As a huge RC fan, I am pleased to see some positive changes made in RC4! With the lack of rugby games developed over the years, it is great to see a step in the right direction with RC4, which is in my opinion, the best rugby game out there at the moment. That being said, the game is far from perfect, and it needs a lot of changes to become a great and sustainable rugby game.
I appreciate the effort put into the graphics. The photo realistic face scans, customization, lighting, pitch, etc. I mean, the game is beautiful to look at.
Now for the most important part of the game, the GAMEPLAY. A sports game needs to be as REALISTIC as possible, and RC is lacking realism in a lot of areas.
Below I have listed areas that I feel needs change, and also some ideas that I think might improve the gameplay experience:
When AI does a set-play, remove the color running-lines. It is too predictable to defend against.
Too much inside passes. Too often the AI would pick up and pass the ball back inside through the ruck. It looks messy and unrealistic.
An option for the forwards to line up outside the 10 channel for a short crash ball option.
The dummy-pass is overpowered and unrealistic. Replace the dummy stick with another attacking skill, for example a "tuck/drop the shoulder" or even a burst of acceleration to really crash the ball up the field. It would be very satisfying.
Pod runners needs to run into the ball instead of receiving the ball in a static position.
Added defensive formations. Example a kicking formation where the winger drops back to receive the kick with the fullback.
Please lower the number of players entering a ruck. 3 players max. A ruck is not suppose to look like a scrum.
Turnovers are way too frequent and it looks unrealistic. The ball just pops into the player's hands who is contesting for the ball and then he immediately passes it. The player contesting should stay in the "Jackal" position, where most of the times he would win a penalty for his team. Also, in some cases the one who is contesting could lose the contest resulting in a penalty for the opposite team for "Off your feet" or "Hands in the ruck". This will ensure that players only contest for the ball when the attacking player is isolated.
The 50m passes across the field is very unrealistic. Stick to a 1 player skip pass.
The forwards are very fast compared to the backs. Forward SPEEDS needs to be lowered. The game plays much more realistic when playing with slower forwards. Exceptions can be made with quicker forwards like Ardie Savea or Kwagga Smith.
To balance out the player stats, you can add a RUCKING/JACKAL ability/attribute. This will make up the overall rating for forwards lacking speed.
The goal kicking mechanics are not very satisfying and not challenging enough. Because side-line goal kicks are just as easy as in front of the poles. I would LOVE to see an Analog stick flick to guide the direction of the kick, while you have a Power bar which you can time with the X button.
Box-kicks have become a big part of rugby. Scrumhalf box kicks in RC needs to have more detail. You need to be able to set up a box kick by assembling a chase line, especially the blindside winger. Also, box kicks needs to be high and contestable.
The timing bar to throw into the line-out can be very frustrating. I would suggest using similar mechanics to the goal kicking I mentioned earlier. By the use of the Analog stick to aim the throw.
Added set-plays from line outs would be a great addition for tactical play. Example, if you do a line-out from the top to the scrumhalf, you have to be able to do an immediate set-play from there. Example, flat crash ball to the inside centre.
PLEASE fix the nr.8 pick-up at the back of the scrum. The nr.8 is static when he picks up the ball. It has to be immediate forward momentum/acceleration.
Scrums are a bit too long. Reduce the number of pushes.
Also, an option to collapse the scrum and concede a penalty might be a nice addition to make the scrums more realistic, as there are a lot of scrum penalties in real life.
The ball just drops down when nearing the try-line. When over the try-line, the player behind the maul with the ball in hand just needs to drop down to score the push-over try.
Also an option to collapse the mall could be included, because there aren't a lot of penalty variations in the game.
GENERAL COMMENTS AND IDEAS:
The ref sounds like it was done over a voice message.
More dialogue/instructions from the ref during play. Examples: "Roll away", "stay onside", etc. It would be a little, but fun addition.
Unlock the restriction of editing "star player"s' attributes.
Incorporate the use of the R3 or L3 buttons. Either to collapse the scrum/maul, hands in the ruck, etc.
And that's about it for now!
I tried to mention some ideas that is relatively 'implementable' and realistic to improve on for future updates. I think that if the devs can improve on some of these points, it will really build a strong foundation for future updates and RC games to come.
Please let me know what you agree or disagree on :)