Having played the previous rugby offerings on the consoles in the form of Jonah Lomu Rugby and EA Sports Rugby (a number of versions) I have long looked forward to the time when a decent rugby game would be released on the next generation consoles but is this that game I have been awaiting?
- A well thought out and implemented control system allows players to pick this up and play it with ease but it will still take time before you are going to master.
- Excellent graphics for a rugby game means that you feel closer to the real thing than ever before and will find a more immersive experience as you get drawn in by the excellent player likenesses.
- A good depth of detail means that you get 90+ teams and 31 stadiums and more licenses than any other rugby game to have been released on the console ever before.
- Commentary from Grant Nisbett and Justin Marshall is of a good enough standard that this is going to add to rather than detract from the experience of each and every game.
- A well thought out presentation delivers an experience that allows this to be more than just a game and draw the player in.
- Smooth and clear gameplay which allows you to enjoy the real feel of playing rugby without getting frustrated with lag that can be experienced with other games.
- This is a very expensive game for the console with most places charging £50 for it and you are unlikely to get this for less than £40 which is a risky thing for people wishing to dip their toe as there is no demo available so you need to spend a lot to get a chance to try it.
- Whilst there are some official licenses you do lack many international licenses as these were snapped up by the World Cup rugby game which came out at around the same time so if you are looking to play as your favourite international team with their real kits and have real players then you may feel somewhat disappointed.
- Some of the commentary does have mistakes in as you are told Murrayfield is in Glasgow where it is Edinburgh which is just poor as this is so known within the world of rugby.
- AI can be poor at some times which enables you to score rather easily but this is just down to you getting the difficulty level set to the right setting for you and acknowledging that sometimes easy points can be scored in the rugby game too.
Overall for me this is a good offering and a step in the right direction for rugby games on the console but with a high price it is a risky one for you to try and something which I am sure puts a lot of people off. A good game with a well thought out and delivered control system that enables you to pick up and play this game but it will take some time to get the controls perfected. A fun game but maybe not quite worth the money unless you are a huge rugby fan.
Over the years Rugby has been one of the those sports that games designers have found it hard to replicate on any console and even with the power of modern day consoles we have had some dire attempts. Hence, no one can be blamed for expecting very little from Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge when it was released late last year but it turns out to be a good effort, whilst being far from perfect, is an enjoyable title non the less.
The first thing that will hit you about this game is the way it looks in HD. On the PS3 it looks stunning and is easily one of the best looking sports titles, and perhaps one of the best looking games all round, on the system. Clearly work has been done as everything looks true to life from the stadiums, pitches, players and balls to the menus and animated scenes. Its stunning to look at....but is it stunning to play?
Well the gameplay takes some getting used to but due to the facts that Rugby itself is a complicated sport then you should not expect to be winning games of Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge in the first few tries. There is a good tutorial in place though to make sure you have a basic understanding of what you are doing and Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge will ease you in. The controls are very very responsive and indeed in terms of controlling the action you feel much more in control and the whole thing seems much much more natural on Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge than the Rugby World Cup game that was released some time ago.
The buttons can be customised but you will find the basic set up is the easiest by far. There is a depth to the controls meaning that after you have made the initial investment of time and learnt how to play Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge it will take time and skill to Master. All in all though you actually feel as if you are playing the game whereas too many Rugby titles in the past have had cut scenes and button bashing, this actually feels in control.
The main crux of Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge is the single player mode which had superb AI and provides a stiff challenge across all the difficulty. This will give you an in depth single player experience and keep you coming back and back for more and more. There are tons of teams, licenced players, cups, leagues and tournaments. The career mode is deep and you start out as a rookie and work your way up. Think Fifa 12's Be a Pro mode and you are close.
Add to this the fact that you can have local or online multiplayer and you will see how Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge offers you plenty to come back to. Online I found the servers to be fast loading, steady and reliable with plenty of players on and some of my best times have been playing the game online. In head to head normal two player modes it needs some time as you need to allow your friend to get good and know the game but when this happens well.
Overall, there is room for improvement. The AI makes daft decisions sometimes and you do seem to feel out of control in defence when the actions gets too hectic, the kicking needs a lot of work indeed and isn't anywhere near as good as the kicking in the previously released Rugby World Cup 2011 game but that's one minor thing. Drop goals become impossible and scrums are unpredictable.
However in all this is one of the finest Rugby title.....no....this is the finest rugby title released to date and is something no fan should be without.
Also on CIAO