Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin got well and truly dunked on when its first trailer hit the internet. Every third word was "chaos", the memes were flying, and lots of people wrote the game off entirely. But when the dust settled, we were all kind of left with the question....what is this game? Is it a Final Fantasy remake? Is it a soulslike? Is it a joke game? Well...now that I've played it, I can definitively say- it's none of those things. What this game IS, is a classic Team Ninja-style game with references to the entire Final Fantasy series....and one of gaming's most ridiculous protagonists. Stranger of Paradise really made me think about "the 7/10 game" and their place in the gaming landscape.
The gaming landscape is so full of games aping what makes other games successful that we end up with a lot of games that are of good quality but otherwise unremarkable. And then on the other side of the room are games like Stranger of Paradise, this year's Wanted Dead, and the like. Stranger of Paradise uses the setting of the first Final Fantasy game to give Jack space to cook, and cook he does. He's brash, he "doesn't give a fuck what your name is!" (actual quote of Jack interrupting a boss's monologue), and he apparently carries an mp3 player with dollar store nu-metal on it. All the while, friend of the show Tetsuya Nomura weaves a wild web of a story, and longtime fans of the series enjoy crystallizing and smashing Tonberrys and Marlboros. The result is a game that does swing and miss in some areas, but will leave a mark in your memory more than a lot of games that might be "better" but don't leave a lasting impression. So which of those would you rather play? I know my answer.
Joining me to discuss Stranger of Paradise is Eric Gess of The Unlockables and Keith Gasper of The Main Quest, two podcasts that are great and worth your time. The Unlockables is a dual-threat podcast talking to other gaming content creators about their gaming histories AND going through the entire Kingdom Hearts series to definitively make sense of the story. The Main Quest is Keith's personal mission to replay every game he has ever played and see how they hold up today. Both shows are great and well worth your listening time. Click the links to check out their shows!
You can listen to episode 71 of Tales from the Backlog (Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin) in the player below, or you can follow the links to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, Google Podcasts or search "Tales from the Backlog" in your favorite podcast app!