Rocket League Review – Hat Trick (PS4)
The best multiplayer games always have one thing in common: they are easy to pick up and play, but have the depth necessary to facilitate high-level play. Developer Psyonix Studios, who is best known for their 2009 PlayStation 3 release Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, have now released a follow-up after six years. The much shorter named Rocket League, combines high-powered trucks with fast-paced soccer action. Sound fun? It is.
The first thing players will notice when hopping into their first game of Rocket League is that the game has an impressive sense of speed. Despite featuring some massive vehicles, every single one can move across the game field quickly. Add in the ability to collect turbo bursts, and you have giant trucks going at some crazy speeds all in order to push a giant ball into a net.
The controls are very simple, although mastery will still require a lot of work. Like a standard racing game, the DualShock 4’s triggers will control your truck’s acceleration. Turbo, which is replenished by power-ups, is mapped onto the circle button. Finally, players can make their vehicle jump into the air with a tap of the cross button.
A lot of the depth found in Rocket League occurs in the air. Players can tilt the car with the analog stick, which means players can make the vehicles pull off some dope stunts such as front flips. This comes into play frequently with how physics-based the gameplay is. Skillful players will be able to put spin on the ball by hitting it in different areas. Oh, and you can also double jump which adds even more wacky action to Psyonix’s latest release.
As stated earlier, Rocket League is largely based off the beautiful game of soccer. This means that players are constantly trying to put a ball into the back of a net, each goal is worth a single point so scoring is easy to keep track of. Thanks to the games, rounded fenced in arenas there are no out-of-bounds areas to worry about.
Sweet Tooth Approved
Matches can be played with as few as two people (one on each side), upwards to eight players. While all of the different configurations were fun, I found it to be a tad bit too hectic with eight players. Six player matches seemed to provide the best balance of teamwork, while still being able to keep up with the action. Advanced level play will require players to play positions, and not just the ball. This means having goalkeepers, strikers and a midfielder just like soccer.
Due to the game’s tight controls, and fun concept, Rocket League is some of the most fun you can have on a gaming console today. It has something for both competitive and cooperative gamers, as it requires teamwork to overcome a good opponent. It is worth noting, however, that the game’s servers have been up and down in the first week. While, the servers have gotten better (and have been stable as of late), it is one area that Psyonix will have to keep an eye on. The game loses a lot of its appeal when it cannot be played with others online (although local multiplayer is also available).
Best With Others
Besides its robust multiplayer, Rocket League also boasts several single player modes. The most robust of which is the season mode that allows players to partake in a 9 to 36 week calendar. Players will then compete in a playoff to determine an overall winner. This mode is a fun diversion, and should train players to be decent before heading online.
To make the game’s high-level play more accessible, Psyonix has included an in-depth tutorial and several training mini-games. These mini-games will help players get better at goaltending, making proper shots, and moving in the air. All the tools are there for any player to become better at Rocket League as long as they put in the time.
Despite Psyonix giving players a lot of ways to play solo, it never manages to be the compelling experience it is when played with others. This is just the nature of the genre, however, as no matter how skilled the CPU is, it is never exactly like playing with someone who you can communicate with.
In terms of hooks to keep players coming back for more, Rocket League features plenty of unlocks. These all come in the form of car customization. Players can change different car models, paint-jobs and even put hats on their vehicles. A certain psychotic clown’s vehicle even appears as a nice in-game touch.
While you may be going too fast to ever truly appreciate just how good Rocket League looks during gameplay, you can count the individual blades of grass during replays. Psyonix has made an absolutely gorgeous game, that runs without any hint of slowdown. There are several different stadiums to play in, each with their own gorgeous aesthetic. Some even have weather effects that take full advantage of the PlayStation 4’s power.
Simply put, Rocket League is one of the best titles on PlayStation 4. It manages to flawlessly blend fast-paced racing with a sport that is familiar to millions. The depth is there to keep players coming back for years to come, and Psyonix has done a masterful job in creating one of the best multiplayer experiences yet.
Rocket League was downloaded as a part of PlayStation Plus. Reviewed on PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here