Rocket League seems to have got quite the cult following over on the PlayStation 4 and having seen our friends over at midlifegamer.net having such a blast with it made me quite jealous.
Not any more, thanks to Xbox One release of Rocket League. In case you haven’t heard of it here is a quick explanation of how it works. If you have ever seen Top Gear, where they play football with cars, it’s like that except with better physics, rocket powered cars that flip and fly all over the place, giving you the chance to score some brilliant goals but also make some awesome saves. Because Xbox One players have had to wait a bit longer, we are essentially getting a ‘Game of the Year’ version with built in DLC and access to Xbox exclusive cars from Halo and Gears of War.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been completely obsessed with a game within seconds of starting, naturally I ignored the tutorials and threw myself straight into an online match. I won my first match 3-1 and scored, I lost hours after that playing match after match.
Each match is made up of anything from 1v1 up to 4v4, each match is five minutes long and the aim is to score more times than your opponent, if the scores are tied after the time is up, the game goes into overtime and the first team to score wins. The online matches are excellent though in true Xbox One tradition, there were plenty of teething problems with parties and lag during matches but some patches seem to have fixed this. If you are playing friends you’ll probably spend a lot of time playing in private matches with your friends.
If you manage to put together a good team, its worth playing in ranked mode, where you will come accross some great players and get involved in some tense matches. I can’t remeber the last time a game had me throwing myself forward in my chair in order to help the car get more contact with the ball!
Away from the online games you can play exhibition matches or play through a season mode. Season mode is a good distraction, you can create you own team and take on other teams over a set period of weeks. The AI is a bit of a mixed bag, if you play through on Rookie difficulty your team mates are more of hindrance and the opponents are hapless, but move up a level and they become world beaters, scoring all over the place.
Much like football there are tactics to deploy, skill involved and also a lot of luck. The physics are spot on, making good use of speed and getting your angles right are key to scoring and defending. Your cars have the ability to jump, button pressing the jump button a second time with a direction held performs a somersault, barrel roll, or bicycle kick. Each car has a limited amount of boost that can replenished on the field of play at the various pick up points. Timing these boosts right will help you attack the ball with more power and if you manage to block your opponents there is a chance you will blow them up, essentially creating a mini power play whilst they are respawning. With practice you’ll soon be flying through the air scoring some incredible goals.
At the end of a game you are presented with your scores, based on your performance in the match, you are rewarded for various actions during the match, goals, assists, clean strikes of the ball and saving goals are just some of the things you can be recognised for. The best player gets the MVP award and all your points convert to XP. The more points you get the more modifications you can unlock for your car, check out my nifty top hat for example – the smoke that comes out the back of my car when I activate my boost is green too. All great, except it makes no difference to how you actually play the game. There was a real opportunity to do more with the game, for example cars that were tougher would be useful as defenders, but they would be slow and turn like, trucks; faster cars could have been great attackers but easy to destroy.
Ultimately though it doesn’t really matter, because the game is just great fun to play, it’s already become TiX’s multiplayer game of choice, and I’m already 20 hours into playing. For £15.99 you are getting a bargain, it’s a great game with excellent support and you are guaranteed to have a blast.