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Review: Rocket League(XB1) – Kicks off In Style and Worth The Wait



Rocket League, one of the best multiplayer titles of 2015, has finally arrived on the Xbox one thanks to the Xbox self publishing program. Strap on four wheels and get ready for some RC football mayhem across some stunning arenas. While Xbox One gamers have had to wait, it has been worth it, as it comes with some exclusive goodies and all three of the DLC packs free of charge.

If you have never heard of Rocket League, then where have you been? This was one of the best multiplayer games of last year on PC and PS4, now finally gracing the Xbox One. Rocket League is the successor to 2008’s Super Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, where you use cars to play football. The game has billions of car customization options for players to play around with to their hearts desire. You will unlock new car bodies; decals; paint work; wheels; booster effects; antenna’s and even hats as you play and level up. These are only cosmetic but the body of the cars have only the margin of effect during gameplay. Sometimes the big body of the van will come and make a crucial save or the smaller body of let’s say the DeLorean (yes you heard right) might get that crucial sweet spot hit to grab the winning goal.

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For those carballer’s new to the arenas there is a very handy tutorial that will get you up to speed in no time. You can in on the three skills you will need to stand any chance of winning games. They are Goalie, Striker and Arial which have three difficulty levels to pass. Rocket League is best experienced playing with friends and everyone across the globe. That’s not to say solo players have been left to sit on the bench. There is a single player mode in the form of seasons. These can be run for 9, 18, 27 or 36 weeks on any three of the A.I difficulty levels. You can also dive straight into an exhibition match with A.I bots to hone your skills before you come up against real life opponents. If you want to polish those skills before you take on real people, you can hit up an unfair match against A.I bots.

When it comes to multiplayer against your friends or people of the world you will be pleased to hear that this caters for both local and online play. You can even have split-screen online multiplayer. This is something that many games seem to be leaving out, so it is great to see that Psyonix cares about their fans by giving support for up to four players split screen. You can create private online matches as well as partake in unranked and ranked matches. The one downside I have came across so far is the small number of arenas where there are only six, although some do have weather effects. This short fall in the arena count is more than made up by the utterly addictive gameplay. The games themselves are absolutely brilliant, quite intense and not scripted in any way like some football games are. It’s amazing how things can change quickly in ten seconds where you time that in flight boost to perfection. There is nothing more satisfying in scoring a bicycle kick goal in the dying seconds to win the game. I have only encountered a small amount of lag at times during online play, but it has been minimal.

So how do you play Rocket League I hear you ask? Well just like football the aim of the game is to get the ball into your opponents net using your car with each game lasting five minutes. You can create custom games where you can make the game longer. There are also mutators you can adjust although they do have some pre-set ones like Beach Ball where the ball is massive but slow. My personal favourite though is the pinball mutator. This leads to some of the most spectacular goals I’ve seen yet, thanks to the balls fast speed and high bounce. You can even have the Portal cube as the ball to really experience some wicked physics. On the field there are booster pads which fill up your boost gauge, perfectly placed as well I may add. To really succeed you will have to not only manoeuvrer your car on the field but also in the air. The more you can keep the ball off the ground the better the chance to score as well as show off. There is a handy ball-cam option which will keep the ball in your view so you know where it is at all times. If you are a bit of a devil you can demolish your opponent’s car, don’t worry though nothing will happen to you. When you kick-off it is more a case of everybody rushing to the ball that is sitting is the centre. The only issue with how the games start is that it is possible to score from the first hit of the ball, mainly during 1v1 duels. If the ball was thrown into the arena this would combat the only niggle I have with the kick-off.

As we know Rocket League has been out for a good while on the PC and PS4, which support cross-platform play. Now unfortunately the Xbox One version doesn’t have cross-platform play but that hasn’t ruined the experience one bit, it would have been nice but I can accept it. The long wait has been rewarded though with Xbox One exclusive goodies as well as all three previously released DLC packs for free. What’s more is that this is the latest version so all initial launch bugs from previous platforms have been taking care of and the game improved massively. The full list of Xbox One Rocket League exclusives include:

Battle-Cars

  • Exclusive Halo “HogSticker,” an alternate version of the Warthog
  • Exclusive Gears of War “Armadillo,” the famed Armored Personnel Carrier

Wheels

  • Gears of War – Armadillo
  • Gears of War – COG
  • Halo – Puma

Antennas

  • Gears of War – COG Symbol
  • Gears of War – COG Tag
  • Gears of War – Locust
  • Halo – Guilty Spark
  • Halo – Insurrection Rebels
  • Halo – New Mombasa Cavaliers
  • Halo – Swords of Sanghelios
  • Sunset Overdrive – Fizzie

Rocket Trails

  • Gears of War – Imulsion
  • Sunset Overdrive – OverCharge

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Graphically this game looks as stunning as it does on other platforms with rich vibrant colours making environments standout. There is even movement from the blades of grass on the ground in the breeze and in the case of the Wastelands arena there is sand blowing across the ground. I love the fact that the arena grounds are multicoloured and not just the one colour. The attention given to the arenas give them a lot of uniqueness. The attention to detail in general is nothing short of amazing, especially since there is literary thousands upon thousands of customizations you can do to your battle-cars. This really does mean you can add your own personal touch and express yourself visually. There is even a hat which has a train going round in a circle. I have also got the Back to the Future car pack and while the car isn’t customizable the detail they have went to is outstanding and all fans should get it. You have the fire trail when boosting as well as the sparks around the car and when you are out off boost you can hear the sound of the electronics failing. It gets even better as when you get demolished, you will see the fire trail with the nameplate spinning in the middle. I just hope there is plenty more add-on packs like this. I have to really applaud the games soundtrack too, the pumping dance tunes had me just leaving the game in the menu screen just for the music. In fact I am listening to it as I write this review.

The Good Things

  • Addictive, thrilling and intense carball mayhem.
  • Controls are perfect.
  • Outstanding physics engine
  • Pumping soundtrack
  • Did I mention how addictive it is?

And The Bad

  • No cross-platform play, but don’t let that put you off.
  • Please bring the pre-set mutator setting to the ranked online playlist.
  • It is stopping me playing other games.

My Verdict… 

    You can forget your FIFA and Pro Evolution soccer, this is where the real football entertainment is at. The games are not in any way scripted for a specific outcome and the physics engine is one of the best. I love the fact that you can pimp out your ride without having to worry about if you will lose an advantage during games. It’s great to see that the games DLC won’t give players an advantage. The blow to this version is not having cross-platform multiplayer but it’s softened somewhat with the Xbox One exclusive goodies along with the three DLC packs for free. Rocket League is that addictive and fun it is pretty much hard to described and something that has to truly be experienced. This is a genre that Psyonix have developed with so much care and attention it really does show. We are only into the second month of 2016 but this title is already holding the XLC Gaming Network award for best multiplayer party title of the year no questions asked.

Seriously just buy Rocket League, you won’t be disappointed.

About no1phil

no1phil
PR Manager & Editor for XLC Gaming Network. I have been gaming since the ZX Spectrum days growing up through many generations of consoles. A bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to gaming genres. When I'm not either being shot at, dancing, scoring for the other team or racing I am trying to become a guitar God with Rocksmith 2014.
  • This has to one of the best games released in recent months and this should put the shame on a lot of Triple A developers out there.