Last night, we did a live review of Codemasters’ new game International Cricket 2010 on Twitter. We played a Twenty20 match as Pakistan and basically got battered.
Anyone interested in live Twitter reviews of cricket computer games can follow us again from about 7pm tonight when we’re going to have a go at day one of the Ashes.
This is perhaps the dorkiest thing we’ve ever done and we’re a massive, massive dork anyway. A live Twitter review of a cricket computer game. Even mum doesn’t think we’re cool.
Follow us on Twitter. Reply to our auto-updates and then marvel at how we don’t respond for a full week.
For the cheapskatey among you – which is pretty much all of you – you can get last year’s version for under £6. The 2009 version has the added benefit that you can’t choose to play as an Australian domestic team. International Cricket Captain isn’t about choosing from loads of LS and RF bowlers. It’s about wondering how best to combine your RFMs and your RMFs.
Massively disappointed that this isn’t an International Cricket Council backstab simulator.
That joke worked better before we realised it was ‘IC’ and not ‘ICC’.
We get a penny every time a new person watches this. We’re thinking about buying ourself some crisps later in the year.
To be honest, we’re only putting it up so that marketing people stop emailing us.
The Wii version of Ashes Cricket 2009 is quite different from other formats. Having played both, we’d also say it was worse.
Don’t imagine that you’ll be playing hooks and drives. What you will actually be doing is carrying out a pendulous swing as if you’re putting a golf ball. Your on-screen batsman will then do all the dynamic swivelling and swishing on your behalf.
There’s an automatic aim. If you switch it off, you’ll only aim badly and get distracted, so you leave it on. However, you then feel a bit disconnected from proceedings, so that’s no good either.
It responds to speed, but again, it’s a robotic pastiche of the real movement. This time it’s more like casting a fishing line if you didn’t have elbows. You can add swing or spin by rotating the controller as you bowl, kind of like bowling a cutter.
It’s just hard to feel involved. Playing against another player is fun, in the way that playing against your mates on a Wii game is pretty much always fun. We’d recommend Ashes Cricket 2009 on one of the other formats though, to be honest.
We did a preview of Howzat a few weeks ago. Just to let you know, it’s live now, so you can give it a go for yourselves.
It’s free, if that’s what you’re wondering.
Play Howzat and let us know what you think.
Ashes Cricket 2009 is an action cricket game, as opposed to a strategy game. It’s probably the best cricket game going of that type.
Weirdly, batting’s actually better than bowling. In previous cricket games, batting has largely been about getting frustrated and smashing the joypad because your idiot batsman set off for a run when the ball was in the keeper’s gloves or because you finally missed a yorker after facing six overs of them. In Ashes Cricket 2009, there’s none of this. More importantly, it actually feels like real batting.
The biggest compliment we can pay this game is that it really helps if you know a bit about cricket. For any given delivery, you have three decisions to make:
Your margin for error varies according to how sensible a shot you’re playing. Aim a drive at a wide outswinger or play against the spin and you’d better get your timing bang on. Play a straight half-volley back past the bowler and it’ll be much easier to time. The upshot is, you look at the field and weigh up the percentages. It’s like actually playing cricket, only you’re not unfit and uncoordinated. Not until you get to the tail anyway.
Equally important is that the game doesn’t automatically punish you if you play a crap shot. Edges might not carry, mishits sometimes evade fielders. It all adds to the sense of realism.
To be honest, bowling is where Ashes Cricket 2009 falls down, which is a shame, because it promises a lot. There are loads deliveries on offer and it depends on the bowler and the playing conditions whether you can use them or not.
The bowling mechanism is good as well and at first you feel it’s just as good as the batting. It feels like you’re working the batsman over, trying to set him up. You’re bowling to your field and all’s going well. Then suddenly, it all goes mental.
I don’t know what it is, but after about eight overs, the opposition batsmen engage the long handle and switch off their brains. The ball flies to all parts, there’s a run-out every three overs and there’s NOTHING you can do about either of those things. At that point, it’s impossible to suspend disbelief and that’s no good.
We’re shite at it. For catches, the ball approaches a fielder in slow motion and all you have to do is press a key at the right moment, as indicated by a red, amber or green colour around the ball. We favour the red immediately after the optimum green.
We’d say so, yes. Twenty20 matches are largely immune to the demented slogging when you’re in the field, so that’s not so bad. Plus, you then get to gauge a run-chase, which is where this game’s at its best, because you’re constantly balancing risk and reward; picking your times to go over the top and making sure you score off every ball.
You can get Ashes Cricket 2009 from Amazon for not a huge amount of money.
We’ve had a quick look at the new free online cricket game Howzat, which is due to be unveiled shortly. We’re giving it the royal seal of approval.
