Rocket League – Cars, Soccer, Physics

By Ben Jackson   August 25, 2016 7:07 pm UTC

Admittedly, we’re super late to the Rocket League party. After hearing about how great it was for about 6 months, I finally pulled the trigger and spent the $19.99 to download it (on PS4). Several months later, I’m hooked and can’t stop playing. Why is this game so good, and what makes it so addicting?

For starters, it combines a few things I love, personally. Actually, three of my favorite things in the world, now that I think about it. I’m talking about video games, cars, and soccer of course (in that order too). There’s something about this game that hooked me in, and it only took a few days of playing. Rocket League is entirely unique, which is part of the reason why I think the gameplay is addictive. The visuals are insane, the customizations are endless, and simply put – it’s one of the greatest thing in the world. Rocket League is currently available on PC, PlayStation and Xbox – but OS X and Linux versions are on their way.


Rocket League is developed by Psyonix; it took them two years and $2 million to develop this game. Rocket League is basically the sequel of Battle-Cars which was released in 2008.

Gameplay in Rocket League

Rocket League’s gameplay is different from Battle-Cars, its predecessor. The first time I played, I tried the 1 v 1 option, against the computer. For me, I’m a heavy gamer – but I’ve fallen into the trap of only playing games that have an online multiplayer feature. Call of Duty, FIFA, Madden – basically anything where I can compete against another real person. It’s a personal preference, but ever since playing the SOCOM Navy Seals online multiplayer (on Playstation 2), I’ve been hooked on multiplayer team games. But as with any game, you first have to figure out what the hell is going on first, and play against the computer.

My initial impression was: what in the world is going on right now. Lined up across my opponent in a soccer field, staring at a giant ball, I waited for the countdown to blare 3,2,1  before naturally firing the R2 trigger. What ensued was at first, nonsense. Driving a car towards a giant ball seems like an easy task. But when the goal is to essentially “punch” the ball into what resembles a soccer goal, and there’s someone else driving at the ball too.. mayhem ensues.

RocketLeague_ScreenshotI think it took a grand total of 15 seconds until my car had latched onto the ceiling or roof of the arena, and stuck up there. I quickly realized you could drive upside down, up and down any wall, all while still trying to crush the ball. Not too much later, my car was rammed from behind and I exploded in a fiery flame – only to reset back near my goal about 3 seconds later.

All that being said – I’m fairly certain the first few games ended in confusion and a stunning deficit, but I was also intrigued. By the third game I played I learned how important the timing of the faceoff was, and how to play better defense. I scored a few goals, and was ready to try my luck against real competition. Immediately I was pleasantly surprised to see the ranking system, for each different type of gameplay. It also helps to be matched up against people who still sucked too. As with any good game, you have your options in terms of how you want to play. You can roll solo and play 1 v 1, but that doesn’t seem to be too much fun. 2 v 2 and 3 v 3 are much better, in my opinion. Having 6 players in one arena can be a little bit insane at times, but that’s all part of the fun. It’s also hilarious when you’re not very good, and your teammates freak out because you drove past the ball on the faceoff and the other team ripped a long goal in.

In my opinion, probably the best feature of this game is the physics associated with the gameplay. Every touch of the ball creates a dramatic change in direction, and the ability to jump and hit the ball in the air makes every hit feel important. There’s so much strategy to playing with teammates, it’s almost mind-boggling. Some teams opt to have a goalie near their goal at all times, other teams just all-out rush the ball and try to score in every way possible. Point is, you can have a completely different experience nearly every time you play. Which makes it fun.

RocketLeague_DSWhy is it so addicting though? Probably because the games are fairly short – 5 minutes, with a clock that stops after goals. If you lose one game, I’ve found it so easy to just let the auto-search feature find you another game. Get up from your seat to get a drink, and chances are you’ll hear the countdown buzzing for another game to start by the time you get back to your seat. Thus, endless hours of Rocket League can happen fairly easily.

Reception

Their RL predecessor Battle-Cars wasn’t all that recognized, but Psyonix struck gold with this game. The intuitive gameplay and heart-throbbing visuals have already made it a major success. It’s already sold 6.2 million times after one year of its launch as per the numbers in July, 2016 and has collected $110 million in revenue for the company. During first week of August, 2016, the very first tournament of Rocket League appropriately named the ‘Rocket League Championship Series’ Live International Finals took place at Avalon Hollywood in California. More than a million nerds tuned in to watch the event which was the biggest viewership of all-time for Psyonix. It was a two day tournament and iBUYPOWER Cosmic became the first ever winners.

If awards are your thing, Rocket League has already stacked up quite a few in a very short span of time. In December, 2015, it won Best Independent Game and Best Sports/Racing Game at The Games Awards 2015. It was also nominated for Best Multiplayer in the same event. In 2016 it won Best Design at Games Developers Choice Awards 2016.

Should you get it?

Yes. Definitely. You should already be playing this. Whatever game you think you’re hooked on (talking to you: dude obsessed with pillaging alien planet’s resources in No Man’s Sky), you’ll have a blast playing Rocket League and might just make time to play it every single day. It’s also $19.99, which is a third of what you pay for most new games. There are many high quality and popular games out there vying for your attention – but this one stands out of the crowd, because of the unique nature of it. I’ve heard some describe it as Twisted Metal meets FIFA meets NFL Blitz.

Psyonix is gearing up to support this successful launch with a seemingly endless supply of updates and downloadable content and new maps. Each DLC release adds more excitement to an already amazing game. The best part is they plan to keep all updates free of cost, which is pretty a pretty chillbro move. For one night, stop whatever else you’re playing and take Rocket League for a test drive. You won’t regret it.

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