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Time With Demos! Rugby World Cup 2011


This will be a shorter entry than previous entries in the Time With Demos series because, quite frankly, the demo is terribly short. It was actually so short that I considered not writing this article on it, but decided that it was worth writing about for one reason: if it is an accurate representation of what the larger game, it is pretty terrible.

One thing I should let readers know before they continue reading is that I love rugby. I still can’t quite explain all the rules like exactly when a scrum occurs and the difference between a scrum and a ruck besides that rucks are smaller, but in general I can tell what is happening. I root for the New Zealand All-Blacks (who happened to win the actual 2011 Rugby World Cup) and frequently watch highlights from games or full games when I can find them online. I also have fond memories of playing EA’s Rugby 06 so it pains me the way that this demo dashed my hopes for another captivating rugby game.

I will start with what the demo does right. At times, it can capture the fun that is inherent in rugby. The commentators do not totally annoy listeners and the one song that plays on the title screen feels like it is inspiring you to play the game and win the world cup. That is about it.

The list of things that the demo version of Rugby World Cup 2011 does wrong is considerably longer. First, as I said in the opening, the demo is very short. It only allows you to play one half of a rugby match which is about five or six minutes long. I found this surprising, since five or six minutes is really not enough to get a feel of a game, which is the purpose of a demo. But given how lackluster the demo was, it could be a way of trying to hide the glaring flaws in the finished product. The demo only allows the player to choose either England or South Africa as their team and the only location available is the stadium in Auckland.

If any of those reading this are interested in giving this demo a whirl, I would urge you to play it on the easiest difficulty. There are two reasons for this. One: it is difficult. Two: there is no tutorial. I played through the demo several times and I still didn’t have a clear grasp of the controls. This is not a comment on how “good” I am at video games, but rather how necessary a tutorial is for this game. Not knowing the controls is very frustrating and often leads to performing stupid actions like accidentally punting the ball to the other team. In my time with the game I did manage to score one try and it was fairly satisfying, and dive tackling opponents with the ball also has a great fulfilling feeling attached to it.

Another less than stellar aspect to this game is the severely dated graphics on display. It looks last gen, which on current gen consoles that have been out for a while and a new generation of consoles in the not-so-distant future is almost unforgivable. Animations are robotic, the players look lifeless, the crowd looks like it is being operated by a troop of figerpuppeteers and is boring, and the field doesn’t really look like it is made out of grass. Keep in mind that I did not play the entire game and only saw one location, but the graphics are certainly not something that enticed me toward purchasing the game.

Long story short, the only enjoyment I had out of this demo came from my preexisting love of rugby and not from the experience that the demo provided. Overall, if you have not quite grasped this point, it was not great, and only slightly competent. I would avoid this one. This game is available on PS3 and Xbox 360.

As a reward through sitting through this edition of Time With Demos, check out the highlights from this year's World Cup and my favorite collection of highlights from 2007's Six Nation Tournament:

For more Time With Demos! head over to the hub blog.

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