We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Software Reviews
15,669 Reviews

EA Sports Rugby 06

£20 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Electronic Arts

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Rugby 06 focuses on the beautiful side of the game – so sidesteps, complicated running strategies and cross-field kicks get more of a look-in than grim rolling mauls.

Rugby presents certain challenges to the video-game designer. How do you incorporate elements of sheer athletic prowess, beyond dull joystick-waggling? And how do you avoid confusing the player?

Luckily for us, Rugby 06's answer to the first question is to focus on the beautiful side of the game – so sidesteps, complicated running strategies and cross-field kicks get more of a look-in than grim rolling mauls. Even if you're England.

In general we reckon this is a good thing. But it must be pointed out that, with all of its special moves, Rugby 06 uses an intimidating array of buttons, and the pace of play dictates that these be committed to hair-trigger muscle memory. It works best on a gamepad – it's all too easy to miss that vital diving tackle on a keyboard – but even then it suffers from a tricky learning curve. Unlike a footie sim, which can tap into known conventions, 06 demands users learn a whole new range of movements.

What's more, the game sometimes struggles to avoid the second pitfall: confusion. It's fine when you're attacking, but surrender possession and you may lose track of what's going on. Be warned that this is a difficult game.

On the up side, the graphics are excellent. The players have odd, empty eyes, but they move smoothly and convincingly, while the stadiums look great. And there's all the management and training options you've come to expect from a modern sports sim.

And once you've got the hang of it, this game is strangely enjoyable. Despite all its petty cruelties – it keeps the clock running while your player recovers from a high tackle in the timed challenges, for example – Rugby 06 has that magic addictive ingredient that keeps you coming back for more. And this may very well be the sign of greatness.

EA Sports Rugby 06 Expert Verdict »

1.3GHz Intel Pentium III
Windows 2000/XP
380MB hard disk space
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Yes, it's difficult, and yes, it'll make you tear your hair out for a while. But you'll keep on playing, because Rugby 06 is horribly addictive, fab-looking and more fun than getting kicked in the head by a cauliflower-eared Welshman.

  • The Sims Bowling iPod game

    The Sims Bowling iPod game

    So far, a lot of the games available for the iPod have been arcade or puzzle games, but The Sims Bowling is a different breed.

  • The Sims Pool iPod game

    The Sims Pool iPod game

    The second iPod game to carry The Sims branding, EA's The Sims Pool is a lot of fun, and really brings something different to the mix when it comes to iPod games.

  • Microsoft Xbox 360 review

    Microsoft Xbox 360

    It was way back in November 2001 that Microsoft put its money where its mouth was and launched the big black Xbox into the world. Spin on four years and the firm is gearing up for round two with the Xbox 360.

  • The Sims 3: Generations review

    The Sims 3: Generations

    In many ways, The Sims 3: Generations is the perfect expansion pack.

  • The Sims Medieval review

    The Sims Medieval

    The Sims Medieval is a realisation of simulation fantasy that goes beyond what most medieval military strategy games achieve - but it loses some of that classic Sims appeal along the way.

IDG UK Sites

Windows 10 release date, price, features UK: Staggered release with PCs coming first this summer -...

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

MacBook Pro 15in preview: better battery life, faster storage and a new discrete graphics chip may...