Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin Review - Chaos Incarnate

When it was first announced back during E3 2021, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin quickly became something of a meme, thanks to protagonist Jack's repeated insistence of his overwhelming, intrinsic need to "kill Chaos." It was funny because he just would not shut up about Chaos, but the marketing for the game never bothered to explain who or what Chaos was. The big takeaways from the announcement were: Final Fantasy, angry protagonist, Chaos.

But having access to the full game, somehow, adds almost no additional context to Jack's need to kill Chaos--at least, not until well into the game's 25-hour-ish run. In fact, for the first few hours of the game, Jack is literally walking up to every big, scary monster boss waiting at the end of every level to ask, "Are you Chaos?!" Of course, we proceed to kill them. And, usually, they are not Chaos. It goes on like this for a while.

This long, confusing digression about Chaos exemplifies the strange and somewhat bewildering take on Final Fantasy that is Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. This game is part remake, part reimagining, and part new chapter for the original Final Fantasy from way back in 1987. But it's a version of Final Fantasy with a lot of the Final Fantasy-ness strained out. What's left is a streamlined version of the venerated RPG series that is both a blast to play, thanks to its excellent and varied combat mechanics, and perplexing as hell on nearly every level.

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