Rocket League Championship Series: Not a great eSport

Rocket League Championship Series

I was browsing Twitter yesterday morning when I came across a tweet about the Rocket League Championship Series, of which the first day of the finals was to air on Twitch. Between checking out EVO on ESPN and watching the documentary “Free to Play” I’d been interested in checking out eSports lately, so I decided I would watch.

Rocket League is easily one of my favorite games of all time, and this would be the first time I’d be watching an eSport competition in a game that I actually play. I figured it’d be interesting to see what high level play looked like, and I eagerly tuned in as the event began.

Rocket League Championship Series

Right off the bat I was a little put off by the commentating crew. They seemed to be struggling to provide interesting commentary, and one commentator used the phrase “like” so much that I could barely endure listening to it. This is one area that eSports events really need to work on if they want to attract a more mainstream audience.

Once the first match began, I started to realize that Rocket League isn’t very entertaining to watch. Despite the competition being between some of the best players in the world the play seemed as chaotic and random as just about any Rocket League match I’ve ever participated in. That’s not to say the players weren’t skilled, I could never pull off any of the aerial plays that they made look easy, but it all seemed random, and there didn’t seem to be much strategy involved. Maybe it was just the way they switched between cameras, but it all just seemed chaotic and none of the play looked smooth.

2016-08-06 (3)

I probably could have kept watching the event out of curiosity, however the quality of the stream was a deal breaker. The video outside of the gameplay was fine, but during matches the video was stuttering like crazy, it was like watching sub 30fps gameplay and my eyes couldn’t take it. Whatever they were doing to capture the gameplay just wasn’t allowing for a quality production. It certainly had nothing to do with my internet connection (which is 200mbps for the record) because when they were showing video inside the arena it was clear and perfectly smooth. I saw many other people complaining about a video lag in the chat, and once I realized it wasn’t going to get any better I had to stop watching.

The second leg of the Rocket League Championship Series final airs today at 10AM PDT, however I don’t think I’ll be giving it another chance. Even if the gameplay stream quality were to be fixed I don’t think I’d be able to find watching other people play Rocket League interesting.

Did you watch any of the Rocket League Championship Series? What did you think of it? Is Rocket League a game worthy of eSports?

Advertisements

Rocket League on the Xbox One is not very playable outside the U.S.

I was incredibly excited for Rocket League’s arrival on the Xbox One this week. I had played it previously on my MacBook’s Windows 10 partition, but it never ran quite well. I figured I’d wait to enjoy the game when it released on Xbox. Last night after work, however, I was met with disappointment. Every game I played was unbearably laggy. So laggy that the game was unplayable. My car would constantly stutter and reverse direction over and over again and would randomly transport around the arena. I stuck the matches out, hoping it would get better, but it never did. I rarely came into contact with the ball, and by some miracle I managed to accidentally score a goal, brushing past the ball just before the opposing player knocked it into his own goal.

At the end of each match my ping was shown as being anywhere from 50 to 300, but even at 50 the game was unplayable. I’m currently deployed which is likely the reason for the lag as the only servers are in the U.S. and Europe, but I have no issues with games such as Destiny or Battlefield on the same Internet. A quick search on Google revealed that I was not alone, as many Australian players have reported lag making the game unplayable for them as well.

Hopefully the server issues are worked out in the near future, otherwise I’ll be waiting even longer to finally enjoy Rocket League.

Just Cause 3 (Xbox One) is not playable

28042015_beautyshot3

Last week I wrote about how against better judgement, I ended up purchasing Just Cause 3 on the Xbox One. It didn’t take long to discover that my instincts were right, and I should have delayed the purchases until the game had received a patch or two. My experience with Just Cause 3 so far has been everything but enjoyable.

The horror stories about load times are true, and I haven’t even experienced the worst of it yet. The initial load seems excessively long, but if that’s not bad enough there are constant long pauses that disrupt the gameplay and make the game almost entirely unenjoyable. For example, once you gain control of Rico you might spend two or three minutes in the game world before the game cuts to a black screen and loads into a cut scene. After the scene you’ll see another black screen before you regain control of your character. Each time this happens the load is anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds long, an absolute eternity that takes you out of the world.

It’s insane that the game has to stop and load as often as it does, especially when compared to the much smoother experience of games such as GTA V. The long loads between mission objectives and completions totally disrupt the flow of the game, and it feels like you’re playing a series of individual levels as opposed to a truly open world. If these loads weren’t bad enough, there are awkward long pauses in conversation during missions that seem as if the game is having trouble loading in the dialogue. A character will ask a question or make a statement and it can be as long as ten seconds before Rico will respond and another ten seconds before the next sentence is spoken.

Just-Cause-3-Mission-3-Marios-Rebel-Drops

Just Cause 3’s load times might be bearable if the game actually worked correctly. Unfortunately, on the Xbox One it doesn’t. Explosions cause the game to lag uncontrollably for several seconds, again taking you out of the game experience. I’m only 45 minutes or so into the game and I’ve already experienced a game breaking glitch. I started the third mission of the game, ‘Mario’s Rebel Drops’, however the game will not let me complete the mission. I get the mission complete screen, however the game acts as if I’m still in the mission. There are no objectives on the screen, nothing on the map, and yet if I press pause I have the option to ‘quit mission.’ If I die I’m greeted with a ‘mission failed’, even though I’ve already gotten the ‘mission complete’ prompt. I quit the mission and started over and yet it still does the same thing. I can’t start any challenges because the game thinks I’m still on a mission, and there are no more missions available either. I can’t progress any further in the game without starting over, and I certainly don’t want to replay the incredibly terrible opening that’s made worse by excessive loading.

Right now I’m stuck with a game I can’t play. Even if I could progress further into the story, it wouldn’t be enjoyable. I do not want to wait 30 seconds after completing a mission just to see a corny cut scene and wait another 30 seconds to get back into the world. That’s entirely unacceptable.

If you haven’t purchased Just Cause 3 yet I have to insist you do not purchase it. It is unplayable.