VRFC should never have worked. VR has no business tackling football (or, for our American/incorrect naming audience, soccer) until you can truly bring your feet into a match, right? But, against all odds, Cherry Pop Games’ latest does work; the moment you stick your arm out to drag your foot along and stop a ball it becomes painfully clear that there is at least something here. Granted that something is closer to the kind of football you play with an inflatable bubble over you at a birthday party, but it’s close enough.
It’s time to stop turning your nose up at this sort-of-sport, then, because there’s never been a better time to jump in.
Just as Pool Nation VR was rebranded to Sports Bar VR, VRFC is soon to morph into Football Nation VR, signaling the arrival of a more complete edition of the game built upon feedback from fans, just in time for a certain World Cup.
Launching as a free update for existing users on PSVR, Rift and Vive, Football Nation trades the amateur atmosphere of a game of 5-a-side with friends for the big leagues. There’s now a massive stadium to play in, complete with a crowd to cheer you on, and the pitch size has been scaled up.
Teams are bigger, too. Up to 8 human players can joing 16-person matches, choosing either to all play on the same team against AI or split it down the middle and have computer-controlled opponents on both sides, too. You can now pick from 36 international ‘VR nations’ to play through a tournament mode.
To celebrate the game’s launch Cherry Pop is hosting a tournament of its own. Running over the weeks following the update’s launch, players will be able to back a team and try to win games to keep themselves in the league. Every win they earn gets three points added to a global leaderboard system for their chosen team. As weeks go by, teams with the least amount of points will be shaved off until the tournament arrives at its finals on July 21st. The timetable for the tournament is below.
I jumped back into the game to see a bit of the update a few weeks back, and it looks set to deliver what many football fans have wanted out of VRFC from the start. The stadiums, for starters, are to be admired in VR, and the bigger pitches introduce a little more strategy to the game. In the original game, it was all too easy for everyone to just charge at the ball without thinking, but the extra space gives you more room to open up opportunities with teammates. New features like penalties and solo player against AI give you more options, too.
If you’ve been on the bench with VRFC, it’s time to get in the game.