PlayStation 4/Xbox One/Windows
I’ve seen many a video of late comparing this month’s PlayStation Plus offering Rocket Arena to the likes of Fortnite and Overwatch. While the graphical style of the game does indeed bear some resemblance to Epic Games’ behemoth and Blizzard’s multiplayer giant, and like both those titles it relies on an active multiplayer community to function, that is where the favourable comparisons end.
At it’s core Rocket Arena is an online multiplayer hero shooter. Once you’ve completed the mandatory training level, you’re free to explore what the game has to offer. You have a choice of 12 different heroes to choose from, (For contrast, Overwatch at the time of writing has 32) all of which have different weapons and abilities.
The trouble I had though was that none of them were particularly memorable or remotely likeable. I tried out each character several times but always found myself returning to Plink time and time again simply because his kit of a scrap rocket gun, a teleporter and a boomerang appeared to be the most effective in battle.
The meat and potatoes of the game are the playlists. Put simply, this boils down to a choice of playing a match against a group of bots or playing online against other people. Once you jump into a match you’ll find yourself playing a straight up team deathmatch, (known here as Knockout) a capture the flag style game, (Rocketball) or a domination type affair known as Megarocket.
Out of all the game modes Knockout is easily the most fun and the one that I was most pleased to see come up during my play sessions. One gripe that I have with Knockout however is that the team size is too small for the size of the arenas. A smaller team is fine in something like Splatoon where there’s always something to do. But I lost count of how many times I found myself trekking around the arena trying to find an opponent to blast. For a game that’s trying to promote itself as being fast and frenetic that’s a real issue. Increasing the team size to 5 or 6 would easily resolve the problem and allow the action to flow better.
I don’t dislike Rocket Arena. It’s certainly a fun way to kill an occasional hour here and there when you don’t have the patience for investing in a deeper, more involved title. But it just doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the likes of Overwatch. Good for a free title, but I wouldn’t pay for it.