At some point, certain people looked at the beautiful game of soccer and decided that there clearly wasn't enough motor oil or nitrous involved. Those were the people at developer Psyonix, who put together an interesting blend of driving and soccer together for the PlayStation 3 called Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. Now Psyonix has set the scope a little bigger with its PlayStation 4 follow-up, more simply titled Rocket League, and the result is some high-octane fun.
Motoring onto the Pitch
Rocket League is exactly as the premise describes, taking motor vehicles and putting them on a soccer pitch. The idea is to 'kick' a giant ball into the opposing team's goal, essentially re-creating a giant game of soccer. It's an idea that works exceedingly well, especially considering that the game focuses on simplicity and realistic physics.
There are no power-ups (aside from occasional nitro boosts), no clever boosts, or all-powerful weaponry to help turn the tide in any significant way. What you have is the same as the opponent, even if everyone doesn't quite look the same. Everyone is on an even playing field and has the exact same abilities, which largely involves driving cars forward, speeding up, turning on a dime to chase the ball around, and bumping opponents around.
Speeding Things Up
Rocket League benefits from its concept by tossing aside some of the more undesirable elements of soccer. There are no fouls or flops, no out-of-bounds rules (since games unfold within a dome), and no stoppages in play with the exception of scores. In fact, there are no referees to speak of, period. This allows the game to unfold at a much quicker pace, allowing users to get games in over a short period. Typical Rocket League matches are set for five minutes and when factoring in scores and replays, a whole session runs no longer than 15 minutes.
The simplicity and increased flow also makes Rocket League an easy barrier of entry to a broad degree of players. It's entirely possible to pull off keen-looking maneuvers, like bicycle kicks and forward flips by jumping and flipping around with the right analog stick. However, chasing the ball, defending by clearing balls out, or taking shots by striking the ball are skils that anyone can pick up. Switching between the standard third-person perspective and the ball cam can be a bit hairy, but it's easy to grasp after a couple of sessions.
Rocket League's customization is also one of its strong suits, allowing players to unlock new paint styles or decals over the course of several sessions. The upgrades are all purely cosmetic and focus on making your car your own by allowing for custom paint patters, smoke trail colors, and even different antenna toppers.
It's unclear how long Rocket League's online shelf life is, but the online experience was something of a mixed bag. While I had some bad luck attempting to connect to several sessions, the online games I did play unfolded without incident. One game even connected me to a European server, where I proceed to play a full session of lag-free soccer. Even if the online community dwindles, Rocket League benefits from competent bot play, as well as local split-screen play for up to four players. Two or more players taking to the pitch is a recipe for some good times on the couch, especially when it's two people each bringing a team of bots along for the ride.
As far as soccer games go, Rocket League stands out as a fantastic alternative to the more serious sports outings out there. The quickened pace and numerous customization options make this game a more intriguing and unconventional multiplayer option, but one that's definitely worth taking onto the pitch.
This review is based on a PlayStation 4 review code provided by the publisher. Rocket League is available now on the PlayStation Store and Steam for $19.99. The game is rated E10+.
- Simple to pick up and play
- Highly competitive
- Online, offline, and bot multiplayer options
- Numerous customization options
- Floaty physics
- Online play not always stable
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Rocket League review: premium league
Played some of this yesterday, great fun except the online servers were down. Would love to play some sharknews nerds.
My friend is in love with this game. He really likes soccer.
I can't stand football and I fucking love this game :)
it's the cars isn't it? ;)
its really great to get back into flying into soccer balls again. a little disappointed at the score explosions, they don't feel as shocking as the previous game. the levels are a little bland just being soccer fields. it really needs the horseshoe and pirate ship levels for maximum chaos and fun.
Free on PS+, so everyone should check it out. play the basic training, or advanced if you want to learn how to fly!
I played a 9 game career with some bots and it was really fun!
couple goals from my game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09ue35Y84y0
can anyone explain how replays work? why didn't it upload the whole match?
FYI, you can dodge, roll and fly in this game.
Double tap jump and hold a direction to dodge. this is especially useful to "strafe" or to get ahead of you opponent in a sprint.
To fly, aim your car up when jumping, and start boosting while balancing your car. wheeeeeeeeee.
Man I played a few games of this online last night... Way more fun than I thought it'd be.
Was playing against bots all night last night. Great fun. Still haven't been able to find an online match though.