Rocket League Review(ish)

A lot of games are quite hard to describe in a sentence. Or at least in boiling them down to a few words doesn't translate how fantastic they are. Take for example, Dark Souls. In a sentence, it's a an action RPG that's really bloody hard. Doesn't sound fantastic does it? That doesn't get across what makes the game so special. This isn't a problem for Rocket League. Rocket League is football with cars. In space. Sold! It's a simple concept which has been pulled off brilliantly. The game is just as fun as it sounds. Even if you don't like football or racing games, Rocket League is just stupid fun and a perfect example of a 'just-one-more-match' sort of game.

The game is all about multiplayer. It does have single-player modes, exhibition matches and a season mode which is much like a career mode on FIFA, but these are just training grounds for online multiplayer. This where the meat of the game is and what you'll keep coming back to. There is variety in the online play with 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 modes. However 1v1 feels slightly drab and 4v4 feels a bit too chaotic but it is a matter of preference which of these modes you'll naturally gravitate to.

Talking of gravity, you remember when I said it was in space? That was sort of a lie. The gravity in the game takes a while to get used to. I believe the scientific term to describe it is 'floaty'. This often leads to the ball get hung up in the air for quite a while and judging when and where the ball will land is a skill of its own. Positioning your car underneath where the ball will land so it diverts the ball to where you want it to can be a key component of the game, especially when the ball gets stuck in the corners of the pitch like often happens. Also jumping at the correct time and making the right contact with the ball is another key skill and you will naturally pick up these techniques while playing. There are tutorials in this game but you don't need to go through to learn the game. The best way is to just thrown yourself in at the deep and learn as you go.

But what has stuck out to me the most whilst playing this game is how it balances individuality and team-play. On your team there is always competitively as whoever scores, assists or saves a goal gets extra points, so your team mates will be battling to get the final touch on the ball. This selfishness can end up being a crutch, but as time goes on you start thinking more tactically not just constantly charging after the ball. If the rest of your team are forward you think you should stay back. If somebody is working the ball down the corner you learn to position yourself so you could get the right angle on the ball to shoot if it comes your way.

What I like about this game most is that it balances rewarding skill and luck. I don't do much competitive online gaming, but the games I do like tend to strike a good balance between these two elements meaning that it rewards you for getting better, but gives everybody a chance of winning to make things interesting and keep those who are good a the game on their toes. In this respect it is a lot like Mario Kart or to a lesser extent Smash Bros.

Anyway, this game is free on PS Plus at the moment, so if you haven't downloaded it, bloody well do so!