Developer – Final Strike Games
Publisher – Electronic Arts
Platform(s) – PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
MSRP – $29.99
Release Date – July 14th, 2020
Review Copy Was Kindly Provided For This Review.
I didn’t know what to fully expect from Rocket Arena when I first started up the game. I now know the game was first announced back in May of 2019, but I personally didn’t hear about the game until the latest EA Play in June of 2020. It seemed like a fun game that would be interesting to check out and my theory couldn’t have been any more correct.
Rocket Arena is an explosive 3v3 shooter with a cast of characters with their own unique rocket weapons and abilities. One thing that struck me as soon as I started playing was how comparable it is to other games. Rocket Arena has been compared to Overwatch, Apex Legends, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros, and so many other games. It’s not like those comparisons aren’t warranted, I can easily understand the comparison for each game above especially Overwatch and Super Smash Bros. At the same time, I don’t have a problem with Final Strike Games taking inspiration from other video games to make theirs better and I know a lot of people wouldn’t either.
As I said earlier I didn’t know much about Rocket Arena before its release. EA didn’t really ramp up marketing for this game until the day it was released with many “Sponsored by EA” Videos popping up all over Youtube. So I went into this game mostly unknown of what to expect and after a couple of hours, I was pleasantly surprised since my immediate expectations of the game were relatively nonexistent.
As of this writing, Rocket Arena has a total of 11 characters to play and choose from. Each character has its own weapon and abilities to work with. The gameplay is by far my favorite aspect of Rocket Arena. It’s fast, explosive, and most importantly fun. They couldn’t have made the gameplay any more perfectly, my only criticisms would be minor nitpicks that barely affect my overall enjoyment. To me besides the story which Rocket Arena doesn’t have, the gameplay is one of the most crucial parts of a video game and this game does it almost to perfection. The 3v3 game modes included are Knockout, Rocketbot Attack, Mega Rocket, Treasure Hunt, and Rocketball. I enjoy playing each game mode immensely, (besides Rocketball) although I can’t say there isn’t a lot to be desired in this department.
One thing I wanted to do with this game is to take my time and play the game for a couple of weeks before I put up my review. My approach to reviewing Rocket Arena has let me experience firsthand how much the player base has dwindled from the first couple of days to a couple of weeks after release. I went from finding a match in seconds in the first week of release to finding a match in a significantly longer time than it should take. I said there was a lot to be desired within the game modes and I feel that’s part of why most have put the game down. For example, this is a problem Overwatch had at launch back in 2016. There aren’t a ton of modes to choose from and after a week or two of playing the same modes over and over again, that repetitive feeling begins to set in. Although like Overwatch, I fully expect this criticism to be defunct in a couple of months with some content updates.
The monetization of this game doesn’t help in the slightest. Games like Fortnite & Apex Legends have battle passes that do extremely well. The reason the battle passes in those games work so well is because those games are free to play. Rocket Arena was $29.99 at release and its already been discounted heavily and the game hasn’t even been out for an entire month.
Rocket Arena would’ve benefited so much from being free to play. This game would be so much more popular without the price tag of $29.99 because quite honestly there’s not enough here to justify this price. Can you imagine buying this game for $30 at release and then the game gets discounted a couple of weeks later for a little over $5. It seems that EA didn’t realize this game would have player base difficulty after release, but I saw it coming from my first session with this game. It sucks because like I said, this game is extremely fun and I know most people who played it would agree. The problem is most people didn’t hear about this game until that EA Play show in June and even afterward the game was barely promoted until the day of release with Sponsored videos from YouTubers. With barely any promotion and information a month before the game was set to release, it’s not surprising that many wouldn’t be willing to drop $30 on this game. I see Rocket Arena going free to play before the end of the year because it’s the only way I see this incredibly fun game being noticed by more people.
I don’t want this game to fall off at all, you can tell this game was made by passionate devs who put their heart into it. The unfortunate part is that most of my gripes with Rocket Arena aren’t even the fault of the developer, it’s from the publisher. I hope EA realizes they have a game that has so much potential to be more than it currently is. As I said earlier, I think Rocket Arena needs to go free to play and get it out to more people. I’ve seen many who flat out said they were interested in this game but were automatically put off as a result of the price. EA launched this game the completely wrong way with the price and monetization format as it is. I was fortunate enough to be kindly provided with a review copy for this game, so I can enjoy this game without having to think about whether or not I should have bought it. Others don’t have the opportunity for review copies and therefore have to make a decision on purchasing a game that they barely know much about.
Rocket Arena is a fun game with intriguing game modes that definitely has the potential to reach a wider audience. Sadly its price tag, promotion before release, and monetization seem to be holding it back. Rocket Arena needs to go free to play before it’s too late because the passion and entertainment are there but more people have yet to see that.
Rating - 7/10