Rugby World Cup 2011 Preview

by on August 2, 2011

Recently, God is a Geek was invited to a Twickenham watering hole called the Cabbage Patch to take part in a Rugby World Cup 2011 tournament against some other online establishments. Having had no previous experience with this brand new Rugby game from developer HB Studios, we thought a tournament would be the best place to see how far HB studios has come since its last Rugby title way back in 2007.

Rugby World Cup 2011 will be the first Rugby title in the HD era, and after such a long wait, fans will be eagerly awaiting Rugby World Cup 2011. The question is, has the wait been worth it?

Rugby World Cup 2011 will feature five modes which include Tournament, Warm-Up Tour, International Test and Place Kick Shootout, as well as online play via Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network, which is the first time HB Studios have taken a rugby title online. We got to grips with the game in a simulated world cup, where we were drawn as France to take on some gaming and rugby experts from around the web. My first, and only match was against the might of Tonga, who Matt Gardner from Dealspwn was lucky enough to be drawn with in our Pool.

Tonga had a rating of 60 in the game, whereas France is rated an admirable 80. While the opposition was quaking in its boots, I was secretly nervous about playing, seeing as Tonga had already had some practice. Low and behold, I was annihilated by young Matt, who scored over 20 points to my nil.

All thrashings aside, the match was enjoyable to play. There is a well-balanced pace to Rugby World Cup 2011. While being much faster than your typical game of Rugby, it didn’t overstep the mark and allowed for some really enjoyable play time. Controls are simple and easy to get used to, and using RB and LB to pass the ball left or right is as instinctive and responsive as it has been in previous HB Studios Rugby titles. All of the official rules and regulations are in place in RWC2011, and as players find themselves in a ruck, they will notice the new Ruck Intensity Mechanic. When in a ruck, players will have to hit A/X (Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3) repeatedly to ramp up intensity to win the ruck. Too much intensity however, and players will incur a penalty. All of this is shown in a bar on the edge of the screen which both sides will need to keep an eye on. This is a great little mechanic which really added some fun to the gameplay.

Not so fun though, were the line-outs, where players have three options of how short or long to go. This cannot be changed, as far as we are aware, and the defending team always seemed to be half a second behind, making sheer guesswork the only way to successfully steal a line-out. Another small worry was the side stepping when running. Players can be hammering the ground at full speed, but one side step seemed to break up the whole pace of the attack, and it seemed to suffer with some form of lag at this point. This wasn’t the final build, so this may be improved before the game’s August 26th release date.

Visually, RWC2011 looked impressive, with sharp colours and more than acceptable graphics. With the full roster of teams and official kits in place, the tidy graphics should have that final touch to make the game pleasing enough on the eye.

We would have loved to have had some more hands-on with this title. From what we played, it was enjoyable and HB studios has clearly concentrated hard on making a World Cup game that is as in depth and accurate as possible, and the recent announcement of having three commentary teams is another example of the quality that the studio is aiming to pack into the game. Let’s just hope that the quality is consistent throughout, as being the official game will only go some way to making this Rugby game a title that could reignite the genre in a big way.

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Rugby World Cup Releases August 26, for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


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