Analysis of Les Miles Body Combat VR for PS VR2
With the launch of PS VR2 for PS5 just over a month ago, more than thirty games landed, from exclusives like Horizon Call of the Mountain to free game updates like Gran Turismo 7 or Resident Evil Village, as well as numerous ports of games available on other VR headsets and platforms.
One of those games has the honor of being, moreover, the first fitness app for PS VR2which comes from the Odders Lab studio in Seville and, in addition, has very good ratings in other viewers, such as Meta Quest 2. Also, unlike other VR fitness apps, it does not opt for a monthly subscription model.
Therefore, in the analysis of Les Mills Bodycombat VR for PS VR2 We are going to tell you how this type of sports experience adapts to the console and whether or not it is worth it. Ready?
Les Mills Bodycombat VR gameplay on PS VR2, the first fitness app for the PS5 headset
For those who don’t know, Les Mills Bodycombat is a cardiovascular training program based on different combat sports and martial arts.such as boxing or karate among other contact disciplines.
It is possible to find classes of the different disciplines of Les Mills in practically gyms all over the world, and since the pandemic, also in virtual reality, which is exactly what concerns us here.
In no case is there sparring or physical contact, and the blows in chains to the rhythm of the musicimpacting on different types of “target” that move towards us as in many virtual reality music games.
The mechanics is very simple: after entering our weight, height and age, the tutorial explains the bases, what the exercises consist of and what awaits us in each test: boxing punches (jabs, crosses, hooks…), dodging walls and obstacles by leaning our body to one side or the other or bending over with squats, punches downwards, with the edge of the hand…
The novelty is that also knee strikes are included, although they can be “falsified”. These blows are like the “sustained” notes of musical games, in which we take one of these special targets, and we must throw it against our knee at a specific moment (it goes without saying that it is not necessary to raise the knee, although then you will not be performing the exercise).
To put it in some way, if you have played titles like Beat Saber and the like, you can get an idea of what awaits you here in terms of mechanics, because when it comes to playing it is “similar”, saving the distances.
The purple notes are for the left hand, the yellow ones for the right, and depending on their shape and orientation, we must hit them one way or another. In the first 5 minutes you will already have learned how to play Les Mills Bodycombat VR.
The difference with other musical games is that here we must “hit” the airit is not enough to put your hand on the note, and the software determines if you have done it with more or less force, which directly affects our final score and the haptic feedback of the PS VR2 Sense controllers.
Of course, the game comes with a disclaimer in case you perform the movements wrong and injure yourself or hit something while playing: you must have a 2 x 2 meter area to play Les Mills Bodycombat VR safelyAlthough we have also tried to play in a smaller space and we have not had a problem.
When it comes to potential injuries, Les Mills Bodycombat does one thing pretty well, and that is the instructors teach you how to perform the exercise correctly before you start it, that is, how each hit is performed. And they are the ones who execute it in front of you so you can see it.
If you then “freak out”, you stretch your extremities excessively when hitting the air with force (something not highly recommended repeatedly and especially intensely), it is the player’s problem, not the game’s.
In the same way, Les Mills Bodycombat VR includes about 50 training sessions, of variable durations between 5 and 20 minutes on average.in case you want to start softly, combine different sessions to do longer training sessions… That’s where the player chooses the pace.
There are sessions of easy rhythm to warm up, other cardio to burst, entries in crushing a certain part of the body… They are varied and fulfill their purpose, and according to the developer, more will arrive in the form of free updates. In addition, at the end of each session you can indicate how you have been (if it has been smooth, you are destroyed, etc.).
Best of all is that, at the beginning of a session, “other players will join us” to bite us to see who gets the best score. The truth is that it is not multiplayer or anything like that, and it seems that it takes the data from the ghosts of other players so that we get bitten. And it does its job, really.
Overall, it’s a tried and tested formula that It works wonderfully thanks to PS VR2, positioning, smoothness… the sensations are superior to what the Meta Quest 2 version offerswithout the graphics being an incredible leap forward (it has different background settings, such as a Japanese dojo or a spaceship).
And so we come to one of the key questions that many of you will be asking: Is the PS VR2 cable annoying to play in a sports game? In my personal experience it has not been.
I have played with the console in front of me and positioning the cable so that it fell across my chest, and in this way I have not gotten tangled with it at any time during any session. In that sense, you can rest easy.
Despite the general quality of the first fitness proposal for PS VR2, there are things that have not fully convinced me. The first is that Les Mills Bodycombat VR arrives with the voices in English, and without subtitles in the tutorials. And it is something “serious”, since the explanation of the shots and routines is not done in our language, and if you do not speak English, you can miss details.
The basic interface options are translated (such as the level of intensity of the training, also indicated graphically with a flame and up to three dots), although not the name of the sessions, which only appears in menu images and are untranslated , such as the explanation of the session, which is in “spanglish”, some parts in English, others in Spanish. It’s a strange thing.
Continuing with the voices in English, I am one of those who hate chatty trainers: it’s totally subjective and it motivates many people, but it makes me reject… and here they don’t stop talking while you’re doing the exercises. But not for a second.
It may not be a negative thing for many players, but it does not hurt to point it out, because it literally the trainers do not shut up even under water. At least they’re in sync with what’s on the screen, congratulating you after a good series of hits without a miss and the like.
More kick exercises are also missing: not having sensors for the legs is understandable, but it is one of the parts that is also worked on in Bodycombat, and here it is practically missing.
Lastly, all the options related to motivating and tracking our progress/goals feel a bit “in diapers”. The definition of the latter is too simple, nor does it have a medal system (for example, by being first in a training session), which encourages you to continue stinging. Missing “the carrot” that makes us keep giving it.
But even with those shortcomings, Les Mills Bodycombat VR is an interesting addition to the growing catalog of PS VR2, and a “rare bird” among so many adventure and action and shooting games, like the recent The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR, released last week. It remains to be seen the rate at which it will update and add new sessions and content.
But if you take it as a complement to the game pure and simple, a proposal to resort to regularly to get some exercise between games, Les Mills Bodycombat VR more than fulfills its mission, and opens the door to a use until now unexplored in PS VR2.