Sports games in general are fairly complex. There is no sport without a rule book as thick as a brick, and sometimes the concept might be hard for others to grasp. These sports don't make very good games, as the development of the mechanics involved will turn the game upside-down. But video game makers will always try to figure out a way around the complexities, delivering a game that everyone will understand and have a fun time playing.
Codemasters recently released International Cricket 2010, and while the concept is stable, the mechanics leave much to be desired.
The game is a spiritual sequel to Ashes Cricket, and gamers who played it will know what's in store with the next iteration. Starting off with a rather lengthy three part tutorial, players are shown how the controls work for batting, bowling and fielding.
It soon becomes evident that the time spent in the tutorial is totally unnecessary, as the developer overexplain basic settings. Fair enough, they probably have to take in mind that not everybody knows the basics of cricket, but it could have been better integrated into the first match.
With the tutorial done and dusted, it's time to pick a team. The player can pick any of the 16 major cricketing nations, but there is a bit of a twist. The game is only licensed for the Australian Cricket Board and the England Cricket Board, so the player names for the other nations are all wrong. While one could play with Mitchell Johnson for the land of Oz, South African fans will have to settle for AB Devollear, Gavin Smythe, Dave Stern or even Afly Mokrel.
It took awhile to figure out who Freddy De Dry was, but it soon turned out to be Friedel de Wet. Oh, the witâ€¦Luckily there is an option in which gamers can customize their squads and players, so if having AB Devollear in the team is going to be an irritation; he can be painstakingly changed to AB de Villiers. Unfortunately the different team logos can't be changed, as the SA emblem bears a closer resemblance to that of the John Deer logo than a springbok. [And certainly looks nothing like a Protea â€“ ed]
Naming issues and rights aside, it's time to take to the pitch. Matches can be played in the traditional ODI or Tests, but the game also includes the quicker T20 version, where each team only gets 20 over to pile up the runs.
Winning the toss will result in the player having to select the option to bat or bowl first, but the real fun lies in batting, so it's recommended to go for that option. There seems to be no difference in choosing either one first, besides for the change in commentary.
Stepping up to the crease, batting is actually fairly easy. Well, it's easier than what the tutorial made it out to be.
The basics are simple; select a foot to play on (back foot or front), chose a direction with the left analogue stick (which also determines the strength) and decide what type of stroke (defensive, drive or loft) will be played with corresponding X, A or B buttons. Just before the ball lands on the pitch, the button is pressed and is followed through with the shot.
If the fielders are in the right (or wrong) place, virtually any ball can be hit for at least a four. It's an even easier task to bowl. After selecting the bowler, and depending on their style, the player will have a couple of options available. Making an example of a fast bowler, before he starts his run, the player can chose between a straight ball and a slight swing.
As he runs up, the player will see a circle on the pitch, which should be moved to the desired area. If the circle is orange, the ball might go foul, and as it's moved around it will become different shades of green. Light green will be the most profitable, and is generally the sweet spot.
To successfully deliver a ball, the player will have to press yet another button as a meter races from orange to green. Once again, the green is best, and when pressed the ball will be released. Playing against AI is a bit of a gamble as to how they will react, but aiming for the batter's heel will mostly result in a wicket or dot ball.
The game's graphics are fairly standard, but the only real redeeming thing about International Cricket 2010 is the use of the Hawk Eye system for third umpires are replays.
Otherwise, the mechanics feel a bit stiff and unrealistic with generic commentary. [There is that whole new Action Cam view point thingâ€¦ like third-person perspective?
The game has its moments and cricket lovers might find some fun in it, but it should only be approached by true enthusiasts. At least there is the possibility to play at the Johannesburg, Cape Town and PE grounds.
I am a gaming enthusiast who has been playing since I was 15 years old. The old game systems are great, but the new generation of games for the PC, PS3 and the XBox 360 are the best and most realistic even developed and they just keep getting better and better. The Nintendo Wii certainly has its place among game systems, but I really consider in in another league from the Playstation or the XBox. The Wii did introduce motion control to its credit and it has gone to the bank with that insight, however I think that the next generation of motion control being added to the PS3, with the MOVE, and the XBox 360 with XBox Kinect games will take the whole motion control concept to another level. In fact I have a great new website dedicated to the evolving Kinect that you can visit called KinectYourself.com. Check out the new games and what is in store in the near future.
So...My Quick Glance for International Cricket:
The successor to Ashes Cricket, International Cricket 2010 raises the sport's bar, but will probably only be enjoyed and played all the way through by real cricket fans.
Developer: Trickstar Games
Distributor: Nu Metro