Rocket League by Psyonix

Rocket League's gameplay is largely the same as that of its predecessor Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. Players control a rocket-powered car and use it to hit a ball that is much larger than the cars towards the other team's goal area to score points, in a way that resembles a soccer game, with elements reminiscent of a demolition derby.[4][5] Players' cars have the ability to jump to hit the ball while in mid-air. The players can also pick up a speed boost by passing their cars over marked spaces on the field, enabling them to quickly cross the field, use the added momentum to hit the ball, or ram into another player's car to destroy it; in the latter case, the destroyed car respawns moments later. A player may also utilize boost when in the air to propel themselves forward in flight, allowing players to hit the ball in the air.

The idea of rocket-powered cars flipping through the air in Thunderdome-esque matches of cage-soccer sounds like the incoherent ramblings of a madman, but it turns out to be just crazy enough to work. Psyonix’s Rocket League, the follow up to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, finds dumb fun in pulling turbocharge-assisted front flips in an ice cream truck, and the white-knuckle strategy in working with your team to control the giant ball on offense and defense. The fast and fluid absurdity of Rocket League fuses into one hell of a good time – despite servers that rarely work perfectly.

The main mode puts two teams of three in visually diverse but performance-identical vehicles (though 1v1, 2v2, and 4v4 variants exist) as they race up and down the pitch chasing the league’s oversized equivalent of a soccer ball. The great thing is, you don’t need to know anything about driving games or soccer to play. The rules are simple: drive really fast around bright, glossy, neon colored arenas and do fancy tricks while trying to smash an endlessly ricocheting ball into a deceptively tight space.

Rocket League is a rare example where the execution of a simple, absurd idea is so strong and so engaging that it doesn’t need a ton of extra features around it.

IGN

The heart of Rocket League lives in that feeling of unrestricted movement. It’s thanks in large part to the use of what I would call “physics plus,” where the laws of gravity and momentum get a colorful overhaul to allow for driving on the walls and ceiling, and ridiculous mid-air direction changes that would liquefy the driver in the real world. But its fantastic movement is so arcadey and satisfying that I often have to remind myself to pump the brakes or lay off the tricks when a simple nudge or bump will do.

And those tricks are the first surface-scratching glimpse at Rocket League’s layer of strategy under the ostensibly chaotic mashing of metal. Tapping your jump button puts you in the air, where tapping it again with a direction held performs a somersault, barrel roll, or bicycle kick. It might sound simple – and really, it is – but timing a strike to connect with a speeding ball, and controlling the direction you send it sailing, down to precise angles, takes some skill. There are real, potent levels of satisfaction to be tapped when you see a teammate lining up a shot from the corner and read the situation, slamming on the brakes to nudge the “pass” into the goal with a perfectly timed barrel roll. It’s electric.

And those tricks are the first surface-scratching glimpse at Rocket League’s layer of strategy under the ostensibly chaotic mashing of metal. Tapping your jump button puts you in the air, where tapping it again with a direction held performs a somersault, barrel roll, or bicycle kick. It might sound simple – and really, it is – but timing a strike to connect with a speeding ball, and controlling the direction you send it sailing, down to precise angles, takes some skill. There are real, potent levels of satisfaction to be tapped when you see a teammate lining up a shot from the corner and read the situation, slamming on the brakes to nudge the “pass” into the goal with a perfectly timed barrel roll. It’s electric.

Outside of the frenzied and intoxicating gameplay, Rocket League has scant few features to flesh out the experience. The player-progression system – where winning matches, performing in-game feats, or doing anything really, earns you experience – unlocks a small stable of goofy cars or cosmetic decals and accessories. It’s fun to drive a truck wearing a sombrero, sure, but because there’s little or no mechanical difference between the dozen or so sportsters, trucks, exotics, a few concept models and at least one ice cream truck (exclusive to PS4 players), there’s no actual sense of progression that changes how you play a match. And while that’s all perfectly justifiable in the name of a level multiplayer playing field, I would have loved to see each car carry the strengths and weaknesses implied by their real-world counterparts: sport cars as speedy but hard-to-handle strikers, trucks and vans as slower but stronger defenders, and the balanced but all-purpose roamers somewhere in between. It seems like a missed opportunity to add a more meaningful connection to your cars in the garage, especially when making a squad to play through an entire season.

Rocket League
Rocket League

But there is a separate progression arc found in learning to use the surprising mechanical depth of Rocket League’s many controls and flighty physics. Whether that arc takes you through online competitive or ranked matches, easy-going exhibitions, up to four-player local cooperative play on split-screen, or all 36 weeks of a fully expanded season mode, the Rocket League experience is always about getting into the next throttle-pumping match.

Rocket League is a special kind of brilliance wrapped in a special kind of stupid, much like Einstein draped in a Hello Kitty sleeved blanket.

And while there are leaderboards to track your statistics and global prowess, Rocket League servers struggle to support the influx of PlayStation 4 and PC players hunting for same and cross-platform matchmaking bouts, rendering most of Rocket League’s online features – including the online party system – spotty at best. Fortunately, the AI is formidable on either difficulty setting above Rookie, both as teammates and opponents, so Rocket League doesn’t lose much in a completely offline existence, which is good, because its online suite is largely unreliable.

Regardless of where you play it, Rocket League is a vivid example of a restrained yet silly form of competitive play that only video games can provide. It could easily claim to be a weird racing game, a four-wheeled fighting game or a completely legitimate sports game, but debating its genre feels like the academic detour we don’t need - decidedly not for a game about on-the-spot learning, instinctive skill and soccer-cars flipping all over the damn place.

 

Rocket League News

March 2, 2016

Rocket League Championship Series

We’d like to introduce the Rocket League Championship Series, the official competitive league for the Rocket League community!

We’ve partnered exclusively with our friends at Twitch, the world’s top social video platform and gaming community, to usher in a whole new era of Rocket League competition. Twitch will be the only broadcasting platform for the league, manage RLCS operations, and work alongside us. We’ve been excited to see the community efforts so far and with the help of Twitch, we want to continue to foster and complement competitive Rocket League!

Later this month, you can register in teams of three, for a chance to win the very first Rocket League championship title. The three-month season kicks off with open qualifiers and we’ll have a total prize pool of $75,000 USD for the first season. All matches will be played on the PlayStation®4 (PS4™) computer entertainment system and Windows PC, with additional platform support to be revealed in the future. Stay tuned!

Source: Wikipedia , IGN and Games Radar

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