Square Enix released Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin’s another demo that shows a little more of what we can expect from the action-oriented Final Fantasy spin off. The demo will be … interesting. In one cut, the girl, the main character, became pea after a boss fight in a funny way. Players shared the cutscene over social media with an air of alarmed confusion, but I’m here to say that if all of Stranger of Paradise is going to be like the moment this game is going to kick so much ass.
When Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin was first announced, fans were a little surprised as the game is under development by Team Ninja of Dead or alive fame. Team Ninja is also behind it Dynasty Warriors-declaration of franchises as The legend of Zelda and Brand emblem, as well as the most controversial Metroid game. From his pedigree developer, regardless of form Stranger of Paradise should take, it would be unlike anything the franchise had ever seen – and that’s a good thing. That Final Fantasy the series has been around for almost 35 years and it’s refreshing to see Square Enix continue to try new things. Square Enix has done new and weird things with its IP (Chocobo GP anyone?), but I would argue that a spin-off action game has not been seen since 2006 Dirge of Cerberus.
That’s the mood I get to play Stranger of Paradise – just as it is Square Enix’s attempt to relit the benefits of Dirge of Cerberus while adding a touch of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for taste. There is a break-gauge that works almost like Axs position gauge – depletion of it makes enemies vulnerable to special finishers, but you are similarly vulnerable if your break gauge is emptied. In a growing market for Soulslike games, Strangers in Paradise match. Although not quite as hard as the famously difficult From Software games, Stranger of Paradise asks a little more critical thinking from its players. You can not spam attacks that you can in Final Fantasy VII Remake and expect to go out alive. And once you get the hang of changing combinations and changing jobs, the battle is pretty tough. There is also a relentless gloom present in Stranger of Paradise it was in Dirge of Cerberus. But unlike Dirge, Stranger of Paradise seems to be self-conscious of its edge to comic effect. Take the gameplay clip that has gone viral.
This rules. There’s something so related to Jack – not Squall, not Cloud, not Lighting, but … Jack – essentially throws deuces up and makes his exit while sick melodies blow from his earphones. In this one moment, Jack became a millennium Final Fantasy the main character. He is masked, angry and finds himself outnumbered and outgunned on a seemingly pointless quest to defeat an oppressive and eternally evil while toothed assholes block his way. No, seriously — one way to get through a zone is by destroying what are essentially toothed, pulsating butthole monsters.
Is this just a ill-conceived monster idea or a well-crafted meditation on the kind of people who block the progress of humanity? You must be a judge. I know the conversation around Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin centers about a cutscene people may interpret as cringe, but that cringe accompanies a demo that is strangely compelling and a great new direction for the groundbreaking franchise.
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin releases on PlayStation, Xbox and PC March 18, 2022.