Release Date: 7/7/2015
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When you think about soccer the last thing you would think about is cars. Rocket League takes a joke and turns it into one of the best competitive games in years. That’s a bold statement, I know, but you have to play it to believe it.
There’s no story, no leagues, no teams with some sort of crappy background to tie something in. You just customize your RC car and smack a giant ball with it. It sounds boring and simple on paper, but it is a perfect formula for something amazing. Once you jump into the tutorial you will think it’s quite simple, drive your car into the ball and get it into the goal. Sounds simple, but when you have 5 other players doing the same thing it can become insane and immensely fun. One of the key assets of Rocket League is that the control mechanics are simple to learn but hard to master. Sure, you can do a bicycle kick, launch your car into the air willy-nilly and even guard a goal, but it’s how you do all this with a finesse that will determine how good you are.
When you finish the tutorial you will notice it will take about a dozen rounds before you start to really grasp the mechanics, again it’s not that they’re hard but just require practice. The maps have speed boosts strategically laid out throughout the map. These are orbs globes (full boost) or orange plates (partial) that are placed so well that you will subconsciously remember where they are and hit them as you are going around the map. This is hard to get right without breaking concentration. Hitting the ball into the goal is the main goal, but what’s so great about Rocket League is how this is done. Because this game is online there will be exciting and memorable moments that you can save via replays like an amazing pass, a long-shot goal, a great defensive move, or something along those lines. I made some incredible insane shots and helped my team out without having to communicate and that’s also hard to get right.
Rocket League doesn’t have voice chat which is a blessing in disguise. Instead, you get predetermined messages that you can select with the D-pad that get your message across. Most players are great sports in this game and the competition is the same. Outside of scoring, there are other ways to get to the ball; you can drive on the walls and ceilings. Rocket League has each map in a glass case so this allows you to drive up a wall, kick off, and hit the ball that’s high into the air. Even after dozens of matches (probably over a 100 at this point) I still miss jumping up and hitting the ball in the right direction, I have to warm up like any good online game.
The visuals are fantastic with individually rendered grass blades, great lighting effects, high-res textures, and gorgeous colors and sound. I really felt like I was in a stadium playing a sport. The customization for your car is nearly endless as parts are unlocked based on achievement goals which make you want to keep playing to have the best-looking car on the field. There is a great match-making filter implemented and free maps and updates are constantly being added. 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 are all possible options and they are so great. Matches are quick to start up and there are tons of players online so you will always find a match to join in. The servers are also very stable with no hiccups during my entire length of playing the game.
With that said I can’t stress enough how Rocket League is more like soccer than actual soccer games are. You get the thrill and joy out of scoring like you would in real life; this is in contrast to the stale solo plays of real soccer games like FIFA or PES. Some people may scoff at that but it’s the truth of the matter. Rocket League is addictive and fun and anyone who plays online competitively will enjoy this game even if you don’t like soccer or cars. The game has a wide appeal to all audiences and will allow for hundreds of hours of fantastic gameplay.