It’s a player v player action game, as opposed to a management sort of affair. Batting is largely as you’d imagine: you aim in your chosen direction and then execute either a normal or a lofted shot. Timing is key.
There’s a quite a neat system for the bowling. You aim where to pitch the delivery using a cursor and then you stop a pointer on a meter to decide what kind of ball you’ll deliver. The ingenious part is that the meter is divided into three sections for three different deliveries, but within each of those sections, there’s a range for pace – so you can deliver a slow, straight ball or a fast away-swinger by pressing the key at different times.
It’s five overs per innings. We got battered in our test game, but we were playing one of the guys who’s made the game, so we don’t feel too bad. We hit a couple of sixes and got a few wickets.
So far, so short-lived. The big selling point in our eyes is the fact that you’ll have your own team. You can change all the players’ names and change the kit that they wear, but you can also develop them. When you play well in a match, you’ll earn experience points and you can then allocate this to your players as you see fit. As players level-up, bowlers will get quicker and swing or spin the ball more and batsmen will time shots better and hit the ball harder. Fielders will become less spazzy.
Anyone who’s played a cricket game will know what this means. If you need convincing about this game, you’ll be reassured to know that measures are being taken to counteract this tactic, which should ensure a good, rounded cricket game that you’ll be playing for some time.
We’re reviewing Ashes Cricket 2009 at the moment. It’s actually pretty good, although we’re going to play it a bit more to check there’s no massive flaws that ruin the illusion.
There was a slower ball bouncer in the original Brian Lara Cricket which would clean bowl cowering batsmen every time. We couldn’t play the game after we found that. We had to leave the house and speak to people instead. It was horrendous.
So far, we’ve found that batting’s harder that bowling – but it always is in these games. Our World XI side got past 50 in our first innings though, which is way better than you usually manage with a new cricket game. Nevertheless, we do make one recommendation if you’re going to get the PC version of Ashes Cricket 2009: grow some additional fingers.
Between directing your shot; choosing to play off the front foot or back foot; and then playing either a defensive shot, attacking shot or lofted shot, you’re having to make use of at least one unreliable finger. Apparently you can move around the crease as well, but our batsmen have been more Inzamam-ul-Haq than Jonty Rhodes thus far.
Buy it from Amazon now if you can’t wait for our proper review.
You captain/coach either a county side, an international side or both. You train your players, select your team, make your bowling changes, tell them where to bowl, position your field, gauge how much to attack with the bat, decide when to take the new ball – pretty much everything.
You can even call Ian Bell a dick for dropping a sitter, although he won’t hear you, because he’s only a pixellated representation of Ian Bell and not the man himself. He will miss straight ones though.
Yup. The International Cricket Captain games have been refined over time and they’re pretty decent now. We’d prefer there to be more long-term planning and less on-field decision-making, but that’s personal preference.
The fact is it offers a lot. You can train youth players in anticipation of using them six seasons down the line and you can then spend ten minutes moving your fielders around for the fifth over of a Twenty20 game against Derbyshire.
The graphics are okay now and at least the highlights don’t take ages, like they did in one of the earlier versions. You see a bit too much of spinners’ run-ups in each highlight, but it’s all fairly snappy and the match graphics feature Hawkeye and some graphs. Everyone loves graphs.
Jonathan Agnew commentates. He didn’t get annoying in the time we played, but you can switch him off if you’re playing a longer stint.
Bizarrely, considering that cricket’s such a statistical game, International Cricket Captain doesn’t go in for statistics in the same way that football management games do. We feel this is a mistake, as cricket fans are generally overfond of stats. Why not exploit this identifiable personality defect?
Instead, it’s all a bit TOO real. Each player has a host of attributes defining how they play, but these attributes are invisible. You have to judge whether your batsmen are any good on the offside by ACTUALLY WATCHING THEM. This is a bit laborious for our tastes. It’s very admirable making the game so realistic, but an option to see the players’ attributes in number form would be quicker for those of us with jobs and maybe even the odd friend.
On the plus side, you are notified when a player improves in some facet of the game now, so you’re not completely in the dark about whether your training sessions are having any impact or not.
‘Ah, Paul Horton’s one better at defensive shots now,’ you exclaim – totally unaware of how significant that one is. Is it one out of ten? One out of a hundred? Who knows? All that matters is that Paul Horton’s one better.
If you’ve played a previous version to death (of your own social life), you’re unlikely to find enough here to draw you back to overly-obsessed solitary squalor. If you’ve never played, you should definitely give it a go. Training youth players for the Ashes bid in six years time is obscenely addictive.
Buy it from Amazon (it was only £9.50 last time we checked) or there’s a free download of International Cricket Captain 2009 available where you get a two day trial.