Test Roller Champions – A fun, fair and accessible free cooperative and competitive sports game?

First announced during the Ubisoft conference broadcast as part of E3 2019, Roller champions will have taken its time for the official launch. A closed alpha in 2020, a beta in 2021, more than a year of complete radio silence and here it resurfaces by going gold to everyone’s surprise about a month before it lands on PC and consoles. So, does Ubisoft Montreal’s free-to-play cooperative and competitive sports game live up to the expectations it’s aroused all along? Answer in this test.

Test conditions: Test conducted with an Xbox One controller on a 1080p display and a PC equipped with an Intel Core i5-9400F processor (2.9 GHz), an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, and a 16 GB RAM. The title ran about 6:30 a.m. in the high configuration, the time it took to complete about fifty games (quick and rank) and go through the content the game offered at launch.

Welcome to Rolleeer Champiooooooooos!

Before we get to the heart of the matter, let’s try to remember exactly what’s in it Roller champions† Specifically, the role-playing game invites us to participate in 3v3 matches of seven minutes (maximum ten in case of overtime due to a draw between the two teams or if the one who loses has possession of the ball at the end of time).

In a closed arena, similar to a velodrome, the aim is to score the most points by throwing a ball into a ring-shaped target. To open it, you must manage to cross doors that resemble checkpoints without losing possession of the ball. One lap of the track gives you one point, two gives you three and three allows you to score five, the minimum number of points needed to win the match.

Accessible through its concept, the title also tries to be accessible in its arcade oriented gameplay. And if everything wasn’t perfect during the last beta, at launch, the various mechanics available are all well oiled and the controls are dynamic and immediate. Maneuverability, shoot, pass, tackle, dodge, dive in the air, suck, uppercut, 360° kick… the game has a variety of varied and very enjoyable actions to use, even if, of course, to make them as efficient as possible thinking and a good sense of timing, especially if you want to reach Elite rank in ranked mode.

Other qualities, the sensations of speed are there, the rhythm of the games is exciting, the right balance between attack and defense seemed to be there, the difference in fans’ profit (the equivalent of XP) is not very important between victory and beat for the benefit of everyone and we always have a lot of fun criss-crossing the arena, even when riding with strangers.

That said, it can be strange, given that we are dealing with an experience where collaboration and competition are central. However, with a minimum of judgment and observation, we really had the impression that chemistry with the other players was created quite easily through non-verbal communication. Admittedly, it doesn’t work every time and team play will always be more effective with friends, but quite honestly whether it’s during a quick or ranked game, there really is something, that outstretched hand, that is there and encourages us to act in an intuitive way. way to find our place on the field. Some more ?

Launch content too limited

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Already picked during the beta, the content provided by Roller champions at launch is unfortunately not up to our expectations. So yes, it is true, it is very often the case for the genre of service games (or game as a service) and the developers already have plans in mind for the coming weeks and months (four seasons planned after the inaugural period) but we expected more generosity and ambition from them.

Ultimately, at the moment we are only entitled to: fast and ranked games played in only three different arenas (Acapulco, Mexico City and Chichén Itzá), personalized lounges for evenings with friends (match against AI possible but not recommended as it is non- stop picks up), an uninteresting skatepark (small social hub that only seats six people to relax or train), a few daily rewards and weekly challenges without much originality and… that’s all as no temporary game mode is available yet.

On the avatar personalization side, on the other hand, there’s already more fun (helmet, outfit, glove, roller, target animations, celebrations, etc.) provided you put your hand in your pocket. And yes, as a reminder, the Ubisoft sports game is free-to-play and, who says free-to-play, says microtransactions and battle pass, or rather Roller Pass in our case. If there’s a free version with some cosmetic rewards in the key, it’s no surprise that the Premium version will grab the attention of those who want to survey the arena in style.

To do this, you need to spend 500 Wheels (the virtual currency of the title), the equivalent of €4.99. And, good news, if you play enough, you can make your purchase profitable so you don’t have to go back to the microtransactions box later. Suffice it to say that the economic model is fair to the genre. On the other hand, if you are interested in items from the store that are missing from the Roller Pass, you have no choice, you have to reheat the bank card (from €4.99 for 500 Wheels to €99.99 for 13,000 Wheels ) .

A cartoon realization with a rendering closer to karting than F1

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Let’s end with this overview of Roller champions by inventorying its technical aspect. Overall, the cartoon-inspired realization conceived by the developers offers a pretty nice visual. But even if we are aware that this production is more modest than many other Ubisoft licenses in terms of budget and resources, the graphics and artistic legs would have deserved to work more on it. Compared to a title like Fortnitethe French Canadian production is painful to watch.

As for the sound design, the sound effects are of good quality, the atmosphere in the arenas is there with the presence of an excited audience, especially at the beginning and in the last moments of a match, and the small pop playlist integrated into the main menu is pleasant to the ears. Unfortunately, we had done as much as possible without voice-overs and huddled commentary, in both French and English.

Finally, note that the game also suffers from a lack of shine at launch. Besides the various and varied bugs you’ll encounter (visuals, issues with camera placement during replays, etc.), the most troubling issues are those related to matchmaking, server stability, and causing in-game crashes or while to play. or insurmountable to fix, but we keep our fingers crossed that updates will be rolled out in the coming weeks so that the start of Season 1 goes smoothly or almost flawlessly.