Rocket League might have been out a number of months on PS4 and PC, but mid February 2016 see’s the Xbox One version released to the world, but will Rocket League fever have the same effect this time around.
For me the hybrid of cars and Football (Soccer) began on the Super Nintendo when I spent more time on the extra mode ‘Soccer’ on Street Racer than the main game, when Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-powered Battle Cars was released on PS3, I was an avid fan, only let down by it’s surprising lack of popularity,
This time round, with a more memorable and easier to decode name, Psyonix have given us the same fun factor we found in their original Destruction Derby title. Rocket League can be played by two teams of between 1 and 4 players with the simple aim of scoring more goals than your opponent.
Simple enough, but there’s something special about Rocket League, the simple target is equally balanced with simplistic controls which while cliche are easy to get hold of but difficult to master.
Firstly there’s the usual brake and accelerate (‘LT’ & ‘RT’) followed by your left stick to turn, flip and rotate in mid air, with the right stick allowing you to twist the camera to view around you, ‘A’ jumps with ‘B’ giving you a boost, the ‘X’ button pulls a powerslide making easy work of picking up the boost refills dotted around the pitch, and finally the ‘Y’ button lets you switch between the camera options that either keep central to your direction of travel, or the direction of the ball.
These are as simple as they sound, and equally as intuitive when your playing, but then you add that the ‘X’ button also allows you to adjust the angle of your vehicle mid-air, with a little practice you’ll soon be landing on 4 wheels ready to chase back after the ball, and then careful use of the jump, double jump and boost can literally se you flying through the air to attack a high bouncing ball, these moments of glory are hit and miss, because you either hit the ball, leaving you feeling epic, or you miss the ball completely and spend the next 30 seconds trying to defend your goal and explain your lack of timing to your team mates.
Team mates is another aspect of gameplay that makes Rocket League even more appealing, If you’re on a team with 3 friends taking on all comers, or in a private match with 7 others randomly switching teams for a consistently fresh challenge you’re gauranteed to have a great laugh, and with the balancing down to perfection, you know from a mile away if it’s a great goal or just a lucky hit.
Over the last 6 months or so, Rocket League has received numerous updates, there’s been three paid add-on packs, the purchase only Delorean from Back to the future. While Xbox One players won’t get the Playstation exclusive Sweet Tooth vehicle from Twisted metal, they will get the best value package of Rocket League so far, this also includes the Mutator additions allowing you to adjust various aspects from game speed, boost amount, ball weight, size, bounciness and plenty of options to completely change up the way you experience and enjoy the match.
Other returns include The Delorean which returns for purchase, and the three already available DLC / add-on packs are all included free of charge and embedded into the game.
This means there’s literally hundreds of items to unlock and Psyonix didn’t want to stop there. We have two exclusive Xbox One Vehicles, firstly the Armadillo from Gears of War, which is a sufficient reward for completing the offline championship.
Secondly the Hogsticker which is the Warthog from the Halo franchise, unlocks after you’ve obtained at least one win with every other vehicle.
But still there’s plenty more from Sunset Overdrive’s Overcharge drink becoming a boost effect, to a Gears of War flag there’s plenty of additional exclusive unlocks as well as the multitude carried over from other versions this means there’s hundreds of unlocks and millions of combinations for giving your desired vehicle a little extra personality.
Obviously many will draw comparisons between PS4, PC & Xbox One versions and more than just the in game content, but you’ll be pleased to know your PC and PS4 friends wont have anything to brag about, Rocket League on the Xbox One runs just as fast and smooth and looks equally as sharp and impressive as a PC on the highest settings, or a PS4.
Over 250 games, I encountered a few game crashes, but these where few and far between and will no doubt be ironed out with a fix before we know it, I’m still unlocking an item after every match, so that gives you an idea of the multitude of unlocks available, and with a proven track record it’s pretty certain more items will be added for every event, holiday and reason imaginable in the coming months.
Sound is identical across all systems, there’s the mild cheer every time you hit the ball and the roar of the crowd accompanied by fireworks, hooters and sirens when a goal is scored, add to that a pretty good, but not overpowering soundtrack and a variety of sound effects depending on your chosen boost there’s always something going on with your ears.
As impressive as the graphics and sound might be, the gameplay is consistently fun and addictive, 250 games, all but one achievement, and I’m still itching to get back onto the game and play some more, not for the unlocks, the rank or even the win, but simply the feeling you get when you make a fantastic play, like a quarterback throwing a 50 yard pass, a footballer taking it past 3 defenders or Master chief single handed saving humanity time and time again, none of it compares to a flying save and seeing ‘Epic Save’ adorn your screen, or beating another car to the ball and knocking a powerful volley into the top corner.