On Wednesday evening I was invited through to Apex International’s offices for some semi-exclusive hands on time with the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2011 title.
At their offices they had 2 pods setup, one each for Xbox 360 and PS3 and then a large projector in the middle setup on a PS3.
The idea was to have some hands on time with the game, get accustomed to the controls and then we’d have a mini world cup to see who is the best of the best, or the best of the very limited pool of invitees at least.
I started out on the PS3 pod where I loaded up a game with England vs South Africa, the default teams for an International test match. The game started to load and flipped through a couple of screens explaining the controls.
Right and Left bumpers to pass, right trigger to sprint and then the face buttons to pull of a multitude of kicks from grub kicks to high up and overs to mammoth punts. The right stick also controlled side stepping and shoulder barging of sorts.
I was playing on easy and as soon as the game started I realised that this meant incredibly easy with me being able to out pass the opposition with reckless abandon even though I’d never played the game before.
I did however manage to get tackled at which point you end up in a maul (I think) and need to button smash X to win control of the ball, if your opposition is more talented at smashing the X button then they can secure a turn over and be on their way.
The speed of the game is pretty quick and if you offload at the right times and use your kicks wisely then it’s a very fluid affair, however disrupting that fluidity and kicking the ball out for line outs or causing scrums can really break up the play, which is a great tactic if your opponent is dominating.
When you are defending you can either use simple tackles or you can dive and attempt to spear your opponent to the floor, often resulting in some pretty incredible tackles and gasps from the audience. I did manage to get a yellow card in one game and get my player sent off in another which makes for a tighter match.
Injuries are also a factor with them appearing seemingly at random and changing the state of play.
The game then carries on for the requisite 40 minute halves whereby you swap sides.
There are 3 camera angles to choose from, you have the default side view which can then be changed to either a from behind the attacking view or behind the defensive view.
I tried them all and the default one is by far the best in my opinion.
The game consists of the world cup, obviously, which can be played with the teams in the correct groups or you can randomise them before play. There are also warm up tours you can participate in which will take you around the world for small tours including The Down Under tour which pits you again SA, Australia and NZ or the Pacific tour which has you against Argentina and Namibia. Plus a host of others.
The only customisation I could find in the game was the ability to change the names of the people in your squad.
There appears to be an online makeup of the game but as the consoles were offline, and the game isn’t released yet, I couldn’t see how that would work but I am presuming it will consist entirely of head to head matches.
But I realise that all you want to know is how well I did in the tournament, well I randomly picked England and managed to dominate most teams until I got to the semi final where we had an incredibly close game where I was leading by 2 in the 80th minute before causing a penalty allowing the Apex International salesperson to kick for goals and stroll into the final. However he very sportingly kicked it into touch giving me the win and sending me into the final where the next Apex International salesperson gave me a hiding that left the room wincingâ€¦ I guess I lost my mojo in that semi final.
One thing I can say for sure about RWC 2011 is that it’s a lot of fun and it did remind me that we play games for fun and that should be the most important aspect. We forget that at times.
Technically and graphically RWC2011 has problems, it’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it is entertaining for a group of people to sit down and enjoy with a couple of beers.
I took some horrible off screen footage but you should be able to see enough to get an idea of the gameplay.
Last Updated: August 19, 2011