Creed: Rise To Glory Review
Creed: Rise To Glory Review
by Dylan Blight (PSVR)
ot what it takes to become a champion? You are Adonis Creed, fighting toe-to-toe with the world’s top opponents to establish your boxing legacy. This intense cinematic experience features new Phantom Melee Technology for impactful VR melee combat so you can train, fight, and win like Creed.
Knees weak, arms are heavy, a punch -- I threw a flurry, exhausted. I’ve been playing Creed: Rise To Glory.
I was very sore after playing Creed: Rise To Glory for a couple hours and the following day it was obvious I had pulled a muscle in my back. Take from that what you will, but know that I will be stretching before playing in the future and this game will indeed give you some sort of cardio.
This virtual reality stuff has come far and I’m now officially a boxer with the muscle pain to show for it. What I most definitely don’t have is the skills, form or boxing prowess to play Creed like a professional, which is a reason I’ll never upload a video of me playing this -- but Creed is fun, and could be the proving grounds for something bigger in the VR boxing future.
Creed: Rise to Glory takes places between the first and second films of the continued Rocky franchise, but it’s not canon and the story doesn’t really matter so don’t worry about it. Michael B. Jordan has done what little Adonis lines there are, but Rocky is voiced by someone else entirely, and it's not great. The main point is if you haven't watched any of the films and are still interested in this as a boxing VR game, you don't need to know anything about the films.
If you are a Creed/Rocky fan though, there are a lot of feel-good moments to be had here from the Rocky music building up as a fight gets into the final rounds or the fanfare playing as you win.
You start Rise To Glory in a training room and, after a training session in true Rocky montage style, you’ll move on to a fight and so on until you’ve beaten the seven fighters in the game's campaign and prove to be Adonis ‘Hollywood’ Creed, the champ. It's rather short, but the build-up of challengers gets more thrilling as the crowd and venues get more exciting, culminating in two final fights that were rather exhilarating.
You can practice in the training room at any point if you wish and the different exercises using punching bags can help improve your hand-eye coordination, speed and dodging, all of which are elements important in the ring. There is also a system for world rankings and your score VS PSN friends, but this makes the lack of any online VS's ranking system, or belt system all the more disappointing.
If you want to prove yourself as the greatest, there is the ability to jump into a quick match queue or invite your PSN friends into the lobby. I managed to get into one match and then the other player dropped. It was playing fine, but I couldn't find another match afterwards which is probably going to be the problem with the multiplayer here -- lack of players.
I found the gameplay took some getting used to and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m obviously not a boxer and have never boxed before, or that previous PS Move boxing games taught me some terrible habits. You will be using PS Move controllers again here, much like you was in Sports Champions 2 or The Fight: Lights Out, which both tried to make boxing mechanics that encouraged real-life moves, but fell victim to button smashing/hand waiting for wins. I don’t think you’ll get away with random swings in Creed: Rise to Glory. Possibly on the easiest difficulty for the first two fights, but after that, you’re likely to just get knocked out and random hand wailing certainly won't work against real-life opponents when playing online.
Blocking is key for wins, and dodging will open up counter swings, but blocking is your survivability. If you take a haymaker to the face on medium difficulty and above you're probably getting knocked out, which isn’t an immediate loss, but obviously not what you want. If you’re knocked out you experience something of an outer body experience as you shoot backwards from the ring seeing your body on the floor and have to move the PS Move controllers quickly back and forth on your sides to run to your body. Each time you’re knocked out the harder it is to get back to your body until eventually you’re left cold on the floor and defeated.
It is frustrating to be blocking your body from jabs only to miss the signs of an incoming head-swing and lose. There is also really odd punches that do a lot of damage to you and your opponent as the game seems to treat jabs as the best punch. I'd often knock out an opponent with a slight jab, but achieve nothing trying to pull off an uppercut. Similarly, I'd be blocking my face, or even take a huge hit to the face, only to take a rib shot from out my view and be knocked out cold. Odd and a little frustrating.
If whaling punches are your preferred tactic you’ll have to be at least aware of your in-game stamina which depletes as you swing wild and when it gets low will make your punches a lot weaker. You can tell your low on stamina by the heavy breathing from Adonis and also your glowing gloves, but regenerating it is as simple as blocking for a few seconds. As a mechanic in the game, it makes sense, but it becomes frustrating when you’re not actually fatigued yourself yet. I know if I swing punches wildly around eventually I’ll tire, but it’s not in sync with when the game decides I’m tired. Being in VR obviously makes you feel like you’re there and that’s the idea. You’re now Adonis. So it becomes a weird conundrum to fight typical boxing game mechanics with your actual real-life stamina.
Moving around the ring is possible as you hold in both the PS Move face buttons and swing your arms to move, or star with them behind you to run backwards. However, it is very clunky and doesn't seem worthwhile doing in the ring, leaving you to stand in the middle of the ring at all times just trading punches and dodging on the spot, which I'm sure from an outside view would look odd.
One of the main reasons to learn to punch properly is the phantom glove system which can often lose you fights. Basically, the game wants to train you to only be extending your hand as far as your opponent is in the ring. When you punch out with a fully extended arm your glove will stop at their body and will stay there until you bring your arm back and collect it. It's not a system that is super in your face, but the game tries to subliminal train you to only be punching as far as necessary and if you're punching further you'll also be losing precious moments you could be blocking, or swinging again. So you do learn and it's one of the nifty things about VR, your brain will pick up on systems that you may not be aware of.
Creed: Rise To Glory has built a nice system and I hope either developer Survios builds on it in the future or gets a franchise like Fight Night to put the technology into. There, unfortunately, isn't that much to Creed, there is a bare minimum campaign, free-play vs unlocked fights (also a young Rocky and Adonis) and online that isn't likely to hold much retention as much as I'd like it too. But at its price point, it's well worth it and swinging back into the campaign on a higher difficulty as I have, it’ll not only keep you practising your punches for some time, but could be a workout for the foreseeable future. Just make sure you stretch before playing and have water at the ready. Don't get dehydrated kids!
Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus, PSVR (reviewed on a original PSVR and basic PS4)