Rugby 20 doesn’t come packaged with a Ralph Lauren polo shirt or a pint of pale ale, but it does talk a big game as this year’s Six Nations gets into full swing. Promising the “complete experience”, this is a rare attempt at bringing the egg-shaped antics of Britain’s most popular back-passing sport to the PlayStation 4 – and it comes with expectations bigger than a linebacker’s biceps. Or is that scrum half? We’re getting our terminology muddled.
Despite publisher BigBen Interactive’s pledge, there are some notable omissions in the licenses department, meaning England and South Africa are missing – but at least, er, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland are present and intact. Fortunately, the idiosyncrasies of the sport are much better represented, meaning that this can be a challenging title to pick up and play – unless you work in accounting and have considered purchasing Just for Men in the past.
To be fair, the title does a good job of simulating the territorial battles that occur in real-world rugby matches, but it’s generally clumsy and there’s no real consistency to the way players move. The ball physics can be unpredictable, and the overall experience is glitchy. But it’s strangely moreish in a way that all arcade sports games can be, and its bargain bin adaptation of FIFA Ultimate Team deserves credit for eschewing microtransactions – even if its unlockable players are pooled from the depths of Ireland’s lower leagues.