International Cricket 2010 Review

International Cricket 2010 Review
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Once again it's the time of year for that certain brand of English whimsy; the only sport where players wear pads and then quit if it gets a bit too dark or rains. Yes, the sport of kings, cricket, has returned. This time around there is no Ashes test series to tie it to, so instead we are left to focus on the ever-growing 20/20 game.

His pained expression notwithstanding, good shot.

Cricket games in general tend to be a hard sell, as translating the inordinate amount of rules into a computer game has proven something of a nightmare. Plus, it is hard to create an excitement packed atmosphere from a match that lasts five whole days, and I say this as a cricket fan. Thankfully, International Cricket 2010 streamlines every match into something more resembling a back and forth clash of skill and luck. Whether the fan base is ever going to be present to truly launch cricket into the limelight is a matter of debate. Thankfully though, 20/20 has made cricket sexy again (if it ever was) and the fast paced game is perfect for some console based shenanigans.

While the emphasis here is clearly on one day matches and 20 over games, there is still the option to take part in a full test series should you so wish. There are also a plethora of leagues, cups and tournaments set up for your pleasure, or you could even set up your own custom event from scratch. With all of these options though the fundamentals remain the same: you have to score more runs than your opponent over the course of your respective innings. The real disappointment here is that most of the major changes are superficial in nature. Not to mention the fact that most of the teams do not even have fully licensed players and rely on poorly named counterparts.

Normally you would get jail time for throwing balls at people.

The main change over last year's title is a closer, third person viewpoint to view the action from. You can now watch your bowler charge in from up close, or await the latest delivery as it hurtles at you as a batsmen at the crease. Sadly the viewpoint really doesn't add anything to the game at all, as the same timing system for both batting and bowling is firmly in place. You can use the viewpoint to scout for gaps in the field before each shot, but it is much easier just to use the on screen radar to pick your spot. Same with the bowling, as it is slightly harder to pick the perfect spot for delivery from the new angle and you may find yourself switching back to the old style before a game is even over.

In terms of actual gameplay, nothing has changed and it is still ridiculously easy to score runs, even on the higher difficulties. When you can smash 600 runs in 20 overs, then you know something is amiss really and it makes for a less than competitive atmosphere, as you know that no matter how well the computer bats you will always be able to knock off the runs. This is especially easy as you can save your game after every ball should you so wish, to ensure you either take wickets or do not lose one. Obviously it would kill the fun to do so, but the option is there nonetheless.

Bowling too is a mixture of skill and luck, as you can deliver perfect deliveries one after the other, only for the batsmen to smack them away for four and then, out of nowhere, take a wicket. I suppose it represents the uncertainty of the sport quite well, but it gives the impression that no matter how well you bowl you can never be sure of success.

Every shot needs timing and placement.

The other major gripe with the game - aside from the simplistic and repetitive gameplay - are the graphical issues and glitches. At times it is almost laughable, as every player has the same few animations and you seem able to hit shots that would be impossible in real life. Fielding in particular suffers from its fair share of problems, as your players will run slowly alongside balls within reach rather than picking them up. At time players will magically float towards the ball without moving their feet and, on one memorable occasion, the ball itself defied gravity and floating up off the ground into the wicket keepers hands – without him even moving! Now that is some impressive cricketing right there. The whole thing seems a bit rushed and under tested, as if they slung together the decent parts of last year's title and hoped for the best.

Sadly the achievements are a total copy and paste job from the last game, almost to the letter. There are a few new challenges revolving around specific tournaments but otherwise you will be doing the same things you have had to do for the two previous games – six sixes in a row, a hat trick of wickets and scoring 300 runs with one batsmen, for example. You can snag the majority of points by just slogging through the unhelpful tutorials and playing a couple of test match games, then pick off the tournaments one by one. Having to slog through the various leagues soon becomes repetitive though and it feels like you are just going through the motions time and time again.

As with last year, this game offers the best representation of cricket on the market. Having said that, there is no real step forward in terms of quality, and the graphics and difficulty level especially seem to have gone backwards. It is still as satisfying as ever to crunch a six back over the bowler's head, but when you can do it every time then it will start to lose some of its lustre.

Decent commentary that is full of bewildering anecdotes, sarcasm and random comments – just as you would expect if you have ever watched cricket. Although the music is pretty dire.

Shocking in places, with jagged movement, physics glitches and misplaced animations. Even the likenesses are patchy at best and it all seems much worse than last year.

Easy to pick up and play, and still a fun game of cricket. That being said, you will have seen and done everything in the space of a few matches, with only the tournament options providing any long term challenge.

A step back from last year with a host of unofficial teams, strange likenesses and similar tournaments. If you have already dabbled with one of this game's predecessors then there is really nothing new on offer.

Pretty lazy really, as most of the achievements are carbon copies of last year's title and can be pretty much snagged in the same way. Having to grind through a 20/20 league soon becomes tiresome as well.

Not really a great leap forward from last year, with certain elements taking a regrettable step backwards. Still, there is plenty of fun to be had here for cricket fans and the game mechanics are easy to pick up and play even for clueless amateurs. Nothing new or original, and although you can have a few hours of fun, it really doesn't do enough to excel itself forward over last year's title.

Game Info
Trickstar Games


Europe June 18, 2010

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