Rocket League Review (PS4)
Stu plays a “sports” game he actually likes!
Rocket league. The first thought to my mind wasn’t micro machine cars smashing into each other to get a giant ball into a goal, but that is exactly what Rocket League, from Psyonix, is. A sports game with a difference. You kart your preferred machine around an arena trying to get the ball into the opposition’s goal. I wouldn’t even know what sports to combine to try to correctly, and justly, explain the game. I will try though; football, ice hockey and wacky races. That last one, for you eagle-eyed readers, isn’t actually a sport. It does aptly describe the hilarity and manic action that can be found in-game.
Now, I feel I have to mention I am not a fan of sports games. But after viewing .gifs and watching amazing plays on YouTube I had to try the game for myself. Boy am I glad I did. There isn’t a single moment in this game where you aren’t totally engrossed by it. This is both good and bad. You will find that you are either grinning like a Cheshire Cat or screaming at your disembodied team, as if you are able to somehow scorn them through the static void.
Visually the styling is perfect for the cartoon violence and semi-realistic physics. I say semi as there is at least some semblance of gravity. The Boom you see on a detonation is straight out of a Warner Bros. or Hannah Barbara cartoon of old. When I mentioned Wacky Races earlier I really do feel its humour is perfectly captured here.
Multiplayer, the best and pretty much only part of the game. You will spend the entirety of your Rocket League career here finding games with your friends, or randoms (bleurgh). Now the shortfall of all online multiplayer games is being stuck with other noobs. So I will discuss the better part of online multiplayer. Teaching said noobs that they will wish for the sweet release of pain rather than mess with your squad again. The games are fraught with exciting moments and nail-biting plays. Nothing beats scoring that last second goal to put the icing on that great big cake that is the scoreboard. Relishing in your opponent’s anguish as you allow the replay to play in full. Now I may be sounding like I take glory in others misery. Not at all, but I do enjoy the feeling of that side smile that escapes your usually stone stiff face as your friends discuss how “epic” or “awesome” one of your perfectly executed maneuvers was.
Gameplay is controlled entirely by your capabilities. It can be a steep learning curve when you’re pitted against obviously superior opponents. This is how you learn! Hard graft will chisel your shapeless marble into David. This can be viewed as copying, but how are your next opponents going to know? I have seen some nicely timed moves in-game, and I have seen far better in the world of internets. If you do have a squad then you can sort out positions, and in contrast to every other sport the most skilled person should probably be in goal. Reading the game as it evolves, and controlling the tempo with well placed clearances. You’ll see the game change from one end to the other almost instantly. A long clear could spell disaster for either side, as the race for control of the ball begins again. The arena you compete in will have boost pickups littered over it. These juice your car into the titular “Rocket”, and when pulled off correctly can earn you some serious bragging rights within your team. Being first to a ball means nothing when it falls to a gifted opponent.
My personal favourite position to play is Goon. The guy who hits/stops/demolishes the others. Which in some cases can be just as important as connecting with the ball. Stopping a boost charge or detonating an opponent before they are able to stop the ball as it goes to its home is a skill in itself.
Get this game, seriously get it. I can’t recommend this highly enough. There is going to be something for even the least sports friendly of you. Remember to share your awesomeness with the world too. If you are one of those gamers that prefers to tea bag your opponent than honour their passing then you’ll love infuriating people in this as you allow the replay to go the distance. This game brings a tear to this gamer’s eye as it proves new and exciting things can come from old concepts. At it’s heart this is cars playing football with walls (and a ceiling), but in practice this is a brilliant physics based sports game that has shown it can play with the big boys.
8 big bouncing balls out of 10