The response to Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is perhaps best summarised with a confused Tim Allen grunt.
Stranger of Paradise is, heart and soul, a Weird Unit. Based on the original Final Fantasy for the NES, its story is the kind of time-turney, alternate universe yarn that only JRPGs can get away with. The game seeks to rewrite franchise history by inserting a new group of characters into a familiar setting.
Over on Metacritic, Stranger of Paradise pulled in a 72 critical score and a 6.2 from users.
From 64 critic reviews across the PS5 version, only NME’s review was negative. The remaining 63 reviews were cleanly divided between mixed and positive scores.
Among the Aussie outlets that covered the game, Press Start, Checkpoint, Well Played, and Player 2 all had positive things to say, while Stevivor landed into the mixed category with a great many other outlets. The broad strokes of these reviews focused on the game’s strong, enjoyable combat but scratched their heads at its chaotic approach to narrative and character.
User reviews were more polarised, with few leaving a mixed review. Those who left positive reviews were mostly effusive in their praise. Many who left negative reviews appeared to be aggrieved Souls and Nioh fans upset that the combat had failed to meet their lofty expectations. Some had genuine complaints — Stranger of Paradise includes no Brazillian localisation, for instance – but were largely drowned out by gripes about graphics and combat.
But I want to know your thoughts! Did you play Stranger of Paradise? What did you think? Did you approach it as a Souls fan or as a Final Fantasy fan, and did its attempts to combine the two satisfy you? Does it, or does it not, feel like one of those games that will become prized in a decade when everyone has forgotten about it? Let us know in the comments below!