NRL 2003 game for PSII, Xbox and PC review

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to indulge myself with a sneak peek at the much anticipated rugby league game for PC, PS2 and Xbox. The good people at HES allowed me to put the game through it?s paces on the Microsoft Xbox platform and having never played the Xbox previously, I found the game very easy to pick up.

It took me about two games to get into the groove and by the second game I was making some bone crunching hits, some sweeping backline movements and a few failed attempts at a 40/20 kick. I played four different stadiums yesterday (Canberra, Suncorp, Aussie & Telstra) and the attention to detail was very impressive. My game at Canberra Stadium was in the wind and rain with the conditions extremely close to reality. I found the cloud cover very lifelike and when you kick for goal in the rain, you could swear blind you were at the ground. Even some of the player physiques were easy to pick. Being a Raiders fan, I could easily identify Ruben Wiki, Ryan O?Hara and Jamaal Lolesi.

Most of the big name players were also quite easy to identify. Brent Sherwin, Andrew Johns, Braith Anasta and Brett Kimmorley were easy to spot. For some reason Clinton Schifcofske had blond hair.

The commentary is done by Andrew Voss and I can think of no one better than Voss to call the game and his commentary gives the game a genuine authenticity that was lacking from Ray Warren in the ARL game released seven years ago. Steve Clark provides the voice of the referee and Mr Clark sent me to the bin on several occasions yesterday for head high tackles and spear tackles.

Some of the features I found very impressive. The Matrix cam for kicking is a highlight but I found myself getting crunched on more than a few occasions trying to kick from dummy half. I enjoyed the challenge of kicking for goal and steadily improved once I had a firm grip on the fundamentals of how the game is played.

The player attributes are surprisingly accurate. When I played as Canberra, Phil Graham was the most lethal attacking player the Raiders had and once I got him into the clear, he was never going to be caught. There are also some post try celebrations but I didn?t get to see one. All kickers are right footed regardless of their natural attributes in real life.

As you progress through the game you can unlock different sections of the game but I won?t spoil the fun for anyone but to say fans will enjoy themselves in the process. There is a secret stadium to unlock but again I won?t give anything away. I?m sure many people want to be surprised when they play the game and I?m not about to spoil the fun.

There is no online play with the first release but if the game is success, online play is a feature high on the list for the second release and for the game to be regarded as a success, 65,000 copies need to be sold to ensure a second version of the game will hit the shelves. Also, a video ref is high on the priority list for the next release. There are no suspensions in the initial release and if a player is sent off, that is the extent of his punishment.

You can create your own players, own teams and own league and transfer players to keep up to date with the latest player movements.

Overall, I was highly satisfied with the game with no online gaming the only major drawback for me but for the rugby league fanatic, too much is never enough and this game will be the perfect filler for the long off-season.

Some of the features and FAQ:

? Max 32 teams in one season ? There will be cheats for the game ? Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain for internationals ? Games can only be saved once completed. No game can be saved while in progress ? Players can be sent off for foul play but there is no fighting ? The game will be released at the end of October/early November. ? Multiple camera angles ? Commentary by Andrew Voss ? Refereeing by Steve Clark ? Official NRL sponsors on every field (e.g Telstra, Crazy Johns etc)

We would ask that everyone purchase the software and not pirate the software to ensure the long term viability of the game. Remember, we are only cruelling ourselves by not paying for the game and we want to see this game thrive over the years.

If you have any questions, please use our FORUM to check out all the latest FAQ from the guys at SIDHE and HES.

The game is available to purchase through our website. Just follow the instructions below to place and advanced order for the game.

There's a 5% discount to anyone who buys the game before Friday October 10th.

The game will then shipped out to you (shipping is FREE) as soon as HES release it which should be the end of October. In other words, there'll be no waiting in check-out lines... the game will be delivered to you at no extra charge (this includes NZ, the UK and the USA).

Prices (AUD): PC version $89 less 5% = $84.50 PS2 version $99 less 5% = $94.00 X-box version $99 less 5% = $94.00

A word of warning: stocks are limited so it'll be first come, first served.

How to order:

BY FAX (Credit card) Fax your name, address, phone and credit card details to 07 5529 2401 (+61-7-5529-2401 for outside Australia)

BY MAIL (Cheque or credit card) Fax your name, address, phone and credit card details to: Sports Unlimited Online Pty Ltd PO Box 538 Labrador 4215 Australia

ONLINE The Leagueunlimited secure shopping cart (Credit card) Click Here

Email enquiries: [email protected]