No sport is tougher to translate into a videogame than rugby union. Two teams of 15 players on the field, all of whom have bespoke roles, slinging around a funny-shaped ball, with the nuances of rucks, mauls and line-outs to consider: little wonder even EA’s megabucks haven’t gone anywhere near the sport for 13 years. As such, you have to credit Eko Software for even chancing its arm at such a complex pastime. Sadly, games aren’t purchased on effort alone.
Those who open their wallets in exchange for Rugby 20 receive a true oddity in return. Because, well, it’s a little bit crap – yet also kind of unputdownable. A bit like sour sweets: with every bite you wince, and yet still you find yourself reaching for another, time after time.
A stubborn battle with the game’s mechanics is one of the things that keeps you coming back for more. Clunky passing means that it’s often difficult to whip the ball along your line, from fly-half through the centres and out to the wing, without being chased down by an opponent, or conceding a knock-on. Yet that means the occasions where it does work, and you score after getting the ball out wide before dancing around the last man, feel truly joyous.
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