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Rocket League

Rocket League smashes vehicle physics with soccer to make an intense, addicting, and hilarious game. Customize your toy car and hurdle towards the net to score a goal, while trying not explode and playing defense against the opposing team.

Publisher: Psyonix
Playerbase: High
Type: Physics-based Vehicle Soccer Game
Release Date: July 07, 2015
Pros: +Single-player mode. +Splitscreen support. +Cross-platform play. +Cinematic replays. +Controller support.
Cons: -Imbalanced bots (when used). -No match abandoning punishment. -Known crashes (for some players)

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Overview

Rocket League Overview

Rocket League is a physics based mashup of soccer and driving, the sequel to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. Players take to the field with rocket powered matchbox cars, and drive full throttle into an enormous soccer ball, with the goal of ramming the ball into the opposing team's net. Impressive physics see cars flying in every direction as their momentum smashes into the ball. Matches can be played between two and eight players on the field, across a number of visually impressive stadiums and to the cheer of vuvzelas. Customize your vehicle with colors, hats, flags, and decals, while unlocking new cars to drive as you play. Splitscreen support lets you play locally with up to three friends or test your skills online against other players. Ranked games track every stat, from goals to assists, while saved replays capture matches to let you study your game, or show off acrobatic abilities.

Rocket League Key Features:

  • Unlockable items - Unlock new vehicles and customize your car with hats, colors, and decals.
  • Cross-platform play - PC and Playstation 4 players compete against each other in intense matches.
  • Splitscreen Support - cut your screen and play with 2, 3, or 4 friends locally or go online and test your teamwork.
  • Leaderboards - track your wins, losses, assists, and goals to rise in the leaderboards and become the best.
  • Broadcast Replays - fast-forward, rewind, and watch your matches in high quality replays.

Rocket League Screenshots

Rocket League Featured Video

Full Review

Rocket League Review

By, Sean Sullivan

Rocket League is two arenas blended together into a delicious smoothie unlike any other game. I’ve played FIFA before and expected something similar to the Cuju inspired sport. The field says soccer, the blaring horns of the crowd say soccer, and the round ball says soccer, but Rocket League is nothing like the game played by 250 million people. Instead, it’s more like an imaginative child reenacting scenes in front of a television with Matchbox cars, as his father yells “Goooooool!” Rocket League takes physics to its natural end; smashing cars into each other while they ram into balls. It’s breathtaking fun, that’s both intense and hilarious.

Gameplay

Matches are played between two to eight players, divided between 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4. But the standard match is 3v3, and that’s enough toys on one turf to be chaotic—even though 4v4 is aptly named Chaos. Both teams start at opposite ends of the field, with the gunmetal ball safely situated in the middle. The goal: to knock the futuristic inflatable into the opposing team’s net by any means necessary. And that means flooring the pedal and colliding at maximum speed, using the game’s physics to the best of your ability. And when the ball slides into the net it explodes, sending every car soaring. No scored point has ever been so satisfying.

Matches are quick bursts. Typically they take no more than five minutes—perfect for players looking to jump in and out of a game. And even though it’s quick, nearly every match is exhilarating. Scattered throughout the field are gleaming orange lights, that when driven over fill up your vehicle's boost gauge. Activating boost puts Vin Diesel in the driver’s seat, as you move at ludicrous speeds. Using it to your advantage you can easily swoop in and knock the ball into the net. The sides of the court are sloped. So, gain enough speed and you fly through the air momentarily, even enabling you to drive on the ceiling if you’re moving fast enough.

All games need to let you jump, and Psyonix did not forget to check it off. Jumping in the air you can intercept the ball, or jump forward in a somersault to gain a quick boost. There’s even a Starfox-stylized barrel roll, perfect for knocking the ball when it’s parallel to your car. Or you can jump and use boost to temporarily turn your car into a rocket, and intercept the ball while in flight. Controls are simple, but actually using them to your advantage in the high-speed arena is not as easy as it seems.

Controls

Upon loading Rocket League for the first time you’re informed that using a controller is the optimal way to play. And like Rise of Incarnates, plugging in an Xbox controller, or similar, makes gameplay far smoother. Although the game’s not impossible to play with keyboard and mouse, it does feel disconnected from the PC controls. And while a personal opinion, I’ve always found the analog stick to be preferable for driving games. It’s more fluid feeling as you turn with the left analog stick and use the right to alter the camera—more intuitive than WASD.

The camera can be alternated between third-person locked on the ball. Each angle has its place. When your view is locked it can obscure other players around you, particularly when the ball's bounced into the air. Whereas keeping your camera free can reveal opportune moments to sideswipe players and steal a goal. Alternating between the two camera views allows for more versatility on the field.

As I became more comfortable with the controls I learned when and when not to go after the ball. Hitting it at just the right angles is paramount to winning a game. It’s so easy to mistakenly attack the ball at the wrong time and send it towards your own net. I’ve scored against myself, a humiliating moment like flashbanging my own team in a Counter-Strike 1.6 scrim.

