Final Strike Games' new multiplayer shooter, published by Electronic Arts, offers an interesting and fun recipe.
To enrich the EA Originals catalog comes Rocket Arena, a title developed by Final Strike Games that wants to carve out its share of users in the competitive third-person shooter market. Ambition not at all easy to achieve, counting the endless and fierce competition of this sector of the videogame industry. Rocket Arena is based on interesting foundations, but only the willingness of the team to adequately support the product will be able to tell us if it will be destined for success or irrelevance. Leaving aside speculations and marketing strategies for now, let's analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this sparkling shooter.
An explosive 3vs3 battle arena with many modes
The backbone on which Rocket Arena gameplay is based is that of a third person shooter where two teams of three players compete for the better. The main purpose of the game is not to shoot to kill, but to throw our opponents off the stage, so that they fall on deaf ears or go beyond the boundaries of the map.
Hitting the enemies, in fact, we will fill a bar above their named head Blast Meter: the higher this indicator, the more the shock wave generated by the collision with our bullets will become powerful, making it increasingly difficult to return to the game arena. If we manage to completely fill the opponent's Blast Meter, we will have to persevere, as the next hit will signify certain death for him. Along the lines of what happens in the saga of Smash Bros.In fact, Rocket Arena requires you to learn how to better manage the distances and mobility of your character in order to make the landing of the enemy a desperate undertaking. The value reported by the Blast Meter, however, it does not always represent an irreversible sentence: if no hits are received for a certain period of time, this will slowly return to zero, thus making a close-knit team game aimed at protecting allies in difficulty essential.
As far as the movement system is concerned, Final Strike Games has decided to revive the mechanics dear to the veterans of the old-fashioned "arena shooter". As in Quake 3 Arena or in Quake Champions, we will be able to use the explosion of our rockets to jump in the air and reach otherwise inaccessible places, or avoid an opponent's strike at the last minute. The shock wave caused by our bullets will not harm us, allowing us to take advantage of this mechanic whenever we wish.
It is a fairly immediate and intuitive system, which however requires the right amount of time to be mastered properly. Although this "rocket jump" does not reach the same levels of technicality and madness as the old Quake, we can confirm that it is a well-blended element in the playful mix of Rocket Arena, able to guarantee the right amount of dynamism and variety to the gameplay. The various speakers scattered around the internships, containing random objects that we could use at the most appropriate time, also contribute to enriching the formula. Among these we will find a rocket-catcher, which will act as a magnet for the opponent's bullets, or a bandana, which will allow us to dodge the shots with greater agility.
What we have described to you, besides representing the essential structure of the game, is also the first of the four PvP modes present, called Knockout Mode. In it we will have to use all our skills and our paraphernalia to launch opponents towards the stratosphere, so as to get a point for each knockout.
As it is easy to guess, the team that first reaches the score indicated at the top of the screen will win. Knockout mode is on balance the official competitive mode of Rocket Arena: if we want to be serious this will be the type of match to master, in order to become expert players and climb the world rankings.
Social Play, Ranked Play and Custom GamesIn Rocket Arena there is a social circuit, designed for players who want to relax without thinking too much about their score, and a ranked circuit, designed instead for the more competitive ones. In this second case, the contenders will get a rank based on their performances at each match. In ranked games the Knockout mode has small adjustments, aimed at reducing the random element to the bone and making the matches more "skill-oriented". In any case, it will always be possible to create personalized games to play with friends far from the competition. In this case, however, we will not be able to advance the level of our character
In the mode RocketBallinstead, our goal will be to catch the ball that will pop up in the center of the map and throw it in the opponent's area to score a goal. At our disposal we will have many ways to throw the ball: we can hold it in our hand and pull it as if it were an object, move it with our body or use weapons to hit it from distance. This, of course, as long as you come out unscathed from the hell of missiles that the enemies will launch against us. Here too, the winning team will be the one who has scored the most goals at the end of the time.
Treasure Hunt mode instead presents two phases, which will alternate until the end of the match. In each of these we will have to collect as many coins as possible, so as to guarantee victory. In the first phase it will be necessary to collect a treasure chest that will give us coins for every second that we retain possession of it. If we manage to keep it until its contents run out, we will be rewarded with bonus coins. In the second, however, the doubloons will pop up at different points on the map and we will have to collect as many as possible before the opposing team. Like the new Super Mario, we will have to be careful not to end up prey to the rockets of our enemies, who will try to ambush us in places where the concentration of coins is very high.
The last of the PvP modes is Mega Rocket. In this, several giant rockets will crash on the stage creating a "hot zone" that the players will have to occupy, winning a point if successful. Among the "extra" modes, the latter seemed the most convincing one, because it is capable of creating a stimulating game experience by pushing users to find the right balance between attack and defense, leveraging teamwork.
