I recently inhaled Stranger of Paradise for the 3rd time on Steam, creating the most broken build possible so I could climb the tower (which I haven't actually started doing yet...). Anyways I wanted to briefly talk about one of the best parts of the DLC, which is the monster "raising."

Monster "raising?" In parenthetical? Yes, that is a thing in the second DLC pack for Stranger of Paradise, and it's extremely neat. As you may well know, Jack is a harbinger of Chaos, the man who lords over the various monsters that cause you trouble in Final Fantasy - your tonberries, your bombs, your coeurls, what have you. But we've never really known what a tonberry is thinking when we slaughter enough of them to make Austin Walker want to write an article about it.

That is, until this expansion came around.

In Stranger of Paradise, as you clear floors of the tower, you can give materials to monsters that hang out in the tower's lobby. Each of them has some reason to want to be around Jack - some of the monsters want a taste of his power, some of them want revenge, and others are drawn to your party members for spoiler-y reasons I will not divulge here. When you give a monster a material it gives you a buff for a couple of tower battles. But more interestingly, it gives you lore.

So much lore! Not all of it is important, but most of it is compelling. From a harpy that's trying to understand the nature of human guilt, to a coeurl looking for its mother, to a bomb that has very interesting information on one of your party members that completely recontextualize their part in the game's story, there are lots of interesting bits and pieces to uncover. Better yet, you can pick different dialogue choices for Jack to interact with the monsters too. It's nothing substantial – the choices barely matter – but they demonstrate a relationship between Mr. Skip Cutscene Garland and his lackeys that adds way more depth than I ever would have expected for the various basic baddies of Final Fantasy fame.

It's another interesting little wrinkle that elevates Stranger of Paradise far beyond the shitposting that's prevalent on the net whenever it gets mentioned. Don't get me wrong – I'm guilty of it too – but there's more to it than meets the eye. So if you haven't checked it out, get on it! You, too, can have a fashionista Molbol dress Jack up while telling him how to dress good to feel good. If that's not worth the price of admission alone, I don't know what is!

That's all for now! Got a favorite Final Fantasy monster? Let me know in the comments or on cohost!