Soccer management simulations are the bane of my life. They're. usually all the same and unless you're a complete fanatic with a train spotter's addiction to numbers and detail they are highly forgettable. And now rugby. I suppose rugby isn't as worn out a theme as soccer manager but surely the idea's exactly the same - just put oval ball terminology and player names in there instead of round ones and you've got a new game!
Well, yes and no. Rugby being a more enjoyable game (floods of nasty complaining letters will arrive, I know) this management sim did actually grab my attention for a while.
World Rugby is basically an unofficial Rugby World cup game where you (yawn) manage a national side to the top using your skills as a coach and trainer. Actually all the sides re-created in this game are surprisingly well documented and accurate. The names and positions look right and I'll wager the rest of the info isn't too far out either. Not only that but you get to choose from about forty players on each side and considering that you can choose from ten different countries this means that World Rugby has on impressive database - unlike Graeme Souness Soccer Manager. (Though I did notice that some famous soccer players had switched sports!)
Each player is measured in terms of skill, speed, kicking, tackling and stamina. Weight and height measurements are also given. This info is presented using pie charts and you select a side based on It. You can really choose anyone for any position so if you're useless at the rules and conventions of rugby then don't choose this game. Once you've actually played a game on anonymous TV presenter comes on screen to tell you of your success or failure.
As an added bonus you can opt to either see the match being played (not in full thankfully) or simply highlights. The latter being a wise option.
World Rugby doesn't offer anything new on the management front but it does give this jaded game formula a small facelift using a Rugby scenario. In general the graphics are of a good standard with amusing match highlights and easy to follow menus. It's quite difficult to put together a good team and even more difficult to get to the top so fans of Rugby and management games will be well satisfied. However if you don't foil into either of these categories then stay well away.
Well done, Zeppelin, they've produced a couple of good simulations in the last year or so with Match Of The Day, Graeme Souness and now World Rugby. For simulation and rugger boffins only though.
To be honest I'm sick to death of management sims but this one is bearable because of the relative accuracy of the teams and the amount of choice in the options. It's also Rugby. We really don't need another soccer sim.
ODD BALLS AND STRANGE POSITIONS
Rugby is a game of two halves too you know! Not only do players play with horribly deformed balls, oval instead of round but they have very oddly named positions too. Here's a quick run down of the more interesting and their role.PROP: Big guy who chews other people's ears, downs more pints than anyone else and 'props' up the bar after a match. Always has his arm around a hooker.HOOKER: Throws balls in at line outs, throws up on the club steps and 'Hooks' balls in scrum. Their notoriously bad eyesight usually means that more than on ball gets 'hooked'.SECOND ROW: The tall guy. Usually referred to as Lanky, or 'jump you stupid idiot'. Second rows jump to grab high balls in the line out and put their arms in between props' legs.NUMBER EIGHT: The dashing chap. Has an IQ three thousand times the size of a second row and an ego to match. Usually infuriates scrum halves by holding onto the ball int the scrum.SCRUM HALF: The fall guy. Known as scrum half because he's half the size of anyone else at the scrum. His goals in life are to put the ball in, take the ball out and get a hammering.