If you’re anything like me, you are probably having a heck of a good time with Rocket League on the PS4. My review summarizes my thoughts in a more full manner, but the game just continues to provide that “just one more” feeling every time I play it. From the ease of which you can get in and out of matches to the party system to the customization to the dedicated servers, Rocket League just shines online.
Now, I won’t profess to be some master at the game like you may have seen on Youtube, but I’ve picked up some tricks along the way that have allowed me to generally do quite well when I play. Hopefully I can add a weapon or two to your arsenal so that you’ll be a more complete player on the pitch. Here are my ten tips to implement the next time you’re in Rocket League:
Well, I don’t mean all of the time, but definitely pick up turbo power any time you have the chance. If you’re back playing goalie, switch cameras to look down the field in ball cam as you race to the corner to grab a full turbo. Likewise, you can edge someone out on the way down the field to grab one of the full turbos that are on the side of the field. This is a great way to maintain your momentum, as you can boost down the field, swerve in to steal another full turbo and then continue towards the net, all the while bumping the ball towards the goal.
You should generally be boosting if you need to make up ground on players going to your net or if you need to close the distance on the opponent’s net, but everyone is going to have their own style. Just make sure you are picking up turbo whenever the ball is in the air or stalemating, and you’ll be ready for your next big chance. I’ll sometimes slow down to grab a few small turbo power-ups as the ball is being contested in the air. That way I can keep my eye on the ball (ball cam) but also slowly replenish turbo and stay in position.
Love the Ball Cam
While the standard “follow cam” does a good job of orienting you straight on with the ball, it doesn’t do much for your ability to see the ball once it gets vertical. The ball cam allows you to track headers, ricochets and pop-ups, and you might want to get used to living in that mode if you haven’t already. With some practice, you’ll probably become quite proficient at adjusting your positioning so you compensate for a bit of the forced perspective, allowing you to score goals from that camera angle with ease.
For headers, corner play and aerials, the ball cam is absolutely essential, as you’ll need to see where the ball is at all times and who is possibly going to get it. Even in this perspective, a ball that is drifting towards the ground can seem really tantalizing, but you’ll eventually learn the cadence for when you should jump up to try for a loose ball. And even though the ball cam is great for 90 percent of the time, you’ll want to use the normal camera to go after turbo boosts or make your way to the front of the net on occasion. You can really get turned around in this game!
Being able to double-jump in Rocket League is a ton of fun, but some players still seam unaware that double-jumping forward with a flip will actually gain ground on a player you’re chasing. Once you do this twice in a row, it will actually activate boost on your car, whether you have turbo power or not. I have had many occasions where I will feather a bit of boost while flipping towards our team’s goal in order to close the gap. You can even do this double-jump flip while going in reverse, which looks pretty cool.
This can be used offensively as well, where you can gain ground on a player who’s going back to get the ball, allowing you to swoop in and steal it, leaving you with enough turbo to maneuver around the ball and tap it in.
Know Your Starting Position
The game has various starting alignments for the cars, and it’s good to familiarize yourself with what those look like and where you might start. If you’re in the angled close position to the face-off dot, it’s best to be aggressive, boosting at the ball and doing a front-flip at the end to touch it first. I can get a first touch almost every time with this method. If you start in kind of mid-center posture, it’s good to rush the ball a bit, but maybe hang back and see what your side-angle players do. You can wait to volley the ball back if things go wrong. If you start close to the net, consider using the d-pad to tell your team that you’re defending. Every team needs to have someone stay in goal.
The most viable way for goal-scoring is through the use of the corners, as all sorts of rebounds and aerials will develop out of a ball that’s put in there. Oftentimes, you’ll just have to sit back and let the defending team screw up, since a ball coming down right in front of the net can be hard to handle. You want to be ready for those situations, so watch how the ball reacts to each play in the corner.
In general, punching a ball into the corner is a good thing if you’re tearing down the field, especially if you don’t think you can score outright because of a goalie or defender. Putting it in the corner allows your teammates to catch up, and you’ll have complete control over how the ball goes into the corner. This is crucial for knowing how your teammates can best help you get the ball in the net.
Muck It Up
Sometimes I’ve found it’s best to just kind of bump around and jockey for position on the sideboards, especially if a team you’re playing against has all the momentum. By putting yourself between them and the ball, you can slow the play down, allowing other teammates to come in and get set up. Some of this jockeying might also involve slightly steering out the other cars, which can leave openings for you and your teammates to take possession. It’s really all about controlling the pace in some of the more log-jammed parts of the pitch.
A lot of teams have discovered the joy of destroying other cars. You can do this by using turbo until you hear your car go into a “second gear” of sorts, and then you have to hit an opposing car while in this mode. Many teams will actually attack goaltenders who are sitting all alone in the net. Some players will exclusively go around the pitch, ramming other players or exploding them if they have enough turbo. In general, the car-on-car aspect of Rocket League is starting to come to the fore, as teams now seem to realize that they can change the course of a match by getting physical. Keep your head up out there.
As referenced before, if you’re playing Rocket League with an eye to winning, you’re going to need a goalie. This mainly goes for 3v3 and 4v4 play. At the very least you want someone hanging back deep, waiting for any dribblers or lobs that come towards the net. Having a person dedicated to this (using the d-pad to tell people in chat) will cut down on many freebies or junk goals, and it allows the teammates up front to play much more aggressively.
When in goal, it’s best to keep picking up turbo from the corners when you need it, and you’ll likely want to live in ball cam. Beware of other players trying to smash you or blow you up, and don’t overcommit when a ball comes in from the corner. Time your boosts and jumps appropriately, reading how close an opponent is to the ball before they might shoot it. Even stay inside the net if you have the space, as that will allow you the best chance to pick up speed and punch the ball away.
Work on Your Aerials
While aerials get pretty advanced in Rocket League, the tutorial for them does a good job (as does the free play) in preparing you for this advanced aspect of the game. By jumping up and then boosting while holding the left stick down, you can start to fly up and then steer your car after the ball. You also still have your second jump in the tank if you need to flip or adjust your car to make contact with the ball. (Ed. Note: we originally had said to double jump right away, but the community was helpful in pointing out you should save the second jump, so we've updated the article accordingly.) With some practice and a full boost tank, you can fly in and knock a floater out of the air and into the net. You might even have to do this in midfield, as some of the better teams will use aerials even for this kind of play. It’s an advanced skill, but it’s worth working on.
Above all, you want to be ready for anything in Rocket League. Having a player in front of the net who is ready to tap one in from the corner is essential. Just the same, you want to have a goalie who is ready to react to a play towards the net. It’s key to have players in the right position who are waiting to see what happens, as that sometimes ends up being the smartest play. You want to be aggressive at times and move in for the ball, but often it’s best to keep a bit of distance and a full boost tank, allowing your car to react to all possible ways the ball might fly.