It’s hard to believe that there hasn’t been an official Cricket title since Big Ant Studios’ Cricket 19, especially given how popular the sport is (though given recent events over the years, it’s understandable). Thankfully, the wait for a proper follow-up is now over. Cricket 22: The Official Game of the Ashes is now available for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and PS5 with the Nintendo Switch version slated to release in January 2022. Quite a lot has changed over the series’ last big outing in terms of mechanics, features and modes but there’s also plenty familiar for fans of the sport. Let’s take a look at 10 things you should know before buying the game.
One of the biggest overhauls over Cricket 19 has been the Career Mode. It’s now more narrative-focused with characters that will guide and interact with the player throughout the experience. After selecting a manager from the outset, you’ll customize your own character and start training, attending press conferences (where you can develop a good or bad relationship with the media depending on your answers), meeting with doctors (and dealing with any injuries that may arise), consulting with trainers and coaches, and much more. Players will also have to work to keep fans and sponsors happy, and there are extensive cutscenes for all of these interactions including Player of the Match scenes. It’s possible to practice at the nets or hit up the gym to partake in mini-games which will increase your overall strength and stamina.
Along with teams from Australia and England, Cricket 22 has expanded its roster significantly with the addition of teams from the West Indies, New Zealand and Ireland. The fully licensed rosters include players like current Australian Men’s captain Pat Cummons and Australian Women’s captain Meg Lanning (who are also the cover stars). The likes of James Anderson, Ellyse Perry, Sophie Ecclestone, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and many, many more are also included with their likenesses.
Ashes Series and Big Bash League
Along with the signature Ashes series, for which this represents the 2021-22 iteration that begins in December, Cricket 22 also includes the Big Bash League (with both men’s and women’s matches playable in the same). Big Bash League is essentially Australia’s Twenty20 cricket league and features eight teams based on city franchises competing. So if you’ve ever wanted to recreate the rivalry between the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers with all of the authentic players, then this is your chance.
Caribbean Premier League and The Hundred
New tournaments and leagues have also been added this year including the Caribbean Premier League and The Hundred. Established by Cricket West Indies, the former is a Twenty20 tournament with six franchises including the Barbados Royals, the Trinbago Knight Riders, the Jamaica Tallawahs and more. Then there’s The Hundred, an eight team tournament set in England and Wales which is focused on playing 100 balls per innings, thus providing a much faster, action-packed experience over the other formats.
Nets Challenge and Tutorials
In terms of improvements over previous titles, Cricket 22 also features overhauled tutorials which help first-time players to learn the ropes. There’s also the Nets Challenge, previously available as a pre-order bonus, which allows for testing one’s batting and bowling skills (along with competing for a spot on the leaderboard in a batting mini-game). It features difficulty settings for the AI, batting and bowling along with how realistic the physics should be. In terms of measuring one’s footwork, timing and shot choice, along with getting a feel for the overall controls, it’s worth jumping into for some practice.
It wouldn’t be cricket without the commentary and this year’s iteration has a pretty strong line-up. Along with former English cricketers Michael Atherton and David Gower, former Australian cricketers Mel Jones and Ian Healy are on board. Long-time commentator Alison Mitchell rounds out the roster, and for the first time in the franchise, an all-female commentary team is available for women’s matches. The developer notes that every shot will be called with “greater depth and analysis than ever before,” further adding to the immersion.
New Bowling and Fielding Controls
Among some of the new features in Cricket 22 are new bowling and fielding controls. The latter provides a “snap” when throwing the ball infield for a run-out but there’s a bit more going on with the bowling. Speaking to The Gamer, director of development Mike Merren talked about being able to place a mark on the pitch and aim for it while bowling. So if you’re not too keen on utilizing two sticks or are relatively new to the series, then this should make it easier to get into the game. Based on early Steam user reviews though, it seems that spinners don’t have their own unique actions, which takes a bit of authenticity out of the experience.
Ray Tracing and 4K/60 FPS on Xbox Series X
Big Ant Studios is touting this to be the best-looking Cricket ever (no, not the best-looking Cricket title but the best-looking Cricket). As debatable as that may be, Cricket 22 is listed on the Microsoft Store as running in 4K Ultra HD for Xbox Series X with support for +60 FPS and HDR10. Furthermore, it includes support for ray tracing and faster loading times. The PS5 version should support these as well, making for a pretty sizable graphical leap from Cricket 19.
Free Upgrades for Xbox One and PS4 Players
Cricket 22 is the first title in the series to release for Xbox Series X/S and PS5. The jury is still out on things like performance and fidelity over its predecessor but there’s good news for Xbox One and PS4 players. Even after purchasing the title on previous gen hardware, you can avail of free upgrades when shifting over to current gen consoles. Xbox’s Smart Delivery is also supported, which means that all progress, Achievements and save data should carry over between generations (and though this is Xbox only, we expect cross-gen save transfer for PlayStation to be available as well).
PC System Requirements
In terms of system requirements, Cricket 22 is a fair bit heftier than its predecessor. Minimum requirements include an Intel Core i3, AMD Ryzen 3 or higher, 8 GB of RAM and either an Nvidia GTX 650 Ti, AMD Radeon R7 260 or equivalent with 2 GB VRAM being the minimum. Recommended requirements include an Intel Core i5, AMD Ryzen 5 or higher, 16 GB of RAM and either an RTX 2060, Radeon RX 5500 XT or higher. In both cases, you’ll need Windows 10 64-bit or higher and 45 GB of total space to install the game.
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