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Mr. Laxative
01-01-06, 11:21 PM
Jackoís Rugby League 2 Review

Well after a good one and half weeks with RL2 I think it about time I review it. Iíll start off by saying that Iím a little disappointed with this game. After so many months of waiting, it just didnít quite make my jaw drop. Sure it is much better than Rugby League 1 overall, there seem to be some parts of the game that just donít work.

Rugby League has certainly had a facelift in less than two years and with a big budget that would be expected. The players are recognisable beyond belief Ė I mean last time the player models were just that Ďmodelsí. The graphical update was thanks to Weta Digital, the CG geniuses behind The Lord of the Rings and King Kong. But this is where the problems start.

The control of these highly detailed characters is equivalent to a Kong with arthritis and it is a challenge alone to keep the ball carrier in the field of play. The play the ball Ďanimationsí (and I stress that word) are lazy at best and are completely AI controlled. Apart from choosing what sort of move the dummy-half is going to make you have no control in this area. Here it is also most noticeable that the responsiveness of the players is terrible. At one stage I had to wait a whole five seconds after the ball had been played for the dummy-half to scoot from the play the ball and even still I wanted him to pass it left!

In defence and open play it seems incredibly difficult to change directions with a player and thus you often find yourself missing easy tackles and running pass lose ball that your opposition immediately pounces on. And for crying out loud, that shouldnít be called as an intercept, particularly if your opposition had just kicked the ball and then recovered it. In these areas sprinting will be found difficult by most and in a lot of cases unnecessary. It is just annoying that Sidhe have thought, ĎHey, lets have the sprinting control set to XÖ oh, and youíre gonna have to mash it to pick up speedí !?! What the? For crying out loud I want my controller to last. Having said that, I must admit I didnít discover the sprinting control was purely based around the playerís skill in button bashing until two days ago and I havenít really noticed a huge difference yet.

I love tackling and Iím sure a lot of people out there do as well. With three types of tackles including strip you are bound to have fun. Whether you want to quickly knock a defender of his feet with an aggressive tackle or just hold on to him and pull the marked man down; itís all there. You can even hold a player down after the tackle, but beware of the referees whistle Ė you may be penalised.

The kicking system: Well what can I say? Is it great? Well in some areas yes, particularly when you are kicking for goal, but in others it is clumsy and none-responsive. Punting is simple with and the slow-mo screen as you select direction is good, but that happens with all kicks and can screw you up on a number occasions. Many times Iíve needed to kick a field goal from right in front or bomb the ball so Iíve got a chance of catching it on the wing as Iím going over the try-line, but Iíve been caught before I could let fly. Sidhe need to have a quick kick option where you just tap the button and it goes flying immediately. This would allow a player to get away from the pressure easily. Maybe if you tapped triangle and left or right the bomb would go somewhere in that direction and if you had a shot at the field goal press the buttons required and the ball would go somewhere in the vicinity of the posts. But there should be consequences of slightly less accuracy. Also the controls for drop goals and grubbers need to be changed to just one button not two. I enjoy the goal kicking system, which seems far superior to any other game because you have more time to select your accuracy as it travels around the metre time after time, however Iíd like to see more wind involvement and the ability to hook the ball.

The passing system is great! It is much better than the passing in the EA Sports Rugby games as you have the ability to not just cut out one person, but two or three as well. The controls are intuitive and responsive. There is absolutely no need to hold a button more than a fraction of a second to get a cut out pass either. I see this system as a step forward in Rugby games. Also the inclusion of passing to an impact player is essential, not only quick and fluid it sometimes results in loss of ball because the passes may have been floaters, so it is best to restrict the move to once a set-of-six.

Full out attack is my favourite part of the game. It is exciting, yet sometimes difficult. At first I passed a lot for success but eventually I noticed intercepts occurring regularly from clumsy offloads, which is probably my fault Ė not the gameís. Now after discovering the secret of sprinting I have now been able to use fends, barges and steps in good combination with the occasional hit up. I find the blind side is easy to break on so I have converted to the up the middle then cut out method for efficient scoring. Though, I must admit Iím only playing on seasoned, Iím not finding the game too easy, which is promising. Hopefully as I progress through out the game Iíll be able to find better ways to attack but at the moment the responsiveness on the ĎBehind/Closeí camera angle is good for the way I play and Iím having the most fun Iíve had since Rugby 2001.

This game is stacked with features, which are all worth trying. The Create-a-Modes are a little disappointing with out the ability to create your own stadium for your team and the lack of options when creating your super player. The ability to play in your own custom tournament is great as well as all the extra tournaments you can unlock to play in the Competitions feature. The Classic Matches, or lack-there-of is disappointing and I would love to see this included in the next instalment. I still havenít been able to unlock such teams as the USA yet so I will be kept playing for a while longer with the promise of that, but what will keep me going for longer than anything else will be the Franchise Mode.

Franchise was a must include for this instalment and likely was what got a large number of people to purchase it. With the ability to Play or Simulate games is great and the need to control your salary cap is an essential inclusion. Unfortunately they have slipped up in some areas. One strange omission was the Tri Nations in the Northern Hemisphere franchise. I mean, come on Euro Nations? Also surely the anti-tampering deadline in the Super League isnít the same as that of the NRL. What Iíd love to see is the ability to actually train your team, not just organise the schedule, the Ownerís Box feature from Madden, where you control ticket prices and fan support and the ability to challenge judicial decisions. Apart from these slight problems I feel that this mode is a huge step forward in terms of Rugby games Ė League and Union alike.

