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Screenshot of Rocket League Cover Image

What is Rocket League?

Rocket League is an original soccer videogame where players from two teams use vehicles to score goals. The cars are rocket powered and this leads to a fast-paced game, which is both challenging and creative. The game was published and developed by Psyonix and can be played on PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows systems. It was recently ported on OS X and Linux as well as Xbox One and has updates based on basketball and ice hockey.

Key facts about Rocket League

  • Rocket League is a sequel to the game developed in 2008 by Psyonix for PlayStation 3.
  • The game quickly developed a cult following and is one of the videogames on the eSports stage.
  • Rocket League had an impressive roster of rocket powered vehicles, each with unique features.
  • The learning curve is smooth and beginners have no problem in picking up the rules.
  • Rocket League rewards creative players and requires a lot of patience and the use of strategy.

Gameplay of Rocket League

The Rocket League gameplay is very similar to the one of the original game published in 2008. Those who have played Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars will find the new game mechanics to be slightly more complex. The advancements of technology have enabled developers to come up with a better looking game which also runs smoothly on all devices. Players can now speed up the action by using speed boosts to overtake cars and score goals.

The boosts represent the very important mechanic and using it properly and make the difference between failure and success. Scoring goals is the main objective of Rocket League, but players can also destroy the enemy cars. This will clear the battlefield and will give them a couple of seconds to score, before the opposing car respawns. The ball can be hit from several angles, including from mid-air. This means that players need to contemplate all possibilities and always have a backup plan.

The standard length of a Rocket League game is five minutes. If nobody emerges victorious during this interval of time, sudden death begins and the first goalscorer wins. It is possible to play one versus one, or join a team of up to four players. The complexity of the gameplay is the same, but the game is more challenging when played against human opponents. The AI could use some improvement as it is the main drawback in single player.

Once players get familiar and thoroughly understand the Rocket League gameplay, they can check out the new game modes. Several were added after the release, as developers wanted to keep the game fresh and exciting. They were surprised by the traction it gained with eSports, but followed through with patches.

Screenshot of Rocket League Incoming Puck

Plot of Rocket League

The Rocket League plot is almost nonexistent and this is not exactly a surprise given the nature of this game. Those who acquire it know right from the start that the goal is to defeat opponents in competitive matches. There is a single player campaign, but it is not revolving around the story and acta more as a tutorial. The idea is to get players familiar with core game mechanics and the AI is a weak opponent. Instead of completing quests, players try to complete various missions and hone their skills.

There are several difficulty levels and as players move up the ladder, they switch from casual to expert. The nice diversity of game modes called Hoops, Rumble or Crates further extends the replayability of Rocket League. Using power ups against the AI is much easier than harnessing their power to inflict damage in multiplayer. Rocket propelled cars controlled by human opponents are more likely to avoid direct attacks and can strike back fiercely.

Development of Rocket League

Psyonix was so happy with the success of its original game that development of Rocket League started shortly after. The initial plan was improved in successive waves, by adding new features on top of the existing game mechanics. Developers wanted to make sure that the cars were prone to customization, to build a vibrant community around them. The Unreal vehicles took advantage of the latest advancements of technology and the physics-based game is impressive.

Screenshot of Rocket League Decisive Match

Several new arenas were introduced, some resembling mazes while others looking more like traditional stadiums. The team working on Rocket League wanted to make it possible for players to use the vehicles to fly around for brief periods of time. The decision to self publish the title meant that they were able to release the game almost on time. Only a couple of weeks passed between the original release date and the actual date when the game hit the stores.

Weeks after the game was made available to a broad audience, it was downloaded by millions of players. The return on investment was spectacular given the fact that less than $2 million were spent. Psyonix resisted the idea of working with Electronic Arts, to be able to develop the game exactly as it wanted. In order to make the game more attractive to beginners, the difficulty curve was smoothen. It is much easier to play this game than its predecessor despite the fact that it has many new features.

Where can I download Rocket League?

Rocket League can be downloaded from the Psyonix website. The acquisition cost is low and the fact that this is actually an eSports videogame makes it even more exciting. Those who want to see how it all started as well as people who are nostalgic about the original can also find it here. Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars no longer has a vibrant community of fans. That’s because most of those who used to play the game have moved on and played the new release.

Those who know virtually nothing about this game and were hoping to play a racing title shouldn’t set their hopes high. This is nothing like the classic games and is instead centered on an entirely different set of game mechanics. However, those who seek the thrills of traditional car racing games have plenty of options. Grand Theft Auto V, The Crew and Need for Speed 2015 are all fun to play.

Screenshot of Rocket League Airborne

What are others saying about Rocket League?

Rocket League reviews weren’t exactly one-sided after the game was released, despite so many people embracing the new game. Those who had a chance to play the original game found the new one addictive, fun and quite detailed. The generally positive reviews were a consequence of the game looking much better than its predecessor without straying too far from the original concept. Its control mechanics and physics have raised some eyebrows, but eventually they grow on players.

Recently, the game was praised for being competitive as an eSport and there’s no shortage of tournaments for it. The prizes pale in comparison to the ones offered to those who win League of Legends or Dota 2 tournaments, but they are not to be frowned upon. At the same time, the ones who spend a lot of time playing this game complain about the toxic community. These complaints are not about the game itself or the developers, but shed a lot of light on what prospective players should expect.

My Rating of Rocket League

Rocket League is a perfect choice for those who seek cheap thrills and are competitive by nature. When I say cheap I am not criticizing the game in any way, quite the opposite. You can jump on the bandwagon and start having a lot of fun minutes later. This is not something that you can say about many games, especially most of the new releases. Furthermore, this is one of the least expensive games you can purchase right now. For the Esports arena it is nothing short of a bargain and it is worth a shot.

I’ve had my fair share of frustrating matches early on until I finally learned how to steer the cars. Even today I consider myself an amateur and I stand no chance against veterans or talented players. Having said this, if you are in for a little fun and don’t plan on spending a lifetime playing, don’t miss out on this hidden gem. The community is indeed toxic and will finally get to you, but until it does, you will enjoy Rocket League. I surely did and I happily rate it 8/10.

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