Continuing on the hype train from this year’s E3, and as I’ve just played through the demo for it, there’s nothing I want more in the world right now than to talk about Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.

The first thing you’ll notice even before the memes is the graphics, which are truly awful. Final Fantasy XII launched in 2006 and looks better in every conceivable way, and an argument could even be made that Final Fantasy X from 2001 does too. Upon completion of the Stranger of Paradise demo players are invited to complete a survey from Square Enix, and while there was a lot I enjoyed about the experience I gave the graphics the lowest possible score at every opportunity. I have since been told that the build of the game in the demo was pre-alpha, but I’m still not convinced showing the game at this stage was a good move.

If you played and enjoyed the original Devil May Cry games then it’s good news for you, as the gameplay is basically that. The occasional tough guy quips the protagonists with names so generic I can’t recall them come out with fade into the background as I gradually learn to tune their voices out. The combat is very hack and slash-y with a good variety of options to suit any playstyle. I chose to flick between the sword user and distance spellcaster, which were the first two introduced but they worked well so for me that I didn’t feel the need to branch off, and I managed to get to the ending inside 40 minutes with a little exploring time in there too. Well I say exploring, as the environments were very linear, but with decent enough level design that I didn’t get lost or accidentally turned around like I have in other RPG / JRPG’s.

My favourite thing about the combat is the finishers, as the sound and visual design of them seem like they’ve been made to be ultra addictive. With a press of circle on the DualSense your character will grab a weakened enemy, form large crystals in and around the enemies body and immediately smash them against the floor so they shatter into a thousand pieces, which never got old for me during my play time.

Crystal healing be dammed!

The boss fight at the end of the demo was quite fun, but as we’re in 2021 and not 2001, battles against big guys in armour has been done to death by now, and aside from the games new-ish look at combat I feel like I’ve fought this fight a hundred times already in better games.

The main reason I’ve become so suddenly invested in Stranger of Paradise is for the memes, and whether you like the look of the game or not, it is undeniably a game whose trailer will stick in your mind for how ‘Chaos’ heavy it is. ‘I want to kill Chaos’ and variations of such are used so frequently throughout the two minute trailer that you have to wonder if the developers made it like that deliberately so it could be mocked online as part of the games marketing. Yes that does sound like a stretch but without the memes about the game circulating already I doubt the demo would have had anywhere close to the amount of downloads it has had.

Did you play the demo for Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin while it was available? Let me know what your thoughts of it, or the trailer and memes are down in the comments. The full game is currently expected for release sometime in 2022, and I’m excited to see and play more of it provided the appalling graphics are sorted! Thanks for reading and I will catch you again next week.

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