The Joys and Frustrations of Rocket League

Conceptually, Rocket League is one bad-ass game. Imagine driving a customized, high-speed car that can do all kinds of crazy flips, rolls and maneuvers. And make it be able to fly too. Now imagine yourself as the star in one of the world’s most popular sports, soccer. Now put those two things together. That’s Rocket League. Unlike a lot of games, it pretty much lives up to the hype too. I don’t even remember exactly how I got introduced to Rocket League. I know it was shortly after I got married in the summer of 2016, just a few months after it became available on Xbox. My friend David had been playing it for a while on PlayStation and PC and managed to convince a few us to acquire it for Xbox so we could play together. And it was awesome. Personally, I think I will never have as much fun with Rocket League as I did in those first few weeks of playing it. The absolute chaos that ensued when 4-6 people (who had no idea what they were doing) got into a match with each other was so intense and complicated that you couldn’t help but laugh your whole way through the match. It was joyous! Eventually, I learned that there was more to the game than just trying to hit the ball regardless of which direction it may go. You could actually develop plays, hit it strategically, and even confuse your opponents. Now the game became joyous for a different reason. It became something at which you could never stop improving. You can now hit the ball in the right direction on the ground consistently? Good, now do it flying through the air. You can do that? Now try dribbling across the field. Got that? Wall hits. Next, air dribbling. Then, striking. Have you touched your goalie skills recently? When was the last time you tried to improve your passing? The list goes on and on. For some, this may be frustrating because you’ll always be just outside of what you consider perfect. But for me, this is awesome. So much of the game is in your own hands that when you finally pull off that last-second save or aerial goal, it feels amazing. And then you start doing it consistently and it feels even better. Sure there are times when you get frustrated that it doesn’t work out right, but keeping at it leads to joy. This is only heightened when you play with one person consistently and learn each other’s habits and are able to act with one mind. It just feels good. The game is incredibly accessible too with all kinds of game modes to get serious, try to improve, or just goof off. Matches only take about 5-15 minutes, so sitting down for even a brief period of time means you walk away having accomplished a decent amount.

For all of my joys, however, I have run into a number of frustrations. Some of the frustrations are things that will be found in every game (like just messing up on something you know you can do and it costing you the game), but others are a little more direct to Rocket League. First, I personally have been frustrated by the item/trading system. I have no problem with having customizable cars and items; it’s the micro-transactions and crates I dislike. So the developers launched a new skin for your favorite car? Well, first you have to play enough to acquire this crate, and then you’ll have to give us two dollars for a CHANCE at acquiring it. Well I’m certainly not gonna do that (remember, average gamer here), but hey, maybe you could trade with someone? Ideally that sounds good, but people leave so quickly after a match I wouldn’t have time to message them. Even if I did, I would have nothing to offer. Don’t get me wrong, I know from a business standpoint the idea is solid, but it remains a minor annoyance for the casual player whose inventory is completely full of crates that essentially have no purpose for you. My second frustration is a problem that will exist in every gaming community, and it is, well, the community. As a whole, the Rocket League community is pretty tame. There isn’t a lot of chat, swearing is rare (due to censorship), there isn’t tons of raging, etc. Yet people still find a way to be fairly annoying in-game. It’s often the sarcastic quick-chats that get to me the most. My opponent makes a great shot, and I try for the save but miss it just two centimeters to the left? Get ready for as many “What a Save!”‘s as chat will allow you to spam. You try dribbling downfield and accidentally hit it too hard to the right? Now prepare for the “Nice Shot!”‘s. Occasionally you’ll get individuals who, after scoring once or twice, will demand you to FF (F***ing Forfeit). On the whole, this type of behavior is pretty easy to ignore, but the principle remains frustrating. I’m always one to support positive communication, acknowledging someone’s achievements, and either letting mistakes speak for themselves or letting the person who made the mistake say something about it. But I know I’m in the minority here. And that’s okay.

These are two frustrations are so minor it may not have even been worth mentioning them. That just goes to show you how awesome of a game Rocket League is. It’s one of the few games in my collection that I can play for hours without getting bored and wanting to play something else. If you haven’t tried it yet, do yourself a favor, give up eating out two times (Rocket League is really quite cheap) and go buy it . And when you do, be sure to hit me up so we can play together sometime!

Have you experienced similar joys and frustrations? Were there any joys and frustrations that I missed? Let me know in the comments below! As always, thanks for reading. Stay average my lads and lasses!

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