A Quest 2 code was provided to GamingPizza for this review. “NFL Pro Era 2” is available now on Meta Quest, Quest 2, Quest 3, and PC.
Imagine, if you will, my past weekend as a football fan … or, more specifically, as a Denver Broncos and Oregon Ducks fan. The Ducks lost a heartbreaker rivalry game against the Washington Huskies, and the Broncos are … well, they’re the Broncos. It’s easy to armchair quarterback for our favorite NFL teams, but things change when you’re actually the one lining up under center.
When it comes to virtual reality sports gaming, there has been a growing desire for immersive, realistic experiences that put players right in the heart of the action. NFL Pro Era 2 from StatusPRO, Inc., in partnership with the National Football League (NFL) and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), seeks to answer that call. As a virtual reality quarterback in this sequel to the original NFL Pro Era, you step under center, feel the weight of the game, and strive to prove your worth in the league.
Is it the same as playing real-life football? Of course not. But with its promise of realism and authenticity, it’s a game that delivers more than not on its lofty promise. From the start, you’re greeted with an impressive VR experience that captures every detail of professional football – from the pre-game pump-up music to the roar of the crowd.
Stepping onto the field
From the moment you put on your VR headset — in my case, my Quest 2 — and enter the world of NFL Pro Era 2, the game’s commitment to delivering an immersive experience becomes evident. Playing on the field in any of the NFL stadiums, particularly the one found within the Mile High City, is nothing short of astonishing. The attention to detail is commendable, and for someone like me, who has spent countless Sundays watching games, it feels legitimate.
However, it’s important to note that this realism extends beyond the visuals. There’s a deliberate slowness to the game, which might initially seem counterintuitive in the fast-paced world of VR gaming. Hiking the ball, the movement of route runners, and defensive reactions all exhibit this measured pace. Surprisingly, this choice works to the game’s advantage.
Things may be slower, but they don’t necessarily feel that way when the ball gets hiked — especially when you’re sacked by a pass rusher when a play takes too long to develop or your wide receivers are unable to get open.
In NFL Pro Era 2, when a play takes too long to develop or your receivers are covered, you can expect to get sacked, just like in real football. This sense of consequence for poor decisions or slow plays adds depth to the gameplay and forces you to think and act strategically. While some might find this slowness a bit frustrating initially, it ultimately pays off in making the gameplay experience feel more genuine.
Precision in throwing
One aspect of the game that deserves both praise and critique is the preciseness required for throwing passes. To successfully connect with your intended receiver, you need to be looking directly at them. While this might seem like a fair challenge, it’s important to note that the highlighted/intended receiver is determined more by the angle of the headset rather than dead-on eye tracking. This means that, at times, you might find yourself missing a throw not because of your skill as a quarterback but due to the limitations of your VR headset.
This issue highlights the fine line between the game’s mechanics and the technology it relies on. It’s not so much a flaw with the game itself, but rather a limitation of current VR technology. As technology advances, we can undoubtedly expect more precise experiences that allow for Patrick Mahomes-like no-look passes and other advanced maneuvers. For now, though, be prepared for some occasional frustration (or serendipitous luck) stemming from this aspect.
Staying hydrated on the sidelines
Virtual reality sickness is a common concern for many gamers when diving into VR experiences. Fortunately, NFL Pro Era 2 excels in this department. For those who may be more susceptible to VR sickness, the game does an impressive job of keeping it relatively at bay. This is no small feat, given the fast movements and abrupt changes in perspective that can occur during gameplay.
StatusPRO and team deserve credit for their attention to detail in ensuring a comfortable experience for players. It’s not totally absent, of course, but this feature opens up the game to a wider audience, as VR sickness can be a significant barrier to entry for many potential players. NFL Pro Era 2′‘s effective management of this issue is a testament to its commitment to providing a smooth and enjoyable VR football experience.
The ability to pick up and play a game for short bursts of time is also a highlight. Whether you’re looking to play an exhibition game or continue your career mode, with Quick Sim enabled, you can easily fit a session into your day in just 5-10 minutes.
This quick pick-up-and-play feature is a nod to the game’s accessibility. It respects the player’s time and provides an option for those moments when you just need a brief gaming break. It’s a valuable addition that enhances the overall experience, making the game suitable for both casual and dedicated players.