Rocket Arena, the Overwatch meets Quake meets Super Smash Bros arena shooter just released on the 14th, and with the game generating a lot of buzz right now, we thought we’d take a look at the game, its reception, and explore whether or not it’s worth the hefty price tag that comes with it.
Is Rocket Arena Free to Play?
Unfortunately, Rocket Arena is not Free to Play. The Rocket Arena beta was open to the public free-to-play but the game has decided to opt for a buy-to-own option that gives players access to all of the ten heroes available at launch.
How Much Does Rocket Arena Cost?
The game is priced at $29.99 for the base game and $39.99 for the Mythic Edition which comes with a few cosmetics and a handful of the game”s premium currency, Rocket Fuel. This hefty price tag is the same across Windows, Xbox, and PS4 (between all of which, full crossplay is supported).
It’s surprising that the game, quickly likened to free-to-play games like Fortnite and Paladins, is being released with such a comparatively steep price. Coupled with an aesthetic seemingly geared towards younger audiences, a large amount of in-game monetization, and the fact that Overwatch, the other forty dollar hero shooter, has much more content and less baggage from fans, many fans are left vexed, wondering…
Is Rocket Arena Worth It?
Rocket Arena’s gameplay itself seems to garner a few complaints. Indeed, the game utilizes a unique mix of Super Smash Bros and other Hero Shooters, placing a greater emphasis on careful aim than relentless bullet-spamming.
Each of the game’s 10 playable heroes relies on some sort of rocket launcher — indeed, no other weapons are present in the game — and their own unique abilities to deal damage to enemy players and move around the compact map. Each character’s rockets have a different play-style. Some hit harder, have different trajectories, different blast radii, and other special effects. Because each shot has a minor cooldown, you’re punished for the common FPS-honed instinct to hold down fire and track your opponent.
In Rocket League, you have to think more about where you’re placing each shot, and are rewarded for sound tactical decision-making. The game’s damage system borrows from Super Smash Bros. In Rocket Arena, players accrue damage in a “Megablast Bar” that, once filled, readies them to be smashed far outside the arena.
I really thought this would be a f2p game. 10/10 would try it if that was the case. Not paying 30 bucks for an arena shooter I may not even enjoy for that long.
— Gurt (@Gurtacus) July 14, 2020
So there’s some novelty to the gameplay itself. But does that justify the heavy price tag? Some players think not.
Indeed, one of the recurring concerns seems to be that the game’s fun may hinge largely on novelty. The gameplay is fun, but how will the dynamics last in the medium to long term? Will it be able to soak up the hours of lasting entertainment that it’s main, free-to-play competitors have delivered with ease?
It’s important to point out that this is not a premium game. Aside from the up-front price, Rocket Arena has all the hallmarks of your traditional free-to-play model. A battle pass, premium currency, and a litany of IAP purchases. Right now, all of the purchasable content is cosmetic, and doesn’t affect gameplay, but understandably turns some gamers off to see.
After shelling out more than a couple of bucks, the idea they still might not be getting the “full experience” irks them, when they could be in the same boat with another successful F2P game like Fornite without spending a dime.
My only suggestion is the game being free, it has a battle pass system and microtransactions like any F2P game. Would have a big playerbase too, it's so dynamic and fun
— Tati 🥀 (@gatitos1601) July 16, 2020
Should you buy Rocket Arena?
Wait on it. Don’t discount the game entirely. For all of its bad PR, Rocket Arena is a well-polished game and a novel concept for players to sink their teeth in. The gameplay certainly isn’t the issue. The ultimate factor in your decision of whether or not to play the game should hinge upon two things:
- How does the player base evolve? Does it grow massively, or quickly flatline?
- How responsive are the developers to community feedback?
If the game seems to be received well, the player base begins to take off, and Final Strike proves themselves to be an attentive and thoughtful developer with their finger on the pulse of the community, Rocket Arena may very well be worth the 30 or so bucks it costs. Just not yet.