Update to my comment from yesterday, after spending 3-4 hours playing RC4:
- Definitely nailed some of the player's appearances and details.
- Setplays are a very cool new feature and seem to work well.
- As a South African, I'm stoked to see the Currie Cup included.
- The audio is often delayed or out of sync and the referee's audio sounds like it was recorded on an old phone. Because the audio is delayed, you lose that sense of contact with the ball when kicking and real force of impact when making contact with another player in a tackle.
- Some players look like clay model figures or do not resemble the actual licensed player at all. I still believe the actual style of facial features looked better in RC3.
- The gameplay is far too erratic and quick, to the point where it feels unnatural. I welcome debate, but the gameplay and player movements in RC3 was remarkably fluid. Despite some flaws, passing, kicking, tackling and running felt very well paced and natural to the eye, whereas with RC4, it feels a lot more like the Rugby 18/20 franchise. It's just weird.
- Hard & Pro modes are almost unplayable. I've been playing RC3 on Pro difficulty for the past 3 years. I love the challenge and the intensity of the game. Especially with line outs and kicking, it really tests your skills. But in RC4 it's an absolute joke. Every ruck is virtually a turnover and the amount of intercepts is ridiculous. Every time I win back possession from contesting at the breakdown, I just lose it again a phase or two later. I managed to scrape through a 7-0 victory against Zimbabwe on Pro, where in RC3 I could usually take on NZ in a challenging, but comfortable victory.
- I think the old engine was far better. The cutscenes and animations might be the exact same from RC3, which I'm perfectly fine with to be honest, but the actual gameplay feels like it's significantly regressed. It feels unnatural compared to RC3.
- Less of a problem, but still noteworthy; player ratings. Can you explain to me how Herschel Jantjies is rated 75, while Ivan Van Zyl and Embrose Papier is rated 76 and 79 respectively? How is Jesse Kriel who was sidelined for most of last year, rated 87, but Lukhanyo Am is rated 78? Pieter Steph Du Toit, World Rugby Player of the year and nominee the previous year, is rated 88, but Etzebeth, Ardie Savea and Brodie Retallick are rated higher.
- Forwards fatigue too quickly. Despite fitness ratings of 70-90, you need to substitute your entire forward pack at about 60min. But the problem is that you only have one lock and one loose forward spare depending on your bench. So this is a problem.
I know I've raised far more negatives than positives, but as a die hard fan, having exhaustively played Rugby 08, Rugby Challenge 2 and Rugby Challenge 3, I feel like my my commentary is fair. I'm absolutely gutted with Rugby Challenge 4 in it's current state and would much rather stick to RC3 with updated players and kits. After 5 years, it's still a far better game, even with all it's little problems.