We are about to discuss our opinion of the most recent Square Enix title. We played Stranger of Paradise throughout the course of the weekend, primarily in co-op mode. Even now, we find it difficult to come to a coherent conclusion on it. It is enjoyable, but…
Many Camps & Frank Sinatra
When Stranger of Paradise was revealed, we had mixed feelings about it. Not in the arrogant, “Oh, dialogs are awful” sense. We just did not find Final Fantasy in a Nioh skin to be all that appealing.
But as soon as they unveiled the debut trailer, which had Jack announcing his last name while Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played in the background, we realized we had to watch this.
We were prepared for camp, and it delivered… a sincere effort to make this work, only for the execution to fail. If you like characters that do not always make sense and are disconnected, the writing has a certain charm to it.
Jack, who seems to have been plucked from a Quentin Tarantino film and dropped into “The Lord of the Rings,” is at the center of attention. That was absolutely fantastic, and it even hinted at the story of the first Final Fantasy in a wonderful way.
However, you really have to be into that—playing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” without irony while attempting to introduce the series’ first antagonist. Despite the dialogue being as clumsy as a Christmas play by first-grade kids, the actor tries to take the situation and himself very seriously.
The Past(s) Blasts Are Here Again
Therefore, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origins is designed to be a celebration of the franchise (yeah, we know that combination of words never rolls off the tongue nicely). After all, it will celebrate its 35th anniversary this December.
Stranger of Paradise does not make nearly as many nods to earlier episodes as you might have anticipated. Yes, all of its levels are adapted from previous mainline entries, but the allusions feel quite understated. Only a few gameplay gimmicks, subtle musical allusions, and iconic locations from the mainline games are used in this title.
Similar to this, the majority of the foes you will encounter are only found throughout the initial Final Fantasy, with a few additional memorable enemies from later installments thrown in for variety.
Even with a severe paucity of enemies to face, the majority of them and their actions will be recognizable to you if you played the original game.
Yes, they all require some kind of strategy to defeat, but you will not be finding yourself hunting for certain skills to exploit a weakness. Possibly excluding some boss encounters.
The Chaos of Killing
Here is the tricky part; we are not even sure where to begin. On the one hand, the battle in Stranger of Paradise is right up our alley.
Although it has been compared to Nioh or the Souls-like genre, the game actually reminds us more of a Dynasty Warriors game or another ‘beat ‘em ups. ‘ Combining several old Final Fantasy jobs, raising them up, and gaining access to new skills is a lot of fun.
But outside of the eight different weapon types, your fighting style will not actually change much. Unless you are a wizard, in which case you occasionally get to power and cast spells.
It is not that there is not any depth, but there is not nearly enough of it to keep folks interested in trying out weird combinations. Most likely, you will try to choose the unlocked skills you desire, level as many jobs as you can, and combine them with other jobs.
You will only benefit from that leveling process to the extent that your signature skills grant special boosts. On optional difficulty modes, we can see this becoming significantly more crucial. But when played casually, it largely serves as filler.
Having said that, if you like mindless button mashing that occasionally calls for a block, you will definitely find what you are looking for here, provided you have the correct combination of skills.
Warrior(s) of Light
The problem is that we cannot really talk much about this game’s single-player experience. We have completed some missions alone, but it was not nearly as enjoyable as doing them with two other light warriors.
The game then shifts to more communal laughter at how absurd everything is, such as attempting to outwit a gosh dang Tonberry that will kill you in one shot.
And competing for the best looks. Personally, we believe that Stranger of Paradise thrives in cooperative play. That process is remarkably painless.
Much of the main plot can be played through with others, and you can even see the cut sections together. Furthermore, both players’ progress will be kept. Only slightly regrettable is that only the actor portraying Jack would receive the elaborate executions.
Additionally, you will only be able to see the equipment that the host has packed for your character. Yes, we do think it is amusing to run around half-naked. But even if we are not the host, we would rather see our new flashy stuff on our character!
We can also notice how the gameplay changes as we progressively get through the optional harder material, whether it has a White or Red Mage in the group to strengthen your group’s abilities or just having someone to help you up if you collapse in battle. Therefore, we can highly suggest it as a co-op game—just not at the asking price. We will get to that, though.
The Grind and Equipment
The only way to gain access to all the fancy powers is to level up your job. The majority of your improvements will assume the shape of a gear. In this scene, Stranger of Paradise changes into a looter shooter. Perhaps a Diablo replica would be a more powerful analogy?
Everything will start to fall apart like a piñata that you just smashed. You will recycle the trash as soon as you complete the job; however, some of it will be beneficial. Our patience was really tested only during the game’s final few missions.
It suddenly became very important to us that we create the ideal gearing for our current workload, only for the next mission to be hammered out to replace it. Later bosses might be challenging because you never seem to get the stuff you wish to equip yourself with, especially when all you want to do is finish the story.
However, we suppose that is what the developer demands you to do—complete assignments slowly and again. To build a solid equipment base with the desired job affinity (except if you want to attempt to snowball your way to great gear by taking on missions that will treat you rough.)
Combat is undoubtedly entertaining enough to demand such. But then why can’t we simply recycle our outdated equipment to forge the items we genuinely want? It would undoubtedly reduce some of the frustration.
Who Is This Game For, Then?
We have therefore been debating this subject for a while. We do not believe we have a conclusive response just yet, but we will make an effort to do so here.
This game might be for you if you like Team Ninja, happen to adore Final Fantasy, appreciate movies like “The Room,” and could get beyond senseless grinding with two good friends. In all honesty, they ought to keep the sample available forever since purchasing this is hardly a no-brainer.
We felt ripped off even though we had a fantastic time and spent money on it. And based on what we have heard, this appears to be a widespread agreement. If this cost $20, we would probably get a few people to play it over the course of a week or two. But hey, charging full pay for this seems a bit excessive.
Particularly considering the dearth of variation and endgame content, you can play this game for 30 hours, but at $60, you could probably do better things with that money. As a result, unless the tale sounds really exciting to you, believe us when we say that it is only marginally entertaining.
You will find some value in this if you are a die-hard Final Fantasy fan and the gameplay is right up your alley. Otherwise, we would advise you to hold off until you get a sneak peek at what the Season Pass will look like and then buy it when it goes on sale for half off.
Final Fantasy Origins: Stranger of Paradise receives a 6.8/10 from us. You will have a nice time, but not a spectacular one, if you are able to embrace meaningless entertainment the way we can.
A similar case is with many other Action-RPGs, which will always be far from widely-accepted genres, such as MOBA, which is a part of eSports and offers on the best betting sites in Taiwan. Perhaps some modifications, updates, and new content can correct that.