CAN I PLATINUM THIS: You bet your sweet butt you can. Aside from two super long and potentially glitched trophies, you could probably even do it casually. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
INITIAL SELECTION: Psyonix’s Rocket League became available for free on the PSN July this year, which was instantly used by the Pope as evidence to suggest that God is real. There was so much hype that Ripley’s Believe It or Not could see it from space. My core group of gamer friends were all amped to try it out, and since everyone can afford free things, we did so with gusto.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Rocket League is soccer with jet-boosted cars, which should be enough of an explanation on its own. Let’s get real for a sec: I really feel awkward sometimes when games try and push (bad) story onto a player. It is often so forced and hackneyed that it lets everything down, and I don’t think it is just because I am some kind of snobby English major. The worst thing about Final Fantasy X for me was the fact that the dialogue was spoken and not just text, so I couldn’t help but hear how Days of our Lives and terrible everything was. I just want to play games, goddamn it. Rocket League doesn’t pander, and I respect that. It is cars with rockets on them. I love it.
GAMEPLAY REVIEW: This game is 100% gameplay in the best way possible. Good games are easy to pick-up but hard to master, and this game has all the makings of a classic right here. I am sorry that I am so engorged, but this is one of those games that you actually have to pick up and try for yourself. I could see this becoming a flagpole game that attracts more non-gamers into the fray, like Wii games or the Telltale Games series.
As far as actually playing goes, each match is five minutes long, with the potential of infinite overtime if the score is drawn. You can play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4, against bots or human players. At the end of each round, no matter what the score, you unlock some kind of car customizable piece, of which there are hundreds. The driving mechanics are visceral and incredibly kinetic. I played a little GTA V after playing Rocket League and was incredibly disappointed that I couldn’t flip my car on a whim whilst cruising around in Los Santos.
Once you’ve mastered basic flipping and boosting in Rocket League, you can also practice your actual flying, which requires an intense understanding of inertia physics and Kenny Loggins. It has been a long time since I have felt such a pureness of intent, like the developers actually want us to have the most fun possible. Imagine that!
BEST PARTS: It is pretty much all best parts. The game is equal parts random chaos and precise skills, so it is intensely satisfying when you pull off an Epic Save or a Pool Shot, whether you intended to do so or not.
WORST PARTS: To be honest, Psyonix has been pretty good with patches so far, so any nagging issues will probably get patched out eventually. The biggest annoyance I had was lag-related, but that was probably because I was playing with my New Zealand dudes from my South Korean connection. Hardly something to blame the game on.
You also do get quite frustrated when you are just not performing well at all, but again, this is not something to blame the developers for. That is usually a sign to tap-out into spectator mode or just take a break generally to stretch, like you probably should be doing while gaming anyway. This is all on you, lazy gamers.
BIGGEST SURPRIZE: Would be how instantly fun and spontaneous this game is, for sure. Even when you first test out the tutorials, you are feeling the need for flip-tastic speed. Also the collectibles have all kinds of references to other games or media like Twitch and Twisted Metal. I hope they do more of that in the future. It will give me ways of expressing myself that I didn’t have because of my [REPRESSED CHILDHOOD MEMORIES].
COLLECTABLES?: Hooo boy, are there collectibles. Personally though, they didn’t really feel that satisfying to collect because you basically get one guaranteed regardless of winning or losing a match. Check the ‘Most Grind-Heavy’ trophy section for more info.
WOULD I BUY THE DLC OF THIS GAME?: Definitely. As of writing, Rocket League has released the free ‘Utopia Coliseum DLC’ and paid ‘Supersonic Fury’ DLC. Aside from the fact that everyone I know is guilt-tripping me into buying the DLC since I played the heck out of a game which I got for free, I do feel compelled to invest hard cash into this game to encourage Psyonix to make more of it. The updates so far include a nice spectator mode, new cars and customizables, and most importantly, more trophies. Obviously you don’t need the DLC to platinum this game on PS4 because Playstation is not as brutal in that regard as Xbox is, but I will not turn down more fun trophy hunting.
FIRST TROPHY: Know the Drill (Bronze) 2015/07/25 10:39PM
The description of this trophy is ‘Complete a Practice Drill.’ I feel strongly, deep in my loins, that all games should have a few simple trophies at the beginning of the game. Even if they are just signposts as to when you started playing, I especially endorse trophies that reward you for practising the basics of the game before you start online and waste everyone’s time with your terribleness.
