Image Credit: Square Enix
Sorcerers come with a special ability that supercharges MP recovery for more regular offensive (and healing spells), while the ranger reloads guns faster than the others — and has a very convenient Assess skill that will mark threats around you even when they’re out of sight.
Each role feels slightly different, but there is a pleasant balance between them all. However, both soldiers and monks suffer from having to rely solely on their melee attack to their advantage.
It is important to play First Soldier using a gamepad. Fortunately, I’m testing out Backbone, a third-party connected controller for iPhone that means I was already in a good place to aim my guns and spells. The magic casting controls are somewhat messy. To unleash any of the three spells that you might have, you will need to hold down an L trigger and press another collar button. It’s difficult to land melee attacks on enemies regardless of whether your gamepad or touch control is used. As the game progresses, hopefully the developers will be able to master melee attacks.
This means you will rely on your guns for the majority of your kills. It’s still a thrilling experience to get a sniper headshot kill. Your character will be leveled by killing monsters or players, opening chests, and surviving the rounds. This will increase your attack damage and your HP so you’ll be able to last longer. This rewards active play and exploration and not just survival to the end.
Season passes are available to purchase, as you would expect for a free-to play battle royale game. Season passes allow you to get skins, banners and emotes as well as other cosmetic goodies for Soldiers. You can still earn rewards for fulfilling the “rank” criteria in battles. You can earn stars and level up your rank, which is not related to your job ranks. This will give you access to some wardrobe options and chocobo-raising products. Please say hello to me, I am currently wearing a moogle cap.
Yes, there’s also a chocobo rearing mini-game buried inside First Soldier, and you’re able to summon your favorite steed to the battles as a very handy transport option. However, it is not the only way to speed through levels. You can also use cars and bikes to reach the battle arena. You can survive the shrinking arena without being hurt, but you have to use potions and healing spells to keep yourself safe.
My only problem growing is that leveling up does not have any tangible impact on my performance — as is true for most battle royale games. The appeal is that each new battle isn’t affected by the round before it, but then chasing these goals (play two rounds as a warrior; make 300 pts of damage with a shotgun; visit Corneo’s mansion) soon tires. What is the point of this?
For now, I want to emphasize that First Soldier skirmishes can be fun and that the difficulty curve isn’t too steep. I’ve won a few rounds, out of 75 players, and come second a handful of times. One colleague told me that early iterations of battle royale games are often filled with bots to juice the numbers (and offer up some encouraging early wins) but I will not let him take this tiny victory away from me.
Square Enix plans to add more levels, weapons, and events. You will find some bosses in the Midgar level that are limited-edition. Two of them have been defeated, but Tonberry — a powerful and notorious Final Fantasy monster– has been beaten me a few times. Perhaps I should fight him as a …
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