Two warriors, twelve rounds. Muscles are aching and it’s harder and harder to breathe but forward they go. Scorecards are level and it’s all or nothing to take glory in the final round. It’s time to find out if you have the Eye of the Tiger in Big Rumble Boxing Creed Champions.
Big Rumble Boxing Creed Champions is the result of the second collaboration between developer Survios and MGM Studios around the Rocky franchise. If it looks familiar then it’s likely you’ve played the first joint venture turned out by the pair — Creed — on PlayStation VR, PC VR and most recently the Oculus Quest platform.
Big Rumble Boxing Creed Champions leaves behind the first person experience and takes on an arcade style approach. Unlike the independent limb control offered by more complex simulation-like offerings such as Fight Night Champions, Creed Champions instead opts for simplified control mechanics.
Offence is controlled with either a basic or power attack button; which can be combined into a variety of combos and further modified by directional inputs. To add to the strategy, combo attacks can be finished in a variety of manners including attacks designed to daze or push back opponents or to breach their defenses. The power attack also offers an armour style mechanic whilst you charge it so it can absorb certain types of attacks.
Defensively, players can block by holding the appropriate button but also slip past attacks by blocking at the very last second. Dodging is directional also and modified by the stick or d-pad allowing movement around your opponent to try to find that essential opening to punish a telegraphed attack or simply to just get out of the way.
Creed is quite cinematic and although the combos are fairly simple strings they do turn out some fairly exaggerated attacks to keep things interesting. Scoring hits on your opponent whether they are blocked or not fills a super meter which can be used for an over the top cinematic attack unique to each character. These can be blocked or dodged though trying to daze your opponent before deploying it is pretty smart; you’re also invincible during the attack start up so it can be used to drive through an opponent who is already committed to a big swing without danger of getting hit.
The licence at play here is spot on with all the expected characters from the movies making their own appearances starting at Rocky and working all the way through to the second Creed film. Not all the original actors have returned to provide their voice however but you do get some fairly decent replacement playing out the stories or providing quips and comments during the fights. The arcade story is slightly different for each character but rather than tell the story cinematically; it’s instead played out as a set of storyboards and text which given the license at play and the models already at hand seems a massive waste and was a little disappointing.
Between fights you get the opportunity to complete your own training montage complete with music from the franchise including the aforementioned Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. These vary between running, hitting the heavy bag or punching some frozen beef after the scene from the original Rocky. Unfortunately they do very little other than fill the gaps but they do get the reflexes going.
Building on the Creed VR games, many of the new characters introduced in VR make an appearance and look just as solid, as if they have been pulled directly from that game. In fact, other than the camera angle you would be forgiven for thinking the only thing that’s changed here is the implementation of a controller.
And that might be the main problem with Big Rumble Boxing Creed Champions; the controller. Creed felt great given all the fights and mini games you attempt to prepare for the main event are fully realised and completed by your own movements. Turning those activities into button presses takes the excitement and immersion away completely, it just turns into controller mashing. The combat system should be the main draw but after getting through the basics it doesn’t offer any real depth for those looking more and finally it’s also a bit disappointing that there’s no online curses mode at all.
With all the ground work in place it will probably feel to most that Big Rumble Boxing Creed Champions could be more. If you go into it with the right level of expectation; players will find an arcade fighter, great use of a licence and some fun (if not long lasting) one on one competition.