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Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Andrew Johns played for the Rabbitohs? Or if Brad Fittler left the Roosters and joined Manly? No? Well I know I have and soon enough Rugby League fans across Australia, New Zealand, and the UK will have the opportunity to play the greatest game of all.
For the past 2 years a New Zealand company, Sidhe interactive, in conjunction with the HES development team, have been developing a game which will finally, hopefully, fuel the many league gamers desire for a top quality Rugby League game. For long have these fans been forced to endure playing other sports titles such as Rugby 2001 or any of the Madden series in a vain attempt to replicate what it is like to play Rugby League. However this about to change.
It has been a long time since EA sports released their first, and only, Rugby League game, Australian Rugby League 96. Now while that game was by no means a great title, it did however give Rugby League fans some reprieve. Featuring graphics that were quite good at the time, it was however the gameplay that was the biggest let down for the game.
For any game to be successful, in any market or genre, gameplay must be the priority. As stated above, this was the main falling point in ARL 96. It was nigh on impossible to gain any meters by using forward hit ups, and to score a try you simply had to pass the ball to your winger and keep hitting sprint. It was a formula which did not lend itself to success. One can point the blame squarely at the developers at the time, who quite obviously did not understand the dynamics of a game such as Rugby League.
This is where the team at Sidhe, as well as the developers at Home Entertainment Supplies (HES), have really excelled. Irrespective of the final quality of the game, it is refreshing to see a company who is dedicated to producing a great product for the fans. This has been clearly evident through the dealings of Mario Wynands, who is the managing director of Sidhe interactive.
From pretty much day 1, Mario and his development team have been asking fans on what features we would like in the game. While it is obviously impossible for all of these features to be implemented, one would hope that out of all of the suggestions that have been given to Mario and his team there would be plenty that will provide a great gaming experience. The commitment which the team has shown to keeping fans updated about the progress of the game, and also the features implemented, has been second to none. It is very rare to find a day of the week where Mario has not been present in the League Gaming forum on this web site answering questions.
The common Rugby League fan, provided he or she owns a PC, PS2, or XBox, is going to want to buy this game. As stated at the very beginning, which team fan would not want to take complete control of their team? Decide who stays and who goes? The level of customisation provided within the game is superb. With the functionality provided to add any players to any team, create players from scratch, create teams from scratch as well as competitions ? it is easy to see that this game is going to be in the cd drives of many Rugby League fans for a very long time. It is quite easy to talk up a game before it has been released, however the final evaluation will not come until the game has been released and the many Rugby League fans have played the game. Irrespective of the quality of the final product, Mario and his team have done a stellar job on one aspect and that is keeping fans abreast of changes, and by looking at the media currently released, this will not be their only success.
With the release of the game impending, this will hopefully prove a timely reminder to anyone who has not yet been exposed to the game to get into their local retailer and reserve a copy of what will surely be a great game. If this game proves successful, then it is very likely that we will all enjoy a new game every year.
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