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Classic experience ruined by bugs and laziness

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    Secret of Mana

    Rating: 2.0 – Poor

    Classic experience ruined by bugs and laziness

    I must admit…growing up in the 90s, Secret of Mana was one of those games I never got around to playing. I always heard good things about it, but never really had a chance to give it a go. With the remastered version coming out for the PlayStation 4, I figure this was an opportune time to finally play this game. Secret of Mana for the most part had the classic rpg feel, where I could see why it was enjoyed by so many. However, the remastered version is littered with bugs; ultimately bringing down the experience.

    In this game, the story revolves around mana, some kind of magical energy. Way back in history, people created the mana fortress, which angered the Gods, leading to beasts being unleashed on the world. A hero who wields the mana sword was able to defeat the mana fortress. Fast forward to present time and a new empire is trying to resurrect the mana fortress, leading to our game’s protagonist to empower the mana sword again and defeat evil.

    Unlike RPGs back in the Super Nintendo days, Secret of Mana is a real time rpg. By mashing a button, you can utilize your weapon like swords, whips, and bows. There are a host of weapons for you to try in this game and you can level them up collecting orbs. The game also has a power meter, where you can also hold down the attack button and charge your weapon for special attacks. Additionally, each time you use your weapon there is a recovery period before the weapon is at full strength again.

    From a magic perspective, the game gives you multiple elemental creatures where you can cast spells. Popoi, a little Sprite has spells that are more geared towards attacks, such as using fire or ice spells to damage enemies. Primm’s Magic are more focused on helping the team, like healing spells. Over time, you will also level up your magic and make it more effective.

    From a rpg perspective, there are plenty of things to level up. This ranges from weapons, to magic, and to characters. From a game play standpoint, Secret of Mana is solid and holds up well. I could imagine playing this as a kid and having a blast, while certainly compare to games today, it does not hold up quite as well, but still fun.

    With that said, despite the game containing fun elements, there are also quite a few complaints with some being unforgivable. The game for one, crashes a lot. That is not an understatement. You are playing away and then poof the game crashes. I think the developers clearly knew this, as they added an auto save feature each time you enter a new room. Either way, this definitely should have been cleaned up prior to release.

    Moreover, the game features a lot of attacks where your character will keep missing their attacks against enemies. I would say close to half of the time, your characters attacks will end in a miss. I would think this is a design bug, rather than intentional because I cannot imagine this was intended as being fun. This along with the crashes were really what prevented this game Fromm being an overall positive experience. Additionally, I also felt this game was overly easy. The hardest part of the game were Robin Hood like characters spamming arrow attacks over any bosses in the game.

    From a character perspective however, I enjoyed the interaction. Most of the time you rested at an inn, it would display some light hearted conversation between your characters. Some of the dialogue did feel like cheeses 90s stuff, but they were pretty nostalgic. The game’s voice over was bad, but you kind of get used to it. Music was okay, but forgettable. The game’s graphics was also okay. Certainly not up to par to today’s games, but was not too bad overall. The game’s overall presentation is nothing to write home about, but this is a very old game, so all things considered it is not too bad.

    Secret of Mana had its fun elements. It had enough where I took the time to finish the over 16 hour campaign. That is what makes this game frustrating. The constant crashes and missed attacks soured the experience. I can imagine the original without these issues would have been a ton of fun if I had played this as a child. I can see why the original is considered a classic. It is a shame that laziness marred this remastered version. It was also certainly a disappointment that this is the version I played as my first time. If you have never played Secret of Mana, I would say give it a try, but if you have then stick to the original.

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