By Matthew Dunn

There is no question that Mitchell Pearce's dog "humping" incident and the infamous photo of Todd Carney urinating into his own mouth brought the NRL into disrepute.

But these incidents have nothing on the damage the new rugby league video game will do to the Australian sport.

I really wanted to believe Rugby League Live 4 would be better than its less than desirable predecessors, but sadly this was not the case.

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Obviously the game will never feel as polished as the AAA titles delivered by EA, because its niche market is mostly limited to footy fans from two states of Australia.

And while I don't expect it to reach these heights, it would be nice if Rugby League Live 4 felt like it had a bigger budget than a night out with Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Ben Barba.

I admit I don't understand all the nuances of game development, but is it too much to ask that, in 2017, a title offer somewhat realistic-looking graphics?

Not only could the crowds be made to look better than random blobs of colour, but the likeness of some of the game's biggest stars should be improved at a very minimum.

While the poor graphics are only slightly less disappointing than the Bulldogs' performance this season, I could let them slide, if the gameplay blew my mind.

So did the controls make the game a delight?

Let's just say I was amazed ... by how woefully the game handled.

Kerrod Holland or a 13-year-old boy?
Kerrod Holland or a 13-year-old boy?

The controls have slightly been tweaked from the previous games in the franchise, but it still feels largely unresponsive, glitchy and confusing.

For example, pressing the shoulder button will pass the ball to the closest adjacent player who is always easily picked off by the defence.

You do have the option to perform a more direct pass to a specified player, but this requires you to double-tap a face button, while also holding down a shoulder button - a movement every bit as awkward as it sounds.

Kicking in the game is also a horrible experience, with defenders already in your face before you have a chance to press the multiple buttons needed for a clearing kick.

Sure, these would get easier the more you played, but they are still very strange combinations.

The game also removes any advantage seen with quick play-the-balls, with every tackle taking forever to be complete.

These criticisms don't even address the fact the evade and fend controls are about as effective as Ben Hunt's catching in the 2015 Grand Final.

In addition to the lack of ability to put on massive shots when tackling, the player calling mechanic for defence is hugely confusing. Admittedly, there are tutorials, but they are pretty much worthless.

While I have criticised the game heavily, I will admit it does have its moments of beauty.

As the game allows you to change to the playing rosters, I am able to do what Des Hasler hasn't with my beloved Canterbury side - drop Mbye, Hoppa and Lichaa to reserve grade.

Jokes aside, one of the improvements in the game is the ability to hold L2 to strafe with a player and lock in onto an opponent.

The game also has allows you to clearly see which line players are running in attack, but this doesn't really mean much with the poor controls.

In terms of game options, Rugby League Live 4 offers the usual exhibition, tournament and online game modes, plus a lengthy career mode allowing you to build up a team.

Be a Pro mode also returns and allows you to take control over one player on the field, similar to what is seen on EA's soccer game.

Other good features include turning off the console with your controller and never playing again.

My advice is don't rush out and pay $99 for Rugby League Live 4 on the PS4 or Xbox One, because it's definitely not worth that price and will be available in the bargain bin before too long.

And this is coming from a man who loves his footy and wanted nothing more than for the game to be a huge success.

Maybe Rugby League Live 5 will get it right.