I've been big my whole life. At school, this meant I had two choices. One, put up with wiry nippers climbing over me, saying: "You've got big bones mister, are you a brontosaurus?" Or two - join the rugby team. I chose rugby. Because they assumed I already knew the rules, what followed was a murky set of breathless, panicked hour-long sessions where I hadn't got a damn clue what I was doing.
EA's Rugby 2006 reflected the game's complexity (compared to, say, football) by making the gameplay equally tough. Ubisoft has gone the other way, including tutorials that range from running around - really, you just run around for ten seconds and it says well done - to more competitive training sessions that boost your players' stats in career mode. It's a gentle introduction, and unless you're startled by grunting, you'll probably win your first friendly match.
Then it all fumbles. A sense of repetition sets in - that's because there's not much you can actually do during a match. Getting possession feels like waiting for them to make a mistake, rather than your own formidable, brutish tackling skills. Tactically, kicking is as much use as spider porn. Different match styles, training and career modes all add some depth, but this depth still surrounds the same shallow gameplay.
Rugby Challenge 2006 is fine for people who aren't sports gaming fans; it's friendly and easy to get into. But if you're a die-hard nut who needs nuance, try elsewhere.
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