2015 Game of the Year #4: Rocket League

This week Shacknews is counting down its top ten 2015 Games of the Year, as tabulated by both staff votes and input from our own Chatty community. Coming in at #4 we have the high-octane World Cup of motor cars, Rocket League.

Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor: I love that we live in an age where games are getting more high-concept, complex, and sometimes just outright bombastic. Sometimes, it's easy to overlook a game that gets the easy stuff right and the concepts didn't really get any easier than Rocket League. It's basically soccer with high-octane vehicles.

And yet, Psyonix just got it right. It didn't bog itself down in all the rules of the sport or in loadouts or balance tweaks. It just threw people out there with similar cars, cosmetic customization, and a simple goal of hitting a ball into a net. It's the height of simplicity, but it's just so much fun. That's where the focus was! It was in the fun!

I loved Rocket League this year. I had this at the top of my personal list and I stand by it.

Josh Hawkins, Guides Editor: I really don't have much to add to the discussion if I'm completely honest. Rocket League is a beautiful gem. It's such a magnificent game, and the devs have only helped make it even better with each patch and DLC. I still remember the first time I saw the game in action, I couldn't help but thing "Man I'd love to play that game, but I bet it's going to be super complicated."

Turns out... It isn't super complicated at all, and that's part of the brilliance. Psyonix earned a top spot on my list this year as well, and it's a spot I feel was well deserved.

OM: And the temptation could have been there to make it complicated, like giving the cars different stats, hiding other cars as unlockables (or worse, as DLC), or throwing in these crazy button combinations. There's none of that here. Anyone, no matter what the experience level, can slam the nitros and hit bicycle kicks. And best of all, the games are fast! There's so much filler in sports games, like out-of-bounds plays, timeouts, and just general stoppages in play. And here, you just go, go, go from start to finish and you're done in about ten minutes!

Joe Tirado, Graphic Designer: Ugh, the beautiful simplicity of it all.....on the surface. For me, the Rocket League mechanics and gameplay are deceptively simple, but after running and participating in several tournaments with the Shacknews community, it's clearly apparent that strategy is key. Your team is everything, and the way you interact and work together is so dammed important. This is where the boiled down nature of the game hits the sweet spot and becomes a deep chasm. You might have an awesome strategy in ranked 3v3 that works great! But what about 2v2? What about when the other team counters your strategy by assigning a dedicated goalie? Or pulling defense completely to overwhelm you by keeping possession? You live or die by executing, which is what makes Rocket League so much more than what it appears on the surface, and one of my GOTYs.

JH: I think that’s a great point to talk about for a second Joe. Rocket League is really one of those games that is easy to pick up and play, but hard to master, and I think that’s part of what makes it such an amazing game to have in your library. Tack on the ease of teaming up with friends, and it’s the perfect co-op game without all the issues and bugs that we typically see in co-op games. Psyonix’s DLC game is also on-point. I mean, can we just revel in that Back to the Future DLC for the a moment. So good.

Shacknews Games of the Year:

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