Rugby is probably the most engaging and impressive sport there is. You watch 30 people literally smack flesh upon flesh, taking bone-crunching tackles only for them to get straight back up and get back into position. The blistering pace and uncompromising action should lend itself really well to a fun and engaging video game. However, this has never truly been realised and although Rugby Challenge 3 is fun, it still has flaws and let-downs.
Developed by Wicked Witch Software and out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Rugby Challenge 3 sacrifices some of the simulation for accessible and arcade-like gameplay. Licencing is a bit hit and miss. It doesn't have the official Rugby World Cup licence or The Lions Tour, Pro 12, and Top 14 but it does have others. These include: The Currie Cup, Australia’s National Rugby Championship, and New Zealand’s ITM Cup as well as the Aviva Premiership and the Super Rugby Tournament.
There are plenty of modes as you can guess from the licences above but you can also edit any player and team to keep them updated or even improve their stats to use going forward. The best mode worth talking about though is the Be a Pro mode. In this mode you get to create your own player as well as their primary, secondary, and tertiary positions on the field. Each match also has a few challenges in which you must try complete given the positions you chose so this could be getting involved in a certain number of rucks or perform so many drop-goals. It definitely acts as a great structure to a rather complex and compelling sport.
When you are playing as a team though, doesn't follow a simulation structure. Everything feels simplified for the sake of fun. So much comes down to timing quick time events like the scrums where chances are you will win it, even if you're up against it so long as your timing to button prompts is a skills bullet point on your C.V.
Everything feels like its to keep the flow of the game going to match with the actual sport but in doing this, the complexity that makes the sport so engaging is gone. The game features a tutorial for you to learn all the basics so if you're new to the franchise, it brings you in easily. The only real problem though is that it never gets more complicated than what you learn in the tutorial.
Despite being a little bit down over its simplistic and arcade nature of the core gameplay, I can't fault that it isn't fun to play. It's probably the best rugby game on this generation of consoles but honestly it shouldn't be. Visually, it once again is a disappointing affair with average textures and detail but the character likeliness is not even close. Everyone seems to look like a default character from a bunch of different RPG and MMORPG games. I honestly had no idea who most of these players were supposed to be.
Hey, they gave it a try. 2/5
Rugby Challenge 3 at CeX
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