Let’s start this with some blunt honesty. I do not like Final Fantasy, I have never liked the games, the gameplay, the story telling or the design of the world. And if I am being completely honest “World of Final Fantasy Maxima” (WoFFM) was a present for my partner who in fact did not like it either. But I paid for it so here we are.
For those who don’t know, WoFFM is an updated re-release of WoFF, released 3 years ago. It’s basically Square Enix’s attempt to distil an entire franchise of creations into a single manageable bite sized chunk of nostalgia which I have distilled down even further in this bite sized review. It has a convoluted and overbearing story that is offset by a core gameplay grind of catching mirages (Pokémon, Digimon, call them what you want) which again in turn is offset by the grind within the grind…ugh.
You play as both brother and sister, Lann & Reynn from Nine Wood Hills. An antagonist comes along calling herself Enna Kros and tells them/you/they are special Mirage Keepers (essentially Pokemon Trainers) and need to stop an evil army blah, blah, blah by catching all the Mirages. You play simultaneously as both siblings to little consequential difference to the story or gameplay. You then get magically transported to a multi-biomed world called Grymoire where Square-Enix can stitch more past locations in for extra nostalgia an effect that was of course completely lost on me having never played a Final Fantasy game before. The story unfolds in a whimsical incoherent fashion of do this, and going there, and killing that till you go far enough and kill enough, the end (God I wish the actual story was that simple).
All the while you trudge through WoFFM ‘s story, you also battle and catch mirages. The combat is perversely complicated but humorous as you stack increasingly ridiculous sized monsters on your heads like hats. I liked this a lot, I chuckled.
You could unstack but there is never any advantage worth it, despite the game saying there is. There’s more elements and ailments than you care to remember as well as items. However, the difficulty is just not exhaustive enough to merit their existence. And while leveling up is all part of the enjoyment of JRPG’s, mid game becomes a standstill slog you need to push through as you acquire more and more Mirages. It simply ends up encouraging you to pick favourites and never experiment.
Overall, WoFFM has fun core mechanics that are unfortunately over-complicated and stilted with an unnecessary level grind. The world is pretty but not enough to distract from the droll and repetitive level design. The monsters are very cool designs with interesting abilities, even if a lot of them see no use at all. But my biggest Gripe is there’s too much talking, annoying broken English talking, like a metric fuck tonne of talking. Something I do not indulge in.