Is Trials of Mana still worth playing? Welcome back to The Game Collection! Recently the unthinkable happened.
Square Enix after 25 years finally localizeda game I had long since given up hope on.
And then not only that, but it's getting aremake?! That's great and all, but sometimes there'snothing better than the original.
So how about it? Is Trials of Mana still worth playing today? Let's find out! I am SuperDerek, and this is Trials of Mana! Back in 1995, the team over at Squaresoftreleased a game that some would go on to call the best Action RPG on the Super Nintendo.
Seiken Densetsu 3.
Western fans of Secret of Mana were waitingwith baited breath to hear of we would receive the game state-side.
Preview Magazines were abuzz with this “Secretof Mana 2” talking about the multiple characters, calendar system, and all kinds of new features.
Would we get it in the West? Unfortunately with the launch of the Nintendo64 just around the corner, that dream would go unanswered by Squaresoft for decades.
But sometimes it is darkest just before dawn.
And though our cries to Squaresoft for SeikenDensetsu 3 fell on deaf ears, there were fans with the skills and drive to make those dreamsa reality.
Neill Corlett, Linda Chan, Nuku Nuku, andSOM2Freak, would go on to make one of the most famous fan translations of the era, eventuallyreleased in 1999.
Finally after 4 years, players with a firmgrasp on a moral gray area could experience what would became a cult-classic of legendaryproportions.
Knowledge of this patch spread far and wide, purely through word-of-mouth, spread in hushed whispers in school lunch cafeterias and somedarker corners of forums across the Internet.
It was in one of these such dark corners thatI first heard the legend of Seiken Densetsu 3, and acquired the forbidden codes needed.
The Rosetta Stone that would change theseindecipherable runes into English words, unlocking the gates for any old schlub to experiencethis greatness! I only got a couple of hours in before droppingit.
Nothing against the game, I just have a weirdmental block that kills my drive to finish games when I emulate them.
So I never really got to experience the gamein its entirety back in the day.
But time flows like a river.
And now Square Enix has seen fit to bringTrials of Mana to the West in the Collection of Mana on Switch, featuring the first 3 Managames: “Final Fantasy Adventure, ” “Secret of Mana, ” and the newly christened “Trialsof Mana.
” Now I can complete my review of the trilogy.
With a physical copy in-hand I got to workwith renewed fervor! Was Trials of Mana worth the wait? Trials of Mana begins with a choice.
You are greeted with six characters to choosefrom.
Picking your first character will determinewhich path of three you will be given through the game.
The other two characters will eventually joinyour first character on their quest.
Character choices include Duran, the nobleswordsman, Hawk the cunning thief, Kevin a beast in every sense of the word, Angela theflirtatious sorceress, Lise the cool-headed Amazon warrior, and Charlie an orphan girlwielding powerful healing magic.
For my play-through I picked Hawk as my maincharacter, leaving the other two possible story-lines for my eventual play-through ofthe remake.
Make sure you're subscribed so you don't missthat! The story of Hawk, in my play-through of Trialsof Mana had a simple and powerful hook.
Hawk, a member of a noble band of thieveshas been noticing some changes occurring in the way their leader has shifted focus awayfrom survival and more toward empire-building.
While confronting the leader and his sorceressadvisor, it is revealed that Hawk's love interest had a cursed necklace placed upon her.
If Hawk acts out of line he does so at therisk of Jessica's life.
If the sorceress is killed, Jessica's lifeends with hers.
Backed into a corner, Hawk is sent to prison.
Cue my favorite RPG trope, the prison break, and Hawk flees from his home nation in the desert.
Eventually Hawk meets a fairy who clues himinto the Sword of Mana, a powerful weapon that can be wielded to destroy evil, and possiblysave Jessica's life from the curse.
But in order to get the sword he'll have tovisit several Mana stones, overcome trials, and make some new friends along the way.
The stakes are definitely high, but I appreciatehow the outset begins with something simple and down-to-earth.
Your girl's in danger, you're backed intoa corner and have to go on a journey to hopefully get the weapon you need to un-screw the situation.
That's not necessarily where things stay, but the fact that you don't begin by setting out to save the entire world is appreciated.
That big-picture story of having to go dosomething huge, difficult and perilous for your loved ones is a powerful one, thoughit's also as old as time.
That makes the story timeless, but also maybea little cliched if that sort of thing bothers you.
To be totally up-front though, the scope andscale of the adventure told in Trials of Mana seemed a bit less epic overall than Secretof Mana.
The story of Trials of Mana is likely itsweakest point.
You might already know from my reviews, that’spretty much par for the course for the early Mana games.
And besides, saying that's the weakest pointisn't really saying all that much because the rest of the game is stellar! The characters that I picked for this play-through, aside from Hawk, were Duran and Angela.
Unfortunately when they're picked as secondarycharacters the amount of character development you get is for the most part, really limited.
I have heard though that with certain charactercombinations, you can unlock a few additional scenes here and there that flesh out theircharacters a bit more, but for the most part this was Hawk's story and the other two werejust along for the ride.
If you want to experience those charactersstories, you've gotta play Trials a few more times.
Seiken Densetsu 3 plays similarly to SeikenDensetsu 2, for the most part, but with a lot of little improvements here and therethat make Trials of Mana the distinctively better game of the two.
The iterations went in a different directionthan those made in Secret of Evermore.
For one thing, the bar where you have to waitfor your attack meter to hit 100% is gone.
And this is wildly improved because now youspend less time waiting and charging and more time wailing away on enemies, which is alwaysa bonus in my book.
Successfully connecting a hit against an enemycharges your charged attack.
Once you have built up enough points in yourmeter you can unleash that hard-hitting charged attack whenever you choose to! Magic during battle is still menu-based.
