Review: The First Offspring


The looter shooter genre is rife with difficulty. Titles like Anthem AND Horse Racing show promise and attract audiences but quickly fade away, while others, such as Destiny 2 AND Warframe are generally well-received with some reservations. It seems like the formula is so obvious and the studio just needs to reach out and grab it. Could Nexon do the impossible with First offspring?

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I’ll be truthful: First offspringThe story is largely irrelevant. Like a kaiju movie, the NPC dialogue exists only to get us to the next encounter. Prominent characters like the villain Greg and the slippery weasel Jeremy stand out simply because of their incongruous names. It’s like when a transfer student showed up at my high school and introduced himself as Zebulon. Equally tragically, said school wasn’t located in Tokyo-3, and there were no kaiju battles to balance the daytime dullness.

In contrast to the dull story, First offspring goes all out in design and presentation. The characters and environments are simply stunning, with a mix of futuristic technology, surreal and desert landscapes, and invading divine elements. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a solid roster of scorching chicks to play as.

First offspring is not so much inspired by other media as it is directly drawn from them. Bunny’s character is a mix OverseeTracer in terms of personality and abilities and D.Va in terms of appearance, while her Ultimate outfit bears a striking resemblance to Major Motoko’s from Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex. And then there is litany Destiny 2 “inspirations”, from icons to the Different Dream sniper rifle, which is easily recognizable as an IKELOS weapon.

These possible infringement lawsuits pending make me take a step back and really think about it. First offspring. It does nothing original and is more of a compilation of other ideas and features than anything else. That said, it is the prettiest compilation I have ever been a part of. The presentation on this spiral ham is wonderful.

Photo via Nexon

Unfortunately, those exquisitely rendered latex-clad butts and luscious landscapes don’t come without issue. When playing on my fairly solid PC or laptop, which have a wired connection, there’s a worrying amount of random frame rate drops. No amount of tweaking the settings seems to alleviate the problem, and there are plenty of posts on social media from PlayStation 5 players reporting even worse experiences.

The performance issues don’t end there, as another major issue is server stability. First offspring it was basically off for the entire second day, and issues like rubber banding, input lag, and disconnects are now commonplace. It’s gotten to the point where when the screen freezes, I know it’s one of two lag spikes and I’ll have to wait five seconds to see where my character ended up.

It’s incredibly frustrating when playing through more hard content that involves a immense number of enemies or attacks at once, or when doing something like Void Intercept where a single death can ruin the flow. Failure to address these issues quickly can cause irreversible damage. Players’ patience can evaporate more quickly in free-to-play titles because there was no upfront investment on their part. When combined with other, deliberate decisions, these can quickly turn off potential players.

Photo via nexon

It pulls me out of despair First offspring‘s gameplay. When it works smoothly, it’s simply amazing, and that’s why I’m rooting for this quirky loot shooter so much. It’s an addictive mix of shooting and energy exploitation with a building and crafting system that has me obsessing over the possibilities and figuring out the puzzles laid out before me in Colossus battles.

The basic gameplay loop is as follows: start in an area, do two to five open-world missions, complete a dungeon, fight a literal Colossus, and repeat. Each part is incredibly fun and can be approached differently depending on your Scion’s skill set. Open-world missions often pit you against swarms of hyper-aggressive enemies, dungeons almost always end with a fight where you have to decipher a puzzle of orbs in a Sisyphean battle, and Colossi are a huge spectacle. Once you’ve cracked the code to defeating characters like the Dead Bride or the Pyromaniac, it’s effortless to forget about your problems First offspring has.

Well, that is, until you deal with the overly convoluted crafting system and the excessive amount of materials, accrual methods, and time gates standing between you and completing your build. The item descriptions are anything but helpful, and the game is misleading in how you want to approach certain content.

There are a few points, especially the Dead Bride and Pyromaniac fights, where there are severe DPS tests that must be overcome. It’s not about playing better, not getting wiped, or being persistent. You have a narrow time, and if you don’t manage to melt the boss in that time, your run is over.

Due to the exorbitant nature of putting together a build to try out, experimentation is narrow unless you have a lot of time or cash to spend. For me, the game came to a complete standstill when I encountered the Pyromaniac. The only way to beat him was to buy a up-to-date character, max out his level, gather resources to put together a up-to-date build, and then team up via Discord, since the in-game matchmaking will never do that.

I was stuck for a few days and I couldn’t facilitate but feel like it was intentional, since there’s only one usable character in this level, since Pyromaniac is nearly invincible against non-ice weapons and powers. Everything I did up until that point was completely useless.

Photo via Nexon

It is these incentives and design choices that make First offspring I feel like Nexon is squeezing every last ounce of power out of players. From the aforementioned crafting system to forcing players to buy recolored alternate outfits just to unlock the ability to customize colors by purchasing dyes, it just feels mean. Worse, if you bring out a up-to-date descendant to utilize, you have to spend some cash on another character slot or delete one of your existing descendants to make room. Throw in a few Ultimate Descendant packs, which retail for $100, and you really get the feeling that Nexon is into whaling.

I’m just torn on the issue First offspring. It’s a up-to-date Prometheus of parts and ideas that looks and feels great when it works. But Dr. Frankenstein, who put it together, is clearly motivated by profit and has some reputation due to micropayments. Add to that the Dell Dimension 8400 as a server and the situation looks bleak. I don’t expect First offspring to gain a lot of support while it’s out, and I’ll enjoy it for what it is, but I wouldn’t make the mistake of thinking it’ll have much interest outside of a compact, dedicated group of players.

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