the game like it was played in the old times. You can go on to create teams with vintage, pre / post war jerseys and kits, You’ll even find a WG Grace bat in there.
And believe it or not you can play with a lagaan style team complete with the bizarre match format!
You can play in the Lagaan style kits, bizarre match format included!
The games graphics aren’t the best of the recent times but are farely good. At least they aren’t as bad as something like Ashes Cricket 09 or EA Sport’s Cricket 07, the last two significant PC cricket games.
Decent graphics aside, the game does have a few fun elements to it. As the day progresses the stadium shadows change, the flood lights appear slowly and even the sky changes color as the sun sets.
While Don Bradman Cricket Academy adds the missing authenticity of players and teams it fails to tackle the problem of unlicensed stadiums.
Don Bradman Cricket 14 comes with two licensed stadiums, the Sydney Cricket Ground and Bradman Oval. They’ve know doubt been done beautifully, easily blending into the game.
But the unlicensed stadiums stick out like sour thumbs. Most of the unlicensed grounds are plain ugly. Especially, the Delhi Park stadium which is pretty much unplayable. Thanks to the hideous dressing room.
Most unlicensed stadiums lack the grace of real world stadiums
Commentated by David Basheer and Matthew Hill, Don Bradman’s Commentary is a sour reminder of the previous games we’ve played. The commentators chat very little about the match situation, have only a few preset punch-lines and run out of steam very quickly.
Also, the commentary is a bit unnatural in a lot of places. Like the commentator getting super exited about a Double Hat-trick ball, which is quite bizarre as I’ve never seen a commentator do that! or the slight sense of irritation when the commentators exclaim that the Batsman wouldn’t be pleased after the bowler cancelled his run up mid way, it isn’t a big deal but the commentary makes it look like the bowler committed a grave mistake.
The Commentary runs out of steam very quickly.
The Two Commentator system is old now. I’ve seen a lot of cricket games stick to it but its so old that it feels un-natural now. While, Ashes Cricket 09 did do a good job with commentary where it had about 4-5
commentators out of which two would be picked randomly for a match and you’d hear them chat about their times as a cricketer. It was fun to hear it even though it grew repitative after a while. Ideally there should be a about 3-4 commentators who are rotated randomly during the match and we should actually hear them talk. Not just shout out what’s happening in the game but I guess we are a long way away from that time.
Don Bradman Cricket 14 isn’t perfect. There are bugs to be fixed, gameplay flaws which could be improved, the graphics need severe improvements to catchup with the best in class PC games. Then there’s a lot to improve in the game’s bowling control system too.
But despite all that it misses, Don Bradman Cricket 14 is a delightfully addictive game for followers of cricket. It’s also the by far the best cricket game I’ve ever played. (The closest next would be a 17 year old classic called Cricket 97).
This is in many ways the first real attempt at making a cricket game which isn’t just a bad promotion for a popular cricket rivalry. It isn’t perfect but Don Bradman Cricket 14’s solid gameplay makes it a game that you can cherish for a long time to come.
Don Bradman Cricket 14 isn’t perfect but its the best cricket game I’ve ever played
Requires a controller to play. If you are looking for a controller just to play this one game, I’d suggest Logitech F310. Its cheap and gets the job done or you could by the special edition DVD which comes with a gamepad included.