REVIEW – Rocket League is a game you could suddenly end up and play on higher levels for hours, without even noticing that much time passing. And this is actually achieved without much learning. Psyonix silently put out one of the best non-AAA titles for the PlayStation 4. It’s great, even for non-football fans. Definitely worth a try!
You might have heard Psyonix’s name from before, as they were behind the 2009-released, mouthful Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars. After playing Rocket League, you will pretty much quickly forget SARPBC, and for a good reason: while RL combines two genres in a creative way yet again, it’s a stylish and enjoyable mashup
One of the genres is driving – this is obvious. The other one is the much more quirky thing: football. In Rocket League, your goal is to… score a goal by pushing/boosting the huge ball to the other team’s goal, hopefully not slamming the goalpost. Not kicking, because you have nothing to kick the ball with. One goal is worth a point, so no need to learn complex rules, Psyonix aimed for a literal pick up and play game.
Just how are the controls? They’re okay – no matter how big your vehicle is, you can turn around in a small circle (and it’s necessary, the tutorial has it too).
One of the first things for me was noticing how ridiculously fast Rocket League was. It was most likely because of Unreal Engine 3 – it’s the good old engine, although I wonder why wasn’t UE4 used. I do have to admit a lot can be used nowadays with UE3. The cars are also fast, especially after picking up boost pickups and using them with Circle. Imagine a fast game with fast cars, all going for one ball in the match!
You can also jump – in reality, it’s going to be essential to make good use of them – with X, even a double jump can be performed. The usage of the third dimension adds another layer onto the strategy, you can even end up flipping your car in style. Because of this, you should spend time learning the basics in the tutorials: the knowledge of the physics is needed for this physics-based game, otherwise you will not be successful.
Let me talk about the speed though: even with eight players (this is the limit), you can somewhat follow the happenings, but it can be quite chaotic in the long run. For me, six players also gave me some headache, but playing for teamwork can be really paying off, one driver goes offensive, one stays midfield and another one sticks closely to the goal – if this gets quickly set up, in-team issues should be completely out of question.
These kind of tasks are also seen in tutorial: you will have to learn how to be an efficient goalkeeper, make perfect use of airtime and it also teaches you how to shoot goals properly.
The game’s biggest issue nowadays is pretty much the servers – although Sony and Psyonix already informed us about a patch in the making, the first days had jarring server connectivity problems. Nowadays, thankfully it’s mostly over. Why do I point this out? Because in my opinion, Rocket League’s biggest charm is multiplayer, which is making sense. Local multiplayer is present too.
In the Season mode, you can spend 9 to 36 weeks to play matches in, which will eventually culminate in a playoff for the title. To not be lacking in skills online, I recommend playing this mode as it’s giving great practice. After that, you can turn towards customization: you can change the paint scheme, your car, or – after Team Fortress 2 – you can even chuck a hat on your vehicle, including some bloke’s called Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal… 🙂
And then, make sure to check out the weather, Psyonix even took their time to make some effects for that as well, it can be a game changer!
A rousing success!
For PlayStation Plus members, this game is absolutely free to pick up in July, so you can’t even lose money on this deal! This game is really memorable, especially in online – it keeps you playing for a long time. For football fans, recommended, and even for football haters, it’s still worth a try. Great graphics, fast-paced gameplay and enjoyable, exciting matches. Great stuff!
+ It keeps you busy in a good way
+ Simple, but has a lot more under the hood
+ Beginners can rapidly learn the basics
– How would it have been with Unreal Engine 4?
– Mastering controls take some time
– Server issues, but those are being fixed as we speak
Genre: Car + football
Publication: 2015 July PS Plus