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Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin Review - A Hybrid of FF and Nioh?

Before the review begins, I want to reassure everyone that the difficulty of “Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin” has been lowered this time.

You see, not only can you choose four difficulties at the beginning of the game;

In the game, you can also bring two teammates with unlimited lives. Although they may be a bit lackluster, they can greatly increase their teammates’ desire to attack through “resonance”. “Resonance” is CD-based, and as long as you have patience, bosses can also be worn down with time.

Terrain kills, which are often teased by players in Nioh , basically no longer exist, although characters will still “dissolve” in various shallow waters, and they will also resurrect in place instead of returning to the previous save point thousands of miles away;

After nervously pressing the defense button and entering an open room, I always press lock first. After playing a few levels with this very OLD ASS mindset, I also found that there are few monsters hiding in blind spots and corners in “FF Origin”.

Death no longer has the mocking language of “you die” or any punishment. There are no resources in the game that have functions similar to “soul” or “essence”. You don’t have to consider how to upgrade or add points. Coupled with the PS5’s super-fast disk reading speed, there is no psychological burden for every death, and you can die immediately (as for how to improve characters, the following text will elaborate in detail).

Not only is there no death penalty, but after being beaten to death by the boss, there will also be a “strategy” outside the boss’s room, which clearly explains the boss’s mechanism and response methods. During the battle, your NPC teammates will also remind you how to deal with moves.

It can be said that after deleting several settings that easily give people a sense of déjà vu, “Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin” has completely gotten rid of the label of “soul-like” – finally looking like a game that “hopes you can pass it”.

Because this is indeed a very standard “Stranger of Paradise”.

Um… the kind made by team ninjas

On the one hand, the ninja team is still doing what they do best – polishing a great action game.

In “FF Origin”, you can use different weapon modules such as one-handed sword, short sword, giant sword, axe, gun, hammer, gloves, and tachi. You can also rest assured about the feel of the weapon. The operation and feel of the weapon are somewhat similar to “Ninja Dragon”. Even long weapons such as giant swords, axes, and guns can be easily wielded by the character, and various card effects can also balance the expression of power.

We can also customize the moves of each weapon and each segment like “Nioh”, add different effects of ending attacks in different light and heavy attack segments, and combine the front, back, left, and right of the joystick with regular combos to derive different attacks;

In “FF Origin”, a special system called “Mind Shield” has been added. Its basic function is similar to the posture slot in “Sekiro”. It consumes energy when attacked, and consumes more if not blocked. When reset to zero, the character will be in a state of long-term inability to operate and will be killed with one blow. If we use the Mind Shield to block the enemy’s purple attack, we can return the attack intact.

The Mind Shield is not just a defensive shackle imposed on player characters. Enemies also have Mind Shields. We can continuously attack and empty the enemy’s Mind Shield, and then kill small and elite monsters with one blow. Often accompanied by a very violent and bloody performance, even the BOSS only needs to break the Mind Shield twice to completely kill. Attack and defend around the Mind Shield, constructing the core fun of “FF Origin” as an action game.

On the other hand, “FF Origin” still retains its own “spiritual core” of Stranger of Paradise.

For example, according to different weapons, attacks can be divided into types such as slashing, hitting, and rushing. Attributes include wind, earth, water, fire, ice, thunder, light, and darkness. Using weapons/attribute attacks to counter enemies can quickly consume their spiritual shields. This means that we cannot use a single move like repeating the Three Thousand Wind/Dragon and Tiger Heaven in “Nioh”, but need to be familiar with the attributes, weaknesses, and mechanisms of monsters.

This game has also removed the core mechanism of stamina (remnant heart/circulation) in “Nioh”. Normal attacks do not require stamina consumption, but each weapon will consume mana when launching special attacks/command skills. Mana can be accumulated through normal attacks, and executing enemies with mind bursts can increase the upper limit of mana value within the same level, which is more in line with the playing habits of traditional RPG players.

If we were to say that “Stranger of Paradise” is the most distinctive system of an old JRPG, I think it should be the professional system established from the third generation.

