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Nexon’s latest free-to-play looter shooter game The First Descendant has been gaining a lot of traction since its open beta test back in September 2022. With its vibrant graphics, exciting gameplay, and quirky characters, it’s shaping up to be one of the most anticipated releases of 2023. Here’s everything we know so far about The First Descendant.
The First Descendant Release Date
During The Game Awards 2022, Nexon announced that The First Descendant will be launching in summer 2024. An exact release date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but the summer launch window means we can expect it to drop sometime between June to August 2024.
Originally, many speculated the game would launch sooner, perhaps just a few months after the open beta test. However, it seems Nexon wants to take its time to further polish the gameplay and fix any outstanding bugs or issues before launch. This isn’t entirely surprising given the scale and ambition of the game.
The First Descendant platforms
According to The First Descendant news, this game will be available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC when it launches. However, we are not too sure about The First Descendant release date PS5 or others.
Crossplay support was tested during the open beta between all platforms and seemed to work well. Players on any platform will be able to squad up together and take on missions. With four-player co-op being such an integral part of the experience, crossplay support is key.
The First Descendant Free to Play Gameplay Experience
As a free-to-play game, The First Descendant gives players access to the entire core experience without having to pay anything upfront. Additional cosmetics and other items may be available as microtransactions, but the gameplay content will not be locked behind a paywall.
Nexon has found great success with the free-to-play model in games like MapleStory and KartRider Rush+, so it’s no surprise they adopted the same approach for The First Descendant. It helps reduce the barrier of entry and attracts a wider audience from the start.
The First Descendant Gameplay and Story
The First Descendant is a co-op PvE third-person shooter set in a sci-fi/fantasy world. Players take on the 21role of the Descendants, a group of warriors tasked with defending humanity from an invasion by gigantic alien creatures called Colossi.
In the game’s story, the Colossi have already conquered most of the world except for one final continent called Ingris. This serves as humanity’s last bastion of hope. Players must group together to take on various missions and bosses to secure resources, defeat monsters, and unravel the mystery behind the Colossi invasion.
Gameplay revolves around squad-based tactical shooting mixed with some RPG elements. Each playable Descendant has their own unique abilities, weapons, and playstyles. For example, the katana-wielding character Ronin might play as a melee damage dealer getting up close to enemies. Whereas Sharen uses stealth and sniper rifles to attack from long range.
Before setting out on missions, players can customize their Descendant’s loadouts. This involves equipping different weapons like assault rifles, plasma cannons, shotguns, etc. Attachments and modifications can be looted then applied to the weapons for buffs. Gear for survivability, damage bonuses, energy regeneration, and other stats can also be equipped.
Out on missions, gameplay is frenetic gunplay involving dodging attacks, using abilities combos, managing cooldowns, and employing strategy to take down hordes of enemies and towering boss creatures. There’s an emphasis on coordinated teamwork by having each player fulfill their combat role to focus fire, control crowds, and exploit enemy weaknesses.
With random item drops and crafting systems, there is a loot grind element to strengthen your Descendant over time. Challenging late-game activities will test groups and require highly optimized gear.
Interesting Setting and Lore
Although The First Descendant takes heavy inspiration from utopian/dystopian sci-fi and mecha anime, it crafts an intriguing setting filled with unique ideas and mysteries. The high-tech, neon-lit city of Prosperity housed under a massive biodome serves as humanity’s final refuge.
Learning about how society functions under the constant threat of annihilation could make for engaging world-building. Different factions hold power within the city. The secrets of the Colossi, the true origin of the Descendants’ powers, and the purpose behind the invasion, are all part of the tantalizing lore. Uncovering more details through playable story quests may reveal some surprising twists.
The visual design blends advanced futuristic technology with fantasy elements to create a distinct style. Giant mineral formations and alien vegetation sprout within the biodome adding contrasts between the organic and the mechanical. Neon holograms, floating structures, and intricate mechanical enemies give the assets a vibrant look. The peculiar setting allows for some creative ideas not found in typical realistic shooters.
The First Descendant Characters
The playable Descendants are at the heart of The First Descendant’s character appeal.
The fan-favorite so far, Bunny brings speed and sass to the battlefield. Wielding a pair of blasters crackling with electricity, she zips around unleashing torrents of shock ammo that chain between multiple enemies. In keeping with her moniker, stylized bunny ears protrude from her helmet which somehow don’t hamper her agility. She seems to be the DPS of the announced characters so far. If you are wondering what is the best character in The First Descendant, you should go ahead with Bunny.
The brooding, no-nonsense warrior is based on Eastern samurai and ninja archetypes. He fills the melee skirmisher role, slicing up foes with his high-frequency katana. When things get too hot, Ronin enters a shadow form granting temporary invisibility to reposition for his next attack, leaving enemies confused by his disappearing act.
A cyborg sniper who wields a massive anti-material rifle outfitted with devastating explosive rounds. Sharen fills the artillery role, raining down destruction from afar. If enemies breach her sniping spot, she utilizes wrist-mounted energy blades to retaliate up close before grappling away to regain distance. Her entire lower half is mechanical due to past grievous injuries, now she sports a hovering apparatus in its place.
