Games Of The Year: Rocket League
With 2015 coming to a close, it feels like a good time to reflect. It’s been a mixed year of sleeper hits and bitter disappointments. Micro-transactions became a hot topic, as did the continued growth of season passes. We’ve seen big name franchise depart from their creators and promising games cancelled. When all is said and done, looking back at the good games is what this is all about.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is not featured at any point, purely because it’s came out at the worst possible time…for me. It’s impossible to fit in such a large game, and playing it like it deserves, while I have so much ‘on’ at the moment.
2015′s surprise hit, Rocket League became something of a mini phenomenon. Almost tailor made for the modern ‘share’ culture embedded in video games, it felt like everyone was playing. Combing football and cars (pretty much like Top Gear did a few years ago), Rocket League’s concept sounds a little niche.
In truth, it may of remained a niche game, but PSN Plus exposure and Twitch coverage allowed the game the flourish. Rocket League’s greatest strength is it’s apparent simplicity, with plenty of room for mastery to grow. The concept of knocking a giant ball into a goal sounds simply enough, but it’s easier said than done.
Rocket League is cocktail of skill, luck and sheer chaos. Cars bash into each other while the ball bounces uncontrollably, madness. There’s a line between skilled players and casuals, but it never detracts from the experience. Witnessing the perfect flip, resulting in a screaming goal, has it’s own unique thrill. Blocking shots, slamming players off the ball, setting up the play, it’s sheer video game joy.
At it’s core Rocket League represents all the elements that make video games fun. Much like numerous Nintendo titles, developer Psyonix focused on one core concept and created timeless gameplay. It’s hard not to produce a smirk and giggle while playing, even in defeat. Be it solo or teamed up, the rewards are always there.
Unlocking various cars and decorations opens up the ability to give Rocket League a personal touch. Observing the large 4×4, equipped with devil horns and rainbow trails, hurtle towards the ball is hugely amusing. The most dedicated of players even craft unformed looks, much like true to life sports teams.
Sport is the idea that propelled Rocket League into the Twice/Youtube space. The short, unpredictable, nature of the matches make it perfect for viewing. Even with the best players on display, there’s still a chance that anyone can win…exactly like football. It’s the thrill of not knowing whose going to win, the entertainment of friendly competition.
Aside of the gameplay and surprising depth, Rocket League offers a few extra bits and pieces. Regular updates have seen the game usher in new crazy game variants. New batches of fairly priced DLC have added new cars and extras…and then there’s the soundtrack. Fitting the game perfectly, the music has weirdly became it’s own thing. No longer just sounds at a menu, but enjoyable tracks that get you into the mood.
Rocket League came out of no where, and looks set to stick around. Timeless gameplay that never gets old, it’s easily one of the best games of 2015. There’s plenty of room for the game to grow, both in terms of content and as a ‘e-sport’. This year was just the start for Psyonix’s little gem, and the future seems bright. Easy to play, hard to truly master, but always fun, Rocket League is a reminder of why we play video games.