Games are complicated, which is why examples are so important. People want to immediately understand the concept and this is best done by just relating it to something else. For some, that means literally anything and everything is compared to the Souls series, with others finding titles that better match the core concept. Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin has been described in a number of different ways, with the demos offering various takes on whatever is said, making players wonder what to expect. Having messed with Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin, is it a good Final Fantasy spin-off or does it fall short?
Almost immediately I was reminded of the initial Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin memes players created. Chaos is said, a lot, often in a rather silly and sometimes cheesy way. A lot of the dialogue also reflects a similar tone. I never quite got the same feeling of a mainline Final Fantasy story, if anything it feels like the B movie tier equivalent of someone trying to do Final Fantasy. This isn’t a negative, per se, I actually enjoy those movies and laugh at silly ideas like a thirst to destroy the often mentioned Chaos, though it absolutely won’t appeal to everyone.
I Must Destroy Chaos
In addition to having an arguably silly approach, fans of the franchise or at least played the original Final Fantasy will find a lot of nods towards what happens later. It works because the story’s intent isn’t to shock players, but rather a playoff expectations. It’s engaging knowing what will happen, though perhaps not how it will happen. Something that will likely resonate with a lot of fans and newcomers alike.
As hinted in the opening, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin was compared to the Souls titles rather extensively, with the original leak mentioning Team Ninja’s own Nioh. There are absolutely elements of both in this adventure, though it features a strong flare towards Final Fantasy’s RPG roots.
Combat features a rather straightforward attack, evade, guard, and special system. There is also a special block for magic, allowing you to briefly use these attacks, along with a gauge that enables an instant finish. Those worried about difficulty will be happy to know there are various levels, one of which is the story, where the whole experience is a lot more accessible. For those who want to test their skill, it will vary based on a number of factors.
A Good Number of Options and Powers
Most of the mechanics should be relatively easy to grasp. Blocking, evading, and attacking should be second nature to any seasoned gamer. Magic will have a slight learning curve, as it’s deeply entrenched in high risk/high reward. Those who get the timing right gain powers that make combat easier. The first example is bombs, which use fire attacks. Taking over their flame magic can be used to make them explode, eliminating much of their threat. This isn’t a must, just a great way to handle a potentially large problem. Later enemies feature system mechanics, making it a great system to master.
Defeating foes and completing missions will result in drops, such as better gear. Not only are there a number of weapons, each playing into a specific playstyle, but they can also be used to overcome various challenges. Some are needed for obstacles, others specific foes, or just a particular shortcoming. There is also various gear that is meant to enhance or cater to a wide variety of builds. There are also some options like multiplayer, though things like level range will have a massive impact on what you can realistically do.
One thing that is nice is the ability to use two different sets of equipment. Instead of having to keep, remember and swap multiple sets of gear, players can build towards two distinct play styles. Dual blades can be enhanced by getting more stamina and defense armor, with other sets enhancing various builds or play styles. It works because enemies can vary in the same segment, making these pieces extremely useful. The downside is that it takes time to build up a supply, with RNG and other factors ultimately determining how useful things are.
With everything set, players can go around fighting the actual foes. Actually implementing these tactics and fighting enemies can feel underwhelming. There isn’t quite the same impact you’d expect from an action game like this, something that can make certain enemies feel off. Though, the amount of options and need to implement them gives the system enough depth to be fun. Something that increases as you build out your class, get various new attacks or find amazing gear.
Level design will be something that either works or doesn’t. With a rather strong focus on linear maps, forcing players to deal with threats over avoid them, it can make the various settings feel a bit underwhelming. There will still be alternate paths to explore, often with useful gear, it can just make the journey lose some of its depth. Especially with stages designed more in segments, meaning the difficulty is mostly getting between places, over the whole dungeon of massive expansions. This is another thing that makes it easier than the average game in this genre, even if the systems and enemies still pack of a punch.
Designs are another aspect that will vary. There is a strong sense of Final Fantasy in regards to aesthetics, though it never reaches the same level of quality players have come to expect from the franchise. At best it’s an average-looking game, with the worst case being somewhere below that. I personally played on performance over resolution, a choice that brought out the combat a little bit more. I didn’t notice any major hiccups or problems, which will appeal to action fans.
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin Review Verdict
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin: All things considered, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is a good spin-off. It feels different enough to stand out, without it being so different to throw fans off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite check every box. Combat could be a little better, gameplay a bit deeper, story a little less goofy and so forth but it’s a good first attempt. One that is worth giving a go if you enjoy either experience. – Grant