It’s a busy time of year with multiple games being put in the shop window, trying to sell their wares. We have massive RPGs, action-adventure games, racers, and FPS experiences. But we haven’t got many cooperative looter shooters that mix a bit of Destiny and Borderlands with that knowing smile and cheeky characters.
That’s where The First Descendant comes in and we’ve had the chance to experience some hands-on time with the beta, taking in play over multiple days. Want to know how it is shaping up?
The big selling points of The First Descendant are the fact that it promises four-player co-op and the power of that all-conquering graphics engine, Unreal Engine 5. It is also going to be running as a free-to-play game when released in the early part of next year. When I started the preview I had a choice of three different characters to begin with, all with different skills and attributes. When the game releases fully, that will be the hook for the microtransactions with a whole host of characters to choose from and level up.
There’s a story here that I liked the sound of at the beginning. In the future, aliens called The Vulgus invaded the earth, devastating it. Cut to 100 years later and a group of human warriors have been given the power of the ancestors. These are magical abilities that help these warriors launch an offensive at the alien invaders and claim victory. I liked what I saw and the different characters were intriguing, especially the neat little one with metal bunny ears.
The gameplay loop will remind of Destiny. There is a city hub area where you can find merchants, mission givers and online messages. There are also other players from the online community hanging around doing their business. Once you get a mission you and four others can go out there and battle the alien horde.
The gameplay consists of fast action gameplay, set in the third person. It has you shooting, utilising special abilities like a shield or boost depending on the character, and making the most of a handy grapple hook to get yourself from platform to platform. The shooting itself worked well, although sometimes it felt a little light. The enemy AI wasn’t the greatest either. But it was enjoyable and a good romp, with excitement coming in taking things out and looting gear from drops. A few big boss battles were on the card for the short time I played it and these were entertaining. Once again though, they felt weirdly easy to take down.
The First Descendant uses the power of Unreal Engine 5 assets and you can tell. It’s well above the rest in terms of free-to-play games. There are some nice locations and great lighting effects in places. The few cut scenes were well-crafted and nicely put together too. We don’t yet know how varied all the worlds are going to be, but I guess we will find that out next year.
I was pleasantly surprised with the few hours I played of The First Descendant. Going free to play could be the killer USP, because it does stand out at the moment from many other games on the market. The gameplay loop is a fun one too and I enjoyed the different characters. We look forward to seeing the whole roster coming out next year. I do worry about the lifespan of these types of games and if the online community doesn’t embrace the world there will be concerns as to what happens to The First Descendant.
But for now, there is lots to be excited about in The First Descendant on Xbox, PlayStation and PC.
Huge thanks go out to NEXON Games for giving us access.