Developer / Publisher –Survios
Price – US $29.99 / EU €24.99 / UK £19.99 / AU $37.95
Release date – September 25th, 2018
Control Method – 2 x Motion Tracked Controllers
Pro Enhanced – No
Digital only – Yes
Reviewed on – PS4 Pro /Oculus Rift
It’s here, another milestone in VR gaming in the form of a licensed boxing game that has 1 key mode that has been missing from our VR library in the form of multiplayer boxing, allowing you to truly pit your skills against your friends or anyone else you can find online. As the name suggests, this is a tie in to the Creed series of movies, which is a continuation of the Rocky series movies and while I haven’t seen the movie this based on, I am more than familiar with the Rocky franchise.
It’s boxing, which means motion controllers and they work great. No matter which headset you play in, Survios has chosen to make this a mostly stationary affair with you squaring off against your opponent. Your motions are tracked to near perfection with you laying down uppercuts, crosses and jabs with expert precision. While the punches feel great, the stamina system in place is…confusing. During the single player campaign, in between matches you play through a bunch of mini-games that affect just how much stamina you have in the next fight. These mini-games involve gym activities like running on a treadmill, punching a variety of targets at specific points and a few others. After the training sessions you are off to the next match, which has you playing as Adonis Creed on his path to a championship fight. While the campaign encourages stationary fighting, room scale allows you to duck and back off, just be aware of your systems tracking limitations. Throwing punches uses your stamina and to recover you need to hold your hands still, in a block position, to regain it. The problem is after only 3 or 4 punches, even at the start of a fight, you are fatigued meaning it’s a constant battle to keep your stamina in check, while defending blows and trying to dish out punishment without pushing yourself to far. Additionally, there is an advanced movement system that requires you to move your controls in a circular motion Clockwise or counter-clockwise to move left or right or behind you to move backwards while pressing the move button. It’s definitely a complicated system that will take a lot of time to master, though those that do have a distinct advantage over stationary brawlers as you can move out of harms way a lot easier.
Creed nails the boxing aesthetic with a variety of gyms, arenas and boxers. The 3 gyms you play in all look great and it’s fun to just walk over to any of the training areas and play a few micro-games as they not only build up your skill but also place you on global leaderboards so you can see just how you are stacking up against your future competition. The fighters all look much more realistic then what we saw in Knockout League, but minus Adonis, his buddies and the ring announcer, the boxers you face are exaggerated, looking more like caricatures of boxers as opposed to the real deal. In no way does it look bad, just a general statement about the art style. You start off fighting in dive bars and quickly climb the ranks to the big arena and no matter where you fight, you’ll always have an audience, which does recycle the same models a tonne, but changes up their individual looks just enough to not notice it in the heat of battle. One cool effect is the slow-motion mode, which I have not seen in the multiplayer, that requires you to dodge a power punch from the opposing AI. Doing so slows time, allowing you to line up that perfect shot and the view you get in those brief few seconds is sweet and makes you feel all powerful. Lastly, The PSVR version has a few more aliasing issues compared to the steam version, but no matter which headset you play this on, it still looks great!
As this game does take place in the Rocky franchise, that classic theme is here in full force plaything throughout the game and while it is a little funny just how much you will hear it, I can’t deny that every time I did, it pumped me up. In between matches your trainer will talk to you and coach you and about halfway through the relatively short campaign (less than an hour on Rookie difficulty) Rocky shows up to assist you and while he’s not voiced by Stallone, the actor does a good enough job to have me thinking Sly himself played the character, only maybe had a few drinks and a lack of sleep the night before he recorded. It’s an absolute thrill to have Rocky in your corner and just as thrilling to hear him yell out lines during a match and I really can’t find any significant faults when it comes to the overall presentation.
Creed puts itself out there as being more of a sim boxing game then arcade but does rely on simplistic controls to deliver this experience. Having to turtle up to regain stamina is a large trope, but there are also a few others that would only work in VR. When ever you get rocked, the screen goes gray and everything slows down, requiring you match the controllers in your hands to flailing arms of your avatar as he gets blasted into 3rd person view. Matching those up puts you back in the fight. In multiplayer, while you are trying to match your controllers, your opponent is trying to hit key points highlighted on your body to score a knockdown so it becomes a race to see who can do what’s needed 1st. Should you get knocked down, Survios has incorporated a little Sprint Vector in here with you being blasted across the arena within a black tunnel and you need to swing your arms to run back to your body before the 10 count. The more times you are knocked down, the further away you are from the ring meaning you’ll have to hustle to get back to consciousness.
My biggest issue is the stamina system in place, which I assume was put in to prevent people from just brawling their way through fighters but seems to extreme and hurts the boxing experience. The system is sound enough, but it seems unfair when, after your 1st 4 punches, you are trying to recover, while the AI opponents seem to have a much larger well to draw from, unleashing flurry after flurry while you are trying to recover enough stamina to throw another few punches. This is much less of issue in the multiplayer as now both players are playing by the same restrictions which is great as the multiplayer is where the longevity in Creed lies. Thanks to a multiplayer lobby, you can play with friends or randoms in a 1 on 1 bout with any of the fighters in the game. I was leery about just how well this would work online and I’m happy to say that Survios pulled this off. Squaring off against a friend while talking trash over the mic is absolute blast and it’ll be a challenge for anyone to play more then a few fights before needing a break.
The multiplayer matches are a little off. For the most part they play like a regular boxing match, but a few changes could be made to help improve them. Whenever there is a knockdown in a match, if that player recovers, the round ends and you are on to the next one. It makes the matches feel like you are playing through a highlight reel and I would have preferred that the rounds continue until the timer ran down. Secondly is the lack of break in between rounds. I know this isn’t a full-fledged boxing sim, but it gets exhausting even after 1 intense fight, let alone back to back matches so in this area I would have preferred a simulation style of organization. With that said, If the multiplayer stays as it is now, it’s still worth getting into as those are minor grievance when compared with just how much fun it is to knock the heck out of a real human opponent!
Creed: Rise to Glory delivers where it needs to, though it doesn’t quite hit the heights it could and a few minor updates could alleviate many of my small issues. It’s more than just an all-out brawler and will bring out the pugilist in you, especially when you square off against another person. The arcade aspects keep this very friendly and do streamline the experience and no matter how you feel about some of the game’s choices, smashing a player in the face and watching crumble under your pressure NEVER gets old. If you have been waiting for a boxing sim in VR, this isn’t a full sim, but it should be more than enough to entertain you for hours on end.
What would I pay? The ability to smash my friends in the face makes the $30 asking price an easy ask. Add in the campaign, training mini-games and Rocky Balboa in my corner during a title fight and we have ourselves a winner!
Survios provided The VR Grid with codes and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!