Rocket League: My Latest Addiction

Rocket League

So today marks 150 hours of my life spent playing Rocket League. Only a couple of weeks after the game’s launch on the 7th of July, I was fortunate enough to try it at a friend’s place. After just half an hour of play, I was hooked. The moment I got home that night, I hopped online and paid the £15 asking price with absolutely no hesitation. No waiting for Steam sales or deep discounts, I knew I would get my money’s worth on this purchase (and boy did I). Since then I’ve played Rocket League almost every day, and I’m still loving every second of it. Not bad for a game that’s basically football with rocket-powered cars.

The game is so simple, so elegant in its design, that regardless of your skill level it’s easy to just dive in and have a great time, whether you’re playing it competitively, or just for fun. It possesses that hard-to-define and often intangible quality that all the best games possess; excellent game feel. That empowering sense of control, where even the smallest actions you can perform feel good to do in and of themselves; every significant one rewards you with satisfying visual and aural feedback. It all culminates to give you this this profoundly visceral experience, where every barely missed goal, every epic save, every daring aerial manoeuvre, it all inspires the kind of nail-biting tension that has you on the edge of your seat, inhaling sharply through clenched teeth.

Epic Save

Now although the game is indeed beautifully simple and easy to pick up and play, it also boasts surprising depth that becomes increasingly apparent the more you play.

Speaking from my own experience, people new to Rocket League generally tend to spend entire matches just chasing after the ball with little consideration for positioning and team play. Typically their sole focus is on hitting the ball at absolutely any moment they can, regardless of whether they should. This is fine, as the game generally does a good job of keeping similarly skilled players together, giving new players ample opportunity to get comfortable with the game’s controls before they’re forced to deal with opponents performing more advanced manoeuvres. Helpfully there is also a robust training mode that introduces the game’s mechanics to those who haven’t already stumbled upon them through experimentation in matches.

As you develop mastery over the simpler actions, you may, like me, feel inclined to begin exploring the wealth of possibilities that your car’s rocket booster brings. The very best players Rocket League has to offer all demonstrate tremendous control not just on the ground, but in the air also. While I’m hardly at my ideal level (and I doubt I ever will be), I’ve at least become sufficiently competent to pull off the occasional aerial goal. Rocket League played at even the veteran level — which is only halfway up the list of ranks a player can earn — is already a completely different beast to the game I was playing as a rookie. Even having played as much as I have, I find myself continually coming back for more.

As there are plenty of others who have sung the game’s praises with much more detailed (and specific) critiques, I don’t intend to elaborate any further than I already have. Suffice to say I adore this game, and if you somehow haven’t had the chance to try it yet, I strongly urge you do so. To some the £15 asking price may seem steep, but for me as it currently stands, that £15 I paid has translated to at least ten hours of incredible play for each pound and I’ve relished every single match.

While I realize I’m clearly one of the more devoted players, and most people probably won’t play as much as I have in so short a time, I want you to understand how rare it is for me to get so absorbed by games, let alone sports ones. As it stands, Rocket League is my multiplayer game of the year and it would take something absolutely mind-blowing to dethrone it at this point. Kudos to all the men and women at Psyonix who helped to make this game a reality!

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