Netease has had its very own football simulation game in the works for a while now, and now the open beta is finally here. Take control over your favorite clubs and players in a series of 11vs11 or Street Football themed matches, upgrading your line-up along the way. It’s been made crystal clear what Netease is trying to do – tackle one of the biggest sides of the App Store/Play Store and give the likes of Konami and EA a run for their money. Was their aim successful? Only time will tell exactly, but the first impressions have definitely arrived! Here in this article, we will review Vive le Football and share our first impressions of the game.
Vibrant graphics with added realism that sets the tone of the pitch
Starting off with the Vive le Football review, one of the most decisive features of any football simulation game, or even a simulation game for that matter, is the base quality and authenticity. VLF does a great job at creating a vibrant green playing field. Depending on the quality of your device, you can alter the graphics from the settings menu too, although you’re restricted to just High, Medium, and Low.
In addition, the player faces look quite good, stadiums look detailed and it is a good game to watch. Netease has done a good job in this area, beating the likes of pretty much all other football games, if not at the very least, giving very tough competition to them.
The game offers an interesting take on off the pitch detailings
Netease has not had the privileges of licensing on a lot of important teams, unlike, for example, EA. However, they’ve worked well with what they’ve got in order to produce quite an immersive experience. Small animations dotted around in the game, such as tunnel walks, manager reactions, post-match interviews, and celebrations, all look like effort has been put into them.
We don’t usually see these kinds of clips on mobile football, so they are quite refreshing. On the topic of celebrations, it seems as though some have been mixed up, with Messi doing Bruno Fernandes‘ “hands-on -ears” move looking slightly odd. Hopefully, this is simply down to the fact that it is only the beta, and it will be looked at in the future.
One of the best features of authenticity, however, comes off the pitch. VLF features a 3D walk-around menu, which we’ve seen them implement in a lot of their other latest games, such as Lost Light. You can walk your virtual manager through the clubrooms, interacting with various objects, to enter and manage different aspects of the game. It’s a very creative move that easily tops the sticky menus of PES Mobile.
Also around the club, you’ll find the working staff, including but not limited to, vice managers, training managers, and more. You can even interact with them, listen to what they’re saying, and give responses too. Do they have any effect on the usual way of playing the game? Probably not, they are basically just shortcuts and alternative ways to access different parts of the game. Despite that though, they are a very intriguing addition which shows the kind of take Netease is taking on the game. Props to them for this!
VLF shows promising gameplay but finds hard to tick all the boxes
Now for one of the biggest questions on the lips of a lot of avid football fans. How’s the gameplay? Well, in short, its fluid, does the job, but many would say that the big competitors (mainly PES Mobile), tops VLF here.
The shooting in VLF is poor, to say the least. There are only a couple of very basic shots to use and they don’t really feel all that powerful at all, even at the highest levels. On top of that, goalkeepers are really not that great either, you’ll often see shots hitting them directly, yet still bouncing into the goal after the parry. Again, hopefully, this is just one of those “beta bugs”.
The dribbling is quite fluid, but it isn’t quite as “fun” as in PES Mobile. Skill moves are very difficult to pull off in most situations, and when they do work, it looks way too robotic, which doesn’t match Netease’s attempt at realism in the other parts of the game. We were lucky enough to pull Messi from the recruitment system quite early on. However, even whilst on the ball with one of the best dribblers football has ever seen, very little change in the quality of dribbling could be sensed.
Where Netease does excel though, is in the passing. The automatic teammate runs combined with the dynamic pass system make for some really cool sequences of attacks. Passing in VLF was quite clear of any other football game we played on mobile. Tiki-Taka style players will be in for a treat here!
The defending is also alright, but some animations simply don’t match the reaction of the attacker sometimes. For example, a sliding tackle from a defender would appear quite heroic and risky, yet they may not be close enough to an attacker to make any difference at all to them. Things like this kind of damage the flow of the game, since it doesn’t match the realism we’ve seen elsewhere in VLF, hopefully, the public release makes improvements to this.
Regular training and efficient tactics are your keys to success
As it’s just the beta, Netease has been thoughtful enough to distribute a lot of strong names so as to allow players to get a good idea of what the gameplay is like with the highest level. That means we can basically excuse the free Ronaldo’s and “high odds of Messi” packs for the time being.
