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    Rocket League

    Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding


    What do you get when you cross soccer with rocket-powered cars? An amazing gaming experience! Rocket League is an instant classic that can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels. When developer Psyonix released the game back in July of 2015, I’m not certain even they would have expected it to be such a resounding success. Two years later, thousands of daily players are flying into the arena to test their skills and compete for glory.

    Rocket league is a multiplayer soccer game played in formats ranging from skill-testing 1 vs 1 matches, to chaotic 4 vs 4 mayhem. It can be played both online and offline split-screen against CPU teams. Players drive cars equipped with rocket boosters that enable them to accelerate to extreme speeds for a short time. Boost pads supply players with more fuel once they have depleted their car’s boost tank. While the added speed of boosting is valuable, the more impressive function of boosting is enabling your car to take flight. Experienced rocketeers are able to perform aerial plays and score goals from the air. Although this skill takes a while to learn, the game only really reaches its full potential once you have gained this level of mobility.

    Customization and loot crates are the name of the game in today’s modern online multiplayer realm, and here Rocket League fits right in. There are 10 initial cars to unlock, and each of those can be customized with paint jobs, accessories, engine sound effects, and wheels. Additionally, there are more options that can be bought via microtransactions in the game’s online store. For those who choose not to spend money, there is still an enormous catalog of unlockables built into the game that are received for simply playing matches in any mode.

    Visually, Rocket League is solid. By no means is it the most beautiful game on any system, but its aesthetic is not the reason players come to play. The vehicles are quirky and their customization options make for some interesting looks. Where Rocket League excels in the visual department is really in the design of the arenas (or more specifically, their backgrounds). Standouts include the Aquadome, where players can see fish swimming outside and coral growing under the floor, and Starbase ARC, where guns fire from above the nets and there is a mechanized halo seemingly encircling the planet from outer space.

    Psyonix has done well to keep the game updated with new content during its lifespan as well. New game modes such as drop shot and rumble were added to change up the original formula. Rocket League also launches on Nintendo Switch for holiday 2017 and will feature exclusive Mario and Luigi cars for Switch players.

    One of the few complaints I have against Rocket League is that the frame rate seems to lag behind from time to time when playing four player split-screen matches. This may be due to me playing on an original PlayStation 4; however, in today’s gaming world any sort of lag on local matches is essentially unacceptable. This is one of the few games in recent history that allows for split screen multiplayer and it is unfortunate that an otherwise flawless multiplayer experience is held back in this way. Lag during online games is definitely understandable, although Rocket League seems to have fairly reliable servers when matchmaking with players from your region.

    For a game with a price point of $19.99 for the base product, Rocket League offers more than its fair share of value. This is a game that my friends and I have personally been playing consistently for over a year. With a perfect balance of casual and competitive play, Rocket League’s constant updates make it feel fresh and exciting for players to return to again and again.

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