Hello there. It’s been far too long since I posted anything resembling a blog, so here I am trying to force my brain into output mode after having it stuck in input mode for the last year or more. My life has undergone some pretty big changes since my last post, so I shouldn’t really have too much trouble coming up with things to write about. There’s a lot going on in the world I could and probably should talk about here, such as the current dystopian nightmare scenario happening with the 2016 presidential election, the ridiculous kerfuffle between the FBI and Apple, the terrifying consequences of climate change, and all the other serious things in life that I care about and you SHOULD care about. Instead, I’m going to gush about a video game.
Rocket League is the sequel to a little known Playstation 3 game called Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars (SARPBC for short) developed by Psyonix. The game itself could not be much simpler. Each player controls a car that can jump and has a rocket booster. Said cars are placed on a field with a ball and a goal at either end (most of the time), and you try to score goals. It’s essentially car soccer with a dash of hockey and insanity. Check it out.
So how did Psyonix make something that seems simple so damn fun and compelling? Let’s look at the gameplay first. You have standard car controls (gas, brake, handbrake, and steering) as well as a jump, rocket boost, and air roll button. There is also a camera toggle that switches between the very well implemented ball cam and a standard camera. The controls are extremely tight and intuitive which is absolutely vital for a game like this. You will probably score a few goals and make a cool play or two the very first time you play the game, but it’ll take a lot of practice to be able to do the crazy aerial stuff you see the pros doing effortlessly. Speaking of practice, the tutorials are absolutely brilliant and they are pretty valuable when trying to learn the more advanced elements of the game. Oh, did I mention you can blow up opposing cars by bumping into them while moving really fast? Explosions never get old.
The other major contributing factor to making this game so damned fun is the variety of game modes. There are 4 different competitive modes to choose from- Solo Duel, 2 on 2, 3 on 3 (which is called standard), and Solo Standard (which is standard but consisting of random rather than pre-assembled teams). All of those modes are broken down further into 16 different rankings depending on skill level. The matchmaking in this game is absolutely stellar, with short queues and fair matchups nearly every time. But that’s only half the story. There is also an exhibition version of all of the above modes, as well as a mode called Chaos (4 on 4) and a few weird modes that can rotate. Currently the “weird” modes are Rocket Labs which makes three odd shaped maps available at random, and Snow Day which replaces the ball with a hockey puck. On top of all that there is a mutator menu available in some modes that lets you change anything from the weight, size and bounce of the ball to the gravity in the arena and more. There is no excuse to be bored when playing this game. Another thing Psyonix has done an excellent job with is providing new content at a steady pace. Since launch they have added 4 new maps which are completely free. They have added several new game modes, which are also free, and they’ve released 4 (soon to be 5) dlc packs of cars and cosmetic upgrades that are all reasonably priced.
It’s pretty rare for a game to hold my interest for as long as Rocket League has, and I’ve never been as excited to watch other people play a videogame as I get when watching pro Rocket League. This game will be on TV sooner rather than later, mark my words. Go on youtube and watch some highlight videos if you don’t believe me. This game is as fun to watch as any professional sport. In the meantime, go buy it, play it, get super frustrated with how bad you suck and ragequit, then go back in and play rugby mode (4 on 4 mutator mode with a large heavy ball, high gravity, and friendly fire demolitions). You’ll be glad you did.
Rocket League is available for PC, PS4, and XBox One.