Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I think by this point we’re all aware of the apocalyptic hellscape simulator as Rocket League [official site] — y’know, the one where the fates of nations are decided by which ones can drive RC cars the best? Rocket League is really, really good. So good, in fact, a year later it’s still enticing me to put off work so I can squeeze a few rounds in almost daily.
It’s a rare thing when you can sink a 150 hours into a game and then discover something entirely new that inspires you to double that investment of time, but that’s exactly what happened when I discovered the joy of 1v1 duels. For so long, I thought Rocket League was always meant to be a team game, but there’s nothing more thrilling than taking someone on mano a mano. Without other strikers or goalies to assist, every goal — and every mistake — is solely yours.
One on one duels in Rocket League are beautiful because they force you to reevaluate how you approach everything. You can no longer set a teammate up for an amazing shot, and diving too deep just leaves yourself over-exposed. It’s like discovering a whole new game inside of the one you thought you knew so well, and I not only appreciate how much more skilled it has made me, but how much I realize I have left to learn.