GAME REVIEWS

Rocket League is a multiplayer triumph but Godzilla fails to impress – again

WATCH: In Rocket League, two teams of three cars battle it out in a neon-lit arena, driving at ridiculous speeds while flipping and flying. Godzilla: The Game, though, is an utter failure

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 July, 2015, 11:18am
UPDATED : Friday, 31 July, 2015, 4:17pm

Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars (or SARPBC for short). If that name means anything to you, get ready to be excited. Originally released on the PS3 in 2009, it wasn't a great game, plagued by messy controls, shoddy visuals and a multiplayer mode riddled with bugs. But the outlandish concept was the thing: massive monster cars battling it out in a game of oversized soccer on a futuristic pitch.

Six years on, we have the sequel and all the problems are solved. Rocket League (from Pysonix) is available on the PC and PS4, and graphics and gameplay have caught up with the game's absolute absurdity.

The main gaming mode is simple: two teams of three cars battle it out in a neon-lit arena, driving at ridiculous speeds while flipping and flying, using a variety of tricks to smash a massive ball into a tiny goal. It's simple, a little bit silly and oh-so-much fun. But there's a high level of skill involved.

The laws of gravity might mean little as you drive up walls, ceilings and an endless series of ramps, but it's all about timing. Aim perfectly for that physics-defying move and double-tap the button just right, and you'll connect with the hurtling ball, hopefully sending it into its tiny home. Get any part of it wrong, and face the embarrassing wrath of your teammates.

And that's where the real fun lies, in its multiplayer madness. Solo gaming is undoubtedly thrilling and no doubt you'll spend hours building your skills. But once you're prepared, with a legion of friends onboard, things take that incredible turn towards the obsessive: sheer insanity combined with high-levels of tactics, as speed and skill combine in an electrifying blend where your entire team is locked into the game and nothing else matters but the goal.

It's a little bit beautiful and exactly what fans of SARPBC have long been dreaming about. Rocket League is the ideal gaming escape: a simple, almost irrational concept done absurdly well, with all those little touches that make a game reach greatness.

 

Godzilla: The Game had such potential. A radioactive lizard-beast destroys cities, frightens women and is only occasionally beaten by superpowered ultra-men - all the makings of a great game.

Unfortunately, despite decades of poor performance from high-profile developers, its day still hasn't come. Godzilla: The Game, published by Bandai Namco and available  for the PS3 and PS4, is yet another attempt to exploit one of Japan's greatest pop-culture creations. Its utter failure is a testament to how little developers understand the monster.

The creatures, from Mothra and Rodan to the various incarnations of Godzilla, are fairly impressive visually in a last-gen way, but the surroundings resemble something out of the early noughties. The streets and buildings all fall apart precisely the same way. This is pure laziness on Bandai's part.

It gets worse as the gameplay gets going. Godzilla is confused as to what it wants to be. Aside from horrific controls that feel like you are a man in a rubber suit, the game settles for a half-cocked mishmash of its previous manifestations.

Part free-for-all smasher, part brainless fighter, there's never any real challenge, but you're left confused as to the skillset. Combos are all but impossible to figure out, battles with kaiju or the military seem to come at random and the only rewarding aspect is the unlocking of fellow monsters, which only seems to happen once you've beaten the main mode dozens of time. Why? We're not sure; maybe to annoy us.

The only redeeming feature is in how the game captures the camp-heavy vibe of the early dubbed films. Cheesy dialogue, badly edited cut-scenes, a low-budget feel. That's definitely unintentional though, and all but sums up the many pitfalls.

How hard could it be to get it right with the world's most famous monster? Simple fighting controls, vast detailed cities, monster battles where you can literally feel each punch, an easy unlocking system with plenty of beasts. That's all we ask, but it's apparently too much.

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