Release Date: July 7th 2015
Genre: Sports, Racing, Football/Soccer
Football meets rocket-powered vehicles in Rocket League, the frantic and chaotic new title from developer Psyonix in which two teams of up to four players battle it out in crazy physics-defying wall climbing arenas for victory. The game is available on PC and PS4, the latter of which gave Rocket League away as part of July’s Playstation Plus offerings which quite frankly is the only reason I gave the game a try initially as its £15 retail value is a little steep.
That said I’m so glad I did, as Rocket League is one of the most enjoyable multiplayer experiences I’ve had in some time. You can play against the CPU or against friends in a local or online capacity; the former is something that is hugely lacking in the modern gaming era so it’s a true breath of fresh air being able to play some good old fashioned split screen action.
And what action there is. You’ll start playing by basically attempting to smash the ball in the vague direction of your opponents goal, as a free-for-all breaks out due to every player on the field attempting to gain possession. As time progresses and familiarity with the game sets in you’ll hopefully utilize a more team-based tactic – crossing the ball towards the goal area in the hope that a teammate can tap it in via a jumping forward flip, or being back in your own goal to clear what would have been a certain goal had you been simply ball chasing like you were a few games before. Moments like these are as satisfying as scoring, which itself has a cool feature where the ball explodes upon hitting the goal, sending everyone in the immediate vicinity flying back towards the half way line ready for the next kick off.
That said frustration can set in easily. As awesome as it is putting in that perfect cross or saving that certain goal sometimes that just doesn’t happen. It’s understandable in a way as Top Gear have shown playing football with cars is rather difficult, so adding rocket powered vehicles with the ability to jump can be downright impossible to manoeuvre – especially with up to seven other players who will crash into you regularly, friend or foe. I’ve cursed more times than I care to count when jumping and totally missing the ball, or smashing it helplessly towards my own goal and watching in horror as it trickles in. That’s probably more to do with my lack of progressive ability above all else though, as I’ve played several matches online against players who can move the ball around like Maradona carving up the England defence in 1986, so with practice I’m sure most frustrations found in this game can be avoided. Another minor annoyance is with 4 vs 4 games which takes me back to the point about being frequently knocked around by other players, they can be a little too chaotic so I prefer playing no more than 3 vs 3.
There are plenty of features to keep you coming back to play game after game, aside from the fun factor. After every game, win or lose, you receive either new vehicles or features for them including decals, wheels and even hats and coloured trails when you hit the nitro boost button. The PS4 version also has a reasonably easy trophy list for those Platinum hunters out there too, but even once you’ve done that the sheer enjoyment factor ensures that this can be an excellent go-to game for years to come. I highly recommend Rocket League, it’s brilliant.
Ridiculously fun, simple gameplay
Local up to four player multiplayer is a welcome addition
Plenty of unlockables to customise your vehicles
Can be frustrating to play during the learning process
Lack of game modes (single match, online single match or a tournament mode)
Steep asking price at £15