Jackoâ€™s Rugby League 2 Review Well after a good one and half weeks with RL2 I think it about time I review it. Iâ€™ll start off by saying that Iâ€™m a little disappointed with this game. After so many months of waiting, it just didnâ€™t 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 donâ€™t 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 â€“ I mean last time the player models were just that â€˜modelsâ€™. 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 â€˜animationsâ€™ (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 shouldnâ€™t 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, â€˜Hey, lets have the sprinting control set to Xâ€¦ oh, and youâ€™re gonna have to mash it to pick up speedâ€™ !?! What the? For crying out loud I want my controller to last. Having said that, I must admit I didnâ€™t discover the sprinting control was purely based around the playerâ€™s skill in button bashing until two days ago and I havenâ€™t really noticed a huge difference yet. I love tackling and Iâ€™m 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; itâ€™s all there. You can even hold a player down after the tackle, but beware of the referees whistle â€“ 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 Iâ€™ve needed to kick a field goal from right in front or bomb the ball so Iâ€™ve got a chance of catching it on the wing as Iâ€™m going over the try-line, but Iâ€™ve 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 Iâ€™d 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 â€“ not the gameâ€™s. 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 Iâ€™m only playing on seasoned, Iâ€™m not finding the game too easy, which is promising. Hopefully as I progress through out the game Iâ€™ll be able to find better ways to attack but at the moment the responsiveness on the â€˜Behind/Closeâ€™ camera angle is good for the way I play and Iâ€™m having the most fun Iâ€™ve 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 havenâ€™t 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 isnâ€™t the same as that of the NRL. What Iâ€™d love to see is the ability to actually train your team, not just organise the schedule, the Ownerâ€™s 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 â€“ League and Union alike. All in all, this is a good game, but certainly not a 9/10 â€“ Iâ€™d 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.