- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One
- Suggested Platform: PC, probably, but I only own it on PS4.
- Developer: Psyonix
- Genre: Sports.
- Release Date: 07/07/15 (PS4 and PC)
- Why Play It?: Incredibly fun, regardless of your skill level.
- Why Skip It?: If you can’t or are opposed to playing online. The majority of enjoyment from this game comes from online play. AI is pretty bad.
- Video Link: You Should be Playing Rocket League
Rocket League is a title that sort of shocked everyone. I actually saw some clips of it online during the beta and knew I had to get in on it. So I signed up for the beta, got in, and had a blast. I was sold. Little did I know that I wouldn’t have to be sold, as the day it came out, it was released as the free game for PlayStation Plus, PlayStation Network’s premium feature. Then Rocket League took off, like a… Rocket. It got immensely popular, and now, if you haven’t heard of Rocket League, you might as well be living under a rock. And you’re missing out. Rocket League is kind of interesting for me. It takes my two least favorite genres of games (racing and sports) and melds them into something that is so much more than just a sports game. An added bonus is that it’s the only game my girlfriend actually wants to play.
Rocket League is simple to understand, difficult to master. It’s soccer with small cars. Supersonic, acrobatic, rocket-powered battle cars to be exact. So pretty much, just drive around and hit the over-sized ball into the opponent’s over-sized goal without letting them do the same to you. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, Rocket League is as much a sports game as it is a physics game. So you’ll need to think about the angles of the arena, and the speed and direction of the ball and your car… Or you might end up setting up an opponent for an easy shot… Or missing the ball altogether. At first, everyone just kind of plays like puppies; everyone chases the ball around the field in the hopes that they’ll hit it the right way. Once you start improving, you can use dodge rolls to move quickly around the map and redirect the path of the ball, and eventually, you can use your boost to fly and hit the ball before it even comes close to hitting the ground.
Rocket League features a few different modes of play. You have an exhibition mode, where you can play on any map with a number of customization options. Adjust the time, goal limit, shape, size, and speed of the ball, or even go for low-gravity mode. In exhibition mode, you can play with friends locally, online, bots, and any combination of bots and people. There’s an offline tournament mode with all computer controlled teams as you pick a team and go for the gold.
You can also play co-op with friends in this mode. There are plenty of practice scenarios, a tutorial, and a free play mode, allowing you to practice as much as you want before you take it to the real meat and potatoes of Rocket League, online play. The AI is pretty terrible and predictable, there’s not a whole lot of playability offline. Online has casual, unranked matches of Solo (1v1), Doubles, (2v2), Standard (3v3), and Chaos (4v4). For a limited time as well, they are testing new maps on a 3v3 playlist called Rocket Labs. They also have ranked play for Solo, Doubles, and Standard. There is also a special ranked playlist called Solo Standard, where pre-created teams are not allowed; you have to go in on your own, and your teammates have to do the same. You can then rise through the divisions seeking the coveted “Champion” title. Every normal match is 5 minutes long and goes to a golden goal style overtime if the match is tied at the end of the 5 minutes; there is never a draw in Rocket League.
As you play Rocket League, you’ll unlock plenty of customization options for you car. Select different bodies, decals, rims, antennas, toppers, and even customize your boost effect. Each match will unlock another part for customization (until you collect all the normal gear), and there is a small chance of coming across an “uncommon” part. Even though the teams are always blue versus orange, there are a multitude of colors considered “blue” and “orange”. For the blue team, you can be any shade of blue to teal and even purple, and orange team lets you be red, yellow and even pink. You’re free to color your decal however you choose.
Rocket League was kind of a breakout hit, because Psyonix is not exactly a big name in gaming. Not only that, but they actually had a game that is almost identical for the PlayStation 3 that only few people knew about, titled Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars or SARPBC for (kind of) short. It never really took off the way Rocket League did, perhaps because of the mouthful of a name or perhaps because of the cartoony presentation.
Either way, they cut it down, streamlined it, fixed it up and gave it a new coat of (gorgeous) paint, and re-released it as Rocket League. The crowd went wild. Interestingly enough, the PC and PS4 versions of Rocket League have cross-platform play, so you could be playing online against a PC player while you’re playing on your PS4 or vice-versa.
Rocket League‘s attention to detail is amazing. The cars look great, and each blade of grass (or turf-grass?) can be seen. The music is electronic, trance style, but only plays on the menus; there is no music during matches. The sound effects are satisfying, from the crowd gasping when you pluck an aerial ball out of the sky to blowing up the opposition by boosting into them at maximum speed.
Rocket League is such a great game because it’s all on the player. You can actually feel yourself improving, and there is nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment you get from scoring a spectacular aerial goal or making that last second save. So get out there and give Rocket League a try! See you on the field!