Square Enix (YouTube)

However, it’s here where the imbalance between melee and ranged combat rears its head. You almost never stand a chance against a gun, no matter how skilled up-close you are. And it doesn’t help that, because you’re playing on a touchscreen, controls are finicky at best and unresponsive at worst. Using your left thumb to control character movement and your right thumb to both attack/shoot and operate the camera is frustratingly cumbersome, and since the lock-on doesn’t track enemies, you’re constantly swiping your screen to spin the camera to see where they are. Like some more frustrating BR games, it’s possible to get killed without even knowing who did it until the killcam—which doesn’t help you improve or learn.


That’s not to say combat is terrible. It’s the opposite: combat is hella fun! Each of the five styles feels unique, with neither one having any particular advantage over the others. And coming out of a skirmish victorious is a helluva rush. It’s just a shame The First Soldier is a mobile-only game because this would totally benefit from a bigger screen and a gamepad. Thankfully, it does feature controller support and works with tablets like the iPad, but there’s so much happening, from summoning beasts such as Ifrit to fighting in three-person squads, that it can be hard parsing through it all on a small screen.

Read More: Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade’s Yuffie Mission Is A Must-Play

Still, I’m having a great time with The First Soldier. It’s the kind of Final Fantasy game I didn’t even know I wanted until it launched, an intriguing mix of iconic series elements—like the Final Fantasy 7 main battle theme, which roars up every time you drop from the helicopter onto Midgard—and emergent Fortnite-like gameplay to create something quite engaging. It feels like Final Fantasy and that’s really all a fan of the franchise can ask for, even if it plays closer to PUBG Mobile. Despite me wanting The First Soldier on any console, Ateam and Square Enix kinda knocked this one out of the park. There are even costumes modeled after well-known characters like Cloud and Rufus, with both male and female versions to really get you in-tune with the series’ lore.


Final Fantasy: The First Soldier is the latest drop in the JRPG series. The upcoming entry is Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, which hits most major platforms on March 18, 2022. Otherwise, there’s plenty of Final Fantasy XIV to go around, especially with the MMORPG’s biggest expansion yet, Endwalker, launching on December 7. Then there’s the next mainline title, Final Fantasy XVI, though details have been sparse since July.