23rd February 2011 - With the Cricket World Cup underway, we have given the latest Cricket game from the guys at Codemasters the once over. With Cricket games taking a lot criticism in the past, does this one invite non-cricket fans in or is it only for those that live and breath the sport? Read on to find out.
Cricket seems like a very straightforward sport. Truth be told, it is. But to transfer the sports play into the mechanics of a video game is no easy task. With that in mind, Codemasters have actually done a good job in bringing the cricket field into the game. But also, it must be said that while its more payable and accessible than any other cricket title, it still feels like a sloppy mess.
The batting and bowling sides of the game play very differently, but both rely heavily on timing to play, and some moderate knowledge of the sport to play successfully. The batting is actually very easy once you get a hang of it, the bowling not so much. But both take a long time to get the hang of, and the game fails to really explain to rules of the game or how you should be playing very well. This is where I think it falls behind every other sports ive played these past 12 months; you really have to play by the books and keep on doing the same things over and over, or else you will ultimately fail.
The sport really isn’t deep enough to make much a video game out of, and the controls, coupled with bad presentation and lack of many playable modes, results in this feeling nothing more than an unnecessarily complex cricket simulator. Of course, the more dedicated and hardcore cricket fans of you will find these complexities to be a rather invigorating experience, really letting you play and control your favourite countries’ teams and play some serious cricket. The matches all last a long time, just like in the sport, and even the ‘quick’ matches can take a toll of an hour or more.
When I think of sports games, I think of EA Sports, and 2K Games’ yearly renditions. You know, the NFLs’, the NBAs’, the NHLs’, the acronyms go on and on. And one of the first things that pops into my head when I think of these games is the visuals. Those titles always manage to impress with pretty visuals and great character models every year. But this title, this International Cricket 2010... It fails to impress.
Firstly, the character models are very bland and stale for a sports game, this is topped with the said models stale animation, which is somewhat important in the genre. It all looks old and reused from previous games, just with some polygon updates to try and smooth the lot over. And im sorry to say, but it isn’t fooling anybody.
My god, I thought listening to the commentators when watching a real cricket game was bad! These guys, who fail to shutup for a minute at a time during the entire matches, become almost unbearable. In the sports true fashion, Codemasters have managed to pull out some really great voice actors for the part. Great in the sense that they manage to have some of the most irritating and monotone voices ive heard in a sports game. Its not as bad if you, say, love to hear every last detail about what’s going on like at a real game, but for the sake of enjoying the video game, these commentators are terrible.
And apart from that, there isn’t much here to be heard. All very basic sound effects and crowd roars that fail to inspire. But you cant ask for much more than that given what there is to work with here.
I personally, do not like cricket. I'll watch a bit on the telly when the Ashes are on, sure. But really, im not a fan of the sport. That was part of the reason I failed to get much entertainment out of this game. And another part though, was because this game is a bore fest. To play it properly - and I must say, no game should ever have to played a certain proper way - you have to continuously do the same things over and over again, every match.
The sport isn’t deep, but Codemasters have managed to make a lot out of little with this one. So while I may not have gotten much from it, im certain the diehard cricket lovers will find plenty of hours of enjoyment (which is only a few games to be honest) from giving their favourite teams rivals a good flogging.
Does anyone really like to bowl and field in Cricket games?
It's not as pretty, fun or polished as pretty much every other major sports title released in 2010, but International Cricket is good for something, and that’s pleasing hardcore Cricket fans. I'm not a big fan of the sport myself, so I found very little value with this game, but real cricket fans will love the dedication Codemasters has put into making this one hell of a realistic and deep cricket experience. Only for the those that live for the sport.
AAG SCORE: 6/10
+ Very realistic gameplay
+ Should please hardcore cricket fans…
-… But no one else
- Rather ugly visuals
- Nerve-wracking commentators
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott