When 2MD VR Football first came out on PCVR several years ago, it was not a game that instantly grabbed my attention. This is mainly because I'd never understood the big attraction for American Football, as being from England, I'd always considered anything with 'football' in the name, to be a game that should be played with the feet, and not the hands, so I found the whole concept of picking up the ball and running quite bizarre, and therefore the game had always remained completely alien to me. Up until now that is, when I saw that the VR game 2MD had been ported over to the Oculus Quest and was picking up great reviews, and I therefore decided to give it a go.
Now I know it's in Virtual Reality, and I don't know how close it is to the real deal, but from what I have played so far I can tell you that the old soccer snob in me has had to relent quite a bit, put his hands up in the air and admit that the game (of American Football) is actually extremely fun, and very addictive, and I am beginning to see after all these years just why all those people across the pond (and indeed a lot of people around the rest of the world) get so passionate about 'the game' as they call it. For what I used to see as just an army of beefcakes in tight pants and helmets running around a huge pitch with no real skill involved at all, just brawn and bravery, I now see in a whole different light, and it's all down to the time I have spent playing 2MD VR Football, which is currently about 3 hours.
I have even now found myself searching Youtube for 'American Football for beginners' and 'American Football rules' and so on, trying to learn more about the game so that I can understand it more and therefore ultimately get more enjoyment out of watching a proper game myself, instead of just bits and pieces as I've been channel surfing in the past. Whether it is just a fad, only time will tell, but for now I am going to enjoy my little foray into the world of American Football,Â even if it doesn't go much further than enjoying it in VR, which is something I have definitely been doing with the truly excellent 2MD VR Football.
The graphics won't win any awards, but they do an excellent job nonetheless, and although fairly simple, they are still a good notch or two up from what I would call low-poly, as they have really nice textures on the balls, realistic looking helmets, and plenty of shine and polish throughout the game. Yes, the players on the field are represented by dummies that are basically a torso and head, with no arms or legs to speak of, but again, those dummies do a fine job of creating an immersive experience on the field, chasing the ball down, defending, and running (or rather hopping/jumping) their way towards the endzone, where a touchdown is scored. You'll soon be rooting for your man as he catches the ball from one of your exquisite throws and breaks free of the pack to run up the park and score your first touchdown, it really is quite exhilarating and your teammates become more human from the very first throw of the ball. Having said that, the development team at Truant Pixel have been experimenting with more realism in the player department and have released a sort of proof of concept video showing realistic players in a clip that lasts around just 8 seconds, but it is a jaw dropper and if that is what the future holds for sports games in VR then count me in, as it truly does look awesome and really took my breath away when I first watched it. I'll post a link at the foot of this review so you can check it out yourselves.
The sound effects and music are all on point too, especially the American sounding commentator who announces the different rounds of the game, and keeps you informed of state of play throughout the match, really adding to the excitement and immersion along with the crowd who roar and cheer and boo depending on what is happening at each moment of the game. There are also plenty of realistic player sounds and ball sounds that all help combine to make it the thrilling and immersive experience that it is.
All the different elements of gameplay combine to make it an extremely fun and entertaining game, from the way you can plan your formations on the whiteboard, where you can also position your players and draw lines for them to follow on the pitch, to the way you get bonus rounds at the end of each successful play, allowing you to maximise your score and push yourself up the global leader board before moving on to the next team and stadium. There are currently a total of 8 stadiums to play in I believe, and 8 different customizable teams to choose from.
The main gameplay is all about throwing however, and this is where the game really shines, as once you have got used to it, the throwing physics feel spot-on, and you soon find yourself throwing the perfectly weighted ball down the field for your teammates to catch, and it is a great feeling when they do, especially if they manage to then run with the ball and score a touchdown, it is just an incredible feeling and makes you feel like a sporting hero and a vital part of the team.
Movement is done with the trackpad, but I find I don't really use it much, perhaps just for a few sidesteps before I launch the ball down the field but that is about all. I have yet to try running up the field with the ball, but I'm fairly certain that it can be done, but currently I am having too much fun throwing from the back, which I think is the main purpose of the game anyway, and is certainly the most enjoyable element and one that never gets boring.
The game is currently around Â£10, which is about the right price for the amount of content, however, considering just how awesome the gameplay is, and then figure in the fact that the game has achievements to unlock and leaderboards to conquer, it could turn out to be one of the best tenner's I've ever spent.
This game was my introduction to American Football, and I couldn't have asked for a better one. It is fun, clever, and a real joy to play. Highly Recommended.