Square Enix is out Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin’s second demo, showing a bit more of what we can expect from action oriented Final fantasy spin off. The demo becomes … interesting. In a cutscene, Jack, the main character, calmed down after a boss fight in a hilarious way. Players shared the cutscene on all social media with an air of alarmed confusion, but I’m here to state for the record that if all of Stranger from paradise gonna be like this moment, this game is gonna kick ass so much.
When Stranger from Heaven Final Fantasy Origin was first announced, fans were a bit surprised since the game is being developed by Team Ninja from Dead or alive Fame. Team Ninja is also behind the Dynasty warriors-ification of franchises such as THE Legend of Zelda and Fire emblem, as well as the most controversial Metroid Game. From its developer pedigree, whatever its form Stranger from paradise was going to take, it was going to be unlike anything the franchise had ever seen – and that’s a good thing. The Final fantasy The series has been around for almost 35 years and it’s refreshing to see Square Enix keep trying new things. Square Enix has done new and weird things with its IP (Chocobo GP someone?), but I would say a spin-off action game hasn’t been seen since 2006’s Cerberus’ funeral song.
This is the mood that I play Stranger from paradise – as if it was Square Enix’s attempt to question the merits of Cerberus’ funeral song by adding a dash of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for flavor. There is a break gauge that works almost like Chopped– Depleting Stance Gauge makes enemies vulnerable to Special Finishers, but you’re also vulnerable if your Break Gauge runs out. In a growing market for Soulslike games, Strangers in paradise agrees. Although it is not as difficult as the famous From Software games, Stranger from paradise requires a little more critical thinking from its players. You cannot spam attacks like you can in Final Fantasy VII remake and expect to come out alive. And once you’ve learned how to switch combos and switch jobs, combat is pretty cool. There is also a relentless gloom present in Stranger from paradise it was in Cerberus’ funeral song. But unlike Funeral song, Stranger from paradise seems to be aware of its marginal character with the comic effect. Take the gameplay clip that went viral.
This rules. There’s something so related to Jack – not Squall, not Cloud, not Lighting, but … Jack – essentially throwing up deuces and making his exit while sick tunes blaring from his atria. By this time, Jack has become the millennial Final fantasy protagonist. He’s masked, edgy, and finds himself outnumbered and armed on a seemingly futile quest to defeat an oppressive and everlasting evil as toothy assholes block his way. No, seriously – one way to progress through an area is to destroy what are essentially toothed ring asshole monsters.
Is it just a poorly conceived monster idea or a well conceived meditation on the kind of people who are blocking the progress of mankind? Be the judge. I know the conversation around Stranger from Heaven Final Fantasy Origin focuses on a cutscene that people might interpret as a backlash, but that backlash accompanies a weirdly compelling demo and great new direction for the seminal franchise.
Stranger from Heaven Final Fantasy Origin releases for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on March 18, 2022.