Balanced Chaos – ‘Rocket League’ Review

At long last, Rocket League is out on Xbox One, but was it worth the wait?

Since its initial launch last summer, Rocket League has taken gaming culture by storm. Arcade racing and soccer mix together with whacky physics to make for one of the best indie games this generation.

95.jpg

What keeps the dopamine flowing and the “one more match” mentality alive in Rocket League is heaps of customization. Car bodies, paint jobs, paint styles, wheels, antennas and hats all allow you to make your car your own. After months and months of DLC and small add-ons, there is an absolute sea of customization options. From the pixelated “deal with it” sunglasses to Portal’s cake hat to your very own Fallout Vault Boy antenna, self-expression opportunities are endless. Unlike the PC and PS4 counterparts, there are also a handful of Halo and Gears of War centric customization items for the console fanboy that lurks in many of us.

88.jpg

Part of what makes Rocket League work is its incredible balance. Whether you’re playing 1v1 or a chaotic 4v4 match, everything in Rocket League just works and feels fair. Sure, you’ll accidentally score on your own goal from time to time when you’re trying to make a last minute save, but when you fail, it’s because you hit at the wrong angle or dived in too late. Another note on balance: it’s easy to see how developer Psyonix could have made different stats for each of the playable vehicle and wheel combinations like a traditional racer, but the decision to go for cosmetic-only customization prevents imbalance and, again, caters to self-expression.

Friends make the good great. I found myself celebrating hard-fought victories and sharing in crushing defeats to be the ideal way to play Rocket League. After matches, it was always amusing to equip a new ridiculous piece of customization gear to get a rise out of friends in the next match. Rocket League caters to the best kind of camaraderie you can find gaming. That being said, for people who solely game alone, there’s still plenty of fun to be had playing with AI or random online opponents. It’s easy to get frustrated without proper communication amongst teammates, but there’s really not much fun lost running solo.

92.jpg

Despite resolution¬†parody with its PS4 counterpart, the Xbox One version of the game slugs in chaotic 4v4 matches compared to similar matches on Sony’s console. It’s nothing game breaking by any means, but if you find yourself annoyed by minor stuttering, you might want to wait for a possible performance improving patch somewhere down the line.

It takes a match to understand the basics of Rocket League and hundreds to master trick shots and good defending. With previous DLC from the PS4 and PC included (excluding Back To The Future content), Rocket League’s $20 price point is modest and damn-near offers the most bang for your buck on Xbox One.

The Verdict

In many ways, Rocket League is all about gaming’s roots: bounce a ball back and forth while blocking the opponent from scoring. Sure, there’s a ludicrous amount of customization, high-octane moments of physics-bending glory, but the heart and soul of Psyonix’s creation is what gaming is all about.

Rocket League was reviewed on an Xbox One press copy courtesy of Psyonix and Reverb Communications.

Interested in Bear Claw Gaming’s review process? Check out the official scoring FAQ!¬†

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s