by Ryan Sandrey
reviewed on PS3
They're like Buses...you wait years and two come along at once
Rugby games aren't like other sports games. They aren't released yearly and usually only see the light of day when the public is perceived to have a specific interest in the sport, like after a major tournament that England have won (like in 2003), or just before. 2011 is different. This year brings not one but - two - Rugby games. One of them is the return of an 'old friend', Jonah Lomu, in the game Jonah Lomu's Rugby Challenge, which is shaping up to look like a rather good game indeed.
The second is the licensed one- the FIFA to Jonah Lomu's Pro Evolution Soccer. With all the necessary international licenses, including licensed stadiums and kits. Rugby World Cup 2011 aims to be the perfect accompaniment to the upcoming World Cup in New Zealand that begins on September 9th. However, does it score a try, or does it knock the ball on for Jonah Lomu to retrieve?
It's just not Cricket
Despite not being a huge Rugby fan - I enjoy watching Rugby far more than playing it - even I was disappointed with the pitiful amount of modes available in Rugby World Cup 2011. Obviously, there is the main draw of the game which is the Full Tournament mode. Here, the player picks from any one of the 20 teams that qualified for this year's tournament in New Zealand. From the minnows of Russia to the mighty Springboks of South Africa, there is plenty of mileage in this mode. Oddly enough, there are only 10 licensed teams and kits, with the likes of New Zealand and Australia unlicensed and other teams such as Russia using ‘made up’ teams and kits. Unacceptable for an 'official' game.
Aside from the main draw, there are only three other modes. International Test mode (no, not Test in the sense of a Cricket Test Match) is the game's equivalent of an exhibition mode. There is also a Warm-Up Tour mode, where you select a hemisphere to tour in, and play a series of matches against a cluster of geographically-close teams. Starting off with tours of Pacific Island teams such as Tonga, completion unlocks further tours against Australia and New Zealand.
Rounding off the tiny collection of offline modes is easily the most boring mode, but also the quickest to play- the Place-Kick Shootout. The Rugby equivalent of a penalty shoot-out, with 5 players to kick between the posts from various angles. Whilst that sounds simple, it's ruined by the kicking mechanic. Using a power bar, once to select the power of the kick and another the accuracy of the kick, is in theory fine- a similar system is used in the Penalty system in Fifa 11. However, in Rugby World Cup 2011, the kicking bar is ridiculously hard to use for the accuracy part, with there being a very noticeable delay between the button-press and the bar stopping. This means that kicking can take a while to get used to, and is very frustrating.
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.