Initial Release: 31 December 2017

Rugby 18 certainly does not attempt to mimic FIFA or any other major sports franchises in terms of graphics, however it refines what a game of rugby is like through it’s thorough controls and gameplay mechanics

It’s been a decade since a rugby game has made it to the spotlight, which understandably leaves people confused as to where the idea for such a game stemmed from. However, Rugby 18 doesn’t disappoint in terms of gameplay and quite frankly is the best in the franchise’s history. Overall, Rugby 18 does exactly what it says on the tin, and EKO Software have done a decent job for this franchise’s comeback.
Similarly to any sports title, the main draw of the game is a single player experience which takes the form of ‘Career mode’, where you work your way up to the Elite Division by playing matches, recruiting better players and manipulating your formation and strategy for every match. Whilst playing matches you are awarded “Squad points”. They are awarded when you complete actions such as; passing, tackling, rucks, scrums, line-outs… typical actions for a rugby game. These squad points are awarded according to how accurately you play. Unlike major sports games such as FIFA, there are no microtransactions. All purchases are made using the in-game points system, which allows players to focus on the gameplay aspect, additionally giving all players a fair advantage in regards to purchases. This, in my opinion, is where the single player aspect really shines and makes Rugby 18 slightly different to other sports titles. The career mode as a whole is well built and an enjoyable way to experience over 2,000 official players ranging in ability and skill, whilst building your dream team.

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On the multiplayer view of things, the gameplay is standard to a usual multiplayer setting, where you face other players around the same ability as you in the major national competitions. Here you can rack up points whilst faced with the unpredictability of human opponents. It allows for a realistic rugby experience in any game mode (which is a feature to be welcomed with open arms, especially beginners to the game).

Flaunting over 2,000 official players and the best rugby teams around the world, it is hardly short of content. With an extensive range of players, (all available through grinding points in matches) that will undoubtedly please everyone in some shape or form.

I will add that the graphical element to the game was a slight downfall, there was minor glitching in the animations and models, and the overall quality isn’t amazing. That being said it has been a decade, so unlike FIFA or NBA 2K franchises there hasn’t been constant annual releases. On the otherhand it’s understandable for the graphics to not be as beautiful as the likes of FIFA and NBA 2K. There were a couple of glitches in the gameplay itself, which lets the game down as no one likes their match to be ruined by glitchy mechanics.

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I found that Rugby 18 was highly gameplay focused, the controls are intricate and precise and it’s all about your timing and accuracy. It’s a good thing that the game teaches you the complex rules of rugby in it’s tutorial, not only helping you grasp the gameplay itself, but allows players to understand rugby a whole lot better. However precise controls may not be for everyone, the fact that there isn’t an option to dumb down the gameplay could be a downfall, for the complexity may take away the enjoyability of the game for some people.

As a whole package, it is enjoyable, the game is decently made, the refined gameplay and controls make the experience that bit more true to rugby (which i’m sure fans alike would appreciate this element) and point system makes the game fair, allowing for your dream team to be achievable. However the glitching ruins it for me. The fact that it’s mainly gameplay focused is great for a true-to-rugby experience, however it shows in the lack of quality in the visuals. This coupled with graphical and gameplay glitching drags the entire experience down. Rugby 18 certainly does not attempt to mimic FIFA or any other major sports franchises in terms of graphics, however it refines what a game of rugby is like through it’s thorough controls and gameplay mechanics.

Verdict – 6 out of 10

We were provided a copy of the game for review purposes by BigBen Interactive


Written by Lauren Metcalfe

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