Survios released one of my favourite PSVR games of 2017, Raw Data, a game where you chose from four classes and fend off evil robots as you protected a device from destruction in First-Person VR. This time around we have something completely different, Creed: Rise to Glory is the Virtual Reality implementation of the latest film in the ‘Rocky’ franchise. Virtual Reality boxing which immerses you so much, you’ll be ducking and dodging in real life to get out of the way!
So, did Survios create yet another brilliant game within the VR gamespace or is it out for the count? Let’s find out…
Creed: Rise to Glory is a game which is ‘inspired’ by the film of the same name, so you won’t be replaying the movie scene for scene. You will, however, be rising through the ranks as you progress from the underdog which nobody has heard of to a world-class fighter, all whilst facing familiar opponents (if you’ve watched the film). As you gradually get better and take down tougher foes, you’ll need more than your standard coach – this is where Rocky comes in. That’s right, you get to train with Rocky Balboa himself with his droopy face and fists of steel.
The games story mode is made up of a simple formula – train, fight, train, fight, rinse and repeat… You have a little exposition before you train, but not enough to call it a full-on narrative story. But then again, in a boxing game which is all about punching people in the face, do you need a story? All you need is a bit of built up anger or aggression and you’re all good! Just don’t play it under the influence of drugs or alcohol as you may start to believe you’re really hitting someone then find out your TV has been smashed (a bit like the ‘eating a giant marshmallow’ in your dreams only to awaken and find out you’ve eaten your pillow).
So, let’s look at the modes in a little more detail and see what you can and can’t do.
First up, a disclaimer. I have a bad back, as such, I can’t stand for a long period or move about very much due to the pain. I managed to get a lot out of Creed but it’s clearly a game which wants you to stand up and duck and dodge all over the place as you avoid incoming advances and punches. So, my experience is that from sitting on the couch as I play – which was still perfectly acceptable.
As the game is built around two core gameplay sections – fighting and training – I’ll look at them both separately as you get the whole game when you stick them both together.
No good boxer became who they are today by jumping straight into the ring – that would be the beginning and end of their career! As such, you must participate in a training montage, to the Rocky music, before each round or you can choose a particular mechanic if you just want to train for a while. The forced training sessions will see you alternate from one mode to another in a Wario-Ware style mini-game whilst you see how many events you can ‘complete’ within a set time limit. These events consist of running on a treadmill, punching a dummy based on spots in their numerical order, punching a punchbag repeatedly, and smashing a ball in the air and dodging it as it comes back into your face. Sorry – I don’t know the real terms for any of these!
The more you get done in the set time, the higher your ‘training rating’ is. You can earn up to five stars during training and this determines how much stamina you have in the main event. If you opt to do a particular training event manually, by walking up to it, you simply play that one mechanic until time runs out or you give up.
Round one, Fight!:
The main crux of Creed: Rise to Glory is its truly immersive combat within the heat of battle. As you’d expect, you can freely move around the ring via a rather comical walking method (which I’ll come to next) so you can get right up close to your opponent and stare him in the eyes. However, don’t get too close as you just walk right through them in some instances and then you’ll have to turn around and reposition yourself. The game plays out like you’d expect – using two Move controllers, you box away as you literally duck and dodge in real life to avoid their punches and then return with a sly uppercut or jab when you see an opening in order to catch them off guard.
Be sure to wear your wrist straps with your Move controllers as you will get rather hot and sweaty whilst smacking people around, so you don’t want a controller to slip out of your hand and land in the TV!
We all know how boxing work – no hitting each other in the balls and you have to knock your opponent to the ground whilst their in a state they can’t recover from. You are disabled during battle by both your health and your stamina. You can’t just stand there and go all E-Honda or Kenshiro on them as you punch a hundred times a minute, doing so will cause your in-game character to punch much weaker, kinda like play fighting when you just tap the other person on the cheek and go “uh” in a sad, pathetic way. No, you need to strategise – block as they attack to rebuild your stamina, look for when they are getting tired, wait until you see an opening, and BAM! Sucker-punch them right in the face followed by a sweet one-two from your left and right hands, then finish with a Tiger Uppercut to the jaw!
You can, technically, win in one round, but a lot of the fights will span over a few. Once the bell rings, you get your stamina and a bit of health back, as does your opponent, then you head back into the ring to play some more fisticuffs.
So, shall we talk about the comical walking movements and what happens if you get knocked out? Why not?
Movement is very, very similar to that within Crisis on the Planet of the Apes, which I had a great time with. You walk by holding the move buttons and swing your arms by your side. If you choose, you can do the rollie-pollie as that works, as does pretending you’re a Cockney fellow overemphasising his arm movements as he walks forward – a bit like the 1950’s segment in Saints Row 4! This process technically works but it does make it a little difficult to make quick movements within a fight – I would have liked it if we could also have standard button presses to move as well when we’re in the ring.
