If there’s one thing that should be less fun than a football game, it’s a football game whereby your player is stubbornly welded into X-axis only motion, and for any sort of success you have to just blindly tumble toward the ball face first like an intoxicated gazelle trying to eat a tictac off the floor. Rocket League is like a football game except it’s got cars in it, and it’s good.
Of course, being of such a persuasion that I detest football games, and am about as competitive as a HMV sale, I immediately ignored Rocket League like one might a fly, or the irritating questions of a nearby child. I don’t get many press releases worth reading, because of the tiny stature of this terrible website and its largely dormant content update schedule; and Rocket League was pursed between the folds of my inbox in such a way that caused me to say NAH, in a loud voice.
As with most things in life though, I was of course wrong. It took its appearance in Sony’s PLAYSTATION PLUS MONTHLY FREE GAME EXTRAVAGANZA to get me to give it a go, and also a burning, incessant want to not want to play The Witcher 3 for five minutes. When I finally booted up the freebie, I was addicted.
Control-wise it’s lithe and exciting, instantly playable; complete with core mechanics that are a seamless, erudite joy. I say this a lot, but Call of Duty’s success lies in that its shooting mechanics make killing things fun. It’s why they’re so stubborn when it comes to changing even the tiniest detail about it. Rocket League enjoys a similar trend; it is fun just to drive around.
How they’ve managed to make the football aspect fun is something that will probably elude me for all eternity, but it’s likely down to the steady pacing of your initial Exhibition matches. The moment you boost into the ball to dispossess your opponent, haphazardly launch yourself at it using a simple combination of buttons you can’t really remember, that cause your car to make an attempt at sort of aerially molesting it, and see the ball roll triumphantly, arbitrarily into the goal, you’re just about set for the rest of your afternoon with Rocket League.
When it’s not good, when you’re losing; it’s frustrating in all the ways you imagined. There’s a reason it’s people that play football and not cars. I think you’d refer to it as their ‘motor’ skills. Which is probably a lot less of a pun or play on words than we all think. But HA HA anyway, right. When you can’t get to the ball because your car doesn’t turn in the way it needs to, or when the camera, which is normally a confluent stream of game-enhancing beauty, gets you a bit confused, it’s an irritating old affair.
But those circumstances were, for me; someone who is typically terrible at all games and competitive exercises, few and far between, enough so that they didn’t distract from the achievement this release is. A football game. With cars. Which is good.
If you’re a PS+ subscriber then presumably you already have it. If not, the £15 price tag is justified if you’re into playing competitively online, or have a few gullible mates who you can convince to hang out with you and get involved. Also, it has 4 player split screen local multi. So. There’s that too.