“An unforgivable mockery of an international respected sport…”
I was stoked to see that alongside and English world cup this year there would in fact be a video game companion to the experience. I have been waiting some time for a quality rugby game to pick up and enjoy some FIFA style shenanigans with my friends on, so this title immediately grabbed my, and I am sure many other peoples’, attention. The sad reality however is that collectively we may all have been just a little too hasty for our own good, not to mention the good of our wallets…
You see, this game is essentially half a rugby game. The basic premise is there, some (but I must clearly express not all) of the rules are there, and it bears a mild resemblance to the age-old sport that we know and love. At the same time however, the gameplay is fly away, the action plays out nothing at all like a real rugby match, and only half the teams are actually licensed with real players. And that paragraph only really summarised the half of it!
Let me back track on that analysis a little to give you some context in the form of my first game. Fortunately my girlfriend is also a rugby fan, so we chose to share this experience together and avoid any later debate over who might have had more practice. Going into your first game, you are given not a tutorial, not a button map, but what must have been around 6-10 screens of instructions to work through. I can’t give an accurate figure as for one thing I lost count, but I also reached a point where I was just skipping through them, knowing I’d never take it all in, and endeavouring to work it out for myself.
A shaky start then, and this is before making it onto the pitch. It was shortly after this instructional encyclopaedia that I found that whilst my girlfriend’s Scottish side had official names and even photos of players, my English side did not. Given the official nature of the game for the tournament, I was shocked to discover this, as I am sure once again that many others will have been too. What’s more, England are the host nation, so their team being one of those in the game that was not in fact officially licensed is even more of an eyebrow raiser.
Ok, so now we are on the pitch, and the first thing to notice is that players are everywhere. There is no easy way to tell which player is which in terms of positions, and with your player and all of the others running with little structure the gameplay does not make it any easier at all. Controlling the players is nothing short of mad. They don’t change direction smoothly or behave as you would think Rugby players would. In fact, if you have the ball and you spin the analogue stick your player will pretty much Beyblade their way along. It is crazy and confusing out there, and that’s without trying to remember your pre-game instructions too.
The way that the rules of the game of Rugby have been incorporated into this game are lose and very digitally. There is little natural substance to any fowl play or even any other play for that matter, which makes the game feel very much like a 1990’s attempt at sports simulation. Some rules don’t even seem to come into play either. For example, when you can choose a play after being awarded a penalty, there is no “kick to touch” option, as it would be known in the true game, but instead a barely aimable “punt” option. Alongside the fact that the word soccer appears everywhere despite this being an English sport with an international language of, you guessed it, English, it seems as though an American football game has been torn apart, the good bits having been left somewhere, and forced into a Rugby structure instead.
You might feel at this point that this is a highly critical review, but consider this for a second if you will. Imagine the new FIFA game came out, but in this one they have not added the offside rule, there are no replays when you make a fowl to show what went wrong, and Messi is playable in it, but Ronaldo is replaced by a player name Sandini. It would make sense, football fans would be up in arms, and a game that has plenty of potential to be an amazing hit becomes a gaming nightmare. To come back to that comment about replays too, that’s exactly what this game is like. You accidentally perform a fowl and then play moves on whether you understand it or not.
The real final blow here is the fact that this is a full priced game on the shelves, asking for the same money as games which wildly overshadow it such as the aforementioned FIFA. And yet, it is a fly away, half finished effort by the developers. At half the price, you still could not justify many of this game’s problems, but at full price there is simply no excusing them. The only meritable features of the game are that it is competitive and will make you laugh, albeit for all the wrong reasons, and it does require some level of tactical awareness. As a simulation of Rugby however, this game falls well short of the goal, or even the 22-yard line for that matter. Given that this is also not the development team’s first attempt at a Rugby title to receive critical reviews, the kick in the teeth that this game delivers is followed swiftly by salt in the wounds. An unforgivable mockery of an international respected sport, this game is definitely best missed
- Competitive gameplay as any sports game should have.
- Required some level of tactical awareness to play.
- Entertaining it that the game will make you laugh, but often for the wrong reasons.
- Unintuitive instructions on how to play appear across 10+ slides before you play your first game.
- Not all teams are licensed, despite it being sold as an officially licensed game.
- It is not easy to tell which player is which when you are on the pitch.
- Unintuitive controls make the players on the pitch look totally mad.
- Only half of the rules of the game of rugby are actually present.
- Full of Americanisms despite rugby being an English game with an international language of English!
- Full AAA retail price is being asked for the game despite its half-finished feeling nature.
- This is not the first rugby game developed by the team, and still has all of these problems.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.