Aesthetics

Rocket League is gorgeous to look at, fully utilizing Unreal Engine 3. It doesn’t take itself seriously and the aesthetic style mirrors the ridiculous nature of the game with bold, bright colors and smoothed edgings. Every cartoon blade of grass moves in the wind as the flag you may or may not have equipped wavers. It’s an impressive amount of detail for a game inseparable from toy cars. But you couldn’t smash Forza cars together and have half as much fun.

Rocket League’s soundtrack is fantastic. Composer Mike Ault created the perfect mix of sounds to surge blood through the veins, with electronic beats I would want to hear while speeding down the autobahn. And every sound effect emphasizes impact, whether it be cars colliding or the thud of you vehicle swerving into the ball.

Customization

There are, perhaps, 10 billion possible combinations of customizable parts, according to the game description. And while I’m not sure how accurate that number is the garage is quite extensive. What vehicle you choose to drive and how it looks has no effect on gameplay, except to look slick as you barrel down the court. Customizing your car’s colors within the limits of blue and orange shades is a nice touch. And you can even throw on a slick decal—flames make you go faster. Psyonix made sure to include hats, a decision I imagine was made with no protest. I unlocked my favorite Fez hat early on, and combined my stylish cap with a Saturn antenna.

I was bit surprised at how fast you unlock new items. Perhaps, too fast. But seeing as how customization has no effect on gameplay I don’t see it as a hindrance. It made me want to play more, because with each level I looked forward to what I was going to unlock next.

Teamwork

By default Rocket League plays out like fetch, a twisted addition to Best in Show; there is little to no teamwork going on. Every player swarms the ball like its doused with pheromones. But it's clear that a coordinated team could dominate any PUG. Simply by being on Mumble or Skype to say “I got it!” would alleviate many friendly car crashes that give the opposing team an advantage. Although there’s nothing wrong with Pugs; the chaos of every match is endlessly entertaining.

I do wish there was an option to play with the same team from match to match. I’ve played too many games where players disconnect, leaving two players to verse three, or three to verse four. And a team that’s down one player is at a severe disadvantage. There ought to be an incentive to stop players from abandoning matches, at least in ranked games. Game’s are so short I don’t see why anyone would abandon. It’s not a waste of time to finish the match; they’re entertaining whether you win or lose.

Seasons

Rocket League does come with a single-player mode called Seasons where players compete against bots in a competitive ladder. It's a nice touch to play the game offline considering how many releases are dependent on an ethernet cable. Although, Rocket League is undoubtedly designed for online play, the single-player mode should appeal to those who prefer the company of bots or simply want to earn a greater grasp of the game’s mechanics before testing themselves online.

There are tournaments, but they can only be accessed through your browser on Rocket League's main website. Anyone can create a tournament or league, joining with a team. You can set up your own logo, feature a description, and have a banner. Since it's not integrated with the game client I'm hoping to see some form of announcement that spreads the news. The competitive scene should undoubtedly grow. After playing it's clear there there is a high skill curve.

Final Verdict - Excellent

Rocket League deserves to be a Top Seller. The price tag is a bit steep for what it offers, but the immense fun I had justifies the game for me. Harnessing physics for a ridiculous cross section between Hot Wheels and FIFA is the perfect example of a novel experience that keeps giving long after the holiday season has ended. It’s simple, quick, and easy to learn while being both competitive and highly amusing at the same time. Matches are tense, as players flock the ball like coupon-clipping mothers on Black Friday. It’s great fun, and I can’t recommend Rocket League enough.

Screenshots

Rocket League Screenshots

Videos

Rocket League Videos

System Requirements

Rocket League System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
CPU: Core 2 Duo E4400 2.0GHz or Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4000+
Video Card: GeForce 8800 GS or Radeon HD 2900 GT
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 2 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
CPU: Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz or APU A6-3600 Quad-Core
Video Card: GeForce GTX 260 v2 or Radeon HD 5850 1024MB
RAM: 4GB
Hard Disk Space: 2 GB

Music

Rocket League Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Rocket League Additional Information

Developer(s): Psyonix
Engine: Unreal Engine 3
Composer(s): Mike Ault

Other Platforms: Playstation 4

Announcement Date: February 19, 2014
Closed Alpha: February 01, 2014
Beta: January 15, 2015 (PC)

Release Date: July 07, 2015

Steam Release Date: July 07, 2015

Development History / Background:

Rocket League is developed by American video game development company Psyonix. It is the sequel to the 2008 game Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars (SARPBC). Psyonix announced the project on February 19, 2014, and made an Alpha version of the game playable the same month. An official launch date was announced on June 03, 2015, and Sweet Tooth's car from Twisted Metal was announced as an exclusive unlockable for the PS4 version of the game. Rocket League released through Steam on July 07, 2015, and was part of the Instant Game Collection on PS4 in North America. Psyonix is also developing the humans versus vampire PvP game Nosgoth for PC.