The review of Roller Champions, Ubisoft’s PvP game for PC and consoles loosely based on the Rollerball movie.
With Roller Champions Ubisoft Montreal he is trying to replicate the magic with which he made his own game as a service of the resounding commercial and public successes, despite a slow start. Just think of The Crew and For Honor, how he revitalized the first The Division, but above all what Rainbow Six: Siege has become over the years.
After the very long postponement, most likely caused by problems related to Covid-19, the PvP game freely inspired by the film Rollerball has finally arrived in free-to-play format on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and thanks to the backward compatibility of Series X | S and PlayStation 5.
As we will see in the Roller Champions reviewdespite the postponement, Ubisoft Montreal’s latest effort arrived in stores a little short of breath and took a few days to break in its infrastructure and will need months to express its full potential.
Who saw Rollerball, the 1975 film directed by Norman Jewison (or its 2002 remake), will have a deja-vu feeling playing Roller Champions. The sport conceived by Ubisoft, in fact, shares a lot with that seen in the film with James Caan. It is played in circular arenas to be covered on roller skates, it is played with a ball and there are no rules, which makes the defensive phase quite physical. The atmospheres of Rollerball were decidedly dirtier and more dystopian, there was also a pinch of criticism of the company behind it, but the “sport” discipline seems exactly the same.
Roller Champions is played between two teams of 3 players each fighting for possession of a ball that must be thrown into a sort of basket positioned on the sides of the track. Before scoring, however, a team must complete one full circle with the ball in hand. Based on the laps completed, the goal can be worth more points, something that could allow you to completely overturn the result of the game even at the last moment. A basket made after 3 full laps, in fact, is worth 5 points and, consequently, the direct victory of the match.
For its part, Ubisoft has put its own effort into trying to differentiate its game from the old movies: the package offered is young and colorful, so as to intercept the most modern tastes and be suitable for the free-to-play structure that supports the project. Through the sales of the colorful skins and emotes, the Montreal studio hopes to repay development costs and support the community in the long run.
Long period is the key to understanding Roller Champions today. Ubisoft, in fact, does not seem to be in a hurry with his creature. After taking a week to be able to fix matchmaking and allow everyone to play pretty solidly most of the matches they were paired with (something not to be underestimated given the completely online nature of the game) in many respects the title still seems not to be fully mature.
Let’s start with modality: to stretch your bones and understand how to play, only the Quick Games or the Skatepark are available, a free area in which to meet other players. To play “seriously”, however, there are only the Ranked Matches that differ from the Rapids only for the fact that you climb a ranking designed to put us in front of opponents of the same level as us.
And then? Enough, because for the moment the Surprise Event is closed and we don’t know when the next one will arrive. A bit’ a little to think of gluing the user for a long time, also considering the good unlockable plan available with the season pass, both free and paid, or the daily objectives.
There is no way to create your own squad, to play with friends in a competitive way, to form a consortium or to compare statistics and skills. In other words, all the side dish is missing, as well as a good main course.
The lack of completeness can also be perceived under the profile of gameplay. The game system designed by Ubisoft, in fact, is able to entertain and also allows you to experience a certain degree of depth. In fact, after just a few games, you will be able to move more effectively along the ring, perform very high jumps or take advantage of your teammates to reach dizzying speeds and, perhaps, stop a shot a few centimeters from the basket.
In several respects Roller Champions could remember Rocket League, if it were not that Psyonix’s game seems to be more solid in terms of physics, contact accuracy and game reading. Everything is bigger, clearer and this allows you to understand where the ball is and why it was hit (or not). In Roller Champions the bearer of the ball is signaled by a simple indicator, to steal it from him you have to tackle him and the contacts are not always precise and it is not clear why the action was successful or not.
This could make matches frustrating, as the result may be more due to a technical problem than a player / team’s skill. Like the rest, these aspects can also be improved over time, it will be necessary to see if the team will have the opportunity to do so.
Under the technical profile we appreciated the lightness of the game engine, able to run on a PC even if not designed for gaming, the soundtrack and the design of objects and characters. There is still work to be done in terms of code stability and matchmaking, but within a few days the situation seems to have improved.
- Few modalities
- A little confusing and inaccurate gameplay
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