It feels like we’ve seen a lot of VR boxing games. From Thrill of the Fight and Soundboxing to Knockout League and now an officially licensed Creed: Rise to Glory VR game in partnership with MGM Interactive, the Sweet Science is in and popping right now.
While I’ve never personally followed boxing as a sport very closely, I absolutely love boxing movies. All six of the mainline Rocky films, Creed, Southpaw, Cinderella Man, The Fighter, and tons of others are frequently counted among my all-time favorites. Naturally, when I heard Survios, the developers of one of the most physically demanding VR games around (Sprint Vector) were working on an official Creed boxing game, I was immediately interested.
In Creed: Rise to Glory you put on the gloves of none other than Adonis Creed (played by Michael B. Jordan in the film) and train directly under the legendary Rocky Balboa. When we first learned about Creed: Rise to Glory, Survios’ “Phantom Melee Technology” was a big part of it, which institutes a virtual stamina meter, among a slew of other clever mechanics.
At first it seems like artificial limitations on the action would hinder the immersion, but it actually makes it feel even more visceral and intense in a few different ways. For starters, when you get hit hard, in other VR games your character would react dramatically but you would physically have no reason to in the real world. What happens in Creed is that your character will reel back with his hands in the air, like he just got punched, and time freezes. You’ve then got to mirror his pose to regain control of the character, forcing you to feel the impact of the hit, or at least the after effect.
Another example is with your punch fatigue. If you tire Creed out too quickly, then your in-game hands will start to lag behind your real world hands to simulate that sluggish feeling of exhaustion. It’s almost like your character’s body won’t react and respond as quickly as your mind wants it to — just like in a real boxing ring.
One of the last touches to the system is when you get knocked down. Instead of looking up at the ceiling and having to complete an arbitrary mini game, your “phantom” gets knocked out of your body and sent flying across the arena. Then, you instead are forced to drum your hands as quickly as possible at your sides to run back to your body and repossess it before the time runs out. It sounds a bit silly, but in practice it pretty accurately replicates the panicked, “Oh crap!” feeling a boxer might feel when struggling to stand back up. It gets your heart rate going and, if you time it right, you can even carry that running momentum into a massive return punch as soon as you’re back on your feet.
Creed: Rise to Glory really reminded me of the Fight Night series not only in terms of its hybrid realism-meets-arcade presentation, but also in terms of some of the game mechanics as well. If you duck and weave at the exact right moment, then time actually slows down for a brief moment as your opponent is opened up for a vicious counter attack. I landed some of my most satisfying uppercuts and hooks this way.
You can’t stand there and rabbit punch in Creed, either, since the Phantom Melee physics system accurately tracks the force and speed of your punches. Prior to my fight, I got the chance to unload on some training dummies and that really helped sync my movements up before the fight.
Survios wasn’t ready to confirm official plans for multiplayer at this time, but did mention that the gameplay systems were built with that possibility in mind. It’s unclear how connected to the forthcoming Creed II the VR game will be, but you can probably expect some cross-promotional endeavors in a few months.
Creed: Rise to Glory is slated to release later this year around the same time as the upcoming Creed II.