Ever since it entered the battle royale games arena in November 2021, Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier continues to gain traction. However, feedback about it is both positive and negative – that is expected since it’s the first battle royale from a long-running gaming franchise specializing in the best JRPGs. And whether you’re a Square Enix fan or not, that will make you want to know if the game is worth downloading or not.
If you have that dilemma, stick around. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the release here.
Inside This Article
- Quick Overview: Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier
- Our Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier Review
- Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier: A Must-have or Not?
Quick Overview: Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier
Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier joins the ever-expanding catalog of free games like Fortnite or PUBG in the battle royale segment. It was developed by Square Enix for Android and iOS but abandons the iconic story-driven format releases that the company was known for. To elaborate, Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier focuses on combat and battle royale mechanics.
Of course, there’s still some narrative within the game. The battle royale’s story is set 30 years before the FF7 Remake. It follows the tale of Shinra Electric Company’s first soldier applicants. You, the player, are simply one of the many recruits present at the time. Don’t expect to uncover more about the lore behind Shinra Electric Company’s origins or anything else, though. The revealed plot is only a backdrop for in-game events.
Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier got contrasting opinions from the player community due to that. Also, it has some issues caused by bad control layouts and in-game purchases, which might frustrate fans used to playing Final Fantasy RPGs. Of course, there are good points to it such as the engaging PvP matches and challenging maps. But will those be enough to cover for its faults? You’ll find out our take on this newest Final Fantasy game as you read on.
Our Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier Review
How does Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier fare compared to other current hits from the same genre, then? Also, does it live up to the expectations Final Fantasy fans might have for titles under the franchise so far? More importantly, is it a good game to recommend to people regardless of familiarity with Final Fantasy? Let’s answer these questions based on each important aspect of the game.
In the past, we never would have dreamed of Square Enix releasing a Final Fantasy battle royale game. Yet here we are reviewing the franchise’s newest title that aims for a slice of the battle royale pie. Thankfully, Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier does a decent job on its mechanics — enough to satisfy battle royale fans.
The objectives are simple. Like any battle royale, your goal is to remain the last man standing in an ever-shrinking battlefield. However, you’re not only up against other soldiers situated in the arena. There are also monsters that are after you. You’ll have to fight all of them to remain the last recruit alive.
The only means of survival is your effort gathering and using all the resources you find. Like other battle royale games, weapons and tools are obtained on the battlefield. Those include guns, potions, and Materia (magic orbs possessing abilities). It’ll be up to you to plan accordingly and make use of what you pick up.
Additionally, you can utilize special character abilities unique to your role in Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier. Thus, we can say the game still sticks a bit to its RPG roots. You can play as a Warrior, Monk, Ranger, Ninja, or Sorcerer. Each one will come with a different ability, melee weapon, and method of attack. That, by far, is what truly separates Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier from many other battle royale hits. We’ll talk about that more in the gameplay section of this review.
Onto the map first, which is also among the most notable aspects of Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier. It’s expansive and puts you in the outskirts of Midgar. If you’re a Final Fantasy fan, you’ll probably enjoy the little easter eggs, such as Midgar’s famous landmarks. Also, Final Fantasy 7’s theme song playing in the background while you’re exploring the in-game world certainly heightens the excitement.
Now that the stage is set, how does Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier truly play? Firstly, we applaud the game’s commitment to classic RPG classes. By allowing players like you to choose a role, you can vary your playstyle per match.
Playing as a Warrior, you may specialize in straight-shooting enemies while wielding a sword and using a special rush ability. As a Monk, you aren’t too offense-oriented but may self-heal. If you choose to play Ninja, you can jump higher and are stealthier than other classes. Alternatively, you may play as a Sorcerer who can supercharge MP recovery for more spells or a ranger that reloads guns faster and sees hidden threats nearby. Each role is pretty unique and has well-rounded abilities that offset its weaknesses.
All in all, how you play the game relies on your strategy. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier’s weakest point is in the execution of the fights because of poor controls. We’ll discuss the controls in detail later. For now, know that the janky controls might force you to rely on guns most of the time. Thankfully, slaying monsters and enemies in this game using a gun is a pretty thrilling experience. Thus, we can’t say the game’s unplayable because of that setback.
Leveling Up and Season Passes
Apart from everything discussed, Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier has levels and season passes. Let’s tackle the leveling system first.
Leveling up in Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier is pretty simple. All you need is to kill enemies, open chests, and survive for a long time. As you level up, your HP and attack damage gets a boost. You get more rewards if you play proactively and explore the perimeters. While a passive strategy isn’t impossible, it certainly isn’t encouraged.
The only problem with the leveling system is that leveling up doesn’t affect overall game performance. It is a given for the game is a battle royale. Hence, all your previous fights shouldn’t significantly affect newer arenas. Nonetheless, it is cumbersome to run after the same goals per round.
