We’ve all watched a Rocky movie and then gone and smacked someone, thinking we were just as hard as Rocky. Right? Just me? Whatever. The point is that I’m guessing most people have watched the movies and then thought “I could do that,” only to find that they’re long past the point of no return when it comes to physical fitness. In the past we’ve had a few decent boxing games, and even one or two based on Balboa’s boxing triumphs, though they were mostly naff. Except for the one on PSP. That game was legit great and I played the ever-loving crap out of it.
Now here in the year of 2019, we don’t just have to pick up a pad to have a go at smashing someone’s face in, nor do we need to go down to the local gym to get our arses handed to us. We can just stick on a VR headset and let nature take its course.
Creed: Rise to Glory for PSVR is a VR-only game, meaning that if you don’t have a PSVR headset, you can’t play. Well, you could, perhaps on another VR headset, but not on PS4 without a PSVR. You’ll also need two PS Move controllers, as if that wasn’t already obvious. You’ll use these to swing your weak punches and to protect your head from Ivan Dragos’ furious fists.
Creed: Rise to Glory is another top effort by VR developer Survios. Coming after the release of Sprint Vector on PSVR, Creed: Rise to Glory takes a few cues from the former, but more on that later.
The game has a few different options and game modes to play with. You can take on the single-player campaign which follows the plot of the first Creed movie, though it takes a fair few liberties. And when I say it follows the plot, that’s me being generous. There aren’t that many fights in the Creed movie, so the developers had to spruce things up a little bit and get inventive with Adonis’ rags-to-riches success story. Not that it matters all that much. If you’ve seen the film then you know what happens. It’s not like you expect to follow the movie to the point that you sit and watch and in-game movie with your in-game girlfriend. You’re here to fight, damnit!
The campaign takes place across seven fights with various fighters. As you can imagine, the first fight is a warm up. You’re going against some pasty ginger fella who hasn’t got much meat on his bones. I pummeled this guy in two rounds and felt like a boxing god. I stood in my living room, arms raised high, lapping up the love from my audience of none.
The fights do get progressively harder, as I found out. I powered through the first two fighters with ease and then came up against a big black dude on the third fight. Here’s where things fell apart for me. He was strong, tall, imposing, and mean. He could take a punch and he could deal them doubly so. I got knocked down in the first round. When you go down, your body falls to the floor but your mind goes elsewhere. You end up at the end of a tunnel, the length of which is determined by how many times you’ve gone down. At the end of the tunnel is the ring and your body. You need to get back to your body before the ref counts to 10. To do this you need to swing your arms as if you’re running, a feature carried over from Survios’ Sprint Vector. I hate it. It kills me. After swinging my arms wildly for minutes at a time, they begin to feel like lead weights, so swinging them at speed to get back into the fight kills me. But that’s the point, I guess. It wears you down and forces you to dig deep to keep up the fight.
After a few rounds with the brutish fighter, I was ruined. You know you’re unfit when the sound of the bell in a video game is like sweet music. I couldn’t wait to hear the bell. It offered me a few moments of respite before I had to put my fists up again.
And that’s the single player mode in a nutshell. In between fights you’ll spend some time at the gym doing different mini-games to gain some strength and stamina for the upcoming fight. They’re nice little breaks between bouts and there’s even a dedicated ‘Montage’ mode for you to do if you’re not feeling up to fighting.
It’s not all good, though. The limitations of the PSVR can be felt here more than in other games. Boxing is a very active sport by its very nature, so being tethered to the PS4 via the PSVR cables can get very annoying. The game does warn you not to move around, but in the heat of battle it’s only natural to want to duck and weave.
The game’s controls are, for the most part, serviceable. I say that because I’ve still not mastered movement. You move around by holding down the two Move buttons on each controller. Then, looking like a bit of a pillock, you roll your hands over each other to move forward, and then you do it in reverse to move backwards. With the advanced movement controls turned on, you can even circle around opponents, though I’m yet to master this. It’s difficult and not entirely intuitive when you’re focusing on keeping your gloves up to protect yourself, or laying on jabs at speed. It’s not impossible, mind you, as my colleague Jeremy managed to run rungs around me when we played multiplayer.
Another shortcoming is in the PSVR’s tracking. Given that you need to raise your hands to your head to protect yourself, you end up confusing the poor PSVR camera with the lights on the Move controllers and the lights on the headset sending the camera into a spin. As a result, I ended up holding my hands a little more out in front of me than I normally would. A little like this:
I no doubt looked ridiculous, but at least it solved the problem somewhat. It’s still not perfect but I can’t lay the blame on the developers for this one. This is purely an inherent problem stemming from Sony’s choice to use lights as tracking.
One complaint I’ve seen is that the game is light on content. OK, the campaign can be done and dusted within a couple of hours, but there’s still plenty to do. You’ve got the montage mode that I mentioned earlier, as well as free play. It’s here that I’ve spent most of my time. With the Legends update that brought Rocky, Apollo Creed, and numerous famous fighters from the movies, it’s been good fun recreating those movie moments.
You can choose who you want to fight as. Naturally, I always pull on Rocky’s shorts. I’ve been pounded by Clubber Lang, only to come back after a cigarette break and smash his face in. I’ve gone toe-to-toe with Apollo Creed, going the distance until the 15th round, only to lose at the last bloody gasp. Naturally, I stepped out onto the balcony, powered up with a cig and then strapped in for the rematch. It’s good fun, basically, and any Rocky fan will appreciate the opportunity to get into the ring with Ivan Drago and to dish out some revenge. Pour one out for Apollo.
Multiplayer is a spot I’ve only spent some time with, but boy it’s good. I challenged my colleague Jeremy to fight over PSN, delivering the smack talk via the PSN Messages app on my phone. He agreed and we were soon in the ring. I was Rocky, he was Clubber Lang. We fought hard and I came out victorious. Then I got my arse handed to me twice in a row. By the end of it I was a shaking wreck. My legs were gone, my arms were in agony, and I was dripping in sweat, but I was laughing my head off. Why? Because I just had a boxing match with somebody 3000 miles away and I still felt like I’d gotten the shit kicked out of me for real.
(We’ve organised a rematch for July 20th. Feel free to pop in – we’ll be streaming the big fight. The Pure PlayStation Title will be mine!)
Creed: Rise to Glory PSVR Review
Unless you have a clear hatred for anything boxing, there’s no real reason you shouldn’t at least have a look at Creed: Rise to Glory on PSVR. The only real complaints I have are that the tracking can be a little wonky at times and the sound bites get annoying very fast. Other than that, you’re getting as close to the ring as you can without getting your nose broken.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.