The recruitment system itself though, is not much different to other games, like the player balls in PES or packs in FIFA, although that is understandable. There are only 2 types of recruitment available from the menu now, but again, we may see more on the public release. The main focus of progression is in the squad menu though, where VLF offers a couple of sub-menus:
At first, this is very confusing. So many different items and different places to buy upgrades but they all do pretty much the same or similar thing. There is also the ability to upgrade specific stats on players, which is quite useful. There’s a limit of 10 upgrade points on each stat though, which is annoying but understandable, to keep the player structure intact. It’s all quite dynamic allowing you to train your player in how you want them to play.
This is a very good addition by Netease, you can pick out the type of football you want your team to play by outlining individual instructions for each position. You can choose whether to make full-backs attack or defend, whether to have strikers run in behind or act as target men, and much more. You can get creative with these however you like to tailor your team exactly to how you want them to be.
All in all, game progression is mostly oriented to how you like to play the football game. Personally, this is quite a lot better than the 1-dimensional training in FIFA Mobile or PES Mobile, or the pre-set tactics of the PESM managers.
Vive le Football offers a plethora of exciting game modes
As expected in the initial stages of the VLF marketing, the game offers a range of different modes for players to enjoy. There are 2 sides of the game in general, 11vs11 and Street Football. Each side has a range of modes within them too, with the scope for more to be added in the future. 11vs11 is the classic main professional football side of the game, which takes place on a regular football pitch.
1. Story/Campaign Mode
Firstly, there is the Story Mode segment, which features a series of different chapters based on real-life events. For example, there is one chapter focusing on Barcelona’s UCL run in 2014/15. Players play through a series of matches, which also happened within that storyline, and are tasked with 3 challenges to complete (with 2 being optional).
Each match doesn’t necessarily start from the absolute beginning either, players may take control of the team from throw-ins, corner-kicks, etc, at any minute in the game, and maybe even with goals for either side already on the score-line. If you’ve played FIFA Mobile before, the AI matches on nodes in events are in close relation to this feature.
There’s no doubt, it is a good game-mode, and does well to give some nice throwback moments. The progression rewards here are arguably the most handsome too! Although, it would be nice if you could use the players from the side in that exact moment, rather than your own players from your own progression in the game.
2. Career/Calendar Mode
This mode features more updated football content and this is where you use your squad and compete within the league of your chosen badge. If you chose Man City as your main team, you’d be entered into the Premier League, choosing Barcelona would result in the La Liga and so on.
A calendar features the series of events throughout the league run, including matches, press conference dates, and much more. It basically operates like a full-blown career mode. The only downside is that the team you use is the one built through opening the virtual player boxes, and so the realism is kicked down hard. Seeing both Messi and Ronaldo in an Arsenal shirt in a “career mode” game does not look right at all.
3. Online Multiplayer
No football game is complete without a good-old multiplayer mode. This is the standard scene here, with the friendly matches and ranked gameplay, offering regular placement rewards, etc – just the usual. Netease loves to make games with a door open for some eSports action, and this is just another example. Obviously, you will need a pretty good connection to enjoy the online to its maximum potential.
4. Street Football
This one is easily a personal favorite throughout the whole game. Each player picks one man from their team to use in the actual match, and you can play in teams of 2 or 3 for friendlies, or 3 for ranked. The animations in this mode are very good, involving various advanced tricks in both passing and shooting. You can’t actually control them, and every animation comes from the same click of the button, but they do look really good.
Sadly, the dribbling is not up to scratch yet, and very rarely do you find a skill move a better option than anything else. Even then, they are very difficult to pull off. On the other hand, the passing is as good here as in the 11 vs 11, which opens a ton of opportunities for quality teamwork streetball. Playing with friends is 10x times as fun as solo-queueing!
Netease has done a pretty decent job at building up a FIFA Street/VOLTA Football mode from console to mobile. Hopefully, they take this far by adding more modes to play, more animations, and improving the gameplay!
Netease has clearly been plotting this move for a while now, and it’s starting to show promising signs. Therefore our review perspective, Vive le Football is a game built with a lot of potentials. Since this is just the beta test, most bugs can be excused, and hopefully, the developers take the feedback well and improve the game further.
The public release should not be too long away, however you can take part in the beta test and get a glimpse of the game right now. Gamers can try out VLF on Android, iOS, and PC, however, the mobile slots do fill up very fast. Netease recently re-opened the download links for mobile, for anyone that missed out, so there’s still a chance for you to get your hands on the game!
What are your opinions on the Vive le Football game and your review of it? Do let us know in the comments!
Vive le Football Review
Netease has clearly been plotting this move for a while now, and it’s starting to show promising signs and as a result, Vive le Football is a game built with a lot of potentials.