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WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY MAXIMA review
Meh
by Basilio Guzmán Gómez

World of Final Fantasy Maxima PC Review (Finished on 10/10/2020)

Pros

+Good story.

In what appears to be a quite simple tale on the surface, it turned out to be a decent story with even some reflections to do. The story tells the tale of two brothers, Lann & Reynn, twins considered the jiants of the hill from a prophecy called the azure prophecy, one that speaks about how the jiants of the hill can either lead the world to salvation or to ruin, and in the process to save their parents which are somehow missing but they can’t even remember what happened with them, as they wonder why they live in a world where time does not flow, why they were chosen to lead the world they live, Grymoire, into salvation or ruin and what is the cost they need to pay for both the mistakes they made and how to correct them.

The game portrays the values of parenting, the weight of the responsibilities of every decision taken and how they affect the ones surrounding us, the causes and consequences of understanding one knows enough when is not the case, plus its learning process and many critical topics people need to pay attention as the story helps the individual to reflect deeply how we can be better humans and how willing we are in to make the change needed for it to become a reality.

+Good sound effects and voice acting.

The level of work done in this game in terms of sound appreciation is one of the strongest points. The game offers voice conversation for every single NPC and every moment of the game, on top of the good performance of the participation of the voice actors with talents like Josh Keaton as Lann, Amanda Leighton as Reynn, Cassandra Lee Morris as Enna Kros, Eden Riegel as Hauyn, Brooke Lyons as Princess Sarah, Hedy Burress as Yuna, Mimi Torres as Refia and many more. The fidelity of the sound effects found within the game is a good offering, as every single effect provides good quality and sound positioning.

+Good visuals, UI, and graphics.
The game was rendered using Silicon Studio’s Orochi 3 engine, making it possible to achieve the cartoony but overall high detailed presentation of the game. The modeling and animations of the jiants and mirages exhibit noticeable attention to detail, even the animations were developed correctly. While the lilikins sports a chibi-like appearance, rendering all lilikins a carbon copy of each where only the hair and clothes make the difference, the rest of the game contains very detailed levels offering a good mix of good effects projection and good rendering of the layout of the levels.

The user interface offers a clean presentation, with a Runic MT font characteristic of the series but polished to match the game moments where events like winning a time attack challenge within the coliseum, the navigation of the menus, the dialog between the characters are presented with the correct sizing and very charming color selection. The cutscenes were also well developed, as they did a mix of in-game rendered cutscenes and anime-style videos to offer appealing ways of telling the story, without any visible issues shown.

+Many useful features to use and learn about the game.

The game offers very good tutorials to explain all possibilities in terms of gameplay and information within the game and stores it within an option called the Tip Jar, which is like a glossary like option containing everything in terms of information about the pertinent information on how to play and understand the game. It also contains options to disable the random encounters, to enable free usage of AP without consumption, and free summoning of champions without using the bar designated for such function. The game supports proper compatibility between keyboard/mouse and controllers, seamlessly switching between both as soon as the input is pressed in the peripheral in question. After completing a battle, all the experience is shared across all the mirages within your lineup without any special option to be activated or any items equipped.

+The multiplayer and the coliseum add variety to the game.

A game where collecting monsters is one of the main features can be complemented with proper multiplayer support, as it is the case with this game. World of Final Fantasy supports PVP online multiplayer with your Steam friends, something found in games like Pokemon. Another important feature is the addition of the coliseum, a mode where players can battle in a normal or time attack formats, all the mirages found within the game, enabling players another way of capturing mirages.

The only two downsides of such modes are that the multiplayer does not support cross-platform and the coliseum will only show you all the battles after completing everything the game offers in terms of intervention battles and the main story itself.

Neutral

+-The focus on collecting mirages.

In tandem with the main story, the collection of the many mirages within the game is one of the strongest highlights of the game, as it benefits the player with many setups and combinations of stacks and abilities to approach the many layers of battles within the game and can also grant the player with new abilities as more mirajewels with said abilities are obtained from the mirage boards of those collected, which everything previously mentioned is good, but the part that you need to complete the game in order to obtain all mirages and here is where the gray area lies, as many players will agree to continue the collecting aspect even after finishing the game, whether they use or not the multiplayer game mode but other players focused for the story solely will not find any reason if the game already ended and don’t find interest in the multiplayer aspect of the game.

