A new game has exploded into the world of e-sports. Rocket League, a fast paced team based game where supersonic rocket powered cars can also fly and play soccer, rolled out in early July for Playstation network and Windows PC. The game is a sequel to developer Psyonix’s previous title Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars or SARPBC.
While SARPBC was loved by many it was a niche game and didn’t have a large fanbase. However, its sequel Rocket League became an overnight sensation. Just a week after it’s launch RL had over two million downloads. By the end of July it had over five million downloads and 180,000 concurrent players. By August 27 over one million copies had been sold on Steam.
Rocket League can be played 1v1 up to 4v4. The field is set up pretty much like a soccer pitch, with orange and blue halves, but with a dome over the entire field that can be driven on. Boost pads are located around the pitch and boost can be used to accelerate to supersonic speeds or even fly through the air to score sick aerial goals (or whiff completely).
Each game begins with a kickoff. The ball, which is bigger than the cars, is in the middle of the pitch and each team is on their respective colored sides; the game will reset to this position after each goal. Games last five minutes but go into overtime if the game is tied after five minutes until a goal is scored.
It wasn’t only the general population that responded well to Rocket League’s launch, but the e-sports community too. At first glance the game is simplistic and easily mastered, but after seeing a video of high level players, such as Kranovi or Frysokid, scoring amazing aerial goals and making last millisecond saves it’s easy to see the potential of Rocket League to be a competitive and extremely entertaining e-sport.
The Electronic Sports League (ESL) has already hosted 19 Rocket League cups and consistently gets over 100 Teams per cup. High level teams such as Cosmic Aftershock and Team Rocket have been steadily gaining a fanbase not unlike that of a non-electronic sports team.
Rocket League is different from the other big name e-sports games like DOTA2 or CS:GO because just about anyone can understand what’s going on. Most people have played soccer before. Therefore the game makes sense even to people that have never watched or played it before.
Rocket League also has its own flair and nuances which require an insane amount of technical skill and game knowledge. This is what differentiates it from its real world comparisons and creates amazing moments during matches. Where other games had to spend years building a community with enough working knowledge to appreciate the game, Rocket League has an almost instant familiarity for most observers. It requires enough skill and nuanced gameplay, however, that it does not easily become boring or repetitive.
Also Rocket League is extremely balanced, something other e-sports have had trouble with. The difference between the playable cars is fairly negligible although sometimes noticeable. One thing Rocket League doesn’t have right now is the large cash prizes for tournament winners that are seen in high level DOTA and CS:GO tournaments.
If you play FIFA or racing games, you’re going to like Rocket League. If you are a fan of real world soccer and racing, you’re going to like Rocket League. If you like crazy fast paced, competitive, team based video games that require insane technical skill and quick thinking, you’re going to love Rocket League.
This variable baby to the competitive video games world is turning a lot of heads, changing a lot of minds on what e-sports can and should be, and may be a huge step in legitimizing the e-sports world to the mainstream. Oh yeah and it’s really freaking fun.
I give this game a 9.8 out of ten. One of the best games I’ve played in years.