December 29, 2021

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier


Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier developed by Square Enix and Ateam is a free to play battle royale set 30 years before the events of Final Fantasy VII. The game was released November 17, 2021 on Andriod and iOS. 

Since we've done the song and dance of battle royale countless times thus far I'll focuses on the differences. This game drops 75 people onto an ever-shrinking map, last person or team if you're playing that mode, left standing win. You can pick up weapons and ammunition along the way to help you take out the opposing "soldiers". What TFS offers different is the ability to pick up magic or spells. There are offensive and defensive spells available to pick up throughout the map and you're able to hold up to three of these spells. Picking up subsequent copies of the spells you already have equipped will level up the spells to up to level 3 and thus increasing its power. You can also earn from contracts and beating boss monsters Guardian Forces that will fight alongside you for a specified amount of time. 

The game play feels just like any other mobile battle royale with the exception of engagement of fights. I myself experienced lag spikes and frame skips at the start of most if not all battles as well as my cohosts. But it was obvious to me that my opponents were also experiencing this as they wouldn't always engage right away because of this. It almost felt as if you were battling against bots most of the time but after a few failed queues early on I can honestly say that I don't believe there are any computer-controlled players in the game.

The paywall in the game is all cosmetic based and similar style to Fortnite. Which is a big plus for us as they are the main game that does microtransactions well. But on top the battle passes and chests that can be unlocked via tickets that are earned through game play there's a leveling system for each class you can play as. As you level each class you unlock a lot of different cosmetics from the vehicles you can drive on the maps to the helicopter that you're dropped onto the map in. 

Overall, the game was fun to play I found myself going back to the game multiple times during our review period which isn't always the case. The highest I got in a solo game was third place and I won a game with a squad. The failed queues because not enough players were found, and the frame skips/ lag was a huge drawback to the game. There are more polished mobile battle royales out there and if the population of this game drops too much there won't be enough of a player base to play the game. Because of this I give the game a 4.5. 

You can listen to our full review and see if it got the Budget Arcade seal of approval on your favorite podcast app or listen on our YouTube channel 

December 20, 2021

Ragnarok Origin


Ragnarok Origin published by Korean developer Gravity was released on the iOS and Android. The game released in Korea on July 7, 2020, Japan on June 28, 2021, and in the United States November 10, 2021. The game is a call back to the original Ragnarok Online which released August 21, 2002. The graphics have a very similar feel to the original game and the game play mirrors it very well for being on a mobile platform. Both games are MMORPG based in the world of Rune Midguard. 

Ragnarok and I go way back. I was in the original beta test for Ragnarok Online when it first released in the United States. At that time there was only one major area, and it was centered around the desert town of Morroc. There also were only about 4 classes to choose from after being a novice. After about six months of the US audience complaining about the game and not offering any constructive criticism to the developer, it was pulled from the US market and the rest of the game was tested by the Korean audience. A year after its full release it was finally reintroduced to the US market. Thats when I was able to pick the game back up.

Game play for this new iteration into the franchise is a hack and slash style. Whereas the original was a point and click to target enemies. You can still click on targets, but it will also auto lock when you've pressed an attack action. Beneficial spells will automatically cast on yourself and party members when cast. This game adds an auto attack feature where you can either set it to attack all monsters in the area or set to attack specific monsters within the current screen.  Skills/Spells can be set to one of six spots on the skill wheel which can be cycled to a second wheel for a total of 12 skill spots.

Most of the paid items in the game are to gain cosmetics for your character. Some of the items do give stat buffs but not so much so that it would be considered pay to win. The in-game currency can be used to purchase items to upgrade your gear and add card slots to your items. The is also "battle passes" and "holiday passes" that can be purchased. 

There are a ton of quests in this game that can be done which increases the replayabilty of this game. There are also boss fights that can be done in a party of five as well as guild events. With six different classes to pick from and completely customizable builds for each character you could play this game differently each time. And with the original game to consider we can look forward to a secondary set of classes off of the original upgraded six classes. 

While Ragnarok Origin feels a lot like the original in game play and look, it doesn't seem to capture the magic of the original for me. There is defiantly quality of life improvements within the questing. The auto attack feature could allow you to farm an area of monsters without having to actually play the game. Though you would need to leave your phone open while the game plays for you. But there is something lacking that I just can't put my finger on. The game is well polished and looks beautiful. And I could see the current generation of gamers liking it. So, I would give Ragnarok Origin a 6.5.

Be sure to listen to the full episode of the podcast to see if the game received our seal or not.