International Cricket 2010

Cricket – the gentleman’s sport. Strawberries and cream, Pimms on ice, sun lotion generously applied to the entire body. A game which is based around precision and skill of placing the ball in just the right place at the correct angle, or smacking a ball with a piece of wood with the gentlest tap or greatest power. So how do you turn this sport concept into an enjoyable virtual game experience?

Many others have tried and failed prior to International Cricket 2010, so if anything right from the get go, it was a brave project for Codemasters to take under its wing. The difficulty has always been attempting to find the right balance between an acceptable and enjoyable pace of gameplay (what with it being a video GAME), and pleasing the hardcore cricket fanbase who want an accurate representation of the sport. As for giving the cricket enthusiasts something to shout about, I’m told that it does extremely well. I dredged up a few of my cricket-loving buddies to have a whack at it and a vast majority agreed that it was a good, fair, and (most importantly) enjoyable representation of the sport.

These experienced friends then went on to tell me the following plus points of the game: the option to play from either the back or front foot to adjust your shot (which in turn leads to a wide range of options including: charging down the wicket to take on spin bowls, leg-side hooks, off side drives), 20 Over matches are exceptional fun and give the match a real sense of short-entertaining cricket which gives batsmen more encouragement to attack the ball rather than play a slower game, the new ‘over-the-shoulder-view’ while playing either the bowler or batsmen really bumps the immersion up a notch and the fielding was challenging but with very easy to master controls – which made it a skill of timing rather than advanced placement tactics.

Now hopefully that has covered all that you need to know about the positive merits of the game if you’re a huge cricket fan, because that concludes all the notes I have from my friends-in-the-know for the pluses of the game. I however, am more of a casual cricket watcher. I can sit back, enjoy a game or a few overs and kick back on a nice sunny day in front of the television and have a jolly good time with it. The game I struggled with, though. I went through the tutorials in full and still it took me over 20 bowls before I even made bat on ball contact (and nearly the same number vice versa with ball on wicket). I was lost upon a sea of unknown terms, confusing options and perplexing timing. I did finish a match with an equally uneducated friend and we spent more of the time laughing at the absolutely dreadful cardboard-cut-out crowd graphics in the background. They looked as if they were extras in a puppet show and everyone of them had been dying to go to the toilet for several hours before they turned up. In fact, the whole presentation from an outside perspective felt as if it was sloppy and dragged out. I recall having swigs of my Red Bull can, watching the camera painfully pan over the uninspiring field graphics all too often.

Of course, I am not necessarily the target audience, it all comes down to what my gaming friends with the knowledge had to say for the negatives. It boiled down to two key components: the game broke into nothing more than a challenge of good timing (which made it rather dull after they had each played for 30 minutes or so), and they found themselves get lazier and lazier as the matches went on as it became what they described as ‘ball-scratchingly tedious’. Which to me sounds like a rather glaring fault, but they insisted that as long as you have friends to play against (and not simply the AI) then it could easily hold their grasp for long enough to justify a purchase. However, from my perspective, I just don’t believe that somebody who is not already part of the ‘in crowd’ of cricket is going to have any epiphanies thanks to International Cricket 2010.







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