When the latest attempt at a Rugby League game was announced, I was as excited as the next bloke. But after playing and realising too quickly that the Wii version fell well short of anything close to a good game, I was apprehensive as to what the same company could offer on "next generation" consoles.
"Next Generation"... It seems Tru Blu didn't get the memo on the capabilities of our new machines.
Immediately (and I mean immediately) after inserting the disc you realise that this game is 5 years old. Not only is the graphics, menu and sound stale and poor, but the design lacks all inspiration and effort.
Determined to give it a go, I launched myself into a Quick Game and was again unimpressed with the menu and interface design of the system. The traditional "progress" of 'X' found in other sports game is replaced with an L2 and R2 navigation system to find your way across to options and settings, with 'X' starting the game.
You are further disappointed when the game starts. There is no atmosphere, no sense of awe or wonderment or excitement that a game is about to start -- no, all you are greeted to are cardboard cut-out fans, with 1 (yes just 1) simple clapping animation. You see your team for the first time, walking out of the tunnel. When was the last time an NRL team walked onto a field? And finally, to top off your disappointment -- you are met with Andrew Voss's ghost from Rugby League past. This bit I am not exaggerating, the sound quality of the commentary is comparable to watching a VHS. It is muffled and dirty. I wouldn't be surprised if it was still the same sound files from the first 2 games (you can even play Spot the Voss catch-phrase!).
So we are into the gameplay, and as to be expected, we time travel back to the days of Playstation 2. The graphics are clunky, poor and rough. The actions are laggy (stop trying to adjust your controller settings as I was -- its not you -- its the game), and just like in RL2 hit pass that one more time after going cross-field and you betcha you will watch your winger throw it over touch.
What has changed is the pace, for the worse.
Players zip across the screen like they are roadrunner on steroids. Couple this speed with input lag on Circle and you have a defensive nightmare. When you do finally land that tackle, watch out! The 1990s gameplay will call you offside, even from a Marker position.
Yep, you are right back where they started when you play this game, back at Rugby League 1 that is. As many guessed before the game was released, this is a ported version of the previous games, with updated rosters and HD support (only 720 might I add). Now before you get all defensive with me, saying I'm biased or too nitpicky. Perhaps I am. But although people have cried "It's just the small budget!" all through development, I would understand that issue if it were just that. But it isn't. This game isn't poorly developed because of the budget, it is poorly developed because of the effort invested in it.
This game is produced lazily. The fundementals of the game are there, but the small errors that have literally been with this franchise since birth have not been perfected. Rugby League (and myself) could forgive graphics shortcomings due to budget, I could forgive sound shortcomings for budget -- but the general playability and care taken when producing this game have ruined it, yet again.
Budget isn't the issue in this game, it is just pathetic.
Tip: Don't waste $100 on this game, hire it for a week or two for under $20 and wait the month til it is in the bargain bin for 50% off (or more).
I'm glad I didn't pay for it. I keep playing it trying to like it. That's not how a game should be.
Fail topic is Fail.
Unfortunately I agree with you. This is really damn pathetic! The Rugby League 3 game on the nintendo wii with a gamecube controller owns this game so hard and obviously that game isn't the best, but still way better this this crap. I tried out the NRL game on the PSP last year when it came out and it was crap, well this is as bad, if not worse since this should be alot better this on ps3/360.
Epic Fail and one damn disappointed fan here, and I'm sure I'm not the only way
Michael Atkinson is such a douchebag.
this is so depressing, if only for some reason NRL became more popular and EA start making them. Ive been waiting for this for ages look like im going to be waiting longer for it to drop in price (hopefully it doesn't take too long)
'Epic Fail and one damn disappointed fan here, and I'm sure I'm not the only way'
Well I bought this game expecting nothing less than rubbish game, but hopeful of having decent enough gameplay to keep me amused.
I'm probably one of the few who enjoyed RL2, and whilst playing against AI can get boring after a while, it was the epic battles I used to have with my mates that kept me playing.... so really, getting this game was more about having a RL game I could play on my PS3, I couldn't have cared less if it was just a ported RL2.
So I'll be the first to say publically that this game is exactly what I was expecting. Not more, not less.
I was expecting a re-hashed RL2 game, with maybe some tweaks and updated team rosters etc... and that's what I got.
While disappointed in some areas (the sound quality of the commentary, yes it is just the old PS2 recording copied into the game), this was offset with the small improvements on screen (like highlighting your key players with the icons).
To be honest it looks like most work was put into the small 'cut scenes' they are calling 'impact cam' or something. A nice little cosmetic addition, but that's about it.
In summary, this is a game based on a sport that has a very very small global following. Even in Australia it's only popular in really 2 states. So to expect a sport game equal to an EA title is a bit ludicrous.
In fact my only complaints are;
** when taking place kicks (or line drop outs), the angle you can go side to side is limited... ie. I tried kicking a ball out on the full off kick-offs and drop outs and even with a 19km sideways wind, it didn't even get close to the sideline :(
** The screen resolution looks like they ported the aspect ratio 4:3, so playing on my LCD widescreen, it appears that everything is 'wide' or stretched a bit. But really if I hadn't put the time into RL2 in the past, I may not have noticed and just thought "gee these guys are bulked up." - again just a cosmetic issue for me
I'm yet to play online, so not commenting on that bit yet, but having a quick glance on the leaderboards I'm dumbstruck that it's all just win/loss ratio stats, and when you look at most, the amount of 'No results' for people with decent wins scares me (eg. I saw someone approx 36games, 22wins, 2 losses, 12 no results).
So it looks like there's alot of plug pullers online who quit if losing :(
I just hope that when I try to find some online games tonight, it gives me the chance to see the 'stats' of the opponent before comitting myself to what could be a waste of time (eg. I want to see that the person I'm about to play isn't just interested in buffing their wins and would look to pull the plug if losing.)
Anyway at this stage I'm happy with my $80 Aus spend. Maybe not blown away, but I don't feel disappointed or that I wasted my money.
^ Positive support for this game? you must work for Big Ant, get him!