International Cricket 2010
Wicked hit or hit wicket?
I don't like cricket... oh, no... oh, actually, wait a minute, I really don't like cricket.
It's not that I don't admire the game. Cricket and I once had a two-year love affair, which peaked with England's win in the 2005 Ashes series.
It's funny, they're in creases
I still respect it as the thinking man's game, filled with nuances unseen in other sports, where pitch and ball conditions, spin, speed, line and distance, field placements, even weather conditions and tea breaks can all factor in determining results. And who couldn't be proud of a game so eccentric and so idiosyncratic that only the English could have invented it?
The reason I don't like cricket is the regularity with which it's played. Given barely a day goes by without a match, you'd think every country in the world played the game. For me, at least, its ubiquity diminishes its appeal. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself thoroughly enjoying International Cricket 2010, Codemaster's latest title in its cricketing series.
Things start tentatively enough. If you've not played Ashes 2009, you may be nonplussed by the steep learning curve of the game's tutorial. Such initial bewilderment is testament to the precision and variation on offer in bowling and batting, which serve to make International Cricket 2010 the most precise simulation of cricket to date.
Bowling is more measured, with a comprehensive range of delivery types available in both pace and spin bowling. Delivery types are mapped onto the face buttons, additional spin controlled by a trigger, and placement selected with the left stick during run up. Finally, accuracy is determined by a gauge and needle similar to Tiger Wood's alternative 3-click swing system.
The concentration made him throw up
Next page: Authentic representation of play..
Not quite yet.
"These elements, carried over from Ashes 2009, provide a precise system that replicates the almost infinitesimal variations required to outfox batsmen."
No, they don't. It's a good game, but it still hasn't fixed the basic problem of Computer Cricket which is the player bowling to a computer batsman.
Even if it can provide such a system, and it's not far off, I agree, what is missing is the sequence of events AI between the bowler and batsman. Even with quick bowling it is not simply an issue of trying to bowl the best delivery possible ; it is the sequence that undoes the batsman - knowing when to bowl a googly because the batsman has been "trained" not to expect it, for example. Things like the sixth sense a spin bowler gets that a batsman is going to charge him are also missing. Is it the right time to bowl a slower ball or is he picking it ? All these kind of things without which it just doesn't work.
To be fair, these things are just about impossible to simulate. What cricket games do is work out an appropriate shot for the given delivery and scale the success of that delivery by the batsman's ability and confidence. That's why in some games the batsman can always be got out playing the same delivery to the same shot ; not only does the batsman never learn, but the rest of his team don't either, because they don't think.
What this means in practice in that bowling at a computer batsman is quite a dull experience. Ashes 2009 hasn't solved this and I doubt the 2010 version will either. No-one else has.
I love the captions!
The comments, not so keen on.
You can't beat Brian Lara...
Not the biggest fan of cricket, however now and again I'll dust down the original Brian Lara from my games collection. Not fussed about how realistic it is, as long as I can slog one of mates into the crowd is enough entertainment for me.
Nice review, despite the poor caption comments
Reg, can you *please* fire whoever wrote those captions? Or at least demote them to under-tea-monkey status? They were truly, truly horrible.