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My third post of the day (I’m bored at work why should you be, right?) is going to be my first attempt at a game review.
But before I get into that, I have been surfing through varsity.co.nz. There’s no link to the main site which is just a NZ dumping ground for email humour and random posts/reviews (much like this site but with more bandwidth and you have to sign up). The jewel in their crown is the work of, good friend, José (also known as Fishmeal). His cartoons are called Fountain Funnies and are spread out over this page (you have to start at the bottom); don’t bother reading anything else, you won’t laugh, trust me. His ranty blog thing, which is alluded to below, is called Rants Pants (again there is no single place to read them all, you have to search). How’s that for a plug José?
But while trying to find José’s angry, angry blog I came across this, which contrasts heavily to this. The first is written by a fan of Brighteyes, and the second is written by me. The first guy paid $80 bucks to go to the concert. This means he sat up the back, I forked out much more and got to stand up the front. He has a photo (I’m not sure if it is his photo or not but if it is he must have had a great zoom lens) and I lacked the will power to take my camera in (godammit!). He seems to have been standing in a weird part of the crowd where people liked Brighteyes’ music. Where I was standing, people were trying to start conversations because the music was so bad. He also claims that he is not a REM fan, but knows the songs off their new album. I am a fan and I have steered clear of the new album.
Let’s just say we differed in our opinion, and that Brighteyes suck. And with that, I leave Varsity.co.nz forever.
Right, on to the game: EA Sports Rugby 2005 (Xbox).
First read this review by Gamespot.com who are from America and don’t see rugby all the time.
When you start you have to play through a tutorial session to guide you through the basic controls of offense and defense. In the New Zealand version you are tutored by commentator Murray Mexted (I assume in other countries it is someone else). This is cool and I was happy to run through stuff.
What the game fails to mention is that you have to manually save your profile after you do this or the next time it loads you will have to do it again. Not to mention the fact that you will have lost all of your game progress. As far as I’m concerned manually saving your profile went out with the 90s.
So, onto the game itself. Controlling your player on offense is easy enough. You use the right thumbstick to control sidesteps, fends and shoulder charges (which can be annoying because it depends on which way your player is facing). On defense it’s the same, moving is easy, tackling is easy. The problem in defense is that when you change player it doesn’t always select the best person. You get what I call “Madden Syndrome”, where the player you actually select does something really dumb because you didn’t realise you had selected them.
The animation is good, the tackles look really painful and you can tell which players have been in the thick of it by the grass stain on their uniforms. You cannot pass in the tackle however which is so annoying when you’re on a burst. This happened to me a lot because the view is such that you cannot see very far in front of you. The view is side on (which it needs to be for a game like rugby) and so opponents will come out of no where (off screen) to tackle you.
Defense is a shambles. Not only does the computer poorly select players for you but when you tackle someone you default to someone who is usually offside. Rucks are very difficult to understand in real life and are beautifully recreated here in the game, where they are even more complicated and impossible to understand. You will randomly (it seems) be awarded the ball. I tried using the in game “cheats” (using hands etc) but I always got pinged by the ref.
The place kicking takes a little time to get used to but you get it eventually. In-game kicking for touch is much harder. When you do kick you can’t see where the touch line is (problems with the view again). (I had an interesting experience with kicking last night, I was near the line and pressed “A” which is dive for the line, but “A” is also kick (when in the major field of play). My Richie McCaw avatar kicked the ball, which bounced off the crossbar of the goalpost and straight back into his hands for the try.)
I have a ‘beef’ with the menu as well, which is too slow (press down, wait, press down, wait) and doesn’t offer enough options. The music could’ve done with a bit of local kiwi flavour (The Datsuns, the D4, even Savage, who is constantly pimping himself out) but the whole thing was made in the UK apparently. The sounds are good, each local crowd has its own unique chanting style, the ref is always chattering (which helps a little with the gameplay) and the tackles have a good solid sound to them. But the commentary…my God it’s bad. Murray Mexted is so bad that it becomes frighteningly lifelike. He hardly ever speaks and when he does it never makes sense.
Out of ten I give it a six (could try harder). Of course this is my first review so the rating means nothing. I have yet to play it against a real human so it might get better (but I doubt it).
Later today I will post all of the poetry responses I got to the “Mark and Matthew go to hell competition”.
Who has got the cure for the sit-at-home blues? Ask Dr Grabthar. Now with bigger, easier to read font!
Friday, May 20, 2005
[[Here for the ‘funny’ Poetry? Click here]]
Posted by Hadyn at 1:58 PM