Occasionally here at Player2.net.au we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for the same length as the average blockbuster movie (about 2 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Rocket League
Rocket League has been quite a surprise find for me, and for a lot of other people too I imagine. Perhaps not least the developers, the Santa Monica based Psyonix. Despite being a sequel (to the confusingly-titled Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars), I had never heard of Rocket League nor its predecessor. Yet here I am, scrolling through my twitter feed, and the chat swirling around it has become an ever-present trend.
The game was released a few weeks ago on PS4 and PC, and I picked up my steam copy a couple of weeks later. It was released as one of the free titles subscribers of PS Plus get each month, so PS4 owners woke up one morning to find this tasty morsel sitting in their Library. “More s**t games from PS Plus!” declared one user upon its announcement. But then people started playing it, in fact people started loving it.
Goodness me, what a wonderful treat this game is. It’s actually owning my gaming time.
If you’re reclusive enough to have never heard of Rocket League, I suggest you head straight to YouTube and take a look. I’ll give you a few moments…
For the rest of us, we know just how awesome it feels to score off a perfectly-timed rocket jump, or off a pinpoint pass off the corner wall. Most of us will have witnessed, and likely performed, a miraculous save where the ball was inches from crossing the line, only for you to come charging in and save the day.
While a deft and skilled touch is required to pull off some of the more complex and spectacular manoeuvres, like rocket jumping, you’re just as likely to have some incredible moments by charging at the ball and bouncing around on the ground, and that’s a massive part of what this game is all about. Amazing moments.
Not only does Rocket League excel in creating the feeling that you’re an unstoppable goal scoring machine on a regular basis, but the game is balanced as such that anyone can feel like a hero. It still takes timing. Oh my lord does it take timing! Everything in Rocket League does, but charge around the field smashing the ball often enough and chances are you’ll get a good bounce or rebound and pick up an assist, or even the odd goal or two.
For those who are a bit more adept with the controller, the depth in the gameplay comes from mastering the different controls for each action. For starters, learning how to shoot yourself forward and how to attack the ball are key, as well as knowing how and when to lay back and defend. It’s the only way you’ll know how to get those ‘epic saves’. Once you’ve nailed the basics, you can start focusing on the more complex things like aerial hits, bicycle hits and the aforementioned rocket jump.
Rocket jumping is quite a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. It’s also supremely difficult to pull off right. The timing and deft touch on the controls required is formidable, but learning how to do it could be key to winning that next online match. It’s a move rarely attempted as missing the ball can often be a costly mistake.
Over 5 million people have downloaded Rocket League since its release, largely in part to it’s release on PS Plus. However, to say that PS Plus is the only the factor here does a massive disservice to the obvious work that Psyonix have put into fine tuning the feel and pace of the game; the two crucial parts that makes it so rewarding and enjoyable. People are playing the absolute bollocks out of this game, myself included. In fact, the day I bought it, my partner and I sat down to try out the games Season mode. Five hours later, we had completed and won the championship. Five. Hours. Later.
It’s exciting. It’s fast. It’s just super fun. It’s even gaining some traction on the eSports scene, which is something I have largely avoided through lack of interest – though I feel like that might be changing. Psyonix, what have you done to me?
James Swinbanks is a Games Critic currently writing for GameSpot, although you’ll still occasionally see him popping up on Player 2, because frankly, he loves the smell of the place.