Rocket Arena, an action-packed 3v3 shooter developed by Final Strike Games and published by EA, is almost ready to launch and it looks fun as hell.
Rocket Arena showcased at EA Play 2020 several weeks ago, but the closed beta happened a little earlier. Back then, it was nothing more than a pleasant surprise, and for me, it was the standout at the event. Now we know all the details, and it’s left an even better impression.
The Fundamentals of Rocket Arena
To no surprise, the gameplay in Rocket Arena revolves entirely around rocket launchers. The name itself pays homage to a free mod in Quake, Quake II, Quake III Arena and Quake 4 that popularized this style. But it’s more than a carbon copy.
Players take down opponents by hitting them with rockets. But instead of a health bar, everyone has a blast meter. The more damage they take, the more it fills, and the more susceptible they become to being blasted out of the arena.
It’s a lot like the system used in Super Smash Bros. However, the main difference is that a player’s blast meter will start to lower if they take no damage for a while, making them less vulnerable once again.
Like a lot of good artwork, Rocket Arena intertwines some of the elements that inspired it with original ideas to create something entirely new.
Rocket Arena has four modes; knockout, rocketball, mega rocket, and treasure hunt. Each one offers a different experience, and there’s something for everyone.
Knockout is a competitive mode, and it’s most straightforward. The goal is to use a combination of rockets and abilities to blast opponents out of the arena temporarily. Each one counts as a knockout, and the team who reaches the target knockout score first wins.
Rocketball is also pretty self-explanatory. Like a game of quidditch, each team needs to fight over the ball and either run, throw or blast it into the opposition’s goal. The team who reaches the target point cap wins. But if the timer runs out first, victory goes to the team with the most points.
Mega rocket is all about capturing zones. At the start of a match, an enormous rocket lands in the arena, which scatters players across the map and spawns a capture zone. Players then need to capture and defend the area to score a point, and the team who reaches the point cap wins. But like the other modes, if the timer runs out first, the team with the most points wins.
Treasure hunt is the most casual-friendly mode. Players score points by either picking up and holding the treasure chest or collecting coins that spawn all over the map.
Thankfully, casual players can enjoy the other modes too. Rocket Arena offers them all in both social and ranked, which means the player can decide how sweaty the games are.
Beyond that, Rocket Arena has a practice mode, a cooperative bot mode, and plenty of custom games. There’s something for everyone. But perhaps more importantly, there’s a hero for everyone too.
Heroes and Maps
Upon release, Rocket Arena will have ten heroes and ten maps available. The heroes are Amphora, Blastbeard, Boone, Izell, Jayto, Kayi, Mysteen, Plink, Rev, and Topnotch.
The characters are well-detailed and rich in personality. But more importantly, they all have three unique abilities and a signature set of rockets. That means there are different roles and synergies to consider, which adds an element of strategy to the games.
However, the characters can’t hog all the spotlight. The maps have their quirks and nuances too. Each one has it’s own hidden tricks, traps, and backstories. There’s everything from skyscrapers and castles to pirate ships, canyons and temples. Hell, there’s even an underwater map too.
What’s more, Rocket Arena will have seasons and battle passes, with the first season starting on July 28. That means plenty of content is still to come, including new heroes, maps, outfits, and more.
Some people aren’t too happy about that, though. After all, the game isn’t free to play and needs to be purchased. But in my opinion, it’s not a big deal, since most purchasable games have battle passes too. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a good example. It had a battle pass long before Warzone was released, and nobody seemed to mind.
What’s more, Rocket Arena only costs $29.99 and battle passes aren’t necessary. If someone told me that I could buy a well-polished and quirky cross-platform game published by EA for thirty dollars, I’d say it sounds like a pretty good deal.
Last but not least, Rocket Arena will support cross-platform play between PC, PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch right out of the gate. Not only does that mean you can play with your friends no matter what platform they own, but it also means that the player-base should be well-populated.
Again, there’s a bit of concern about the purchase price putting players off. But it shouldn’t be an issue thanks to the cross-platform feature.
The game might not be for everyone, and people’s concerns about the price-tag are worth discussing. But if you can’t wait to jump into Rocket Arena and blast your opponents into oblivion, there’s only one more sleep to go.
Alex is a freelance writer based in Adelaide, Australia. He finished a law degree but realised it wasn't the career for him and decided to follow his dream of becoming a writer. Since then, he has finished two postgraduate writing degrees at Swinburne University of Technology. Now he writes about his other passion; esports and gaming.