VRFC, of Virtual Reality Football Club, is CherryPop Games’ new VR title after their earlier success with Sports Bar VR. This time, they’re tackling the world of football (the FIFA/PES kind) on Steam and Playstation VR – we played with the latter.
I’ll readily admit that when virtual reality arrived the only way I could see football working out on the platform was by having you play a game while watching from the stands or sidelines. Of course, I was quickly proven wrong by Headmaster, which provided a great take on at least on thin slice of the game. When VRFC was announced, I was excited – but I didn’t get the game I was anticipating (which I want to point out doesn’t mean it’s bad).
Being so used to Pro Evolution Soccer and FIFA (I even played the very first isometric ones, and Kick Off and Sensible Soccer before that), I was fully anticipating VRFC to play out like that but from a first person perspective. In other words, dribbling, passing and shooting using a regular gamepad controller but with the freedom to look around and see who’s open, if the goalie’s perhaps too far away from his goal line, etc. People who’ve played football themselves no doubt get what I’m saying – diving the play like a regular Iniesta without breaking a sweat.
Alas… VRFC takes a much more active approach to the concept, and you’ll be moving around the pitch using arm movements not too different from those in Sprint Vector to move forward. If you have that game (and you should), you’re on your way. A key difference, however, is that your arms aren’t actually controlling your in-game arms this way – they’re actually controlling your feet and you’ll use similar motion controls to kick the ball.
Having played (the real life version) for many years this took quite some time for me to get used to since the controls aren’t as intuitive when you first play. Luckily, the game comes with plenty of training/test scenarios to help you slowly become comfortable with its controls. Once you score your first goals, you’ll feel like a world champion already.
Actual gameplay isn’t your traditional 11 versus 11 game either, but rather a five a side game which makes it feel somewhat similar to an indoor football game (think FIFA Street if you’ve never even heard of indoor football). It’s also (currently) exclusively an online multiplayer affair, which I found to be a shame. As with many multiplayer games a fun session can be ruined by players who just don’t want to play nice – or don’t have the skills needed, which is understandable since VRFC has quite the learning curve. For every fun game I played, there was probably another one that didn’t quite work out because people either didn’t play well together or didn’t play well at all.
It’s no doubt something that’ll get better as the player base evolves and people start playing with regular teammates, but a lack of single player options might cause players to lose interest before too long – which is a shame because VRFC is potentially a really fun way to play football in VR. Luckily, CherryPop has a great reputation for adding post-release content so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw news on this front soon.
Until then, I’ll keep honing my skills, I’ll keep engaging in the occasional online match hoping to create plays and score goals. That never gets old, and VRFC gets that exactly right. Once its gameplay modes grow in numbers, so will my enjoyment.