Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin Original Soundtrack


Review by · October 20, 2023

Whenever a series acquires popularity, it attaches a level of expected quality to itself solely based on said name. Final Fantasy is one of the most well-known video game brands in the world, and it’s no, pardon the pun, stranger to that high expectation. Spin-offs are interesting cases simply because the expectation for that quality is still there. Yet, it won’t always result in consistent quality whether that’s due to budget, time constraints, or a whole different developer. As a result, you’re never really sure if the game can reach the standard you’d expect from the series. You may get lucky and get a surprisingly high-quality product, or you get something very middle-of-the-road and of a lesser quality.

Unfortunately, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin‘s soundtrack finds itself in the latter category.

Stranger of Paradise‘s soundtrack is a sweeping orchestra through and through. Every single song, no matter how minor, is all orchestral. Normally, an orchestral soundtrack would sound like a wonderful thing (Dragon Quest VIII on the PS2, for example), and yet Stranger of Paradise runs into one problem. The music is…plain.

The catch is none of the music itself is inherently flawed. The compositions are fine, the performance is fine, and it certainly doesn’t make me want to tear out my headphones. No, the main problem here is that this soundtrack has little personality, and thus it’s unmemorable. Despite the 110 tracks and the nearly five-hour runtime, I found the more I progressed through the soundtrack, I wasn’t really finding any of the tracks particularly great or memorable. The whole soundtrack is one big blur of the same template, just slightly different.

Stranger of Paradise chooses to play it musically safe. It never dares to venture outside a narrow range for almost every single song. Soundtracks will often have repetition, as is the nature of the beast in needing to write a lot of music to cover various scenarios, but Stranger of Paradise takes this to an almost extreme. A few songs are motifs from other Final Fantasy songs, such as “Somnus” or “Sunleth Waterscape,” and while I found I enjoyed these songs a little more, I also realize that it’s because the song itself is already standing on the shoulders of giants as it is. I wonder if I enjoy the rendition of the song or if I just enjoy it because it’s a motif I already love.

I decided to do some compare and contrast by going and listening to the Final Fantasy XV soundtrack, which is also heavily orchestral. Despite its choice to be mainly orchestral in the same way as Stranger of Paradise, it has a lot of variety in its musical presentation, and thus every song has a feeling and theme to it; if a sweeping choir shows up it feels significant because it represents something major or important, and isn’t in every single song in a similar fashion, as in the case of Stranger of Paradise.

This soundtrack lacks heart. There’s no other way I can find to put it. The songs all blend together with similar instrumentation in each of them and no musical changes to truly represent thematic elements or changing moods. The composition itself is fine, the performance is just fine, but because it repeats this in nearly every track, it becomes boring very quickly, making the soundtrack to Stranger of Paradise ultimately feel mediocre and, arguably worse, forgettable.

For information on our scoring systems, see our scoring systems overview. Learn more about our general policies on our ethics & policies page.
Zack Hubbard

Zack Hubbard

Zack is known in his friend group as, "The guy who plays weird games no one knows about." He loves all kinds of RPGs, listening to soundtracks, and pretending that he can fluently speak and read Japanese, as well as play the piano or sing.