Rugby 08 Review

Before I started seriously writing about games, I did all of my journalistic writing in the sports field. (Hell, even now I still do all of my radio work in sports.) Does that mean I know about rugby, or how it’s played? Not really, even though everyone expected me to.

That didn’t stop me from having fun with Rugby 08, though. One of the best things about the game is how simple yet fast it plays. Using only a few buttons, you can breeze down the field and score a try, or lay some devastating blows (legal or not) on the opposing players. It’s a lot easier than what you need to do in Madden and other football games, and that helps make it accessible to more gamers.

What I like most, though, is just the pace of rugby itself. I’ve never given rugby an honest shot before; sure I respected the players knowing what they go through in general terms, but I didn’t take it seriously. (You might be surprised at how popular rugby actually is worldwide, as some of the loading screens tell you.) This game changed that, though.

Rugby is a very fast-paced game, and unlike American football, there’s not a lot of real downtime. The action is non-stop, and you never have to go through a few screens of plays in order to pick one and hope your opponent wasn’t looking at your half of the screen. The whole point is to run and pass until you get into the opponent’s endzone (is that what it’s called? I really don’t know…) to score a try (which is basically touching the ball to the ground). This leads to constant moving, and save for kicking situations, out of bounds throw-ins (I’m sure there’s a word for that, too) and other short cutscenes, the game doesn’t really stop. Except for the scrums, that is.

I still don’t know exactly what’s going on in a scrum, or when a player is taken down. When you’re taken down, you tap X repeatedly to build up a pile behind you and pass the ball off or try to sneak through the pack, but it basically turns into you accidentally running or passing depending on which button you pressed first. As for scrums, I have no idea what’s going on. I know in THEORY, but something about a big circle of players moving slowly in one direction or another until a guy in the back breaks free just seems confusing. So does hooking the ball to gain possession. Do you have to time it right? Do you keep tapping square to get it? I don’t know; the game doesn’t explain it very clearly.

Will the game help teach us Americans about rugby? Certainly. You may not pick up all the terms (I certainly don’t know them, as you can tell), but you will learn the rules, and you will learn the names of more teams than the All Blacks.

Will rugby fans enjoy this? From what I’ve gathered talking to players of the past Rugby titles, not a lot has changed other than a roster update and a few small editions. Hey, it works for Madden, and my old Aussie friend DID always claim that it was their version of football…


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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