Do we finally have a good American Football game in VR? YES WE DO!
Two of the biggest loves of my life are video gaming and football. During the NFL season, I'm hard to find on Sundays, because I'm soaking in the glory of all the football games going on throughout the day. Every other day of the week, I'm totally enveloped in my video gaming pursuits. With the arrival of Virtual Reality, of course I pondered how a football game might work in VR. My first taste was with VR Sports Challenge on the Oculus Rift. VR Sports Challenge by Sanzaru games, features a Football mini game, where you're placed in the shoes of the teams backup quarterback, trying to salvage the game for the old ballcoach. It's a very fun and enjoyable mini game, but it's resemblance to real football is modest at best. It's fun, but it's a bit too Arcade-like for a real football nut. Enter 2MD VR Football by Truant Pixel. It's not Madden 2018 in VR, but it's the closest we're going to get at the moment.
In fact, the game is very far away from being a legit football game, but none of that really matters, because for very brief seconds of time, I'M LIVING THE DREAM!
It may only last for a handful of seconds, but I can tell you that I felt some absolutely incredible joy while playing this entertaining take on football that Truant Pixel have brought to bear. I think it's the stadiums. Truant Pixel has done some amazing work, giving you the feel of being in a real football stadium. In fact, they have created 8 unique stadiums, that all have a very different feel and vibe. Honestly, I think it might be the best thing about the whole game. It's so colorful, and very much rekindling memories of Tecmo Bowl and John Madden Football from the early 90's. The game just feels alive, and fun.
You start out the game, getting a pep talk from your coach, and he instructs you on how you can use the locker room whiteboard to change the routes receivers run, or even make completely new plays. At first, I didn't really care about this part, and just wanted to get on the field, but after playing awhile, I now realize that making the plays is one of the best parts of the whole game. At first, I only had two WR's that ran routes. I was on the field, looking at this perfectly good running back standing right next to me. He always stayed in as a blocker. I thought to myself... "Wouldn't it be cool if I sent this RB on a little out and up route down the sideline?" Well, I was able to go to the playbook and actually make this play happen. It was so freaking easy to draw it up! I was in the game, and what do you know, the RB ran that perfect route, I floated the pass to him, he caught it and kept going to gain additional yards! I felt so good afterwards, because I drew the play up in my head, put it into the game, and executed it, and it all played out like a symphony. Ok, maybe I'm going a bit overboard here, but I can't begin to tell you how long I've waited to have the feeling of something like this taking place in the first person perspective, with the game completely enveloping me. It's funny, because the VR headsets that we have to wear, are not completely unlike a football helmet, with the field of view of a football helmet, so it all works so surprisingly well!
If nothing else, Truant Pixel has delivered on the notion of giving you that real feeling of being down on a field, as the quarterback, looking around at your offensive linemen. Looking at your WR's lined up. Looking at your RB's on your side. You hike the ball, and it just has this incredibly joyous feeling that probably only longtime Madden and Tecmo players could appreciate. We dreamed about a moment like this 30 years ago. Now, having heaped all this praise on the game so far, I have to caution readers into thinking they should buy this game absolutely immediately. I've barely scratched the surface of this game, and it's not really a complete football game. You don't play defense, you don't run the ball, you don't play other gamers. You basically get to play quarterback in a mini-game, and also throw a ball through hoops in a bonus round. 2MD VR Football does include a leaderboard. There really isn't that much to this game, in the grand scheme of things. Maybe my honeymoon period with the game will fade after a few more play sessions.
Still, I can't get over the fact that I was giggling and chuckling to myself, like a mad scientist, while playing this. I literally got goosebumps on my arms when I realized they made multiple stadiums. Hats off to Truant Pixel. I really hope this game sells like crazy, and these guys get a cash infusion, and can maybe hire a few more coders, and add even more to the game. This is the first glimpse of the dream of many football video game fans. This is the Future!