April 4, 2001
EA Sports Rugby - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players Price
13/6/2001Electronic ArtsEA Sports Australia1-2$99.95

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Hopefully crowd detail will improve.
While it isn't the biggest sport around the world, Rugby is a widespread game. From Australia, to England and South Africa millions worldwide follow the sport. Unfortunately, in the past, development of such an obscure title was unthinkable by the predominantly American based Electronic Arts. Now however with Electronic Arts setting up a development studio on the Gold Coast here in Australia (and only 10 minutes drive from my house) the company is looking to expand into sports that don't even rate a mention in America and while a Cricket title is also confirmed for the Playstation 2, it's EA Sports Rugby which will appear first.

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One of 23 real-life stadiums.
Thanks to licenses from the RFU, ARU, NZRU, SARFU, FFR, the Bledisloe Cup and the Tri-Nations, EA Sports Rugby includes over 600 real players that can all participate in the World Championship. Other tournaments featured are the Tri-Nations, 6 Nations and Friendly matches. The developers have included 23 highly detailed dynamic stadiums from around the world featuring standup crowds (which will hopefully improve from these screen shots), highly detailed players, referees, pitch features and textures. Naturally, there is a wide range of camera angles to select from during the matches and for the replays. To assist newcomers to the game Electronic Arts have been kind enough to include a training simulator to help you learn the controls.

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Prepare to kick to the boundry!
Using the latest motion capture animation for tackles, scrums, line outs, kicking and passing there is little doubt that the game will look good. Realistic environment modelling including realistic weather, fogging, and lighting of players and stadiums. Pitch effects such as muddying of the grounds and players also adds to the realism. A 50 frame per second rate should keep the action smooth and the gameplay exciting. EA Sports Rugby will also be a treat to the ears with sound effects ranging from player calls, grunts, tackles, and crowds noises. All the sounds have been captured from real games around the world. Play by play commentary will be provided by legendary commentators Bill McLaren and Jamie Salmon.

EA Sports Rugby looks like the best representation of the sport on any console ever. To have it appear so early in the Playstation 2's life is an unexpected bonus to fans of the sport. While the amount of detail on the graphics is a little concerning at this stage, these screens were taken almost half a year before the title is expected on the shelves. Expect an Australian release on June 13th.