The evolution of sports management games has been a joy to experience over the past few years.
But one thing has been missing – a Rugby League franchise to compete with the best. For a long time now, fans of the great game have been deprived of their Rugby League fix on consoles, excluding the series Rugby League Live games on PlayStation and Xbox.
Thankfully, fans can finally rejoice as Rugby League Team Manager 2015 takes the reigns and attempts to deliver a game our sport can be proud of.
It goes without saying that anyone hoping for a game to compete with Football Manager shall ultimately leave disappointed. It’s an unrealistic expectation and it would be unfair to compare the genre’s most iconic and polished platform to a new franchise that is still a work in progress.
On first glance, it looks like a game designed in the 90s. The interface is clunky, hard on the eye and unattractive. Navigating your way around the game and its various pages can be problematic and quite time consuming, which as a result can be rather frustrating. Just redirecting back to your team’s home page can take numerous clicks and the lack of a search bar means finding specific players takes longer than you would hope.
However, once you look past the cosmetics and understand the navigation system, it becomes an enjoyable and addictive game to play.
Like most management games, the best way to hone your craft is by throwing yourself in at the deep end. The tutorial provided will teach you the basics, but the only way you’ll master this game is by playing games, tweaking with your squad and learning about your players’ characteristics. If you’re looking for a quick fix or an easy to play game, it’s going to take you a long time to truly get to grips with this, but the rewards at the end are more than satisfactory.
The tactical system is the real highlight of the game. It’s kept relatively simple, but gives you enough freedom to make sure your team plays in the manner you desire. You can have your teams attack and defend in two ways – structured or ad-lib. The structured method allows you to mastermind sets that the team will automatically play dependent on where you are on the field. You select from a number of moves, defined as basic or advanced, and the team carries out the plays on the field. The more advanced moves increase the ‘Risk’ bar, which is the probability of the team making a mistake during such set, so deciding which set to use across the field is important.
Alternatively, you can use Ad-lib, which puts you in charge of each play, tackle by tackle. It requires your attention throughout the match, but it gives you more flexibility and creativity at key moments than a pre-determined set.
The same system is used in defence. The structured style allows you to decide your teams tackling methods dependent on where you are defending from whilst the ad-lib allows your team to defend as they see fit. With a high quality team of defenders, it’s best to let them get on with it, but if you find you’re conceding plenty of points, the structured method is the way to go.
It will take time to see your tactics truly interpreted on the field. One of the most important tasks early on is to improve your team cohesion, which generally requires plenty of match practice and playing the same players in their correct positions. The process shall take longer with each signing you make, so deciding on necessities and luxuries for your playing squad is important. The advanced moves aren’t always completed as desired at first, but when they do, it is very rewarding and results in plenty of tries.
The match engine is by no means groundbreaking, but fun all the same. The option to play in 3D is a big plus and offers a number of different camera angles to suit your needs. If there was any criticism, it would be the be the disproportionate amount of time it takes to complete one set of six, generally coming in at five in-game minutes, whilst the clock doesn’t pause for kicks, penalties and injuries. However, once the game gets into full swing, you quickly forget about small blips like that.
There are a few minor flaws within the game; within a month of coaching Halifax I had managed to sign Jermaine McGillvary, Shaun Lunt and Joe Westerman on loan, making the game quite unrealistic (although some people do like that). However the main issue is when you’re selecting your match day squad. Each player has a fitness level, and despite it often showing your player as fully fit, once you get to the match screen, their fitness can be as low as 30 or 40 percent, which is incredibly frustrating.
However, this is ultimately a sound game that shows plenty of promise for the future. It is undoubtedly the best attempt at a Rugby League management game yet, and well worth purchasing for the insensible amount of hours the game will undoubtedly consume as you attempt to become a Rugby League great.
Rugby League World has teamed up with Alternative Software to offer two lucky Rugby League fans the chance to win a copy of ‘Rugby League Team Manager 2015’
THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED
What is the name of the current Castleford Tigers coach who started his Super League coaching career at Leeds Rhinos?
Correct Answer: Daryl Powell
Terms & Conditions of Entry
1. The promoter is: League Publications Ltd (Company Number 02528170) whose registered office is at Wellington House, Briggate, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, HD6 1DN, United Kingdom
2. Employees of League Publications Ltd or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
4. Route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are via //www.totalrl.com/rltm
5. Closing date for entry will be 10am Tuesday 18th August 2015. After this date the no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
6. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
7. The rules of the competition are as follows:
8. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
9. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
10. No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
11. Winners will be chosen by random draw from all entries received and verified by the promoter.
12. The winner will be notified by email and/or letter within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
13. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
14. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
15. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
16. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
17. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
18. The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address: League Publications Ltd, Wellington House, Briggate, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, HD6 1DN, United Kingdom
19. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.