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Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions Goes The Distance On XSX

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions Splash Screen
Courtesy of Survios

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions

Developer: Survios
Publisher: Survios
Release Date: September 3, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

Let's Get Ready To [Big] Rumble [Boxing]!

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions was one of the few games I was looking forward to trying out despite not having much of an interest in the Rocky universe, nor have I seen a Rocky movie since childhood. First announced last year with a date announcement trailer during E3 earlier this year, Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is an arcade-style boxing game, which in itself is a rarity as there’s literally no game in the market that fulfills these criteria. 

In the late 90s into the 2000s, pioneered by Midway’s Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, the “3D arcade-style boxing” genre combined elements of a traditional boxing match. There were 10 counts, emphasis on blocking, stamina management, and health management among others. What made the game “arcade” heavy were its over-the-top characters and easy to learn hard to master gameplay, with added star power for the sequel birthing an entire era of like-minded games including Black & Bruised

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions Gameplay #1
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions - Xbox Series X Direct Capture

Big Rumble Boxing Is A VR Company's Change In Weight Class

With Wii’s Punch-Out!! banking on the nostalgia of the 1980s classic and Ready 2 Rumble Revolution being a shadow of the series' former self thanks to its new developers and publishers, the genre had laid dormant for over a decade. That is until VR developer Survios decided to use the Creed license that they acquired to fill that vacant gap, already having experience in developing a boxing game with Creed: Rise to Glory.

While one is a first-person VR boxing game almost to the likes of the earlier mentioned Punch-Out!!, Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions served as the company’s first non-VR game with traditional fighting game elements. Can this fighting game go the distance or is it a first-round TKO?

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions Gameplay #2
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions - Xbox Series X Direct Capture

"Yo Adrian (?)"

Honestly, for safety reasons as the intro had some rap involved, I turned the music off so as to spare myself from a copyright strike. A personal opinion but even without music, the game feels like it has some sort of identity with familiar characters having their conflicts referenced in-game with other fighters. Each character has their personalities shine in non-verbal dialogue. At least, I could hear Sly Stalone’s voice as I read Rocky’s dialogue for example.

I can’t say the same for the actual vocal talent as the guy who voiced Rocky is nowhere near Sly but “Generic Philly Accent Who Dons His Best ‘Sly’ Impression.” That’s the deal with all of the fighters in Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions, including every fighter sounding the same with their battle grunts. It’s not a big deal as it’s all about the gameplay in the end, correct?

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions Tutorial Mode
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions - Xbox Series X Direct Capture

Classic Arcade Boxing With A Modern Fighter's Twist

The gameplay is a blend of “easy to pick up” with a dash of “hidden depths” that bears some resemblance to a competitive fighting game. On the surface, players can get by with its simplistic controls, as the X is used for light attacks and the Y is for heavy attacks. A is used to dodge, with directional inputs determining the direction of the dodge, B is to grapple, LB/LT is used to do super attacks, and RB/RT is used to block attacks.

If an opponent is being overly defensive while blocking, the player can chip away at their guard gauge until they guard crush them, leaving them open for attacks. Likewise, opponents can be grabbed out of slow-moving attacks and guards. As the player deals enough damage while suffering damage, they can unleash their super meter for a fairly strong yet invincible attack, however, the super can be dodged and outright countered if timed well. 

Mini-game arcade mode
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions - Xbox Series X Direct Capture

Fighting Is More In-Depth Than On The Surface

The hidden depths come from move properties as certain strings deal more guard damage while others have armored moves, absorbing attacks during active frames. Certain characters are strong in aspects, like Adonis being a speedster who can evade attacks and open opponents with his fluid movement. Rocky on the other hand is more of a powerhouse, moving slowly with age yet with haymakers that can destroy bars if left unchecked. There are established character archetypes and even a decent training mode, allowing the players to set up situations tailor suited for actual fights.

Big Rumble Boxing Ends In A "No Decision" Ruling

At the end of it all, most fights can be won by simply mashing and paying attention to how the CPU moves. An overly offensive opponent can be countered once the player finds holes in their offense, likewise, an evasive opponent can be countered with a well-timed parry. It’s trial and error, and at times the gameplay is fun, but strip all the flashiness away and it’s a barebones arcade fighter. These types of games carry their merit when playing against human opponents, as you and your competitor can have more fun playing in real-time than against the AI. 

Rocky Balboa move list
Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions - Xbox Series X Direct Capture

Fighters can be unlocked as well as new costumes, but once everything is unlocked, unless you have a player to fight against, there’s not much else to do. Overall, first impressions left me impressed with the presentation of Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions. However, I was unable to take advantage of the mechanics Creed Champions offered.

In later levels, the AI punished me if I did nothing but the bare minimum strategy to win matches. I had to play by their rules rather than the rules of the game. Unfortunately, games like these usually are unable to find a player base which is a shame as despite its deceptively simple gameplay, underneath there’s a fun arcade brawler.

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is now available on the PC, Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

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