Rugby League 3


By: Aaron Scott    On: Nintendo Wii
Published: Wednesday 24 Mar 2010 10:00 AM
 
 
 
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As Kiwis we’ve had our ups and downs with rugby league with the poor showing of the early Warriors back in 1995, followed by the dizzying heights of seasons 2001-2004, through to winning the World Cup in 2008. We’re pretty passionate about our third most popular sport.

It seems timely with the start of the NRL season last week that Sidhe’s Rugby League franchise returns with the release of Rugby League 3. It's the first outing on the Nintendo Wii after Stacey Jones Rugby League, Rugby League 2 and Rugby League 2: World Cup Edition on Xbox and Playstation 2.

It’s pretty clear from the first menu screen the game is more polished in terms of presentation, and that the lads at Sidhe have stepped the franchise up one or two pegs. Fans of previous games will be pleased to note the hard rock riffs accompanying your menu navigation are still around. You have a few different options upon coming into RL3, from Exhibition games, Season mode, Franchise, Tournament mode and for those League wannabes, the ever enjoyable, ‘create a player’ option. All the competitions and teams are here from the NRL, Super League, Rugby League World Cup, State of Origin and City vs. Country.

The rosters are up to date as of September, 2009. This lead us to our biggest gripe of the game: the delay has meant a lot of players who are in 2010-11 season (Greg Bird, Brett Seymour, Loti Tuqiri) aren't in the game. And because they haven't been playing any professional Rugby League, the only option is to create them from scratch. Another small problem is that RL3 doesn’t feature the new exciting concept from Preston Campbell and the NRL - the Aboriginal All Star game. The delayed release instantly dates RL3 and with potential innovations like a four-point try after the attacking team has scored, it could hurt the game’s longevity further if the NRL makes a few changes.

Now into the nuts and bolts of it. Those who played Rugby League 2 will know the drill well; you control your team from a birds-eye view (though there is a couple of other views to choose from, too). The single most notable change is the removal of the 'pass to playmaker' option. While this would scare most with visions of passing the ball to Steve Price on 5th and final instead of a notable kicker, we can say the change works quite well with only the odd hiccup.

The kicking play has greatly improved too. Gone are the days where you’d pass to the wrong person, fumble your way through a set of six, fail to kick and get caught in your own half. With a small flick of the wrist on the Wii Remote you can perform a bomb, chip, grubber or punt. Dialing up the attacking set plays, you can orchestrate some great attacking plays with D-pad.

Players will find they can tweak the gameplay settings quite a lot, which is great. We found 2 vs. 2 matches, with their fast paced nature, that the games tended to be quite arcade based. A few simple changes in gameplay speed and player attributes allow the games to play at a slower, more sim based speed. Though this is really a personal preference, it’s nice to have the option if needed.

The multiplayer aspect really shines, with the game running up to eight players at once; this number of players is quite unique for a Wii game. Players can use four controllers, either with the 'chuk, or using a watered down control style with just the Remote, which follows the same style as the EA Play option on the 2010 sports series on the Wii. You can add a further four players with Nintendo Gamecube controllers (but the Nintendo Wii Virtual console controller doesn’t work).

As mentioned earlier, a new addition to series is the set play option, which isn’t as polished as Rugby '06, but don’t feel as mechanical and forced, either. It definitely helps to change it up. Players can now set wingers to drop back for kicks, make the defence attempt to charge down a drop goal, cut kicking options or jam the attacking team in their own redzone, all on the fly.

Graphically, Rugby League 3 looks like a good Wii title. You'll spot your favourites like Sam Thaiday, Billy Slater and Jamie Soward at first glance, however the odd player's facial mapping can be a bit hit and miss. All the various stadiums are in here from the UK, Australia and NZ, and judging by the ones we’ve been to, they look to be on the mark. This the authenticity of RL3. The pre-match intro sequences are great, and the cutscenes and try celebrations are well blended within the gameplay itself.

The music and sound effects were overseen by the musical genius from Shatter - Jeramiah "Module" Ross. But like other sporting titles you can’t help but feel perhaps having a licensed soundtrack with up and coming Kiwi and Australian artists may have been the way to go. The same music playing over and over again can be quite repetitive. RL3's in-game sound is spot on for the majority of the time; Andrew Voss is back on commentary duties and is a little more polished than RL2. Although there's the odd bum note. For example, we've noticed Vossy calling 6s, 7s and 9's Fullbacks when performing the kicking duties. As per our hands on, we’d love to see Ray Warren and Co in the commentary duties, but Voss has been there since day one and his commentary comes across very well in the game.

The Franchise mode is back with a lot more realism this time. You can take your favourite team through a season and make a play for rep selections. The good news is that compared with the previous titles the rep selections actually look similar to how State of Origin and International teams would be selected. In the past you’d get a bunch of random people selected. Also, you can create your own likeness in ‘create a player’ to aim for higher honours too!

Rugby League 3 is easily the best Rugby League title out. They've taken the gameplay and look 'n feel from Rugby League 2 and improved nearly every aspect from the previous titles. While it's not up there among the heights of other sports title like Madden and FIFA, it still delivers an enjoyable and action packed experience for League fans.

Who knows where the series is headed, now? It seems they’ve pushed the current gameplay engine to the brink on Rugby League 3 and we may see the little niggles addressed one day via a next gen version that could even include PS3’s ‘Move’ or Xbox 360’s 'Project Natal’ in the mix.

If you're a League fan and own a Nintendo Wii, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up. Perhaps if you don’t own a Nintendo Wii, rent it first, or borrow it from a friend before making a $500+ purchase for just one game. If you like it though (and, again, this is for the league fans) there's no reason that this shouldn't be the game that shifts one of those little white boxes from the store shelf into your living room.


