Game Review: Rocket League

If you do not already own Rocket League, you need to go out and purchase this game today (or when it’s on sale but soon). Rocket League is a very simple premise, you play soccer with rocket cars instead of people. You control one car and game sizes range from 1v1 to 4v4 with 3v3 being the standard mode. Your car can do a hydraulic jump of sorts and you have a limited rocket boost whose fuel you can refill from pickups on the soccer field. Each game lasts 5 minutes and who ever scores the most points wins. And that’s it really. There is no game-altering drops or game-altering leveling you have to do. It is short simple and to the point.

This easy to pick up gameplay is exactly why this game is a must buy. Every goal, every block, every failure feels like I was responsible which feels amazing. Most competitive games today, like League of Legends, DOTA2, and Overwatch (to a lesser extent), have this burden of knowledge you need to know before you even start playing. You have to know what the characters do, build orders, map layouts etc. Not only does this create a barrier to entry, it also makes it more difficult to learn how to improve your gameplay. “Did I die there because I was outplayed, out picked, or out of position?” Rocket League’s simplicity means it is very easy to see clear lines from errors to improvement. Mistakes and losing don’t feel bad because you can learn how to improve your game each time. Now that doesn’t mean you will become a master overnight, it has both a low skill floor and a high skill ceiling.  Any time I scored or blocked a shot, it felt amazing because it felt like I actually outplayed another player and not because they picked the wrong champion/hero/loadout or because of RNG. That feeling of your skills improving and you getting better at the game by playing the game is some of the most satisfying gameplay I have had in years. Too many competitive games today require memorizing build/item orders and theory crafting outside of the game rather than the very natural learning and improving through playing.

If you want to stay as far from competitive/ranked play as possible Rocket League is even more of a must buy for you. Within the options menu you can block all the competitive queues from even appearing in the game. Besides that, there is 3 casual modes in addition to the unranked queues; Snow Day (Hockey), Hoops (Basketball), and Rumble (Soccer but with powerups). Of these 3, Hoops was the only one I would not recommend, you have to launch the ball into a hoop which I found to be challenging as a newbie. Every game of Hoops I played ended 1-0 in overtime.  Rumble I had the most fun with because getting the right power up at the right time to pull off an insane goal feels really good. It is my go to game mode when I want a quick session.

If you do not want to play against players at all and just want to go up against the computer, Rocket League is still the game for you. You can go up against bots whenever you want and there is a “Season” mode which makes a tournament for you to play against multiple AI teams. I will admit I have not explored enough of the one player mode to say you will be entertained for hundreds of hours like you would be with the multiplayer but as this game regularly goes on sale on Steam for $12 I’m sure it will still be worth it for you.

Now there is DLCs and random crate drops you need to buy keys to open with (similar to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive). The good news is the DLCs and crates are cosmetic only. You do not need to buy any DLCs or open any crates. If you do not even want to see when you get a crate, you can do that. In the options menu you can block any crate/key notification. This is the only game I know of which gives you the option to turn off their in game advertising. But if you still want to get cosmetics for free, you can. After each match you can get a random cosmetic drop to use for free including Wheatley from Portal 2 antennae topper amongst others. These drops are different than the ones you can pay for, but they are still high quality and look good. There is also a ton of customization options in the base game you can do to your vehicle for free.

My only caveat is that if you’re a PC gamer, you will need a gamepad. I used an XBOX360 controller to play, you can probably get a cheap one from Amazon or a used one from Gamestop or your local game store for around $15-20. Other than that, I really do not have anything else to complain about. This game is a definite must buy for anyone who enjoys having fun.

Game Info
Developer:
Psyonix
Release: PC/PS4 July 7 2015, Xbox One February 17, 2016
Price: $19.99 (Regularly goes on sale for $11.99 on Steam)
Pricing Model: Base game with cosmetic only DLCs and drop crates

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