+-The quality of the OST is debatable. (Soundtrack available in Spotify and other streaming/stores services)

Square Enix has a reputation for delivering excellent music, but this title’s repertoire of songs varies its quality to some degree. While many of the original’s songs of the game, alongside the remade ones from the previous game called Prismelodies were iconic, with examples such as Prismelody: Those Who Fight, Prismelody: Eternal Wind, Unhappy Melody, Silent World, others such as Prismelody: Clash on the Big Bridge -E-, Another World of Battle, Comical Melody were good but not to the degree of excellence many of the songs were found within its collection, something audiophiles and final fantasy audio fans may or may not find interesting to differ in opinion.

+-The side quests and its implementation. Maxima has two types of side quests, one is the intervention battles which can be accessed by visiting the girl in the team room and upon exchanging items called arma gems, players can expand the story of the game relieving moments of the main story before or after the arrival of the twins upon specific segments involving only the champions of the game, as this intervention battles are tied to the main story. The second kind of quests is called mini-adventures, which are errands found across all maps within Grymoire where certain NPC will have a question mark above their heads which are completing after meeting the requirements of such quests.

The problem with this implementation is that is while the intervention battles were an excellent addition, not just helping understand what happens with the champions when they are not with the twins but every single event is tied to the main story, the same cannot be said about the mini adventures, as they are only generic errands that do not impact the story in any way, resulting in time waster events where the developers could have used such quests to keep expanding into the story.

Cons

-Game completion needed to unlock all difficulties and dungeons.

A mistake committed in many games, all difficulties can only be unlocked after the game completion while they instead they needed to be unlocked from the start, letting the players experiment with the game in the difficulty suited for their preferences, as also the extra dungeons were unlocked after a game completion when they should let players access such dungeons before reaching the end of the game.

-Many features offered in terms of gameplay only to be limited by traditional turn-based gameplay.

World of Final Fantasy Maxima offers a traditional Turn-Based RPG where the units of the player and enemies are dictated by their proprietary Active Time Battle system (ATB), in which after a sole action per unit has been made, it needs to wait for their turn after a brief moment before acting again. Different from other Final Fantasy games, Maxima introduced a system called Stacking, where the mirages can be piled up in a vertical formation one on top of the other, mixing all the stats and abilities into a single unit which can also be un-stacked to deploy three units to the field per protagonist, so let’s say Lann stacks two more mirages and he decides to un-stacked them, the game will turn those unstacked mirages as playable units with their respective turns and abilities, resulting in 6, 5, 4, etc., units in the field depending the mirages stacked. Both enemies and controllable units can suffer from all the status ailment found in previous final fantasy games such as oblivion, confusion, poison, doom, etc., but new to this game, a stacked unit can also suffer from toppling, a status that forcibly un-stack the mirages merged after receiving consecutive damage as shown in a bar above their head which display the stability in question.

Different to many final fantasy games, Lann & Reynn does not obtain new abilities by leveling but by obtaining mirajewels, active and passive abilities obtainable within the mirage boards of the mirages after spending SP, within treasure chests scattered through Grymoire or by completing certain missions. Aside from the active or passive abilities, the game offers two ways to interact with the champions of the game, one is by filling a special bar to unleash a single action as a summon and another is to collect their jewel by completing special quests that will transform the wearer into the champion in question in every battle, granting the unit the abilities of the champion. Another focal point in terms of gameplay is the way the game offers the ability to capture the mirages, called imprism. Different from games such as the ones from the Pokemon or Shin Megami Tensei series, the way of imprisim mirages can be done in different ways. Some can trigger their imprism condition by depleting their HP, some can be by inflicting an elemental attack, another set can be by inflicting an ailment status, others can be triggered by being the sole survivor of a wave and the condition keeps growing as you progress in the game, making the experience a refreshed one, while also forcing the player to not just rush into the mirages without prior information and methods to do the imprism.

While the imprism method is a good addition to differ a bit from more popular games of the genres, the capture rate is purely luck based due to the RNG, when at least they should give the players ways of increasing the chances, the pace of the gameplay is slow, the turn-based mechanism feels stale and detracts immersion to the combat when it should have been action-based, the summoning of Champions should have not been considered summons, especially if the jewels can grant the usage of them directly, the puzzles were not interesting as they were too simple, they needed to be more challenging to feels like puzzles, the random encounters feels dated opposed to showing the mirages on the field (it can be deactivated within the settings), the minigames within some mini adventures were kind of luck based or poorly developed in terms of creativeness, they shouldn’t be forced into the main story as they could have used that data to improve the experience of the side quests overall, as also some segments of the main story were forced to a loss in order to progress when they shouldn’t.

