Rocket League – Why All Bars Need This Game

[LOGO] Rocket League - VT on White
I am not a big sports fan, which goes against the ever-lasting bond of sports and beer. However, I am a video game fanatic. Seldom have the two worlds collided in a big way until right now. Enter Rocket League. Developer Psyonix was able to send me an early review code before the game was publicly released, so they too saw the importance of Beer and Video Games.

Rocket League is the long awaited sequel to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars for the Playstation 3. To simplify the concept for a moment, the game is “Soccer/Futbol with cars that have rocket boosters on them”.

Game Modes

In Rocket League, the objective is to score as many goals as you can in the allotted time. The game is broken up into 3 main modes. In Exhibition, you and up to 4 friends locally play against computer bots or play against each other. For Playstation 4 owners this is the game that gives you the reason to buy at least one more controller. This game is meant to be played on the couch with friends or at great arcade bars like Arcadia National Bar in Portland, ME. In Season mode, you compete against computer bots in a longer running season. This mode is great for those who want to take the game offline and hone their skills. Finally there is Online mode, the belly of the beast. Just like in Exhibition mode, you compete in 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4 with players and friends from around the world. You choose whether you want to play Ranked or Un-ranked matches. In match making you can search for multiple types. For example, you can search for 2v2 or 4v4 games at the same time and you will be connected to the game with the first best connection.

You can create a party of up to 4 players and the party leader searches for the game. That way your team stays together from game to game. Private matches also allow you to play with friends who are online. I can also see this being used for unofficial tournaments in the future. After a game you can back out and search again or simply wait for the system to find more opponents.

Pro Controls

The simplistic nature of the game (Soccer with Cars) can be misleading to the control scheme. The base controls are easy to adapt to but when you start to mix in jumping, flying, rotating, bicycle kicks and the realistic physics of the game you will find yourself hitting the practice fields and training modes to hone your skills. Jumping then hitting boost will let you fly, but you can also double jump into a roll then power slide to change directions…see what I mean?

“Nooooo!”


Online mode also integrates one of the greatest features in a competitive game, quick chat. At any point in the game, if you press a direction on the D-Pad you can send quick pre-written messages to everyone in the game. Things like “Nice Shot!”, “Nooooo!” and “What?!” are available at the push of a button. You can also type whatever you want but you have to be quick or you may miss out on the action. For those like myself who only use their microphone when playing with friends, this game integrates chat in a way I haven’t seen before. I think I have pressed the “Sorry!” chat line far too much.
Capture

Monster Truck Sombrero


The fun doesn’t stop at flying cars. In Rocket League you make your car stand out by adding items such as funky antennas, smoke trails, wheels and even hats to your car. All of the items are locked from the start and unlock as you play the game. You get points during games for good saves, clearing a ball from your goal, assists, scoring, etc. At the time of this review there is no way of telling how items unlock. So for now you have to just keep playing the game and be surprised at what you unlock. You unlock something at the end of every game you play. This definitely adds a nice touch to the game and makes the replay value enormous.

The first game I was put into I saw a mini-monster truck with a sombrero shooting dollar bills from the exhaust. What? The good side to the randomness of unlocking comes in the form of bragging rights with friends. Because you all get different items at various times you may be the first of your friends to get the Wizard hat, the grim reaper flag, maybe even the top hat? All of this may sound cheesy but it isn’t. The detail on all of the items are well done, right down to the physics of the car antenna.

You also unlock new cars. The king of all unlocks hands down is Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal of course. I can’t wait to unlock this piece of childhood nostalgia!

Presentation

The glory of the game lies in the presentation. From the aforementioned little add-ons to your car, to the look of the stadiums. Each stadium you play in looks and feels like you are playing for the world cup. The crowd roars like you’re in the heat of the moment at Wembley Stadium and the sounds of the engines are like the final lap of the Indy 500. What’s more, I heard the crowd chanting “more, more, more!” when we went into overtime which made me feel like I was Russel Crowe in Gladiator. If the developers could put in a sound byte from WWE where the crowd goes “This is awesome!” I would die a happy man. Rocket league also released its in game soundtrack. You can find the soundtrack on many platforms (Spotify, Google Music, iTunes) by clicking here.

How does this game relate to beer??

There’s no doubt a game like this is best played around friends and beers. However, there is a deeper underlying Easter Egg to this game surrounding beer. When chatting with developer Psyonix, I was told the games replay system (after every goal you watch a replay of the goal) was invented so players can put the controller down and take a sip of beer. So as a beer writer and enthusiast, let me thank Psyonix for such a cool secret about the replay system.

The replay also allows you a chance to check out any and all epic goals you get, like this one from me below.

Conclusion

The hype for this game is real. So real in-fact the servers took a pretty significant hit on day 1. Psyonix has been super transparent with their progress which puts everyone, including this gamer, at ease. The replay value of Rocket League is infinite. Sure, at some point everything will be unlocked but you will never stop playing this game. It also has been quite some time since we have seen a local multiplayer game worth playing. This will be the party game to break out with friends, guaranteed. Spoiler alert: the Pros far outweigh the Cons of this game.

Pros

  • Endless Replay Value
  • 4-Player Local Split Screen
  • Single Player Season Mode
  • Sounds are Realistic
  • Car Customization
  • Sweet Tooth (PS4 Exclusive)

Cons

  • Day 1 Server Issues
  • Randomness of Unlock System (could be a pro as well)
  • Advanced moves with controls take time learn

I don’t have a ratings system for video games because this is a beer blog. However I am very happy to give the first game reviewed on Seacoast Beverage Lab a no questions asked, undeniable score of…

10 out of 10


Rocket League is available on PC for $19.99 through Steam or for FREE on PS4 for Playstation Plus members this month (19.99 for those without Plus). If you wan’t to see it in action be sure to follow me on Twitch as I will be live streaming this game constantly.