The creators of PlayStation 3's underrated vehicular sports title Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars have finally made a sequel. I must say that I was a huge fan of the original, so let's see if this long-awaited second installment lives up to it!
For the uninitiated, Rocket League plays just like a soccer game except with cars instead of people. These are no ordinary cars, however, since they can jump, boost, and scale the walls of the arena. Although there are many controls to learn and master, they're implemented intuitively so you'll catch on in almost no time. When you reach the point where you have the ability to power-slide into a jump then flip to smack the ball right into your opponent's net, you'll feel like a superstar! In case you lose track of the ball and the guide arrow isn't doing it for you, you can change to a camera that lines your car up with it. This makes the controls slightly more challenging since you have to keep an eye on what direction your car is facing to steer properly, but you can switch back instantly as soon as you catch a glimpse of the ball. Generally speaking, every control is thoughtfully crafted to make gameplay simple for any gamer and this allows each match to be as fresh and exciting as the first.
Rocket League's visuals are fantastic. From the detailed stadiums, breathtaking lighting effects, and the way flags flap in the wind, you'll definitely be impressed. It's quite silly that a game this impractical in nature looks as realistic as it does, but that only makes it all the more enjoyable. The audio does a great job of portraying effects and stadium noise, but during gameplay it can feel rather empty. In the end, it's a missed opportunity that there's no play-by-play announcer or music to add excitement to gameplay. There is a bit of music, but it can only be heard sporadically in the background as if it's being played on the stadium's faraway speakers.
There are many ways to play Rocket League that'll keep you entertained for hours. For starters, there is both online and offline modes where matches can have anywhere from one to four players on each team. If you decide to play against computer opponents then you can select from four difficulties where the hardest one pins you solo against a team of rivals. When you get good enough to tackle that setting, you know that you've mastered the game. If you're in the mood for a longer lasting single player experience then playing through a season with many adjustable configurations will be more up your alley. As you play and increase your rank, you'll unlock customizable parts as well as completely new vehicles in your garage. Making your car look as cool as possible before going online is a great way to waste time while waiting to be connected to a match.
The most disappointing aspect of Rocket League is that there were some fantastic modes and features in its predecessor that are simply missing. One such mode was mini-games which featured tons of wacky challenges that doubled as training to make you better at the game in general. I remember playing through those while trying to get all five stars on each and it was an incredibly challenging and satisfying experience. Also, Rocket League's arenas may look different from each other, but they're all the same shape. Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars included a few crazy arenas such as a circular garden and a pirate ship. Rocket League's developers have stated that they're working on new maps that'll thankfully be provided with free updates, but they have yet to be seen.
Rocket League is a sports game that doesn't require you to be a fan of sports to enjoy. With exhilarating matches that look gorgeous and plenty of ways to play, giving this vehicular soccer spin-off a try is well worth your time.
- + Combining soccer and driving with perfect controls makes every match thrilling
- + Beautifully detailed graphics
- + Plenty of modes to play around with
- - Some significant features from the previous game are sadly missing
- - Audio during matches lacks personality