Four currently unnamed Descendants have also been teased. One appears to be a bulky Tank archetype in thick Heavy armor dual-wielding mini-guns, another seems Magician-inspired, a third has the silhouette of a gunslinger cowboy. Details remain unknown for the fourth mystery character.
We can likely expect even more Descendants to be introduced post-launch as new seasons roll out. Based on the distinct looks and abilities of the starting roster, the developers at Nexon have room to get very creative with future additions. Each new Descendant also brings more cosmetic options which is a plus.
Customization and Progression
Customizing your Descendant serves as a major part of player expression and progression within The First Descendant. Cosmetics allow you to stand out and show off your style. The development team has emphasized expanding the fashion options over time through battle passes and featured shops rotations.
Outfits change the look of your gear entirely – for example turning Bunny into a pop idol complete with a headset mic and frilly dress. Weapon skins give fresh new visuals and effects to your gun without altering stats. And lobby animations let you taunt with dance the First Descendant emotes before missions.
These cosmetics are purely visual, but the game still has an equipment progression system that impacts gameplay. By acquiring loot drops after missions, you can obtain higher rarity weapons with better damage, mods to tweak stats, and set gear bonuses tailored to certain playstyles. Managing your build by swapping gear and experimenting with loadout synergies provides long-term goals to build the perfect loadout.
Harder difficulties and challenges unlock later as you level up your account. These test groups with mechanics that demand proper coordination and gear investments to overcome. Joining a clan opens access to exclusive late-game raids requiring flawless team execution. Dedicated players can constantly refine characters in pursuit of top tier equipment.
Since it’s a live service game, the developers plan to expand with new features and content after launch too. Larger groups, extra mission modes, and quality of life updates will continually improve the experience.
The First Descendant Gameplay
While the core of The First Descendant emphasizes PvE co-op, the development team has expressed interest in incorporating PvP multiplayer as well. However, competitive modes won’t be present at launch.
Early demonstrations showed prototypes of a team deathmatch mode playable during the open beta. It involved two teams of four Descendants facing off in close-quarters arena maps tweaked from the PvE zones. Players utilized the same abilities and weapons to battle it out for kills and objectives.
As expected, the gameplay required rebalancing measures to prevent imbalanced matchups. Also, more refined PvP-focused maps would help games flow better. Still, the concept seems promising once the kinks get worked out.
Nexon likely wants to focus resources on expanding PvE content first before experimenting further with PvP updates. But adding competitive multiplayer down the road may help retain players looking for extra challenges. The tactical squad shooter gameplay lends itself well to facing human opponents.
News and Developer Insights Leading to Launch
Ever since the announcement, Nexon has supported The First Descendant with a steady stream of news and developer insights into the game’s creation.
A series of behind-the-scenes Developer Spotlight videos on YouTube show in-depth overviews narrated by the team leads covering different aspects of the game. These videos give great transparency into the overall vision behind core gameplay systems, art direction, sound design, and more. It’s clear Nexon has assembled an ambitious talent pool for the project representing over 9 global studios.
The team continues posting blogs on Steam highlighting art asset designs, combat mechanics, and answers to frequently asked questions. We can expect more gameplay footage and details in the coming months ramping up to release.
During Game Awards 2022, an epic new cinematic trailer premiered showing off new story bits and another tease of the unrevealed Descendants. The mystery cowboy character takes center stage here as he battles a monstrous turtle-like Colossus with his team. This trailer also confirmed the summer 2024 launch window, so the marketing push is well underway.
Reception and Expected Impact
The First Descendant quickly built significant hype following its first promotional material drops. Public reception continues to grow more positive, especially after the impressive open beta performance.
Despite only being available for a week, across all platforms the beta drew nearly 2 million players experiencing the game. That high level of interest without much marketing proves Nexon struck a chord with the concept. User reviews widely praise the satisfying gunplay, cool abilities, and fun grind for loot.
Some criticisms regarding bugs, mechanical imbalance, lack of content etc. make sense considering the early stage of development. Yet even factoring those in, responses indicate that at its foundation, The First Descendant nails the enjoyable action RPG formula. If Nexon sufficiently addresses issues in time for launch, it could become the next big franchise for the publisher.
The fast and fluid movement coupled with colorful abilities and feedback make combat feel impactful. Coordinating strategies as a squad creates engaging social gameplay. With PvE being the sole focus, there’s room for deep mechanical depth without needing to waste development time on balancing a half-baked PvP mode too early.
Fans of looter shooters and anime ascetics have been craving a AAA quality free-to-play option ever since titles like Anthem or God fall failed to stick the landing. The First Descendant emerging as a trending new IP would fill that demand. The open beta statistics illustrate a widespread appeal outside just the typical online RPG niche audience.
If Nexon delivers enough enticing post-launch updates, this may shape up as the next long-term live service shooter occupying the gaming zeitgeist.
The First Descendant shows incredible promise as a free-to-play co-op shooter combining loot grinding, mechanically deep gameplay, stellar visual presentation, and continual content updates. Early reception indicates Nexon could have another hit on their hands. Although some kinks still need ironing out before its Summer 2024 launch, the foundation looks strong for this stylish take on the looter shooter genre to thrive for years as a service game.
Be sure to keep an eye in our blog for more coverage on The First Descendant as release approaches. With new details right around the corner, the hype train is already leaving the station.
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