Alright so maybe you can tell by my avatar picture at the bottom of this article that I'm a fan of Rocket League. I played - a lot and for quite a while but I eventually stopped because of a few problems that I'll get into below. Read more
On November 9th, the good folks at Psyonix released the new Mutator Mashup mode for everyone's favorite competitive vehicular soccer game, Rocket League. The additions include changes to gravity, ball size and speed, the levels of bounciness, and even automatically filling boost guages.
Along with the new game modes come 20 new unlockables in the form of flags and antennas including Fallout Boy, just in time for Fallout 4. Also involved are a few various fixes and changes, I'll link the full patch notes here.
Game play is still still as fun as ever, but quite a bit different in the mashups. For instance Beach Ball mode, makes the ball around a third the size of the goal itself which is pretty damn big. This is accompanied by and slower ball speed, which can throw off your timing like nobody's business. You wouldn't think it'd be difficult to hit a ball the size of a single car garage, but until you adjust yourself to the different physics the game puts in place it's pretty easy to sail right by it.
As always, click any image to see it full size.
In contrast Pinball mode, makes the ball considerably smaller than the original ball size and is super bouncy and super fast. This equates to something like playing paddle ball on the hood of your car while driving 80mph. Because of the balls size it's pretty hard to hit and the slightest touch will send it careening in another direction. I could only really get one good shot of the ball to get an idea of the size and it was at the start of the match.
In Moonball mode, the ball is bigger than normal and your boost guage fills automatically. Gravity is also very low, like crazy low. Jump once while you're moving and you'll probably fly across the arena. Which makes things pretty fun with your quickly filling boost guage.
There's also the Cubic mode, which presents normal physics but the ball of course will bounce all over the place from its lack of spherical form and your boost guage will automatically fill slowly. This creates some pretty uniqe challenges. Like wtf do I do when it's coming at the goal? This is also one of the original game modes from Super Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars. Pretty cool I say.
And Finally there's Timewarp mode. The physics are all normal, the ball is the normal size etc. but every few seconds the game goes in to slow motion. This is something akin to playing with induced lag on bad hardware. It's not my personal favorite but like Cubic mode it was an original mode from Super Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars, which makes it cool.
So far it seems you can only choose to join the Mashup playlist to find matches with ever changing random settings, and it's only 3v3 so far. So no choosing your favorite mode yet, at least not online anyway. However you can choose a custom mode in private match and exhibition settings. It's a lot of fun added to what's already an incredibly fun game. And a major plus to all this is that the new game modes and new collectibles are completely free. No DLC to purchase, just a 665mb patch to download and you're ready to roll, so to speak.
So if you're like me, you love yourself some Rocket League. Sometimes though it's difficult to pick a role you'd like to play in the game. Whether it be the all-around player, the striker, or as was in my case for quite a while, being a full-time goalie.
Choosing to be a full-time goalie can be kind of intimidating. You're effectively putting a lot of pressure on yourself to make sure you can stop the other teams advancement while taking yourself out of an offensive role. Here in this guide I'll attempt to help with some quick tips and visuals to get you started if you're considering a move in this direction.
First thing everyone needs to know is that as a goalie, you're going to make mistakes. End of story. Don't let it deter you from keeping at it. As your skill in the area raises you'll become a force to be reckoned with and able to help turn the tide of a less than successful match. Secondly a lot of being a goalie is common sense that's just been honed in to skill. For most it's not that hard to get in to, and it's a very satisfying role. So without further ado, let's get started.
Okay so whether you've just started playing Rocket League or you're in to it already it's important to know that the game's tutorial is your friend. I think lots of people just skip the it because they want to just get right to playing. But the tutorial teaches some pretty helpful fundamental items that you'll be able to use very quickly.
Once you're through with the basics in tutorial mode It's a good idea to get some game time practice in. I would suggest starting out in some bot matches at whatever skill level you feel comfortable with before moving to online matches.
Here's a list of tips from my own experiences to help you become a successful goalie.
Click any image below to view it full size
- --Ball Cam-- This is a personal choice for everyone of course but the ball cam can hinder your visibility in the goal box. I tend to play with the ball cam off unless I'm running back to the goal and need to see behind me.
