EIt’s easy to play with the feelings of fans of Final Fantasy. We do not say it lightly, but we are aware of how susceptible we can become, with this long-running saga of 35 years and a large number of iterations. It is a franchise that honorably earned its place among the greats of the RPG universe, one of the pioneers in turn-based combat after Dragon Quest.
Over time, the union of Square Enix – which separately gave birth to both series – have given themselves the job of not only launching new digital deliveries, but also multiple spin-offs, remasters, remakes and direct adaptations to platforms. modern. The first Final Fantasy is one of the most versions to his credit, going through Famicom / NES, WonderSwan Color, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, PSP, PC and mobile. Including the Pixel Remaster line.
strangers of fantasy
His basic story about the four warriors of light and elemental crystals has been told and transformed over and over again over these 35 years. When Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin It was announced during E3 2021, we thought that it would be a prequel to the original game but with action / RPG. However, his casually dressed characters left a lot to be desired, especially his protagonist Jack, obsessed with the Chaos entity.
After a couple of demos and playing the final version, the difference is not that much. Although distributed by Square Enixthe game was developed by Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja (Ninja Gaiden, Nioh). The latter have experience with the franchise by working in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, ‘spin-off’ of fights. They know the characters Final Fantasybut their commitment to the original stories of each game is superficial.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin takes as background the world and map of the first Final Fantasy (called ‘World A’ in Dissidia). For fans and veterans, it may be interesting to see places like Cornelia’s castle or the port of Pravoka recreated in HD. Characters such as the king, princess Sarah or an imposing Garland, the final boss of Final Fantasy. Now, it’s just a visual component, without much thematic substance.
We control three amnesiac “light warriors” – Jack, Ash and Jed – who arrive in Cornelia in possession of dark crystals. The prophecy says that four warriors with elemental crystals are chosen to defeat the darkness, and this trio has little of it. To win the favor of the king of Cornelia, they are sent on various quests to gain access to the Sanctuary of Chaos. They do not find the aforementioned Chaos to Jack’s regret, but they do find a fourth ally, Neon.
dark fantasy nu metal
Anyway, Stranger of Paradise it’s based on Final Fantasy but it could not feel more “strange” as part of the series, even being a ‘spin-off’. The clothing of the protagonists is quickly corrected with the customization of equipment, outfits, weapons and classes. From the concept art you can see the preference for a kind of ‘dark fantasy’ that permeates the game. not quite synonymous with Final Fantasy.
The common enemies follow this same pattern and the bosses take direct reference from the Square Enix property. There are also casual ones like Tonberry, Cactuar or Bombs, to name a few well-known ones. As well as Dissidia Final Fantasy is based on that first realm and introduces the alternate ‘World B’, Stranger of Paradise you do the same on your own terms.
There is no free roam model and instead we are given quests spread across the map to tackle the different main dungeons. It has been another alternative world in which the different dimensions of the 15 canonical games of Final Fantasy. This does not amount to a ‘crossover’, rather each dungeon is reshaped to fit the elements of one of the number games in succession.
We wouldn’t have a problem with that – it’s not the first time that the dimensions FF collide – if only the dialogue and characters weren’t so stoically and impulsively written. Plotly it has an explanation, but Jack’s obsession with Chaos borders on parody
“Jack asks the beast if it is Chaos, but the mindless creature only responds by attacking.”
The fighting is fierce, but Jack soon realizes that this abomination is not fearsome enough to be Chaos. Furious, he pummels the beast until it is an unrecognizable mass of blood.
“To Jack, any monster other than Chaos is just a waste of time.”
This is spiced up by costumes and a nu metal band style from the beginning of the millennium. One of the most absurd scenes finds Jack ignoring his classmates as he plays a Limp Bizkit-sounding song on his…music player? iPod? Smartphone?
In the exercise of exploring dungeons in search of Chaos, Jack’s combo must form a team of three, for reasons only justified due to the multiplayer online. Since our experience in this section was not successful (lobby delayed, no connection, no players), the dedication was in the single player mode. Between Jack, Ash, Jed, Neon and Sophia, we can distribute specializations such as swordsman, duelist, boxer, magician or spearman.
As we unlock advanced classes in the skill trees we come to the traditional ones of Final Fantasy, warrior type, thief, monk, white magician or ‘berserker’. Finally, in the expert jobs we find classes such as sage, dark knight, ninja, assassin or liberator. Each one specializes in a weapon and we can switch between two classes at the same time.
The problem with playing solo is that we rely on Jack and the support of two chosen machine-controlled partners. Jack is definitely not a character that encourages playing and his colleagues do not exude interest either.
In our quest we face elemental bosses corrupted by Chaos, such is the case of Lich, Tiamat, Kraken and Marilith. We progressively acquire abilities that can absorb enemy attacks to redirect them, nullify effects or generate them. As is tradition, dodging is an integral part of movement execution and defense. It can be said that it is more Nioh what Final Fantasyand that’s where that fine line blurs what should have had a unique personality.
We could rescue your combat system. Not only the customization of classes and equipment but the colorful display of attacks against packs. In contrast, the design of linear scenarios, monotonous enemies and gameplay that innovates little in the genre, result in tying an incipient story that as Final Fantasy it is more alien than would be expected in an alternate dimension.
It’s hard to recommend Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin to fans of the Square-created series, even as a prequel to a once much simpler first game. What hack ‘n slash It works, but it fails to add differential value to a franchise known for its varied worlds and well-written stories. The characters feel like actors in a furious parody. In its desire not to take itself seriously and sometimes it does, the game generates an inevitable dissociation with the elements of origin and the world of Final Fantasy in which it is inspired.
Review made with a digital copy of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin for PlayStation 4 provided by Square Enix.