For a long time I had been hearing about this PC game called Rocket League. I didn’t pay it any mind because for one, I don’t play PC games much and I am a devout Xbox owner. Rocket League came onto the scene back in July, 2015 for Windows and PlayStation 4 developing an immediate fan base. It wouldn’t be released onto the Xbox One until February, 2016 (because we are the middle children and nobody pays us any attention). I mean seriously, my coworker asked if I had been playing Rocket League and looked at me like I had a horn in the middle of my forehead when I said “No”.
Let’s be honest for a second. We are talking about a game that is based around remote controlled cars playing soccer with what looks like a mechanical beach ball. To an avid FIFA soccer player, like me, this is blasphemy. If anyone has ever owned a remote controlled car or anything remote controlled for that matter, we know how hard they are to control without crashing them.
I couldn’t begin to compute the concept with my brain. Trust me, I tried and almost turned into Hodor from Game of Thrones (The best series on TV right now hands down). But I digress, this is not reality and we are talking about video-games. Anything is possible, right?
As the fates would have it Rocket League was free for a weekend if you were an Xbox Live Gold Member. The powers that be wanted me to play this game so bad that they laid it in my lap. They wanted me to experience what this game has to offer, for free. Mom always said that the best things in life were free, which is a lie. Some free shit is crappy as hell. Skeptically, I hit the download button. While the Xbox One does what it needs to do I have my lady prepare the usual gaming feast: 10 piece wings (Dripping with sauce), French fries (crinkled cut because the wing place doesn’t give me the option for anything else), Cold beer and dipping sauce (wings can never be too saucy when you’re a grown ass man). After a few minutes Rocket League is ready to be played.
I’m usually a savage and try to learn things on the go but I don’t feel like making an ass out of myself, so I spend a few minutes going through the tutorials. They teach me how to work the camera views, check. They teach me how to maneuver and use the speed boost, double check. They tried to teach me how to play defense, but screw that I want the glory and my wings are getting cold. Let’s get a game going.
Rocket League actually gives you an option to choose which kinds of game modes that you want it to search for and place you in. There were multiple options from 1v1, 2v2, Standard (3v3) and Chaos (4v4). I chose chaos because I want get the full experience off the break.
I have to admit that the graphics of the arenas are very pleasing to the eye. Everything is crisp, the views of the sky outside of the arena are realistic and the cars that the players are using look amazing as well. The cool thing you notice about Rocket League is how you get to customize your vehicle. Every game is like watching an episode of “Pimp My Ride” without Xzibit, though. You can change your paint job, change the tires and rims, you can even change the color of your rocket boost exhaust. Saying that the matches are colorful is an understatement. But again, I digress.
The first match started really fast, my teammates and opponents rushed the center of the arena to get the ball. The arena filled with the colorful exhaust of everyone using their boosters. I changed my camera to “Ball view” so that my focus was always on the ball. This works very well when trying to set up shots and helps to keep an eye on what everyone else is doing. Otherwise your camera will be focused straight ahead (You can use the analog stick to rotate the camera as needed but I found it to be too much work). The ball goes straight into the air and it’s anyone’s to snatch, so I do. Because I didn’t rush the ball like everyone else did I had a clearer vision of the field.
So I go for the free ball. I pop my car into the air and tap the ball into the direction of my opponent’s goal with some velocity. I’m feeling really good about this. The goal is straight ahead and everyone else is trying to recover from the initial skirmish. No sooner than I hit the ball toward the goal the quicker it’s taken away and is going in the opposite direction. For a good amount of time the ball is hit back and forth between the midfield lines. Cars are flying all over the place in rainbow colored clouds of smoke, sometimes destroying a player caught sitting still for too long.
After a frantic two minutes (which felt like 10) there was the first goal. The opposing team had scored on us with a resounding explosion of the mechanical beach ball which threw everyone in the blast radius back with some real force. I was not expecting that. It literally felt like this guy slam dunked on my face and put his crotch on my shoulder. The shit is disrespectful, every time.
Rocket League is made in such a way that any and every one can pick it up and have fun. Early on you can tell who has some real skill and uses teamwork to their advantage compared to the 80% of players who are running around like chickens with their heads cut off just trying to get a goal. Like a real soccer match, it would serve you best to learn your role in the game early on. Some players prefer to play defense. This is rare but it happens. To be honest those who play defense are the real unsung heroes of the game because you can literally score from anywhere.
Then there are players that score quickly and are efficient in their movement of the ball both in the air and on the ground. Believe me, these players stand out and are always a threat. Anyone else is only good for defending and possibly setting up some shots or disrupting the play of the other team by being in the right place at the wrong time (There are a lot of times where players will hit the ball into their own goal). The game is made to be played casually. But, if you feel that you have real skill and want a consistent challenge I would encourage you to play within the Ranked section.
The competitiveness is real there and not to be taken lightly. There is also a section with experimental arena layouts. These are interesting because your goal could be up a hill or sitting right next to your opponent’s goal. Rocket League Labs is for the players that are tired of the standard arena layout and want to throw a bit of a twist into the game. These arenas are very fun in my opinion and add to the replay value.
Rocket League is a very addictive game. As crazy as the concept may have been, Psyonix knew what they were doing when they created this game. I found myself playing this game for an hour straight before I realized that I neglected my wings and spilled sauce in my lap. My beer was gone though. I was thirsty and probably a little tipsy by the end. Once you play your first match and you realize that the controls and concept are not so foreign, you become immersed in the colorful and chaotic sporting event.
At first I was skeptical but after playing for a couple of days I am a believer. The cost is low too. This title will only hit your pockets for about $20. With one of the highest replay values that I have ever come across it’s well worth the money. If you like sports, competition and fast paced action, you have to have this in your catalog. Do yourself a favor and download this game. Sauce those wings and play on my friends.