It's Chaos out there. But you knew that already, didn't you? Team Ninja and Square Enix's latest baffling collaboration – Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin – launches soon, and today a slew of reviews from across the industry have gone live. And the scores osciallte as wildly as you'd expect for a mid-budget final Fantasy spin-off.
The world is no stranger (pun not intended) to Final Fantasy side projects; we've seen fighting games, rhythm games, Monster Hunter clones, RPG experiments, cart racers and god knows what else over the past 30 years. Now – finally! – we also have a Final Fantasy 'soulsborne' game from the deft hands of Nioh developer, Team Ninja.
But can this outsourced experiment in the Final Fantasy series live up to the lofty standards of the main series? Was Square Enix right to farm this game out to Team Ninja and let the oddball developer run wild in its mythos? Well, it very much depends on who you ask.
There seems to be a more general concensus that the game is a 7/10 – lots of the reviews listed below suggest that it does what it does well enough, but is definitely not worth it if you're just looking for a Final Fantasy game (and the level of story-rich content that comes hand-in-hand with that).
But there are also people that liked the title more – and less – than that. GamesRadar notes that a "low quality script and a poorly told story" take away from the "satisfying combat mechanics [and] job system", whilst RPGSite enthuses that it's "undoubtedly a fun chaotic romp that will delight number crunchers and action RPG aficionados".
My personal favourite review so far comes from Eurogamer, where the game is described as "flashy and trashy" and suggests the term Soulslite – rather than Soulslike – for this juvenile genre. I like that (just don't tell the 'don't call it Metroidvania!' crowd).
Take a look below for a round-up of the scores, and see where you fall if you play it yourself when Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin launches on March 15 on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Series X/S.
VG247 – 3/5: Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is a B-movie game. It’s loud, dumb, and full of fun. You have to ignore a lot – a lot – of issues if you want to extract the joy from its chaotic heart, but once you commit, toy around with the weapons, penetrate its poorly-explained mechanics and forgive Jack for his one-dimensional personality, you’re left with a game that’s part Devil May Cry, part Nioh, and part Face/Off. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to play that?