The beautiful game in VR, I must admit I didn’t think it was possible. But once I donned the headset I soon realized that it’s not. The Finger Guns Review;
Developers Cherry Pop Games who brought you the entertaining Sports Bar VR are back with a new sports game. I must doff my cap to the developers for even trying to translate football to a machine that uses your hands to replicate your feet. When bringing a game like football to VR the most important aspect you’ll need to get right is the controls. Football is a fast-paced game filled with quick movements. Something that’s simply not possible in VR. So how have Cherry Pop gotten around this problem?
Well, to move your player you need to be holding both PS Move controllers. Then shake them up and down, as if you were running on the spot to jog forwards. If you hold the trigger button down, while doing this motion, you’ll start sprinting. Surprisingly, it does feels quite natural, But, turning is something that is a bit more of an issue. There are two methods of turning. Apparently, you can tilt the Move controllers left or right to do a smooth turn. I say ‘apparently’ because no matter what I did, tilt, twist, swing, left or right, I just didn’t turn. I even changed my room around to give me more space to make sure it wasn’t the camera playing its usual tricks in my small space. But nope, nothing happened. I soon had to give up on that and was simply left with the quick turn option, something most VR gamers will be familiar with. A quick tap of a button will turn you 90 degrees which works perfectly fine. There is also a strafe movement which is carried out by holding both Move buttons down and performing the ‘running’ motion with the two controllers.
That’s the basics of movement. Of course, this being football you have a ball to control too. Although Cherry Pop has made an admiral attempt at ball physics and control, it is as awful as you are probably imagining. Thankfully there is a dribble assist option which keeps the ball near your feet. Here you can run around and take shots without having to worry about chasing the ball you’ve accidentally kicked, or not have to worry about running past the ball entirely and then having to work really hard to turn around and line up with the ball again.. It’s just to darn fiddly to be fun, and with all the quick movements, and turns, you’ll end up with a headache or VR sickness. Shooting doesn’t fare much better. It’s simply a case of swinging your move controller in the rough direction you want to shoot. it’s not entirely accurate, with the most gentle of swings translating into the biggest toe punt.
All this movement has been given a fancy pants name – Agile Locomotion. But there is no stopping the nausea/disorientation side-effects. When you do start running the sides of the screen dim in colour similar to Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight. This does reduce the nausea you feel when running, but its when you stop, or strafe, or have to do quick movements that you start feel disorientated, sometimes even dizzy. However, if you’re one of those people with a cast iron stomach and fear nothing that VR throws at you then there is a wealth of options available to customize the controls to your liking so you may find a combination that works for you.
One great aspect is that VRFC is very social. Cherry Pop has done the social thing quite well with Sports Bar VR and with VRFC they have developed this idea further. So far in fact that there is only an online mode (single player coming apparently). It’s best to get practicing using the tutorial or free play modes because you know there are going to be lots of people online that will be practicing hard and inevitably will leave you with a crushing defeat. Teamwork and hard practice are the order of the day here. And your rewards for your hard work will come, scoring a goal is quite delightful leaving you satisfied.
The online social aspect is perhaps the best part of the game. The actual game of football itself is joyless, the pitches all seem to to be set in a dystopian city block with no atmosphere at all. If you can master the controls and handle the ball without feeling any side effects then you should probably be applying to NASA to go into space. If you can stomach the Agile Locomotion, you’ll probably be drop-kicking the TV Eric Cantona style in frustration instead as you flap about trying to control the ball.
The thing about VRFC is why it was ever made in the first place. Football is such a simple game. You get a ball, you find a bit of grass and you start kicking. Simple. Why someone would bring Football to VR is beyond me. Making the beautiful game ugly and making the most simple of sports more complicated than a Rubiks Cube. Thank God for the decent tutorial that will try to hone your skills but I fear you may start feeling sick before you truly get going.
I’m perhaps being a little harsh. This is the first attempt at VR Football, and nausea aside, Cherry Pop have tried to bring the beautiful game to VR, and come up with a solution to movement while standing still, and they should be given credit for that. Perhaps when the next iteration of Football comes to VR, we’ll all have gaming treadmills and full body haptic suits that will help with the controls. As it stands though the controls and the nausea (granted not felt by all) make this more painful than I like my gaming to be.
Stick with the real thing for now.
VRFC is available now for, PS4 (reviewed on PS4 Pro and V1 PSVR) , Oculus and Vive
Developer: Cherry Pop Games
Publisher: Cherry Pop Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we received a review code from the publishers. Please see our review policy for more information.