Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is an upcoming competitive Battle Royale developed and published by Square Enix for iOS & Android mobile devices. The game will be arriving later in 2021.
As comes from the game’s name, the events of the title are set in the Final Fantasy VII universe, 30 years before those of FFVII. Story-wise, players are undergoing Shinra Electric Power Company’s trials for SOLDIER candidates. It is up to players to use every tool at their disposal, from magic to special abilities to weapons, to triumph on this battlefield created in the virtual simulation of Midgar.
The graphics of the title made me think of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, published by Square Enix for PlayStation Portable (PSP), but revamped for more modern devices and with the Battle Royale theme in mind. The game features a third-person point of view, with the camera located behind the back of your character.
The aesthetics are very colorful, with a great number of various effects and animations. The use of materia (FFVII’s version of magic) looks astonishing, battles against monsters and bosses almost theatrical. A wide variety of locations and buildings are equally as impressive.
The gameplay is based on a competitive theme with the player tasked to remain the last SOLDIER standing in a virtual test simulator by bringing the opposition down by any means necessary. On the main screen, you can customize your character by choosing their appearance, the displayed emotions, the vehicle, and so forth.
Before the start of a particular match, you are free to choose what type you want to partake in: solo or team match. If you go for Teams, you will be united with other players to form a 3-man squad.
You can choose between various styles such as Warrior, Sorcerer, Scout, or Monk, each of which has their own special abilities and bonuses. A properly assembled team has a much greater chance of winning a match.
The beginning of a match looks very interesting: you are flying in a helicopter and can choose a drop point. If you are in a team, then the choice is done by the team leader who also acts as a pilot.
After the landing, the battle begins. There is a huge number of various weaponry, materia, support items, equipment like necklaces scattered around the map. Additionally, you can find a means of transport: motorcycles, military trucks, chocobo and more.
Each fighter can carry 2 small arms, up to 3 types of materia and their own unique special ability with a cooldown. Materia has its own cooldown and MP cost.
When you are playing in a Team match, you can place down markers that are visible to everyone. It helps to coordinate the movement of your team. The game also features chat options, both text and voice.
Combining the materia or your choices of weapons greatly affects the team’s chances of survival and victory. The healing materia can save your squadmates’ lives more than once by the end of the trial while Sniper Rifles will make it extremely difficult for enemies to gain on your position.
Any kind of player will find a style that will suit them: revolvers and ice materia? Perfect, slow down your opponent and finish them with a few precise shots. Fire materia and shotgun? Lethal explosive AoE damage before getting close and personal to score your kill. Healing materia and a machine gun? Keeping enemies at a distance while healing other party members.
Any style of play has a corresponding weapon and materia choices. Poison your enemy, blow them up, slow them down with ice – or maybe blind them to save yourself with healing and to overpower the enemy at a later point.
The variability and randomness keep you engaged: what is better to collect from the very beginning? What can be tossed out mid-game? The choice is up to you, but remember that more than your character’s life is riding on it.
As the time goes on, the available area of the map will be decreasing step by step, driving all the remaining players to a certain point of the location and forcing them to fight more actively. The game also features various quests issued during the battle: open 3 boxes in 5 minutes, kill a Dragon, kill a certain boss, etc. It is up to you whether you want to complete them.
Vanquishing a boss drops an unbelievable amount of ammo, equipment, material, and weapons. However, nobody prevents enemy players from attacking you mid-combat…
Each weapon and materia has its own quality: white, green, blue, purple and orange. The better the quality, the better the damage. It is possible to upgrade your equipment by interacting with certain machines. It will only require a crazy amount of credits you can get by destroying monsters around the map – don’t expect to immediately upgrade your weapon to a purple quality without going on a hunting spree first.
Upgrading materia is another matter entirely; 2 “white” materias can be combined into a green one. For example, two white healing materias would give green healing materia. You need to continue collecting it this way for further upgrades.
You can swap one of your two firearms at any given point of time. Don’t be greedy when collecting ammo and medkits as your bag has limited space. It is not possible to grab 50 kits and 1000 ammo rounds. The maximum you can manage is about 120 rounds for your first firearm, 60-90 for the second one and about 5 medkits. The game makes you think strategically and tactically: where to go, what to take with you, whether to attack monsters or not and so forth.
- Pleasant graphics
- Interesting Battle Royale take on Final Fantasy franchise
- Classic Final Fantasy elements represented in the game
- Lack of PvE content
- Very little story – which is weird for a Final Fantasy game
- If you are playing Teams and one of the players on your team gets disconnected, it basically means a loss
- Sometimes characters get stuck and start rubberbanding; certain problems with ping even with a good Internet connection.