After flirting with getting the PSVR since 2016, it now has its position in the house much like the microwave, samurai helmet and the dog’s bed. It’s a bit of a glorified ornament, but glad to have the option to play it anytime. Thinking that it was the lack of games to choose from, I bought Creed Rise to Glory as an impulse buy. Was it worth it?
The purpose of getting the PSVR was to encourage the family to get a bit involved, but perhaps to burn off a bit of energy in the process. Ring Fit Adventure was on the agenda before Christmas, but after selling out, it was time to build the library of cardio (ish) games. Boxing has got to be one of the most thorough ways of working out, much like swimming, only as it’s VR, you don’t get a black eye in the process. Creed Rise to Glory, from Survios, doesn’t disappoint when it comes to a workout, but it’s more HIIT than going 12 rounds with a bruiser.
In case you don’t know, Creed Rise To Glory is a cash-in of the film franchise – following the story of Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis Johnson who asks the notorious Rocky Balboa to train him up. If you don’t know who Rocky Balboa is, then you’re going to need to head to the internet gym and do your research. If you can’t be bothered though, he’ll make his presence known as he also features in the game.
Any fighter worthy of glory needs to put in the hours and in this scenario, it’s the gym. You regularly hit the gym taking part in mini-games such as building momentum to pull off a combo or speed training to learning to punch harder with the bags. VR generally is good at adding to the delusion that you can actually do something well, where in reality, you look like a bell end. In these training sessions, I went for it, raising my heart rate and exhibiting a reasonable amount of skill, even if my power couldn’t break through paper walls. However, the accuracy wasn’t so great, and there were frequent moments of being too close or far away from targets, despite staying in the same position in the living room.
The other criticism about accuracy was the inconsistency with the height of the NPCs. In the training gym, my trainer would tower over me, and I’d be eye level with his abdomen – having to recalibrate the camera once more. Then I’d hit the ring, and my opponent would be like Oddjob from GoldenEye on the N64, and I would be hitting over his head. This didn’t appear to my configuration as other VR games didn’t need the readjustment every other segment. It was quite off-putting, but thankfully the action made up for that.
There have been few boxing games that have truly stood out other than the Fight Night and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing. In appearance, the characters have a slightly comic feel to them but are rendered pretty well. When you get in the ring, and they’re launching a flurry of punches, there’s an urgency to dodge them. In reality, the real risk of injury was kicking the coffee table or tripping over the dog. When you connect a punch, it feels like your opponent is there – likewise, when they counter, the defence system works pretty well. Any fool would go in waving their arms around like mad, hoping for an easy knockout. When that fool runs out of stamina, the arms onscreen flash red, and you need to defend to compose yourself. You’d assume I tried everything to get a balanced view when reviewing the game, but the reality was I went in waving my arms around like mad.
The comparison to Ready 2 Rumble Boxing applies more to the arcade feel of the game and longevity. While mini-games are fun, they are precisely that – additional to the main game, and unless they’re on par with playing Space Harrier in Yakuza 0, they’re nothing special. So when it comes to the primary campaign, it feels very much like a VR version of Tekken in that it’s one opponent after the other without any real depth. Not that it’s a bad thing, as it means others can get into the game nice and easy, it’s just that it doesn’t have as much replay value as one could expect. The further you get into the tournament, the harder it is to hit the other player or defend, so the difficulty level is there, it just feels incomplete and more of an expanded demo on what VR can achieve.
Which leads to an observation not exclusive to Creed Rise to Glory, but first-person games in VR: they don’t seem to have perfected forward movement yet. Without diving too much in-depth with it, my first impressions are that it would be more to do with motion sickness that technological restrictions – so many people still get sick from this sort of thing. I don’t suffer from it, but I understand that confusion. Playing Doom VFR was a little disappointing having to teleport forward rather than merely walking, but I did get a little disorientated. In Creed Rise to Glory, you have to bring your arms up in an exaggerated jogging motion to move forward. It felt utterly unnatural and to be honest; I think I would have settled with teleporting around the gym.
Creed Rise to Glory is probably the closest to boxing you can get without hitting the canvas. The graphics are fantastic, and the atmosphere with each consecutive match is really enjoyable. Still, I wish there had been a bit more variety between rounds and maybe the mini-games having a bit more of an impact on the game. Specialising in a decent uppercut that would essentially be a finishing move in each match would be quite fun, but at the same time, you can’t doubt how much has gone into the development of the game.