While we appreciated VRFC’s goofy attempt at bringing five-a-side football to PlayStation VR, it never really felt like the right fit for virtual reality given the limitations of the technology thus far. American football – as Europeans will eagerly point out – makes much more sense given that, y’know, it’s mostly played with your hands. 2MD VR Football realises this, pitching you as an embattled quarterback with two minutes to save your team from crushing defeat.
Two-minute drills can be the most exciting part of any three-hour NFL match-up, and developer Truant Pixel’s title is on point. All of the standard rules apply, so working the sidelines and spiking the ball can help you to stop the clock. Otherwise you’ve got 120 seconds to make up some 80 yards, and you’re going to be calling the plays and throwing the ball to your receivers to move down field. You can also run the ball if you’re feeling like Cam Newton, but the controls aren't great.
The highlight here is the throwing system, which is the most realistic we’ve experienced in a PlayStation VR title to date. You snap the ball with the PlayStation Move’s trigger, and from there you just need to make natural throwing motions. Obviously none of us are Tom Brady so it fudges your arm strength slightly to help you make those ridiculous Hail Marys, but it feels so accurate that you can rarely ever blame the game for a throw going awry.
A locker room screen allows you to create up to eight different plays, which are assigned to different face buttons in game. You can manually draw the routes of your receivers, or stick to the default playbook if you don’t want to delve too deep. You can also personalise the colour and livery of your team, which is a nice touch. Our only gripe with the customisation options is that it requires you to reach quite low to interact with the in-game whiteboard, which depending on your setup means you may end up out of view of the PlayStation Camera.
None of this matters when you’re out on the field, though. Voice recognition means that you can audible to your teammates, and we found this feature to be flawless – albeit slower than the simpler button pushes. Your objective is to successfully complete seven two-minute drills, with the difficulty increasing in each round. While you’ll get your throws off without too much hassle at first, later rounds will leave you in a collapsing pocket – and sacked if you’re not careful.
As you can probably imagine, picking the right plays and executing them is an incredibly addictive experience. Whether you’re looking long for some Odell Beckham Jr-esque theatrics, or simply going short to make some quick yards, it’s satisfying when a play comes together perfectly. It’s also rare that the game’s at fault for an incomplete pass or interception; you’ll usually to be blame for a bad throw or poor play call.
And this makes the replay factor quite high. Because you’re only ever working with two-minute drills, it’s quite easy to lose hours to the title as you move your way up the online leaderboards. Multiple fantasy stadiums add a little visual flair to proceedings, although the foosball-esque character models won’t be to everyone’s tastes; there are no arms in this game, so a reception simply means sticking the ball to the body of one of your receivers.
But it works fine for what the title’s trying to achieve – it’s not striving for Madden NFL-esque authenticity after all. This is perhaps best evidenced by the end-of-round bonus minigames, which see you tossing balls through hoops in order to earn extra points. It’s all about that aforementioned throwing mechanic, which really is spot on; you can even put a little spin on the ball by working your wrist as you release – it’s superb fun.
2MD VR Football works so well because it has the best throwing mechanic we’ve experienced with PlayStation VR to date. The game’s relatively simplistic, tasking you with executing a series of successful two-minute drills, but the ability to design your own playbook paired with the implementation of recognised NFL rules mean that there’s some strategy to this arcade affair. The art style’s not going to appeal to everyone and it’s unlikely to keep you occupied forever, but fans of American football are sure to have a blast doing their best Tom Brady impression in virtual reality.