We asked our editors for their favorite driving games of 2019. Here are the winners.
While maybe not the most traditional driving game, Rocket League holds a special place in my heart. I first discovered this game a few years ago, and like many, initially hated it. It's hard. Really, really hard. The object of the game is to play soccer (or various other sports in the "extra" modes) with rocket-powered cars that can powerslide, jump, and even briefly fly.
I play a ridiculous amount of Rocket League and sadly, I still kind of suck. The concept is pretty easy to wrap your head around, but the mechanics are brutal. There's no worse feeling than having a perfect shot lined up, leaving the ground at supersonic speeds so sure you're about to nail a flip into the ball sending it perfectly into the top corner of the opposing goal, and then completely whiffing and doing none of that. It's painful for the soul.
Over hundreds and hundreds of hours of play time, I've racked up 1,585 wins, received 220 MVP honors, scored 3,393 goals, and yet, I’m still barely any good. How do I know? There are ranks in Rocket League. Each rank has 3 levels and a further 4 divisions within each level. You start at Bronze 1 Division 1, then work your way up to Division 4, then you break through to Bronze 2 and start the process over again. To give some context, in order from lowest to highest, the ranks are: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Champ, and Grand Champ. Despite my intense love for the game, I'm generally only ever sitting around high Gold/low Platinum. It’s infuriating.
That said, I wouldn’t keep beating my head against the wall trying to rank up if I didn’t absolutely love the pain. The game is so much fun. It’s tense but relaxing, fast but calculated, devastating but elating. It’s available for PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox and PC. I own it for three of those because I’m an addict, but Xbox is my main home for the game. I’d probably see better performance on PC, but it’s easier to play on Xbox because that’s what my friends play on. It’s also easy to quickly rage-quit and open another game without too much trouble. And contrary to most esports games, Rocket League is most easily played with a controller, whether it be for the Xbox or one of Playstation’s DualShock devices.
I’ve painted a grim picture of my relationship with this game, but it’s a true labor of love. I would highly recommend it to anyone. It’s easier than ever now that it’s available on Xbox Gamepass for free (if you’re a subscriber, of course). It will be hard and you will struggle, but the first time you get an aerial goal or make a crazy backflip save and get props from your teammates (or even your opponents) in the chat, the frustration will be worth it.
Nice Shot! — Video Community Manager Erik Maier