- --Stay in the Goal Box-- If you're the furthest one back in the lineup just get in the goal box and stay there. Charging forward at kickoff when you're the farthest back just puts you out of reach should the ball be hit directly at your goal. Likewise if you're in a forward position at kickoff, charge the ball and then get yourself back to the goal box as quick as possible.
- --Always face the ball-- This is important because turning your car around before you can challenge a shot takes time you don't always have. Facing the ball means quicker action.
- --Boost-- As a goalie It's very important to keep up your boost gauge. Right in front of the goal box is one boost node, just use it repeatedly. Forward out, get the node, reverse back. Rinse and repeat. Don't be fooled into thinking that those 100% nodes at the corners are safe to go to. You'll leave your goal wide open for a few precious seconds while leaving to retrieve one.
- --Don't come out until you have to-- A common mistake early on in goal keeping is challenging the ball before you need to. Remember the further you have to go to get to the ball, the further you have to go to return to the goal box. Rely on your teammates to get the ball away before you make the decision to challenge. Early challenges can also open a host of other issues like an opponent touching in a different direction and you not being able to correct for the change. Or even your own teammate hitting the ball while you're out, leaving the goal open while you make your way back. Waiting until the last second gives your opponent less of an advantage to dodge your challenge and increases your chances of a save.
- --Commit to the save-- Once you do make the decision to knock that ball away don't stop until you either do just that, or a teammate has possession. Your car will accelerate quickly but not instantly, even with boost. Waffling on a save is almost always bad. Remember if you mess up it's better to do it trying to make the save than to sit just watch the ball go in your goal.
- --Don't chase the ball-- Remember, you're priority is stopping goals, not making them. There will be cases where you'll be able to hit the ball just right and make a save that ends up in a return and scores for your team. It's a great feeling, but do resist the temptation to make a save and try and follow it up by leaving your position and running the ball back for a score.
- --Surface area-- Your goal box is a big target being guarded by a small goal keeper. Any chance you have to increase your surface area is one you should take. This might mean turning sideways during a save, or pitching up or down to make yourself a bigger obstacle.
- --Try and keep it simple-- This is more difficult than it sounds. Certainly not all shots will come at you at ground level. At some point you're going to have make the choice to jump or even fly for the ball. Just try and keep the distance of travel as short as possible and it's usually not worth trying anything complicated while in the air. As direct a hit as you can manage will greatly increase your chances of success.
- --Come at it hard-- Almost every shot that comes your way as your ranks raise will be a hard shot. And much of the time your opponent will be backing it up by driving in to the ball. This can easily just push right through your position if you're just casually challenging the attack. Once you're lined up on the ball and close enough, flip at it. This helps counteract the force applied by the opponent and will likely serve doubly to project the ball back down field. At the very least it will throw off your opponent's momentum giving your team the chance to take the ball back.
- --Don't be baited by hecklers-- As your skill increases and you're making saves left and right the other team is bound become frustrated. Someone will inevitably decide to attempt to ram you away or demolish your car. I find it best to just jump over them and give them the least attention possible rather than try and ram them back. This allows you to stay in the goal box. Plus what better way to send the message that you can handle it than to be able to make the save even while you're being harassed by an opponent. Another good thing to remember is that while one opponent is busy trying to make things hard for you, they're also leaving their team a man down.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully these tips have given you the confidence to give goal keeping a shot. It's surprisingly addictive and a great way to contribute. And when you do it right you'll have end game score boards something like this one in one of the bot matches I used for most of these examples. Now go make some saves!
Way back in 1989 on December 22nd in movie theaters Back to the Future 2, was released and we got to see Marty and the Doc go forward in the future to October 21st, 2015. Today IS October 21st, 2015 and that means It's Back to the Future day. How cool is that? From this point forward all the Back to the Future films will have taken place in the past. Boom... mind blown.
The fine folks at Psyonix have celebrated this wondrous occasion with the release of the Back to the Future, car pack for their popular title Rocket League. In the form of pure awesome this pack contains access to Doc. Brown's, DeLorean Time Machine. It'll cos you two bucks, but come on people it's the DeLorean Time Machine!
You get the DeLorean, the Outatime Boost Trail, and the DeLorean Time Machine wheels and tires. You'll be locked in to these options when you use the car, and you can only change the colors in the primary paint options, no graphics or secondary paint.
