ABOVE: Watch the original reveal trailer for Rocket Arena from last year.For more competitive players, the developers at Final Strike Games ensured us that Ranked PVP would be available at launch as well. During the demo event, I got to play Knockout, Rocketball, and Treasure Hunt. My favorite game mode out of those three was probably Knockout since it was pretty cut and dry and I could engage in the rocket mayhem without having to worry about other objectives. The items you can pick up around the map come in very useful during fights, since you might be able to pick up a Ninja headband that lets you dodge without a cooldown for a short amount of time, a rocket magnet that acts as a small rocket force field, a speed boost, a mine you can plant anywhere, or a bomb. The Ninja Headband felt most useful for me during fights, since the dodge mechanic can save your blast meter from filling up too quickly. All the maps are fairly small but it feels pretty balanced since players can’t run and camp in different spots. However, for Rocketball, there was one particular map, Temple of Jaaqua, that felt entirely too small and cramped. It was incredibly hard to tell who had the ball, where the ball currently was, and what exactly was going on from the map space available. For each hero, there are a set of Artifacts that you can unlock as you play matches and “discover” them. Artifacts are like little boosts that help increase your stats to a small percentage. For example, there is an Artifact named the Axial Fan that, at Level 1, will increase your Rocket Jump strength by 20% and increases by 5% for the next two levels. You can have three artifacts equipped on your character which allow you to personalize your stats to best match your playstyle. My demo experience with Rocket Arena was pretty limited given the play time we were allotted, but I got to experiment enough with the game to get a basic understanding of what I liked and what my playstyle was. I felt my best characters were Izell and Rev who allowed me to get up close and personal and both have rush attacks that can smack my opponents into the sky. Rev’s primary weapon is a machine gun, but I always felt like she never had enough ammo in it to feel like a proper machine gun. I found myself running out of ammo right as my last combo would hit and the reload would take a second too long, letting my enemy get away. [poilib element="quoteBox" parameters="excerpt=Rocket%20Arena%20is%20the%20first%20EA%20game%20to%20have%20complete%20crossplay%20at%20launch.%20It%20also%20won't%20have%20any%20loot%20boxes."] However, the weapon and character balancing actually felt really good for the demo I got to play. No character felt overpowered, especially since each character’s skill sets were built to accommodate for a wide range of playstyles. It took me a few rounds of changing characters between matches to figure out who I felt most comfortable with, but once I did, I started to feel more on even ground with everyone. Each match I played lasted for about 6 minutes or so which felt like a good amount of time for such fast-paced matches. There’s a lot of action and explosions happening throughout each match and sometimes it would get too visually busy to follow everything happening, but I still found myself enjoying smacking people with Rev’s board and blasting people into the sky. Rocket Arena is coming as a live service game to the Xbox One, PS4, and PC and is also the first EA game to have complete crossplay at launch. The base game will be sold for $29.99 and the premium bundle will be $39.99 that includes the first battlepass. Season 1 of Rocket Arena will begin two weeks after launch, on July 28th. When I asked about what the pricepoint of cosmetics and the battlepass would be, Ray Almeda (Global Public Relations for EA), said, “We believe in fairness to all of our players so there aren’t any pay to win mechanics in Rocket Arena. There aren’t any loot boxes either.” All players will also receive a free new character during each of the upcoming seasons. Overall, I’m very cautiously optimistic about Rocket Arena. Its unique gameplay mechanics stand out from other third-person hero shooters and the arena of 3v3 fights is actually quite fun. My one concern is how the game will stay engaging and fresh after a few weeks after launch. While there are several game modes to choose from, including Ranked, a lot of the matches felt slightly repetitive like it was just a rinse-and-repeat cycle. But, regardless, from the time I got to spend with Rocket Arena’s demo, I thoroughly enjoyed the chaos and explosions and will be keeping an eye on the game’s launch and future. [poilib element="accentDivider"] Stella Chung topped the leaderboards at the Rocket Arena preview event. Talk games with her on Twitter at @ParallaxStella.