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  • Writer's pictureJames Stephanie Sterling

The First Descendant - The Last Thing We Need (Review)

The First Descendant

Released:  July 2nd

Developer: NEXON Games Co, Ltd

Publisher: Nexon, Nexon Korea

Systems: PC, PS5 (reviewed) , Xbox X/S


The First Descendant is fucking foul.


After playing for hours to unlock the series of missions that would allow me to gather the materials to craft the character I wanted, then competing all them to earn said materials, I learned they all had sub-50% drop rates. Of course, they hadn’t dropped for me, requiring me to complete all the missions again for a mere chance to gather them.

After all that, I’d have to wait hours for the crafting process to complete and the character to become playable, so instead I just decided to never play this malicious little twat of a game again.


The First Descendant looked at a market saturated with freemium looter shooters, all of them behaving the exact same way, and decided the world needed another one.


What we have here is simply… another one. 

Another tepid third-person shooter that drowns players in so much nebulous loot that it’s all a meaningless blur. Another derivative, aesthetically bland sci-fi romp, caring so little about its own story that any text-based dialog disappears before you can even scan it for the gist. Another product placing enjoyable gameplay a distant second to aggressive monetization.


Boasting the wholly undeserved arrogance to put triple digit price tags on its premium guff, The First Descendant drips with venomous avarice. It attempts to be as insidious and manipulative as any other microtransaction-fueled game, except it’s so crude and unsubtle about as to come off as plain embarrassing. 


It amazes me how games this distinctly sub-par have the temerity to charge what they do for the wank they sell. That such expensive economies always exist for truly low-rent games is a goddamn insult. 

“Mildly inept” is the best way I could describe The First Descendant's gameplay. 


Everything about it works, but it’s all just slightly shit. The shooting is pedestrian and unsatisfying. Projectile skills have deceptively large hitboxes so if you’re anywhere near a wall or there’s any kind of incline on the ground, you’re almost guaranteed to not hit your target. Sometimes the double jump or grappling hook doesn’t work. The melee attack lunges you haphazardly forward so it misses half the time. The range on a lot of your offense is deceptively pathetic.


The menus are a complete shambles - some of them don’t even seem to be finished, lacking any consistent layout or aesthetic. That’s to say nothing of the gameplay screen itself, drowning as it is in usernames, symbols, messy HUD elements, and other clutter. 

Online connectivity isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen, but it’s still prone to harsh framerate dips and stuttering. 


It’s also ridiculously unbalanced between player characters. If you play the story-based missions cooperatively, you’ll find that players using speed-based characters blaze an excessive trail through their linear dungeons, getting so far ahead that other players will barely see enemies, let alone fight them. It turns story missions into a joke, especially since enemies aren’t challenging enough to threaten a player who’s run off alone. 


I’d talk about the convoluted, poorly written story, but who cares? I don’t.

Of course, the comprehensive smell of incompetence magically disappears when it comes to Descendant's onslaught of premium purchases - it’s where the lion’s share of the work has been put in. While the game itself is creatively threadbare, the extensive storefront has been lavished with detail and presentation. 


The sheer volume of stuff you can buy is overwhelming and fucking sickening.

Cosmetic items abound, with pages upon pages of costumes, skins, accessories, and even makeup. Early unlocks are on offer, hoping to lure in players after frustrating them with those artificially extending crafting times. There are so many “boosters” that speed up grinding overall, offering so-called "conveniences" despite all the inconvenience being deliberate on the game's part. I dread to think exactly how much all of this garbage costs when totted up - it’ll be enough to make one’s nose bleed. 


Oh, and there’s a battle pass. Of course there’s a battle pass. 

The First Descendant’s disgusting financial predation may not be the absolute worst, but it’s certainly up there. All of it in service to a mediocre looter shooter with no real ideas of its own and nothing to offer but a boringly repetitive gameplay loop. 


What a pathetic piece of shit. The First Descendant is the last thing I want to play right now, nauseated as I am by how much of a swindle it is. Designed entirely to frustrate and trick money out of players, it gives nothing in return but the same “live service” mundanity that’s soaked the market in an ocean of filth. 

It’ll probably be dead within a year like so many of its sordid ilk. That would be a genuinely good thing for the industry and for the players it’s trying to scam. I hope it dies on its toxic vine.


3/10

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