Codemasters’ announcement of International Cricket 2010 came as quite a surprise; firstly because we’re not used to annual iterations of cricket games, and second, because from the looks of it, it seemed identical to Ashes Cricket 2009. Last year’s game was a phenomenal commercial success in the UK. It topped sales charts; partly due to the quality of the game, but mostly thanks to England’s Ashes triumph that luckily coincided with the game’s release. But a success it was, and more often than not these days, a successful game is followed up with a sequel.

International Cricket 2010 is, for most part, identical to Ashes Cricket 2009, with one fairly big, game-changing addition – the Action Cam. Cricket games have always stuck with the broadcast camera angles, and gamers have always been comfortable with them. But this year, developers Trickstar have introduced the Action Cam, which puts you in a third-person perspective just over the batsman’s shoulder as he takes strike (like a wicket-keeper’s point of view when standing up to the stumps, but a little higher), or right behind the bowler as he runs in. There’s almost no change in gameplay between International Cricket 2010 and Ashes Cricket 2009, but with this new perspective, you’re given a new way to play the same game, and it does significantly alter your approach.

Playing using the Action Cam is definitely a fun and refreshing experience. It makes placing shots between gaps in the field feel more natural, and watching the bowlers’ arm speed and the ball coming at you helps time your shots better as well. I’m personally not a big fan of the new Power Stick feature for strokeplay, but it certainly adds some variety and gives you an alternate way to bat. Bowling is also more challenging now. Since the camera is much lower than the broadcast view, judging the delivery length becomes much more difficult. One of my favorite implementations of the Action Cam is in running between the wickets. When you set off for a run, you stay in the third-person perspective, and you can either keep your focus on the ball, or change it to your non-striker or the crease you’re heading towards. It adds a brilliant sense of urgency to what is a mundane task in the broadcast view.

The Action Cam isn’t without its flaws though. While batting, the camera isn’t right behind the batsman, but at a slight angle. This makes the line and angle of the oncoming delivery more difficult to judge; although you will learn to compensate for that over time. But the angle gets even wider when a left-handed batsman is on strike. This is probably done so that the batsman’s body doesn’t block your view of the bowler, but it does through you off your game a little bit, and you will need to make some adjustments to your stroke selection as a result.

On the whole, Action Cam is a welcome step forward for cricket games, even if its implementation is a little rough around the edges. But sadly, beyond the Action Cam, International Cricket 2010 is a very lazy effort. There’s no noticeable difference to any area of the game over Ashes when played from the broadcast view; it looks, plays and feels the same. There is a slight improvement in the AI; it bowls better and bats a little more aggressively, but it isn’t a significant change. You still have all the elements that made Ashes one of the best cricket games, such as accurate shot selection and the ability to vary the severity of swing, cut, and spin; so it’s still a good game at its core. But as a full priced game, you expect at least a subtle evolution, which just isn’t there.

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