Secret Of Mana

Right, story time-

I have fond memories playing through Seiken Densetsu 3 a loooong time ago, and introducing it to a friend. Fond memories that were dormant for a long time before I rediscovered its soundtrack a few months ago. Listening through it brought a lot of melancholy nostalgia to the forefront of my mind, and I thought about playing through it again. It’s considered by some to be the best SNES game of all time (they’re wrong, ‘cos that’s LTTP, but it’s definitely up there) but I was worried about the misleading qualities of nostalgia and wondered if it was best left in the past.

Three days after I started thinking about SD3 again, Squenix announced a remake of it at E3, and a Thing Of Mana bundle for Switch, with SD3 being rebranded as Trials Of Mana and packaged up with its two prequels.

So, you know. Serendipity and all. But since I got the other two games with it, I figured I should play those first. Through a logical process too convoluted to explain, I decided to put both of them on the backlog together, and the second game in the series came up first.

Secret Of Mana, then- it’s pretty janky! Feels quite prototypical of Trials, from what I remember. The combat is pretty wonky, with a lot of enemy moves taking control away completely. The knockback time is so offensively long that getting caught between two enemies is basically an instant game over as they keep me stunlocked.

Most perplexingly, my guy alternates between a wide swing and a narrow lunge of the sword seemingly at random and with no input on my part making a difference. It’s quite frustrating to have a group of enemies in front of me, ripe for slashing, only to watch my dude poke harmlessly at the air between them.

Fin or Bin:

It’s a classic of the genre despite its numerous rough edges and I feel like most of the issues I have at the moment will stop being a problem once I get other characters in my team to back me up. It’s a Fin, but a tentative one. I feel like I’m too biased towards the bin in my haste to get to Trials, so I’m swinging it the other way, but it’s close.

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