Not everyone knows this but Rocket League, the insanely popular car-soccer game by Psyonix, is a follow up to a 2008 PS3 exclusive by the name of ‘Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars’. I never played it myself but although it never broke mainstream success it earned itself a loyal following.
My First Time
My first experience with the series was playing Rocket League in beta on the PS4 sometime in the first half of 2015. My initial reaction to the game was that it was so simplistic, the visuals were ok but nothing groundbreaking, it had cars but they hardly had the depth of something like GT or Forza and it had elements of soccer, but again, you wouldn’t exactly recommend it to a FIFA player based on that alone.
So it had these elements and mashed them together and made something that at the time I found to be novel at the least. It wasn’t until I scored a last minute goal to win a match and got to grips with using boost to fly that it really started to dig it’s hooks in me and reveal it’s depth and excitement. But then the beta ended and I kinda forgot about it. What happened next will surely go down as one of the best examples of the stars aligning to make a relatively unknown game a wild success. Rocket League launched as a PS+ title in July 2015 and exposed millions to a new addiction.
Recipe For Success
So Psyonix might have the best ‘rags to riches’ (so to speak) story of this generation but what about the game itself? PS+ certainly helped the game become a huge success but that was just one element, you need to have a solid game too. 18 months later I can look at the ‘Live From Playstation’ app on my PS4 and consistently see Rocket League being in the top 10 or even top 5 in terms of number of people streaming. And often I’ll find myself on my main menu, looking through my games, not quite wanting to commit to a ‘big’ game, I may just want a bite-sized gaming session so I’ll boot up Rocket League, play a few rounds and that’s me sorted.
Psyonix have certainly been instrumental in the game’s continued success with great post-release support. Fun additions to the game in the form of new modes like Snow Day (Ice Hockey x Cars), Hoops (Basketball x Cars) and my new go-to mode Rumble (Mario Kart x Rocket League) were all added free of charge. Each of these modes requires you to rethink the way you play, tactics that worked before won’t work in some of these modes and Rumble adds an element of randomness to it that can be infuriating or amazing depending on if it falls your way or not.
A Timeless Classic?
I find it hard to think of a fault with Rocket League, maybe that it’s single player offerings are limited to a rather soulless season mode against AIs, a training mode and a standard exhibition mode, but that’s not what Rocket League is really about so I can’t fault it for that. Rocket League is that rare title where I just keep coming back, even when I’m deep in Battlefield 1 and enjoying PSVR, I will always find time for a sneaky game of Rocket League and I always have a great time doing it, I want this game on any and every future console/platform I play on and that is why I think Rocket League is this generation’s perfect game, at least so far.
Let me know how wrong I am in the comments below.