Game Reviews

Rugby Nations '13

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Rugby Nations '13

Football may be more fashionable, but the countries of the British Isles also share a passion for the sport of rugby - and developer Distinctive Games is clearly hoping to tap into this love of egg-shaped balls with Rugby Nations '13, the latest entry in its sporting franchise.

Like its forerunners, Rugby Nations '13 gives you the chance to take to the field with a famous national side and challenge other countries for worldwide glory. As before, the controls are context-sensitive and change depending on your current situation.

Backwards pass

When you're pushing down the field you can pass the ball left or right and give your player a burst of speed in order to rip through the defensive line of your rival. When you're on the back foot, you can move your players around to close gaps or attempt to stop your opponent with a crushing tackle.

Other situations - such as line-outs, scrums, and kicks - have their own control systems and add a large degree of variety to proceedings. The striking high-resolution visuals help give the game some added punch, and the audio is also very impressive - although the overbearing menu music can become a little irksome after prolonged play.

In terms of game modes, you can play a single match, take part in a tournament, or tackle special challenge scenarios. There's enough content here to keep the most ardent rugger fan contented, provided he is comfortable with the game engine itself.

Locked in the scrum

Although Rugby Nations '13 does a good job of condensing quite a complex sport into an interface which is mostly straightforward, there are times when it feels like you're just going through the motions - although to be fair, this is more down to the ebb and flow of a real rugby match than anything else.

Even so, there are rarely moments of excitement like you'd see in a football simulation. While it's satisfying to break through a tough defensive line and plant an awesome try, you'll spend most of your game locked in time-consuming scrums or wondering why you've been penalised for some minor infraction.

It's obvious that if you're not a massive follower of the sport then you're unlikely to really get a great deal of enjoyment out of Rugby Nations '13. However, fans will overlook the lack of thrills and appreciate the tactical depth and instinctive control system.

Rugby Nations '13

A passion for the sport is a requirement to get the most out of Rugby Nations '13 - while it boasts smart graphics and decent controls, matches aren't quite as gripping as they possibly could be
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.