Stranger of Paradise DLC is locked behind the hardest difficulty level

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin's first DLC, Trials of the Dragon King, has just launched, and chaos has ensued as players have discovered that the new content can only be played on a newly-introduced difficulty mode harder than anything in the original game.

The base game offers four difficulty levels, including a story mode that's intended to let players "breeze through battles," and an optional casual mode toggle that does things like automatically reviving fallen party members and letting you block unblockable attacks. The difficulty tops out with chaos mode, which is intended as a post-game challenge you can only unlock by beating the main story.

The Trials of the Dragon King DLC introduces a new difficulty level called Bahamut, which is even tougher than chaos mode. Playing old missions on this new difficulty lets you get a currency which you need to use to unlock the DLC's handful of new stages. Since the Bahamut difficulty also ups the maximum gear level, it seems the new content is intended to give players who have exhausted the original game something fresh to do as they grind - but the decision is leaving behind Final Fantasy fans who are just in it for the story.

"I really hope they change this soon," Reddit user Baithin writes. "And I don’t want to just hear people say 'get good,' because that isn’t an option for anyone who is disabled or just doesn’t have the skill, desire, or the time to grind the hardest content. I just want to casually enjoy the story and have fun killing things." Even more experienced players, who've gone through the difficulty grind to get the game's highest-level gear, are finding the new addition frustrating.

The devs do have one olive branch for players who want to take it easy, with an "extra mode" for the higher difficulty levels. As explained in the patch notes: "While certain rewards are restricted, Jack can take on missions in a permanently boosted state, making it easier to play through the new storyline in chaos difficulty and above." But even that mode isn't exactly providing a casual-friendly experience.

Even the new DLC's marketing has been difficult, as players got rickrolled while trying to see the trailer.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.