the Final Fantasy has been Square Enix’s (formerly Square) flagship RPG franchise since the first game hit store shelves on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. Many of these chapters have served as the standard for RPG games in their respective generations. Even their derivative games, such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Crystal Chroniclesand even Final Fantasy World, met the high expectations assigned to them. Now in 2022 we have the latest side game in the series, Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origina (currently) unique game that takes us back to the world of Final Fantasy I to mark the series’ 35th anniversary. The unique element of this is that Square Enix did not lead the development, but rather Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja studio, the team behind franchises such as nioh, Dead or alive and perhaps above all, Gaiden ninja. Although it’s nice to see a change from Omega Force to do a hack’n’slash spin-off game, although Final Fantasy Warriors wouldn’t be a bad thing, how does this Ninja Gaiden x Final Fantasy style game perform? Keep reading to find out.
After the Final Fantasy The series didn’t compete for minimal system resources and didn’t have to compromise its vision of hardware limitations, it consistently set itself high standards for world-building and character development. Unfortunately, this is where I ran into my own hurdle to play the game. There is some meaty content in the narrative, especially in the second half of the game. However, to access these gems, you have to go through a storyline that starts out dry, convoluted, poorly paced, features unforgettable characters, and has almost no thrilling character development. As someone who loves video games for their storytelling components, this created a barrier that caused me to frequently quit the game to move on to another game I was more invested in. If you can work your way through the mundane initial narrative, then fans of Final Fantasy I will probably find the adventure worth it. Still, those after a substantial story will find more of the main line Final Fantasy RPG.
A sensible development approach undertaken by Team Ninja and Square Enix was to hold three public testing periods immediately after the game was announced. The changes between versions were notable, and it’s clear the team took feedback into account from the community to influence the final version, at least as far as gameplay is concerned. Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin features a good balance between the hack’n’slash gameplay elements that Team NINJA does best and the critical elements that are synonymous with the early Final Fantasy games. A Final Fantasy-style dungeon design, a robust job system with 28 classes to use – each of which handles differently, and satisfying yet challenging battles that will keep you on your toes are just some of the elements that complement the style. action RPG combat game. The components weren’t just integrated for the purpose of adding them, but adequately adapted and integrated to make them feel like they really belong in the style of the combat system. Combat runs smoothly, and the experience is only hampered by an overwhelming UI that attempts to show too much at once, and which despite the small playable cast, they haven’t been able to accommodate. the game to allow you more than three characters in the field at a time.
Players are entitled to a mixed bag when it comes to the audiovisual quality of Strangers from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin. What lets the game down is mainly the visual quality. There are elements that I love, from the amazing pre-rendered cutscenes and the inclusion of different graphical modes available on the PS5 version that I reviewed to the fact that all gear had unique designs that could be seen visually on characters. However, due to the convoluted UI, somewhat grainy aesthetic style, and lighting giving everything a glowing effect, everything felt a bit cluttered. With fantastic music and competent English voice acting for both main and supporting characters, the audio side of things was much better – with a stellar soundtrack and an excellent choice of Frank Sinatra’s My Way as a licensed track.
Especially for those who have the nostalgia and the love of Final Fantasy Ithere is a lot to enjoy Strangers from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin if you can handle the initial slowness of the narrative and some graphical glitches, especially as you get to the later chapters of the game. If you don’t, you might end up like me, wanting to progress but finding mental barriers to progress. But with the foundations laid down, it’s still an enjoyable game to play with plenty of Team Ninja innovations to make it a “Team Ninja game”. BUT with Final Fantasy”. I also think that if you were to take key story elements and put them into a succinct CGI feature, it would be a great addition to the Final Fantasy universe.
Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin is now available for purchase on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S both physically (select platforms) and digitally (all platforms).
A PlayStation 5 review code has been provided for the purposes of this review.
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