BS GS: Crazy achievements we're glad aren't real #5 — Rocket League

By Luke Albigés,

Rocket League's achievement list is surprisingly reserved for a game with such a high skill ceiling, so in keeping with what we do here with the BS GS feature series, let's see how much worse it could have been...

Rocket League was one of the breakout indie hits of last generation, capitalising on the crazy potential of its predecessor Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars by not only doubling down on the car football gameplay but also by having a title that wasn't absolutely terrible. The Rocket League achievement list has evolved along with the game to a degree, but you only need to watch one high-level game to realise just how much more demanding the list could have been, so let's dig a little deeper, shall we?

BS GS is an original editorial series from TA where we ruminate on how rough things might have been if developers had taken their achievement lists to the next level. We'll try to focus on specific details and possibilities rather than simple grinds — one billion kills, play every day for a year, etc. — to keep things interesting, where possible using other instances of ridiculous achievements as a precedent for what we dream up.

Rocket League — Score aerial hat tricks in three consecutive matches

There are few things more satisfying in gaming than taking to the skies in a supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle-car and somehow redirecting a ball from an innocuous lofted position to end up in the back of the net. I'd wager that most Rocket League players have their own highlight reel moments clipped and stored for their own amusement (I know I do) but aerial consistency is one of the hardest things to master in Rocket League. Boost management, positioning, ball control, weaving between opponents... there are just so many factors involved that while the odd sensational goal will be something that many of us will be able to cherish at some point, demanding consistency with putting those floating balls away would destroy all but the best players.

This kind of achievement presents a number of stumbling blocks. Firstly and most obviously, it demands an incredible amount of player skill — Rocket League's air game is no joke, and this deep into the game's life, decent players will likely have some kind of counter-play in their pocket if you go for an obvious overhead shot. Aerial dribbling is a whole new level of skill and if you can do it, then awesome, you might be able to bamboozle the other team. But if you can't, fluking three air shot goals in three matches, back-to-back, simply isn't going to happen. You're going to hit teams where someone hangs back and plays goalie, and does so well; you're going to run into teams with a better air game, or simply with better pressure so they don't even let you chase fly balls down; you're going to face teams who like to keep the ball as grounded as possible. Uncontrollable elements are never fun in achievements — you can be as good as you like but a random god-tier opponent is still going to shut you down and cost you an achievement like this, which is part of why it sucks.

It's also a really horrible example of a 'play this way or else' achievement, as it would lead to some players not looking to just put their team ahead with a tap-in, but instead waiting for the lofted clearance and hitting the sky in search of something spectacular. Achievements in multiplayer games that ask you to play a specific way can be disruptive and genuinely unhelpful to a team dynamic, as you may have encountered if you've ever run into someone farming assists and refusing to land the killing blows to actually try and win the match. Objectives like this instil this weird 'I should only do this one thing' mentality, when in reality, you're probably better off taking that easy goal and securing the lead for your team, then fishing for the high-flying play from the ensuing kick-off. Is it still called a kick-off when it's cars? Whatever.

Imagine loading into a 3v3 game where your two team-mates are just fishing for this nonsense achievement, soaring off like their planet needs them at every opportunity rather than actually playing the game properly. Not that players don't do that already (guilty as charged), but incentivising it would be terrible. Could you do it with bots? Possibly... although Rocket League's bots have a history of being extremely hit-or-miss, so good luck with that. This is just an example of a dumb achievement that requires not only a lot of player skill, but also a lot of luck, and as such, we can only be glad that it never made the list.

Win a match without touching the ball

In games that involve larger teams, running interference is a legit strategy, so if your role is just to go blow some fools up then sure, you do you. That role isn't for everyone, mind, and even if it were, something this specific would be dreadful. Yeah, you'd probably get it eventually if you went for it, but you'd often run into situations where you you can't help but get tagged by a stray ball depending on what everyone else does. It's a frustrating pretend achievement that pretty much goes against the spirit of the game — even if you're holding down the defensive line, an odd bounce could be all it takes to nudge the ball goalwards and give your team the lead, so why wouldn't you take that opportunity?

Reach Supersonic Legend rank

The skill ceiling in Rocket League is bonkers, with the best players pulling off crazy plays in every single game, so asking all players to reach that same level is a no-go. The longer a game like this is around, the more difficult it becomes to break into the top flight, and at this point, any kind of rank-based achievement would be almost impossible for most casual players due to how much talent is already out there. Get a decent group and you might have a shot at giving the pros a good game, sure, but this is a game that has been on the competitive scene for years at this point, so best of luck with that.

Play ten games without boosting

Finally, let's do an arbitrary restriction... one which would prevent you from being useful to your team and mean you couldn't do any of the high-flying awesomeness for which Rocket League is known. Again, achievements like this are straight-up bad, rewarding you for not doing something that you should be doing. Yes, it's possible to be successful without hitting the boosters, but why would you? Boosting is a crucial part of the game, so an achievement discouraging its use would fly in the face of the spirit of the game. Sure, it would be easy, but it would also just be fuel for teammates to come at you, and nobody wants to deal with that noise.

Nice shot! Nice shot! Nice shot! Ahem... hopefully you enjoyed this week's BS GS shenanigans and if you have any ideas for other good targets for future articles, go ahead and drop them in the comments and we'll look into them. Any ideas of your own about how to stink up Rocket League's list? Let's hear them!

Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Luke runs the TA news team, contributing where he can primarily with reviews and other long-form features — crafts he has honed across two decades of print and online gaming media experience, having worked with the likes of gamesTM, Eurogamer, Play, Retro Gamer, Edge, and many more. He loves all things Monster Hunter, enjoys a good D&D session, and has played way too much Destiny.