Latest Final Fantasy Video Game Is so Bad It’s Good

Video Games

2022’s Campiest Video Game Is … a
Final Fantasy

Serial fans by and present will become a boot out of this absurd throwback.

Latest Final Fantasy Video Game Is so Bad It’s Good

“Bring information technology in, boys.”
Square Enix

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
is a game about a ring of heroes seeking out magical crystals in order to relieve the globe. It’southward not the first time a
Final Fantasy
game has told this story: The very first
Final Fantasy
game has the same premise. As practice
Final Fantasy iii,
, and
5, and a plethora of other games in the franchise. Near 35 years on, the series is now more than 100 games deep, and the crystals are all the same a mainstay. At times, there are iv elemental crystals at stake; at times, there are eight. Sometimes the crystals are less fundamental to the plot; sometimes more than. Sometimes they’re called magicite, nethicite, or eidoliths. No matter what they’re called, or how many there are, or how important to the story they appear to exist, crystals alive are at the heart of the
Final Fantasy


Just it must be said: The crystals don’t deserve the hype.
For all they’re talked up and splashed all over the series’ branding,
they almost always function every bit zip but a plot device—recovering, cleansing, or destroying them serves as a tangible roadblock to progressing through the story. What was originally a useful MacGuffin to keep 8-bit heroes trotting around the world map has long since become a ubiquitous yet meaningless element throughout the
Final Fantasy

Nowhere does this concept feel more tired than in
Stranger of Paradise. The series’ latest spinoff is a gritty action-RPG prepare in the earth of the outset
Final Fantasy
game from 1987; it’s a remake merely an explicit, contemporary nod to the series’ legacy. You play as Jack, a blond badass and the personification of a furrowed brow, along with his ring of companions, each of whom carries a mysterious nighttime crystal. After a prologue, they seek out the four elemental crystals scattered across the world in order to defeat an enemy named Chaos. These characters, and Jack in particular, are
obsessed with Chaos, especially destroying Chaos, despite not having any idea of what Chaos actually is. As well, they are all amnesiacs and conveniently cannot call up any of the useful exposition that might aid them understand why the hell they care in the starting time place.

At outset, this all plays like outright army camp: so ridiculously over the top equally to almost be cocky-parody. At that place’s a laugh-out-loud moment early when Jack is tired of hearing one of his comrades jabber (which, fair!) and then puts in earbuds and starts listening to music that must exist described as butt-rock, despite the game never establishing earbuds or butt-rock as elements of this universe. Other moments from early in the game have already get memes, and they initially appear to show a level of self-awareness by leaning into its dude-bro schtick, but this fun turns out to exist front-loaded. The early promise that the game might be ironically bad,
or nonetheless-bad-it’south-good—like the video game equivalent of
The Room— is quickly dashed as the story plods along to the well-nigh rote beats possible. The inevitable, telegraphed third-act twists continue to be tiresome, but they’re besides so confusing as to make the unabridged affair both wearisome and incomprehensible.

On Jack’s journeying, his companions repeatedly comment on their senses of déjà vu. This is role of a time-loop plot, tied into the original
Final Fantasy, merely I could too relate to this feeling, because I had been here before also. That’s because all of the locations in
Stranger of Paradise
are pulled from past
Final Fantasy
games. The Mako Reactor from
Final Fantasy 7
is here, as is the floating continent from
Final Fantasy 6. Information technology’s in these nostalgic locations that the bulk of the game plays out: Select a mission from a menu, run through murky corridors from
Final Fantasy’s by, smack downward enemies, get loot, solve a basic puzzle, fight a boss, watch an inane story cutscene; repeat. Just hey, at to the lowest degree you’re doing it in that place you kinda call up from
Final Fantasy 12!
In this way,
Stranger of Paradise
is both a nu metal throwback to the series’ beginnings and as well a kind of half-baked greatest hits compilation—a groan-worthy sum of the series’ least essential parts.

Of form, this is not the showtime time a
Final Fantasy game has mined the rest of the series for nostalgia. The
fighting games, the
rhythm games, and the more playful
Globe of Final Fantasy

all employ the
Final Fantasy
IP and its various locales, monsters, and mythos to imbue them with a pre-existing, contemplative warm glow. Here that glow is stone common cold. The levels you know are often so dingy looking equally to exist difficult to discern, and they’re either boringly linear or confusingly twisty, total of totally interchangeable loot as dispensable as it is plentiful. At that place is obvious, bankable nostalgia to
Stranger of Paradise’southward approach, but it’south likewise creatively bereft. The mash-up of other games’ parts leaves this game without whatsoever coherence or logic. What it does leave us with is bizarre dissonances, like how Jack and friends all dress like contemporary pop singers (a la modern
Terminal Fantasy
heroes), but the townspeople look like the 19th-century fops that dominated the serial’ entries of yore.

Combat is the one element of the game that feels properly developed, adapted not from
Last Fantasy’s past just from another, modern-day series: the
samurai action games, which
Stranger of Paradise
programmer Team Ninja created over the past 5 years. Those games were themselves more than technical adaptations of the combat from the
Dark Souls
series, and
Stranger of Paradise
puts a more forgiving spin on the
template to its own do good. There is fun to be had in the unlike weapons and jobs available to the player, even if many of them practise end upwards feeling quite same-y over time. The thuds and smacks of swords and maces are satisfying, and playing on the default level of difficulty the game can be satisfyingly challenging. Only information technology’s hard to stay engaged when you know you’ve still got a number of crystals notwithstanding to find and some other scene with Jack existence a jerk to one of his personality-less companions for daring to retrieve about

they are doing this insipid crystal quest.

Stranger of Paradise
is an attempt to harmonize the breezy simplicity of the earliest
Terminal Fantasy
games with a more modernistic, cynical attitude. Just the consequence is completely atonal. It’s as though
Final Fantasy HQ assumes the things people liked about the series’ classic early on entries were those mythical crystals themselves—as opposed to the actual expert stuff, like projecting yourself onto their flat, pixelated worlds to imagine something richer.
Stranger of Paradise
serves a familiar-looking world upwards in three dimensions, but information technology turns out to be paper thin.

A video game box art bearing the logo of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.

Slate reviewedStranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
on PlayStation 5 via a prerelease copy provided by Sony.


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Originally posted 2022-03-19 02:38:52.