Moving on to the season passes, Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier lets you buy those. The season passes provide new skins, emotes, banners, and tons of other cosmetics you might need to stand out. But do you know that you can also earn rewards by ranking and fulfilling criteria in battles even without purchasing a pass? The higher the stars and rank level you gain, the more you’re able to access goodies such as Chocobo-raising items and clothes.
The mobile game’s graphics are a mixed bag. Sure, it’s pretty detailed (something Final Fantasy 7 is well-known for), so props to Square Enix. However, detailed graphics aren’t always practical, especially on mobile platforms. That’s because screens from older devices that can’t keep up with the rising frame rate will make the environment and enemies difficult to view. It doesn’t help that the visuals are partly covered by the interface buttons, either.
As a result, you’re more likely to shoot blindly at what you think are enemies as you play the game. That could throw all of your strategizing and planning out the window, especially if you’re a stealthy player. When utilizing the best gaming phones, though, that will not likely occur.
Also showcasing graphics and design quality are the battle royale skins. These have become surprisingly famous even in other games. Nowadays, gamers like you go to great lengths to get a hold of the latest and rarest skins available. Square Enix noticed that and incorporated avatar customization in Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier.
In the game, you can customize your avatar to distinguish yourself from players. However, the feature is sorely lacking in creativity because you can only change your character’s hairstyle, skin tone, and facial features. The said features are well designed but are only default options. Consequently, you can’t make yourself appear unique unless you buy exclusive outfits.
On-screen Controls and Controller Support
Here comes the worst part of Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier: the controls. These are incredibly frustrating to use – see the in-game interface pictured above, and you might agree. Sure, there’s a tutorial about moves, melee weapons, and firearms. And the controls are triggered by tapping on the display, which is always the default in mobile games. You might think that wouldn’t be a big problem considering other battle royales have executed these well.
But the issue is brought about by too many on-screen controls. As a result, it can be frustrating (and devastatingly consequential) to toggle between moves and weapons as you play. The only way to not experience that is by playing on a big-screen phone or tablet PC.
On the bright side, there is a workaround. You can opt to use any gamepad instead of putting up with the on-screen interface. You’ll be better off that way as the external accessory solves most of the control-related issues we stated. The only downside remaining is that casting magic and landing melee jabs using a controller is tricky. Nonetheless, a mobile controller is still better than using touch controls.
If Square Enix releases a Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier PC port, we might think differently. But that’s just a wish on our end. For now, you’re stuck with the terrible subpar controls or your gamepad.
In-game Shop and Currency
Like other free-to-play battle royales, Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier has many microtransactions. For one, buying outfits from the game’s shop is the only way to appear unique. Also, the fastest way to earn Shinra Credits (in-game currency) is by purchasing those with real money.
Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier even encourages players to buy loot boxes and accessories for more customization. Unfortunately, those items are unjustified extras at times and are expensive, priced at $20 or more each.
Before we end this review, let’s tackle Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier’s system requirements. On Android, Square Enix recommends playing on a 64-bit device at the least with version 7.1 or up of the said OS running. Moreover, you’ll need a minimum of 3GB RAM to boot the game.
That said, some devices that meet the requirements still can’t run the game. Square Enix didn’t specify what those special cases are. However, you can verify that for yourself by downloading Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier on the Google Play Store.
On iOS, you’ll need at least an iPhone 6s or later model with 2GB RAM to make the game work. Furthermore, you’ll have to update to iOS 13.0 or a newer OS if you want to play. Like on Android, the game might still be incompatible with some Apple devices, even if the latter meet the requirements. So, check Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier’s availability for your gadget on the App Store.
Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier: A Must-Have or Not?
Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier captures the attention of RPG and battle royale fans everywhere in good and not-so-good ways. We can understand why. Square Enix is a new entrant in the world of gaming’s battle royale arena.
Through Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier, you get to experience old and new mechanics. It follows the successful battle royale format and touts classes and roles like on RPGs. Thus, the gameplay stands out above the crowd. Moreover, the action is exciting and fast-paced, so there’s never a dull moment.
However, Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier has a gaping hole that makes it difficult to recommend right now. As mentioned, its controls are hard to put up with. The touch controls are finicky; they also get in the way of whatever’s happening on screen. If you don’t have a controller, those can affect the experience negatively. And even with a proper gamepad, the controls aren’t intuitive. You have to exert too much effort for your attacks which are important to get right in a battle royale.
If Square Enix comes up with more levels, weapons, and events up its sleeve, we might think otherwise. But that remains to be seen in upcoming months, so here’s our take for now — there are better battle royale games out there that offer a much better experience. Unless the developers release more quality-of-life updates and better controls, we recommend sticking to games like PUBG or Fortnite. Many of those do well with what Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier falls short of.