This is the last post I’m going to write about Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. I promise. (Unless I see demand for more.)
I finally finished the game a couple of days ago. It isn’t an especially long video game, but it took nearly a full month to beat because a) it’s a very difficult game. Much more difficult than I would usually like. and b) I had to take a Kirby break for a week and change. It was a very pleasant break. I really needed that zero-stress time.
Hachiemon (GBA) – Do you remember Hachiemon? I finally went back and completed it (let’s play videos are on the way). I am bemused by the fact that I wrote an article about it, but had only played the first two stages.
Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen (PC) – Like Hachiemon above, I replayed this for a YouTube series. But also because I’ve been itching to play it again. I think I liked it even more the second time around!
Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch) – Definitely in my top three Kirby games. It’s still too fresh to say exactly where it lands on the scale, but it’s a contender, that’s for sure. The migration to 3D worked out great, and the new features are almost all excellent. Such a fun, adorable game!
Ragnarock (Oculus) – There’s no story mode or anything, so it’s not really a “game over” kind of game. Also I don’t usually bother to include rhythm game here, but this is a new one. I really like it.
~ Progress Notes ~
Triangle Strategy (Switch) – Chapter 12
Stranger of Paradise: Final FantasyOrigin (PS5) – Terra Tortura
Cyberpunk 2077 (PC) – Looking for one Adam Smasher.
Rhythm games are a fun little niche of video games that seem to go in and out of fashion somewhat regularly. Dance Dance Revolution blew up in the early 2000s, while Guitar Hero and Rock Band dominated the latter half of the decade. I don’t know if Just Dance was ever actually popular, or if Ubisoft just spent billions of marketing dollars to make us think it was. Beat Saber was a massive thing for a while there, a few years ago. Maybe it still is and I just don’t follow the right socials.
In 2022, however, I have found the rhythm game that I believe must have been made specifically for me: Ragnarock. Picture this: a VR rhythm game about drumming, with a Viking aesthetic and a track list consisting almost entirely of metal. This perfect coalescence seems obvious on paper, so I have to wonder how it took so darn long to get it to market. The fact that it was released in late 2020 and it took me this long to discover it is equally mysterious.
Di you know that there are five party members in Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin? Because I didn’t. It’s just one of the many things that sets this game apart from its inspiration, and easily one of the most mysterious. There were supposed to be four warriors of light, one for each crystal. So what’s the deal here? Is there a fifth crystal? Is one of the warriors a fake? I don’t know! (Yet.)
But that’s just a vaguely-related intro paragraph. The real thing I wanted to write about today is a weird little detail that I noticed about the game.
I don’t often pre-order video games. When I do, it’s usually either because there was a pre-order discount or to improve the likelihood that Amazon ships my copy on day one (Amazon still does not always ship my copy on day one). Once in a while I will fall for the ol’ “you get some extra in-game items” ploy. I pre-ordered Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin because Square-Enix sweetened the pot by giving players who pre-ordered it access to the game three days before launch (and also some extra in-game items). It’s a silly thing to do, but it worked on me!
Now, alls that I knew about this game, before booting it up for the first time, was that it’s an action-focused retelling of the original Final Fantasy. Which is more than enough to get me on board! If I had to rank each numbered FF game, I would say that Final Fantasy the first would be the thirdst on my list. You should all know what number one is by now, but I’ll let you ponder which entry gets the silver medal. Hint: It is a hot take!
In late October of 2021, Grant Kirkhope released a remix album of the Banjo-Kazooie soundtrack. I didn’t know this until yesterday, four months after the fact. What even is the point of social media, if it’s not going to be letting me know about things like this? You’ve let me down, internet.
Banjo-Kazooie has a brilliant soundtrack, and one of the coolest things about it is how each level’s theme changes depending on where you are in the level and what’s going on. Re-Jiggyed really runs with that idea by taking most of the tracks though phases of different instrumentation. Chiptunes, shredding electric guitars, an orchestra of synths, industrial noises, wild EDM-style beats, a literal banjo and kazoo, so on and so forth. Suffice it to say, I have very quickly become a fan of this remix album.
Now if only Rare would Re-Jiggy the actual Banjo-Kazooie game…
I first played Final Fantasy Tactics in… 2002, probably? I don’t remember which one, but I received it as a birthday gift one year, and since then it has been the gold standard against which I measure all other tactical RPGs. I’ve played dozens of them, and I think that I’ve beaten maybe three in addition to the original FFT.
Since Triangle Strategy released a few days ago, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into why it is that I usually bounce off any tactical RPGs that aren’t Final Fantasy Tactics. And I’ve come up with a fairly simple answer: unit classes. For me, 90% of the appeal of FFT is being able to customize you unit’s jobs and skills, and that’s something that very few other TRPGs have done in a way that really satisfies me. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance might be the only other one.
Do you know Cthulhu? I’m sure that you probably do. He’s a very popular figure in nerd culture. But here’s the real question: do you know much else about the works of H.P. Lovecraft? Seems less likely, as while Lovecraft’s greater oeuvre is also popular with nerds, it’s not quite as ubiquitous as ol’ squid-head himself.
I’m no exception to that assumption. I have a giant tome of the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft, but I haven’t actually read a page of it. However! I do appreciate the mythos he created, and I’ve spent plenty of time engaging with other media that is based on said mythos. The most direct source would be the time I’ve spent falling down the rabbit hole that is the Lovecraft Wiki. But also people like to make video games that are strongly influenced by Lovecraft’s stories! Video games like The Sinking City!
Last week, I wrote a couple of blog posts that were spurred on by the news that Nintendo will be closing up the 3DS eShop. What I hadn’t mentioned was that the Wii U’s eShop is closing as well. It’s… less of a big deal. I think that I bought every game I wanted on Wii U while it was still Nintendo’s active platform. It’s not like there were a whole lot of them.
What I’m getting to here, is that there was also a statistics thingy for Wii U games on Nintendo’s website. Look at mine!
Vampire Survivors (PC) – This game is still in Steam Early Access, so it’s likely not really over, but I’ve won a few rounds and unlocked everything, so… yeah. You can read more of my words about it here.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus (Switch) – A complete revamp like this is exactly what the kinda-sorta stale Pokémon franchise needed. It’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s still so much fun and I hope that Game Freak makes another one in this style, but with just a little more polish. I was going to write a full review, but then wrote about potatoes instead.
Horror Adventure (PS4) – So bad that my PS5 refused to run it. Quite possibly the worst $2 I’ve spent on an indie horror game, and I feel like that’s saying a lot! The gravest sin it commits is having terrible controls: your character doesn’t always move in the direction you press the stick, and the turning speed is atrociously slow and cannot be changed. At least it only took 20 minutes to play through.
Banjo-Kazooie (N64) – I haven’t played this game since it was released on Xbox 360 back in 2008, and it was nice to re-visit. For the most part, it holds up pretty well, but some camera improvements would be appreciated.
Donkey Kong Land 2 (GB) – Perusing my 3DS library after the notice that the 3DS eShop is going to be shut down, I decided to finally play this. It’s the only Donkey Kong game by Rare that I’ve never played before. It sticks a lot closer to DKC2 than Donkey Kong Land did to the original DKC.