Soccer is the world's most popular sport and, as such, has had countless games devoted to recreating ‘the beautiful game’ we all love so much. Whether it be FIFA, Football Manager or something completely different like Mario Strikers Charged, there are hundreds of video game variations. However none have managed to capture how it feels to actually play soccer quite like Rocket League has.
See Rocket League does two things that elevates it above its peers:
You only control ONE car (player)
The first and most obvious aspect that makes it more analogous to playing in real life is the fact you only control one car. It seems obvious when you say it out loud but when you're having a kick-about at the park, you don't control your friends actions. When you pass the ball to your best mate Garry, you aren't then transported into Garry and control his every whim. No, when you pass the ball to Garry you hope he does something useful with it for once. The fact you control only one player, or car in this case, is vital.
The shift from an entire team to just one player means the vast majority of the time the ball is completely out of your control. It creates a reliance on the players around you that feels exactly as it does in reality. You go from controlling almost everything to nothing but your own actions. You anticipate where the ball will land and make the clever movement towards it, you make the killer cross for the last minute winner, you make the goal line clearance. Not Messi. You.
None of the buttons shoot or pass
This is weird, I appreciate, but hear me out. Adding a button to shoot or pass only serves to remove you from being 100% in control. You can't hold ‘B’ or ‘O’ and a direction to shoot for the corresponding corner in real life. You move your leg to hit the ball in (hopefully) the right direction. As a human being playing soccer, everything you do is movement and technique. The same is true for Rocket League.
The car is your body and what you do with it is solely down to your ability and technique. The connection you make with the ball as you hit it is a result of your movement, not a computer generated version of Ronaldo's shooting stat. It makes the game so much more real. When I play FIFA, I can sit back, put on Spotify, assume a semi-horizontal position, eat some chocolate and relax. When I play Rocket League, I'm on the edge of my seat constantly. I lean forward as my car flies through the air as if I were going for the headers myself.
These intricacies come together to simulate how Soccer feels to play more accurately than any game before it. Simply put, Rocket League is the best soccer game ever.