Rocket League is a fast paced, soccer game played with cars that features insanely fun handling, mechanics and some of the coolest moments in competitive gaming in recent memory. Developed and published by Pysonix , who helped develop Unreal Tournament 2004, Rocket League is the sequel to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, the most complicated and aptly named game I can think of. Going into this review, I was unaware of the first game’s existence, so I am unable to comment on improvements made from the first one. If you’re not interested in reading the full review, Rocket League is definitely worth a pickup if you’re willing to master the mechanics, as it is one of the most satisfying and fun multi-player games in recent memory.
The gameplay of Rocket League is what makes the game. Controls are tight, although I Highly recommend a controller whether Xbox or Playstation as Keyboard and mouse are just harder to use. Personally, I played with the controller, and once you get familiar with the controls, they work perfectly. In addition, controls themselves for both the Keyboard and Controller can be rebound to your choosing. The gameplay itself features driving, in which the cars handle like very fast RC cars. The real fun point of the game is the use of the ability to use a jump on your car, which can be used twice for a double jump effect, and for the boost mechanic. The jumping alone allows to go up to fight for the ball or bock shots, but is also used as the game’s substitution for kicking. Basically, by propelling yourself forward with the jump, it provides a kick to the ball, rather than simply awkwardly pushing the ball along with the front of your car. The boost, which is collected by various nodes scattered across the playing field and can be filled up to 100 on the car, has a great many uses. It can be used to cover ground quickly, to charge at the ball and hit it away from your goal or at the other team’s goal, or in combination with the jump mechanic to essentially fly.
The design of the levels themselves offers no difference, besides those of aesthetics, as each arena is an enclosed prism with a closed ceiling. One of the interesting features of the design is the ability to drive along the walls, with the ability to jump off and fly to the ball from them as well. As well as all of that, when jumping you can control the pitch and direction of your car in mid-air, allowing you to spin and such in order to hit the ball harder or to try and save a goal. The game also awards each player points for saves, goals, shot on the goal, clearing the ball and centering the ball, as well as a few other things. At the end, bonus experience is given to the “MVP”, the player on the winning team with the most point. The detection of these is very good, although there have been times where I have hit away a ball that would’ve been a goal and not gotten a save, but that’s a minor concern at best.
As for the actual game modes, they include 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and a 4v4 mode which is not included for the ranked ladders. 3v3 is considered the classic mode, but I tend to have the most fun with the 2v2, perhaps because it makes the game less chaotic and a lot easier to sway on your own but with the benefit of a partner. The ranked ladders themselves work very well, and from what I can tell the points themselves are awarded or detracted based on how close the match was and a few other factors. One thing I will say is that the game can be harsh when it comes to detracting points due to a loss, to where it might take 3 more wins to recoup.
A final note on the servers of the game. At launch there were a lot of issues and a few times, here and there, I have logged on and experienced massive lag. This was definitely not a problem limited to me as all of the players in these matches had the lag as well. I would cautiously say that they have these issues resolved, but I do feel it is worth mentioning.
The game looks great, and is well designed, a good display of the Unreal Engine overall. Grass textures look good, the background of the game is blurred stylistically, but still shows some very cool scenes of crowds and such. The arena’s all tend to blur together, as that’s really not the focus of the game, but each arena is different and can be told apart from the others. Honestly, the game’s graphics are crisp and clear, with each team having the distinct color of blue or orange, and the stark contrast serves the game well. The graphics don’t get in the way of the enjoyment of the gameplay, and that’s all they really needed to do.
There is no story mode and the singleplayer is really only there for practice. You can set up exhibitions against AI, which are fairly challenging in their own right. You can also play a season, which consists of up to 36 weeks with standings and playoff games. If you’re looking for a singleplayer game, move along, you’ll only ver use these mode to hone your skills at the multiplayer. A welcome addition would be a way to create a league and invite friends, but in terms of strictly singleplayer the content there is only for practice, not for actual significant lengths of gameplay.
Final Thoughts and Score
Rocket League is an absolute blast, with moments in the game that make me genuinely as anxious and tense as real sporting events. From last minute, game tying goals that force overtime, to clutch saves that prevent the other team from forcing the sudden death overtime, Rocket League gives plenty of enjoyment and fun from such a simple game. If you’re willing to put the time in to master the different things possible with your car you’ll find hours and hours of enjoyment within Rocket League. If the game had a more fleshed out singleplayer or perhaps a little more variety in multiplayer, I would really have little else to complain about.