With the official Rugby World Cup now just around the corner today see’s the release of the official Rugby World Cup game.. except that for some reason everyone broke embargo and the game is actually already available, and is already sold out.

However more stock is being transported in as we speak so if you didn’t get your hands on this game the first time round then let’s see if the game is worth buying after all?


When you first load up the game you are prompted to enter an unlock code to gain access to the latest kits, squads and online abilities. That code is the same for everyone and is 3edcvfr47ujmnhy6.

Why on earth this doesn’t happen automatically is beyond me and really does point to the game being a little behind the times technology wise.

But now that you’ve caught up with everyone else you get to continue. The main meat behind this game is the World Cup mode, with it being the official title of the Rugby World Cup this is where you will spend the majority of your time.

When starting a new world cup you are given the opportunity to either play the world cup with the groups setup as they are for the official world cup, so you can follow your team through every game they are about to embark on, or you can set it up yourself and stick all the real competitors in one group while you get to abuse the minnows in the group stages.

You also get to choose what sort of commentary you want which is a nice touch for a sports title.


As each match starts you are given the opportunity to select your kits, difficulty level and length per half and then you are thrust into battle. You get the mandatory cut scene of all the players coming onto the field while the commentators explain just how excited we all are to be here and at this stage the graphics are looking okay. The crowds are obviously duplicated all over the place and the players themselves don’t look amazing but it’s nothing really to write home about.

But then the actual game starts and you are immediately hit by how bad the game really does look. If you’re expecting the refined graphics of FIFA or Madden you are going to be sorely disappointed as the characters are very blocky and their movements leave a lot to be desired.

Click the image below to see what I mean about character models, the guy in the foreground looks fine but check out the arms of the guys jumping? And the 3 players bending over, they are all in exactly the same position. And this isn’t an ingame screenshot but rather a cut scene styled screenshot.


But this is a sports game and not L.A. Noire so graphics are a secondary concern really.

The gameplay obviously follows the rules of Rugby and in the most part is really entertaining, the hard hitting tackles have a solid feel behind them and I found myself wincing at times when spearing some poor soul, with or without the ball.

Which raised another issue, the referee is maybe a little too lifelike as he is pretty incompetent at times. I lost count of how many times I took people out off the ball and the referee didn’t complain at all but then I got tackled after doing a little grub kick and get pulled back for a knock on?

But all in all the gameplay works and is a lot of fun, you hit the bumpers to pass the ball in that direction or you can kick an up and over, a punt of sorts or a grub kick. I found the grub kick to be incredibly helpful in getting passed the last defender who is always 20 meters behind the main pack. Always, I never once saw him out of position which unfortunately is one of my biggest concerns with the game. It’s predictable. And not a little bit predictable but very predictable.

As you change levels the opponents get harder and start doing more but you’ll know what they are going to do pretty much at all times. Maybe I’m being a little harsh on the title as it’s obviously not as big as FIFA, Madden or PES but I found the depth in the AI to be lacking and I’m not sure how long this game will keep you entertained if you’re not playing against friends.

The rest of the world cup mode runs as expected and the difficulty levels are good enough to make this fun. I was playing on medium difficulty and it made the game challenging.

Other than the world cup mode you can try the practice tours which lead you on small tours across the world emulating competitions such as the Tri-Nations and 6-Nations which is a nice added feature but instead of actually emulating those competitions it rather just changes them into a stream of one of tests. Would a league table have been too much to ask?

As I mentioned in my previous hands on the game does include yellow cards (sin bin) and red cards and also injuries. Injuries are exceptionally common really but unless I was missing something they didn’t seem to affect your player over matches. So after losing my top player to a dangerous tackle in the opening group match I expected him to miss out on the next one but there he was playing just as he was before.

You just don’t get that feeling of a tournament running through as any fatigue or injuries don’t appear to carry through, so when going up against the minnows I didn’t feel any need to rest my key players as they’ll be fine for the next game no matter what happens.

There is a small team editor where you can change the names of your players but there isn’t much point to be honest and the game really does feel like it’s all about the World Cup and nothing else.

But don’t look over the multiplayer options as sitting down and playing against your friends is easily the best part of this game. You can play 2,3 or 4 player offline multiplayer on your couch or just 2 players over Xbox Live or PSN.

The multiplayer gameplay is a lot of fun but in reality just technically isn’t very good. As the ball goes down for a maul you’ll see the game manipulate all the players to be in the ‘correct’ position and if this means moonwalking your guy over 100 meters through the opposition players themselves then so be it. I’ve also seen balls going straight through players, or being caught when it was really a good 3 meters away. Not to mention that you can dive tackle and catch a person in front of you who is running at full tilt and is a good 5 meters ahead. Try doing that in real life and all you’ll end up with is a face full of dirt.

No the game is simply not good technically, the graphics are bad, the collision detection is not existent at points and the AI is terrible flawed.

But the game is the official World Cup game and as a rugby fan you should most probably own it. It very much reminds me of the FIFA South African World Cup 2010 title, tons of potential but in reality it’s just not very good.


Gameplay: 7/10

The gameplay is very simplistic and 1 dimensional but at the same time you find yourself smiling and wincing while playing. Technically it’s bad but it’s fun so it lands with a 7

Design and Presentation: 5/10

The players look terrible, the cut scenes are sub par and the stadiums just don’t cut it. If graphics are your thing then RWC isn’t.

Value: 6/10

It’s a full priced game but yet it doesn’t really have enough content to justify that. Really how hard would it have been to include some other real tournaments?

Overall: 6.9/10

I struggle deciding on a final score for the game as the value, technical implementation and graphics of this game don’t deserve a 7, yet I found myself enjoying it enough to recommend that a rugby fan should look at buying it. My end recommendation however is to wait until the Rugby Challenge reviews are out, that may turn out to be the better game. However that’s still to be seen, if you need your Rugby fix now then grab this game.


Rugby 2008 Comparison

Ever since the first screenshot of this game was released it’s been compared to Rugby 2008, the main accusation are that 505 Studio’s have simply reskinned Rugby 2008, slapped the RWC logo on it and are now laughing all the way to the bank.

This is entirely untrue, in reality they’ve taken Rugby 2008, removed most of the content. Then added some very minor graphical enhancements and are being driven to the bank in their chauffeur driven Bentley. There’s no getting away from the fact this game is Rugby 2008 but since Rugby 2008 wasn’t released on Xbox 360 or PS3 that is no reason not to get this game if you want to get your rugger on.

Last Updated: August 26, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011

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