What started as Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, grew into the game which millions of players have come to know and love: Rocket League. Racing RC cars and trying to bump the soccer ball into the opposing team’s net sounds boring, but I promise, it is a whole hell of a lot crazier than what I just described.
Initially, when I picked up Rocket League, I was skeptical about how much fun I was going to have. In my first game, I was in awe over how some players can do these perfect flips in the air, which would hit the ball in precisely the right way to make it go in the net. After messing around with the controls of the game, I can tell you I wasn’t much better… and then it hit me.
No, seriously, the ball hit me, and I started chasing it. After hitting the ball a couple times while staying stationary on the ground, the ball bounced in and I was rewarded with a goal. “Oh.” pondered myself, as I was thinking of a better use of my time, like maybe going back and doing something more satisfying like watching paint dry. “But wait there Skyler.” the readers replied. “I thought you said that millions of players came to knew and love this game, you can’t base your whole experience off of this one incident” Well, good sir/madam, I drove around pointlessly and somehow got a goal in the first game I played. The whole goal was unsatisfying; I was rewarded to doing practically nothing and there was just no excitement or reward attached to that goal. The first experience was as poor as it could be, like tasting Diet Coke for the first time – flat and gross. It wasn’t until I played a few more games that I started getting used to the weird physics that was in Rocket League that I started getting the hang of it.
On the Xbox One, the game looks visually stunning, with great detail being shown on the cars themselves, the gripping walls, and the cartoon-like explosions with the caption “Boom!”. This is matched with the crisp audio fidelity featured within Rocket League and combines to make for a quality, flashy experience. There is nothing like that moment where you score an amazing goal, only to see it replayed in a crisp, 60FPS – 1080P resolution. Through my experience, there was no frame-rate drops, or at least any that I can notice, and the game played like new silk on skin, buttery smooth. I normally wouldn’t talk about this, but as of late, games have been shipping with graphical and audio glitches which seem to dumb down the experience, which is something I have never experienced with my time in Rocket League, though, your mileage may vary.
Yeah, the lucky feeling of hitting the ball into the net while barrel-rolling mid-flight happened from time to time, but it was rare enough that when it did happen, it made me chuckle and aim to do something even crazier the next time around. After becoming a regular player of the 3v3 Standard rules, I became more skilled. I knew when to hit the ball and how to hit the ball in such an angle that it would go towards the net. I quickly became aware of the games mechanics, from driving up walls, to boosting into other vehicles to destroy them and give the other team a slight disadvantage. Using these mechanics to my knowledge, I’d like to believe I’ve gotten better and enjoyed my experience with the game more because of that. For the newcomer, I would strongly recommend getting to know how the cars move and learn the core mechanics of the game before jumping in, because your experience will be much greater than if you were to just jump in without knowledge.
Rocket League has an obscene amount of unlockables, ranging from body kits to exhaust colors, making the game that much more replayable. Through the several hours of game time I’ve enjoyed, I’d collected about %75 of the unlockables in the game, making me feel like coming back for %100 completion. The content you can unlock is great too, with everything being purely cosmetic and not affecting gameplay at all, it’s nice to see everyone on the field with a variety of different customizations. Want to drive around in a warthog, with a red paintjob, shooting out pink exhaust when you boost? All the power to you!
Whether you are playing the game competitively or with friends, there is a game mode with your name on it. Playing in ‘1v1’ all the way up to ‘4v4’ modes in both unranked and ranked game modes offers an experience for every different player when playing online. This being said, it makes for a poor experience for those wishing to enjoy locally – a downside for those wishing to play the game offline. Playing Rocket League locally with only two players is like playing a game of Monopoly or Risk with only two players: Not enough participation to make the experience enjoyable. Those really wanting to experience Rocket League in all of it’s glory would be wise to play online in the 3v3 and 4v4 game modes. It’s just hectic enough to create a fair bit of challenge, even for those more experienced players in the arena.
After all of the time I plunged into this game, I must say that it’s the perfect wind-down game to a long-stressful day. Whether you take the game seriously and compete, or sit on the couch for a relaxing mind-numbing title, Rocket League will make for a great addition to anyone’s collection.