PLATINUM: Virtuoso 2015/07/29 11:00PM
MOST DIFFICULT TROPHY: Far, Far Away… (Gold) 2015/07/27 2:34PM
The description for this trophy is ‘Drive a total of 500 km.’ I classed this as the most difficult trophy because at the time I attempted it, there were heavy rumors that it was a glitched trophy that wouldn’t pop for many, many people. This could have been fixed in a recent patch, but probably had something to do with car stats being reset every time you modified it slightly (or maybe if you just changed the body, or the wheels). When I attempted this trophy, I rubberbanded my controller for a good 6-7 hours. That is a lot of driving.
A friend of mine recently platinumed Rocket League without my sneaky techniques, so apparently you can get it through hours and hours of legitimate play. If you are curious though, you can just start an Exhibition match with no bots and if you don’t score, you can drive around indefinitely when the game goes into Golden Goal. Rubberband the controller, spray, and walk away.
‘SO EASY THAT IT IS KIND OF POINTLESS’ TROPHY: Tinkerer (Bronze) 2015/07/25 10:49PM
The description of this trophy is ‘Customize one slot on a single Battle-Car.’ Although I do enjoy simple trophies, this is a little too easy. This trophy could be redeemed if it turns out to be an elaborate reference to the Marvel villain. It could be, given the game has a ‘Wall-Crawler’ trophy, too. How about a ‘Spider-Mobile’ skin in a future update? A man can dream.
MOST ENTERTAINING TROPHY: Break Shot (Silver) 2015/07/25 11:43PM
The description of this trophy is ‘Score a goal by hitting your opponent into the ball.’ This is not just satisfying but also demeaning for the opposition, which makes it even more worthy of note. The game is often chaos near the goal, so even though this trophy sounds like it should be impossible, all things are possible in the natural flow of time. Slamming into other drivers can help here, too. Also satisfying.
MOST GRIND-HEAVY TROPHY: Stocked (Gold) 2015/07/29 11:00PM
The description of this trophy is ‘Collect all items.’ Being a white person means that guilt is a big part of my existence, but I did not feel guilty at all for being cheap and grinding this trophy. I quite enjoy multitasking in my gaming life, so I would start up the much-appreciated Exhibition mode with no bots, drive forward and score one goal, then wait for the timer to run out. Rinse and repeat for a few hours while you play Pokémon Omega Ruby on your 3DS, and you’re laughing all the way to the bank.
The coolest thing about this is that even though I have the trophy already, the new patches and updates mean even more customizables to unlock. I am not sure if these count towards the original trophy, but since the rounds are so short, it would only really add a lazy hour of Pokémon playing to your total time.
HAPPY ACCIDENT TROPHY: Still a Show-Off (Bronze) 2015/07/25 11:44PM
The description of this trophy is ‘Score a goal while reversing.’ Like the ‘Break Shot’ trophy, this trophy is one that you will get amidst the general chaos of the game. Hopefully. If you get this legitimately, you are some kind of freak and I want you to sign a few pieces of merch. You could probably engineer this yourself fairly easily in Exhibition mode, like the other trophies, but it would be more fun to try for this while your teammates are complaining about your constant reversing.
Save the Exhibition exploits for a last-ditch pre-Rage-Quit trophy attempt for your sanity.
ONLINE TROPHY HIGHLIGHT(S): The only trophy that actually applies to multiplayer is ‘Barras Bravas,’ which has the description ‘Play an online game with a friend.’ Considering the kind of game that Rocket League is, it seems a little strange that they didn’t try a little harder to include more multiplayer trophies. It could be because the game is quite light and fun unto itself, but personally it feels a little like a misstep. I am sure that they will add more multiplayer trophies in the future DLC.
Not that I am complaining, mind you. I usually hate on multiplayer trophies for forcing you into lame interactions with lame strangers lame lame. I appear to complain regardless. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
TROPHY COLLECTION PRO-TIP: Don’t be ashamed to abuse the ‘Exhibition’ mode with no bots, because who flippin’ cares. Especially for the ‘Stocked’ trophy, I was playing with bots for a while because I felt guilty… but the scope of the trophy made me lazy and indifferent. I am fairly confident that at least 75% of the trophies in the game could be achieved through exhibition-mode masturbation.
FINAL THOUGHT: Rocket League is light, flexible, and has the potential to last a long time, like a fake flower. To continue this comparison, it also doesn’t stink. And it is value for money because it will give you hours of entertainment, while other games will wither and die on your coffee table. And if you give it to your partner and they don’t hate you for it, you know you’ve got a keeper. Hopefully we will see more fake flowers in our gaming years to come.