15 months ago GR published a piece lamenting the fact that no one was playing, or so much as talking about, 2017’s official Ashes Cricket game. This summer the willow-waving world gets an opportunity to rectify that with today's announcement of a sequel: Cricket 19 - The Official Game of the Ashes.
The monicker mightn’t roll off the tongue as easily as “Brian Lara”, the West Indian legend who fronted a series of classic cricket offerings from UK studio Codemasters in the ‘90s and 2000s. But gameplay, rather than names, is paramount here, and Aussie developer Big Ant has gained plenty of positive feedback from fans for the realistic batting and bowling on offer in its Don Bradman games. Cricket 19 continues that legacy.
Big Ant says the new game will build upon those already impressive fundamentals by coming up with specific bowling plans to attack your individual – or team – weaknesses, and introduce savvier AI play when it comes to understanding the context of a match while batting: such as rotating the strike to protect a tail-ender, or looking for gaps in your field placement when at the crease.
The most popular feature in both Ashes Cricket and the Bradman games which preceded it is customisation. While officials kits and team names are limited, fan-made edits can be swiftly found and imported via a user-friendly sharing interface, and you can expect these options to be further enhanced in Cricket 19.
A new scenario mode, and additional depth to career mode with news headlines affecting your career trajectory, are also promised.
Most excitingly for those who fancy a spot of six-smashing on the go, Big Ant is bringing the series to Nintendo Switch for the first time. That version will drop alongside the PS4 and Xbox One releases in May, with a PC edition to follow later in the summer.
“Whether you’re looking to enjoy a 20-year cricket career that takes you from the club level to captaining the national team, re-create an ODI or IT20 series or take part in the Ashes, or just bash some balls around with friends, Cricket 19 has you covered,” says Big Ant CEO Ross Symons.
This year's real-life Ashes between England and Australia gets underway at Edgbaston on 1 August, culminating with the fifth and final test at the Oval from 12-16 September.
Cricket 19 is released on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in May, with the PC version coming later. We'll have a more detailed preview on GamesRadar soon. In the meantime, here's a look back at the best sports games of 2018.