Explore exciting new worlds in a brand new take on a classic RPG franchise. The traditional mechanics of a Final Fantasy game receive a innovative twist in this fun and endearing spin-off. Experience a whole new way to play with World of Final Fantasy Maxima for Xbox One.
World of Final Fantasy Maxima for Xbox One Details
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Tose, Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Role-playing game
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Familiar foundation of combat
If you’re a fan of the franchise, then the core of World of Final Fantasy Maxima‘s combat will be easily recognizable. The action is turn-based, with members of your party trading blows against enemies at your command. All the usual attacks, spells, items, and other staple Final Fantasy fare are at your disposal.
Depending on your comfort and familiarity with the game, you can speed the action up by choosing to input commands in real time. This means that if your turn comes up and you haven’t made a move, the battle will continue regardless. This is an excellent way to optimize your time with World of Final Fantasy Maxima once you master the core gameplay. It’s definitely not a recomendable way to go when you first start out though.
Becoming a collector
So far it all sounds like a familiar Final Fantasy experience. This is where the big twist in World of Final Fantasy Maxima comes in though. Outside of your core group of two protagonists, you will not add other human party members. Instead you will shore up your ranks by capturing the very creatures you are battling.
World of Final Fantasy Maxima adopts a Pokemon-esque mechanic of “imprisming” foes that you encounter. These enemies will become your own teammates, allowing you to choose from hundreds of possible combinations in battle. Creatures will level up alongside you in combat, and growing in both strength and numbers is what will ensure success in the game’s later challenges.
Stack ’em up
Naturally the roster of monsters available for capture are drawn from across the history of the franchise. As they level up in battle they will become stronger, develop new skills, and even morph into more powerful versions of themselves. Of course this sounds like a page straight from the Pokemon playbook—and it certainly isn’t disguising the fact—but World of Final Fantasy Maxima does try to combine the mechanic with others in new ways.
Using a combination of the core protagonists and their creature counterparts, players will form “stacks”. Stacks are the combat formations on which the game is ultimately dependant. By stacking together combinations of small, medium, and large creatures, players will gain an exceptional amount of control and customization over their combat layout.
Stacking your team creates different dynamics and unlocks new potential in your party. Experimenting with different stacks is very rewarding, and ultimately allows you countless options to build a team that best suits each situation. But just who are the protagonists running around capturing all these magnificent creatures?
Meet the twins
The story of World of Final Fantasy Maxima revolves around Reynn and Lann. The twin brother and sister wake up in a strange world with a bad case of amnesia. What follows is their quest to unravel the missing truth behind their past, and the very nature of this odd place.
Not only can you switch between leading the party with either twin, you can also change their appearance. The lands that Reynn and Lann travel to take on a miniature “chibi” art style and appearance, and the pair soon find their own appearance reflecting the same style.
You can bounce between the twins “normal” and “miniature” appearance at will. The best part however is that depending on their size, Reynn and Lann can take on different roles in the “stack” during combat. This means even more possibilities when creating the perfect party.
A true world of fantasy
The “world” in question is Grymoire—a magical land teeming with adventure and interesting characters. Although World of Final Fantasy Maxima doesn’t tie directly into any of the core Final Fantasy games, Grymoire is brimming with familiar characters and lore from the hallowed franchise. It’s an amalgam of fan service that exists as an excuse to mash together all the best characters and locations from across the history of Final Fantasy.
The game almost certainly draws some inspiration from the literary classic “Gulliver’s Travels”. Like Gulliver, our heroes find themselves marooned in a realm of the fantastic. The juxtaposition that adds to its absurdity is evident in the people themselves—from the miniature “Lillikins” (see Lilliputians), and the contrasting “Jiants”. This idea meshes perfectly with the idea of creating a world where the breadth of Final Fantasy lore can co-exist.
A new perspective?
World of Final Fantasy Maxima doesn’t disguise the franchises it borrows from—for better or for worse. It takes a number of familiar mechanics and puts them together in a very satisfying way, but perhaps it could have made a more vigilant attempt to dress them up as unique. There’s surely more than one way to trap a monster, but the act of “imprisming” does very little to distance itself from being a blatant take on using a Pokeball in Pokemon.
Still, when considering the game as a whole, there’s no denying that the gameplay is sound. It’s easy to put dozens of hours into exploring Grymoire and not tire of the journey.
World of Final Fantasy Maxima is a refreshing spin-off of a classic series
One thing World of Final Fantasy Maxima does very well is find the balance of classic Final Fantasy gameplay with enough of a twist to make for something exciting and different at the same time. While many ideas in the game are far from original, when put together they make for a fun and refreshing twist on the franchise. Ultimately World of Final Fantasy Maxima best succeeds at providing a solid foundation for an excuse to mash up the lore of so many great games into a single fantastic world.
+ Lots of party customization options
+ Huge mashup of lore from titles across the franchise
+ Balance of classic gameplay and new mechanics
– Doesn’t try hard enough to differentiate itself from some of its inspirations
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY MAXIMA
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5