EA Play Live: Rocket Arena

EA Play Live just wrapped and they showed off quite a bit of new content. Most of the games however are slated for medium-to-long term release. One exception to that is Rocket Arena, hitting the Xbox One on July 14th! 

At first glance, Rocket Arena certainly feels a bit like Overwatch. Frenzied action, multiple characters, special abilities, and plenty of multiplayer chaos. Once upon a time I played countless hours of ‘rockets’ in Halo and loved every minute. Will Rocket Arena be the perfect combo of those two games or something completely different?

This is a ‘multiplayer first’ title as there is no mention of a campaign. The game structures itself as a 3 versus 3 match, using rockets as your primary weapon. There is no concept of death, and instead your weapons and abilities launch enemies outside the map.  Once outside the map you simply ride your rocket back in, never truly being out of the action. 

Choose Your Hero

There are 10 different heroes to choose from, all with unique abilities, backstories, and personalities. From the gameplay trailer it appears there’s a good mix of versatility between them too. Whether mobile heroes with quick reflexes are your style or you prefer heavy-duty tanks, you have a few options. From the trailer, one hero has a grappling hook while another has some small projectiles coming off their rocket.

Physics seem to play a fundamental role in the game as well. While rockets are the primary weapon for all characters, how you use them certainly varies. One character named Boone has ricocheting cluster rockets that are good for short range. Alternatively Blastbeard has a rocket that shoots in a high arc called the cannonball. With these different elements in play, tactics like leading enemies will be key.

Each hero has special abilities they use during combat to give them an edge. One character Rev has the ability to activate and ride on a hoverboard of sorts to traverse the map quickly while attacking. Izell meanwhile has a lunge attack that can be charged up to leap on approaching enemies. 

In Rocket Arena the heroes are downloaded to your Xbox with all the standard builds. But there is quite a bit to unlock along the way in the form of upgrades and cosmetics. The more you play the more experience you net. You can use this to unlock rocket parts and different outfits for your hero. 

Maps and Modes

On day 1 there will be at least 10 maps to play on with more promised to come. Gameplay takes place on the world Crater, and each map represents a different area of it. Aside from visuals, each map also has specific secrets and traps, giving a unique playing experience each time.

Season-play is planned, with each season bringing new items, characters, maps, game modes, and unlockables. There are four core online game modes to play with friends from day 1. ‘Knockout’ is the core game mode, where you knock enemies off the map with fervor to score more than the opposing team. ‘Rocketball’ seems to be a soccer type game mode but with rockets. ‘Mega Rocket’ is Rocket Arena’s take on zone-based gameplay. Either attack or defend a specific zone to win! Finally there is ‘Treasure Hunt,’ which seems a bit like capture the flag.

All these modes make Rocket Arena an interesting new multiplayer game. Add on the fact it is crossplay enabled and you have the formula for something very fun. Outside of PVP game types, there is also a co-op mode where you team up and take on enemy AI ‘rocketbots.’ In this mode you try to knock out as many as you can from the map before time expires. Lastly, custom games are an option for those looking to play just with friends and/or with custom rules. 

While I could see a campaign being a fun addition, the focus is clearly multiplayer with Rocket Arena. I would rather the focus be strong on multiplayer versus it having two half-assed games. Everything I have read and viewed leads me to believe this will be a strong game. EA definitely won me over with this presentation today.

You can pre-order Rocket Arena for $29.99 ($26.99 with EA Access) from the Xbox store. Stay tuned to Generation Xbox for coverage of all things Xbox. And make sure to check out our weekly podcast where we discuss the news of the week.

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