Legend of Mana (PlayStation) review
"I guess the problem is that a lot of the time, it's hard (very hard in some parts) to navigate through dungeons and towns, because it's hard to tell what's what. I'm used to games where the environment is 3D, and you can rotate the camera angle to see things more clearly...None of that here!"
Back in the good old SNES days, there was a classic game called Secret of Mana. It was a fantastic game with a solid battle system, a unique multi-player feature, and a pretty good storyline. Then there was a ''sequel'' made about 5 years later. I loved the first Secret of Mana, and was hungry for a sequel. When I heard about it, I was overjoyed! I was a little disappointed though...
I believe that the storyline is the very best part of an RPG. And I thought that Secret of Mana's was very well done, but, Legend's was, well... rather non-existent. The game really isn't story-driven, at all. If the only real thing you're looking for in an RPG is a killer story (which you shouldn't be), then just look past Legend of Mana. The game is driven by 69 (that's right, 69) mini-adventures/quests/side-quests. Although a fair amount of these side-quests are optional, if you complete them all (which I haven't done), you get to meet new characters, get new items, etc...
The main problem I had with Legend of Mana was the way it really didn't even have one big storyline, but, it did have it's redeeming qualities. First of all, I thought the battle system was pretty cool. Only two people are allowed in your party (which is sort of a letdown), and you only control one of them. You can move your character around, and it isn't in any way turn-based, which is really pretty cool, from my point of view, because I'm getting rather tired of the regular turn-based RPG battle system. Different attacks are assigned to different buttons. You can do mini-combos, and special moves, and magic. You can also jump. Items aren't really something you use much of in this game. But overall, I liked the battle system quite a bit, not as much as I liked Secret of Mana's, I don't think, but I liked it nonetheless.
Another unique, and what I thought was cool part of the game is the Land Creation System. You create all the towns and dungeons in this game (to some extent, although all you're really doing is picking where they'll be built.) You use magical artifacts to choose where everything goes, which you obtain on your journey. Most locations have a few different side-quests you can complete inside of them. I guess that Square likes to think of this ''Land Creation System'' as a customizable world, although it is far from being that. It's still cool to be able to create your world, rather than it just being there.
Moving on... The next thing that I liked about the game was the sound. The main theme song that you hear in the intro really is great! As is most of the other music in the game. Pure Square goodness here. No real problems that I could see.
And the last good thing is the graphics! Totally hand-drawn 2D storybook like backdrops, with some detailed, cool looking sprites! Unique character design, and a wonderfully animated world! It looks almost like a cartoon. I truly thought the graphics were wonderful, and found only one real problem with them. I guess the problem is that a lot of the time, it's hard (very hard in some parts) to navigate through dungeons and towns, because it's hard to tell what's what. I'm used to games where the environment is 3D, and you can rotate the camera angle to see things more clearly...None of that here! But I guess that the amazing hand-drawn graphics kind of make up for that. All in all, the graphics are a definite plus.
The only real problem I saw with this ''sequel'' is that it had no storyline. I guess that Square was going for a new approach, and I respect them for that. Although the storyline thing really did turn me off in some parts, and even made me wonder ''Why'm I playing this game?'' I think it's still a very pleasurable and fun-filled game, but a storyline would have helped! I totally respect Square's trying something new, though! A good game, for people who think RPG-ing isn't all about the storyline, and more about the gameplay.
Staff review by James Gordon (Date unavailable)
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