Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Finale - Deep Lies the Snow


Dark tidings are afoot. It's the final episode of SoP and I still don't know what's goin' on.

With Princess Sarah killed and Jack's memories returning, he's overcome with grief.

At his lowest moment, Jack's allies TURN ON HIM. What is this?

What follows is this bizarre four-on-one fight where Jack has to fight all of his allies at once as they try to get him to unleash his darkness or whatever.

Neon seems pretty chill about all of this


Annnnd Sophia is dead. My God.

Neon battles Jack for a moment before being overpowered and slain.

Jack doesn't want to do any of this, but he's left with no choice.

Everyone disintegrates while Jack mourns. NOT LIKE THIS!

They all crumble away like they got Thanos snapped.

We get a flashback to one of the other timelines, where the crew is decidedly more evil-looking, welcoming Jack over to the dark side.

In our timeline he's just confused, and with his grief being what it is, the Darkness is able to overtake him more.

The Chaos Shrine is a building that didn't exist in previous timelines, and Mandela Effected its way into this particular one.

Annnnd that's where we're going next, the Chaos Shrine once again. It figures that the game would end up here, just took the long scenic route.

So Lufenia is basically the NIH?

Yep, these are definitely letters from Astos. Where is Jack reading them, though? IS he reading them? It seems like these are things that are unbeknownst to Jack, but knownst to us.

Jack is so overloaded with darkness and malice that Lufenian sensors are going off that he's infected by Chaos. He reaches the extraction point, and...

...the Lufenians don't seem too keen on beaming him up this time.

Matter of fact, things have gone so far off the reservation that they've decided to do a World Reboot, AKA resetting the timeline back to its last un-ruined point.

Jack has HAD ENOUGH and decides to murder 'em all.

Jack decides to embrace Chaos by absorbing all of the darkness...or something.

The darkness gathers, and it's time for our final battle:


...well, "Darkness Manifest"


Andrew W.K. plays on his walkman as he prepares to fight. Well, no, but it should have.

Not-Chaos is a formidable opponent, easily the strongest in the game. Finally, something worse than Tiamat! It helps that you have to do this fight one-on-one since Jack KILLED EVERYONE.

Jack leaps away from an explosion! Bad-ass!

A good shot of Not-Chaos. Yep. There he is.

A couple QTEs later, and...

...the fight's over, with Jack absorbing Chaos' power. THISH ISH...THE QUICKENING!

The actual fight is a really good one. Definitely my favorite brawl in this game, though Marilith has the best music. The sound in this one is no slouch either, with plenty of menace.

Now with Chaos' power, Jack loses his mind in a giggling fit.

He wants nothing more than to squash the Lufenians, but instead, he feels weirdly drawn to the Chaos Shrine.

He hobbles in, mumbling about Lufenians and how much he hates them.

Ultimately he ends up taking a seat on the throne of the shrine.

And then...the four Fiends show up! Except...

...it's actually his friends, now also fortified by The Darkness and able to turn into Fiends at will.

Apparently they all went back in time 2000 years, too.

What is even happening

They ended up here somehow, and warped Jack over to join them.

They're all happy to be reunited...and kind of evil.

Jack realizes new Warriors of Light are gonna be born and come after them, the same way they'd been doing. Now that they've broken out of the Lufenian cycle, it is THEY who are the Fiends.

I like Evil Sophia. Really, Sophia in general. Who knew Tiamat was actually gorgeous?

We get some weird innuendo-filled flashbacks of Garland with Sarah, like when he first let her handle his Orb.

And something about him whisking her away to an evil castle, IDK

...and so will Sarah?

I have nothing

Back to the 2000 years ago present, everyone's ready to turn into Fiends and, I guess, control the Crystals as a way to rebel against Lufein and shut them down.

He goes Full Garland, and gives us a solid quote to close things out.

2000 years later... The FF1 party shows up. Looks like Fighter (Warrior of Light), Red Mage (right), Monk (middle left), and...maybe Thief? Definitely an oddball group.

End credits, with "My Way" by Frank Sinatra playing. No, seriously.

We get another scene! I guess this is before the arrival of the four heroes, with Garland setting out to kidnap Sarah.

Yeah, it's the same scene we saw at the very beginning of the game. Only now it makes sense.

Well, "makes sense"

Garland spirits Sarah away to his dark castle, as promised.

So...he was Cornelia's hero, then got warped back in time 2000 years, then became the bad guy that he'd fought against initially?

Seems waaaay overcomplicated. Would have liked this story more if it were just a simple tale of Cornelia's greatest knight falling to the dark side through a series of betrayals and bad decisions.

Annnnnd that's it for this game. BUT WAIT!

There's a "Chaos Mode" you can activate now that adds a new tier of difficulty across the entire game AND significantly increases (by 2-3x) the stats on all of the equipment drops. Basically a harder run through the game. However it's also possible to farm a Chaos Mode stage for gear and then bring it back into the regular game, now-overpowered.

Here's this game's version of Ultima Weapon, which you get for finishing the story. Unfortunately it isn't the OP weapon it should be. It's better than anything else in the regular game, but Chaos Mode weapons can outclass it before long.

Then there are Master Points, and you can level Jobs all the way to 99 now (instead of 30). So there's a lot to do.

Not a ton of point in any of it except to make your party stronger and stronger to farm better items. I was going for the platinum so I did as much as I needed to.

All of the EXP crystals I hoarded and never used for the entire game REALLY paid off here, as leveling a class to 99 would have taken hours of grinding if I didn't have all these crystals. So protip, never use them during the story. There's no real reason to anyway, since getting level 30 on all of the classes is easily doable just from the story itself.

Very last trophy I get is "level a class to 99" and there's the plat, NOW I'm done.

There are a couple of postgame enemy-rush type brawls you can do. Here's the first one, "slay 51 enemies" with some of the tougher foes from the game.

And here's the other one, which is an actual uberboss rush.

And here are ALL the trophies. It's a fun platinum to get and doesn't take that much longer than beating the game, so might as well do it.

So final thoughts on this game? I'm glad I played it and I had a blast with it. Game surpassed everyone's (low) expectations. However the plot got way convoluted towards the end and it really didn't need to be that way. I still don't get it and I did a bad job explaining it, but TBH they should have kept it simple. The Lufenians being the shadowy manipulator bad guys (and having no comeuppance) was also weird. They're good (at least, I think they are) in FF1 so it stands to reason that they adjusted their way of thinking between this game and that game. But who knows, they don't say much in that one. Maybe we'll get a "Lufein Genocide" DLC. I don't know. But I'm glad to knock this game off and move on to the next thing.

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