Creating a sports game which looks and sounds authentic is all in the details. It's not just about an accurate show of rules, techniques and the sport itself - modern simulations have to step out from the changing room to the sights, sounds and big game atmosphere everyone expects.
International Cricket 2010 captures all of this by making sure you feel enveloped from the first ball to the last thud of leather on willow. A choice of 16 nations can be your entry to the path of cricket glory, so if it's been your dream to have Scotland or Bermuda triumph over the likes of the mighty Australia or India, here is your chance to finally knock them for six.
With a wide selection of 21 stadiums to bat, bowl and field in, you can tour the globe and test your skills at the world's most famous cricket grounds. Try to hit a ton at the Brit Oval - it may be known as a batsman's paradise, but will your batting be out of this world or will you be out for a duck? Or if you want to turn your arm, where better to do it than at the SCG in Sydney - famed for its slow, spinner-friendly wicket, your ability as a spin bowler could put you on course to be the next Shane Warne or Muttiah Muralitharan.
When you're ready to step up to the crease, instant matches, Test matches, the fast paced thrills of Twenty20 and limited overs contests are all yours to triumph at. You won't feel too daunted by this massive cricketing feast, as there's a step by step tutorial to take you through the basics and advanced techniques of the game.
Once you're out there in the middle, you'll find full commentary by experienced pundits and former players including Jonathan Agnew and David Lloyd, slick TV style presentation complete with replays, reviews and Hawk-Eye tracking technology, and a lovely range of animations and sounds that make you feel like you're right there on the field.
International Cricket 2010 makes sure you're well equipped to tackle the challenging aspects of batting, fielding and bowling with a comprehensive tutorial. After being taken through the massive range of techniques, the tutorial pads you up with the ability and knowledge on factors such as when to use defensive shots over lofted, crowd-pleasing drives, how to change the pace as a bowler with a dazzling array of deliveries to disorientate a batsman and where to pitch the ball.
As with any sport, success is all in the timing and judgement. The difference between triumph and failure depends on how well you can time your button presses to the chosen activity. International Cricket 2010 uses a clever colour coding system to make sure you have a visual idea of the sweet spot.
If you time your button press when the marker is in the red, you're destined for embarrassment, whether it's because you did not hit the ball, dropped an easy catch or released a bad delivery. Stop the marker in the green zone and glory is in your hands, usually in more ways than one through a spectacular catch, shot or delivery. And an orange marker means your destiny is in the realm of luck, with the result going either way.
The differing shades determine the varying levels of achievement, which means nothing is ever cut and dried especially with the wide range of shots and bowling deliveries available to you. Mixing things up further are the batsman's and bowler's confidence and stamina gauges, which can alter the play dramatically.
Being in control of a confident player means you're harder to play against, with bowlers gaining more deliveries to choose from and batsmen becoming more accurate with their strokes as they keep the scoreboard ticking over. And true to any real life sport, the better you play, the more confident you'll become. It all makes for a tactical and entertainingly unpredictable game of cricket that will keep you coming back for extra innings.
Hitting you for six... with four
Have three friends to hand who enjoy a spot of cricket? Then International Cricket 2010 can have you all stepping up to bat - and bowl. Up to four players can go head-to-head in a two against two match in any of the regular game modes. So whether you want to take on friends in a quick round of Twenty20 or a more marathon session of a five-day Test match, it's an easy task.
Online play via PlayStation Network is just as comprehensive for two players, with the opportunity to enter a quick match (ranked or unranked), search for any games currently being set up or create your own. Leaderboards keep track of rank, wins, losses and draws, so you know who's the king of the crease at any time. Are you ready to step up and prove your worth with willow?