In “FF Origin”, you can see familiar professions such as warriors, samurai, ninjas, black/white/red mages, dragon knights, etc., which can improve professional proficiency. The system of freely switching between basic, superior, and top-level professions is also inherited, and two professions can be equipped to switch at any time in battle.

If you haven’t played Stranger of Paradise, I can give you a few examples.

With the continuous accumulation of combat proficiency, the initial magician can advance to become a superior profession such as Black Demon, Red Demon, and White Demon, corresponding to the damage specialization hand, the mean can add some BUFF and pure auxiliary hand mage positioning, and the superior profession Monk and Red Demon proficiency are full. After the proficiency is full, you can unlock the most superior profession Tyrant , and after the proficiency of Red Mage and Knight is full, you can unlock the most superior Void Knight.

The professional proficiency level in “FF Origin” has to some extent replaced the character level in “Nioh”. The proficiency level of different professions will affect the character’s attributes, and proficiency level can also unlock various stages of weapons. However, this does not mean that “FF Origin” will be a game that requires continuous leveling, and the top-level profession completely crushes the lower-level profession in terms of strength.

Each profession has its own special ability (R2 key launch), such as the most advanced Void Knight, its special ability is to set up a magic shield, which can block the attack of most enemies. Press R1 within the duration of the shield. You can also carry out long-range sword qi counterattacks according to the amount of damage you bear, and the special ability of the swordsman of the basic profession is to set up a shield that can defend against counterattacks, and launch a counterattack automatically when attacked.

At first glance, the two special abilities are very similar, but they are very different in actual experience. The defense and counterattack of the swordsman are similar to a special BUFF. After adding it, it is very worry-free. During the duration, you can attack and walk back at will. If you are attacked, it will automatically counterattack, and the cost is that each use will consume a complete magic power. The boss who faces multiple attacks often has no time to buff;

The Void Knight cannot move during the duration of the magic shield, which is closer to the intuitive understanding of “blocking attacks first and then counterattacking”. However, the magic shield can continuously block multiple attacks from the enemy, and will slowly consume magic power during the duration, making it more flexible in magic management.

In different situations, it is necessary to use the special abilities of different professions to respond to enemy attacks reasonably. This balances the playability of each profession and the freshness of unlocking new professions to some extent. In addition, there are a total of 27 professions in this game, and it is obviously difficult to experience them all with just one playthrough.

Each profession is paired with many types of weapons to develop different gameplay. There are also very complex cancellation routes between normal attacks, special abilities, command attacks, and combos. “FF Origin” has a combat system that balances breadth and depth, ensuring the playability of the game.

Or it can be said that even if you don’t focus on the complex relationships between the characters, even if all the plot is skipped by pressing spaces, you can still be like the male protagonist Jack in this work –

Of course, my suggestion is that the plot of “FF Origins” is also quite good, it’s best not to skip it in a hurry.

In addition to being a milk powder work that the ninja group worked on after “Nioh2”, “FF Origin” is also one of the 35th anniversary planned works of Stranger of Paradise. If FF16 cannot be released within this year, it should also be the most prestigious one this year.

So just like the “origin” in the title, the story of “FF Origin” tells the starting point of the entire series.

Of course, I’m not referring to the producer Hironobu Sakaguchi who wanted to make music, the music director Nobuo Uematsu who dreamed of becoming a wrestler, and Shi Jinghaoyi and Tian Zhonghongdao who were forcibly arranged by the boss Gong Benyashi to be in charge of the world view and script. How did these people create a “realistic starting point” of a forced twist miracle?

But it’s the story of the original “Stranger of Paradise”.

Due to the limited capacity of FC cartridges, the first generation of “Stranger of Paradise” cannot be considered a good game from today’s perspective. The real plot is very short. The world we live in can be briefly mentioned with the phrase “an unknown continent of fantasy”. The warriors of light played are always sent to various mazes by NPCs with just one sentence. The plot does not explain where the warriors of light come from at the end. What occupies most of the player’s time is the boring process of leveling up and killing monsters, because only in this way can they defeat the maze with unreasonable difficulty design.

