For cricket fanatics who fancy a swing to send Mitchell Starc and Co over the rope or knock Virat Kohli’s middle stump down with a perfect yorker, here’s the chance to pitch it up, writes Alvin Thomas
Simulation games can be quite fun to play – yes, somebody had to stick up for them. It’s a genre that continues to be left behind the likes of more famous action, adventure or even mystery gaming titles.
One game – the Cricket Captain 2017 – received my attention late last year, and I’ve been hooked to it ever since. As the name suggests, it’s a game for cricket fanatics, though it isn’t your average sports game like Don Bradman Cricket or Brian Lara Cricket.
You cannot control the movements of your players, choose your shots or even decide when to run; it’s completely at the mercy of the game’s engine. But what makes Cricket Captain a formidable title is its versatility and diverse campaign mode.
No, really! You start off by choosing your country and progressing as the captain and coach of the team. That means you can pick your team, provide training to your players, choose batters and bowlers, the field settings and even the aggression levels of the players.
This is what sets this game apart from other simulation games I’ve tried. Mind you, it’s not easy to simply jump into the game and score runs. You need to set a game plan and stick to it.
For instance, if you’re playing as the Australian team, you need to choose your lineup and arrange them for batting and bowling.
Let’s say you begin bowling and select Mitchell Starc as your opening bowler. Being the left-arm fast bowler that he is, your best bet would be to swing the ball away from the batsman to eke out the edge of his bat. For that, you can suggest him to pitch the ball in the ‘good’ area of the pitch and towards the middle stump. Of course, he’s not going to do it every time, but when it all goes well, you’ll see the wickets tumbling.
Also dynamic are the pitches, which change along the course of a match. More often than not, as time progresses, you’ll find Indian pitches turning into spin traps wherein batsmen struggle to keep their wickets intact. Australian pitches, on the other hand, will invoke deadlier reverse swing for the pacemen.
The downside of the game is its graphics. It does look like it was designed in the early 2000s – which probably was the case. But additional rosters with newer player lineups keep the game alive. The gaming engine can also get a bit annoying, especially in crucial times in a T20 game, when the batsmen simply decide to play defensive. The leg-before-wicket (LBW) system is far from perfect too.
Cricket Captain definitely has a long way to go before it can become the best simulation game out there but, for now, it is one of the most engaging sports titles
money can buy. And that’s a testament to how good a game this truly is.
You can buy the game for Mac or PC for about RO6.5.