Ever since it launched as a free PlayStation Plus title, Rocket League has enjoyed a large and healthy population of players. With a concept as simple as “soccer … but with rocket-powered cars,” it has all the elements that make it fun for casual players to pick up and play for an hour, plus enough depth and potential for strategy to launch a booming e-sports scene. Now that it has gone completely free to play on the Epic Game store, there’s no telling how high this game can soar.
Even before it became free to play, Rocket League was jam-packed with cosmetic items for players to earn as they played. You could deck out your car’s wheels and equip different flags, paint jobs, wheels, exhaust trails, and more. The most substantial thing you can pick for yourself will obviously be the car itself. Plenty of new models have been added over the game’s life, including many pulled from films like Ghostbuster‘s Ecto — 1 and the Batmobile, but those might not be the smartest picks. Psyonix has made it a point to try and make all cars more or less equal, yet there are a few that do have a slight edge over the others. If you want to gain every advantage you can on the field, these are the best cars in Rocket League.
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Just like guns in a looter shooter, the different body types in Rocket League can be broken down into rarity levels. There are common, exclusive, very rare, import, exotic, limited, and premium cars. There are also platform-exclusive cars, but those are their own deal. These rarity types don’t necessarily equate to better cars, though. You start with a few commons by default, and the rest can be earned by just playing a few matches.
How to unlock new body types
Common-level cars are the easiest to unlock and earn. Just play normally, and you should get them all in no time. All other types, aside from exclusives, limited, and premium, can be earned either through drops, trading, or the Rocket Pass. Drops are basically just loot boxes you can get from completing challenges or as rewards from working through your Rocket Pass, the battle pass equivalent. These drops come in different rarities to give you an idea of what you might get, but they don’t just give you new cars. They can have any cosmetic in the game, so getting a new car is quite rare.
Trading works exactly how you think, but with two restrictions. Both players trading must have purchased a minimum of 500 Credits to initiate a trade unless you started playing before the game went free to play. You both also have to be playing on the same platform, but other than that, you’re free to trade for any car someone is willing to give you.
Sometimes, the developers hit the nail on the head in the first shot, which is exactly the case for Octane. This car is one of the original starter vehicles that launched with the game and remains one of the cars everyone gets right off the bat. Octane is just about the most balanced car in the game. That makes it the perfect choice for newcomers to get a grip on the game but also allows the pros to change up strategies on the fly. The tight controls, speed, and hitbox make it, by far, the most popular pick on the competitive scene.
This long, lean machine was originally only available through a DLC pack but has since become available to earn for free. The Dominus doesn’t follow the Octane’s lead by doing everything well but instead specializes in power and handling. The hitbox can be tricky to get used to, especially when aiming shots, but it can turn on a dime and keep you right in the action. The long length also makes it a great defender. It demands some practice, but the Dominus can pay off big time if you’re willing to put in the work.
The very rare-level Aftershock is more of a fan pick than pro level, but it’s by no means not a viable pick. The main draw of this model is just how snappy it feels to control. The small frame makes it one of the quickest and most responsive cars to drive on the ground. Aftershock isn’t too great in the air, and the hitbox is kind of small and oddly shaped, but it can hit the ball just as hard as the Dominus if you line up the shot.
The first premium-only car to hit the list is none other than the Batmobile. Technically, there are two versions of this car, one based on the 2016 iteration and the other from the 1989 version, but we’ll be talking about the 2016 version here since the other is no longer obtainable normally. This long, flat tank of a car has a good deal of pro-level players singing its praises. The length is an obvious draw, having the longest and widest hitbox of any car in the game to date, but it also handles incredibly well. The length also has earned it a reputation for its flicking ability, resulting in the term “Batman Flick” to be coined.
You likely won’t see the Takumi in any pro-level matches, but it’s still a great choice for normal play. It can be thought of as a modified Dominus in a way, only trading in some length for height. This is a good choice for players who like to play the ground game since the taller hitbox makes it an easier option for controlling the ball. It does suffer from a wider turning arc and not as strong of an aerial game but will serve you well on a balanced team.
Another of the original cast to make the list is the chunky Breakout. Another long car with a modest bump in height at the windshield, this is a car that loves the air. The square design makes it easier to aim your shots, and the length and speed mean you’re more likely to reach the ball first. Just like the Takumi, it is very similar to the Dominus in a lot of ways, only with some slight cons that keep it from being picked by those at the top of the game. While it is a long, square-shaped car, it is still narrower than the Dominus and can’t hit the ball quite as hard.
Speaking of flat cars, the Mantis is one of the sleekest there is. This isn’t just aesthetic, either. The Mantis is one of the fastest and tightest-turning cars around. That makes it a potential monster on the ground but with some notable drawbacks. For one, it is quite short compared to the others in the game, and that low, flat hitbox can mean the ball will soar over you if you approach it while it’s bouncing at the wrong time. Don’t expect to make many clutch saves with this model.
Way off the design styles of anything else is the absolute unit that is the Merc. This armored van is made for one thing: Bullying. Whether it’s ramming opponents or the ball, driving this giant box around makes it hard to miss. If you’re getting frustrated missing the ball or losing control of it while taking it down the field, the Merc will solve most of those problems. Just don’t expect much else from this tank.
Another pick best suited to learning the game is the Paladin. It is another long, flat-type body but not to the extreme levels of the Dominus or Breakout. If you’re interested in either of those two, this is a great introduction that isn’t quite as heavily weighted toward one style of play. It isn’t quite as short or as long, and the accuracy isn’t great, but it can hit hard and hold its own in the air.
Coming from the overlooked Super Acrobatic Rocket Propelled Battle Cars, the prequel of sorts to Rocket League, is another behemoth-style car. The Marauder is a big boy that plays a lot like the Merc, but the hitbox is a little more friendly. You will be able to dribble well, hit the ball hard, and be a great blocker, but that’s about it. This is another great early-game car for people who want to trade a bit of accuracy and speed for consistent hits and better control.
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