Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin’s HDR is awful — Here’s how to turn it off

Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is not a good-looking game. Its environments are minimally detailed, featuring empty rooms and basic backgrounds that make every corner of this world feel uninspired. Best of all, the game’s textures look like they belong on a PS3.

But you might be surprised to learn that the awful lighting that makes every dark scene invisible and every bright moment blinding results from playing with HDR on. For some reason, Team Ninja’s version of HDR within Strangers of Paradise means cranking the brightness and saturation up to such an unbearable degree. I initially assumed the terrible lighting was inherent to the game’s poor graphics, but after playing with SDR mode for a while, I noticed a considerable improvement.

Showcasing Strangers of Paradise’s awful HDR

Before we go over how to disable HDR in Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, let us look at a few comparison photos between the game’s HDR and SDR. I captured all images at the default settings of their respective range modes.

HDR off (Image credit: Square Enix)

The image above depicts the opening of Refrin Wetlands. In this image, Jack is standing in a shadow while a well-lit corner of the forest appears behind him. It’s certainly not a complex scene, but this moment looks quaint regardless.

Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin HDR is awful

HDR on (Image credit: Square Enix)

Now, the gentle sunlight behind Jack is harsh and blinding. Where this moment was once soft and peaceful, it has turned into an artificial nightmare with the saturation turned up far too high.

Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin HDR Is Awful

HDR off (Image credit: Square Enix)

The image above depicts a view of the elevator within the Crystal Mirage mission. The color reflecting around the room appears as a light blue, and the back of the room is dim but visible.

Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin HDR Is Awful

HDR on (Image credit: Square Enix)

The subtle light blue hue is now bold. The back of the room is a lot harder to see properly. And the details on Jack’s garments cannot be made out anymore. This scene is far more artificial than it was a moment ago.

Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin HDR Is Awful

HDR off (Image credit: Square Enix)

Also found in the Crystal Mirage level, this view over a balcony depicting a series of glowing blue crystals is certainly bright, but not overwhelmingly so.

Strangers of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin HDR Is Awful

HDR on (Image credit: Square Enix)

And now, the crystals are an entirely different shade of blue. And you can barely see anything in this room; it’s almost as if Strangers of Paradise’s HDR mode ensured that every light source consumed light rather than emitting it.

How to turn off HDR in Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has the worst HDR mode I’ve ever seen. I was subjected to six missions filled with awful lighting and oversaturation, but you don’t have to suffer along with me. And now that I’ve (hopefully) proven my case, here’s how to turn that awful HDR off.

Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

(Image credit: Square Enix)

How to turn off HDR in Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

1. Enter the main menu and select “Return to Title Screen.”

Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

(Image credit: Square Enix)

2. Scroll down to “System Settings” and select it.

Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

(Image credit: Square Enix)

3. Go to “Brightness Settings.” You should see the above screen with a bunch of HDR-related options. Click Square while on this screen to swap out of HDR mode.

Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

(Image credit: Square Enix)

4. The standard “Brightness Settings” screen should now be visible. Feel free to modify that slider however you please and enjoy playing a better-looking version of Strangers of Paradise.

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