• World of Final Fantasy Maxima, an updated version of the 2016 Final Fantasy spin-off monster-raising RPG, World of Final Fantasy, was announced for a November 6 release on Nintendo Switch during the September 13 Nintendo Direct. It was later clarified that it would also be coming to Xbox One and that the Maxima update would be coming to PlayStation 4 and PC on the same day for players who already have the base game on those platforms. Originally released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, and receiving a PC release some time after, World of Final Fantasy stars siblings Reyn and Lann. Throughout the course of the game, this duo must learn how to capture creatures called mirages — chibi versions of enemies, monsters, and summons featured in the Final Fantasy franchise –, regain their memories, and defeat the invading Bahamut Army. Along the way, Reyn and Lann meet several champions from the Final Fantasy franchise, in their lilikin (chibi) forms, who offer the siblings their assistance.

While the original game received a mediocre reception, scoring mostly 6’s and 7’s across the board. In her review, Meghan Sullivan formerly of IGN said “a humorous adventure that is just too cute for words, but its combat and exploration aren’t diverse enough to support a campaign nearly as long as this one. However, I did enjoy it for a long time – more than 30 hours – before it wore out its welcome.”, while Heidi Kemps of GameSpot gave it a 6 and said “World of Final Fantasy feels like a game that celebrates the series’ massive legacy while also making it friendlier to a younger audience. Unfortunately, it stumbles in a few key places, making it more of an awkward mixer than the all-encompassing RPG party players might be anticipating.” While Maxima doesn’t provide all the improvements these critics would like to see, it does still add and improve plenty of features.

Battling and capturing — or imprisming — mirages is the main mechanic of the game, and like many other monster raising games, mirages must be weakened before they can be captured, and sometimes have other specific requirements, such as status ailments. Additionally, Reyn and Lann must have the correct prism to imprism each mirage, which can be gained by defeating a different mirage of the same species or by other special means. The Maxima update adds some new mirages, the ability to carry 12 of them in the party instead of 10, and a decrease in difficulty when attempting to capture the three starter mirages: Fritt, Bablitt, and Zapt, which are baby forms of Ifrit, Shiva, and Ramuh, respectively.

Mirages are also classified by size between small, medium, large, and mega. In battle, up to two mirages stack up with Reyn and Lann depending on what form the siblings are in, with their regular forms being large, and their lilikin forms being medium. Stacks consist of one large character, one medium character, and one small character. The player can have up to four stacks set up, with only two of those stacks going into battle at a time, one for each player character. When stacked, all of the characters in the stack combine into one unit and have their abilities and stats combined into one, but certain attacks can topple these stacks over and separate them, in which case one of the characters will have to choose the restack option to combine again. In addition to normal mirages, there are also Mega mirages which act as a type of summon, due to being too large to be put in a stack, and switch out with the mirages currently in battle until either the battle is won or they are released.

Champions are another type of summon and act more similar to those seen in other Final Fantasy games, using a quick flashy attack and then disappearing until they are summoned again. With the Maxima update, World of Final Fantasy now has an Avatar Mode, where Reyn and Lann will be able to transform into characters seen in previous Final Fantasy titles and will bring new characters to the game.Since champions are in their Lilikin forms, Reyn and Lann must also be in lilikin form to change into them, and other champions and mega mirages can’t be summoned when in Avatar Mode. Each Avatar Mode champion also has their own battle music and skills. This is a great improvement for those who weren’t satisfied with the selection of champions in the base game and the few that appeared later as DLC.  

But mirages and champions aren’t the only new characters you can add to your party. Reyn and Lann’s adopted older sister, Hauyn — also known as Wyn — can be added to the party once the main game has been cleared. Of course, the battle system doesn’t allow players to use all three human characters at the same time, so to use Hauyn either Lann or Reyn must be swapped out.

In addition to new mirages, champions, and a new party member, Maxima includes a new game plus mode as well some new content with a new EX dungeon and new bosses to fight. If you thought fighting against and unlocking the seven pleiades to unlock the true ending was hard, these new battles are on a completely different level. Besides being able to fight a stronger version of Brandelis, players can also battle against the divine being Enna Kros, who is said to be extremely difficult to defeat even for players who have been able to get their party past level 90. Other new bosses include the Immortal Dragon of Darkness from the World of Final Fantasy Meli-Melo manga and the snake-like boss Marilith seen in many other Final Fantasy titles. If these bosses still somehow seem too easy to take down, there’s also a new nightmare difficulty where even the weakest creatures become much tougher to deal with.

Most of what has been mentioned so far are battle related, but the new and improved Maxima update doesn’t just stop there. An item called “Treasure Search,” which makes finding treasure much easier, is unlocked after clearing the game; the “Sandstalker” minigame has been made easier to play; brand new fully voiced champion intervention quests and side quests set after the true ending are available for players to complete; Hauyn’s Archives, with additional information about mirages and characters, are scattered throughout the world, and a fishing mini-game with Final Fantasy XV protagonist Noctis with its own dedicated background music where you can even catch Leviathan.

The last added feature and one of the most important is the new secret ending, which has a certain set of special requirements to unlock. According to game director Hiroki Chiba, 100 percent completing the game is the most guaranteed way to unlock it. Chiba has also hinted that this ending may tie into a possible sequel — which previously was said to be written but not yet in development.

With all this newly added content as well as the improvements made to the existing content, World of Final Fantasy Maxima is the best way to play the title. If you’re looking for a new game to scratch your Final Fantasy itch, or aren’t excited for Pokémon Let’s Go but would like to try an entertaining title that has some similarities and still offers the choice of portability, then look no further than World of Final Fantasy Maxima.

World of Final Fantasy Maxima is available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4. While the base game is available physically for PlayStation 4, and World of Final Fantasy Maxima is available both physically and digitally on Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch version is digital only. Unfortunately, Maxima is not available on PlayStation Vita due to memory and hardware problems, but interested players can still transfer their save to the PlayStation 4 version and download the update there.

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Erroll Maas
Erroll is a writer with an enthusiastic love of Japanese monsters and the games which feature them, from Pokemon to Power Rangers to Pacific Rim and everything in between. You can learn more about this and plenty of other games and nerdy things by following @errollm

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