As strange as it may sound to some JRPG fanatics, World of Final Fantasy ranks as one of my favorite RPGs on the PlayStation 4, and I was more than happy to play through the story again to see what World of Final Fantasy Maxima added to the experience. Hanging out with Lann and Reynn one more time felt like revisiting old friends, and I immediately rediscovered my love of collecting Mirages and taking a journey to some iconic Final Fantasy locations. But for the life of me, I can’t understand why Maxima wasn’t a free download for those who already owned the game. Don’t get me wrong — I very much believe that everyone should receive adequate compensation for the hard work they do, regardless of the industry. That said, this overpriced DLC, while claiming to add a ton of new content to the game, feels more like a quick cash grab for those who want the “complete” version of WOFF. There are definitely reasons to check it out, but I honestly believe only the hardest of the hardcore fans will appreciate these half-hearted additions, and even some of them might question Maxima’s intentions.
If you haven’t played World of Final Fantasy yet, the setup isn’t overly complicated or wholly original: An adorable, constantly bickering brother and sister discover that they’re supposed to fulfill an ancient prophecy, a secret they learn from a woman who may or may not be God. Once they receive the appropriate amount of exposition from the inhabitants of Grymoire, they head out to reclaim the Mirages (read: tiny Pokemon-esque monsters) they lost when their memories vanished and they ended up in a strange world that seems to exist outside the constraints of time. Along the way, they’ll visit familiar locations and interact with characters pulled straight from the Final Fantasy universe, which means fans of the franchise will have plenty of moments of pure delight when they see the questionably adorable chibi versions of their favorite heroes. Or, you know, run away in pure terror at the sight of their favorite character in chibi form.
Instead of buying weapons or upgrading your gear to battle the increasingly difficult monsters and bosses you’ll encounter during your adventure to save the world, you “stack” your captured creatures to give you stat boosts and provide you with spells and special powers. You can also switch between your so-called “jiant” form and the “chibi” incarnation, which adds a level of strategy to the mix. You can spend dozens of hours roaming the landscape in search of every possible Mirage; truthfully, it’s a great way to burn away some hours if you need to relax after a long day at school or work. Capturing and leveling up those adorable monsters gives that oh-so-satisfying dopamine boost some of us crave from the JRPG grind, which is often difficult for some games to achieve. World of Final Fantasy scratches that particular itch for me, so, once again, I had absolutely no qualms with heading back for a second helping of kawaii adventure.
Sadly, I wish that serving was a bit more generous. There are, in fact, several additions to World of Final Fantasy with the Maxima upgrade, but they feel more like basic quality-of-life additions and half-shrug afterthoughts than a full-blown $15.99 DLC package. Yes, the Champion Jewels are kind of cool, allowing you to essentially cosplay as some Final Fantasy heroes and assume some of their powers. But are these additions worth $15? Does tossing in a handful of minigames (including the ability to fish with Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis) sweeten the deal? Not really. The package also features some additional Mirages, a new “Nightmare” difficulty setting, and some interesting end-game content, among other minor bits and bobs. Again, it’s the sort of stuff that other companies have given away for free. I’m not implying that Square Enix shouldn’t get paid for offering up some DLC, but when you slap a fancy tag like “Maxima” at the end of the title and promise a ton of incredible additions, you’d better deliver the goods. These are curiosities for those who want to wring as much as they can from the game, nothing more.
Since I feel a little guilty about kicking the hot sand surrounding Figaro Castle into Maxima’s unsuspecting face, I will admit that I did enjoy the “Treasure Hunt” feature, which shows all of the chests you may have missed during the story on your map. It’s handy, fun if you’re a completionist, and adds some nice post-game life to the game if you’re reluctant to move on to another title. But, once again, this feels like a feature that should have shipped with the regular game. Is it handy? Sure. Is it something that would attract me to a moderately priced DLC package? Probably not. Even bundled with everything else I’ve mentioned, as well as rare items, a few new boss battles, and an additional dungeon, I still feel as though this should have arrived as a free download. If you want to repackage the game, slap Maxima on the title, and sell it as a special edition to those who don’t already own a copy (and shame on you, by the way), by all means, go right ahead. However, this ultimately feels like paraphernalia the developers left on the proverbial cutting room floor. It’s nice and occasionally fun, but it doesn’t feel like anyone would get their money’s worth from it. Unless you just really like Noctis and fishing, of course.
I find myself in a weird position with World of Final Fantasy Maxima. While I simply adore WOFF and have admittedly enjoyed one or two things about the DLC, I cannot recommend it to anyone except die-hard fans who need to experience every single thing the game has to offer. However, if you think $15 sounds a little steep for a handful of features you don’t think you’d see through to completion, trust me when I say you won’t miss anything at all — you can easily live without it. That said, those who have yet to play through World of Final Fantasy (shame, I say) should definitely pick up World of Final Fantasy Maxima, if for no other reason to cross the game off their list of must-play current-gen RPGs. It’s a fantastic game, and there are certainly some aspects to the DLC that make it a little more enjoyable. Just keep in mind that these are elements that Square Enix should have included with the title the first time around. WOFF fans definitely deserved better.
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. A review copy was provided to us by Square Enix.
Although World of Final Fantasy Maxima adds some content for the hardest of the die-hard fans, there's not nearly enough in this DLC package to justify its price.