Gaming has now evolved into a worldwide phenomenon; long gone are the days where a Looney Tunes game would come out once in a blue moon, costing quite a lot and only on PC. Nowadays, games come out each week of each month, and even in the least productive month there can still be some fifty titles coming out. And quite a substantial part of this massive catalogue of games is dedicated towards competitive experiences, mostly online multiplayer. One such title is embodied by Psyonix’s latest release, Rocket League.
Releasing on PC and PS4, Rocket League has taken players by storm, boasting an incredible success especially on PlayStation. Although the game is insanely good, a big part of this success is owed to the game being free with PS Plus upon launch, but since most of the players have stuck to it, it is fair to praise the merits of the game itself. Basically, Rocket League is car football, soccer for Americans, which means the objective is really simple: you drive a car, you “kick” a ball and you score by putting it in the opponent’s net. The idea behind it is simple, but putting it into practice surely has proved quite a task for Psyonix, especially with the incredibly realistic physics that both ball and car have. Even the slightest angle difference will have a different output, and a perfect move may be ruined by hitting the ball one second late. That can be particularly frustrating but it captures the realism of real football, which makes the experience as authentic as ever, if anyone ever played car football that is.
After covering the gameplay, which is as simple as described above, it is time to go over the details of the game. Rocket League has three main modes, which are Ranked Online multiplayer, Unranked Online multiplayer or friendlies, and offline seasons. The latter, just as one can take from the name, is a league format, with you creating your own team, choosing your own colours and then going for glory. You can set the amount of players in each team so you can also use this as training for online. The difficulty is also a huge factor in seasons, since the hardest option will really prove to be a challenge. The opponents are in top form, while your AI teammates are insanely dumb, and in several occasions even net against you, ruining all your hard work and effort.
Then there are the friendlies, or as called in-game, Exhibitions. These are simply games to test yourself without any needed competition, even though players would still want to win in this environment. It mostly serves to test out strategies or new teammates, and the possibility to play against human opponents will result in having results for your experiments. Exhibitions are probably the least played game mode in Rocket League since they do not give anything in return, whereas seasons can win you the league and online can net you precious ranking points to scale the leaderboards.
The online multiplayer is the biggest aspect of Rocket League, and the dominant factor of its rise to popularity. This is because it is heaps of fun, with something spectacular almost expected to happen in every match. This is due to the wide variety of tricks one can do with his car, for example twisting and flipping in the air. Nitro can be picked up from pads spread all over the pitch, and you can shoot in the air and hover for a good 10 seconds, and with perfect timing you can net incredible goals from a distance by taking off like a damn aircraft. There are a variety of team sizes one can choose from, ranging from 1v1 to 4v4, depending mostly on party size and selection. A player playing by himself can choose to play in any match, but a team of three can only choose from 3v3 and 4v4 thanks to matchmaking. Pretty logical huh?
Customization also plays a major role in Psyonix’s latest, with the ability of creating your own personal vehicle. In order to keep matches confusion free, the game only lets you pick a shade of both blue and red, so as teams are never using the same colour if for example you would be able to choose any colour available. There is also the ability to change the Nitro trail, the wheels, the chassis itself and even a small flag or antenna which is fixed to the car at the rear. There is also even something which you can place on the roof, mostly headgear like a firefighter hat or a witch’s pointy hat, just for the fun of it. It does not have any use since it won’t hit the ball, but aesthetics play a small part of playing this game.
If Rocket League is great fun, it is also incredibly rage inducing. Countless times I have been on the verge of chucking my controller at the tv or trying to snap it in half. Most of the times this is due to an unlucky bounce of the ball, or also because of a whole series of wrong bounces, for example the ball always shooting towards your own net when colliding with the opponent. Stupid AI teammates, as described before, are also a major contribution to in-game nerves, as even though it is called Artificial INTELLIGENCE, you sometimes see them reversing in their own net instead of going forward for the ball. Nonsense.
Rocket League is an amazing game, offering great and addicting gameplay as well as a solid online experience, whenever lag is not around. It does have its flaws, for example the lag part which is a little too frequent if you ask me, but the good of the game far outweighs these problems, which might not even surface at all. Psyonix definitely took their feedback from the beta which took part in early July, and released a phenomenal game, which is already taking E-Sports by storm. Who knows if I’ll be on the big stage one day?
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.