REVIEW – From the authors of Sprint Vector comes Creed: Rise to Glory, a new boxing game for PlayStation VR based on the eponymous cinematic spin-off of Rocky.
After the launch of Electronauts and Sprint Vector, the Survios vintage reaches its climax with Creed: Rise to Glory, the most ambitious production ever made so far by the Los Angeles studio. The title is presented as a tie-in of the homonymous film spin-off of Rocky, a boxing game entirely conceived for Virtual Reality and movement controllers that promises to emphasize the physicality of the fights and the motor involvement of the user. Once the visor is worn, we can play Adonis Creed and find ourselves face to face with a digitized version of Sylvester Stallone as a coach, reliving firsthand some of the matches seen in the film. The first truly amazing moment, however, will come after removing the headset from the head: the forehead full of sweat, the sore arms, the shortness of breath and the adrenaline still in the circle, with the feeling of having been really in the ring and having attended a boxing match.
To play Creed: Rise to Glory we will need motion controllers and a game area large enough to be able to extend our arms without encountering any obstacles. Even if it is possible to face the experience from a sitting position, the upright position is still highly recommended to increase immersion and motor freedom during the fights, so as to make the title even more credible and engaging. Another important tip before getting into the ring: make sure to enable “advanced movement” from the main options, allowing your alter-ego to move backwards, perform a sideways strafe and advance towards the opponent while keeping the guard high. The control system designed by Surviosit is entirely based on the movement of the arms and body, giving life to a physical gameplay that will test our resistance, thanks also to a couple of ideas that convey all the physicality of a real boxing match.
As it is easy to imagine, the shapes of the gloves will follow the movements of the two PlayStation Movethat we hold in our hands, allowing us to naturally imitate the execution of a jab or a right hook launched with maximum power. Tracking is quick and accurate, even when you have to keep your guard up to parry the blows of your opponents, or move your head and torso to dodge a punch directed towards our face. Avoiding an attack with the right timing, moreover, activates a sort of bullet time that allows us to counterattack our opponent, unloading on him a well-placed hook and a series of punches to the bust to try to send him KO If at first we will be tempted to shake arms like frenzied, trying to score as many punches as possible, soon we will realize that the game wants to encourage us to distribute our energies over the rounds, as indeed it would in a real boxing match.
This happens thanks to a system of bunting which simulates the athlete’s fatigue: when our energies are exhausted, the movement of the gloves begins to slow down dramatically decreasing the effectiveness and reach of the fists, forcing us to assume the position of looking to recover strength. In addition to letting us experience the consequences of fatigue, Creed also manages to convey the impact of a punch received in the face. When we are overwhelmed by the force of a disruptive punch, in fact, the body of our athlete is moved backwards as it would in reality: at this point the game slows down and the camera backs up to frame our alter-ego from the outside, like if our “spirit” had come out of his body because of the daze.
An equally interesting solution is used for KOs, when our athlete ends up on the mat: in this case the shot moves away until he comes out of the ring, forcing us to shake the two Move to “re-enter” our body within the countdown. The more times we go to the carpet, the greater the distance to travel, and consequently the effort required of the user to succeed in the enterprise. A very effective idea that simulates the tiredness felt after a knockdown, making it feel on the player’s skin. Speaking of the movements in the ring, Survios has managed to create a locomotion system quite functional and convincing, able to offer a motor approach to movements that at the same time goes around the limits of the PlayStation Move.
To walk we will have to hold down the two Move buttons simultaneously, turning the two controllers clockwise to move forward and counterclockwise to move backward. To perform a lateral strafe, however, you will only have to rotate the right controller to move to the right, and the left one to move to the left. Although at the beginning it may seem an unintuitive system, a couple of sessions and a small dose of practice will be enough to become familiar with the movements, until you master them in combat without particular headaches. When it comes to getting into the ring and fighting the gameplayby Creed: Rise to Glory works properly, offering the best interpretation of virtual fights ever seen with motion controllers. And this is, without a shadow of a doubt, the real strength of the production.
Being a tie-in, Creed: Rise to Glory could not miss the relative Career mode inspired by the events of the film, with the player playing the role of Adonis Creed (the son of Apollo Creed, Rocky’s famous rival), the young protagonist determined to make his way among the best boxing athletes
While borrowing the locations and some opponents seen in the film, unfortunately this mode is limited to making us play only seven matches of increasing difficulty, without any type of narrative preamble to accompany the development of our career. To make things a little more interesting, however, each match is preceded by an intense training session with an arcade flavour, with a series of mini-games to be completed in sequence as quickly as possible: the better our performance will be, the greater the amount of stamina we will have available at the beginning of the match.
Considering the simplicity of its structure and a longevity of two hours (things can get longer at the Champion difficulty), the Career mode of Creed: Rise to Glory looks more like an advanced tutorial than a totally fulfilling single-player experience, also given the absence of particular stimuli that go beyond the desire to win matches and master the combat system. A note of merit must, however, be recognized for the characterization of the seven opponents and the excellent scenic reconstruction of the arenas: each match has a different flavour from the other, thanks to the ability of VR to emphasize all the sensations experienced in the match (you will notice when you have to face an antagonist with a decidedly statuesque size, raising his head to fix him in the eyes …).
To close the picture of the single-player offer, the title also provides a free play mode and free training in the gym. The first allows you to select an opponent and challenge him in the ring, while the second allows you to explore the gym to devote himself to individual mini-games of training, with the possibility of climbing the related online rankings.
Playing alone, at some point the stimuli to devote himself to Creed: Rise to Glory could run out inexorably, and this is where the online multiplayer sector comes to the rescue designed to challenge a friend or another player on the other side of the world. Again, the mode works very simply: a character is selected (each with his strengths, and among the athletes on the roster there is also a young Rocky Balboa!), A ring and he starts to the dances. At present, the quality of the PvP experience seemed variable to us: in some cases, matchmaking took a few seconds to find an opponent, while in others almost two minutes passed. Same goes for latency, where perfectly responsive matches alternated with encounters afflicted by some lag problem. Added to this are the classic considerations to be made for all the multiplayer modes of VR games: How long will the community manage to stand? Will finding a game online be just as easy in a couple of months? One thing, meanwhile, is certain: if you have a friend with whom you can challenge yourself from a distance, punching him (virtual) in the face will be really fun.
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+ Excellent simulation
+ Great graphics
+ Stallone is included!
– The macros setting associated with the PSVR headset is also annoying
– Take care to keep your loved ones in the nose
– It’s a little difficult to move with the helmet
Publisher: Survios, Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: VR sports game
Release date: September 25, 2018