Finally, Final Strike Games has also thought of a PvE mode, called RocketBot Attack, in which players have to cooperate to defeat surviving several waves of fierce robots. Unlike PvP, this mode has unfortunately seemed very lackluster and uninspired: the artificial intelligence of the bots is in fact rather deficient and not very stimulating.
10 heroes for 10 game maps
The Rocket Arena roster will boast at launch a parterre of ten heroes, to which as many arenas will be linked, characterized according to the style of the reference character. The choice of the avatar is not only cosmetic, since each of these will differ in the style of the firearm and the skills available to it.
The only mechanic common to all game characters is the dodge, an action that will guarantee us brief moments of invulnerability to avoid a bullet at the right time, or to move away from various uncomfortable situations (for example in the event that more enemies decide to focus on us). It will be fundamental to identify the most propitious moment to use it, since it has a fairly long recharge time.
Overall, the development team managed to impress a good dose of variety to the design of the various heroes. The agile Izell, for example, uses a short-range weapon but with an enviable rate of fire and bullet speed. The old Topnotch, on the other hand, has a slow and long-range rocket launcher, which allows you to delay the explosion of the bullet pressed the trigger to fire.
We can find the same diversity in special and secondary skills. If the glacial Kayi is an excellent choice to eliminate opponents from distance, thanks to its protective ice barrier that increases the range of the projectiles, the adventurer Boone prefers a more aggressive approach by using the special Zik's Vortex, a powerful gust of wind. who repels enemies in front of him.
Each of the heroes will have its own 100-level progression system in total, which will allow us to unlock both gameplay elements, such as artifacts, and purely cosmetic elements. The former are objects that we can equip in order to boost the character's statistics or to reduce the various recovery times. A maximum of three artifacts can be equipped and each player can customize the "build" by creating the combination he considers most efficient. In Social Play these items will level up as we play our matches while in Ranked Play they will offer fixed benefits. This, of course, in order to guarantee a competitive environment that is as fair as possible.
As regards the aesthetic aspect, the unlockable elements include new skins (with bronze, silver and gold variants), components for our totem (a "flag" useful to show others our progress) and colored trails that will accompany the movements of the chosen hero. At the time of the Rocket Arena release, the artifacts and cosmetic objects can be unlocked through the progression system, without the use of microtransactions, however it is necessary to report that the time needed to progress is not the most generous when it reaches very high levels high.
The game maps reflect the character and color tones of the heroes to whom they are dedicated: the Izell stage, for example, recalls an ancient emerald Aztec temple, while the Kayi one is a giant castle immersed in ice. Each of these internships it also offers a unique mechanic designed to make battles with rocket launchers even more excited: in the Temple of Jaaqua, for example, we will be able to activate traps that will recall fiery darts from the sky, so as to surprise the opponents and make the arena a real hell.
If in terms of variety and playful composition Final Strike Games has managed to package an interesting product in a more than discreet way, the same cannot be said for the originality of the artistic direction. This is in fact truly anonymous and devoid of an authorial mark capable of leaving its mark in the chaos of online experiences. More generally, the imagery of Rocket Arena fails to show the public a captivating personality and, from this point of view, the team could certainly do better.
Cross-play, Seasons and … microtransactions
Users will be happy to know that Rocket Arena, in addition to being released for almost all gaming platforms (PS4, XBOX ONE, PC), will be launched cross-play, so as to allow owners of different consoles to compete in duels on the last rocket.
As for post-launch support, the development team has already communicated a seasonally structured model, in which new heroes, new game modes and new events will be inserted over time to obtain artifacts and cosmetic objects. With the introduction of new seasons, the overall balance of the game will also be changed, so as to move the waters and the meta-game that will have formed in the previous seasons.
Unfortunately, we cannot tell you much about the system of microtransactions, as the possibility of buying in-game currency was not yet active in the review. However, we can anticipate that there will be two types of coins: those purchased with real money and those obtainable in-game. As anticipated, all Rocket Arena content can be unlocked simply by playing, and both currencies can therefore be used to considerably reduce the progression time. Given the price of 30 euros for the standard version and 40 euros for the Mitica version, we can only hope that the business model has been balanced so as not to create annoying imbalances within the municipality.
Rocket ArenaAnalyzed Version PlayStation 4 ProRocket Arena brings good ideas to the field, managing to reinterpret some classic arena shooter mechanics in a convincing way, even if not in the most refined way possible. The 3 versus 3 formula goes well with the size of the maps and the modalities present at the launch, as well as the variety of heroes and artifacts outlines a fairly thorough game system. However, the Final Strike Games title suffers from an excessively anonymous style, which is unlikely to create a memorable imagery and to establish itself in the imagination of the players. The management of post-launch support remains an unknown, which in this type of production is often crucial for their success. We can only hope that the fierce competition in the sector will not engulf this bubbly third-person shooter, whose discreet qualities remain undeniable.