Rugby 15 is the newest rugby video game from the folks from HB Studios. The studio has worked on several other rugby games in the past. Does this new iteration offer something of value to hardcore kiwi rugby fanatics?
The official platforms Rugby 15 has been released on are the PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. I played the game on the PS4 and the advertisements for the game tout it’s the first rugby game to hit the “next-gen” consoles.
However, Rugby 15 is anything but a “next-gen” video game. The game looks more like a very budget PS2 game at best. I would even go as far as saying this game is PSOne-like in graphics and that’s saying something.
The presentation in Rugby 15 is non-existent as you never get a clear look at the character models in the game. There are no replays to speak of as the camera never zooms in on the action like in other sports games. Whenever you score a try, you cannot see it again as you’re forced to do the conversion immediately. There are only two camera views in the entire game and this was done in purpose to hide how ugly the graphics are.
Speaking of poor presentation, the game only offers one stadium for you to play in. HB Studios developed Rugby World Cup 2011 and Rugby 08. Both of those games offered real-life stadiums for you to play including Eden Park. Here in Rugby 15, you are just playing in the same stadium. The only variety you get is the chance to change the weather and time of day.
Gameplay in Rugby 15 is just as atrocious as the graphics. While the Rugby Challenge franchise developed by NZ’s own Sidhe Interactive has realistic physics and ball movements, Rugby 15 plays like an old PSOne or PS2 game instead. The ball feels like it floats in the air for too long when you pass it, while players can unrealistically run in diagonal directions.
Not to mention the AI in this game is the dumbest you will ever encounter in a sports video game. Whenever you run with the ball, the AI runs behind you on purpose to try and tackle you. Isn’t the purpose of rugby is to tackle the person coming towards you? The AI literally runs around you to chase you from behind instead to tackle you. Whoever programmed the AI in this game has never seen a rugby match in his life.
Don’t even bother playing this game if you are a fan of the All Blacks or Wallabies. None of the New Zealand and Australian teams are licensed. Not even the Super Rugby franchise is in the game too. This is because they are in the Rugby Challenge games instead. Even if the likes of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw were to be in this game, you wouldn’t recognise who they are thanks to the ugly graphics.
The only people that might have fun with Rugby 15 are fans living in Europe. Most of the European teams and competitions are in this game. Having these licenses however doesn’t change the fact how poor the entire game is.
Criminally, Rugby 15 has no online mode either. There is only offline multiplayer offered here. You won’t be able to play this game with your friends across the Tasman sadly. Although I doubt anyone would want to play this game at all...
It goes without saying that Rugby 15 is by far the worst game I played in 2014. It’s a game that should have been out in the year 2001 as opposed to 2014. Rugby fans are better off picking up Rugby Challenge 2 instead. Even though that game came out in 2013, it’s more next-gen than this outdated mess.