The new Secret of Mana game is out and it is more of a remake or reconstruction of the old game and nothing else. Along with the updated graphics, the main upgrade is its porting from the SNED platform to PS4. Most of the magic, combat, and movement still remain the same with few essential additions. The man that might feel new to you is actually the original map of each stage which has been imported from the SNES platform as well. Not only that, it looks like the developers have also imported the flaws and loopholes that were present in the original game that was released back in the year 1993. The gameplay obviously improves as well as suffers a lot, at the same time, making visuals better but intensifying the problems when played on the modern console.
The Secret of Mana game is about a boy named Randi who has brown spike hairs and who pulls out a mystical sword which has been stuck in a stone for years. Most of you might think that we are telling you the tale of King Arthur, but unlike that story, Randi does not receive any reward. Instead, he is admonished by his home villagers for taking out that sword and thus throwing the magical forces residing in the forest off balance. The world of magical forces includes evil creatures, dragons, and monsters who wish to ruin their world. In order to save his village as well as the world from destruction, Randi needs to find the mystical seeds of Mana and use it with his mystical sword in order to restore the magical order in their world.
The actions of various characters in the game have also been modified. The story basically revolves around sword fighting as well as sorcery with a lot of new dialogues and scenes adding some new elements in the game. For example, there are scenes in which Randi along with friends, Popoi and Primm, get into a conversation every time you book at night in the inn. The changes might look simple and small, but impart a huge effect on making the gameplay more entertaining in the long run.
We were also not very impressed with the graphics of the game. Obviously, they are better than before, still not great. The soundtracks or background score running in the background does not have a time limit and has been re-created. The camera was too close to the characters at many points which made them look huge on the screen. However, few of the environments like Ice Country and Sprite Forest looked spectacular. The developers also decided to introduce voices in the remake of the game. That is a great addition but with one big problem. The lips of the actors do not move while they are speaking while the dialogues are available in English as well as the Japanese language.
There were a lot of improvements that we thought could have been made while remaking the game for the new platform. We were surprised to see that there were still few old animations included in the new game. If you have played the old game, you will definitely be surprised by finding a lot of similarities between both of them. Most of the monsters, locales, and bosses that we saw in the 1993 version of the game are still there and haven’t changed a bit.
The combat mechanism stays the same in the new Secret of Mana game, they are just transformed into 3D blocks. We did not like the menu makeover of the game which lacks the last selected option memory. This might not seem a big thing but creates a lot of problems while the players it trying to craft an item during an ongoing battle. The hitboxes on the enemies a less precise and the player might it difficult to determine whether the opponent is affected by the magical spell or not. However, this problem was solved by sheen indicators in the old game but is absent in the remake. Having one melee attacker and two magicians in a three-party team still work and you will also see a “critical hit” popup coming on the screen whenever your target is accurate.
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As a player, you have an option to swap the control in between the three characters at any point in time in the game. Each of the three characters can also hold any of the eight weapons that are available in the game. Every time you strike the opponent with the player in a combat, you lose energy and need to wait for it to regenerate before you can land another blow on your opponent. You will have to run around the given area to avoid various attacks initiated by your enemies while you are waiting for your energy bar to regenerate. You can attack magic spells from almost anywhere until and unless the enemies are in range, but you get very limited points with magic attacks and also the meter that refill the energy is very expensive too.
You will find that you crew gets surrounded by the enemies very easily during a combat and then you receive poundings from all directions. There are places where it is better to sneak past the enemies instead of engaging them in a fight. The original Secret of Mana game features a grid system using which the players can adjust the difficulty or the aggressiveness of your AI teammates. But, this option is not available in the PS4 version of the game. However, this problem is solved when you are playing in the co-op mode along with your family or friends.
The players are going to find the same old dungeon designs and that is because the remade game also runs on the same old skeleton. A small retro area map is going to annoy you in the beginning but the players will get used to it very soon because you are going to use it a lot in the game. Not to mention, the map has also received a makeover in the new version where the developers have made it a lot more practical, prettier and pleasing.
There are few things that made the old version very popular, and we are glad to find the same elements in the new version of the game as well. The gameplay where the players used to wander throughout the dungeons to find the fake wall or hidden items and that too without any trail or hint is priceless. The co-op system included in the game allows the players, family, and friends to drop in as well as drop out of the game anytime. We tested it on your PlayStation 4 and it worked flawlessly.
Another thing that we did not like about the new Secret of Mana game was the silent lonely areas which were a hotspot of various beings in the previous game. These places were for teaming up with other characters. The new 3D effects are good but take away that spark that we saw during the entrance of the enemy bosses.
Another problem that most of the new players would face is regarding the information of items available in the game. The old Super Nintendo version had a huge world map as well as a manual that helped the user to understand what different stored items are meant to do and where can the players find huge cities and landmarks. Later in the game, the players were accompanied by a dragon named Flammie, which was capable of taking the player anywhere on the map they want at any time. But all these features are missing in the remastered version of Secret of Mana for PlayStation 4.
We loved the old classic game which was simple and the in which all flaws were invisible. However, they come alive in the remake of the game. We hate to say this but the re-master of Secret of Mana does not work. It is an old RPG game which has been converted for latest consoles but with few problems. We found the feel of the old SNES game missing in the new one. Also, the gameplay was intuitive at the time when the game was first released, but there is nothing new in that too. We think there will be very fewer gamers which are actually going to enjoy the old combat heavy gameplay. All in all, you can play it for remembering old days and it is fun in some spots too, but you will find your excitement decreasing lower and lower as you progress in the game.