Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, a mobile battle royale from publisher “Square Enix” and developer “Ateam Entertainment”. Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is a battle royale set before the events of the original Final Fantasy VII in Midgar. Players will take on the role of soldier candidates and survive using weapons, magic, and special skills.
About 30 years before the events of Final Fantasy VII, Shinra didn’t sit still. This greedy energy company that wants to power the city of Midgar at the expense of the planet also has an army of soldiers at its disposal. The best of the best, Shinra’s elite, are the SOLDIERs. Soldiers can fight exceptionally well because they are genetically engineered. You are such a SOLDIER in this Battle Royale game from Square Enix. It is admittedly not the second part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, but it is a good snack for in between.
A well-known concept with a different sauce…
As I have already indicated, Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is a Battle Royale game in the atmosphere of the Final Fantasy VII: Remake. You can best compare this with Fortnite, only you don’t have to build a castle or bunker around you in a panic. Before being dropped into a helicopter in Midgar, you go through a tutorial to learn the tricks of the trade. This way, you always have the option to make people smaller by using melee. It works very well, by the way; Via the touch controls, you only have to stand near someone and afterward press a sword icon for some carving. It is ideal in hectic close combat, but you are quickly at a disadvantage if someone has a firearm.
You have different types here: Assault Rifles, Submachine Guns, Snipers, LMGs, Handguns, you name it. It’s all in there. You have three options for shooting in Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. You can set it to automatic so that you immediately start firing as soon as someone walks past your visor. And you also have the option to choose Floating or Fixed Fire. In other words, that the shooting button moves with the camera or stays fixed. For the rest, you can adjust every aspect of the touch controls to your own needs, which is nice. The same goes for the loot work, which you will have to do continuously. You also have the option to play the mobile game with a controller.
The concept is so great in this universe.
Of course, you have to collect your weapons on the battlefield. So before you get into the helicopter, you can choose a playing style. There are five different classes to choose from, Warrior, Sorcerer, Ninja, Monk, and Ranger. You’ll recognize them from the franchise, but each has certain stat advantages when fighting in First Soldier. You can also level up each of these for even more benefits. To give you an idea, the Sorcerer can deal more damage with Materia (magic), and your MP recovers a lot faster while the Ranger allows you to carry more ammo and reload quicker.
I’ve already dropped it: Materia. To conclude the full gameplay story, you can find weapons during your Battle Royale match, but also equipment such as Chains, Health Potions, Gil (to buy items at vending machines), and Materia. Materia gives you access to different elements of magic (fire, ice, bio, etc.) and is an excellent addition to your offensive skills. You can also loot these items from boxes or find them on the map. But of course, also collect them from the death boxes of your fallen enemies (or friends). Everything you can find is in line with what you can expect in the world of Final Fantasy VII. The OST is also taken care of in this one. And you hear familiar tunes from the Final Fantasy VII games to make the atmosphere come out even better.
Here too, you have the principle that every so often the accessibility of the map is limited by a circle that gets smaller and smaller. You level up with each round, and you get extra HP. The principle of RPGs have been incorporated in this game very nicely in this way. You can also find monsters on the map and tackle them for extra XP to level up this way as well. The winner is the last one standing, but we don’t need to mention that. What is not the winner in this game is the somewhat clunky controls. Sometimes your character wants to snag around its axis. And that makes for some clumsy movements when traversing. It applies to running around, but also when using different vehicles.
I played the game on a Samsung S21, and I’m actually not that impressed with the performance. Graphically, the game looks poor. For example, the environments are so large, but the draw distance is below par. Recognizing your enemies in the long-distance is somewhat hard. A great place on the map is, for example, The Wall Market, which is designed almost the same as in Final Fantasy VII Remake (they can even be the same assets). That looks nice in terms of design, but the textures leave a lot to be desired. The game can provide you with a few adjustments in this area via the settings, less or better graphics, or just set the performance to low or high.
The frame rate fluctuates between 30 and 40 fps. But due to a lot of stutters, this is hard to gauge. Because that’s what it is, Online it doesn’t work that smoothly. Once you have two other teams on your neck, it is practically unplayable. And the game becomes a Final Fantasy PowerPoint presentation. It is difficult to put your finger on the sore spot, whether this is due to the servers or whether the game’s performance on such a large map is not optimal.
Battle Royale within the Final Fantasy VII universe works quite well. The concept fits within the picture, and the implementation of the concept can be called very successful. The different classes don’t offer too many changes compared to each other but are very nice variations for the play style. Different weapons and Materia provide diversity as you fight on the large Midgar map, which houses famous places from FFVII. Where Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier succeeds less is the performance. It falters on all sides, and that’s especially noticeable when the battles get busy. The somewhat clunky controls are also not optimal, and the game requires some tweaks here and there. The big surprise is the fun you can get out of this free-to-play game…
Are you ready to survive in Midgar and its harsh environment?
- Great atmosphere, Chocobos, Popping and chopping work nicely, OST and other audio,
- The essence of RPG and Battle Royale entertainment is successfully connected,
- An alternative with its own identity within a subgenre that is already quite saturated,
- The class system and the different targeting options when using firearms add a touch of variety to the gameplay
- Performance is below par, Online unstable,
- If you expected an elaborate plot or that would round out what had seen in FFVII Remake, you have to wait several seasons,
- Mobility can be fine-tuned more and better.
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