Despite the continual popularity of cricket as a sport to watch and play within the UK, games of this ‘gentleman’s pursuit’ have often failed to thrill us. Aside from the sense of satisfaction as you smash the ball out of the court for a ‘six’, the pace of the game is generally slow, and any accurate replications have undoubtedly found that difficult to cope with. The launch of International Cricket 2010, strangely timed in the midst of the 2010 football World Cup, has been understandably overshadowed. Is this new title, the successor to Ashes Cricket 2009, exciting enough to put yet another crushing football defeat from our minds?
Diehard fans of cricket will be desperate to sink their teeth into this latest title, it being marketed as the closest thing to a simulation of the sport on the market today. Whether the sport itself lends itself well to such a close approximation of reality remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure; International Cricket 2010 is a much more polished version of the predecessor, Ashes Cricket 2009.
Perhaps the best new addition to the game is that of an impressive new ‘over-the-shoulder’ camera angle that attempts to draw you more closely into the action, compared to the distant broadcast angle that we previously had to do battle with (although this original angle is still available should you desire it). A simple change in the angle of the camera shouldn’t make such a difference but, particularly in a batting role, it does create a much more immersive experience. Combine this with the massive range of different shot options available as a ball flies toward you, and the pressure of accurately timing your defensive or offensive swipes, and you won’t be short of things to do as you take to the crease.
Bowling is another well polished manoeuvre, with the new camera angle following closely behind you as you square up to the batter before you. Unfortunately there are moments when the new camera position may seem more of a hindrance than a help, with an unclear view of everything around about you, but on the whole bowling is another excellent experience.
On the presentation side of things, character models are exceptionally well created with the England team in particular appearing recognisable. Despite the host of new animations added to this title though, movements still sometimes appear stunted. The frame rate also leaves something to be desired at times as it seems to struggle despite a lack of action on screen.
There is no denying that the most fun to be had from International Cricket 2010 is when playing with a real life opponent, however the different solo modes (Test Match, 20 Over and One Day) do add some variety. Without a real career mode though, you may soon find yourself wishing that there was just a little more depth to keep you coming back for more, particularly as, once experienced with your bat, you may find that this title tends to be a little on the easy side. Still, despite its flaws, International Cricket 2010 is certainly a must buy for any serious cricket fans as one of, if not the best cricket game on the market today.