Rocket League is one of the finest examples of a game that is more than the sum of its parts. When it debuted on the PC and PS4 last summer, it was a runaway hit that spawned lots of optional DLC and developed a rabid competitive community. In the time since then, Xbox owners have had to sit idly by and wait their turn to set out on to the virtual pitch in a ridiculously customized car to play the weirdest game of soccer you have ever seen. Well, the wait is finally over and with the exception of a little graphical inconsistency, the game isn’t really any worse for the wear.
If you have been living in a dark cave with no access to the internet for the last ten months you might be wondering, “What is Rocket League?” The answer is pretty simple. Rocket League is a game of soccer where you are a car instead of a person. The cars drive in a very arcade-y manner that forgoes the intricate handling models of most contemporary car games and feels very reminiscent of an R/C car driving in a sandbox. Everything is immediate and responsive in a manner that gives the game a speed to it that is exhilarating and will often make you yelp in frustration or giggle with glee.
The game’s handling model has another important ripple to it that makes the game more like soccer. Your cars can jump and flip, giving the player the ability to reenact high flying soccer style moves like bicycle kicks and scissor kicks by simply hitting the A Button and moving the left stick in a directing and hitting the A Button, again. The simple control scheme in Rocket League and natural pick-up-and-play gameplay make it the kind of game that once you see it you have to grab the controller from the person next to you and give it a go, as well. Luckily for PS4 and Xbox One players, the game does support split-screen multiplayer that will even support two-players on one console playing online with others.
The list of modes in the game is a little modest, with the only real option being the amount of players per-side are in the game (between 1-4 per-side). In my experience, I have always preferred 2-2 or 3-3 matches. The hectic nature of the game makes 4vs4 games feel unfocused and sloppy, although it can be a nice change of pace.
The graphics in Rocket League have always been one of the strongest facets of the game. That doesn’t really change here. The environments still look fantastic and the cars still maintain their interesting graphical presentation, I especially liked the optional DLC Back to the Future DeLorean that shoots blue sparks and leaves flaming tracks as you reach top speed. The one issue that I ran into with this port of the game is that the frame rate is a little choppy at times. I can’t be sure if it is tied to host latency or if it is a technical limitation of the hardware or poor port optimization. These issues are not something that should steer you away from the game. But, as someone who played the PS4 version of the game for the majority of last summer, it was noticeable enough to mention it.
Rocket League is the ultimate casual evening game. It is a fantastic way to unwind from a long stressful day in the office and also serves as a great way to spend an entire lazy Sunday with, “Just one more match”. I love this game and no matter where you choose to play it, this is a game that shouldn’t be missed. Whether you love or hate cars has zero bearing on your potential enjoyment. Heck, I hate soccer and think this is one of the finest examples of the sport in video game history. In short, go play this game.
Final Score – 4/5