You don't often see reimaginings of 8-bit RPGs but here's Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin and it's pretty cool albeit a bit rough.
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The original Final Fantasy holds a special place in my heart as it's the first RPG that I've ever played. What drew me in about it is that you create your party from scratch and then journey a magical world with them; I've never seen anything quite like it before. It's also an impressively difficult RPG due to its over-the-top final boss and I remember when I first completed it. We had company over and one guy there was really into Final Fantasy then when he saw that I beat it, he was quite blown away. v1d30chumz 18-208-132-74
Anyway, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin isn't anything like the original gameplay-wise but it does take place in the same world so if you've played the original NES game then you'll love visiting the 3D interpretations of classic dungeons as well as taking on the wide variety of enemies that are more menacing than ever. It truly is an interesting experience to say the least.
The plot of Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin doesn't exactly follow the original as you play as Jack who's joined by a handful of allies so you don't have the opportunity to create your own party. You're kind of thrown into the world at the beginning and are immediately introduced to the cast of characters without much back-story which is something that puts me off because I want to know why I should care about the characters. Unfortunately, I didn't reach a point where I did care about anyone as most characters lack depth and the dialogue verges on boring at times. With that in mind, the ending is excellent and it ties in perfectly with the NES game which reminded me of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain's ending. So, definitely stick it out to see what unfolds.
The world within Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin consists of a node-based world map and dungeons so there is no overworld traversal which is a bit of a letdown. With that being said, the dungeons are so elaborate and rewarding to explore and master that they make up for the lack of an overworld. In fact, I found the stage designs to be very similar to the ones in Nioh which is great. Unlocking doors, discovering secret treasure, activating shortcuts, and taking down key enemies permanently is all super-satisfying stuff that makes every inch of progress rewarding. However, some of the dungeons are way too dark to the point where you can't see your surroundings even with the brightness cranked up. Now that I mention it, the graphics in general aren't all that great for a modern game.
I'd say that the main appeal of Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is its gameplay and for that, you need solid combat. For the most part, that's what you get here but fighting enemies can be exceptionally involving, especially with the absurd amount of controls and moves to keep in mind. As a result, it's the sort of game that takes a long time to get to grips with and the brief tutorial certainly doesn't help much. I particularly enjoyed both the melee combat complete with cool customizable skills and the long-range elemental magic casting. Once you get accustomed to how everything works, you're in for a treat as fighting enemies is undeniably visceral and fast-paced with plenty of flashy moves, stylish camerawork, and satisfying sound effects that really makes the action pop.
Last but certainly not least, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin features an intricate job system that thoroughly impressed me. As you play, you'll level-up jobs then spend points on trees. At the end of most trees, you'll have the opportunity to unlock more jobs and there are a ton of them so you can spend hours upon hours experimenting to match your play-style. An aspect that goes hand-in-hand with this is the loot system. Although your character doesn't level-up, they become more powerful via the many weapons and pieces of armour that you find in chests and after defeating enemies. Not only is there a ridiculous amount of gear, it also changes your appearance so you can dress your characters up to make them look however you want which adds a layer of personality to progression.
To my delight, I had an impressive amount of fun with Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin. Thankfully, its awesome stage designs and intricate character customization component ended up shining brighter than the humdrum story and disappointing visuals.
- + Awesomely designed intricate stages that are reminiscent of Nioh's
- + Rewarding job and loot systems
- + Combat is both visceral and flashy
- - Graphics aren't all that great and some dungeons are far too dark
- - Unengaging story and characters
- - Steep learning curve for complex combat