Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin

This week in Zero Punctuation, Yahtzee reviews Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin.

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I’ve mentioned before that I like going into a game knowing very little about it. It was easy this week because I barely remember the fucking title of Stranger of Paradise. Even now, I’m going to have to verify that it wasn’t Stranger In Paradise or Stranger To Paradise, lest I incur the wrath of the preposition police. But anyway, the review code came down and I said “Ooh, what’s this game?” then two hours later, I repeated it with a different inflection: “Eurgh, what is this game?” The kind of tone of voice a doctor would use if they watched your endoscopy video and saw something with rudimentary legs and bat wings. The second half of the title could fill in some gaps: Final Fantasy Origin. The implication being that this game represents the starting point for everything the Final Fantasy series has done and has been over the years. And you know something, viewer, if that’s the case, that would explain a lot. Regardless of that, though, it’s not a turn-based RPG or even one of those hybrid systems that I always hate because they’re like trying to kill a giant scorpion while programming the microwave. , but a hack and slash dungeon crawler it’s a bit soullike. Ooh, you were late for that bandwagon, Final Fantasy. You’ll have to sit in the back with the tambourine players.

It’s called Final Fantasy Origin because it’s a retelling of Final Fantasy 1. Uh. Ostensibly. I mean, there’s a lot going on that’s reminiscent of stuff from that game, but it’s like glimpses of distant lands that you see adrift in a sick sea. The plot is about an extremely angry man named Jack who is on a quest to defeat chaos, though he means the whole concept of chaos or a specific person or monster with that name, though it doesn’t seem clear . None of this diminishes the single-minded fervor with which he pursues his goal, angrily asking every boss monster he encounters if he’s Chaos and cutting short all conversations with friendly NPCs if they don’t promptly provide the Chaos’ last known residential address. Not that Jack is incapable of having relationships, as he comes with two sidekicks named Ash and Jed who he met on the bus or something when they all happened to be carrying glowing rocks. I guess I assumed that the four Light Warriors of Final Fantasy 1 came together under slightly more epic circumstances than meeting through Glowing Rock Tinder.

Anyway, in Final Fantasy 1’s prologue, the four Light Warriors travel to a nearby castle to rescue the kidnapped Princess Sara from the corrupt knight Garland. And Stranger On Top Of Paradise seems to do much the same thing until you defeat Garland at the end of the first dungeon, at which point Garland transforms into a girl wearing only a basketball jersey who explains that she was also on a quest to defeat Chaos but decided Chaos doesn’t exist and so prayed Chaos to become Chaos and be defeated, but now that she has been defeated she has failed in a way or another. And that was precisely the first moment that made me wonder what the fuck the game was about, by no means the last. She joins the party and it turns out her name is Neon. Oh, I said. Jack, Ash, Jed and Neon, is this a clever riff on how the original game only allowed you to enter names up to four letters long? “Maybe. Anyway, here’s your fifth party member, Sophia. Well fuck you, game. Incomprehensible is a pretty strong word, there’s a lot about the story that doesn’t tell you. isn’t told right off the bat, so maybe more context would help, but it kind of feels like every character spends every scene of dialogue standing there throwing meaningless trash at each other.

And this game certainly loves dialogue scenes. He forgot the very important rule of the show, don’t talk complete bullshit. The four Warriors of Light gather in the throne room of a king who appears not so much to dress as to crouch, and he tasks them with purifying the four elemental crystals. So they do that, then come back to the throne room where the same king, who hasn’t moved, says, “What have you done? The apocalypse is on! Just offscreen! If you don’t believe me, ask this mob of angry townsfolk made up of ten cut-and-pastes of the same dude. Would I be right in assuming that Stranger In The Vicinity Of Paradise was scaled down a bit during development? I guess it was going to have a complete overworld with towns you can explore full of NPCs who all say a very unremarkable phrase when you press their head. And all of that was cut because the final game is a linear sequence of battle dungeons and cutscenes that you choose from a goddamn menu that they draw a map on so you can pretend it’s an overworld. And I guess they had already written the NPC dialogue because rather than letting it get lost, they stuck a submenu at the bottom of the map screen where you can click on a name on a list to be subjected to one of the stuck townspeople. an insipid report on the current state of the plot.

Very useful function if you have breast cancer and you will only survive by boring your own breasts. The budget cuts also affected battle dungeons to some degree, as so much of them consist of identical copy-and-paste hallways, I constantly turned around and confused. If you want to know where all the money went, I’d bet on the weapons and armor department. You’re constantly inundated with new gear, each piece of which is lovingly crafted and attached to your character model, even in cutscenes, ensuring the Light Warriors constantly look like they’re going to a costume party like the donation bin in front of a second-hand kitchenware store. I wonder if the people doing the facial animation for the cutscenes knew that the actors would be wearing face masks most of the time. I also wonder if the coffee machine in the armor department has ever contained piss. Oh the fights? Yeah, whatever, it’s fine. Light attack, heavy attack, dodge, block, other, best type of block that powers your special attacks. There’s a very Final Fantasyesque job system that creates the usual paradox – you pick your favorite job, max its level to make it as efficient as possible, then you don’t want to use it anymore because all the shittier jobs have need to be upgraded as well.

But the combat got a little better after unlocking a few tier 3 jobs and making a conscious decision to stop giving a fuck. I mean, all magework is awful because using the spellcasting UI in the heat of battle is like parallel parking a hippo with a dodgy gearbox. You also have two NPC sidekicks. The whole plot revolves around the world being saved by FOUR light warriors, but they were probably hoping we wouldn’t report it. So you pick two of your four NPC friends and it doesn’t matter which ones you can’t control them and they’re all equally good at being meat pinatas that enemies can hit for you. That said, they did have some useful tips in the boss fight with the undead dragon that kept poisoning me. They said, “You better cure that poison.” Except there’s no way to cure the poison. I checked. No spell will do this and the only consumables are the 5 health potions which are refilled at checkpoints so unless there is a juice enema clinic on the other side of the arena I never noticed, I don’t know what they’re talking about. Another thing that got cut I guess. So overall I wouldn’t recommend Stranger Along The Lines Of Paradise. Square Enix, who on earth would buy something with such glaring lack? Seriously, do you know? I’m trying to find a buyer for several pairs of my old briefs.