Review: Rugby World Cup 2011 (360)

Review: Rugby World Cup 2011 (360)

Rugby World Cup 2011 is a game that is unsure of its identity. I mean, can you really call a game Rugby World Cup 2011 if it only has 10 of the 20 teams licensed to appear in the game? Is it really Rugby World Cup 2011 with only half of the participants of the actual Rugby World Cup 2011?

Yes and no.

All 20 teams are represented in Rugby World Cup 2011…kind of. As I said, only 10 of the 20 teams are officially licensed (Argentina, Canada, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa, USA, and Wales). These are the only teams that display the official team logo and offer the full official rosters for play. The other 10 (Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Romania, New Zealand, Russia, Samoa, and Tonga) offer generic kits, and generic players. New Zealand, the country hosting Rugby World Cup 2011 in that little thing called the real world, is not represented by its own team, the iconic All Blacks. Part of the fun of a game like this is supposed to be in putting yourself in the shoes of your favorite world class player. With Rugby World Cup 2011, there’s only a 50% chance that enjoyment will be available to you.

Graphically, Rugby World Cup 2011 is not nearly on par with its other sport colleagues like Madden or FIFA. It’s better than previous Rugby titles, though, so if you’re a major fan of the sport, this will be a visual improvement over past iterations. So basically, the graphics aren’t great, but if you’re a big fan of Rugby games, they’re better than what you’re used to.

The last problem with the game starts with the lack of a tutorial. Why is this such a big deal, you ask? Lots of games come without tutorials, you say. Yes, that’s true. The problem is that most games don’t come with TEN DIFFERENT CONTEXT SENSITIVE CONTROLLER MAPPINGS. Yes, you read that right. Rugby World Cup 2011 is apparently so complex it requires ten separate control mappings based on context. While general gameplay can be figured out with some success, there are some contexts in which you really need to know what each button does in order to prevail (such as when a scrum forms).

Did I say last problem? The AI on your team is fairly unintelligent.

Once you get past all that, the game is actually…pretty fun. In an attempt to make up for the woefully inadequate selection of officially licensed teams, Rugby World Cup 2011 allows you to choose from four different official announcer pairs (English, French, Italian, and Australian/New Zealander), uses the actual Rugby World Cup 2011 theme music, and allows you to play the actual Rugby World Cup 2011 schedule bracket.

Aside from playing the actual tournament schedule bracket, you can play randomized brackets, keeping the variety of tournament play fresh. The multiplayer, both online and offline, is where most of the replay value will exist, though. The actual gameplay is fluid and looks fantastic. Passing, scrums, tries, and more all look like you would expect. The mechanics are solid, and can be fun once you figure out how the controls work.

Is Rugby World Cup 2011 a perfect game? Far from it. It doesn’t provide the full roster for the event it’s supposedly recreating, it has somewhat unintelligent AI, and the ten context sensitive controller mappings are overly complex. Is it a good Rugby game? It’s probably the best one available right now. The gameplay mechanics are solid, the online and local multiplayer provide good replay value, and once you get past the flaws, it’s actually pretty fun. If you’re not a fan of Rugby, the $49.99 is probably too high for you. If you are a big fan of Rugby, this may be a great game for your collection.


Good mechanics
Online replayability
Incomplete licensed roster
Overly complex controller mappings
70 out of 100

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