We access for a few hours the new Final Strike Games under the EA Originals label, Rocket Arena. Competitive 3vs3 action announced in the past EA Play 2020.
Electronic Arts continues in its bid to fatten the EA Originals catalog. This support for the most modest projects serves so that the end user receives experiences far from the high production values that accompany the Triple A scene. The label receives a fresh multiplayer bet, different from the controls. Rocket Arena is a reality.
Because we met the first Final Strike Games job in 2019. Barely a year has passed in a kind of metamorphosis at all levels. The first person gives way to a crazy third person shooter, in which the way of moving and winning is completely different from its counterparts. In FreeGameTips we have already been able to play one of the announcements of the past EA Play 2020.
Founded in 2016, the team is made up of studio veterans like Treyarch and 343 Industries, who worked on the multiplayer part of Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Halo 5, among others. This data should not go unnoticed; in fact, knowing their past before being independent gives meaning to the decisions made at Rocket Arena.
We are talking about a competitive shooter that takes traces of the sand and hero slopes. Focused on 3v3 action, put various title elements like Quake or Super Smash Bros. in a cocktail shaker. It seems strange to enunciate two titles so different, right? But the truth is that the Final Strike Games project is a Frankenstein of ideas that work great together.
All the characters have a common element: the rockets. Despite the differences between its weapons, the entire campus has in its possession a rocket launcher that takes its way of developing further. Their explosions will not harm us, the physics they report will serve to navigate the stage in multiple ways. Climb, go faster, repel enemies … The legendary rocket jump of arena shooters is transferred here as a main mechanic.
In Rocket Arena we must not eliminate the opponent, but push him towards the limits of the map as if it were a sumo fight. We will have an explosion meter that will increase for each impact received from the rival. Yes, it works the same as in the Nintendo fighting game. As in him, the transition between dying and being reborn is practically instantaneous. During the presentation, the idea that the action never rests is constantly repeated to us. It is real.
The ten available launch heroes follow an approach that eludes categorization by role. The Contestants, as they call themselves in the Crater World, offer different offensive play styles so that the user can choose how to adapt to the battlefield. Their differences only affect the available active abilities (two), their type of rocket launcher and their secondary fire.
This eliminates the trace of finding unique passive traits. Instead of having immovable advantages, an artifact system has been incorporated, bonuses that range from regenerating the explosion level faster to reducing the refresh rate of some actions. They have individual progress that is filled with the experience gained from the games.
More than 22 artifacts are available per character. What may seem like an imbalance, it is not at all: in the competitive mode they are modified so that the bonuses are unique, that is, they do not progress within their levels as they do in the social lists. In addition, the entire repertoire is unlocked in the rankeds from the beginning, so you can choose your system without fear that the opponent has something that you have not been able to unlock.
A game in Rocket Arena will take no more than seven minutes, depending on the game mode. Rocketball, for example, features an alternative version of traditional soccer. We must mark the ball in the opponent’s goal while evading the opponent’s rockets. In this mode it will only take us five minutes to complete it. On the other hand, Harassment and Demolition, is the typical team match, in which we must throw the rival team through the air a maximum of twenty times during seven minutes. As you can see, packaged action to serve quickly and intensively. There is no place to blink.
Launch: cross play and live service
We will not have to wait long: Rocket Arena will arrive on July 14 on PS4, Xbox One and PC through Origin and Steam. From the first day the studio promises 10 playable characters, 10 maps, 4 game modes (plus another against bots) and 100 levels of progression for each of the heroes, with more than 350 cosmetics to unlock.
The support provided by Electronics Arts has allowed them to broaden their ambition since the project began. July 14 is the day their live service will kick off, promising not to fall for the Pay to Win molds. All playable post-launch content will be free and will stick to the seasons.
The first season will begin two weeks after its release. These time frames will work similarly to what was seen in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone. You will have at your disposal a battle pass riddled with limited thematic content, which will bring unprecedented playable additions in playable matter.
One of the keys for you to create community is the cross play features. Rocket League will allow players from all three platforms to play each other from any platform. This leaves us in doubt about the role of the keyboard and mouse in front of the controller. The traditional pad controls are tremendously well tuned, and buttons as responsive as jump are located on buttons that help you perform more precise actions (LB / L1). This control scheme was widely used in competitive scenes like Halo. However, the original Bungie saga never included it by default. Here things change. Of course, against the agility that a mouse offers, it can hardly perform.
Rocket Arena will have a physical edition in our country. It will be released at € 29.99 in its standard edition. The Mythic Edition will include various digital items for the heroes, at a recommended price of € 39.99. Prices move to the main digital markets of PlayStation, Xbox, Steam and Origin.
Impressions: fun with all the letters
The truth is that the four hours we spent in front of Rocket Arena were pure fun. The first games require adaptation to your game mentality. We had to start looking upwards, looking for positions that offered us a glimpse of the encounter from above. Everything that surrounds the rocket launcher gives it nuances difficult to see in the rest of its rivals.
We pass through a carousel of games in Harassment and Knockdown, Rocketball and Treasure Hunt. There is a room, called Mega Rocket, that doubles as a King of the Hill-style area capture mode, but it was not present in this build. The proposal of these three modes is as classic as it is refreshing. Although firing the enemy persists, the objectives make the rhythm of the action focus solely on them.
We love how the game wraps you up to direct you to help your team achieve victory. Even in Rocketball, a passer-by user can play a role in clearing the field of enemies from enemies. Perhaps it is where we find the best moments, since it is football that we all know brought to the umpteenth power. Just as it is the best, we also believe that this is where certain imbalances are exposed. Heroes like Amphora are too far above some companions, like Boone.
The young woman has an ability that allows her to dive into the map, making her invulnerable for a few seconds. While it can be counterattacked simply by firing, while staying inside you can trigger its blast bar regeneration. One technique that we often use in Rocketball was to catch the ball, throw it into the opponent’s goal area, and go there while swimming. When we got to the ball, we just came up and made a kind of dunk in the air. This cannot be done by others like Barbabum, whose speed index is lower.
Hunt for Treasure is an interesting little twist to the gold rush of other titles. A team takes the chest, and while it is in its possession, coins are added to its locker. The chest has a time limit on power; When finished, the map fills up with coins, phase in which the players must collect the maximum number of coins in the global friend. Whoever manages to reach a certain number or until completing the six minutes wins.
The tables can change at any time. Rocket Arena deserves every second that you are in it. Without long waits, you connect to the game and you’re automatically on the hero selection screen. No time is wasted on nondescript crossings or loading screens. He is grateful for the time you offer him.
You can’t repeat faces on the same team, which forces you to constantly jump between them. It is a success that the rocket launchers do not work the same with each other. Following Amphora’s motifs, it has an impeller that does not need to be recharged; its strength is determined by how long you hold down the shot. In Boone’s case, the Rocket Precision Rifle shoots fast, and if you aim you can fire more damaging shots.
That arcade soul suits him great. There is no possibility of aiming with an iron peephole as the main mechanic. As a good arena shooter, shooting from the hip suffers no penalties of any kind. It’s you, your weapon and the explosions around you. We are missing some kind of visual communication in the Apex Legends style. There are four commands that blurt out phrases, but it doesn’t come close to the help of putting a help pointer when you can’t use voice chat.
Don’t let the cartoon style fool you: Rocket Arena is a shooter that puts fun and quality of life before barriers or mechanics that require more than just shooting and moving. From its simplicity it creates a virtue. The best, without a doubt, is how different it is at the controls.
Rocket Arena will land on PS4, Xbox One and Pc (Steam and Origin) on July 14.