With the upcoming Rugby Challenge 3 set to release in the coming weeks, the announcement of a new Springbok coach, and Super Rugby (or whatever it’s called this year) kicking into full swing, we thought it was the perfect time to look at the best rugby games of all time.
EA Sports dominated the genre with its releases in the early 2000’s, but when it stopped the franchise with Rugby 08 other developers had to swoop in and fill the niche.
Rugby Challenge 3 will release in South Africa on 22 April 2016.
The game will release for PS4, Ps3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.
Metacritic score: 76
Metacritic user score: N/A
The first game to introduce the “World League mode”, Rugby 06 finally found the depth Rugby fans longed for by allowing them to manage their own teams with access to an international transfer system.
The game didn’t boast many new features over its predecessor Rugby 2005, but continued to polish the core gameplay – introducing improved stadium visuals and commentary by Grant Fox and Ian Robertson.
Metacritic score: 75
Metacritic user score: 77
Only one Metacritic score separated the 2005 and 2006 versions of the game, which perhaps shows how similar the two titles are.
Acting as the basis for all of Rugby 06’s minor improvements, Rugby 2005 was the first game to feature the Super 12 tournament and boasted an entirely new graphics engine, allowing motion-captured players to be used for the first time.
Metacritic score: 74
Metacritic user score: 74
Rugby 08 was the last EA Sports Rugby game ever released.
Releasing at the end of the PlayStation 2’s life-cycle, the game featured the French Rugby World Cup, tasking you with managing your team of choice throughout the competition.
Rugby 08 also introduced an entirely new control system, using the control sticks for the games various set-pieces.
Metacritic score: 73
Metacritic user score: 76
The “grandfather” of modern Rugby games, EA’s first game in the genre – simply titled “Rugby” – was the biggest Rugby title the gaming public had seen at the time.
The game featured a full set of tutorials, introducing new fans to the sport and over 600 licensed players.
Metacritic score: 73
Metacritic user score: 60
The only non-EA game on this list, Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge was the second of two rugby games that released in a month (the other being the poorly received Rugby World Cup game) following four years without a Rugby title.
Featuring on the newer Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, the game lacked many of the licenses the EA titles boasted (namely any South African teams), but made up for it with its impressive graphics and unique control scheme that focused on the game being played from the players’ perspectives.
Are there any titles we missed? What is your favourite Rugby title? Let us know in the comment section below.