Step into the boots of your favourite players, and raise that trophy high above your head. Rugby League Live 4 is here.
From developer Big Ant Studios and publisher Tru Blu Entertainment. Rugby League Live 4 is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC through Steam.
Rugby League Live 4 features a career mode similar to other instalments in the series, where you take your rookie from the Holden Cup under 20's league to the top of either the NRL or the British Super League.
The career mode in Rugby League Live 4 is standard for the sports game genre, in how you progress your chosen career of Rookie, Star, or Coach at your favourite team from a lower ranked player to the top player in all of rugby league.
The thing that sets Rugby League Live 4's career apart from other sports games is that choosing to play as a rookie means starting as an 18-year-old in the minor leagues. You build yourself up by playing games and winning championships until you are the best player in your position, then retire to a desk job calling the action while younger players try to break your records. (That last part was a joke, Rugby League Live 4 is not that meta.)
When you first pick up Rugby League Live 4, it can take a while for you to get a handle on the controls. The tutorial is not the least bit helpful. If anything, it will have you more confused at what to do than anything.
The gameplay itself is not that much of an improvement on Rugby League Live 3, but it makes some improvements in making the flow of the game a bit smoother. At least, until you make your way to the kicking mini-game which seems to make up its own mind as to whether you have made the kick or not based on your distance from the goal posts.
The main thing that the developers have nailed is how much the referees send obvious try line decisions to the Bunker, and how much the Bunker bungles those obvious decisions; which provides a true sense of immersion for NRL fans.
Rugby League Live 4's graphics are a classic case of a game that has been rushed to market. Although to be fair, Rugby League Live 4 doesn't look as bad as the first State Of Origin trailer made it look (the game looked like it belonged on the PS2).
Rugby League Live 4 doesn't look like a game on the next gen consoles should. The character models leave a lot to be desired and are very limited; the crowd models, on the other hand, are probably the best I have seen in a sports game.
Other than the overall graphics issues, a positive to take away from Rugby League Live 4 is that the stadiums have been perfectly recreated and look quite like they do in real life, so top marks for that.
Rugby League Live 4's soundtrack is a great mix of rock and pop songs that will get your blood pumping. The commentary for Rugby League Live 4 is surprisingly responsive and follows the action rather well, and features commentators from both the British Super League and the NRL.
The crowd of Rugby League Live 4 sounds amazingly unlike other sports games in that they sound like a real crowd at a real game (aside from the lack of "Bulls**t!" chants). Much to my delight, they don't do that annoying "D-FENCE!" chant that you hear every 5 minutes in the EA NFL games.
In my honest opinion, Rugby League Live 4 is a good game, but by no means is it a great game. The career mode is deeper than most sports games, in that it takes you from an 18-year-old rookie to the top of your preferred league. But the gameplay and graphics are where this game really falls down. If the game spent longer in development, it could have been great.
While the audio sounds better than most, I believe that this game is only really for the biggest rugby league fans that can look past the game's look and weird controls to find the fun behind it.
Rugby League Live 4 is a game that has obviously been rushed to market and not given the time to be properly developed to give the Rugby League Live series fans the game they deserve.
WATCH THE OFFICIAL RUGBY LEAGUE LIVE 4 TRAILER NOW