Rugby League Live 4 hit the shelves at the end of July amidst some great build-up and promotion from Super League clubs and GAME stores.
Let’s start with the good. Well the whole series is a positive. A regular, Rugby League video game series.
Teams & authenticity
To have all Super League, Championship and League 1 teams with their correct rosters, players and kits is great for fans, and with the options of NRL, internationals and others, it’s the real deal for rugby league fans.
Tackling and defending on the game is satisfying. The ankle tap addition to slow teams and attacks down is a great improvement compared to the old dive. Being able to keep your discipline and your line in check is a great challenge.
Early release date
To have the game out in July is a solid achievement from the developers and publishers. The game seems to be coming earlier and earlier with each edition, and it means more value from the game. Of course, it could be earlier, but with the organisation of rugby league clubs and the information needed for kits etc, that will always be tricky.
Edit modes and fan contributions
Rarely has a game had so much flexibility for fan input. You can add and edit everything from teams, players, referees and even stadiums. This makes for a future proof game, and also means it can lean on its community. For those with the patience, the stadium creator is a phenomenal tool.
Unfortunately, there are some elements of the game that have left us scratching our heads. Hopefully some will be fixed in a future patch.
Removal of certain moves
In previous games, you have been able to strip the ball out, tackle in to touch and see where kicks are landing on the field (with an X), yet there doesn’t seem to be evidence of any of those in the game from what we’ve played. Strange.
Although the developers have seemingly started releasing tutorial videos to try and assist with this, it doesn’t change the fact that attacking on the game leaves a lot to be desired. Static movement from the play the ball, a lack of runners and just a general lack of opportunities make attacking a chore at times. Kicking on the last is also a bit of a lottery.
Career mode recruiting
Recruiting in career mode is an absolute shambles. Your existing players all want exorbitant contracts to stay (e.g. A 49 rated prop wanted £160k!) and there doesn’t seem to be any control to advance sustainably. So after taking a look at players I wanted, offering deals and being told “they’ll let you know” I pressed advance, it skipped through days and weeks of time, by which stage barely any players were left and no one had signed.
Eventually i ended up with barely any players and had a load of 45 rated 17 year olds drafted in. Pointless. You are also beaten to the signature of players by ridiculous teams – like Melbourne or North Queensland signing Championship players.
Disorganised line-ups and typos
For me, getting the squads in the right order is such a basic thing and should be done right. Teams like Widnes and Wigan seem to be all over the shop at the start of the game (Widnes have Houston at half-back, for instance). There are also some typos on teams in the game – Keighly and also Dewsbury being shortened to “BEWS”. All simple things that should have been picked up in testing.
On the one hand, it’s great that dual-registration has been involved in the game. The bad thing is that if you’re a League 1 team, you can basically play as a Super League team. So if you’re York, you have the likes of Zak Hardaker and Luke Gale at your disposal, while you may come across a Whitehaven team full of the best that Widnes have to offer.
What have you made of Rugby League Live 4 so far? Let us know in the comments below.