Inside what plays like an EA Sports game

Review of Inside Lacrosse’s CL2010 on XBLIG: Try
EA Sports alternate blast from the past.

Inside Lacrosse, College Lacrosse 2010 is a well polished game that I think you should try if you like sports games and don’t mind learning a new one that looks, feels, and sounds like an EA Sports game. That being said, here’s my disclaimer: I do not watch nor have I ever played lacrosse. I don’t even watch the by-line at the bottom of ESPN when or if it gets to a lacrosse section. The sport holds little to no interest for me personally.

To those, like me, who don’t know the rules of the game here’s the Lacrosse for Dummies summary. There are four quarters, usually 15 minutes each, with an intermission at the half. Strikers are the players who stay on the opposition’s side and try to score. Defensemen are exactly what you think they are and include the goalkeeper. Midfieldmen are the only ones to go from one side of the field to the other (like old school half court basketball). There’s a stick that you use to challenge for possession of the ball (like hockey). The winner of the game is the one with the most points at the end of the game For Donovan McNabb here’s one guarantee to pacify him: there are no ties in lacrosse. They do a penalty shoot-off at the end of regulation in case of draw (again like hockey).

The game plays similarly to older Madden games, which is to say it feels good but could be better. Even without knowing the rules or how to play (the screen that tells you which button does what notwithstanding) the game is easy to pick up and play. You could play much of the game just by moving only when you have the ball. All of the players, including you, move appropriately without your constant guidance though there are buttons to tell everyone how closely to guard the opposition (zone vs. man-to-man). Switching between players can be dicey but many times will go to the one you want.

The stadium background is uninspired with generic crowd noise but I only noticed what it looked like because I stopped looking at the action on the field (pitch?) long enough to take note. The announcer sounds like they kidnapped one of the EA guys (or should work there) for long enough to record a number of generic, repeating Madden phrases tweaked to fit in lacrosse. I mean, who calls the goalie a “net keeper”? The outfits of the players tend to look like Boise blues on the Smurf Turf or Oregon’s any time Nike sneezes, neither a good look on anyone. They may be accurate for all I know but I find most of them atrocious.

The menus used to select everything was confusing to me. Even after I figured out what was going on I just wanted to grab parts of the screen and move them physically to where I thought they should be. I didn’t play long enough to figure out what seems to be an involved upgrading system with the equipment. If lacrosse is your thing, you’ll likely be able to pimp out a custom team that will steam roll over any opposition and look fly as they do it.

The game itself lacks that last bit of polish and pizzazz that a commercial release would have but it isn’t really necessary. The uniforms become muzzled together in the zoomed out view of normal play but as long as they don’t look too much alike you’re fine. Goals get the zoomed in, rotated around, “GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL” that you would expect but not much in extraneous camera fireworks and not much variation on the announcing.

Despite what I will fully admit are nit-picky criticisms of a game who’s sport I don’t like, this game is definitely a Try for any sports game fan. Or for most sports fans for that matter. You might find that you have a new sport to track.

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