Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin – Trials of the Dragon King Review

Trials of the Dragon King Final Fantasy Origin Stranger of Paradise

Warning: Spoilers for the main game.

So, Stranger of Paradise got its DLC, a whole 4 new missions, 9 side missions, 1 new weapon type, 3 new jobs and 2 variations for each existing job, picking up the story right after the ending of the game where Jack and his friends start another time loop, this time as Chaos themselves, waiting for a true Warrior of Light to put an end to their lives so that the world may finally prosper.

It’s hard to say that nobody saw that twist coming since it gets shown in the first cutscene of the base game, but oh well, at least we get to see the Warrior of Light and Bahamut in action, it can’t be that bad, right?

Title: Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin – Trials of the Dragon King
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Team Ninja, Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows (Reviewed)
Release Date: July 20, 2022
Players: 1-3
MSRP: $30

Well, the DLC has some strange quirks to it, mostly the grind for equipment and the fact that it must be played on the hardest difficulty of the game, the latter doesn’t bother me a lot, but the former bothers me immensely.

It gives the exact feeling of hitting the maximum level on an MMO, and then realizing that the fun gameplay loop is going to now be accompanied by running the same content hundreds of times for the most minimal power gain, sucking a lot of the fun out of the game.

Further extending the MMO comparison is the addition of multiple currencies for character upgrades, on the base game the player had to unlock jobs through the skill tree and level them through gameplay, being able to use Anima Shards to speed up the process, now the player requires Rat Tails (A reference to Final Fantasy 1), Anima Shards and Dragon Coins, making the DLC feel like an MMO expansion where your old resources cannot be allowed to be useful anymore to allow for grinding.

Stranger of Paradise has a fantastic gameplay loop, so revisiting bosses in harder difficulties can be quite exciting, but the fact that you are doing it for no good reason rather than to see a small number increase may rub people the wrong way.

The base game comes with Story, Normal and Hard difficulties, having the Chaos difficulty unlock after beating the main game, which adds random equipment modifiers to rare pieces of gear. The DLC adds the even harder Bahamut difficulty, where players can handicap themselves for better rewards and will unlock conversations (and eventually a boss fight) with Bahamut himself, the DLC cannot be played on other difficulties but it does feature an “Extra Mode”, where you can play with an infinite posture bar, trivializing everything, however players will receive limited rewards for clearing content in this mode, making it somewhat pointless for anything other than story completion.

The most notable parts of the DLC are the Bahamut and Warrior of Light fights, Stranger of Paradise stays very much on brand with its dedication to fanservice of Final Fantasy fans, and both fights are flashy and fun, regardless of how soured the player may be after having to grind for so long to get to them in the first place.

Every job in the game also gets two variations, called Ultima and Evocation, each with their own changes for the main job ability, allowing for even further gameplay customization, however with that addition also come new layers of RNG, with affinity for each version of the jobs being added to the equipment, meaning that if before you had a 1/28 chance of getting equipment you actually want, now you have a 1/93 chance by adding the DLC classes with their variations into the mixture, for people who enjoy grinding out equipment with the perfect stats and affinities it can be enjoyable, but most players will just wear whatever so they can actually progress.

Upon picking up the newly added weapon type, the staff, players will unlock the somewhat forgettable Pilgrim class, which through its skill tree can unlock the multiplayer-focused Evoker job, both very lukewarm additions to the job roster, however, upon defeating Bahamut the player will also unlock the Summoner job, which allows the player to channel Bahamut himself, along with all of his moves from the boss fight.

All in all, for players who desperately want more from Stranger of Paradise it is not a horrible DLC, but it certainly does not respect the player’s time with its drip feed of content to keep the player going through an extremely long and boring grind of already cleared content.

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin – Trials of the Dragon King was reviewed on PC. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin – Trials of the Dragon King is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows (Through the Epic Games Store).


The Verdict: 5

The Good

  • Fanservice in the form of the Warrior of Light and Bahamut fights.
  • Summoner is a very fun and flashy job to play.
  • Revisiting harder versions of the base game bosses can be fun.
  • The new variations for the classes allow for more build variety and different playstyles.

The Bad

  • The insane amount of grinding for equipment, crystals and rat tails.
  • Having to replay big chunks of the game ends up getting repetitive.
  • Small amount of main story content.
  • Being forced to play on higher difficulties can be brutal for more casual players.
  • The added layer of RNG given to the Ultima and Evocation equipment on the DLC is maddening.


Fan of skeletons, plays too many video games, MMO addict, soul-like and character action enthusiast.

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