Rugby World Cup 2015 is a strange game – I’m sure that somewhere there’s a good game, but it’s buried under some awful looking graphics and rather strange game mechanics. It starts off well, just like England’s own rugby campaign, but it soon unravels.
The UI is great, and that’s the most positive thing I will say about the game. The players, pitches, crowds and stadiums look terrible – I’m talking several consoles back terrible. The commentary, while competent, is kept very neutral and doesn’t single out any one player, team or stadium, and to make matters worse there aren’t many real player names used. Ok so PES can get away with it, but this is the official game of the rugby world cup!
Not only does the game feel cheap, it doesn’t celebrate the world cup. There’s no information on the teams or the cities the cup is hosted in and if you go on to win the tournament, don’t expect a ceremony – there’s just no grandeur spectacle of the sport and it makes a mockery of the world cup stamp placed upon its cover.
Surely it’s not quite as bad as Uruguay’s performance in the tournament? Well, to be fair it does have some other good points besides the UI. At times there are genuine thrills of excitement as you burst through a defence to score, but eventually the game is lost under the feeling of rinse and repeat tactics. The running and passing are fluid, but it eventually starts to play like there’s little intervention from you, connecting a pass effortlessly and allowing players to hold onto the ball without fear of a turnover.
Holding the LS will make your player run and using the RS will aim a pass to a teammate or initiate a spin passed a defender. Hit the ground and you have a small window of opportunity to initiate a ruck or face a penalty. Now you must find the ‘sweet spot’ to gain control of the ball – on normal or hard this is almost impossible – the game pauses as you work out what to do next, pass, kick or run the ball. It’s an odd way of presenting the ruck and consequent play, being that the rest of the game tries to keep things moving fast.
Lineups and scrums are even simpler, with scrums resided to wrestling with the RS to push your opponents down the field and lineups a simple case of jumping at the right time. For all the game’s simplicity, the drop goal remained elusive to me, with the goal posts often off-screen and no real way of aiming the kick – I just couldn’t nail the drop goal – the other elements of the game have been made so simple so why not the drop goal?
Throughout the game, player movement is awkward – diving for huge distances and running across the pitch like the players are ice skating or running to the Benny Hill theme tune – had this game been released as the rugby version of Sensible World of Soccer, then HB Studios may have been on to a winner, but it’s not and it wraps up a rather awkward title that is hard to recommend.
Rugby World Cup is an odd game – in its attempts to keep things fast and fluid it becomes rather awkward sinking into a boring game relying on luck rather than skill. Instead of celebrating the world cup it washes over it and I suggest you do the same!
Thanks to Xbox and Bigben Interactive for their support
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