XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Fraser Gilbert

Peo­ple have often told me that Rocket League is their favourite way to de-stress. I’ve never been able to grasp that. To me, Psy­onix’s mega-hit is the epit­ome of com­pet­i­tive gam­ing, re­ward­ing in­tense con­cen­tra­tion and mas­ter­fully honed skills. I’m more of a ca­sual player, pe­rus­ing the un­ranked servers, but even those are pop­u­lated with aerial ma­gi­cians and pro­lific goalscor­ers. And that’s why I’ve been delv­ing into the re­fresh­ingly ac­ces­si­ble Rumble mode.

Rumble sits along­side the likes of Hoops and Drop­shot as one of Rocket League’s lesser-played modes, but it’s not as un­pop­u­lar as it might seem. In fact, you’ll find thou­sands of play­ers en­joy­ing it at any one time, mak­ing it one of the big­gest side-at­trac­tions the game has to of­fer. The mode pits play­ers against one an­other in oth­er­wise stan­dard 3v3 games, but fea­tures power-ups that are given out at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals.

The whole thing de­scends into a frenzy of over-the-top ac­tion, but it also re­tains the need for strate­gic think­ing as seen in Rocket League’s pri­mary modes, with plenty of ways to max­imise each power-up’s ef­fec­tive­ness. Your abil­ity to ma­nip­u­late these ad­van­tages - or counter them – can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween a win or a loss, even de­spite the perceived ran­dom­ness on dis­play.

My favourite is the Hay­maker. It’s a big box­ing glove that ex­plodes out of your car and shoots at the ball. You can use it to line up the per­fect shot or make a goal-sav­ing clear­ance, and the Boot does a sim­i­lar job by push­ing op­po­nents out of the way. The Spike is great, too, pierc­ing the ball and stick­ing it to your ve­hi­cle un­til some­one smashes into you. There’s a fine art to avoid­ing other play­ers and simply driv­ing the ball into the net. I’ve started to be­come more dis­ci­plined with my tim­ing, too. There’s a ten-se­cond win­dow in which power-ups are gen­er­ated, and play­ers reg­u­larly spam them as soon as they’re avail­able. But hold­ing on a lit­tle longer can give you an ad­van­tage. Those ex­tra few sec­onds serve as the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to take ad­van­tage of lessim­pact­ful power-ups such as the Mag­ne­tizer to gen­er­ate an at­tack.

Care­free fun

The best thing about Rumble is its abil­ity to pro­vide an all-in­clu­sive kick­about. It serves as the per­fect drop-in mode for me and my friends. And while there’s still scope to pull off in­cred­i­ble ma­noeu­vres, we’re often as likely to ben­e­fit from luck. It never feels like an overly in­tense com­pet­i­tive mode.

Al­ter­na­tively, when I’m not play­ing with friends, there’s far less of a de­sire to quit out of frus­tra­tion. You never know what you’re go­ing to get with ran­dom team-mates, but at least in Rumble, you don’t need to rely on them so heav­ily. I’ve borne wit­ness to less-ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers scor­ing goals by ac­ci­dent, us­ing power-ups at coin­ci­den­tally op­por­tune mo­ments. Even when this goes against you, it’s hard not to chuckle at the sight of it.

That sense of care­free fun is what I’m look­ing for in Rocket League right now. I’m not ded­i­cated enough to master aerial moves and put up with un­co­op­er­a­tive team-mates. I’ve grown tired of play­ing un­ranked games with play­ers of vary­ing skill lev­els. But in­vite me to a cou­ple of games of Rumble for a few hours, and it’ll re­quire some mon­u­men­tal power of per­sua­sion to tear me away.

“I’m not ded­i­cated enough to master aerial moves and put up with un­co­op­er­a­tive team-mates”

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