I'm glad my spidey senses told me to hire this title, because I'm hard-pressed to purchase this title in what was a reasonably enjoyable game on the last-gen consoles. All Blacks Rugby Challenge 3 is marred with dated graphics, audio that sounds like it's been ripped from an AM radio, and gameplay mechanics that actually feel worse than the predecessors.
Developer Wicked Witch had me suspicious for quite a while from a tweet posted in October of last year saying the game was finished (albeit, trying to throw Tru Blu Games under the bus in the process, for a delay in any updates). For Wicked Witch to claim the game was finished in October and only being released in mid-April I'm baffled as to what happened in all these lost months. Lots of polishing time, yet plenty of smudges on a tarnished title.
The dynamics of the new Sevens mode is a welcome addition, however that consistent lazy approach is still apparent. Logos from respective countries' fifteens teams are stripped from the uniforms, leaving us to think these are the actual player stripes for a sevens team (even those licensed teams included in the game!).
Like most TVs my volume indicator has a setting of one, and most content, be it TV, a blu-ray movie, or my Playstation can barely be heard (trust me... I'm going somewhere with this). I can however, hear Grant Nesbit and Justin Marshall as if I have volume set to a moderate level. Not only does the bitrate sound horrendous, but it almost sounds like the production crew recorded it with all the red lights flashing and gain up full. That is of course if any new commentary was recorded at all.
Player Hub is quite cool. I like the fact I can download some players with striking resemblances from the 90s and include them in teams from today... I know Goldie still has the magic! The created teams option is also neat. It can save some of the legwork from having to build a team from scratch. While my biggest frustration isn't with the custom teams, I'm ticked off I can't add the extra teams from this year's Super Rugby to the game.
Which leads me to my next gripe. Everything is outdated. We're playing off previous year's tournaments, rosters still feature players who are retired and stadiums still have a last-gen look. My home town stadium still features a scaffolded television tower from 2010 that makes me cringe every time the camera pans along it.
All Blacks Rugby Challenge 2.1, err i mean 3 does not capitalise on next-gen hardware at all. I would avoid buying this title as a wake up call for the developer to pull their heads in and not recycle material from previous versions. This will be one title returned to the rental shop well before its due back time!