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January 12, 2005
Rugby 2005 - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
17/3/2005EA SportsHB Studios1-4$99.95

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Graphics look improved - thankfully.
Rugby isn't a sport I generally like, hell I even prefer NFL. But no matter the sport there can always be a good game to go with it. I enjoyed NRL Rugby League when it was released. In fact that game put EA's title (yes I realise it's a slightly different sport) to shame and given the money and teams that EA has working for it was a major shock. In fact Rugby 2004 was actually one of the least exciting games to play in quite some time. Electronic Arts have been listening to comments and with Rugby 2005 look set to make amends with a very solid title indeed.

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Kicking for goal...
EA Sports Rugby 2005 incorporates all the major Rugby teams, players, and tournaments, including the Tri-Nations, Super 12 and many more authentic and prestigious events from the world of Rugby. Not only can you play in all of the leagues, but you can now play in prestigious tournaments such as the Heineken/European Cup or Lion's Tour.

This game includes on-the-fly play-calling, right analog stick controls for fakes and crushing hits and improved kicking control. The game also features a ‘Rugby 101’ training mode outlining the rules, controls, and tactics of the sport through videos and interactive challenges. Training pitch mode offers challenge-based training drills using advanced controls, as well as a "Get in the Game" tutorial for users to grasp rugby basics through a pick up-and-play orientation.

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Damn All Blacks....
Graphically it's clear to see from these screens (even if they aren't from the actual gameplay viewpoint) that the game looks much sharper then last years effort. Once again Electronic Arts have used motion capture to increase the realism while the stadiums have all be realistically modeled. The developers have also bumped up the detail on the player models for more realism and likeness to the actual players with the top 100 players now "including star heads" - which I assume means includes real texture mapping. The Creation Zone allows you to create players based on their own likenesses, classic players of the game, or any other characters you wish to place in Rugby 2005.

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Got him!
Audio-wise the developers, HB Studios, are promising improved crowd reactions, songs and chants - let's hope so, the previous title was pretty average. Certainly another area the really needs dramatic improvement is the commentary and as yet we haven't heard anything on this aspect of the new game other then it would be improved, which wouldn't be too hard really.

With a release set for March Rugby fans only have about two months until this titles release here in Australia. Will Rugby 2005 be a great, or even good, game? I'm not sure, but here's hoping...