Occasionally here at Player2.net.au we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for the same length as the average blockbuster movie (about 2 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Rugby League Live 3
PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 (360 and PS3 versions released later in the month)
I am probably going to open myself up to a lot of criticism here but I love Rugby League. My Dad worked in the sport for a very long time and as such it was an important part of my household. I grew up playing it, watching it and eventually even refereeing it. It is fair to say that despite the game’s problems (of which there are many, I am not kidding myself) it is very much and important part of my life. But when it comes to video game versions of my favourite sport I am more often than not disappointed with the virtual translation of my beloved NRL. In fact there hasn’t been a truly great NRL game since ARL 96. So it was with hope and more than a little trepidation I booted up Rugby League Live 3 for the first time.
The Rugby League Live series has had a rocky road. The first game was an abomination that failed to provide an entertaining experience. The second game, while much improved, was still short of a must play game. So the question becomes is Rugby League Live 3 a better game? Well the answer is a resounding yes but it still has a fair way to go to become a must have sporting experience.
The first thing I noticed this time around was the much improved presentation. Everything is clean and simple to navigate with easy access to all of the main features of the game. Speaking of main features I was certainly impressed with the selection of ways to play. Along with traditional quickplay and season modes there is an in-depth career mode that allowed me to take control of my favourite team at guide them through ten years of success or take control of a created player and work him up through the grades until he became an international star. These features are well thought out and while they lack some of the bells and whistles that something like NBA 2K features, they are certainly the most entertaining way to play the game.
Graphically the game is also improved though it is a long way from being a good looking game. This is to be expected somewhat given the development budget and doesn’t have too much impact on the game. The stadiums are perhaps the best looking features with accurate representations of famous grounds from throughout the Rugby League world. It was nice to be playing at Canberra stadium and being able to point out where I sit in real life and where I go to buy my dodgy meat pie. This is something that Australian gamers don’t get to do in games often so it is certainly a little buzz.
The gameplay its self has had some nice improvements as well. Kicking has been improved greatly, making it a much more valid tactic and close to real life. Passing feels similar to past entries but more refined and general player movement is also much better. The biggest problem the game has however is conveying momentum as an essential part of any game of Rugby League. Getting a roll on and pushing back the defence with quick plays and inside passing is a huge part of Rugby League but Rugby League Live 3 struggles to convey this. It is almost impossible to get a roll on with forward hit ups making holding field position a difficult thing. This one problem can suck a lot of enjoyment out of the game and makes it hard to recommend that this point.
There are other issues as well with random bugs, roster update problems and some glitchy animations but based on the developer’s history with Don Bradman Cricket (which was patched heavily after release) I have confidence that these issues will be patched soon. So with Rugby League Live what I am left with is a League game that comes close but isn’t over the try line just yet. Hopefully a few patches down the track this will be that must buy league game fans have been waiting because it certainly has the potential to be. At this point in time however I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it. Die hard league fans will no doubt get some fun out of it (as I did) but those sitting on the fence are perhaps better off waiting a few months before diving in.