-More notable and important personalities than the main ones representing the game.

While the champions, both playable and NPC themselves don’t need presentation, creating an interesting crossover with the likes of Warrior of Light FFI, Lightning from FFXIII, Zack Fair from Crisis Core FF7, Noctis from FFXV, Shantotto from FFXI, Squall, and Quistis from FFVIII, Terra from FF6 and many more, the same cannot be said about the main representative of the game’s lore.

Brandelis = The main antagonist of the game and the creator of the Bahamutian Army. An Exnine Knight, Brandelis is a character full of cruelty and ill intents to cease the existence of his followers, and everything around him is presented as the typical villain whose motives to destroy everything are unknown, as even his background information is not that explicit to assert any vital information in regards his generic stereotype of a villain.

Enna Kros = The silver-haired woman self-proclaimed as “God”, is the most mysterious characters in the game, with even enough knowledge and power to supervise all the events of the game and knowing how everything will line up to the grand finale but showing next to none any uniqueness in her so powerful character that differs her from the likes of other super-powerful beings and only presenting as a normal woman with no background information other than the tiny pieces found within the Adventure Log.

Hauyn = The one considered the sister of the twins when is a summoner devoted to the twin’s mother, Lusse Farna after her adoption into her family. Also known as “Wyn”, she has a reasonable grudge with the twins after something they did to her and Grymoire but somehow, they do not remember, taking matters into her own at one point but other than her resolve to do anything in her power to honor the gratitude received by Lusse taking care of her, there are no other traits that can be said of her.

Lann & Reynn Farna = The children from the Farna family of summoners, are the protagonist of the game, also known as the jiant of the hills. Lann is the childish and somewhat naïve out of the two exhibiting a more rushed and worrisome personality while Reynn is the calmer and smarter, taking thoughtful thinking one situation at a time on every event. The problem with the pair is that they don’t show any kind of unique traits that separates them from generic teenagers found in other series and their approach to the events of the game, except for some moments Reynn showed the upper hand was kind of linear and predictable.

Pellirone/Lusse Farna = The mother of the twins, possibly the most powerful summoner within the game’s lore which is probably the only and most interesting character of the game. Lusse was the one who showed the power of summoning mirages to the twins, a very loving but powerful mother which only intentions were for their children to reach to their true potential and it was the responsible for bringing Hauyn into her care and also saw the potential needed in her to become a summoner as well. After becoming Pellirone at the hands of Brandellis, even on her Pellirone persona, she was somehow was able to hold some control over her body.

Segwarides/Rorik Farna = Long ago becoming the entity wearing the golden mask and being the orchestrator behind the formation of the Bahamutian Army and the spreading of the false crimson prophecy, Rorik is the twin’s father, a disciplined but loving parents who tried to warn the twins in many ways possible to stop summoning many mirages because they will eventually lose control and later was transformed until one of the servants of Brandelis after his arrival to Grymoire due to the twins not listening to his advice. Other than another typical loving parent figure when he was human and the typical villain when it was transformed, not much different from his generic presentation can be said.

The girl in the tea room = This character does not share a proper name and is only shown to possess powers comparable to Enna Kros but somehow appears to be an amnesiac girl with no reason explained as for her powers or her amnesiac state, being a very calm girl resulting in another shallow participation in terms of the original characters.

-No automatic save.

The only way to save the progress is by visiting save points, not even letting the players with the ability to at least save anywhere. They should have implemented either the automatic saving method or a save anywhere feature.

-Port locked to 30 FPS apart for being an unoptimized one.

The game not only runs at 30 FPS locked without the option of unlocking the frames, but when playing in full screen, the game does not let you switch windows or even go to another monitor in case of multi-monitor setups, suffers from many loading screens and even when run in window mode, the game continues operating even when the window is not selected, resulting on every input pressed taking effect in the game due to the high priority given.

-Too many fillers in-between conversations and main moments of the story.

It is understandable the developers tried their best to emulate Lann & Reynn as faithful as any pair of teenagers, with their ups and down combined with their lack of expertise in dealing into affairs of Grymoire and its event, but they should not let that excessive amount of non-important lines to extend the length of the story with fillers that will not contribute into the good narrative of the story.