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Game Info:

VRC Pro
Developed By: Virtual Racing Industries Ltd.
Published By: Virtual Racing Industries Ltd.
Released: March 15, 2015
Available On: Steam
Genre: Racing; Simulation; Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: 1 offline, 10 online
Price: limited free-to-play mode, $45 extensive license

Thank you Virtual Racing Industries Ltd. for sending us this review code!

VRC Pro is a game about RC cars; those little toys we always played with as kids. We begged our parents for them, and then we drove them on the ground and ran their batteries dead continuously until they broke. And while most RC cars may be cheap, the ones VRC Pro focuses on are the significantly more expensive, tuned up vehicles that people race competitively. It is these high-speed, hard to control cars that make up the core gameplay loop of VRC Pro—perhaps to its dismay, but I shall discuss that in time.

VRC Pro comes with a decent number of cars to play with, as well as a hefty amount of tracks that you can race around. The cars are miniature, accurate recreations of their real-life counterparts. They come in two types, those being nitro and electric, and have different model scales, being built to a scale of 1:8, 1:10, or 1:12. Note that this is only what is included in the base game, and does not include the over $150 of DLC tracks and vehicles. Although you can choose to use a keyboard, you will want to be breaking out a controller of some sort for the optimal driving experience, as is the case with most racing games.

So how does it drive? Well, quite accurately for an RC simulator. The cars all feel lightweight but still grounded, and their powerful motors combined with a small chassis mean you can zoom around the maps at incredibly high speeds. The handling on most cars is good—though some can definitely be painfully unresponsive or too responsive—and with enough practice you will learn how to approach corners and bumps properly. VRC Pro also has a substantial amount of customization you can do that effects appearance and gameplay. You can change braking, suspension, tires, atmosphere, temperature, as well as tinker with the components of the car, such as the engines or battery.

VRC Pro
Highlights:

Strong Points: Highly realistic and enjoyable RC car driving; deep and complex environmental and vehicle mechanics
Weak Points: Dated visuals; lack of interesting music or sound effects; rough controls out of the box
Moral Warnings: None

Gameplay is important—but a game is only as good as the sum of its parts. So, how is the rest of the game? Well... it's alright. VRC Pro released as a beta back in 2011, but the original version started in 2005, so it will undoubtedly look visually dated. While it may not be the best today, it runs great on low-end hardware, getting a solid 60FPS at max settings on my terrible laptop. The background is primarily made up of simple, flat images that look like they were taken from Google Maps. This makes sense as the tracks you race on are based off of real locations for RC racing, but it is nonetheless jarring. As most of the game is spent in extreme motion and looking at a tiny car, you won't have too much of a problem with how it looks.

I should say that though the game's mechanics may be complex, the menus do a good job at presenting all the features and changes you can do to your car in a straight-forward manner. Explaining those features, however, is something it does not do. I had fun moving the sliders around, but I will not try to pretend I understood what they did. The music was not impressive enough to hold my attention, as there exist only four songs for the entire game. One song has five versions with varying instruments, but these are all you get, and they all sound like music you'd hear on shows back in the early 2000s. The RC cars are loud and sharp on the ears, which is just like real life!

While VRC Pro might focus on realism in its driving, it forgot most of what makes driving games fun: the controls. By default, the only thing a controller does is drive. The left stick is all that's bound, and it's bound so that you change direction by pushing the stick left and right. In order to advance or reverse, you must go up and down. The way to drive is by moving the stick up and right, left and down, etc. The game requires you to press spacebar on the keyboard to reset your position if you go off the track or fall over, and this isn't bound to the controller at all. So, not only does it require you to drive using only one stick, it also requires you to use the keyboard at the same time. In its defense, you can rebind the keys and change them so they work with a controller. I ended up binding forward and backwards to the triggers, and the spacebar and other keys to the controller buttons, which made it feel much easier and significantly more fun. But when I looked at the Steam reviews, I found one individual who did not know this and couldn't figure it out, so he ended up returning the game because of it. I feel that this gives me the right to consider it a detriment, and to judge it based off what it comes with—while holding the consideration that it feels great after a bit of tinkering.

VRC Pro
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 70%
Game Score - 70%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - -100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

My final complaint would be the movement and camera. Although the game is incredibly faithful to RC cars, it can often sometimes be not very fun to play. Cars get to max speed incredibly fast, and struggle to turn or take corners without slowing down. For most cars, this makes it a constant battle to play as you have to always control your speed so you don't go flying off the track. And the camera is what I consider the worst part. It has three modes: the first which stays in a fixed position that oversees the entire map, panning towards your vehicle as you whiz by; a second, where it cuts from angle to angle like those dog shows where they run around courses; and a third, where the camera is directly behind the car. And I do mean directly behind the car. Even the slightest movement or tumble will snap the camera around, being quite sickening in some cases. Despite this, I encountered no crashes, bugs, or glitches, and would call it a very stable experience.

VRC Pro contains no nudity, language, or any other moral content to touch on. However, it should be noted that there is an online multiplayer mode with text chat. Your mileage may vary on that.

In summary, this is a testament to the team's wish to develop the most realistic RC car simulation out there. With so much focus on these hardcore aspects, I can say for certain that VRC Pro is a one-of-a-kind experience. Steam reviewers have hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours playing this game, saying that it's just like the real thing. The online has a small but dedicated online community of around 100 people. The old phrase "Wide as an ocean, deep as a puddle" does not apply here; instead, I believe this game is as wide as a puddle, but as deep as an ocean. It was made by RC fans, for RC fans. I may say that its production quality is lacking in certain areas, but I believe this game was simply not made for me. For those of you who are dedicated to RC and playing with the game's mechanics, you'll probably love it.

- Remington

About the Author

Remington

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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