Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin Steam Impressions

When I played through Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin on console last year, all I could keep thinking was that the script felt like someone found my seventh-grade fan fiction, tidied up the grammar, and embarrassed me personally by sending it out into the modern world. 

The gameplay, while fun, struck me as overly repetitive. The dated visuals didn’t help matters. I’m not saying I disliked my time with the game, because all things considered, I was glad to have played it, but I would not go so far as to say I was thrilled.

As the DLCs dropped, and discourse slowly but surely shifted from focusing on Jack’s cheesy lines to the game as a whole, I started to feel like maybe I had missed the forest for the trees. Perhaps there’s more to like about Stranger of Paradise than I had realized. It warranted a second chance. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to give it another test drive on Steam.

This time, it clicked, but my newfound appreciation has nothing to do with the reason I presume you’re reading this, which is to ascertain the technical state of the port. Not helpful, I know, but hear me out – I fell in love with Stranger of Paradise on a replay despite its warts, and it’s those warts I ought to address. 

In learning to love the bonkers cheesefest of a story in all its hamfisted glory, and in engaging with the deeper mechanics necessary for mastery of later content, I can strongly recommend the full package now, and as far as I’m concerned, PC’s a perfectly fine way to play. Yay! Thumbs-up and all that jazz. If you’re looking for a challenging and engaging Nioh-like with a Final Fantasy coat of paint and a story so silly it might just charm the heck out of you, go forth and purchase.

Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin Jack Attacking A Monster

But make no mistake: it doesn’t run well, and those who are especially averse to poor performance may need to rethink their potential interest. It’s not the most well optimized title I’ve sampled on this new computer over the past year; not by a landslide. My specs aren’t quite top-of-the-line, but they don’t just meet this game’s recommended requirements – they exceed them. Put plainly, per my own exposure and in conjunction with what I’ve read from folks on the net, leads me to believe that even if my PC was incredible, my problems would persist.

Multiplayer mode has such hilarious frame rate dips that, had they occurred during cutscenes, I might have written it off as intentional edginess. Soul Bursts, a vital component of the battle system, are especially rough on the engine. And while I confess I don’t have the best-trained eye for this stuff, I don’t think the game I played looked any better on Steam than PS5, so it’s not like there was any sort of trade-off. And it’s a bit of a shame that I ended up cranking down the graphics a notch to help maintain some semblance of smoothness, since they’re not exactly eye-catching even at max.

But that’s the thing – all of these problems felt familiar to me. Stranger of Paradise is just as technically dicey on PlayStation 5, and looks just as ‘last-gen’ no matter where it’s being played. It is what it is. I was already accustomed to it. If this will be your first time with Team Ninja’s Chaos-killing extravaganza, just temper your technical expectations. It’ll help.

I love Jack now. I love so many of the stupid things he says. I am over the moon with a few of this man’s lines particularly during the final DLC. I’d like you to experience Jack for yourself, and I think Steam’s just as OK a place to do that as PS5 and Xbox Series X. But I also think you should catch Jack on a solid sale, not just because saving money’s never a bad idea, but also because there’s a chance you’ll sour on the game’s slowdown and untidy image quality far more than I did.

Version Tested: PC (Steam)

Disclaimer: Review code provided by the publisher Square Enix.

About the Author

Quinton O'Connor Cats, curry, cafe con leche. Bylines include RPG Site, TheGamer, RPGFan, and that one time I wrote a passionate adolescent angst letter on MySpace. Twitter: QuintonWrites