The Score

Rugby League 3
"The best League game to date "
8.0
Great
Rating: G   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 30 Min

 

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Comments (11)

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Xenojay NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Wednesday 24 Mar 2010 10:33 AM Posted by Xenojay
I've been wondering about this game...I'm all for interesting control schemes but would kill for it to be in HD. That would be most excellent.

Good on Sidhe though for providing another league game whilst many others wait for EA to release another one of their rugby titles.

Might have to look into this :)
 
 
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KatalystaKaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 24 Mar 2010 11:36 AM Posted by KatalystaKaos
Thanks Aaron for this excellent review, off to hire it now, I'll buy in a couple of weeks :)
 
 
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Ninja-15 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 24 Mar 2010 12:58 PM Posted by Ninja-15
I'll eventually buy this game, but I have to get my sister's Wii off her for it :P

I think there's a little error in your review-

"The delayed release instantly dates RL3 and with potential innovations like a four-point try after the attacking team has scored"

I think it should be 8 point try? If you are referring to the "power play" rule that was in the All Stars game?

And Lote Tuqiri is spelled wrong.

For teams rosters and changes for 2010, you could download other peoples game saves for that...

A big thing you missed in your review is that, RL3 still doesn't have shoulder charge tackles.

Looks like I'll be going back to play my RL2 on PC for awhile for my daily League fix :)

Can't wait until a NRL game comes out on PS3... I would rather a Next Gen League game than Union game...

League > Union

I still love Union, but not as much as League :)
 
 
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SpawnSeekSlay NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 24 Mar 2010 7:05 PM Posted by SpawnSeekSlay
Would like a HD ps3/360 version
 
 
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Ron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Wednesday 24 Mar 2010 10:19 PM Posted by Ron
24 March 2010, 12:58 PM Reply to Ninja-15
I'll eventually buy this game, but I have to get my sister's Wii off her for it :P

I think there's a little error in your review-

"The delayed release instantly dates RL3 and with potential innovations like a four-point try after the attacking team has scored"

I think it should be 8 point try? If you are referring to the "power play" rule that was in the All Stars game?

And Lote Tuqiri is spelled wrong.

For teams rosters and changes for 2010, you could download other peoples game saves for that...

A big thing you missed in your review is that, RL3 still doesn't have shoulder charge tackles.

Looks like I'll be going back to play my RL2 on PC for awhile for my daily League fix :)

Can't wait until a NRL game comes out on PS3... I would rather a Next Gen League game than Union game...

League > Union

I still love Union, but not as much as League :)
RE: Powerplay, but it's an idea the NRL are looking to use in future seasons without in the game it ages it some what.

RE: Spelling on Loti is correct - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lote_Tuqiri

RE: Rosters, yeah but they're not really objective ratings by people who've made the new players, I think Sidhe could have released an update on the roster, but they didn't and I've address that in the review.

RE: Shoulder Charges are a small part of RL tbh, but still wouldn't mind them being in there.

Thanks for the comments.
 
 
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Ron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Wednesday 24 Mar 2010 10:20 PM Posted by Ron
24 March 2010, 11:36 AM Reply to KatalystaKaos
Thanks Aaron for this excellent review, off to hire it now, I'll buy in a couple of weeks :)
All good, let us know what you thought of it, or even submit a reader review for it.
 
 
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Ninja-15 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 25 Mar 2010 10:29 AM Posted by Ninja-15
"RE: Spelling on Loti is correct - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lote_Tuqiri"

Isn't it suppose to be Lote and not Loti? Or is Loti the real Fijian way of spelling it?
 
 
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Ninja-15 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 25 Mar 2010 11:12 AM Posted by Ninja-15
"RE: Shoulder Charges are a small part of RL tbh, but still wouldn't mind them being in there."

I guess this is subjective. But I think shoulder charges are one of the things that make League so much better to watch than Union... Big Hits makes the game so much more exciting...

And I would say the majority of people who play the League games have shoulder charges as one of there top features to have in the game... I've just been reading a few threads for ideas and wants in the Sidhe forum and most of the posts say they want shoulder charges. But yeah, I guess it is subjective and not everyone thinks it's that big of a deal, such as yourself. But I know all my Islander mates want it in the game aswell. :P
 
 
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Ron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Thursday 25 Mar 2010 2:04 PM Posted by Ron
25 March 2010, 10:29 AM Reply to Ninja-15
"RE: Spelling on Loti is correct - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lote_Tuqiri"

Isn't it suppose to be Lote and not Loti? Or is Loti the real Fijian way of spelling it?
I'll watch Tigers vs. Eels tomorrow and get the official spelling there ;-0
 
 
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lottethefirst
On Friday 9 Apr 2010 10:23 AM Posted by lottethefirst
A New Zealand website scoring a New Zealand game 80 out of 100. 31 points more than the metacritic average of 49 out of 100. Then talking about people at the developer as “geniuses” and calling them by their nicknames.

Credibility much? Fail.
 
 
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Ron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Wednesday 14 Apr 2010 10:13 AM Posted by Ron
9 April 2010, 10:23 AM Reply to lottethefirst
A New Zealand website scoring a New Zealand game 80 out of 100. 31 points more than the metacritic average of 49 out of 100. Then talking about people at the developer as “geniuses” and calling them by their nicknames.

Credibility much? Fail.
Module is genius, this song is great - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCm_Ujt2gGE. Regarding a good score for a NZ game - http://nzgamer.com/ps3/reviews/934/shatter-psn.html, at the time NZGamer.com's review was the lowest score for Shatter around the world. Please check all the facts before making such comments.
 
 
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