This review was originally created in July 2018 for HTC, targeted to their Vive/Vive Pro (VIVEPORT). It is reproduced here without alteration.
With the recent 2018 FIFA World Cup – the 21st such event since 1930, and one that’s taken place very four years since 1950 – soccer, or, as it’s more popularly known, football, has once again been thrust into the spotlight in a big way. While the sport has struggled to endear itself to many North American sports fans, the passion most of the rest of the world has for this sport is undeniable. The question is, can a virtual reality experience translate both this passion and the sport’s most exciting moments into a quality video game? Turbo Soccer VR aims to answer that question with a resounding “Yes!”.
Placing you in the shoes – and viewpoint – of a professional soccer player, Turbo Soccer VR features three major modes: GOALKEEPER MODE, STRIKER MODE, and REPLAY MODE.
In GOALKEEPER MODE, you play as a goalkeeper trying to stop other teams from all over the world from scoring. Naturally, as play progresses, the difficulty increases.
In STRIKER MODE, you’re now on offense, attempting to score against teams from all over the world. As play progresses, new obstacles, harder defenders, and more skillful goalkeepers are introduced.
Finally, there’s REPLAY MODE, which is perhaps the game’s greatest innovation. Instead of fictional scenarios, REPLAY MODE lets you relive scoring chances from real matches. Not only is there a package of some of the best goals by the game’s cover athlete, Kamil Grosicki, who is considered one of the top players of the Polish national soccer team and English Championship Club, Hull City A.F.C., and who previously played for teams like the Turkish Sivasspor and French Stade Rennais, but there are also opportunities to experience key moments from the aforementioned 2018 FIFA World Cup. This adds an immediacy and intimacy to the virtual reality experience that games with only generic settings simply can’t match.
As you might expect, Turbo Soccer VR is a standing, room-scale experience. Fortunately, room size requirements are relatively modest for a game of this type, with only a 2 – 3 meter (about 6.5 – 9.8 feet) wide space needed for proper play. Of course, if you want to play a bit more aggressively, you’ll want a room on the wider end of that range for those times when you’re really into the action.
While all game modes are playable with the standard Vive Controllers, the GOALKEEPER MODE is the most intuitive, since you just use your hands to block shots. For STRIKER MODE and REPLAY MODE, you need to use your legs, so you’ll need to find a way to strap the Vive Controllers to your feet, or, preferably, have invested in the optional Vive Trackers.
Visually, while the simpler, less realistic player models are a bit of a letdown, the overall environment is suitably bright, colorful, and immersive. Audio-wise, although there’s no chatter from your teammates, the game does do a great job of recreating the sport’s environmental sounds, right down to the chanting crowds.
So does Turbo Soccer VR succeed in bringing a quality soccer experience – one that captures the sport’s best moments – into virtual reality? Absolutely. It also happens to be a great excuse to invest in a couple of Vive Trackers, providing the perfect use-case for whole body tracking. Of course, even without the Vive Trackers, the game can still be lots of fun, although you may not be comfortable strapping the Vive Controllers to your feet when playing offense.
Through both how Turbo Soccer VR plays and its growing library of real-life scenarios, even those skeptical of the sport’s appeal might finally appreciate what all the recent World Cup fuss was about.
Score: 4 out of 5 stars.
Turbo Soccer VR is available on Viveport or with a Viveport Subscription.
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