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Legend of Mana (PlayStation) artwork

Legend of Mana (PlayStation) review


"A fantastic voyage rich in visuals, sound, but lacking everything else."


Legend of Mana is grand game in terms of visuals and sound but not much in anything else. The Mana entry on the PSX was soon redeemed not part of the canon in the series, something that would be lamentable to some as it is a gorgeous game even when game play wise it’s not as high on it as previous games before it.

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Big boss battles


The game begins with giving you an option between choosing a male and a female character, along with your choice of weapon you would like to try on first. There is no difference on choosing genre or the weapon you pick at first, as you can purchase other weapons later in the game and be able to use them just the same. You will find yourself on a home of your own, which serves as a central hub where you can create your own weapons, golems, grow fruits, create musical instruments, and herd pets you find throughout the game when capturing monster eggs. You can also choose a character who decides to live with you whenever you aren't following a story, along with a golem or pet monster this forms the usual party of three which the Mana games are mostly known to have. You may also save your game within your home or go to another location to do so either at an Inn or by talking to golden statue in the shape of the Sprite character from Secret of Mana.

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Learn a new language


Within your own home hub you are encouraged to plant fruits which can later be used to feed any monsters you've captured to raise them or to sell, the same goes with instruments created and weapons forged. You can find Man spirits every now and then and try to appease them with any musical instrument you have at the moment, playing to their liking until they are close enough to leave coins which can be used within your hub for later item creations. There is hardly any time when you feel bored whenever you aren't trying to accomplish a story on your quest.

When you venture into a location to unlock a new story or continue one you are currently pursuing, you will enlist the aid of an NPC who will follow you should you accept their request and finish said story. These characters are essential to complete the game and cannot be used by the primary player. Once a story is completed said NPC will go their own way and either return for another story or remain in the background as the game progresses. They will also at times give you Artifacts which are keys to unlock more sections of the world by placing them anywhere within the map on which you decided to play on. Some parts of said world may not be available till you had accomplished and met certain tasks or stories however. You can accomplish any story you started at any given time as this game is not that linear as you may have thought when first playing it.

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Chatting with Gaeus, one of the 7 wisdoms


Gameplay is pretty basic and very simplistic; you have your attack commands as well as the ability to jump and to strike a powerful blow to enemies, as well as defending yourself and activating a special attack technique you learn as you earn experience. Whenever you enter a battle screen you cannot exit it till all enemies are defeated, something which can be annoying at times when you are trying to go through areas in order to accomplish your goal. Most boss enemies are huge and take the entire screen to battle, although said fights are moderately easy and require little skill to accomplish them. Experience here is gained by collecting crystals left by defeated foes as well as lucre (game's currency) and certain items like fur coats which can be used to create weapons and golems back home. Enemies may also drop healing items like candy or chocolate to replenish health, even though when you finish a fight you always come back to 100% health regardless.

Defeated party members may stay "dormant" till their health percentage is back up to rise again and join in battle. The same applies to the main character, although if you lose all your party members the game will ask to try again or go back to the title screen. You may re-start the same fight scene without having to start back from a save point, another easy setting which makes Legend of Mana a breeze to get by.

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Grow exotic fruits and vegetables to feed your pets


While it is pretty easy to accomplish the game it is also not too short, as there are a significant number of artifacts each opening a new part of the world it is set on and within such many stories you may unlock to finish. You may feel like you are completing much in a short amount of time when you check just how enormous said quest is after all. As it is, you don't really feel overwhelmed by the task itself, and will find out that it gets a bit repetitive at times with such a basic battle system and all. Some quests don't require any form of physical confrontation which helps break said monotony at the very least.

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Place your Artifact on the map to renew the land of Fa'Diel


The meat of the game lies within its gorgeous visuals and compelling soundtrack, both which keeps you glued to the game till finished. By far this would be the only Mana game you would play just to gawk and listen to said elements without caring much about the rest of its features. The game comes alive like a pop-up fantasy book with each frame moving all around the screen and the music simply leaves this nostalgic feeling which makes you forget any negative connotation it includes. It is very hard to fault this game without adhering to what makes it worthwhile.

Legend of Mana is delightful eye candy, even if gameplay feels a bit uninspired. Replay ability is a bit low, although you can continue a finished game as you do with the likes of Chrono Trigger if you wish it. Even if you would, going throughout the entire set of stories might feel tiresome unless you want to finish some of which you decided not to end, whether it was by accident or not. However making it a perfect game would be a good reason to go through it all over once more, but to start a whole new game once more would be very doubtful.

3.5/5

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Community review by CptRetroBlue (March 17, 2020)

Cpt. Retro likes old school gaming the most and grew up playing Arcade games in Mexico. He also loves talking about retrogaming.

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