Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is, fairly fittingly, one of many strangest video games within the long-running franchise. Developed by Group Ninja – greatest identified for Lifeless or Alive, Ninja Gaiden, and Nioh – it’s an ungainly mishmash that fuses the studio’s action-heavy DNA with acquainted concepts and imagery plucked from Sq.’s flagship roleplaying collection. Does the top outcome make for a derivative price taking part in? Right here’s our Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin overview.
Let’s rapidly tackle the lumbering elephant within the room, because it’s fairly laborious to disregard. The story, setting, and characters on this game are straight up Dangerous with a capital ‘B’. That was the impression we received from our first have a look at Stranger in Paradise and, sadly, little has modified. Regardless of touting a cool premise, during which a gaggle of characters discover themselves sucked into the world of 1987’s Final Fantasy, there are few redeemable qualities to the game’s narrative.
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They’ll’t be classed as mainline Final Fantasy protagonists, however our group of 5 heroes are nonetheless shockingly devoid of depth. Every conversational cutscene churns up the identical flat, one-note dialogue with our main man, Jack Garland, being the principle offender. His meme-worthy rants about destroying Chaos are truthfully continuous. Whereas there have been clear makes an attempt to flesh out the game’s lore elsewhere, that is all hidden in loading screens and collectibles, forcing gamers to piece collectively these textual content entries to make full sense of what’s truly happening.
And not using a compelling narrative or likeable characters, we’re left with an action-heavy roleplaying game that borrows a menagerie of monsters and fight courses from the Final Fantasy universe. Fortunately, the remainder of the game is powerful sufficient to make up for the very fact the story is flat out terrible, although it will nonetheless go away a foul odor within the nostril of zealous collection followers.
Unsurprisingly, numerous what’s on provide in Stranger of Paradise mimics Group Ninja’s latest work on the very good Nioh 2. This may be felt as you dole out devastating combos and seamlessly change between two geared up loadouts, amassing a treasure trove of drugs to outfit Jack and his companions. Nevertheless, as an alternative of merely carrying two weapons, you’re successfully assigning two jobs, every with their very own ability tree of perks and talents. Those that have performed Final Fantasy video games previously will probably be accustomed to the array of specialisations right here, from the brawling Pugilist and tanky Marauder, to the mystifying Sage and jump-loving Dragoon.
Initially, there’s an amazing stage of depth to this job system. Nevertheless, RPG followers are in for an actual deal with as soon as they discover their bearings, given what number of customisation choices there are. You’ll by no means be locked into one job for too lengthy, mixing up your gear and loadouts, whereas cherry selecting key expertise from the courses you’ve mastered. For instance, if you wish to create a self-healing Murderer construct, levelling up the Marauder job will let you borrow his nifty lifesteal energy.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is break up between a collection of missions, containing every quest inside its personal linear gauntlet. From the format of maps to fight gameplay, it seems like a lighter, simplified model of Group Ninja’s Nioh template, although it’s no much less punishing. Enemies can wipe you out in a few hits and boss battles are designed to be mastered over the course of a number of makes an attempt. There’s a informal problem possibility for many who simply wish to immerse themselves with out being brutalised – one thing sorely lacking from video games within the soulslike subgenre.
On-line multiplayer can also be out there, permitting you and two different Warriors of Mild to embark on missions collectively. It is a significantly enjoyable strategy to expertise Stranger of Paradise, particularly if you wish to specialise within the game’s extra support-focused jobs. Enjoying with two AI companions is ok, although the occasion system isn’t precisely a spotlight.
One final gripe we now have is the artwork route. At occasions the game can look nice, significantly when Group Ninja reimagines a lot of Final Fantasy’s iconic creatures, however most environments are fairly uninspiring, even when we do get a various patchwork of biomes to battle by means of. Then there are the principle characters, Jack, Jed, Ash, Neon, and Sophia. They’re so disappointingly bland for a Final Fantasy title, it’s virtually as in the event that they’re leftovers from Lifeless or Alive’s roster that by no means made it into the preventing game. Given Tetsuya Nomura’s involvement, we had been anticipating a lot better.
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