Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin review – One of the best 3/5 games I’ve played in years

I am unapologetically a fan of the Nicholas Cage and John Travolta movie, Face/Off. Something about the unbelievable dance between lawman and outlaw Freaky Friday-ing their way into each other’s lives is endlessly watchable, despite its shaky premise and questionable performances. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin might well be the Face/Off of games, then. It’s stupid, the performances are laughably bad, the levels are irritating, the gear system is convoluted, and the bosses flit between unmemorable to infuriating. So why the hell can’t I put it down?

I guess it helps that Team Ninja knows how to make a good action game. When it comes to how Stranger of Paradise feels in your hand, you can’t complain. It’s like scoffing a high-calorie, low-nutrition snack – it feels good, but you know it’s bad for your health. You handle Jack – an angry, single-minded strongman straight out the 00’s roster of edgy video game men – as he searches for Chaos. Because he wants to kill it. Naturally.

So you take your testosterone-filled avatar out into the world (or worlds, plural – more on that later) and start smacking things with swords, axes, maces, your fists and whatever else comes to hand in the moment. If you’ve ever played Nioh, the way the weapons handle will be familiar, but now you get to modify each one with a Dynasty Warriors-like special move at the end of each combo chain if your timing is adequate enough.

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