Name:

 Rocket League

Platforms:

PC, PS4, Xbox One, OS X Linux

Developer:

 Psyonix

Genre:

Sport

Publisher:

 Psyonix

Modes:

Single-player, Multiplayer

Release Date:

 PC & PS4: July 7th, 2015

Xbox One: February 17th, 2016

OS X Linux: 2016

Engine:

 Unreal Engine 3

Reviewer:

 Charede

Product Rating:

 PEGI: 3

Review Score:

88/100 (88%)

Disclosure:

 Copy Reviewed: PC, personally bought.

Timing: Post release.

I made such a massive sigh when I heard the next game on my review list was Rocket League that my neighbours mistook it for a black hole.  Everything went flying out of their house and embedded itself into the wall not far from where I sat, and I could hear screaming 'the end is nhy!' You might think that my line of thinking has been made rather obvious too soon but don't close this quite yet there is more to this. Once done with banging my head on the wall since I am not inclined towards sports games I summoned up the courage and drank 10 cups of tea, shortly followed by loading up the game to get it over. To my surprise, it wasn't the horrific experience I was expecting, and I will explain why.

 

Rocket League for those who are not familiar is a football game, or as they call it in the States soccer. Unlike other football games, Rocket League spices things by giving the player a car, which is not new since Psyonix's did this before with their Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars which was released in 2008 for the PS3. When thinking of Rocket League the first thing that comes to mind is those little Scalextric cars but without the fixed track and an actual goal in mind. I have many fond memories of finding a large obstruction on the track too late closely followed with an 'OH SHIT!' much to the amusement of my devious sibling who put the obstruction on the track when my back

 

Anyway back to the actual game, well it plays well. I was expecting the usual buggy mess that games have become in recent years. To my surprise, technical stability in Rocket League has been very good. I have had minimal issues with crashing and no bugs to note of. There is a solid range of options in the menu which is helpful for those who do not have a monster PC to run it on. The game played well both an old laptop and my desktop PC on a variety of different settings. I preferred to play on my desktop PC since it could take full advantage of the top settings. However, for those with a less up-to-date rig, it is interesting to note that even with my old laptop I managed to play with settings at the bare minimum. Regarding technical requirements, there is one thing to note. For those who want to make the most of the game, it is heavily multiplayer focused, and a stable internet connection is a real must. There is a mode to play against AI, but this takes the teamwork element out. Unlike players who just dive for the ball like mayhems when they first start the AI will play in a far savvier way. As a beginner, I found the AI is far too coordinated for its own good. I recommend doing the tutorials and then straight into multiplayer with other new players. I could see the difference in my level of enjoyment of the game between playing against AI versus other players. The major clue was my level of tunnel vision and screaming after tackles and goals. I am by no means a football hooligan but put me in control of a car with a team behind me and you might as well given me a scarf and a hotdog. On the talk of multiplayer the fan base is strong at present and has a good range of players from the new to the expert. Also Rocket League has a competitive scene with tournaments you can enter to push yourself if you are inclined.

 

Regarding the visuals and audio, I have to give credit where credit is due it is very enjoyable to both listen to and view. A range of car customization is available with enough depth to keep the majority of people happy. Several DLC packs are available for a fee and grants more items such as the Dolorian themed pack. While in a match I did initially find everything overwhelming due to how bright and the volume of what was going on. However, I feel this was most likely due to the camera behaviour rather than the visual style. By this what I mean is there are two camera modes. The first camera mode looks straight ahead as you drive. This is all good and well but makes it easy to lose track of the ball and when turning made me feel motion sick. The other option is ball tracking and tracks the ball as the name would suggest. This mode makes it far easier to see what's going on around the ball and behaves a lot smoother. Unfortunately, judging turns when you can't see what is in your driving path frequently leads to collisions. The other issue with this camera mode is the closer you are to the ball the more annoying it becomes. For example, if you hit the ball and it goes up you completely lose vision of your car and everything around it. You are left with a lovely view of the detailed underside of the ball and no idea where to go. I understand there is no easy way to solve this issue. A third camera mode that is highly zoomed out the view at a near to top-down angle and preferably not wildly swinging around. Even if this isn't the solution to solve the problem the camera is problematic and took me out of the experience.

 

Rocket League is a simple concept and one I felt they had written themselves into a corner. It's football with a car what more can you do? Well, they have managed to expand the scope with various modes including an ice puck and basketball. My initial scepticism was that the changes to the object would not sufficiently change the game to warrant the extra modes. To my surprise, it did make a significant change and substantially extended the life of the game for me. The changes to the object physics completely change the way you interact with the object and consequently tactics. I'm looking forward to what Psyonix do in future modes but for now, I would rather see them focus on some more map variety. Repeatedly seeing the same maps over and over after many matches on the default mode lead to some serious fatigue and a sense of staleness.I would love to see some with physics objects integrated which could be used tactically to your advantage such as bouncy pillars. I think this would spice things up even if that were a separate mode in its own right, but at least I could play with the football in a new way.

 

Rocket League is a very enjoyable experience and is a well-produced game which performs solidly on pcs of various qualities. The game is also available on Xbox One and Playstation 4, but we did not have the opportunity to test those. Having spoken to other reviewers and streaming associates of mine, they assure me it works well on both consoles. Rocket League is a simple concept which it does very well. It has attempted to expand on with its extra modes utilising objects with different physics properties. I did experience some repetitiveness with the experience mostly due to the limited maps for each mode and the fact that it is essentially playing hundreds of games of football. Rocket League is a thoroughly enjoyable multiplayer experience and is best played with friends. Playing with and against AI is ok but offers a far less enjoyable experience. In summary, I do highly recommend Rocket League, and I applaud Psyonix on how well it performs on a technical level and its' overall presentation. For this, I give it a well-deserved score of 88%.

 

If you are considering getting the game, already have it or have thoughts you would like to share about this article let us know in the comment section, we would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

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