by Bryan Scheidler
Earlier this week I was invited to a special preview of a Rocket Arena, a brand new game by Nexon and Final Strike Games. The creators were giving me and others a chance to take their latest game for a spin and “kick the tires” so to speak. Rocket Arena is described as a 3 on 3 cross-platform first-person shooter, but that doesn’t come close to really telling you what it is.
After my all too brief time to play the game, I got to speak with Lawrence Metten, the Design Director with Final Strike Games. Lawrence explained that the goal with Rocket Arena was to build a shooter that was accessible to everyone. They wanted to change the shooter experience and make it more fun for casual players but still, offer the depth that more dedicated players demand. From my brief experience with the game I think they achieved their goal.
The basics of Rocket Arena are this, every character has some sort of rocket launcher that they can use to shoot other players or to assist in their mobility around the map. There are no deaths or health meters in the game, rather each character has something called a blast meter that acts similar to how Nintendo’s Smash Brothers handles damage. If your blast meter is full and you get launched out of the arena your character flies back in and lands and a random spot away from the action. With unlimited knockouts, you as the player are never out of the game regardless of how many times you have been knocked out. Although in one game mode, in particular, the team that knocks each opposing team member out of the arena three times first wins, so knockouts do matter.
In addition to basic attacks, each character has unique secondary attacks and powers that add a great deal of variety of gameplay. It took me over an hour of gameplay to start to really understand just how versatile these characters could be.
The levels offer just as much variety as the characters. Each level that we got to play had its own secrets that once learned really changed up the gameplay. The level designers really did make the levels stand out just as much as the playable characters. The 4 game types that are available are Knockout, Rocket Ball, Mega Rocket, and Rocketbot Attack. To get detailed descriptions of each mode go check out their website.
The game itself will be free to play once it is released. Free-to-Play can sometimes be a very bad word in the gaming community since it is often seen as Pay-to-Win, this is something that Final Strike Games is well aware of and designed Rocket Arena to avoid this. Rocket Arena will have items you can buy, but they will not offer any bonus or advantage in gameplay. Like Fortnight, the items you can purchase are more cosmetic in nature changing the appearance, not the gameplay.
So what is my final verdict about Rocket Arena? Personally, I can’t wait to get back into the game. I had such a good time playing it and even though I was brand new to the game, I never felt overwhelmed by the developers there that I was playing against. The game is very well balanced and the quick game sessions really did create a great gaming atmosphere. When the Beta opens later this month I will be one of the first in line to jump into the Rocket Arena.