Stranger of Paradise’s hero might be on a single-minded mission to find and kill Chaos, but the journey is more complicated than just punching dark knights in horned helmets. The job and combat systems are multi-layered, each mission has a handful of valuable rewards hidden behind dangerous enemies, and you’ll need to keep up with several jobs if you want to avoid getting overwhelmed. Here are our beginner tips if you're diving into the latest Final Fantasy game.
Stranger of Paradise tips
Stranger of Paradise overloads you with information during the first few missions. Between jobs, weaknesses, MP skills, and more, there’s a lot to keep track of, and that’s before even considering the things Stranger of Paradise doesn’t tell you. You’ll gradually develop your own rhythm as you go along, but these tips take away some of the learning pains.
Defeat the Cactuar
Each mission has one Cactuar tucked away in a side room or other out-of-the-way area. They’re fast and potentially deadly, but you should always try and defeat them. Cactuar grant a substantial amount of experience towards your current jobs, though their 1,000 Needles move can decimate your party if it connects. Unlike other enemies, Cactuar prefer fleeing over attacking, so you should be able to defeat them before they use the move.
Brave the Tonberry
Each stage has a Tonberry as well. These drop rare or high-level gear, or both, but the catch is Tonberries are exponentially more dangerous than Cactuar. They have several one-hit kill moves they use frequently, high HP, and a break meter that seems to reduce more slowly than that of other enemies.
If you’re still early in the game, your best bet for dealing with the foe is switching Jack to the Mage class. This lets you attack from a distance, which makes dodging the Tonberry’s ranged moves easier. If you use Aeroga, the fully-charged Aero spell, it keeps Tonberry from attacking for several seconds and significantly reduces its break meter. Follow up with some mace attacks to finish the fight.
Charge your spells
It’s easy to overlook this tidbit in the glut of tutorial information, but you can access high-level spells such as Firaga as soon as you unlock the mage class. Hold the cast button instead of releasing it, and you’ll charge the spell up to three levels. It’s not a wise choice if you’re surrounded by enemies, but it’s excellent for targeting elemental weaknesses and distant foes.
It’s dangerous to go alone
Let Ash, Jed, and the rest of the party take the brunt of the damage when you can, especially if you need to use magic. The game ends if Jack dies, but you can revive your party members with a single potion. Press the face buttons to activate their more aggressive stance during tough fights or battles against multiple foes. This gives you the freedom to either take down already weakened foes, attack from a distance, or deal with a separate enemy without distraction.Each job has an extensive tree with skills and passive buffs, and it's worth leveling more than one at a time.
Switch jobs often
Changing jobs is more important than usual in Stranger of Paradise. Most stages expect you to handle multiple types of threats on the fly, which means you’ll need to level up several jobs or risk being at a severe disadvantage. Anima gives you a free job level, so consider using those to level up jobs you’re not actively using in combat.
Don’t neglect your job tree
Make sure to frequently check your job trees at the save cubes. Some job skills are basic, such as increasing affinity, but they’re necessary for unlocking better combos and getting the most out of your equipment--another reason why it’s important to swap jobs often. If you redeem an ability further down the job tree, it automatically unlocks the nodes before it. It’s sometimes worth holding off on an ability just to save the job points later on.
Always boost affinity
Stranger of Paradise doesn’t explain the job affinity system very well, but it’s an important consideration when you’re changing equipment. Boosting job affinity to 50% and higher unlocks new passive abilities. They’re usually less flashy than your spells and new combos--a boost in critical hit damage for the Duellist, for example--but they make playing as that job easier and more satisfying. If a piece of equipment gives you higher job affinity, always prioritize that over one with a better perk or slightly higher stats.
Use Soul Shield judiciously
Soul Shield is one of Jack’s best tools, one that blocks attacks and reduces the enemy’s break gauge. The game encourages you to use it frequently, but a regular block or just relocating out of range is often a wiser choice early on. Soul Shield saps Jack’s MP rapidly, which leaves you temporarily with no way to use special or stronger attacks. You’ll need to time the Soul Shield block well to avoid wasting MP or find a different way to strike back.
Adjust the difficulty
A lot can happen between Stranger of Paradise’s checkpoints. If you get fed up dealing with the same mobs or dying at the last minute of a boss fight, crank the difficulty down. You can adjust it at any point, so you’re free to tweak the game to suit your needs.