Summary: Soccer meets driving once again in this physics-based multiplayer-focused sequel to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. Choose a variety of high-flying vehicles equipped with huge rocket boosters to score aerial goals and pull-off game-changing saves.
Reviewed on: Xbox One
The painfully elongated wait is finally over and Rocket League has now propelled its way on to the Xbox One. If you’re contemplating whether Rocket League is worth your money, after all Playstation users received it free-of-charge, I’m here to re-assure you that Rocket League is more than worth your money.
Rocket League is actually a spiritual successor to a game that released in 2008 called ‘Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars‘ which is almost as painful to recite as the wait for the Xbox One version of one of 2015’s biggest hits, Rocket League. The original game, which should hereforth be referred to as SARPBC because the full name is definitely a mouthful, really didn’t take off at all and was generally considered ‘mediocre’ by the small amount of gamers and critics that gave SARPBC the time-of-day. However, Psyonix clearly went back to the drawing board and, while maintaining the soul of SARPBC, they improved on nearly everything in that game and out of that came what we now know as Rocket League.
Rocket League immediately garnered a huge amount of success and popularity among gamers and the media alike. Even more impressively, the game basically came out of nowhere and became one of those overnight success stories that are such a rarity in the industry. The absence of the game on the Xbox One was surely a jealousy-inducing pain for many gamers who only own the Xbox One. Rocket League quickly became a go-to game for Twitch streamers and this helped it become one of 2015’s most popular games based on active players. Now, almost a year after the original launch, Rocket League boosts it’s popularity even further by coming to the Xbox One.
For anyone that has maybe been living under a rock, Rocket League is essentially a game of football with a twist: all the players are rocket-booster cars. The standard and most popular mode is a 3-on-3 match, with players on either side competing to push a giant ball into the opposing team’s goal. In order to achieve this, players have a number of movesets at their disposal: boosts, flips, jumps and dashes in order to propel the ball into the other team’s goal. The game also features a respectable number of other modes including: 1v1, 2v2, 4v4 competitive modes, a ‘season’ mode similar to a season in the FIFA series, a ‘league’ mode and then a fair amount of training and practice modes. The latter esecially are crucial for new players to get introduced to the core mechanics of the game.
Matches in Rocker League often last an average of 5 minutes, with the chance of going into overtime if, by the end of the 5 minutes, both teams are in a deadlock. This pick-up-and-play attribute of the game is also integral to it’s enjoyment. Matches aren’t too long that they get boring and they’re not too short that the game feels too throw-away. The length of the matches might make you get the impression that you won’t be playing Rocket League for long sessions but don’t be fooled: If you’ve got an inch of competitiveness, you’ll be playing Rocket League for hours on end. Before you realise, it will be the early hours of the morning and the voice inside your head will still be telling you ‘one more game won’t hurt’ and you’ll be hard-pressed to pull yourself away from the game.
In my time playing Rocket League, I have progressed from a ‘rookie’ to a ‘semi-pro’ (at least, that’s what the game tells me) but aside from the change in ‘rank’, perhaps one of the main reasons behind the game’s success is how genuine and authentic the progression feels. I have adapted my playstyle, learnt new moves and tactics and generally just how to be a better player. This authentic feeling of ‘progression’ is something I don’t always get when playing video games but Rocket League really does nail it and the game is better off for it.
While not a very graphically intensive game, you might still be wondering if the Xbox One version is technically as good as the PS4 and PC versions. At the launch of the PS4 and PC versions, there were a number of bugs and technical issues but it’s safe to say that in the interim period between then and the Xbox One’s version, Psyonix have done well to fix most of these issues and, for the most part, the Xbox One version doesn’t hiccup at all and almost always maintains a solid 60 fps. In my 10+ hours in Rocket League, I did have the game crash on me 2 times but, since the matches are as short as they are, I didn’t really felt like I had ‘lost’ anything. Additionally, I can confirm that the Xbox One’s fan handles Rocket League very well so you won’t hear any of those jet turbo levels of sound that the PS4 version produced.
Simplicity is the secret ingredient in Rocket League’s fun. If the game didn’t nail the ‘feel’ of the game then perhaps the reception of the game would have been very different but everything just ‘clicks’ and works together to create one of the most genuinely enjoying games I have played in a very long time. For instance, even if the physics were ‘off’ then Rocket League most likely would have ended up being terrible. If the movement and the jumping were ‘off’ and the player didn’t feel as if they were in control then, again, the game could have ended up a disaster. But it’s the amalgamation of all these different elements just working that makes your experience of Rocket League such a treat.
+ Insane amounts of fun
+ Amalgamation of the game’s mechanics which are spot on
+ Exclusive Halo & Gears of War vehicles
– While it’s rare, the game can crash on you