Rugby 2005 PlayStation 2
Published by EA Sports
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Rugby 2005, an introduction.
Previous rugby games from EA Sports have usually failed to hit the mark. Owing to poor AI, defensively and offensively speaking, and other inconsistencies the previous games have disappointed. Rugby 2005 tries to set the record straight and give rugby fans a game they can appreciate. For the most part it succeeds.
What's the game about?
There's a whole lot of Rugby on offer in Rugby 2005. The tournaments on offer include World Championship, Tri Nations, Six Nations, Ten Nations, Super 12, European Trophy, World League (which offers a kind of franchise mode allowing you to trade players) and Lions Tour. You'll also find a practice mode that offers drills to allow you to polish your skills. A Rugby 101 mode has been included but it's just a movie clip that covers the basics of the game. You can create your own players and add them to the roster.
What's good about the game?
I actually like Rugby 2005 because it's probably the first rugby game in a long time where I felt it was easy to pick up the basics and start enjoying the game. To be truthful the easy difficulty mode is too easy but it gives you a chance to practice all the controls and make sure you've mastered them before you take on the normal and hard difficulty levels. The controls are intuitive and it won't take you long to master them. The practice mode is actually quite effective in helping you put it all together and after only a few hours you'll be giving the normal difficulty AI a stern challenge.
What's not so good about the game?
As can be expected with a sports title there's not a great deal of provision for deaf gamers. A large percentage of the verbal information is not shown in text and this is unfortunate. Other problems include an inconsistent frame rate and rather spasmodic animations. At times the frame rate will become slightly jerky and whilst this doesn't affect the game too much, it does look a bit unsightly. Certain player animations look quite unnatural. Quite a few animations lack fluidity. Again this doesn't affect the game but it just doesn't look right. Occasionally some of the offensive running can look a little odd too but on the whole the AI is more believable than it was in earlier games in the series. It's also sad to see there is no online mode included in this version.
How does it look?
Rugby 2005 looks quite good although it's far from impressive. As we mentioned above the frame rate doesn't always remain smooth and certain player animations just don't look right. You'll notice quite a bit of blurring too, especially when the camera is zoomed in. There's quite a few graphical glitches (noticeable on the player's collars when zoomed in) which is a bit disappointing. On a more positive note the stadia, player models and crowd animations are quite good and are more than up to the task. There are a handful of camera angles but only the camera that stays behind the action is really playable. The side-on cameras make it too awkward to execute drop goals.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
The game isn't that deaf gamer friendly to be honest. The Rugby 101 movie isn't subtitled which makes it a waste of time for deaf gamers. As per usual the match commentary isn't subtitled. When you first play the game you'll have to take a tutorial and a lot of this isn't subtitled although the controls and the bare basics of what needs to be done are shown in text. The practice mode does give its instructions in text so you'll be able to take full advantage of it.
Rugby isn't the most popular of sports and any rugby game has to be able to appeal to casual fans of the sport as well as enthusiasts. Rugby 2005 isn't perfect but I feel it's a game that can be enjoyed by enthusiasts and those who don't know much about the game. It's a shame it's not fully subtitled but even taking these omissions into account it's still a worthwhile game for deaf gamers. Let's just hope subsequent versions of the game build on what's here and finally give us that excellent rugby experience so many have been waiting for.
Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10
Deaf Gamers Classification
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Whilst Rugby 2005 isn't perfect it is a step in the right direction and is actually an enjoyable rugby game that could even appeal to those who aren't a fan of the game. It does need to cater for deaf gamers a lot better though.