Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin Demo Leaves Me Unimpressed About Its Quality
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is an odd product all around. On paper, it should have been a great game, but in reality, it isn’t.
So far, Square Enix has published two demos for the game. The first demo elicited plenty of negative comments and reactions, which were subsequently addressed by the developers, resulting in the second demo. This one includes the original demo’s level as well as a new one. This demo also supports multiplayer, however, I did not try it.
The odd difficulty spike was one of the most frustrating aspects of Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin for me. I get that the game is intended to be challenging and that the boss fights are a test of your abilities, but there are some portions of a level where you just wind up dying after having been on a roll.
The second issue I encountered was with the level design itself. Because there is no minimap and the level layout appears the same most of the time, I was quickly lost and had to double and triple check to make sure I wasn’t going in the same direction twice. Because the opponents will just respawn, you may become trapped in a loop of fighting the same foes while attempting to figure out where to go next.
The first level is reasonably pleasant in my opinion, but with the addition of the second level in the updated sample, the design takes a turn for the worst. I had no idea you had to drop a rope in the level’s opening, thus I had to travel back and forth for about a half-hour before I discovered I had missed dropping the rope. It was just so simple to slide down from there that you might completely miss the button instruction to lower the rope.
Boss fights are fun, but I feel they are unfair. In the second level, we are immediately drawn into a fight with a Griffon Queen. By this point, I was playing the game on Action difficulty and while it was challenging, I was still able to go through the first level and beat the boss Chaos Advent. But at this point, I found it frustrating more than fun to try to beat the Griffon Queen miniboss. I had to resort to the Story difficulty (there is an easier difficulty below that called Casual) to even have a chance of progress from here.
I was also surprised to see such a terrible level design. The second level, which has been added to the demo, has spheres that cause various weather effects. One causes rain, which causes water levels to rise and trees to grow, opening up new routes, while the other causes the sun to shine, which causes the water to retreat and allows you to continue further into the level. This is a wonderful idea in theory, but it is poorly done here. I wanted the level to end so I could get out of this hellhole where you had to face some difficult creatures. Take a wrong step and you might fall off a cliff or edge.
I’m not convinced by the story either. To me, it feels stiff and awkward. Because of the primary character, Jack’s, edgelord personality, the conversation has become something of a meme. I’m not a fan of how progression is handled here on a world map, where you travel to each level and then go through a mission until you reach a boss battle. While there are some cutscenes, the writing is so poor that it is difficult to care about the characters. I, too, am not a fan of the character design, but that is another matter.