Name: Legend of Mana (95.56% in 9 votes)
Company: SquareSoft Japan
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: Tamahome
Everyone remember the game secret of mana released for the SNES, or secret of mana 2 (aka seiken densetsu 3) that never made it to the states? What fun we had with those games :) well at least for me anyways. With the continual domination of the gaming market by squaresoft, they did not hesistate to release a sequel for the popular secret of mana series. The new game is called Seiken densetsu: Legend if Mana.
Many square fans should be already familiar with its demo when it was released with saga frontier 2. Well, if you think it looked good then, think again :). There is so much more to the new legend of mana that the last 2 games just seemed pathetic. Legend of mana is easily the best in the series. With its nice hand drawn graphics, and detailed background. Although I haven't completed the game myself, but I think I have played enough of the game to give a full detailed review on the game. Unlike the other secret of manas, there is only 1 major character in the game, and that is the main character. You get to name him/her of course. You could choose to be a girl or a boy in the beginning of the game. And as the game begins, you will have to choose which part of the world map you want to start you game in. Different sections of the world map will yeild different strength in the elements resulting in higher level enemies or better elements to capture. After that the game starts with the main map and you place the land make artifact on one of the lighted spots and the game officially begins :). The game begins with a very nice opening song and the main character wakes up in bed and begins his/her quest.
This installment of mana features so much new and creative innovations that I was completely blown away. I tell myself, this is what a game should be like :). Interactive and cool. Firstly, I will talk about the landmake system. Unlike other games in which the map is preset, you acutally get artifacts by finishing quests and events and you get to plant them in many of the lighted spots in the map. So hardly any 2 games can have the same map.
Secondly, I would like to talk about the battle system. The battle system is similar to the one in Seiken densetsu 3, where you have to attack the enemy a certian time to be able to access limit breaks. These limit breaks can be learned and depending on what weapons you are holding, they change. Besides limit breaks, there are now a system of abilities, where you could incorporate into your fighting. These abilites include, blocking, jumping, spinning, dashing and so on. There are different NPCS in the game which you could use, but the con about the npc is that you cannot change their equpiment nor their skills. These npc are either controlled by the second player or the computer. That makes up 2 memebers of your party. The 3rd member is either a pet or golem. There are certain places where you could capture pets and raise them and take them along into battle. Pets may seem useless at first, but you don't know how many times I was saved by a pet while fighting against bosses. Golems are just robots that you could create after finishing a certain quest in the game :). These robots can be put together on your own depending the amount of materials you have on your hands. Back to the battle system. Unlike the other installments of the mana series, the candies and chocolate and honey are taken out of the game. There are no mps in the game. Instead you charge up for magic :). And what you use for magic is magical instruments that you create at the music lab. How do you recover life you ask if there are no items to be used in battle. Good question, life recovering is either by magic, or just standing still for a while. And if you character dies, he goes into stasis mode and after a while he will resurrect and be able to fight again. That's why 2P are so much better for this game, since AI will just die with you :) With 2p, the second player could waste time and walk around till the 1p revives.
Other new ideas in the game is the ability to make your own weapon, and armor with raw materials that you find on the quests. Also you could reforge these weapons with elemental power for more protection or damage against the enemy. The idea to raise pet, create golem and grow a vegetable garden is also fun. But the best features of the game by far is the ability to import a friend's character from a different game and use that character on your quest, this could be very useful, since you could enter a lvl 20 charcter's game with your level 1 character and just sit around and collect exp, and when you get back into your game, you will be invincible against low level enemies. Good feature eh? So far this game has impressed me a lot and it is definitely on of the best A RPG to date. So I wouldn't miss this game for the world.
PROS: The new game ideas have impressed me a lot and I have played this game non stop for 10 hours. So what can I say about the pros, everything. From battles to the creation of magic and weapons. This is one great game.
CONS: There are minor flaws in the game like not being able to change the npc's skills or weapons. But besides that, virtually none.
RECOMMENDED: Everybody. Whoever dares miss this games is not human. This probably one of the best squaresoft games around. It even beats Xenogears in my book :). And I used to love Xenogears. So go out and get your copy :) Good job Square. Keep it up :).
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