Itâ€™s been a few years since Sidhe and Home Entertainment Supplies (HES) released Rugby League 2 on PS2, and with the Rugby League World Cup currently on it makes great sense to bring out a Rugby League title.
Rugby League: World Cup Edition is an update of Rugby League 2 with new jersey and squad updates from the 2008 NRL/Super League seasons, with the Gold Coast Titans and various stadiums from around the world added. Obviously the Rugby League World Cup teams are here, with 10 teams from around the world and our very own NZ rugby league Kiwis in the mix for Rugby Leagueâ€™s ultimate glory.
By Sidheâ€™s own admission, this isnâ€™t Rugby League 3, more a few add ons that didnâ€™t make the cut from the PS2 to Xbox 1 port a couple years ago. â€śWe felt there were a few things we could tidy up from Rugby League 2â€ť said Mario Wynards, General Manager of Sidhe Interactive. It was nice jumping straight back into the saddle with the familiar controls, and a welcome addition is the fend and sidestep actions that are now mapped to the R3 analog stick.
Another notable addition is the ability to direct the defensive line with the L2 and R2 buttons. Here you can crowd the ruck area and can slide the defensive line when you find yourself a little short out wide. Youâ€™ll find that little scoot out of dummy half trick no longer has the same effect as it did in Rugby League 2 for easy metres, as the 2nd dummy half marker will now track you down and tackle you.
Graphics wise itâ€™s effectively the same as Rugby League 2, which for many fans of the pretty sports titles weâ€™re accustom to, will be a bitter pill to swallow. In an age when we get to see Kobe Bryantâ€™s sweat beading down his brow and get his reflection off the basketball court, most sports gamers will be weary of picking up a PS2 title. But while itâ€™s great to see the lifelike cringes of Steven Gerrardâ€™s when he misses that all important penalty through next gen titles, at the end of day it's the same football game from yester year.
Ultimately, even if Rugby League 3 did exist, it would rely on the gameplay mechanics of Rugby League 2, so try to get over the PS2 graphics and enjoy the gameplay.
A bunch of new cut scenes have been added to include new superstars of the game like Greg Inglis, Israel Folau and many others. Rugby league fans will be pleased to note that with the roster updates come all new player likenesses, and the developers have gone one further step to ensure a bit of longevity for the title, with Toyota Cup players who they believe will be superstars over the next few seasons.
Overall the new additions are welcome to the title, but without being too nitpicky it would have been nice to tidy up a few issues around passing and the play of ball area - at times they still feel a little clunky with the odd pass going to ground, or going forward through no fault of my own (well, maybeâ€¦).
Andrew Voss has added a few more calls to liven up the commentary that was lacking at times with RL2, you canâ€™t help feel that the one liners from Ray Warren and Phil Gould are really missing. I hate to compare this commentary with Next Gen titles like Madden â€™09, but you just donâ€™t feel at times that this is being called like a real game, rather some insert comment here and there, that may match up.
All in all, Rugby League: World Cup Edition isnâ€™t Rugby League 3, and we can only hope that Sidhe will get a crack at bringing our favourite 13 man game to the likes of Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii in the near future. Itâ€™s a great buy from someone whoâ€™s looking to get to play out the Rugby League World Cup, get a quick roster update from Rugby League 2 and few notable gameplay additions.
My advice is if you loved Rugby League 2 and you have a spare $70 bucks, pop down to your local games store and bring up this game and pray to the HES gods every night that they deliver a sequel to Rugby League 2.