Rugby 18 is now available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This latest installment brings high hopes for a quality game that rivals other sports games made by 2K and EA. What EKO Software has released may or may not be what you expect.
As someone who enjoys watching Rugby, I was keen to get my hands on Rugby 18. To play a sports game that has been a part of my younger years was something I felt was not to be missed. The bitter truth is that apart from FIFA, it has been virtually impossible to find a non-American sports game that emanates quality and immersive gameplay. Sports like Rugby, Rugby League, AFL and Cricket have suffered greatly and it is unfortunate to report that Rugby 18 suffers from this same issue.
Comparisons aside, Rugby 18 is still very playable but as a player not located in England or Europe, playing as my favourite team is not an option. The options include Aviva (12 English teams), Top 14 (14 French clubs), Pro 14 (Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, South Africa), and Pro D2 (16 French teams). Career mode however does give the option to choose Fiji, New Zealand and Australian national teams though, but I felt this was a small consolation for players located elsewhere in the world.
Getting into the actual gameplay, the game gives a basic tutorial during a Quick Match, but it does omit certain controls and leaves you to learn these yourself. I felt that some controls could have been mapped better but I got used to it regardless. The general physics in the game work quite well especially for passing between players, kicking. I was relatively impressed with the conversions mechanic including curving the ball and taking wind into consideration.
Open field gameplay is generally pretty good with rucks, lineouts and scrums however the players run out of stamina very quickly, doing line breaks and running the field for a try is virtually impossible due to the computer controlled players seeming to have an advantage over yours. This also was evident at times when some tackles and ball passing did not perform correctly or at all. The part I found most amusing was the fact that scoring tries, and winning games was moreso exciting despite the issues experienced.
Audio & Visuals
Considering Rugby is a relatively fast-moving game which can move from one side of the field to the other in mere moments, it would be challenging to create this game with realistic graphics and smooth gameplay, mainly due to the zoom required to capture all the action, but it is not impossible. The crowd is as generic as it gets, the grass on the field sometimes appears to be long and other times like carpet. When assessing the audio, the stock standard sounds are all present, being crowd cheers along with crunching tackle and ball kick sounds. The commentary is not exactly broken but the comments are split to include team names and it is not seamless at all. It is quite distractingly poor.
As an Australian, I feel that sports games that aren’t US orientated or soccer don’t seem to get the quality that they deserve. And this clearly also affects other regions as well, being that this game is focused on English and European teams. One day, I hope to see these sports get a game that blows us away in detail and gameplay, sadly this is not that time and it is not Rugby 18, maybe next time.