Here are some screens of the venerable Time Machine in action, as always click images to see them full size.
Do you love gaming? Do you love Rap/Hip Hop? Well, then you are probably already aware of Dan Bull. He’s at it again with a song about Rocket League. ‘Nuff said. Read more
So here's the thing. I have had a lot of trouble writing this review. Every time I sit down to write about Rocket League, I gain a very large urge to just pick the game back up and start playing, which is what I've been doing since the game came out. I've actually had to uninstall the game for the time being, just to get this damn review done in a somewhat timely manner and get back to playing this marvel of a game. With that said, if you haven't read a Past Due Review from me before, do not expected a scored review. This is an examination of the game on a component by component basis. Such as, animation quality, modeling, lighting, particle effects, audio, game mechanics, level design, and more.
The biggest reason I decided to study game design was my fascination with the concept of Play. Play is a thing we need to engage in to survive as children, and yet many of us lose sight of the notion of play as we grow older. Play makes us healthy, strong, and causes us to critically think. Many great and innovative games, whether on the field, a computer, or even a board game, show a great understanding of what it means to engage someone in the act of play. Soccer is one such game that has captivated people in play for many years (sorry, but yeah I call it that because Americans taught me a far dumber sport was called football.) And what Psyonix has done with both Rocket League and Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars was give players a brand new way to play the game, simply by altering the way we interact with the ball. In this physics based game the most impressive component is the methods you use to control your Battle-Car. At the end of the day, you only need to make your car hit the ball into the goal, but the character controller for the car gives you so many ways to hit the ball, interact with your opponents, and traverse the environment. The amount of ways you can make your car avatar move will surprise you countless times, but it stays true to the age old concept of easy to learn, hard to master. All while keeping the core concept of play at the center of it all, never letting the player forget about the heart and soul of a game that has reminded me that we all live to play. And play you will. Rocket League doesn’t just create a great experience, it re-creates what it felt like to be 6 years old, playing on the field with your friends in what ever manner it may have been.
The magic of all this is what Rocket League is able to do to the expectations you have of both the game and yourself. Starting out you may not feel like you can contribute much to the experience, as your skill set improves with time and experience. However, you will start to feel yourself progressing the more you play and learn the eccentricities of the games control method. It reminds me of why I fell in love with DOTA 2. I always felt a sense of progression in what I could accomplish as a player. This is no different than my time spent in Rocket League, and I still know I can dramatically improve with even more practice. Give yourself enough time and effort, and Rocket League will allow you to do some pretty amazing things.
I can not wait to see this game played at an E-Sports level. I can see myself watching professional players play this game maybe as much as I’ll play it. And the methods of play feel dramatically different whether you choose to play the standard 3v3, 1v1, 2v2, or the absolutely hectic 4v4. No matter how you prefer to play you will always be having fun. So rarely have I played a competitive multiplayer game where I never payed attention to the score board. Win or lose, Rocket League always lets me have a blast engaging in my all-time favorite activity, Play.
What I usually get to talk about a lot in these reviews are the animations of the games characters. Well Rocket League doesn’t have any characters in the traditional sense, instead it has cars that do move in a surprisingly animated fashion. Between the jumping, dodging, rolling, boosting, bouncing, and barrel rolling, there are actually a lot of appropriately exaggerated movements in Rocket League.
The animations are subtle but they are there. Sure they’re not the most complicated things to make in the world, seeing as how most of them are just transforms of position and/or rotation, but the speed and motion is fluid. With no strange spikes or wacky jitters anywhere in the movements, ensuring that your vehicle will always be in the exact position you tell it to be in, which is extremely important in a physics based game like this.
The game’s simplicity certainly shows itself in the games various 3D models. They all look absolutely gorgeous from a couch, but up close and personal to your computer monitor, a few things start to look a little cheap. Its not that the models aren’t constructed well, all the geometry seems to fall in the right place and the textures are suitable, but they are just that: suitable. Everything is clean and flawlessly modeled in a very simplistic fashion, yet it's not ever one thing that makes Rocket League's models and art style. It's the composition of all of them in a scene together. Combining all these simple textures and shapes with the best atmospheric effects the Unreal engine can offer, creates a saturated, but not quite cartoony art style that allows every important object to pop out at you. So even though the individual models are nothing to be impressed by, this does keep your attention where it matters without being distracted by anything too detailed.
