Brightly colored, loud, cheeky and a little crazy: Grab the bazooka and kick pirates, underwater nymphs and adventurers from the “Rocket Arena”. That is the basic concept - and at the same time the appeal to the players - of Electronic Arts 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 look at.


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

Let's say first: if you want to go on a solo adventure, unfortunately you are wrong in the Rocket Arena. The same goes for friends of heartfelt PvE combat. “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 competitive 3v3 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. 

Artifacts are more exciting than all “cosmetics”: They can be assigned to heroes in the main menu and have a direct influence on performance, for example because damage is increased. Pretty cool: Objects are leveled and become stronger as a result. In combination with the fusion system, there is something to be said for this: If you are a beginner and throw yourself into the arena with an experienced lunch, you will probably have a little fun. So there is frustration in the Rocket Arena. However, there is no evidence of this in even games. When the battlefield is fair, the entertainment factor grows exponentially. 

Another factor that some players may not like is the layout, or the overall appearance of the game. “Rocket Arena” relies on a colorful comic look and therefore looks anything but innovative or extravagant. It is reminiscent of Fortnite - and even ten characters could hardly be burdened with clichés. At first glance, the Rocket Arena looks more like playing chewing gum: a little flat and not very demanding. But if you don't have a problem with that, give the shooter a try because luckily 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. 

Ten maps that were published at the start lead you, for example, to icy winter castles or the Wild West environment, including a passing train. The map design is top notch and very well coordinated with the many movement options that are possible thanks to rocket jumps. Even if you stick your socks in for the first few rounds, Rocket Arena undoubtedly has a steep learning curve. If you initially play Hero Shooter as a “normal” action game, after a few rounds you will skip the platforms, use multiple jumps and shoot opponents 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 game mode also corresponds to the fast 3-versus-3 game. In “Treasure Hunt” you compete for a chest and then for gold coins. In “Mega-Rocket” you have to conquer and defend zones, and “Rocket Ball” is like a soccer ball with rocket launchers. The connection to the PS4 worked solidly in the test. The loading time was short. Only the composition of the participants was still problematic. When level 1 beginners work with level 79 professionals, frustration sometimes ensues. The long-term motivation was also a little lacking in depth. Unlocking “Perks” is a bit too small for us and not motivating in the long term. However, this detail is only limited in the absence as 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 pull money out of the customer's pocket. Therefore, the game costs 29,99 euros and comes with the full scope. If you wish, buy a Boost Pass or purchase additional rocket fuel to activate customization options quickly.

The first online season began 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 other add-ons. In future, the “Rocket Arena” will start the new season every three months and then provide additional content. So two weeks after the release are rather warm. Then 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

Hand on heart: At first glance, “Rocket Arena” is certainly a deterrent for most people. The look of the game is colorful and doesn't exactly stand out with clichés. There was certainly a lot of glimpse at Fortnite and Co. But under this almost kitschy facade hides an atmospheric and above all innovative hero shooter. With a little getting used to, Rocket Arena is a lot of fun and offers a lot 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 it easier in the competitive online modes. At the moment, “Rocket Arena” is still a bit weak in terms of variety and scope, but that is likely to change in the coming months as well. So if you are looking for a hero shooter with a difference, Rocket Arena could be you. Because among all the pops of color there is a competitive hero with a strong 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.