VRFC: Virtual Reality Football Club Released 6th March 2018 by Cherry Pop. The game sets the standard of bringing football to our virtual reality systems. Cherry Pop have done a great job adapting the beautiful game that people around the world love so much to virtual reality hardware. Cherry Pop are an independent development studio that have specialized in immersive and sociable gaming. Their goal as a developer is to create memorable moments within games, as with any gaming developer, really. VRFC brings to life the players, teams, atmosphere and a real feel of five aside, with Sunday League Football.
The aim of the game is to show independent skill whilst working with a team of online players to win your match. VRFC is cross platform between PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, so you are not limited to only playing with and against people using the same system. Along the way of building your football career, you may find yourself making some friends, and maybe even some rivals, with how actively sociable the game is. There is currently no single-player gameplay, although Cherry Pop have confirmed that this will be added later. There is an option to play offline to hone your skills with practice in a range of solo training challenges so that you can become a real contender and head your way up the leaderboards. You will also need PlayStation Plus to be able to play online. The tutorial takes you through the movements step by step so that you officially know how to do everything, but when you are on the pitch, it’s a completely different thing. Everybody will be running around like lunatics and hoping for the best, apart from the serious players, that is. Everything you learn during your tutorial pretty much goes out the window until you have practiced it for a while. It is pretty much just like Mortal Kombat or any other one-on-one fighting game. You memorise what buttons to push and in what order to do your special moves, but when it comes down to it, you can’t remember it for the life of you. Except with VRFC you can’t really pause the game to remember what you need to press or what you need to do. This results in a bit of a learning curve whilst you become better at the movements. It is very fast paced as you compete for possession of the ball, work within your team with passing the ball to your teammates and knowing when to do so. You have to be a bit of a team player to get anywhere and especially to win.
My personal perspective of the game, being of the fairer sex that is, is that it is really fun, engaging and a great way to meet other gamers. It is not a game that I would take too seriously, especially because I see it as more of a social space than a game that I need to get really good at and work hard to beat the competition. I just kind of ran around mindlessly, and whenever I got the ball, I just tried to focus on getting rid of it. I have found that the great thing about VRFC is that you don’t have to take it too seriously. The people that play this game don’t mind if you are just there to enjoy it and to have a bit of fun, which is very endearing. I think that this is a great stepping stone on the way to creating the next generation of football gaming as everything feels like it is heading in the way of virtual reality.
The biggest problem with VRFC is that you are not able to use a normal PlayStation 4 controller to play. You need to have the two PlayStation VR controller sticks to be able to play the game, and it will not allow you to proceed from the first screen of the game without them. Personally, I do not enjoy using the PlayStation VR controller sticks and prefer to use the standard PlayStation 4 controller, so this was a bit frustrating. Using the controller sticks can make it very difficult to score because the movement is not fluid and it takes a considerable amount of skill and practice. With the movement being controlled using the controller sticks, you need swing the sticks back and forth to run and use the buttons on the sticks to kick the ball. With constant movement needed, the game can be quite exhausting. The virtual reality headset is tracked for movement and for control over the direction that you are running in, but this can sometimes fail to work, and the game does not allow you to do certain movements, for example, a simple header. There are also no instructions upon set up that tells you what you need to be able to play as it took me a while to understand that I could not use the standard PlayStation 4 controller. When the game first starts up, the sound is extremely loud, so make sure that you turn the volume down using the buttons in the middle of the VR cable. I can safely say that if a professional footballer played VRFC, they would not feel like a professional. The movement is rigid, there is no accuracy and I think the only thing I have mastered from playing this game is running around the pitch. There can be an issue with a lack of a community for VRFC. The game fills with AI when there aren’t any other online players, but for an online game, it seemed there weren’t many people to play with. If the game was updated with a fix for the controls and movement, the game would receive a better reception, would grow in popularity and would receive a higher score for playability.
For the world’s first virtual reality football club game, the graphics are great. Running around on the pitch runs smoothly. You can really see what Cherry Pop was trying to bring together with it, and it takes a bit of a focus off virtual reality being all about the fear through horror games and such. The way virtual reality made its entrance has made it feel like the biggest and most popular games have all been about the scary aspect. People like the idea of virtual reality for the adrenaline rush, and when people talk about virtual reality, they never fail to mention the scariest games that have terrified them. VRFC brings a lighthearted and fun feel to virtual reality gaming but also without the seriousness, which we have only really found before in mini-games. Hopefully, this will only bring improvements on lighthearted games for virtual reality and will be the stepping stone for more games like VRFC that will revolutionize sporting games.
Developer: Cherry Pop Games
Publisher: Cherry Pop Games
Platform: PSVR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift
Release Date: 13th March 2018