Also On: Steam, Oculus Home
I’m surprised we haven’t seen more boxing VR titles released for PSVR and the various PC platforms by now. I think developer Survios has done a solid job showcasing what VR boxing can be with this release of Creed: Rise to Glory, and having finished the relatively short career mode, I definitely want more VR games like this. It’s a fun, immersive experience overall, and something that’ll really put your heart and body to work via a pretty decent cardio workout.
Based on the Rocky spin-off film series Creed, you’ll lace up the boots of one Adonis Creed, son of the late, great Apollo Creed. The game follows the events of the first film, leading up to the championship fight against “Pretty” Ricky Conlan. In order to get there, you’ll go through a series of fights and training events before stepping into the ring against the champ. Despite following the general plotline of the film, the game is a little light on story elements. There’s some background chatter via radio hosts that’ll play when you’re in the gym to train, and then there’s a real brief relationship moment in the fight before the finale that feels a little weird and out of place. This isn’t a game you’re going to come to for story, but it also doesn’t feel necessary to have story in order to enjoy the game.
Creed: Rise to Glory consists of a Career Mode, online versus, training mini-games, and a free play 1 on 1 mode against an opponent of your choice. The career mode is short, but runs you through a series of consistently harder fights featuring most of the boxers in the game. The boxer models are stylized, bordering on caricatures of actual people that feels akin to Nintendo’s Punch-Out! series. PSVR players also have access to a young Rocky Balboa boxer that you can fight in free play. Along with the boxer selection, you’ll have different venues and a few gyms to switch between when training. Again, the options can be a little light, but with the game priced at $30, the content seems reasonable.
The gameplay experience is mostly first person. When you step into the ring for a fight you’ll face off against the opponent in the opposite corner. Fighters will meet in the middle of the ring, and if you look down you’ll see a small box area that both helps you realize where to stand, and how close you need to be to interact or initiate the fight. That said, looking down can also be a little awkward, as the game doesn’t always do a great job of rendering leg movement, but that’s a minor issue overall. What counts is that it picks up on body movement via head tracking, and hand movement through the Move controllers, extremely well. You can effectively bob and weave around punches, block by moving both hands up in front of your face, and throw jabs, uppercuts, and hooks in a realistic fashion. I rarely found issues with tracking my movement, and generally my hits would land or whiff where intended.
In-game stamina plays a factor in determining how effective your overall punches can be. Just swinging wildly will deplete your stamina rapidly, shown by a flashing effect on your boxing gloves. Likewise, it’ll wear you out in real life, and I found my own personal stamina to be a pretty big factor in how effective I could be in any given match. If your boxer takes enough damage, you’ll be tossed to a third person behind the back view, where you’ll need to line up your hands with icons on the screen to recover. Get knocked down and your perspective gets tossed out of the ring entirely. To get back into the fight you’ll make a running motion with your controllers, which gets tougher and slower the more times you’re laid out. It’s a neat “out-of-body” experience that provides a unique way of replacing the standard tap a button furiously mechanic found in most non-VR boxing games.
In between fights you’ll spend time running through a series of mini-games at the gym. There are a few different gym designs and trainers, including Rocky himself. The gym area is large, and you can freely walk around by swinging your arms back and forth to explore, but there isn’t much to interact with outside of the boxing equipment.
When training between matches, you’re essentially mimicking a training montage that one could argue was made popular by the Rocky films. You’ll test how hard you can swing at the heavy bag, practice combination hits on the target dummy, test your ability to land hooks, jabs, and body shots against your trainer, along with a couple more exercises. If you opt to tackle the training mini-games outside of the Career mode, you can also compete against others via the Global or Friends Leaderboard function. The training montage sequences don’t last particularly long, and actually do a pretty good job of getting you limbered up before the fight.
Overall, I’m pretty impressed with how well Creed: Rise to Glory works on PSVR, and I’d imagine the other VR platforms are executed just as well. The only thing that feels a little iffy at launch is the online versus mode, which led to a couple of laggy matches against real-world opponents, enough so that I never finished a match. For me, the online versus isn’t a huge draw, but you might want to give the game a patch or two before picking it up if that’s a deal breaker for you. Outside of that, I think Creed does a great job of simulating the boxing experience with an arcade-style approach, and is certainly worth checking out if you’re looking for a fun, boxing VR workout at home.
Note: Survios provided us with a Creed: Rise to Glory PSVR code for review purposes.