Before I give a full run down of Rugby 2006, I think it would be beneficial to answer some questions that people have asked me via MSN etc, so I'll do that in this thread. 1. Is Rugby 06 better than Rugby 2005 Oh yes. Very much so. It is Rugby 2005 with all the faults (Well, nearly all) ironed out and features the tightest gameplay ever in a rugby game. 2. What's changed? Where should I start. Well, visually things have improved. Stadiums are now immaculate, and players look much better than before. Effects such as Steam coming for scrums in cold weather etc is great too. It also seems to have a more stable, faster framerate this time round. Soundwise, the commentary from Ian Robertson and Grant fox is thoroughly enjoyable and not as boring as I thought it may be. Robertson reminds me of Bill McLaren in a way. Beefy sound effects go with the action, and if you're playing as New Zealand it's great when the crowd chant "ALL BLACKS" clap clap clap "ALL BLACKS" as you gain momentum. As for the gameplay, think Rugby 2005 with with Knobs, bells and Whistles on. Each team has Star players and these really do effect the game. They can step better, run faster etc and can change matches. This is a fantastic addition on EA's Behalf. 3. Does it still have the "Animation" routine, that kick in and stop you controlling it? Nope. Or if it does, I've never noticed it. 4. Steps fends etc, do they work?? OH YES!!!! These are so much improved for Rugby 06. Exactly the same as before, but this time you really can make the full back look daft as you shimmy and step round him. Star players like Umaga etc can make most players look stupid with their step technique. Fends work brilliantly too. It's really great to break away from the ruck, fend off one, two maybe three people before putting a man in space. Class! 5. Offloads... any good? Brilliant! Superb addition for this years game. How they work takes some getting used to, but once learned, they're awesome. What happens is when you're being tackled, if your arms are free the "X" button pops up above the ball carriers head for about half a second to show you that you can offload. Hit X and you'll offload the ball, do it quick though or the X will go and you won't be able to. Not every offload goes to your players though, so be careful when you're about to offload with a bunch of defenders around you. 6. Set plays.. Work this time round? You bet your life they do. There's around 25 different set plays to choose from and you can assign 4 on the D-pad before the match starts. They're much the same as before, but they've be tightened and tweaked to work well. The loops and miss passes are there again, but this time plays like "Crosskick" have been added. This is a superb move that works well when in a ruck or scrum on one side of the field to put a crossfield kick across to the opposite wingman. 7. Tackling? Same as Before? Pretty much, Yes. Just run into the player to perform a tackle, X does a dive tackle and the new addition is a High tackle that you can do with the R1 button. These can give you the upper hand at a ruck, but if the ref sees you, you'll give away a penalty. Great if the opposition star player is running riot. Line him up, hit R1 and smile as he gets carried from the field. 8. Passing. Brilliant. Tweaked from Rugby 05 and all the better for it. The offloads really have opened up the attacking game too. 9. Has the kicking game improved? This has to be the single most improved aspect from Rugby 05. HB Studios have got the ball physics absolutely nailed this time round. From Punts through to grubbers, they all feel right. Congrats to HB on a job well done. 10. Can you play against the Lions on the Lions Tour? Unfortunately no! Lions only I'm afraid. Unless there's a cheat to allow you to do it, but I doubt it. 11. Are there any bad things? Of course there are, but they're minor niggles compared to how good the game is. Firstly, you can still make a lot of ground by running diagonally at the defence. This is more apparent when the AI put a kick in and your full back is returning it. The rucks are still pretty much automatic and the "Club" difficulty level is waaaaaayyy too easy. All in all though, Rugby 2006 is immense. 12. Is it better than Rugby League 2 Ha. Next. Without a shadow of a doubt, YES YES YES. It has the most Responsive controls ever. Wether attacking or defending, stepping or high tackling, you feel in control at ALL times. So yes, Rugby 2006 is far, far better than RL2. Saying that though, if Rugby 2006 was a league game, then I'd NEVER play anything else, ever. 13. Is it better than Rugby Challenge 2006? Mmmmm, I'm not sure here. I played RC2006 a few months back, and from what I remember it's brilliant, but I've just recently played Rugby 06 so that's fresh in my mind. It wouldn't really be fair for me to say which is the better of the two cos I've not got them both here to compare. However, Rugby 2006 seems to have the balance between fun gameplay and simulation completely sewn up. So there's a few questions answered. If anyone would like to ask questions about Rugby 06, please do so in this thread. Please note: I won't answer questions like "Is such-a-body in such-a-team" or "What are the stats like for such-a-person" cos they're just not interesting. Any gameplay questions etc I'll gladly answer.