Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin's luscious hair is ruining the game

The King of Cornelia in Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has been causing more chaos than protagonist Jack can reasonably kill. It's another classic Square Enix port, by which I mean it's filled with tiny technical hiccups and frustrating issues that make the game a total pain in the ass to play. But beyond the obvious hiccups, the game seems really poorly optimised.

It's one of the most visually inconsistent games I've played in a hot sec—one minute the game looks rather pretty and then suddenly it's like I'm being forced to play the game while my eyeballs are slathered in Vaseline. When the game dares to look anything close to a 2022 release, the performance suffers dramatically. People far smarter than me have been delving into why, and as to be expected it's because a ton of models in the game are horribly optimised for performance. So what's one of the best solutions to ensure smooth performance in the game right now? Grab the clippers and make them all bald. Yes, really.

As Twitter user @AkiraJkr1 has discovered, hair and fur turn Stranger of Paradise into a PowerPoint presentation. An early character's fur-trimmed coat alone managed to drop the game down to 25 fps. With an RTX 3090. Another early cutscene with dark elf Astos—who's sporting a gorgeous layered hairdo—brings the whole thing down to a mere eight frames per second. A follow-up video shows the whole crew with a buzzcut and a far smoother average of 30 fps.

It's not just luscious locks that are causing some issues, either. A ResetEra thread points out a series of tweets that call the game's models "genuinely the worst optimised thing," including "stuff like 30MB geometry for (some) common enemies." Even a bat, a common enemy type in Stranger of Paradise, sports an ungodly amount of polygons. One Twitter user claims that the bat has "triple the polygons" of Kiyru's model in Yakuza 0, which feels absolutely wild to me.

Reddit user MorrisonGamer has been creating a few tools that can help improve the game's overall performance, which actually includes making everyone in the game bald. If you can handle a bit of hair loss, it may be the most reliable way to play Stranger of Paradise right now.

Anne-Marie Coyle gave the game 72 in their Stranger of Paradise review, writing: "This trashy B-movie take on the series may be a little rough around the edges, but it's nonetheless an enjoyable and fascinating reimagining of the aged escapade that started it all."

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.