By Operation Rainfall Contributor / August 13th, 2015
|Release Date||July 7, 2015|
I’ve never been good at a sports game besides NFL Blitz on the N64 and that’s pretty much where I draw the line on the genre, but when I heard about Rocket League, I was willing to give it a second chance. So, what is Rocket League? Well, aside from it being the spiritual successor to Super Power Acrobatic Robot Powered Battle Cars, you basically play 4v4 soccer matches, but these aren’t your typical soccer games because you play them as a car on a field that’s covered by a dome. What follows is absolute chaos and has become one of the most fun multiplayer games that I’ve played this year.
Rocket League had a rough start. When it was released the game experienced huge server issues and no one was allowed to play online until these issues were fixed. The days that followed came with ten minute wait times as the game attempted to find a private server for the eight person party I was a part of. After the third day of the games release, however, the issues were fixed and I was happily playing games within seconds of signing on.
Rocket League is played in 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4 five minute matches online or offline. You start each match in your car as a timer counts down; once the match starts, each player rushes towards the metallic ball placed in the center of the field and so begins the chaos. Every car has the ability to double jump, along with back flips, front flips and barrel rolls. These actions are your only tools to get the ball into the opposing teams goal, but it’s not that easy since every other car around you is slamming into you attempting to do the exact same thing. There are lights along the field that when run over fill up your boost meter. This allows you to speed across the map and reach the ball faster than everyone else or even collide with an opposing player to blow him up. It is also possible to jump and boost at the same time and make your car fly, but it isn’t really necessary other than it’s just really fun to do.
This game was meant to be played online, but the offline experience is still something worth trying. There is an exhibition mode that gives you the option to choose from a number of week seasons and play against bots who aren’t as easy as you’d think. This exhibition feature is really fun, but I wish they allowed it to be played with a group of friends and play against bots, or even other online teams. There is also no in-game chat as far as I can tell, even with people in my in game party, if we left the PlayStation party, we wouldn’t be able to communicate. This is a complaint that comes up in games like Mario Kart and Splatoon, but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone playing Rocket League, but it is something that becomes bothersome when trying to communicate with other players.
The unlockable content in Rocket League is overwhelming in the best way possible. Win or lose, you will gain points and after every match you will most likely unlock a new item. These items come in tons of car customizables including: new cars, paint jobs, flags, tires, boost smoke, decals, and hats. Every player will have the chance to put their own spin on their car and make it their own. The good thing about these customizable items is that they don’t alter the car’s performance, all cars are exactly the same and so there is no handicap during matches. Be on the look out for recognizable cars like Sweet Tooth and the Kinda Funny flag that reads: Team Fat.
The music in Rocket League exists only in the main menu and it is not good. The modern pop tunes that blare through your speakers as you wait for a server does not fit at all and thankfully it ends when you enter a match. The sound design during the game is very well done; something that surprised me was there is a boost smoke that is a rainbow and when executed makes the same noise as Twisted Metal’s Flower Power’s special attack. Another nice addition is the subtle crowd ooh’s and ah’s as you play the game.
Rocket League is the most fun online with friends and can be mastered by even a player who is not good at sports games at all. After the 23 hours spent playing, there’s a point where you begin to forget that you’re even playing soccer and start to just enjoy the brilliance that is Rocket League. Every player will have their moment when it’s a tie game, ten seconds left on the clock, the ball just bounced off the wall about to hit the ground, but you boost over from across the field plowing through opposing players just in the nick of time as you front flip towards the ball and connect with everything you got, 3 seconds left, the ball rushes towards the goal…2….1…GOAL the ball explodes and everyone in your party is screaming going nuts and you feel like you’re on the top of the world, but just for a minute because the next match is only seconds from beginning, so that you can try it all again.
Review copy was provided by developer.