Oh boy am I happy to be playing this game, after buying the Mana Collection and playing Secret of Mana and trials of Mana I was hooked on this series and now will play anything (at least for the time being) with the word Mana on it. I don’t say that lightly either as JRPG’s really are not my thing, I’m a man of simple tastes and love a short linear story in my games, playing for potentially 100’s of hours on one game isn’t something I look for but when I played Trials of Mana 3d remake just before release I found on my first play through I had sunk 60 plus hours in to it and now I’m on my third totaling around 180 hours…I’ve been taking my sweet time with this rich franchise and now I have a new game to play in this series and bugger me its pretty.
Legends of Mana is (as far as I can tell) set hundreds of years after the events of Trials and the world has changed, the Mana Tree has died and the leaders of the world took its power to gain their own, but as it dwindled they stopped and are now left in the obscurity of time. Nature is healing itself and the Mana tree calls out for help as it grows stronger…that’s basically all I know on the plot Ive only played about 2 to 3 hours of the game so far due to having to work for a living hahaha. So this is my first Impressions of Legend of Mana.
First up the graphics, I have no idea what this game looked like on the play station one but but this is a beautiful game that blend pixel art in a semi 3d environment and then those cuts scenes that are Ghibli levels of stunning, each character is distinct and pops off the scenery with looking out of place and well I’m just a sucker for retro style graphics what can I say.
The music is just stunningly beautiful, super catchy and moody all once giving you clues to how the world is feeling in each area you are in, the boss music in particular rocks hard.
The game play is…different…but the same? So if you have ever played the Mana series before you will know its an action RPG at heart that has a fantastic story pushing you from area to area and one hundred percent LoM has this in strides but it’s how the world map and environments come to be is what makes this game different to the more traditional Mana series…you see YOU build the world map, you collect items that you place on the world map and this builds the world of Mana around you making each play through unique in this way, where as before the story would change due to the party you choose you pick you character at the beginning (either the male or female version) name them and off you go. You meet a “sproutling” who tells you in their belief system imagination is how the world exists…basically see them coloured blocks they are the next town over, imagine them that way and boom new town…this could trigger some existential crisis I swear. But this is a fun mechanic how it will play in to the story later down the line I don’t know we will have to wait for me to Finish a play through for full review. This world building is tied to characters meet/defeat and they tend to just throw gifts at you normally so you can do a quest for them but it wasn’t very well explained in the game and I found my self getting frustrated for about half an hour just trying to figure out where to go next and at this point I hadn’t encountered any enemies either when in the original games you pretty much cant walk two seconds with at least seeing an enemy to battle.
Your character movement can be a little tricky though I’m not sure if that was my controller suffering drift or the game…I shall have to test this out at some point…I kept getting stuck on scenery and behind NPC’s which is never fun but honestly I can power through an don’t let it ruin the actually great experience I was having. I discovered the game allows two player mode which was lost in the Trials 3D remake so it was nice to see it back here and overall this is a game anyone should try especially if you want to cut your teeth on a JRPG that isn’t heavy on exposition and text boxes and boring looooong cutscenes with stupid complicated combat.
To summarise after 3 hours of playing I would recommend this game no problem, it looks and sounds gorgeous it plays really well the NPC’s are fun and enjoyable but weirdly nasty to other NPC’s which has my intrigued I can tell you…oh mat the there’s Teapo the large sentient teapot that is all kinds of classic cockney in it’s speech bubbles, had me cracking up.
Anyway do your self a favour and play this game and don’ forget to nice to each other.
Video review below