When it comes to battle royale titles, players and fans are seemingly spoilt for choice. However, for users in the Apple ecosystem, the biggest one of them all, Fortnite, is out of reach thanks to some legal kerfuffle. Fear not, for Square Enix and developer Ateam is swooping in to save the day with Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.
A free-to-play battle royale that is not just PvP, it is actually PvPvE. Focusing on the action without distractions like building, Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier takes place about 30 years before Cloud and gang became heroes in Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Just like its contemporaries, the game drops you into a world filled with 74 other players, each sporting their own customisable avatar, ready to battle to the death. What is interesting is that it is not just guns you are fighting with. Depending on your own preference, players can choose from the five classes of Monk, Ninja, Ranger, Sorcerer, and Warrior.
This hybrid way of fighting is certainly going to feel different compared to the rest in the market. You might be used to aiming down sights to take down a foe, but players will need to adapt fast if melee combat becomes a reality.
Littered throughout the world are other dangers such as familiar creatures like Bombs or even Dragons. That said, exploring does have its benefits, as players can stock up on more firearms, ammo, vehicles (including Chocobos!), and arm themselves with Materia to unleash magical spells.
It definitely takes some getting used to, seeing that Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is taking the trappings of a traditional JRPG and wrapping it in the skin of a battle royale. Moreover, at the end of the day, melee combat will be at a disadvantage when facing ranged weaponry.
That does not mean the moment-to-moment action is bad, especially when all five classes have their distinct styles and fight with some depth, it is a shame guns have to make their way into this otherwise promising spin-off.
The controls in Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier also leaves much to be desired for those playing on a touchscreen. With the crazy amount of action happening on-screen, adding your fingers to the mix does not help. Sure, you could always use a controller paired up with your device, and that only shows how much better the game could be on bigger screens and more powerful platforms.
It is clear that Square Enix is exploring all kinds of avenues to expand their traditional JRPG offerings, and Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is but the latest step in that direction.
If you are seeking something different in this universe, why not give the battle royale a try? There’s also the more gritty Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin on the horizon, it sure is a good time to be a Final Fantasy fan.