Brightly colored, loud, cheeky and a bit crazy: Grab the bazooka and kick pirates, underwater nymphs and adventurers out of the "Rocket Arena". This is the core concept - and the call to play - of Electronic Art's new arena shooter. In the test, we reveal what exactly is behind the hero shooting game, whether it can motivate in the long term and why the game is a real insider tip to watch.


Missiles! This is the core of the missile arena. Flying explosives not only give the hero the name who developed the famous Final Strike Games, they also shape the gameplay. Rocket launchers are your most important tool in the action game in the third person: With them you throw other players out of the arena in sharp 3-on-3 duels, but also catapult yourself over platforms with rocket jumps. Sounds ridiculous on paper when a rocket really does catch fire.

Solo gamers are rather out of place here

First of all, let's say that if you want to do a solo adventure, you're wrong in Rocket Arena. The same goes for friends of hearty PvE battles. RocketBot Attack, in which you fight a horde of robots, is just a refill in the long run, both monotonous and boring. In this multiplayer area, titles like "Gears 5" offer significantly more motivation. So keep emphasizing that Rocket Arena is designed for 3v3 competitive multiplayer battles. But that doesn't have to be bad.

Of course, in-game cosmetic purchases as we are used to today are not to be missed. It's not necessary, it's just the ability to monetize in games. The fact that there are only cosmetic items is basically good from a gaming perspective, but the prices feel a little too high.

The basic feeling seems to be familiar to you at first: By completing games you gain experience points and thus reach new lines - and so you can make tremendous progress if you concentrate on one or more heroes. Leveling also gives you cosmetic goodies for the characters, but you also get new banners or patterns for this totem that you can see behind your character right after or before the game. The concept is already known. 

More exciting than all "cosmetics" are artifacts: they can be assigned to heroes in the main menu and have a direct impact on performance, for example because damage is increased. Pretty cool: Items are leveled, making them stronger. In combination with the fusion system, however, there is something to be said for this: Whoever is thrown into the arena as a beginner with an experienced lunch will probably have a little fun. So there are frustrations in Rocket Arena. In balanced games, however, there is no sign of this. When it's fair on the battlefield, the entertainment factor grows exponentially. 

Another factor that some players might not like is the layout or the overall look of the game. "Rocket Arena" relies on a colorful comic look and therefore looks anything but innovative or extravagant. It's reminiscent of Fortnite - and even ten characters could hardly be burdened with clichés. At first glance, the Rocket Arena looks more like playing bubble gum: a little flat and not very challenging. But if you're fine with that, give the shooter a shot because thankfully the gameplay presents itself strong enough to mitigate the potential flaw of the colorful look. 

We push ourselves to victory

The game takes players to the edge of a fantasy world. Here, for a change, neither the end of the world nor eternal war threatens. Instead, the nations peacefully compete in the missile championship. This isn't an innovation story right now, but you don't need it with a title like this one. Of course, nobody dies in these sporting competitions. Instead of firing your opponents, you push them out of the arena with the help of a bazoooooosss.

With each hit you fill out an ad, and with the last one you finally send your opponents into orbit. There are no breaks in the Rocket Arena. From lofty heights, choose a re-entry point and use the map. Often they remind us of the Super Smash Bros series. - that's what we like. Rocket Arena has a big advantage over the competition: the idea of ​​the game is refreshing and not as squeamish as other team shooters that are always launched with the same concepts. 

For example, ten maps released at launch take you to icy winter castles or the Wild West environment, complete with a passing train. The map design is top notch and very well balanced with the many movement options that are possible thanks to rocket jumping. Even if you tuck your socks in for the first few rounds, Rocket Arena undoubtedly has a steep learning curve. If you start out playing Hero Shooter as a "regular" action game, after a few rounds you'll skip the platforms, use multiple jumps, and launch enemies into the air.

The most important thing is that since one is always using rocket launchers, one only sustains surface damage. Our favorite blast beard, for example, fires giant cannonballs that cause serious damage to the area. The small plink, on the other hand, is effective with its fast movement of the bazooka, especially over short distances. In addition to the primary method of fire, each character offers a secondary and special attack: Topnotch, for example, aligns its enemies with a Zephyr blow or artillery volley, Amphora distributes mines that jump or spin in the air and glides across the battlefield at lightning speed.

The choice of the game mode also corresponds to the quick game 3-vs-3. In Treasure Hunt, you compete for a chest and then for gold coins. In "Mega Rocket" you have to capture and defend zones, and "Rocket Ball" is like a soccer ball with rocket launchers. In the test, the connection to the PS4 worked solidly. The loading time was short. Only the composition of the participants was still problematic. When level 1 beginners work with level 79 pros, frustration sometimes arises. We also lacked a bit of depth in the long-term motivation. Unlocking "perks" is a bit too small for us and not motivating in the long run. However, this detail is only limited in its absence, since the focus is obviously on the game itself. It's moody, even made for genre newcomers. 

Intended as a game for the future

For Electronic Arts and Final Strike Games, "Rocket Arena" is not a quick kick or even a free 2 game to take money out of the customer's pocket. Therefore, the game costs 29,99 euros and comes with the full scope. If desired, purchase a Boost Pass or purchase additional rocket fuel to quickly activate customization opportunities.

The first online season started on July 28, 2020 with a focus on rocket championship heroes. Flux is also the eleventh character in the ensemble. In addition, the new season will add the first in-game events, ten additional playlists, new maps and more add-ons. In the future, the “Rocket Arena” will start the new season every three months and then provide additional content. So two weeks after the release is rather warm. After that it really starts. 

Infobox

Number of players: team shooter
Age: from 12 years
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: medium

Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Final Strike Games
Year of publication: 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Languages: German, Russian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, English, Italian, Portuguese, French, Polish, Spanish
Cost: 29,99 Euro

Summary

Be honest: At first glance, "Rocket Arena" is certainly a deterrent for most. The look of the game is colorful and doesn't exactly stand out with clichés. There was certainly a lot of view of Fortnite and Co. But under this almost kitschy facade hides an atmospheric and above all innovative hero shooter. With a bit of getting used to, Rocket Arena is loads of fun and offers lots of depth with rocket jumping and special moves.

The Rocket Arena is less suitable for solo players, but team players have a clear advantage, because those who work together have an easier time in the competitive online modes. For now, Rocket Arena is still a little underwhelmed in terms of variety and scope, but that's likely to change in the coming months as well. So if you're looking for a hero shooter with a difference, Rocket Arena could be just the ticket. Because underneath all the pops of color stands a competitive hero shooter with a heavy focus on team play. And even if you just want to ride the rocket with friends, Rocket Arena is the place to be.

It is almost paradoxical that even the fact that the game should be bought could prove to be a weakness. At least as far as the playful direction in the genre of the free 2-play shooter is concerned, it is a brave decision. Since Rocket Arena costs money, the developers have to do a lot of persuading first to get fans to get into the game in the first place. There is hardly anything wrong with the entertainment value: The fast-paced games are fun and motivating. Now Rocket Arena wants long-term support with content in order to establish itself. Sagittarius has potential, in a good way.