Ok, so this is kind of a weird one. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is an action role-playing game being developed by Ninja Theory. You may have seen the bizarre E3 trailer where the word “chaos” is uttered nearly 90 times in the span of the three-minute video. This, along with the game’s questionable quality, at least as far as its appearance goes, has led to the game becoming something of a meme. Hopefully, it can reverse the memery and gain a reputation for being a competent action game in its full release, coming this March. If you’re a fan of action games, Final Fantasy, or even the “CHAOS!” memes, here are some things you should know about Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has you playing as Jack Garland, a warrior from another world who has been sucked into a dark fantasy version of the original Final Fantasy game. Along with your fellow warriors Ash and Jed, you will satisfy Jack’s insatiable hunger for destroying Chaos (there it is!). In this game, Chaos is a reference to the demon who served as the final boss in the original Final Fantasy.
To get to Chaos, you will traverse the locations from the first Final Fantasy game, recreated in full 3D with high-quality graphics. You will also fight the series’ many signature monsters, though they are designed differently, being a new interpretation of the series. This “new interpretation” concept is the very core of Stranger of Paradise, as what at first looked like a straight-up retelling of the first game, has been revealed by the developers to not actually be canon, but instead be a story of how things could have possibly happened.
As an advantage of being a unique story rather than a remake of sorts, Stranger of Paradise features intense real-time combat, rather than turn-based action. You can equip 2 out of the 27 total jobs available in the game, which determine your fighting style and abilities in encounters, and eliminate enemies with both physical and magical attacks. The jobs you select will also determine which of the 8 weapon types you are able to use in combat, with weapons like the greatsword being used by the Swordsman and Warrior jobs, and maces being used by the Mage and Black Mage jobs, for example.
The real-time combat in Stranger of Paradise is the most violent combat in any Final Fantasy so far, with Jack becoming covered in blood as he slices and dices the creatures he faces, whittling down their health and their “break gauge” until he can use a very cool looking finisher. These finisher animations have Jack punching and slamming the enemy around, then turning them into red crystals which explode and refill a portion of your magic gauge. This break from Final Fantasy combat might be Stranger of Paradise’s most intriguing aspect.
If you can get past the memes and the bizarreness of the footage that has been shown of Stranger of Paradise, there is what appears to be a very cool action game hidden beneath the dreck. I hope the final product is something that resonates with people and becomes successful, because all gamers win when developers take chances on strange ideas and execute them competently.
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