Released on new formats with a new name, World of Final Fantasy Maxima promised a fuller package over the game’s original released back in 2016.
There are a few additions, sure. But they’re barely noticeable after a few hours with the game. But it doesn’t matter. World of Final Fantasy was excellent as it was, and I’m just happy that we get to experience it on more consoles.
World of Final Fantasy released in October 2016 on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita – yes, the PS Vita was still enough of a thing back then to get a big release. A PC port of the game followed last year, and now, a year later, it’s also available on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch under a new moniker: World of Final Fantasy Maxima.
The Maxima part signifies the addition of a new avatar change system, allowing you to transform into popular Final Fantasy characters. More monsters and champions have been added too, as well as additional sidequests and minigames. There’s also a new ‘nightmare’ difficulty if you feel like playing through again with a harder challenge once you’ve finished the game.
New stuff in a game is always nice, but the real draw here is simply getting to play World of Final Fantasy on Xbox One or Switch. If you feel like you’ve had your fill of the game already on PlayStation or PC, there’s certainly not enough new content to warrant buying it again on a different format. You’d be better off buying the Maxima upgrade that’s available for those versions. I’d be pretty annoyed if I’d recently played it through on PC or PS4 to find it had been released on my choice format, but since it’s been over two years since I played it on PlayStation, I’m just about ready to jump into it again. And getting to play it on Xbox – or on Switch on the go – is definitely a treat.
Originally releasing just a month before Final Fantasy XV, World of Final Fantasy was always somewhat overshadowed; perhaps perceived as a bit of a novelty release in the franchise while XV was the Real Deal. It’s not hard to imagine why; with its cutesy chibi-style characters and overall childlike art style, it doesn’t look like a serious game. But as a fan of the older Final Fantasy games – VII and VIII in particular – World of Final Fantasy was always a much more alluring prospect to me.
Sure, in terms of story and character development, it’s not as deep as any mainline Final Fantasy game. However you dress it up, it’s a game built around fan service; the thrill of seeing all of your favourite Final Fantasy characters, enemies and summons all together in the same game, with new cartoony designs. But in terms of gameplay, it ticks all the boxes that more modern Final Fantasy games have avoided. The classic turn-based combat alone is enough to turn heads.
World of Final Fantasy also has its own unique Mirage system – whereby you can capture and collect the monsters you fight, just like Pokémon. It ain’t going to rival Pokémon Let’s Go, no doubt, but it’s a cool addition and just one of many reasons that’ll keep you playing through World of Final Fantasy.
When I reviewed the PS4 release of the game back in October 2016, here’s what I had to say:
Any classic RPG fan – whether an ardent Final Fantasy fan or not – would be wise to give World of Final Fantasy a try. Definitely, FF followers will get a massive kick out of the familiar names and faces, but everybody else will find value in the tight gameplay, incredible visuals, better-than-average story and brilliant writing and voice acting. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this engrossed in an RPG that I’m constantly looking forward to jumping back into.
Two years later, that still all remains true. The Maxima release of the game doesn’t add anything revolutionary, but World of Final Fantasy is just as much of a fantastic entry into the Final Fantasy series as it ever has been. More than anything, it’s just such a treat to be able to play it on any format we like.