Title: Rocket League
Available On: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Platform Tested On: Xbox One
Where To Buy: Xbox Store, PSN, Steam
Rocket League is finally available on the Xbox One. Having initially launched on the PS4 and PC back in 2015, the sequel to the lesser known Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, has been ported due to popular demand. It will take time for the Xbox One version to gain the momentum of the other platforms but having this incredibly rewarding game becoming available to more players is not just a luxury, but a necessity.
I am a huge football fan (soccer for the American readers) and have been all of my life. I’ve watched and played it passionately since I was a child and causing the referee to chase me for minutes around the pitch in FIFA International Soccer is still one of my fondest childhood memories. You may ask how is this relevant to a review of Rocket League? Well, that is because Rocket League feels like it could be the best depiction of football on a gaming platform.
Whilst Rocket league involves tiny remote controlled cars driving around an enclosed arena, which is not what we are used to watching on a Saturday afternoon, you will learn that this brilliantly addictive adaptation shares far more similarities with the beautiful game than you could imagine. One ball, check. Two goals, check. Put the ball into the goal, check! These are the three simple principles of football and the core fundamentals of Rocket League. The journey you embark upon to accomplish this simple objective is where Rocket League becomes dangerously addictive.
The physics within Rocket League are what defines this game. Hitting the ball is as effortless as colliding with it. Precision is integral to unleashing a devastating cross or an unstoppable strike. Driving around the court is simple and undemanding which allows success within Rocket League to be attainable. For the more advanced players, the ability to boost and jump allows for more experimental and mesmerizing feats to unfold on screen. And for the elites, which I’m sadly not a member of, you can gracefully boost midair to hit the otherwise unobtainable loose balls.
Unpredictability is what keeps me hooked on Rocket League. As I’ve mentioned, there is a strict rule of physics attached to Rocket League and you never feel cheated when something goes awry. You can play a disciplined game and chances are you will triumph, but this applies to your performance at both ends of the pitch. The thrill of the game emerges when you make a mistake and how you recover from that blunder will define you.
As is the case with great multiplayer games, every contribution matters and feels fulfilling. In Rocket League, achieving a last gasp save on your goal lines feels just as empowering as scoring a winner in the dying seconds of the game. The matches last for a nerve-racking five minutes and if the scores are tied at the end, overtime begins and sudden death ensues. Expect to ride an emotional roller coaster throughout as the agony of losing a game from a petty mistake is easily rectified by well worked, team winning goal.
You can play with up to four cars on either team which will dictate your game strategy and will significantly influence how the match will unfold. Playing solo will have you cautiously covering your goal whereas playing with two teammates will see you assigning positions and constructing set pieces. Four players per team can cause bedlam and is aptly called “chaos”. Regardless of numbers, however, Rocket League retains its exciting gameplay.
All of the cars perform to the same degree which creates a level playing field. There is a selection of vehicles to choose from but other than having different hitboxes (smaller cars will strike the bottom of the ball) they are identical. You can however, customize them with toppers, antennas, and other cosmetic items. As you progress through matches these trinkets will be unlocked randomly and you have a wide array to choose from. Expect to see other players flaunting a halo, pirate hats or ‘have a nice day’ smiley faces to name but a few. Other properties will make an appearance, with goodies from games like Fallout or even a Deadmau5 headpiece offering unique customization.
The Xbox One version is identical to its PlayStation and PC counterparts but does include a few unique cars. A Halo Hogsticker and a Gears of War Armadillo have been added to the roster but other than that, expect a similar experience. I have encountered some server issues with noticeable lag which has a big impact on such an intricate game, but hopefully, these problems will be addressed in the future.
Rocket League has a single player mode which acts like a regular season mode seen in most other sports games. You begin by choosing a team, a color scheme, and teammates. Ironically in a ‘soccer’ game, you head to the playoffs and aim to be victorious in Rocket League’s equivalent of the Superbowl. Single player is a great way to learn your craft but do not expect much of a compelling mode. The AI players follow a single objective to track the ball across the field, and more often than not, a flurry of own goals will follow.
Psyonix has been offering a stream of content, both paid and free since launch and I expect this to continue in the future. The Xbox One version begins in Season Two where the rankings have changed since the game debuted in 2015. Player progression is now determined by performance as opposed to winning ratio, so if you play well expect that to be reflected in your league ranking. Who knows what is in store for future updates. So far we have had additional maps and a Snow Day mode which changes the ball to a hockey puck, completely revolutionizing the Rocket League concept we know.
Having invested well over 20 hours into a game that could be contrived as a repetitive five-minute match, is a testament to how well Rocket League plays. As is the case with the popular MOBA’s, the simple premise is dwarfed by the adrenaline inducing action that develops on screen. Rocket League will appeal to many, be it sports fans or simply game enthusiasts. Yet, regardless of what your hobbies are, you are guaranteed to fall in love with Rocket League.
- Gameplay: Addictive Football Sim With Rocket Powered Cars.
- Graphics: Smooth, Colorful, and Customization.
- Sound: Engines, Sirens, and Cheering Crowds.
- Presentation: Welcomes everyone of all skill types.
- Addictive Gameplay
- Simple Concept
- Multiple Difficulties
- Weak AI