Legend of Mana is a very good game, but it is not the best game for some folks. If you have not played it yet, you should give it a go, since it is a worthy successor in the series. However, if you have played Legend of Mana before, be aware that this one is slightly different than its predecessors, and it may look slightly different, but it is still the same game.
Legend of Mana is one of the more interesting RPGs I’ve played in a long time. Set in a world of fantasy and science fiction, it combines 2D gameplay with 3D graphics in an adventure that takes you to 12 different lands, each with its own story and unique feature. The game is not as hard as it first appears, and it has a strong sense of progression throughout. The battles are engaging and fun, lots of good music and a nice range of characters to play through the game with.
To say that I am a big fan of the Legend of Mana series is stating the obvious. I’ve been following this series since I was a kid and played the first game when it was released for the PS1. I remember how thrilled I was when I found out the first two games were coming to the PS4, but I couldn’t believe it when it was announced that the third game, titled Legend of Mana 3D, wasn’t going to be released in English. I was disappointed, but understood that it would be difficult for the team to localize the game. I was then thrilled when I heard that a small company called Mana Powerup was going to localize the game and make it available to English speaking audiences.
Legend of Mana is a bit different from the other installments in the series in that there is no overarching plot. Instead, she changed the formula to consist of many shorter individual tasks. While some of these tasks are related, not all are. In that respect, it’s a bit like The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, where most of the game consists of small quests and plots rather than a big epic. It also means that Legend of Mana, like Majora’s Mask, won’t be to everyone’s taste.
The story is pretty thin for the most part, and the game is driven more by characters. You play as a silent, nameless protagonist, but at least you can decide whether you want to play as a man or a woman and what weapon you want to start the game with. This decision has no bearing on the outcome of the story. All we can say about the plot is that it is set in the fantasy world of Fa’Diel. The Tree of Mana, the mystical tree that provides Fa’Diel with all life and mana, was burned nearly a thousand years before the events of the game. It’s up to you to help restore the Tree of Mana and recreate the world.
Speaking of the world: This is another area where Legend of Mana has shaken up the traditional formula. Instead of a fixed world map on which to travel, Fa’Dil’s map is completely empty when you start the game. First, determine the location of your home and set up your mailbox where you want it. As you explore your home, you will discover an artifact. You can then move it to another place on the map, so there’s a new land for you to explore.
I like the concept in theory, but the problem is that each country has to be placed so that it can be connected without being cut off by the borders of the map or squeezed too close to other countries. If each country does not get the full expansion area, some quests will not be available. The game doesn’t tell you this, nor does it give you any tips or details on how to set up your map. I was about halfway through my first game when I discovered it, but by then it was too late to make adjustments and I lost a few missions.
Honestly, this is a major drawback of Legend of Mana as a whole. I love it when games don’t hold you to too much, like the boring path to gold in the Fable game series, but Legend of Mana offers little to no help. It’s almost impossible to properly develop the land or unlock all the quests without the help of a guide. This was a common complaint about the game when it was first released, and I was shocked to discover that this has not been changed in this remaster to make the game more user-friendly. Or at least intelligently explained.
This brings me to my next disappointment about Legend of Mana: Combat. I say amazing because there was absolutely no quality of life improvement in the combat system. There’s a real-time combat system with sets of special abilities that are replenished during combat, but it’s incredibly clunky. Characters can only attack from left to right, not from top to bottom. You can move in all four directions, but you can’t aim attacks above or below you, so it becomes chaos to hit enemies.
Moreover, the detection of incidents is often unreliable. Sometimes it feels like you’re hitting exactly where they are, but they’re slightly above or below your immediate attack surface, so the hits don’t register. Fortunately, this remaster has an option to turn off all encounters, so you can avoid the extra fights if you want. After a while, I did it and became happier.
Thankfully, I was disappointed with the parts of the game that weren’t revamped, but the art and sound design were completely revamped. The original pixelated sprites are depicted against bright, fully hand-drawn backgrounds. The contrast is great, but it fits the atmosphere of the game very well. They’re not as bright and dynamic as in Octopath Traveler, where the pixelated sprites were set against more realistic backgrounds with dramatic lighting, but since Legend of Mana is much lighter in tone than Octopath Traveler, I think this style is more appropriate.
The soundtrack has been fully updated and sounds great. Each neighborhood has its own music, which makes it even more unique. The overall melody remains the same as in the original version, but has been polished and other instruments added. It’s also possible to switch between the original and modern soundtracks, which is a lot of fun.
I loved this remaster of Legend of Mana. The game retains the feel of the original (almost to the last detail), so the remaster is sure to please all fans of this classic adventure. It’s fun to watch and listen to as you enjoy the journey. I really wish the quality of life in the battles had improved and that it was better explained how to customize the map. These areas are the only thing keeping this version of Legend of Mana from being truly awesome. Anyway, if you’ve always been a fan of the Mana series, you should definitely check this out.
|The sprites retain the same look as in the original, but they are placed in a completely redrawn and hand-drawn environment.||The gameplay hasn’t received any quality of life improvements, so it retains all the inconsistencies and awkwardness of the original version.|
|The entire soundtrack has been reworked, but you can switch to the original soundtrack if you want.||This remastered version of Legend of Mana retains all the charm and fun of the original and is much more enjoyable to watch. I wish the fights could be improved, because they are still very unpleasant.|
|Final decision: 7.5|
Legend of Mana is already available on PC, PS4 and Switch.
A copy of The Legend of Mana was provided by the publisher.
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While this year hasn’t seen the release of many new videogames for the PS4, there have been a few gems released this year such as Spelunky, Dark Souls 3, and The Last Guardian. So, it’s no surprise that the most anticipated game of the year would be the Final Fantasy-inspired RPG, Legend of Mana.. Read more about legend of mana remake review and let us know what you think.
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