Posted: June 20, 2014
Just to note up front - I've been playing the game on PC early, I run the cricket video games forum PlanetCricket, where the developers are active in discussing the game and responding to feedback, and gave me the chance to get the PC version before release.
If you've played the console version - the best reason to make the jump to the PC version is the vastly improved performance of the game as well as more detailed visuals when you've got a decent graphics card. On consoles the load times to get into a match, or even just going around the menus are really slow - that's all much better on PC. Plus, there's initial work being done on adding modding support - which should overcome most of the remaining limitations coming out of the lack of official licences.
If you haven't played the console version, my recommendation depends on how much of a cricket fan you are, and how much time you have to put towards mastering the controls. This isn't a game for casual fans or people who don't understand the sport - there's no effort spent on explaining the sport and the tutorials won't get you an understanding of it. The controls will frustrate you early - they are radically different from previous cricket games, and require putting several hours in to just getting the hang of things.
Some PC gamers will probably be put off by the requirement for a controller - I think it's a reasonable thing for a sports game, because I just can't see how the controls here could be transferred in a meaningful way to keyboard/mouse.
But if you've got time to put in to it, you'll get a lot out of it. This is by far the best cricket game made to date, and I think it's a must buy for anyone who has been waiting for a good game for years now.
The career mode is the best part of it - by playing as just the one player on the field the game makes it much quicker to play through long matches, and lets you develop the skills of a player over time and with experience. Getting involved in part of a match and making the difference between winning and losing by your personal contribution is really rewarding - particularly bowling out that last over of a tight match.
I find the AI in the game to be competitive. On the higher difficulties, I can lose to the AI without feeling like they are cheating or using crazy tactics, and for the most part feel like I genuinely earn wickets when I get them, there's a few too many simple caught and bowled chances for my liking.
Very useful in game editing options with the Cricket Academy to download shared teams/sidestep licences
Bowling controls are a massive step forward
Online saving makes playing test matches online possible
Lack of stadiums
Unbalanced difficulty curve between batting and bowling