I felt the same about purchasing Rocket League as I do about skinny jeans – I swear as soon as I buy a pair they’ll become a fad of the past. However, Rocket League has endured longer than anyone could have predicted already. Who’d have thought a game that was so much pure fun could survive and even thrive?
Released on PS4 and PC in July 2015 with cross-platform play by developers Psyonix, the premise of Rocket League is as simple as it is bizarre and I can’t believe it works. Imagine a game of five-a-side football: replace the players with rocket-powered cars and turn the arena in to a sort of wrestling cage, with a giant football that takes a proper shunt to get going. Matches can be played in the form of a 1v1, doubles or triple’s competitively, while there are also modes out there such as Ice Hockey, which has potential but isn’t there just yet.
Do you remember playing football on the school playground? Your first couple of hours will feel like a warm welcome back to those carefree days, with hordes of headless chickens running after a ball, desperate for a touch, never a clean hit.
The first time I managed to properly punt the ball I was too shocked to go after it, but soon after we developed a cunning plan of attack. The corners in the Rocket League arena are rounded off, which effectively creates the idea of “crossing.” Like every good Premiership side of the 90’s, my friends and I crossed the ball relentlessly to one another, with more than one “Bend it like Beckham” reference made per night. We got used to the calls that the ball was going to drop in the middle being false as things never seemed to go to plan. Such a basic tactic soon got palmed off like an English rugby player by Jonah Lomu.
Indeed, as you begin to become wary of chasing a ball around, you realise there’s much more to the game than that and you can think ahead. Positioning yourself right and waiting for your moment to shine is a powerful ability in Rocket League just as it is in many games. In fact, the same theory applies to Rocket League that I learnt back when I used to play Company of Heroes. ‘If you can’t do anything to help defend… then set yourself up to attack.’ Sometimes it’s not worth chasing the ball and investing such wasted time in grabbing full boost and positioning yourself to hit the enemy on the counter attack. It can work a treat as all the winded cards, devoid of boost and momentum, trundle back home defeated by the post, crossbar, or fortunate rear end of your teammates truck.
Psyonix have done what Valve did when they created Half Life. They got the physics right. You can do some crazy things on this game. The player is able to jump, flip and even fly by using boost mid-jump and controlling it expertly. I’ve seen the most intricate of flights, better than any Moscow ballet, result in an aerial goal you wouldn’t believe. Each time you see someone score a goal you didn’t think possible, it spurs you on to get better and better.
An aspect of the game that I’m undecided on are the demolitions. If you boost in to an enemy fast enough you can completely obliterate him, which can be used tactically but mainly it’s done for the sake of it. Never shy of a sly nudge or two, I refrained from purposely demolishing someone for so long, but then I caved and spent an hour continuously doing so. We lost, but in a way, I won.
On the theme of demolition, each time a goal is scored, the ball explodes, sending all players in the half flying while sounding an air siren. More than once a friend has remarked that this is the most fun part of the entire game, carelessly floating and doing cool twists with your car for a few seconds. The music played after a goal grabs you and makes you believe that what you’ve just done is cool, no matter how much of a toe-poke the goal truly was. It reminds me a little of the music from the old SSX games and has much the same effect on me now as it did to a spotty teen all those years ago.
Even if you’re useless at Rocket League, your car is still highly customisable as you earn points for things such as saves, assists, shots and of course – goals. Originally I tried to make every car of mine look like the Batmobile but I’d like to think I’ve matured since then. Here’s what a few of us are rocking with right now:
Now, the cross-platform gaming is a cool feature and every time I see an opponent is playing from PSY NET (Playstation Network) I surge with pride, fighting for the cause and ensure that the enemy leaves the arena defeated. The game was released for free on Playstation 4 but sadly Psy Net user’s can’t join a lobby with PC users or even properly talk to them, meaning that only superiority is at stake.
In conclusion, this game is a real gem and available at a great price. There are hours and hours of fun to be had and if you truly think you’ll get sick of the chaos then there’s a real competitive edge that goes hand in hand with the anarchy.
If you want to get your hands on a copy of the game for under £10 and join in the explosive action, try out G2A where there are good deals all year round on Rocket League and other games.
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