Wayne Bennett's men had reached the last four thanks to a helping hand from Wales amid a slice of controversy when Lebanon were docked points for fielding an ineligible player. But their hopes of silverware were ended by New Zealand, who cantered to a win at Sydney's Bankwest Stadium.
While there is some assisted training in Rugby League Live 3 by way of drills, these are limited to goal kicking, passing, tackling, and play-making. Early on, most of my training came from tabbing through the loading screen tips.
There is a so-called training mode within the drills that can be toggled on or off, but the on-screen prompts are unfittingly matched with a slow-motion system that encourages bad habits more than it helps to perfect timing. Make no mistake: timing is one of the most crucial components of Rugby League Live 3.
Go the Doggies, etc.
It took me a few hours to discover the best training was hidden in the help menu, albeit in static form. Before stumbling on these tips, I was struggling to hold my own on the second-lowest difficulty level.
There are five difficulty levels in total, and those searching for an arcade experience will find the best match is the lowest one.
This mode is laughably easy, as the game takes care of defensive manoeuvres, with perfectly timed automated side-steps, goosesteps and fends.
It also dumbs down the opposing AI to the point that it makes you feel like a conscience-less A-grade player smashing through an Under 12s match. Jump the challenge up a notch to the inaptly named Amateur level, and a lot of that handholding is out the window.
From this difficulty level onwards, learning to master the right stick to avoid tacklers is essential. For me, this meant rewiring a natural instinct that would have preferred both sticks to be harmonious in relation to the new camera perspective. There are also a couple of other controller fumbles.
Hit-ups, side-steps, goosesteps and fends have specific situations when they are more effective, but they also have the downside of slowing down forward momentum. On top of this, every camera angle seems to have a distinct downside, with no one camera angle that worked effectively for spotting offensive opportunities or tracking defensive weaknesses.
Steve's suggestion of holding a wheelbarrow race turned out to be a ruse. That being said, scoring a try is exactly the kind of edge-of-your-seat experience that it should be in this type of game.
Individual players have meaningful personalised attributes, particularly as it relates to speed and weight, both of which are taken into account when they collide with defenders. A heavier player has a better chance of smashing through a lighter defender or, when tackling, can use that weight advantage to force a player over the sideline.
Faster players come onto the ball quicker, which is perfect for sneaky passes, and these quicker footballers are your best bet at breaking through a small defensive gap before the opposing team can react.
This becomes even more apparent when playing online, as both offensive and defensive AI seem to be set quite low.
Defenders will often mill around and watch a human opponent fly by them, jogging backwards instead of turning to chase. When attacking, too small a gap on the blind side means a winger will flank around to the open side, which can embarrassingly result in a pass over the side line where there was a player a second before.
Speaking of which, casual matches are on offer for those seeking a quick rugby fix, complemented by bigger showdowns in the form of grand finals or a State of Origin decider, while dedicated players can start a career mode, as a coach, rookie player, or existing player.
Kick it. Even without the fan-created content, there are more than teams from global rugby league comps. The presentation is strong, too. The crowd roars as Vossy and Gus narrate your efforts with the kind of enthusiasm fans have come to expect, and it leads to incredible moments, from a big hit in a tackle, to a runaway try.
Outside of rare instances where they get it wrong, the commentary is so diverse and on point that listening to the duo riff off each other and alternate commentary lines is as entertaining as playing the game more so when it gets frustrating.
Verdict Rugby League Live 3 is close to being a great game. If you buy something through this post, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more, learn more. In This Article.