However, it still relied on a fantasy story that was quite fresh at the time, with the theme of time travel and reincarnation, and successfully conquered many players with an adventure that traveled through 2000 years. The part left blank due to insufficient capacity at that time also became the creative source of “FF Origin”.

The adventures we experienced in the game were similar to those of the first generation of light warriors. We met our companions in Cornelia City, saved the princess from the hands of Chaos Temple Garland, embarked on a journey to save the world together, fought pirates in the port, searched for the footprints of the elves in the forest , found the prosperous civilization of the Rufein people in the underwater temple, and liberated the four major crystals of feng shui, fire and earth from the hands of the four major chaos, facing the real enemy.

During the plot development of “FF Origins”, many mysteries were left behind. For example, the first generation of Light Warriors had four people and the crystal was angular, while in “FF Origins”, there were five Light Warriors holding black crystals. The male protagonist Jack’s “fierce” personality was out of place in a royal adventure story. When these puzzles were solved one by one at the end of the plot, and “FF Origins” was embedded as the last puzzle piece in the plot of the first generation “Stranger of Paradise”, the imagination was so great that people couldn’t help but exclaim that it was truly “Stranger of Paradise”.

In addition to revealing the origin of the first generation of Light Warriors in the plot, “FF Origins” also incorporates various jokes from the Stranger of Paradise series, which can make fans of the series smile knowingly.

It’s like Jack and others defeating “Garland” and rescuing the princess from the Temple of Chaos, accompanied by the classic OP’s silhouette of stepping into the vast world after repairing the Northern Bridge. It’s also a classic scene that was not deleted in the first few remakes of “Stranger of Paradise”.

Most of the enemies we encounter in the game also come from Stranger of Paradise, such as Lantern Monster, Cactus, Bessemos, Tiamat of the Wind…

However, the story of “FF Origin” is a derivative of the first generation, and most of the levels (mazes) are not high definition versions of the original work, but are copied from previous works.

The Snow Mountain is the Kimali Holy Mountain in FF10, the underground cave is the Shasta Xia Cave in FF14, and the Underwater Temple is the Magic Light Furnace in FF7… The BGM of each maze/scene is also a rearranged version of the original work. After completing the game, you will find that the main storyline level of this game has a total of 16 levels, which means that every generation of Stranger of Paradise actually appears in “FF Origin”.

The sincerity of “FF Origin” is reflected in these moments when emotions are full

Finally, let’s talk about the parts of this game that are easy to make people unable to continue playing.

For example, at the beginning of the review, it was mentioned that there was no monster with throwing skills and killing at the corner, which actually hid another information: this generation of map design has almost no design sense except for art, even more than ” Nioh2 . The mode of turning back and forth just to open a shortcut is simple.

Most of the maps in “FF Origin” only have two paths, one with some irrelevant items/equipment, and the other is the main path. So after completing 16 Main Tasks in a superficial way, I can’t remember how to run most of the maps.

In addition, the graphics of this game are slightly inferior to those of “Nioh2”, and there are some ghostly rotating angles when encountering corners. In addition, even the PS5 version has obvious frame drops, and several closed maps make me not want to experience it again in a short period of time. This is also the most deducted point of “FF Origin” in this review.

If the above points can be accepted, then “FF Origin” should be a qualified Stranger of Paradise 3 5th anniversary commemorative work for you.

Because I didn’t get the game in advance, I wrote this review after quickly completing the first playthrough and didn’t continue to experience the crucial “brush brush” gameplay in the later playthrough.

After completing the first playthrough, you can already unlock the new Chaos difficulty (second playthrough). It can be foreseen that the experience of “FF Origins” in multiple playthrough will still be infinitely close to “Nioh” – just like eating strange-flavored beans, after licking open the slightly painful outer layer, as the playthrough progresses, you will feel its high difficulty, main action experience, and FF-flavored compound taste. In the end, you will discover that the core of the strange-flavored “bean” is actually a fried peanut that can perfectly blend into most dishes (using equipment to make up a set).

It’s hard for me to judge whether it’s strange or not to mix so many flavors, but it’s quite delicious.

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