Having seen Rocket League plastered across the internet for the last forever but not wanting to pick it up for PC because PC gaming really doesn’t do it for me, I was excited for its release on Xbox One. I picked it up last night and found it to be a lot harder than it looks. Some of the crazy and skilled shots you see in the clips online make it look so easy.
Luckily, there aren’t many controls for your vehicle (forward, backward, boost, jump, jump flip) so I raced through the beginner tutorial and got started in an exhibition match against the AI – a 3 v 3 battle in which I lost, even on easy mode. Oh dear. Nevermind, I thought, let’s play an online game, maybe I’ll do better. Boy, did I. I even managed to nick a couple of goals in a big win for my trio.
Rocket League is what I was looking for in a game of late. I have too many shooters and RPGs that require lengthy periods of play to really get into them. Sometimes I want to bound around an arena for 10 minutes in a rocket fuelled car with a cake on top trying to score a goal from my own penalty box. I haven’t had as much fun with a game in a long time. It doesn’t matter if I mistime a double jump and take myself out of the game, it doesn’t matter if my team loses 7 – 0 without so much as a whiff of goal. What matters is I’m taking part.
I do worry for the longevity of Rocket League, though. Standard football (soccer) games like FIFA and PES have the bonus of being simulations, being the closest most people will get to playing the beautiful game for real. A game like Rocket League reminds me of Red Card Soccer on the PS2; a novel take on one of England’s greatest inventions that has you giggling for a few hours but, in the end, wears thin as the initial adrenaline rush it provides subsides. On the other hand, PC players have been at it for close to a year and it doesn’t appear to be losing Steam (literally, Steam had 16,598 players today.)
This I think will be helped by the various modes on offer. The standard fare is 3 v 3, but you can play 1 v 1, 2 v 2, and 4 v 4 as well. On top of that there are mutator modes that allow you to change the size, weight and bounciness of the ball, or even turn it in to a hockey puck. Usually each game is 5 minutes long, but you can increase or decrease it as you see fit, or even set the goal limit to 1 for a tense, sudden death affair. There is also an offline season mode which I’m sure will see a play through. With a couple of friends in part chat, I bet Rocket League would be a blast. To top things off, it even has split screen for when you hang out with your real friends. What year is it?!
Rocket League is fun, pure and simple, and I can’t wait to pick up my pad again.