Rugby World Cup 2011

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Rugby World Cup 2011 review
Ryan Sandrey


Scrum down!

Oh and he's hit the post!

The difficulty you choose changes the likelihood of a certain team winning it dramatically. That sounds obvious, but let me explain. I won the tournament rather easily as Scotland on the lower difficulties, but the technically faster and better team of New Zealand beat me in the semi-finals on the hardest difficulty. Perhaps that is an indictment on my ability as a player rather than the gulf in class between the two teams, but there is no doubt that ratings make a difference in this game as it jumps from no AI to ridiculously flawed AI.

Furthermore, Rugby World Cup 2011 is a game hindered by technical problems. Awful crowd animations have the crowd constantly standing up and sitting down in a loop no matter what occurs on the field and lineout problems see the ball teleport into the Scrum-Half's hands from nowhere. The graphics look reminiscent of the HB Studios-produced titled Rugby 08 with a tiny hint of polish and character models only vaguely resemble their respective players. The animations are jerky and unrealistic, with several surreal actions occurring in the middle of play. A particularly memorable moment happened a Pool game against Wales. My Fly-Half was caught in an off-side position during a ruck that had formed behind him. A troublesome situation but, instead of turning around to run to his position, he proceeded to pedal backwards the entire distance, passing physically - through - the ruck. A surreal incident but unfortunately far from isolated and everything about the AI, graphics and animations screams last-gen.

The Four-Kick surprise

The game's problems don't end there. Scrums, even on the hardest difficulty, are far too easy to win as the defending side, removing the advantage the attacking team are supposed gain from it. A minor issue but minor issues have a habit of cumulatively becoming major problems. This is the case in Rugby World Cup 2011 which has no real major problems as such, but has accumulated so many minor problems that they are too big to overlook. The controls are another example of such an issue. There are many options for kicks and scrums and you need a thorough explanation to be able to use them. Often, these explanations are shown in a 'blink and you'll miss it' screen at the end of loading screens, leading to confusion as to which kick button does what kick. Don't expect great commentary either. There are six commentary teams to select but they all sound incredibly bored with the game they are commenting on.

The online portion of the game is disappointing. There are head-to-head matches for two players, and that's your lot. Even offline matches have four player support! It baffles me that 505 Games feels that players will pay for an online pass to access the online play and authentic world cup kits for only half of the teams, when the game is anaemic as it is.

Kicked into touch

For a game that seemed fairly promising, Rugby World Cup 2011 disappoints in nearly every way. It's out of date, lacking the correct licenses for the majority of teams and has a ridiculously limited amount of modes. Even with Jonah Lomu's Rugby Challenge struggling with licensing issues, it still boasts nearly 100 teams, whereas this game has only 20.

Rugby World Cup 2011 doesn't impress in any way, shape or form, has no longevity to speak of and is a poor excuse for an official game. Wait for Jonah Lomu's Rugby Challenge if you want a lengthy experience of chasing the egg-shaped ball across that muddy field.


fun score


Some teams are licensed, fun for a few hours


Terrible graphics and animations. Occasional problems with AI. Scrums are too easy to win. Kicking mechanics awkward. Incomplete licenses.