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The review that sums it up



I saw this review on NZgamer.com and thought it summed up rugby 08 pretty well......

I'm a rugby fan (my mother raised me right). I like watching rugby. I don't do it much, but I like playing rugby. I like talking about rugby. And I do believe I have failed to resist almost every rugby video game released in the last six years.

So when I say EA have just phoned this one in, I know what I'm talking about. Changes have been made (and good changes). But Rugby 08 is mostly treading water in order to cash in on the excitement surrounding the Rugby World Cup.

First and foremost: I'm reviewing the PS2 version of the game. Because that is it for the console releases (it is on PC, but, frankly, that sounds even less promising). None of the new systems get a look in, and even the old Xbox has lost its position on the team. So, the graphics are, if anything, a step back from what I'm used to, which isn't a good start.

But, basically, Rugby 08 looks very much like Rugby 06. As in: I suspect those are the very same player models. And that poorly rendered crowd... very very familiar. The camera angles have changed a bit, but it seems like they've ripped large amounts of content straight out of the previous game.

And nowhere is this more obvious than in the audio commentary. While there has been some new commentary recorded, you can still expect to be treated to all the worst that 06 had to offer. So Kelleher will still "whip it out" numerous times in every game (why, man? why?), and some player names suffer the same repeated mispronunciations (which grate even worse this time around).

The music, at least, is fresh. It also, unfortunately, is not quite as stunning as that of the previous EA Rugby outing. That was a hard act to follow, though; and Rugby 08 certainly acquits itself well in this department, again laying on half a dozen or so good modern rock tracks.

Likewise, the gameplay sticks to a formula that works, and performs well, with only modest changes. Basic gameplay remains more or less the same, which is good news for veteran players. (And, for newbies, the tutorial is rather more helpful than in previous incarnations of the game.)

Lineouts and scrums have been tweaked slightly, and it's for the better. These used to be areas of much confusion and even more button mashing. Now they are areas merely of uncertainty, and minor button mashing. More advanced controls for the set plays are also available, but I would recommend leaving these aside until you've mastered the easy way.

In-game, things do at least seem smoother than in 06. Movement across the field is a little more fluid, and, though the game physics do still show up some of the same flaws (if you tackle a player diving for the try-line, things still look bizarre), they are less obvious. Place kicking is essentially the same, but a little spice has been added: the power meter now moves with a less consistent speed, which means slightly more of a challenge.

The opposing teams have also been made a little tougher, at least when you have them backed into a corner. It isn't hugely obvious, but the defense does tighten as you approach the opposing try-line. And this adds a degree of realism, along with the extra challenge. It also means the enemy plays smarter rugby inside their 22, kicking for touch wherever they can.

However, you can still outwit the AI in numerous ways. Halfback pick-and-go from the scrum can be very hard to defend against, as can grubber kicks. This isn't unreasonable, but it's worth noting that game dynamics like this remain unchanged.

Perhaps the biggest disappointments are outside of the main gameplay. Once again, EA have failed to provide a custom tournament option. I can't say I had much hope, but it really would have made a lot of difference to the replay value, and would have been a huge multiplayer asset. What is more, the fictional Ten Nations has vanished (a shame, because though it wasn't real, it featured all the major rugby nations, and was a good challenge). And, oddly, despite the inclusion of all its constituent teams, even Australia A and the Junior All Blacks, the Pacific Nations Tournament is missing. More bizarrely, the developers have turned a blind eye to the Jr ABs' 50-0 win over their Australian conterparts at last meeting, and rated the latter a good 17 points higher!

And it is this failure to get the details right that really disappoints. Little things they may be, but getting the line up of the Junior All Blacks wrong is a silly mistake, as is missing out things like Piri Weepu's ability to play at First Five-Eighths, and Nick Evans as a Fullback option. Traditionally, correct player details are what seperates EA Rugby ***les from the semi-licensed competition (such as Pro Rugby Manager); so getting sloppy on this is a real issue.

There is a new challenge mode, featuring some classic games from previous World Cups. By winning each match (and by completing certain goals within those matches) you unlock video content. However, all the talk of revisiting classic matches with modern teams essentially just means that they were too lazy to recreate the past players, and decided to take a cheap shortcut. I assume that was the reasoning behind the limited options for the other tournaments, too (previously, it was possible to randomise the pools and the draws for the tournaments, but this option has been retired.)

Of course, I'm still playing and enjoying this game. And I don't doubt I'll still be playing it in a year's time. But they're feeding us yesterday's reheated leftovers. And that's fine, I guess: leftovers still taste pretty good. But it's a little unreasonable to charge full price for them. It's not a bad game. It's just the same game you quite likely already own.

But you're a rugby fan, aren't you? So hand over your wallet. EA's shareholders need new gold tuxedos for their squads of butlers...

For the latest reviews, previews, and gaming news (not to mention all the bitter tirades you can handle), keep it locked to NZGamer.com
Sadly he's right...I'll be forking over my money when it's available here in the States.
your a bit behind dude, its been out there for over a week!!!!

but that is a pretty accurate descrittion of it though.
Good review - probably the only thing it doesn't say is that the game is easier then rugby 06.
your a bit behind dude, its been out there for over a week!!!!

but that is a pretty accurate descrittion of it though. [/b]
Can't get it here, yet.......................
even though we're supposed to...................

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