New Final Fantasy Game Brings Old World To Life, Lacks Character Development | Culture

The first Final Fantasy game was released in 1987 and spawned a legendary series. After 35 years of constant releases and remakes within the Final Fantasy franchise, I was speculating on the release of “Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin”, which was published on March 18. While the new storyline is refreshing, this installment of the franchise didn’t reach the level of character complexity that previous games offered, exemplified by the lack of memorable characters.

The story follows protagonist Jack Garland in the familiar land of Cornelia. Garland is on the hunt to kill a mysterious knight who takes on the role of antagonist, a title previously held by Chaos, a demon from the original “Final Fantasy” who disrupts harmony in the world. Garland is accompanied by his companions Ash and Jed as well as a myriad of other characters. Garland, Ash and Jed wonder if they are the Warriors of Light, the young people who will restore the world, as they are determined to destroy the mysterious knight.

Players can play in five different difficulty levels: Casual, Story, Action, Hard, and Mayhem, which are only unlocked after completing the game. Having different difficulty levels is nothing new for role-playing games because it allows players to have a more relaxed or more intense gaming experience depending on the mood. Player customization follows a skill tree familiar to Final Fantasy fans, where players can choose from two of 28 different jobs to develop.

There are 16 different main Pitches to explore. Some of these locations, such as Chaos Shrine and Cavern of Earth, are reimagined from previous games while others, like Mount Gulg and The Ancients’ Tower, are new. It’s fun to see what the classic Final Fantasy world looks like in 2022 graphics. Locations are filled with a level of detail unlike previous games, containing ruins and steampunk-like structures in a more futuristic setting. My favorite neighborhood is crystal mirage because it reminds me of Zora’s domain in “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” mixed with a medieval castle in which I would like to escape.

The world is filled with nods to previous games and world lore that litters the areas. For players who want to understand the whole story, be sure to look for collectibles, as they can be hard to find but are necessary if you really want to get the full story.

The only complaint I have with this rendition is that “Strangers of Paradise” doesn’t have memorable characters compared to previous games, like the “Final Fantasy VII” remake with beloved characters Cloud, Aerith, and Tifa. all of whom had developed thoughts and actions that brought them to life. I often found myself forgetting about – or even not paying attention to – certain characters because they didn’t leave an impression on me due to the lack of character depth. Although the cutscenes look great, sometimes I wish they gave me the level of character complexity to know what the characters need, what they want and what drives them to do what they do.

While I appreciate how Team Ninja and Square Enix can continue the Final Fantasy series, I think they need to keep the same level of storytelling as the other games. To say that Strangers of Paradise is bad would be a lie; it has a fantastic character customization system that fills the void for underdeveloped characters and familiar locations are polished with outstanding graphics.

I would recommend “Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin” to anyone who wants to get into the Final Fantasy franchise but doesn’t know where to start. The story isn’t heavy on lore, but can help newcomers adjust to the skill tree and jobs.

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