The First Descendant Preview
The First Descendant is one of those games that occupies a genre that you might have forgotten how much you love. Tortured grammar aside, The First Descendent is a third person action game, set in a sci-fi landscape with a an open-world feel, though it’s not actually an open-world game. There’s a lot of loot to grab and some very big boss monsters to take down, one glowing piece at a time. It’s a little like Borderlands, but without the stylized art style and snarky sense of humor. It’s also a lot more like Destiny 2. The First Descendant goes for eye-popping graphics and silky smooth movement, combat, and exploration. After spending some time with the beta recently, color me impressed. Everything feels pretty dialed in.
You start the game by choosing one Descendant out of three iconic classes. One of them has an array of freeze weapons and can both do icy damage and immobilize the enemy. One of the classes is a firepower damage dealer, and the third is more about protecting his squad mates. Whichever Descendant you pick, you’ll be joined by a fourth character and led through a short tutorial mission and end boss. You’ll learn the basics of movement, combat, and the specific skills your Descendant possesses.
The Game Begins in Albion
Following the tutorial, you arrive at your home base and the game properly begins. From here on, the mission structure follows a pattern. You talk to an NPC, get an assignment, and warp to a location on the growing map. Once you’re there, a series of beacons leads you to the next objective. But getting there isn’t easy. You’ll fight through some tough groups of human and not-so-human enemies on your way to your objectives. The map is sprawling and the mission locations have the vibe of an open world, but it’s an illusion.
The bosses are particularly engaging in The First Descendant because they are puzzle-like in the way you need to approach them. Almost all of them have components that need to be destroyed or removed in sequence. Boss encounters are rarely just battles of attrition or strength. Instead, they demand the player to use all the resources that the particular Descendant has available.
Of course, having a party of Descendants, each with specific tools, weapons, and special abilities is where the game really comes into its own. It’s one of those games that can be played solo, but it’s really built for co-op. One of the game’s important bullet points is the ability to research and obtain a growing stable of Descendants, each with a distinct playstyle and toolkit of weapons and abilities. Descendants are unlocked by farming materials in combat and researching them at Albion, the central hub of the game.
Combat and weapons in The First Descendant look and feel similar to those in games like Destiny 2. However, characters do have a few new toys to play with. In particular, the grappling hook is a super-useful addition to movement and skillful use is downright required in many boss encounters. A bit more nuanced than in other games, players can move in several directions while grappling. The hook is on a timer, though, so it isn’t perpetually available.
Shiny and New
The First Descendant has a lot going for it. It looks great and while its mechanics and ideas are pretty familiar, there’s plenty of room for well-made action games. I’m looking forward to seeing The First Descendant move toward final release.
Thank you for keeping it locked on COGconnected.