Finally, there is a rugby game on the market. With the long-awaited return, we bring you the review of Rugby 18. Once opening the game you are able to select your favourite team. In my case, I went for Newcastle, as this is the most local team from where I was brought up. You then play a very quick match against the Harlequins. This is basically the training match so you can learn the controls. After a few rucks and running about, I got the feeling that this is going to be a very frustrating game for a few reasons. One simply when you have won a ruck and want to run the ball out wide, there is no one there to pass to so you get tackled straight away. The game makes you feel like you are only playing with 7-8 men instead of the 15 that should be available. No Width = Not much fun. Only the very odd occasions where I managed to pass the ball quickly to a teammate, did I then get any success. Going through the game various tips pop up to learn the controls, such as lineouts, scrums etc. Tacking in this game is a very hard thing to master. Many times I missed tackles as you have to click ‘circle’ at the right point and even then your controlled player misses with a bit of lag. In addition, your teammates don’t tackle much so it’s mainly up to you to get that vital tackle in.
Other first impressions of the game are simple. The UI is very old fashioned with graphics not being what I believe to be good enough for a sports game in this day. Gameplay is very jerky and a little slow in the rucks however one aspect I do like is the scrum. This is probably the best bit of gameplay; here you have to keep a small dot inside a rotating circle. Doing so will push your team up and have more chance to claim the ball. This will be very challenging against other online players. However it all ends there, once again when you find yourself running with the ball from the scrum, there is no one there to pass to, as your team is too close together and have no width to pass the ball out. Very frustrating. Kicking at goal is very weird indeed. There is a shot timer that comes up after you have placed the ball. Using the ‘RS’ to aim is hard enough but to add bend onto the kick in such a short time is frustrating, I must have only made 2/7 kicks from conversions and penalties.
From the ‘Main Menu’, 5 playable options are available. Firstly there is the ‘Quick Game’, either against the computer or online. Just like FIFA, you can choose any two teams to play, choose their kits, and also one of the 8 stadiums available. After playing a couple of local games against the computer, my views of this hadn’t changed, still a frustrating game to play. You earn more ‘Star Credits’ through this and can use them in another mode I will mention below.
Next is League. This mode has 4 leagues, Aviva Premiership, Top 14, Pro 14, and Pro D2. If your knowledge of rugby is good you can decide for yourself which league to start. In my case, I started with the Aviva Premiership. Through this, you play a total of 24 matches where the final stage is a knock out to win championship glory. There are unfortunately no transfers in this mode so far so expect to have a tough season with the likes of Newcastle and the London Irish for example.
Career mode is similar where you can choose a team from the 4 leagues available. Once chosen a team, you then have to make up your team through a fantasy draft style system. Each player costs their worth and you have to pick all 23 players with a total of 400,000 credits. Once through, you come to your league. From here you have in-game objectives that will earn you credits along with winning games. These credits will allow you to buy better players and have a much more improved team. Winning games will elevate you up through the 6 mini leagues to become overall Champions.
The next game mode is My Squad, this is very similar to Career however it uses your star credits, which you earn through playing games locally or online through the quick play mode. However, there isn’t a league system here. This mode is basically the ultimate team option to use to play against your friends or another player.
Lastly, there is the weekly challenge. These are essentially matches to be played with an objective. Through this, you can earn more star credits for you’re ‘My Squad’ and have a bit of fun doing so. However, you only have 10 tries to complete the challenge per week so this adds a bit of excitement to the game.
Overall I am disappointed in the Rugby 18 as a whole. It doesn’t match up to the likes of other sports games like FIFA for general gameplay. The controls are basic however the biggest downfall is the graphics for the game. With plenty of other sports games mastering all aspects such as the player’s body, stadiums, all the way down to the grass.
It is very disappointing playing on a PS4 console which has the feeling that we are back on the old PS1 again. Just like the 1997 Jonah Lomu Rugby game.