VRFC: Virtual Reality Football Club Review (PSVR)
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.
Cherry Pop Games the team that brought Sports Bar VR across a number of platforms, have released their second VR title in VRFC. Again sticking to the area of sports, but how does football work in VR?
Football (or Soccer for those across the pond) has made it’s way to VR, and to be honest it’s a bit of strange one really. Now, when I say football, I actually mean football. The game is not played from an angle looking over the pitch with control over your digital minions – this is all played out with you as the player, in first person. This concept may sound crazy but it works, however, you have to put some time into the game to get used to it.
Let’s start off by saying the game is really an online experience, there is not single player element apart from Training Drills and a Free-Play which is you and Goal Keepers. You can spend a lot of time in the Training Drills learning the controls, how to pass and how to shoot. But, even spending enough time with these drills to master them, it all changes as soon as you go online and have to work with another player. The Training Drills are really there to teach you the basics.
That basically leaves the multiplayer mode, and like Sports Bar VR the team want this to be a social space, not just a game lobby. At the moment the game is only available on Playstation VR, well until the 13th March when it will be available to both Vive and Oculus users – and the best thing about this is the game will be cross-platform. This in turn with improve the social aspect of the game, as users of different platforms will come together to kick a virtual air-filled pig sack around.
I know going online a playing with others as someone new to a game like this could be a deterrent to people, but so far the community has been really supportive in teaching others and not getting annoyed that the person hasn’t got the controls down yet (that person is me). Like I previously mentioned the training is good for introducing you the control scheme and game mechanics, but until you are on the field working with others, you wont realise how mentally and physically challenging the game can be. As you will need good team work and communications in the game in order to get the most out of the game.
Although the game is mainly focussed online this doesn’t mean you have to always play with strangers. If you have three other friends with the game it does offer a private lobby, which could come in as an advantage as you learn the controls and how to string together plays with others.
But, as aforementioned it is going to take some time to get the controls down, I have spent hours in the game now, and I am still lost with the controls, mess up passes and definitely shooting – even Phil Neville could laugh at my shots. This is where the kind community comes into play, they might try to teach you their shooting techniques and give you tips. Now, this might have been down to luck at the moment, that no insults have been thrown my way, other experiences may vary.
Since I keep mentioning the difficulty of the controls lets discuss them. It can be played in either a seated or standing position the option is yours, I preferred to play seated. It is also required to be played with two Playstation Move controllers, so no DualShock support for this game.
Each foot is represented by the corresponding Move controller, and your movement is controlled in similar fashion to Sprint Vector. You are going to be waving the controllers up and down in tandem to run, and believe me at first you will a bit confused that your feet are be controlled by your hands. In order to sprint you will need to hold down the triggers on the controllers, but as with game like FIFA, you have a stamina bar which will deplete as you sprint – meaning you are going to have to monitor this and use it at the right moments.
The rest of the actions are controlled by the face buttons on the controllers. In order to shoot you are going to have to hold down the trigger button for the foot you wish to shoot with, and then swing that controller at the ball – but watch the placement of the foot because this will control the direction and type of shot. This is also the same for passing, you will need to hold a button on the corresponding foots controller and swing the controller. The move buttons are used to strafe in the direction of the hand the controller is in, you will also have quick turn buttons. But, the most useful buttons are the snap to ball button and the dribble assist – which really is going to be your friend in the game.
As mentioned I have spent a few hours in the game and the controls still confuse me at times, but as you start to become more accustomed to them, you really will feel the pull of the game. So, don’t be put off with the steep learning curve at first or else you could be missing out on a great experience. A huge plus point about the whole experience I have yet to come across anyone that is totally comfortable with the control scheme, and you can have a real barrel of laughs watching people stand still strafing, completely miss hitting shots and passes – and in some cases missing the ball completely. I think this is why I have yet to be judged for my lack of control knowledge, because not one person can say they are a master of the control scheme.
Presentation wise the game is not a standout contender in this field. The player models of your team-mate and opponents are a little basic looking. You are playing in what looks like a local outdoor football pitch, with no on watching the game. With there being no crowd the only real noise you are getting is the sound of the ball being kicked, and some celebratory music when a goal scored. But, to be honest the game is all about the social aspect, so you don’t really want a lot backing noise interfering with the talk between you and your team-mate as you talk tactics and sound like you know what you are doing.
VRFC is a game that may vary between different people when it comes to longevity. It really comes down to how much you enjoy it, to how much you will get out of the game. If you really take to it, you will likely revisit the game and spend many of hours playing it. Then it could go the opposite, if you don’t really take to it, you might not revisit the game often or at all. So, it really is going to depend on the player.
VRFC really doesn’t offer a realistic simulation of football, but there is plenty of fun to be had with the title. Yes, the controls will be very fiddly at first, and to be honest I don’t think anyone will ever master them. But, that only adds to the charm of the title and opens the game for some hilarious moments, you really do just have to take the game as it comes. It also brings with it a community that always seems to be supportive, and the upcoming cross-platform play is only really going to grow the social space for the game.
Coming to HTC Vive and Oculus Rift on March 13th
Developer: Cherry Pop Games