And the ring menu system make another appearance.
More on that menu system in a bit though.
Magic is no longer just handed to you as yourescue elementals as in Secret of Mana.
Now you also have to have the right statsto use that magic, or those skills.
Properly allocating your points will unlockmore powerful abilities.
Luckily the stats you will want to pick arepretty intuitive for the most part, but it will change depending on the character youpick.
For instance, pumping up the Dex stat forHawk the Thief unlocks his Jutsus, or special thief skills.
And increasing Intelligence for Angela increasesher magic damage and unlocks her higher level spells.
Stat progression is restricted a bit so youcan't craft completely broken characters in either sense of the word, so your abilityto min-max your characters to ludicrous efficiency is unfortunately not an option.
That said, some characters are just builtthat way out of the gate regardless, such as Kyle's strength and Charlie's healing spells, so I guess that's not a huge problem in the end.
The difficulty of the game was definitelythere, but not insurmountable.
I was lucky enough to choose a path for Duranthat granted him a healing spell though, which would otherwise have made Hawk's route particularlydicey, or so I've heard.
And by path, I mean there are class changeswhich each character can unlock as the story progresses.
Once with a level-restriction and in the lategame using rare item drops.
Each character has one of two paths forwardat each point: The path of Light and the path of Dark.
So this means each fully upgraded characterhas 4 potential outcomes by the end of the game.
So between the 6 character options with 4different class options, you could potentially play the game as 1280 different characterand class combinations.
Not to even mention the 3 different pathsyou could potentially take through the game.
For a Super Nintendo title, there's quitea bit of replayability here.
The Menu systems in Trials of Mana will feelvery familiar to fans of Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore.
However for some reason or another, the designersmoved equipment from the ring menu system to a much clunkier, much much slower menusystem.
Did I say earlier that the story was the weakestpoint? Let me correct that.
This menu is the game’s weakest point.
And it’s the single, solitary downgradefrom Secret of Mana.
Exploration within Trials of Mana will forthe most part be similar to that within Secret of Mana, there's not really an over-worldfor the most part, paths between towns are mostly comprised of linear paths along whichyou can fight hoards of enemies and monsters.
Faster travel method gradually unlock includingthe staple travel methods of by boat, being fired at your destination out of a cannon, and of course riding on the back of some local fauna in Mode 7.
Similar to Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu3 supports local multiplayer, and I'm happy to report that local multiplayer works onthe Collection of Mana port as well.
It should be noted however that Trials ofMana, even in the original Japanese release, did not support 3 player co-op as found inSecret of Mana.
There are ROM hacks of the original releasethat enable this mode, though I have heard that this patch causes some other kinds ofglitches, so caveat emptor.
The game-play found within Trials of Manais definitely a step forward in pretty much every way from Secret of Mana, and even Secretof Evermore, which tends to get brought up in the Mana discussion, particularly the myththat we got Secret of Evermore instead of Seiken Densetsu 3 here in the West.
But that was a load of nonsense, check outmy video on Secret of Evermore for more details on that underrated and misunderstood game.
The world presented in Trials of Mana is farmore diverse and varied than Secret of Mana's world, and I gotta say that I really appreciatethat variety.
Dark misty forests, bright grassy planes, craggy mountains and scorching deserts, and the cultures represented within them feelless like dungeon themes and more like actual cultures of the world.
However, these areas do have pretty hard boundariesthat keep the world from feeling wholly realistic and truly interconnected.
Then again, this IS a Super Nintendo gameand that goes with the territory.
Each area is stunning, and approaches thepinnacle of that classic 16-bit aesthetic available on the Super Nintendo.
Trials of Mana looks the way I thought I rememberedSecret of Mana looking back before replaying it for review a couple years ago.
The text was so much easier to read in Trialsof Mana thanks in no small part to the much prettier text backgrounds.
Each character is animated fluidly, and thebosses are out of this world! You know, sometimes it just doesn't get anybetter than a game that really puts the Super Nintendo to full use, and this is one of thosegames.
The music found within Trials of Mana is onceagain a full eclipse of improvement over Secret of Mana, and contains some of the absolutebest songs on the console.
Hiroki Kikuta reprises his role as composer, and completely knocked it out of the park.
One of my favorites played while riding aroundon a giant mohawked turtle, Vuscav, or Buskaboo, depending on which version you played.
Which is one of those things I feel I oughtto mention somewhere.
If you played the fan translation, you probablyloved it and are attached to the character and location names.
Well, the Square Enix localization seems tohave pretty much gone out of their way to change 90% of the names of places and people, which might throw you off a bit.
I didn't think it was a big deal, but thereit is.
If you've gotten this far into the reviewand are curious about whether or not you have to play Secret of Mana first, you can putthat fear aside.
There's no reason to play Secret of Mana first, except for maybe the fact that playing Secret of Mana afterwards will just make the gamepale in comparison in just about every way.
So if you plan on playing them all, maybeplay them in order for maximum enjoyment.
I've finally marked this one off my backlogafter 25 years, was Trials of Mana worth the wait? Yes, yes it was.
Though I still can’t quite explain why Iwaited so long to begin with really.
The game was loads of fun, and is of coursea must-play for Action RPG fans who love the Super Nintendo.
This game is right up my alley and bringseverything to the table that I love.
The smooth action-packed game-play, the varietyof characters and locations, the graphics, the music.
this is a true upgrade in everyway from Secret of Mana.
Fans of the show may be wondering, how toI rate it compared to Terranigma? That's going to be a much longer discussionthan this review has time for, so make sure you're subscribed to see that video next time.
But the other question, I can answer hereand now.
Trials of Mana has absolutely earned itselfa spot.
In The Game Collection!.