2018 is the 25th Anniversary of the classic action RPG for Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Secret of Mana. It is a game a lot of us hold onto fondly. So Square Enix celebrated this anniversary by releasing a remake of the game for Playstation 4, PS Vita, and PC. How does it hold up? Well, my good friend and guest blogger, Takhilin, has a review for us.
I really wanted Secret of Mana to be awesome. I played it from start to finish, and streamed it.
I even had a good time with it, but I think that as a consumer, and of a fan of the original, you have to be realistic about what content you are consuming. Here is my honest review of this game. Let me break it down below and see where things went wrong.
This is where Secret of Mana is supposed to shine, right? On the plus side, the combat is very fluid. The hit boxes are certainly better defined. The new way to sprint works a lot better than in this version. There are two quick keys you can assign actions to make casting spells much less of a chore.
Unfortunately, they made many significant changes to the ring menu system that I think were a step backwards. Rings no longer center on the currently selected character, and the menu doesn’t remember where I was when I last had it open. Little things like that can be a huge mark against the flow of the game. Unfortunately, having played this game for 25 years myself, I didn’t really get used to these flaws until towards the end of the game.
This is what it seems like had gotten the most attention in this game. However, in my opinion, some of these remixes in music simply just don’t hit the mark like in the original. The tracks literally sound off key or chromatic compared to the originals. To me, it just doesn’t don’t feel right.
The English voice acting is, at best, acceptable. I want to note that I did try the Japanese dialogue out to see if it was more engaging. However, honestly, it was bland too. The best part of the spoken dialogue is the little inn interludes when your party are interacting with each other (This is the only ‘new’ content included to this game, by the way).
There was so much potential here and I have to wonder why it was wasted? They cut out so many little touches that made the original special.
Let me break down some examples:
– You get into a cannon, you shoot, screen cut, and you just fall on the ground. There’s no flying through the air graphics.
– When the sunken continent rises, you can barely tell.
– The end part of the Pure Land segment is simply butchered.
There are little touches from the original all over the place that were completely taken out. It just doesn’t feel like this game had any love put into it.
I do like the graphical update. I don’t mind the 3D art style. What I care about, is how little effort they put into it. Mouths never move when the characters are speaking. Sometimes, the models are completely lifeless when they’re supposed to be imposing.
The graphics are sometimes distracting because of just how vibrant and colorful they are – but that’s not to say they’re bad. It’s just, different. It just, as with so much of the game – feels very lazy. It seems that they didn’t put any effort into giving life to any of the characters or models. With the exception of the Mana Beast and the Lich. They look fantastic because they should.
Verdict ~~ 63% (12.5 out of 20)
I want to state that I absolutely loved the original Secret of Mana. I’ve played it through on multiple platforms. I pre-ordered this version game. I had my reservations, but I put them aside, because, well, it is Secret of Mana.
Don’t get me wrong, I did have fun with this version. However, when it comes down to it, the designers were either rushed, didn’t love the original game as much as the people they were marketing it to, or had no passion to improve on the original.
Unfortunately, this re-make took no risks. The improvements that they touted, in some cases, hurt the game. If you’re going to play Secret of Mana, I would just recommend you look up the original.