Rocket League blasts into ESports

With all the huge ESports events going on right now, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s no room for newer games to show off their potential for competitive gaming. Step forward Rocket League.

Basically playing like an episode of UK Top Gear, the goal is to boot the ball into the back of the opponents net… with rocket powered cars. Oh, and these cars can jump, flip, spin in mid air, fly, and are capable of righting themselves if knocked upside down. With a pitch like that its easy to understand why Rocket League’s popularity has exploded on release, with a mass of videos across the internet showing the greatest shots, and the most hilarious fails.

The simplicity of Rocket League is perhaps one of the biggest draws for players right now. You have an arena, two teams of between 1 and 4 players, 2 goals to aim for, and a ball to fight over for 5 minutes. Your car reacts to input like any other in game car might, with the additions of a boost, a jump, and a double jump. While there are different visual styles for the arena, the layout is the same across all of them. Similarly, while there’s a mass of different cars and visual modifications you can change at your will, the cars all perform exactly the same.

The game is simple and fun to get into, but this simplicity hides a complex core. Mastering control of your car is essential, and looking up videos of the best on the internet will make your jaw drop as you watch them fly across the arena, dancing around other cars and juggling the ball, before slamming it into the back of the enemy net in the satisfying explosion that marks every goal scored. It truly is the pinnacle of ‘Easy to learn, hard to master’.

Practice however is easy to get, as there’s a large selection of practice modes based around attacking, defending and general movement including flying. The bots that you can play against will always provide a good challenge against a decent range of difficulty selections, and you can also play a ‘season’, a league spanning a set number of games in which the best teams compete in the playoffs at the end to determine the overall champion.

What really brings the game alive though is the multiplayer, and brilliantly supports cross platform play as well as local split screen. Rocket League is at its best when there’s human opponents on the other side of the arena, facing down your team before the countdown that inevitably sends you all hurling towards the ball in the centre, and the subsequent brawl sending cars flying everywhere before everyone scrambles for the ball that was likely altogether forgotten for a moment in the hilarious melee. Even 1v1 is a joy to play, a tense, heart-wrenching joy, where the most ridiculous of shots can come together, bouncing off walls and even your opponent before nabbing you the point, or the slightest of mistakes can give your opponent the break he needs to nudge the ball into an empty net.

Unsurprisingly, this tension and excitement, both for players and spectators, has caused ESports giant ESL to start up their own 3v3 tournaments. The signups to which are looking pretty solid. Other ESports organisations will likely seek to follow suit as Rocket League’s popularity appears to continue to expand, and with good reason. The developers state that they’re looking to add more to the game including tweaks to gameplay, new and more complex arenas, mod and workshop support for custom games, and paid DLC which would contain more visual customisations for player cars. With that kind of support behind it, the future for Rocket League certainly looks bright.

Rocket League’s official site can be found HERE

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