*Strong Language Warning*
Let’s start out with this statement: I can’t stand football. I find the whole concept of rude idiots (mostly, some of them are nice and intelligent) kicking a ball around a field and falling over like they’ve been on the receiving end of a tactical carpet bombing getting paid enormously vast sums of money for it to be completely baffling. Not that professional sport shouldn’t be a thing, but the money involved in professional football is vastly disproportionate to almost any other sport, excluding motorsport because the science behind that stuff cost a shit load of money.
Now I could go on about this subject, in fact I did on the first draft of this, but that’s not why you’re here. The purpose of the above paragraph was to show the point that I really like Rocket League means. Rocket league is a football game, but it’s a football game I enjoy because it uses cars, much like Top Gear attempted on various occasions.
The difference here is that you are using remote control cars and they certainly feel remote control, but in the Micro Machines sense where they somehow feel both light and heavy, yet precise. I know what I just said makes no sense grammatically, but if you’ve ever played Micro Machines or Toybox Turbos then you’ll know what I mean, cars are easily hit around by the faster moving ones, turning them feels precise but that it’s actually taking some manner of effort to do rather than you’re driving a cloud made from the beard of the dragon in The Neverending Story. Incidentally, I would recommend playing with a controller, I tried keyboard but the controller feels much better and the controls are well laid out, however if you are playing split screen, you will currently need 2 of the exact same controller as the game can’t register more than one type at time (for some reason).
You have a couple of abilities, including a power slide, the ability to jump at any point whilst your car is on a surface, I say surface since you can wall ride at any point, but going to the ceiling will make you fall off unless you boost. Speaking of, you have a limited boost ability which can be recharged from various spots on the pitch, once driven over they will disappear for a short while and can be picked up by any player, AI or not, adding an extra layer of challenge to the field.
The game is clearly made with multiplayer in mind, having the option for online play as the first option lets that cat out of the bag with very little subtlety, but the option to play split screen with up to 4 people is an experience seldom as welcome as with PC gamers and shouldn’t be as rare as it has become, making it a blessing here. The thing is, this is all well and good, but as far as I, an introverted little idiot, is concerned, the game should be able to hold up on single player by itself. And by Odin it does, there are no game features withheld from the single player, meaning you are not punished for being a curmudgeonly twat, and the AI is probably some of the most capable I’ve ever seen, frequently outshining you (except the easiest setting where it’s like leading a group of paraplegic around using nothing but your pretend psychic powers) and provides a genuine challenge whilst making you feel like a god one game, but humiliating you the next.
As you play, you unlock various cosmetic accessories for your car, ranging from aerial toppers, wheels and hats. All of these are completely useless apart from looks, except for the bodies, which seems to alter the hit-box and genuinely affect how you hit the ball. It’s this and other little things like the astroturf detailing and the way the ball explodes when a goal is scored which make what was already a good game into something much more lovable.
On top of this, the recent DLC release has added 2 more cars and several decorative items for your car at a reasonable price and in a way that doesn’t ruin the experience for those who don’t want to buy it.
So to sum up, would I recommend Rocket League? Yes, Even if you aren’t interested in the subject matter then you will love this game, it’s fun to play and challenging just enough to not be annoying. However if you exclusively play deep, meaningful games with a complex plot and a message, this is not that, this is a game to play if you want to turn off and have some mindless fun. And do you know what? That’s fine by me.
A lifelong gamer, weaned onto it from a young age through the Gameboy and gradually onto other platforms. I am now a mostly PC gamer but my pet franchise remains to be (somewhat appropriately) Pokémon.