When you get knocked you, your spirit is thrown out of the ring and into the vast abyss of nothingness – you know, as it does in a real-life boxing match. Once this happens, you must run as fast as you can (by holding the button and swinging, literally, for dear life). If you make it back to your body before the timer runs out – you’re granted a second chance at life by the grim reaper, if not, he’ll take your soul and you’ll be declared dead at the scene as your opponent is arrested by the police for manslaughter. Ok, so maybe parts of that isn’t true, but still – you become a spirit and must return to your body. It’s an interesting mechanic and gives a purpose to why one of the montage training segments is running on the treadmill as that process is exactly what you do when this happens!
What if, after you’ve beaten the single-player campaign, you still have built up anger and you need a punching bag to take it out on – but you don’t want a literal punching bag, you want a person you can slap around a little. Well, Creed: Rise to Glory has a few extra modes for you to dabble with…
Freeplay mode allows you to pick any of the people you’ve been up against and face them again. This is a little different to the career as you can jump straight in, change your difficulty level and adjust a few gameplay options. This serves as not only a great way to practice facing off against real opponents, but it also allows you to beat the crap out of whichever character you hate the most! What would have been awesome would have been the ability to import a face which you could place upon one of the opponents – that way you could take your anger out on your boss, an annoying person, or even a celebrity you don’t really care for.
The second note-worthy mode is the online PvP. That’s right, you can go boxing with real humans in the game via the online 1v1 option. Choose your fighter, challenge a friend or a stranger and then jump straight in as you both furiously throw punches in every direction known to man! PvP can be a lot of fun as the AI is hit or miss (literally) based upon what difficulty they are set to but when you’re against a real person, the whole experience gets more intense and realistic.
The VR in Creed: Rise to Glory is amazing – which isn’t a surprise as Raw Data, with it’s PS4 Pro Patch, looks really good in Virtual reality. When the other characters get up into your face in the ring, it’s even more intense than spooky horror games with their random jump scares and ghostly images. The motion tracking worked perfectly for me and the 1:1 hitbox was perfect! If you see an opening where you could hit them in real life, you can do so in VR and make an impact based upon how hard you throw your punches. This really is the definitive VR boxing experience for those who want to jump into the ring without actually jumping into the ring!
The only gripe I had with the game revolved around my gameplay of being sat on the couch. The game wants you to stand, so if you’re sat and you look down in the game – your legs are all twisted and bent because the game thinks you’re squatting in the ring. I know why it’s doing it – if you stand it all looks great as you have legs that move as you swing your arms, but if you have to sit down, the game won’t adjust for that and leaves you feeling like a smaller-than-average boxer with wonky legs! This isn’t a deal breaker and the game is 100% playable stood and sat, it’s just made to be standing in for the full experience.
Sound-wise – the game opens with the beginning part to the Rocky theme! The first time I heard that with the Creed: Rise to Glory logo rising up – I got goosebumps. The song plays throughout the game with new custom music as well. The sound effects, voice acting and music are all great. Even the impersonator for Rocky (as I guess it’s not Sylvester Stylone) does a good job as well. I can’t falter anything in this department.
Creed: Rise to Glory is yet another VR masterpiece from Survios, a team who have shown twice now that they can create brilliantly immersive experiences within Virtual Reality without cutting back on the visuals or the gameplay. If you’ve not watched the film, like me, then it’s not an issue as it’s more focused on the combat and the training than the underlying story. The combat feels very weighty and you work up a real sweat whilst playing the game, which is great in a game like this as it just adds to the immersion – just keep a cloth handy for the lenses!
I would also say that if you’ve played other similar games to Creed in the past, maybe on the PS3 with the Move controllers, in VR, or even on the Wii – Creed is on a whole new level with it’s new ‘Phantom Melee Technology’. This is the tech used to make the punches look and feel real with perfect impact within the opponent’s hitbox. I had a lot of fun playing Creed: Rise to Glory, even if I spent the majority of my time sat down as I played it – The opponents get really tricky as you increase the difficulty and obtaining the world championship isn’t going to be an easy ride!
If you’re looking for a truly immersive and realistic boxing game then Creed: Rise to Glory in VR is calling your name! Most First-Person VR games these days have nice controls with dual controller support and physics which work like they do irl, but Creed goes one step further and makes every punch you throw feel real based on the angle, speed, and impact they all make in real life with the air. There was an issue with a ‘HammerFist’ punch being used in the Multiplayer mode, this has since been fixed in PvP matches, so the MP is fair and based solely on your skills you gain within training and in the ring in the main story mode.
If you’ve played and loved Raw Data as much as I did, and you’re into your boxing, then Creed: Rise to Glory is a game which should be in your VR library. It’s the perfect anger management tool as well as a great representation of what VR can do when its main goal is to immerse the player.
Creed: Rise to Glory£19.99
- Very good visuals which work great in VR
- The impact of your hits are recreated perfectly based on how you throw them in real life
- The montage training segments subconsciously act as a tutorial for the fights
- Works, albeit with a few wonky legs, both stood up and sat down
- Helps you build up a sweat whilst having fun
- The walking mechanic 'works' but it's a bit iffy - especially when you need to make quick movements in-game
- The MP is a little bare and I've seen people leave when they're getting beat up - with no penalty