Again the lighting is also kept quite simple, making sure you are never distracted by what could have easily been quite an eye grabber. The lighting definitely captures the feeling of an arena.
You can see shadows from the rafters below you as your shadow follows your movements along the ground and up the walls, all while the reflective effects on the cars and walls glisten with the warm lighting of the sunset off in the distance. It's almost a shame that you won’t ever be looking for these things, because you’ll be so immersed in the action around you that the lighting team's hard work just becomes another impressive aspect of the games second nature.
The above effect may be my favorite particle effect of all time. It is certainly my favorite explosion effect hands down, and the expertly crafted tech art doesn’t end there. First off, everything is subtly covered in a Minority Report esque glaze, and it is most notable when the ball is just about to enter a goal and the line it must cross fades into visibility. There are also very subtle particle effects, such as the dust left from your tires when jumping and the clash effect when you trade paint with an opponent racing to block his shot on the goal. When you take into account the number of boost trails you can apply to your Battle-Car, the hard work of the Tech Art team starts to become quite apparent.
This is how you do player feedback well. Every bump, slide, boost, jump, crash, and goal is exactly what your imagination expects these colorful and nearly cartoony objects would sound like, and like bees to the hive, the engines buzz around the map, frantically attempting to be the next one who causes the following amazing blast sound.
This consistency with the game’s art style holds true in the games soundtrack as well. The music in the main menu will most likely stick with you for a few hours after playing.
This is where the game’s Achilles' heel resides. At the time of this review there are only a handful of maps that are all basically the same level with different textures and day or night effects. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very masterfully crafted level, but it could begin to get repetitive if more maps weren't on the way. Thankfully though Psyonix has some more maps on the way, the first being my favorite from the previous entry in this series. It is in that game where you can find some examples of the great creativity this level design team can bring to the table, and while I’m glad they seem to be on their way to Rocket League, I wish that at least one of these unique maps was in the standard game.
Menus and sub-menus are presented in clear way that makes sense while navigating. The options screen may even surprise you with the amount of ways you can customize your view and controls, with fully re-bindable keyboard and controller functions. While the PC port of the game runs quite well, there are a few strange quips that can be a bit annoying while navigating the menus with a Mouse. Most button icons will show the PS4 commands and quite a few buttons need to be double clicked while navigating the menu. But the game does control well in matches with either a controller or keyboard and mouse. The only strange thing for me was that the default keybinding is right click to jump and space to view the ball, but with a quick key-rebind I swapped these two and was good to go. The only time the controls are completely broken on PC are in the replay mode. It is nigh-on impossible to navigate as it will always use the max DPI of your mouse, and if you're like me and have an 8200 DPI mouse, accelerating that just makes for a crazy wacky camera.
For those of you who love decking out your car, you’ll have a blast here. You will need to play the game a bit to unlock more options and accessories for your Battle-Car, but there are enough starting choices to make your car your own. Another great example of two incredible parts of the game, show themselves working together very well here. This being the audio and particle effects for the boost trails. There are so many different boost trails and each one of their respected sound effects compliments the effect in the best extent possible.
For all the good I’ve talked about Rocket League, I do have one complaint. If I were to review this game as a sequel charging me $20 for the same shit I got in Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle-Cars, you can bet my tone would be different. So why haven’t I been looking at it that way? After all my girlfriend and I have enjoyed quite a bit of SARPBC and Rocket League is basically a reskin with less maps and a few extra features. Well to be honest, it's because this game is still just as fun. Maybe even more so now that it is much more well known, and those extra features like Seasons and Vehicle Customization do kind of enhance the experience. And I won't lie, I want as many people to experience this game as humanly possible. I have no personal gain in such a goal other than the sheer fact that if one more person gets to feel the same thing I felt when I first made an airborne goal, I’ll have brought a level of joy to someone unlike any other gaming experience. Psyonix deserves praise for their incredibly talented team members, insight into game theory, and heart that they have so celestially celebrated here. I wouldn’t feel rash in debating within my head if this is my game of the year, it's just so hard because I also really like The Witcher 3. But I have no doubts this will end up being my favorite competitive multiplayer game this year, and I have no intention of ridding myself of my addiction to a game that, as I mentioned earlier, allows me to simply play.