Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

Image credit: Square Enix

Wizards come with a special ability that supercharges MP recovery for more regular offensive (and healing spells), while the ranger reloads weapons faster than the others – and has a very practical judgment that will mark threats around you, even when out of sight.

Each of them feels a little different to play with, but there is a pleasant balance between the different roles, even though both soldier and monk suffer from having to rely on their melee for their benefits.

Let me say it directly; you should play First soldier with a gamepad. Luckily, I’m testing Backbone, a third-party connected controller for the iPhone, which means I was already in a good place to fix my weapons and spells. Magic casting controls are a bit messy – you will need to hold down an L-trigger while pressing another collar button to trigger one of three spells you may have picked up. These melee attacks that all job classes have are really hard to land on your enemies, whether you use a gamepad or touch controls. Hopefully, the developers are able to refine melee attacks as the game progresses.

This means that in a rather u-Final Fantasy way you will be dependent on your weapons for most of your killings. But hey, it’s a thrill to get that sniper killed with a head shot. Killing other players or monsters, opening chests and surviving the rounds will increase your character level through the battle itself. This increases your attack damage and increases your HP, which means you also have to last longer. It also rewards proactive play and exploration and not just attempts to survive to the last area.

As you would expect from a free Battle Royale game, you can buy season tickets. These offer skins, banners, emotes and more cosmetic treats for wannabe soldiers. Even without a pass, you can earn a few rewards by meeting “rank” criteria during battles. Get stars, increase your rank – which is not related to raising your individual job breaks – and you will have access to a wealth of wardrobe options or chocolate items. I’m currently wearing a moogle hat, please say hello.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier

Square Enix

Yes, there is also a chocobo breeding mini game buried inside first soldier, and you are able to summon your favorite stallion to the fights as a very convenient transportation option. However, this is not the only way to drive around on levels. There are also cars and bicycles to get you inside the battle arena. The shrinking arena harms everyone outside of its perimeter, but you are able to continue with elixirs and healing spells and hopefully get to safety.

The only downside that grows while I play is the fact that my level up has no noticeable effect on my performance in the game – which is true for most battle royale games. The appeal is that each new match is not affected by the round before it, but then it quickly gets tired of chasing these targets (play two rounds like a warrior; do 300 point damage with a shotgun; visit Corneo’s mansion). What exactly is the point?

For now, the point is, First Soldier skirmishes are entertaining, and the difficulty curve is not too brutal. I have won a few rounds, out of 75 players, and have been number two a handful of times. A colleague told me that early iterations of Battle Royale games are often filled with bots to juice up the numbers (and offer some encouraging early wins), but I will does not let him take this little victory from me.

Hopefully, Square Enix plans to offer more levels, weapons, and events to spice it up. There are some limited edition bosses at the entire Midgar level. I’ve managed to reach the two best of them, but I’ve also been trapped by Tonberry – a notoriously powerful monster from the Final Fantasy series – a few times too many times. Maybe I should try to fight him like a ninja …

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is out now on and

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