All in all, this is a good game, but certainly not a 9/10 Ė Iíd have to give it a 7. This will certainly keep me going to the next Rugby League title, which I am awaiting cautiously or at least until Rugby Challenge 2006 and EA Sports Rugby 06.

Parore
02-01-06, 12:27 AM
Thats a pretty good review, unlike other BS ones posted here by various people you actually give ideas on how things need to be improved.

Out of curiosity, how do you do different tackles in the game? I just press the W button and hope they tackle the player.

CeeJay
02-01-06, 01:20 AM
Not bad Jacko, fair score.

I thought weta did the mocap not the models or graphics?

What is the secret of sprinting that you speak of?

sanzar
02-01-06, 03:19 AM
Originally posted by Jacko@Jan 2 2006, 10:21 AM
The passing system is great! It is much better than the passing in the EA Sports Rugby games as you have the ability to not just cut out one person, but two or three as well. The controls are intuitive and responsive. There is absolutely no need to hold a button more than a fraction of a second to get a cut out pass either. I see this system as a step forward in Rugby games. Also the inclusion of passing to an impact player is essential, not only quick and fluid it sometimes results in loss of ball because the passes may have been floaters, so it is best to restrict the move to once a set-of-six.
Great review Jacko, that's pretty much how I feel about the game as well in all honesty. I especially agree with this ^ bit about the passing system. But to be honest I think it should be toned down in some respects for RL3... For example I think that for the next game forwards and other players with ordinary passing stats shouldn't be able to cut out more than one player per pass, maybe wingers and centres should be able to cut out 2 players (and some with better stats like Amos Roberts should be able to pass much better), but then your half back and 5 8th should be able to cut out 3 or 4 players... But this should also heavily rely on individual player stats as well, so the Origin teams will be better all round, but a team like USA or Russia will have pivots that can barely cut out more than one player. This would also add to more individuality to the players, making having a player like Andrew Johns feel relevant, and also make it so you're not so trigger happy with the pass button when you get into a bit of trouble.
What do you think?

Mr. Laxative
02-01-06, 09:44 PM
Originally posted by CeeJay@Jan 2 2006, 12:20 PM
Not bad Jacko, fair score.

I thought weta did the mocap not the models or graphics?

What is the secret of sprinting that you speak of?
I think weta did the models, not the animation as such. I was just saying that they are 'like Kong's with arthritis' to prove the controlling isn't great, not that weta had done a shoddy job, cos they haven't.

To sprint on PS2, you tap 'x' not hold it.

Parore, about your tackle question, I can't be sure for the PC but for PS2 you press 'O' to grab the defender and in the process can attempt a strip, 'triangle' allows you to make an aggressive tackle which could result in a penalty, and to hold a player down after the tackle hold 'x' for as long as you like, but holding down too long will result in a penalty.

Sanzar your idea is fairly good, however I have noticed a few times that a front-rower has gone into dummy-half and I say pass to play maker, but he passes ino the turf, not often but sometimes.

One thing I've heard people mention is the sin-binning. They say it is there but not very well implemented... how do players get sin-binned? Anyone?

Hopefully this will run better on the PS3 as it will have a far better frame rate, so control could be easier, who knows?

sanzar
03-01-06, 06:17 AM
Originally posted by Jacko@Jan 3 2006, 08:44 AM
One thing I've heard people mention is the sin-binning. They say it is there but not very well implemented... how do players get sin-binned? Anyone?

Hopefully this will run better on the PS3 as it will have a far better frame rate, so control could be easier, who knows?
It will definately. RL2 on PS2 and PC are VERY different already... The PC version looks about 10 times cleaner and more detailed, it moves without a hitch and the menus don't lag... The PS2 on the otherhand struggles at every turn with this game.

knowsleyroader
03-01-06, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by sanzar+Jan 3 2006, 06:17 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (sanzar @ Jan 3 2006, 06:17 PM)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Jacko@Jan 3 2006, 08:44 AM


One thing I&#39;ve heard people mention is the sin-binning. They say it is there but not very well implemented... how do players get sin-binned? Anyone?

Hopefully this will run better on the PS3 as it will have a far better frame rate, so control could be easier, who knows?
It will definately. RL2 on PS2 and PC are VERY different already... The PC version looks about 10 times cleaner and more detailed, it moves without a hitch and the menus don&#39;t lag... The PS2 on the otherhand struggles at every turn with this game. [/b]
The PS2 also struggled with RL1 and both the xbox and PC versions were already laps ahead of it back then.

CeeJay
04-01-06, 09:43 AM
Jacko you egg! weta did the mocap and thats all.

read it at the RL2 forums, posted by mario.

knowsleyroader
04-01-06, 02:11 PM
The way Mario has been lately that kind of comment will get this forum shut down. http://www.therugbyforum.com/forum/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif

Mr. Laxative
08-01-06, 08:13 AM
I want to send this review to Mario, now what e-mail address should I use so that he might actually read it???