College LaCrosse 2010 Review (Xbox 360)
The game of lacrosse has seen its popularity grow more and more each year. So it only makes sense that Triple B Games and Carlo Sunseri LLC decided to create Inside Lacrosse's College Lacrosse 2010, available only on the Xbox Live Marketplace.
College Lacrosse 2010 is entertaining, but like most games, it has its share of problems, both big and small.
On offense you can use both bumper buttons to decide which sort of offense you would prefer to run. With only two options available, the creators made a slider that is moved with the bumper buttons. Holding down the left bumper will have your team bunch (Bunch Offense) around the goal, and holding down the right bumper will spread (Spread Offense) the players out. The slider allows you to choose how you want your team to be positioned around the goal.
When running with the ball, you are given a small variety of moves to pull off. You have your spin move, a stutter step and a swim move. Each move will distract your opponent for a mere second, but otherwise they are useless. You are better off running around until you have an open shot.
The left trigger is used for your turbo boost. The turbo boost can make you or break you in every game. You only have a limited amount of turbo -- as in two or three seconds tops until your bar runs out. You will then have to wait another five or so seconds to start regenerating the bar. The turbo makes or break you because it is very overpowered in this game. Basically, you can run by everyone and get open for a goal if you use your turbo at the right moment.
The biggest problem on the field is the passing. It will take some time to get used to using the right trigger to pass the puck around, but even once you have it down, the ball will fly everywhere. There will be plenty of times where you line up to pass -- there literally is a line showing where the pass is going -- only to have the ball sail out of bounds. If it only happened once in awhile it would be fine, but it happens all the time. Hopefully, this will not scare too many people away once they play the game because this title deserves a chance.
Another big issue is the player movement. Players tend to slide around more often than they actually run around. It gets to the point where you try to check an opponent, only to have him easily spin around you, which leaves you sliding an extra two feet while you are forcing the control stick to follow him.
Just slide with me.
One other small issue is exposed during the faceoffs. I usually win 80 percent of the faceoffs, at least according to the stats, yet I never actually get the ball, minus once or twice. It gets very frustrating when you know you have won a faceoff, but the other team gets the ball and scores a quick goal. It will not change how you really play the game, it's just an unnecessary nuisance that causes you to wait a couple more seconds to actually get possession of the ball.
The final issue deals with the boundaries in the game. I would recommend staying away from the out of bounds line because there will be moments where you will be 10 feet inside the line and still be called out. You can also run after a loose ball, get it from out of bounds, then run back in like everything is fine and dandy.
College Lacrosse 2010 has very impressive graphics for an indie game.
Nevertheless, the colors in the game are very plain, there is hardly any shading of any sort on the field or players, and it looks like somebody used MS Paint to color the jerseys.
There are not too many in-game sounds. If you body check an opposing player, you won’t here a grunt or anything, he will simply fall to the ground and drop the ball.
However, I was very impressed by the commentary. Now, obviously it's not better than the commentary found in most of the titles created by EA and 2K, but College Lacrosse 2010 still does an outstanding job. The commentary is sparse, but with there being so little, it does not get repetitive. The actual commentator has a dull voice, but he talks in short sentences and gets his point across very quickly. A simple phrase that should sound familiar to all perfectly summarizes the commentary: quality over quantity.
An exhibition mode is available. You and your buddies can play in a countless number of head to head matches in this mode.
Training mode is another gaming option, but it is one I would recommend staying away from. There are three training areas to go to: passing, shooting and braveheart. All three of them are terrible. The mode does not give you any goals to accomplish, so you just run around and pass and shoot. It is not really training, just more of a playground with no time limit.
Season mode is easily the best single-player mode in the game. This is because there is nearly an unlimited amount of customization that can go into it. College Lacrosse 2010 does not have any real college teams in the game -- the title is obviously somewhat misleading -- but it does give you the option to create your own conferences and teams.
When creating your own conference and teams, you have an unlimited amount of character space for your name, which allows you to use full college names. Go ahead make Syracuse and the Big East, or if you dare, the infamous Duke team and its ACC cronies. You can also name your entire roster, and you have the ability to change the colors of your home, away and alternate jerseys.
Another thing that adds to season mode, which also applies to an exhibition match, is the money you earn during a game. You earn money for having a high scoring percentage, forcing turnovers and winning faceoffs (just a few examples). With the money you earn, you can upgrade your equipment. You can upgrade any piece of equipment you have for the right price, and each one gives you a different stat boost for the team you play with. For example, if you purchase an upgraded helmet, your sprint bar will recharge at a quicker rate. There are four upgrades to buy for seven separate pieces of equipment, so it should keep anyone busy for a while.
Now, as for the actual structure of season mode. Before starting a season, the game will ask you how many teams, games and playoff teams will be involved. You can include four to 65 teams, six to 30 regular season games and two to 16 playoff teams.
Once you select the amount of games and teams, you are then allowed to choose which teams will be participating in the season. One downfall is that in the season there is only one conference. In other words, there are no conference championships at the end of the season, just a playoff bracket that ends with a championship match against a team you probably have already played.
There are also some other limitations in the season mode. You use the same roster for every game, and you get no news about big upsets -- or any other news for that matter. You also can only see who your next opponent is when you check out your schedule.
Season mode is plain and simple. All that you need to do is win, win and win some more until you have won the big game at the end of the season.
You play to win the game.
Online play is included in College Lacrosse 2010, but that does not mean you should attempt to play an online game. The online gameplay is absolutely terrible because the lag is unbearable. During a faceoff, the game will freeze, and the next thing you know the other team will have already scored another goal. The same thing will happen for you as well. So both players will be frustrated and just want to quit the game and never go back.
I give the creators credit for adding an online mode, and the fact that you can use created teams in a match is awesome, but for your own safety readers, stay far away from this feature.
College Lacrosse 2010 brings a genre back to the sports gaming world after quite a long layoff. The game has its gameplay flaws, such as the bad passing and frustrating faceoffs, but also has the capability to draw in a gamer for hours with its create-a-team feature.
The simple fact that you can create your own teams and conferences turns this game into a fun one -- without that feature this game would be as stale and dry as old saltines that were left out of their box.
Triple B Games and Carlo Sunseri LLC have done a fantastic job on their first attempt to re-create the game of lacrosse, and for only $5 (400 MS points) this game can easily be recommended to not just lacrosse fans, but sports gaming fans alike. However, it is only available on the Xbox 360, so you PS3 and Wii owners are out of luck.
On the Field: College Lacrosse 2010 plays much like its real-life counterpart, the only problems are the glitches that exist only in the gaming world.
Graphics: With the exception of the very stale colors, the graphics are outstanding for an indie game.
Sound: The commentating is well done, you just won't hear the announcer very often. The announcer sounds monotone, but you won’t notice since he rarely speaks.
Entertainment Value: For a measly $5, College Lacrosse 2010 is one of the best buys you can find on XBLA. The ability to create teams and conferences will help you log plenty of hours.
Learning Curve: After two games you will be a pro.
Online: Please, stay away for your own good.
Score: 6.5 (Decent)