Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins is the first title in the popular series that I’ve played. I’ve heard a lot about the franchise and have often considered choosing one of the many available games. However, considering the number of titles available, I was confused where to start, and I’m glad I started with the prequels.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins features unique elements of combat and other gameplay mechanics. It also has a proper tutorial that will walk you through some of the basic mechanics and abilities in the game. I won’t talk too much about the story below.
Fans of the franchise already know what this is about, and if you are picking this title up after reading the review, I don’t want to spoil anything for you.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins is a unique soul-like title
I’m not a huge fan of the Souls kind of thing, but I’ve played my fair share of games of that genre. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins because it doesn’t sound or look like your regular run-of-the-mill spirits. If you like to play games on higher difficulties like Tough or Chaos, then you are in for a treat, especially if you are a fan of this genre.
After a few bouts I intentionally had to turn the difficulty down to ‘story’ because I was dying more often than I would like to admit. Despite being fairly easy on the ‘story’, most of the skirmishes were still testing.
As a gamer, I love games that offer a tough challenge. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins is definitely something I’ll be thinking about every now and then because it’s tough and fun at the same time.
As with most Souls-like titles, you are awarded skill points when you level up. That’s where things start to get weird in Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins. Skill Points are called Job Points in the game. Each fighting style is called a job.
There are different skills and attributes associated with each job that you can unlock using job points. Having job affinity will allow you to level up multiple fighting styles at the same time. From a brawler to a swordsman, you’ll have several play styles to choose from.
competition is as good as it can get
The sword fight in Stranger of Paradise was a delight to watch. If you can get the speed right, everything flows seamlessly. If you know what you’re doing, you melt enemies down fairly quickly.
Simply put, the competition is straight. When you see something, you need to get close to it and hit. Attack distance depends heavily on the weapon you are using. And similar to other Souls-like games, you’ll have to rely on Dodge’s mechanics more than usual.
You can also block incoming attacks, and there are two specific ways to do this. One is regular block, in which you use your weapon to nullify incoming damage and significantly reduce the break damage you take.
You also have the option of using your Soul Shield. This is effective when you are blocking incoming magic damage. Also, a well timed block with your Soul Shield will allow you to temporarily use any type of magic/projectile damage.
I kept getting confused between regular block and soul shield. I had to die several times before I could get the hang of it. I also developed a bad habit of not using my healing potions, which often resulted in me dying in situations where I could have saved myself. Thankfully, there’s a nice little sign to remind you to use your health potion at all times, especially when you’re running low on health.
One of the best factors about this game is that you can have two different combat modes or jobs active at the same time. You can switch between these two modes during battle to create some really unique attack combinations. This feature opens up various possibilities when it comes to engaging with enemies.
I would have also loved to try combat in co-op mode. However, I could not get matched with players through the matchmaking process. This can be primarily attributed to my location and my internet connection. Still, it’s unlikely that combat would feel any different if I had real players in my party instead of AI-controlled teammates.
When inventory is no longer inventory-ing!
I’ve played quite a number of titles where inventory management is a bit difficult to navigate. However, the system was a bit of a hassle for me in Stranger of Paradise. There’s a lot happening on that one screen, and once you’ve accumulated a fair amount of gear that you haven’t checked out yet, you’ll be bombarded with tons of exclamation marks upon reaching the screen.
While I got all the information I wanted, I had to squint my eyes at it every time I selected a piece of gear. You can also customize your character’s armor with the press of a button, but this messed up my builds at times.
Based on what I’ve experienced, the customization feature takes into account gear level and not the stats they have to offer. Therefore, players are advised to use this facility judiciously.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins is an audio-visual treat
My system is a bit old at this point, so I was concerned about how the game would look and feel on it. However, to my surprise, the game didn’t stop at all. I had an FPS monitor active at all times, and no frame drops.
The game ran smoothly at 60 fps without any lag. The only time I had the problem was during the tutorial screen. The sun and orange background were a bit too bright, and the image was pixelated, looking a bit grainy.
The views are beautiful. The colors are vibrant, and everything is very pleasing to the eye. The same can be said for audio. The background score goes great with the overall setting of the game.
Not only that, but the surrounding sounds, especially when I was attacking an enemy or triggering a soul burst ability, felt just right. The only qualm I have about this game is that the loading screens are downright silent. Some form of audio would probably have been better here, but I’m nitpicking at this point.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins is an exciting title, especially for those with little or no knowledge of the entire franchise. Although the story was a bit confusing in the beginning, everything started making sense as I progressed through it.
Furthermore, the narrative is so well designed that it inspired me to go through each and every title in the franchise released till date so that I can experience how the whole story unfolds. Furthermore, it offers a solid combat mechanic that will keep the players engaged.
However, there were two very minor problems with this title that I ran into. At first, it took me a while to realize that I couldn’t jump. Given that combat relies heavily on dodge mechanics, being able to jump adds a whole new dimension to this as well. Not only that, it could have made traversal a bit easier.
Second, there is no minimap in the game. Thus, if you don’t know where you are going, you will surely get lost. The latter is a feature seen in most Souls-like games, so its absence is somewhat understandable. Although on the same note, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins is not your typical Soul title and this feature could have been included.
Stranger in Paradise: Final Fantasy Origins
Reviewed: PC (code provided by Square Enix)
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X | s, windows
Developer: team ninja
Publisher(s): square Enix
Release Date: March 15, 2022