Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin review round-up

Reviewers all seem to agree that while Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin isn't the best Soulslike game, it's also highly enjoyable with surprisingly deep gameplay.

There are two ways that a video game can stand out against its competition: be good or be bad. Somehow, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin found a middle-ground - be so bad that it's good. Although you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who would refer to the action-packed take on the standard Final Fantasy formula as a frontrunner for GOTY, Team Ninja's first game in Square Enix's RPG franchise is pulling in relatively good reviews.

Strange of Paradise is far from a 10/10, but it's not half-bad either if we believe the reviews.

According to most critics, The game's Soulslike combat and versatile Job system make it quite fun. At the same time, some of the ideas that Stranger of Paradise tries to explore end up feeling half-baked if incompetent. But, for the most part, critics agree that Stranger of Paradise, despite the rough edges, is compelling enough to be worth buying.

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Gamespot's Phil Hornshaw describes Stranger of Paradise as a "more focused version of Final Fantasy that shows some different directions for the series from its traditional games." Phil then ends his review by saying that, "while it might be confusing and memey, disjointed and weird, Stranger of Paradise is also a lot of fun." Destructoid's Chris Carter also echoed similar thoughts, saying that the alternative take on the first Final Fantasy game ever "won't astound everyone", saying that the game is a "Team Ninja action game first, and an oddball isekai story second."

IGN's Jada Griffin is also a fan of the "solid and engaging action combat system" of Stranger of Paradise as well as its "strong dose of FF nostalgia." Although she does warn that the game's story "doesn't come together until the final hours." Polygon's Ana Diaz also gave Stranger of Paradise a somewhat backhanded compliment, saying that it is the "best dumb game" that she has played in years.

Final Fantasy was always edgy if cheesy. Stranger of Paradise took things up a notch.

Meanwhile, GameInformer's Andrew Reiner warned about how Stranger of Paradise is the "strangest Final Fantasy game yet", teetering in-between "awful and fantastic." While he isn't sold on Jack, the main character, Andrew does give Team Ninja credit for the game's combat system. Unfortunately, Andrew doesn't think that Stranger of Paradise has anything else to offer, saying that "it's all about combat and little else."

Games Radar's Jon Bailes was one of the critics who didn't seem to find anything to love with Stranger of Paradise, enumerating all the game's flaws from its "routine level design" to the "rough edges" and "messy narrative delivery", as big factors that prevent it from telling a "compelling adventure."

Stranger of Paradise was always going to fight an uphill battle upon release. Fans couldn't help but make a meme out of the game as soon as it was revealed, and the final version hasn't changed that a bit. The biggest takeaway from Stranger of Paradise is that Team Ninja is on to something.

There's no telling if Square Enix is going to give the Nioh developers another shot at a Soulslike Final Fantasy game, but if the stars align, a sequel could smoothen Stranger of Paradise's rough edges.

A sequel to Stranger of Paradise has a lot of potential.
Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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