If you turn off the abysmal commentary, IC2010 is a sometimes satisfying if buggy re-creation of the gentleman's game.
- Nuanced batting and bowling control.
- Truly dire commentary
- Poor and sometimes buggy graphics
- Incomplete squads.
UK REVIEW--There are few sports that polarise opinion in quite the manner cricket does, and it is likely to be the same for International Cricket 2010. It provides a faithful and nuanced translation of the game to consoles, with satisfaction to be found picking the perfect spot to cream a ball for six or frustrating batsmen into rash shots. However, it's unlikely to win over any but the most ardent cricket fans thanks to its poor visuals, lacklustre sound, frequent bugs, and incomplete squad lists.
IC2010 gives you the opportunity to take control of an international cricket team of your choice and take on the rest of the world in any form of the game you like. As with last year's Ashes effort, only the England and Australia teams are licensed, which means that players from other nations are represented by approximate names. Cricket fans will be able to identify most of them readily enough, and their stats are appropriate. Licensed or not, anyone dashing enough to sport a real-life beard is relatively hard to recognise as the best IC2010 can manage is a smattering of stubble.
Unlike last year's Ashes-focused game, IC2010's default mode is Twenty20--referred to as Twenty Overs in-game, thanks to the lack of ICC licensing--but test matches and one-day matches are still available. One-day internationals have the most flexibility, as you have the option of making them as short as five overs per side, creating an entirely new form of the game in the process. This is generally not much fun, but it is almost the only way to see a game through from start to finish in less than an hour.
Both batting and bowling manage to be fun and engaging experiences in IC2010. The most obvious change from last year is the addition of a third-person action view. This, combined with a more nuanced batting and bowling system, does make you feel much more a part of the action as the game re-creates the feeling of taking part in a cricket match rather than simply controlling a match you're watching on TV. This engagement is broken somewhat when you see a batsman passing through a fielder as he dives for his crease or you are bowled out without the stumps being disturbed, but these are rare enough and the core game solid enough that serious cricket fans may be able to overlook them.
Both batting and bowling come with extensive tutorials. While these are generally well explained and allow you to get into the hang of timing and shot placement, the criteria for completion of individual tutorials can be opaque; hence, downright frustrating. They do give you a quick and thorough overview of how the game is played, though, managing to both teach you about IC2010 and the game of cricket itself.
Bowling is pleasingly engaging this year after the detached feel in previous years. If you want to take wickets against quality opposition, you generally need to bowl to a plan, and seeing such a plan work is a satisfying experience. If you bowl a number of in-swinging balls, for instance, you may not get a batsman out--but a fourth ball that is cunningly shaped away from the batsman will often find an edge. This isn't always the case. Because of the way that batting confidence works in the game--once a batsman has found his rhythm and got his eye in--even the most amateurish of cricketers can become rather obdurate. Thankfully, quality bowlers have enough tricks up their sleeves to keep this interesting, and disciplined bowling with clever variations generally yields results.
Batting is similarly pleasing. Power and direction of shots are controlled with the left stick, meaning that nurdling is easier and more satisfying than before. This works well for confidence building, especially in the shorter forms of the game where you don't have the time to hang around for a few well-timed dot balls. Smacking the ball farther is relatively easy once you have mastered timing as well, but placement is key; the height of the ball, how much it bounces, and where it pitches are all essential factors to take into account when working out in which direction to most safely launch the ball. One factor that makes this process easier is the fact that you don't have to specify your footwork before taking a shot, which removes some of the guesswork when you're trying to play it safe. The more powerful and riskier your shot, the harder it is to get the timing right--perfectly timing a forward defensive is significantly easier and hence less risky than trying to cream a ball over long on.