It’s a strange thing to be addicted to a game you never thought was your type or genre. I genuinely can’t explain how it makes me feel. I genuinely do not enjoy sports games, so to get hooked off a game I was sceptical of in the first place is weird, and not something that happens often.
So, how did I come by Rocket League? Well luckily, it was free for Playstation Plus in September, a fantastic offer for a game only just released. For weeks I’ve been listening to the Giant Bombcast talk about how they’re all hooked to the game, so one afternoon, in my downtime, I decided to give the game a go. Booting the game up, I was greeted to a stunningly brilliant rendering of a car on a field, a weird sentence I wouldn’t ever have imagined I’d ever write! (first time for everything today it would seem). Jumping head first into an online match, I soon discovered what all the hype was about when I scored my very first goal.
You see, Rocket League is equal parts luck, and equal parts skill, but when you score a goal or save one from happening, you genuinely feel like the most skillful player there ever was. Having your best (and worst) moments replayed straight after they happened really keeps you interested in the match a hand, even if you’re doing bad. I constantly wanted to better myself, or show off, depending on how I was doing.
Sorry, I’ve gotten ahead of myself. To begin with, an explanation of Rocket League:
Rocket League lets you play a typical game of football as a car. Sounds crazy, but it’s genuinely genius; to the point fans are now campaigning to make it an e-sport. You can choose from 4 different types of match: 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, proceeding to try and outscore the opposing teams. It’s that simple.
Each match lasts a maximum of 5 minutes, so the game really is a “pick up and play” type of game, with myself constantly thinking “ah, I have half an hour free before I go to bed, I’ll play a few games of Rocket League before sleep”. Whilst this mentality is certainly awesome, it can cause problems in regards to being just too damn addictive, with every match’s score screen prompting you to instantly press the “find new match” button without thinking.
So how are the controls? Well to put it simply; Delightful. You literally control the car like you would any normal racing game, just this time the mechanics necessitate you controlling it in weird and wonderful ways, with the addition of a jump and nitro boost helping to push your driving skills to the extreme. With traditional racing games you’re trying to stick to a track, constantly making tiny adjustments in order to stay within the course and get the best time. Not so with Rocket League, where you’re constantly trying to change direction within seconds to counter wherever the ball is at that moment. Rocket jumping is hard, but soon you get used to it and are flying just as much as you’re driving, whacking the ball out of the air before over players can get to it.
There isn’t really anything in the sense of music (bar the main menu screen, which, due to the quality of Rocket Leagues servers, you’ll rarely ever spend time on the menu), which isn’t a bad thing considering this is a sports game. Sound effects are as you’d expect (fans cheering, explosions happen when you score a goal etc.) and help to keep the immersion in the match.
So should you get Rocket League for the grand total of £15 if you missed it on playstation plus? HELLS YES. I have easily put in hours and hours of time into the game, getting hooked well past the point of when I should be in bed before work the next morning. The game is addictive, and certainly something I wasn’t expecting to be hooked to considering it’s a genre I don’t generally like.