I bought 2MD VR Football for the PSVR back when it launched for less than $12. At this point, I have played it so much that I legit feel as if I stole from the good people at developer Truant Pixel. I paid them back for this thievery by constantly pestering them on Twitter begging for a Quest version so I could take my American football fix outside and really run some plays. To shut me up, they allowed me access to an early version of the game, rebranded for the Quest as 2MD VR Football Unleashed, which I have since played nonstop. After throwing enough slants, digs, curls, wheel routes, and deep bombs to create a serious case of elbow tendonitis, I’m here to give everyone my thoughts and explain if this new version of the only real VR Football game is worth your hard-earned Benjamins.
First of all, I have to admit that this is a stripped-down version of American Football. There are no kickoffs, no field goals, and you won’t play any defense. Instead, you’ll play as the quarterback of your team during the last two minutes of the game. You’re down by six points, and you’ll need to drive 80 yards to score a touchdown to win the game. Hence the name 2MD, or two-minute drill. You start the game inside the locker room in front of a grease board showing the diagram of a play. From here you can pick your team name, logo, colors, music, and even design your own plays. That’s right, if you’re feeling frisky, you can erase all eight plays and draw up 8 new ones from scratch. This is a blast and will be completely necessary to compete at the highest level. This offers a legitimate strategy that I just wasn’t expecting from my first impression.
There is a Practice Field mode and the actual football game which amounts to a seven-round tournament. I recommend heading first to the practice field to master the throwing mechanic that the whole game revolves around. At the practice field, you’ll spot a bucket of balls and a bunch of targets scattered around the field. Grab a ball and throw it using a natural motion. At the end of this motion you will release the ball by releasing the trigger button on whichever hand you’re using to throw. Finally, there is a slider adjustment for both throwing power and the height at which the ball comes out of your hand. Both of these adjustments will vary greatly by both your playstyle and your personal throwing motion. This practice mode looks and plays mostly the same as the original PSVR version with one exception: they’ve added a new set of targets behind you. If you turn around, (no wires!) you can throw to stationary targets at every level of the field. This addition makes practicing throwing deep down the sideline much easier, which is good, cause that is a skill you’ll need if you want to claim that championship trophy.
Once you feel you have the throwing motion down, head back to the locker room and start the tournament. Playing 2MD VR Football is simple. You call the play by pushing the directional pad corresponding to the play you want, then snapping the ball with the trigger. Now, you simply scan the field and throw the ball to the open receiver. But as they say in real football, the defense collects a paycheck too, and they practice just as hard as the offense, so you’ll need to be both accurate and smart if you want to win. In the early rounds, there is probably someone open on every play, regardless of the play design. However, the difficulty ratchets up quickly forcing you to become both a very accurate quarterback and a clever offensive coordinator. For levels five, six, and seven you find yourself down 2 scores, so now you have only 2 minutes to score two touchdowns. But what really increases the difficulty is the AI of the defense. This is probably the most impressive part of the game for me. The defense changes the way they play from snap to snap without tipping it off before the play begins. On one play they may double up my primary route over the middle forcing me to scramble out of the pocket or throw the ball deep. Sometimes the cornerbacks will play loose coverage and let my outside receivers get loose, and sometimes they play bump and run all the way down the field forcing me to look to my second and third option. Sometimes, nobody is open and you’ll need to do what the pros do: throw the receiver open. In other words, if the player you’re targeting down the field has a defender in his hip pocket, you can throw the ball a little short, or to his other shoulder. If you’re deadly accurate, your guy will return to the ball, or box out the defender like a basketball player going for a rebound. It’s not easy, but it feels great when you pull it off. Believe it or not, you can also look off defenders to buy yourself those precious few inches of separation. I had to send an email to the developers to confirm this and it’s true. The defenders will focus where you are looking, so just as in the real game, if you stare down your receivers, the defense will get a jump on the ball. So look off those safeties and linebackers, friends, if you want to smell the endzone.
It features an arcade-like design and art style that may turn off some players, but it looks great on the Quest. And when I say it looks like an arcade game, I mean the players are actual tackling dummies. That may sound crazy in a world where Madden has been getting more photorealistic with each year, but in VR, when the pocket is collapsing around you and the clock is ticking down, the definition of realistic football may be changing.
Before I get to the small list of negatives, I’d like to explain the biggest reason to throw down some more money on this game if you’ve already purchased it on PCVR or PSVR. Being wireless and no longer needing to face the camera changes EVERYTHING here. Before, you took every snap from the shotgun position. Meaning the quarterback is lined up several yards behind the line. You’d receive the snap, stand in the pocket, and fire the ball. You could roll out using buttons, but I played this for hours and platinumed the PSVR version playing 90% of the game standing Tom Bradyesque in the pocket like a statue. But with the Quest, room permitting, you can walk up to the line of the scrimmage and actually do a five or seven-step drop. That may sound inconsequential to non-football fans, but physically acting out a play-action pass, with your back to the defense, has to be the most realistic moment in VR sports. It sure was for me. In theory, you could probably do your own Lamar Jackson impersonation if you had enough room and turned off the boundary, but that sounds like a good way to break an ankle, your neck, or even worse, your Quest. Despite the risk, I was hoping to test this out before this review, but I wasn’t able to locate a safe place to try it with proper lighting. I did play in my backyard on a cloudy day and was able to roll out to my right and recreate The Catch. For this reason alone, I got my money’s worth with this game.
It isn’t perfect, however. I noticed it did lose the tracking of my throwing hand more than it did on the PSVR version. It felt like this happened a lot if I moved my arm too fast or moved it too far behind my head. Another difference that feels like a negative now but may actually be positive later is that it feels like the throwing accuracy is more sensitive. On the PSVR version, to throw the deep ball, you needed to use an exaggerated throwing motion that was unnatural and not very immersive. On this version, I can throw the long ball with a much more natural motion. In fact, now I can throw it 60 yards with a high arc giving my receiver time to run underneath it, or I can toss a fifty-yard laser without breaking a sweat. On the flip side, the intermediate throws over the middle or underneath don’t seem to be as consistent as they were on the PSVR. Sometimes they would sail on me, and other times I’d inadvertently spike the ball off the dirt practically at my feet. It is possible (nay, probable) that this is just me misfiring because I’m not used to the increased sensitivity to the accuracy or I’m just not good enough. Either way, it has been a source of frustration.
As well as 2MD VR Football Unleashed works, and as much fun as it is, it seems inevitable that we won’t someday soon see a Quarterback centric game mode from the likes of Madden. Even if it’s just a practice mode, or a 7 on 7. I think it would be popular and might even move a few headsets to throngs of gamers who still play Madden each and every year. But until then, every VR-owning football fan should scratch up $15 and buy this game.
2MD VR Football Unleashed Oculus Quest Review
Overall - Must Buy - 9/10
2MD VR Football Unleashed is the definitive way to play the game and is the best VR football game on the planet. If you’re a football fan, this is the easiest recommendation I’ve ever made. And even if you’re not a fan of American football, at this price point, you’ll probably enjoy the simple act of tossing the pigskin around the field.
- realistic throwing mechanic makes the game a blast
- creating your own plays and manipulating the defense offers amazing strategy potential
- Defensive AI keeps each play fresh and exciting
- The wireless nature adds more potential realism
- Cross-buy with the Rift
- Motion controllers did lose tracking from time to time
- Throwing accuracy not as consistent as on previous versions
- Ball trajectory was sporadically off when rolling out or throwing on the move
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using Oculus Quest
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Also available on:
Oculus Rift/Rift S (Cross-Buy)
January 10th, 2020