Se­cret of Mana

Fi­nal Fan­tasy VII’s not the only clas­sic JRPG get­ting a re­make

Games Master - - PREVIEW - Anne-Marie Coyle

If one thing char­ac­terises the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of games, it’s how fer­vently fo­cused de­vel­op­ers are on the past. In keep­ing with the in­dus­try’s ap­par­ent goal of re-re­leas­ing ev­ery game ever, Square Enix has an­nounced a new ver­sion of its beloved RPG, Se­cret Of Mana. First re­leased on SNES all the way back in 1993, there are un­doubt­edly a fair few gamers who’ve never sam­pled its cute, colour­ful blend of me­dieval fan­tasy and ac­tion role-play­ing. Those who have, how­ever, still swear by its bril­liance. And yet this re­lease is no mere paint job to cover over the cracks of a time-hon­oured tale – it’s a full-fledged re­make. Aban­don­ing the se­ries’ more tra­di­tional Nin­tendo and mo­bile plat­forms, this re­vi­sion is aimed squarely at PlayS­ta­tion and PC au­di­ences.

Magic mo­ments

The graphics have been re­built from the ground up, with de­tailed 3D mod­els re­plac­ing the hum­ble 2D sprites of yore. The story re­mains the same as it was in the orig­i­nal, but there are sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing new voice act­ing, and an up­dated mu­si­cal score by the orig­i­nal game’s com­poser, Hiroki Kikuta. Three-player lo­cal co-op, a much-loved el­e­ment of the SNES clas­sic, re­turns. And, thanks to the won­ders of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, you don’t need a mul­ti­tap (re­mem­ber those?) in or­der to col­lec­tively ad­ven­ture as Randi, Primm, and Popoi this time around. Hooray for the fu­ture!

De­spite the sub­stan­tial per­for­mance dif­fer­ences, at its core this is clearly still the Se­cret Of Mana that play­ers know and love. The ac­tion, in­clud­ing com­bat, re­mains al­most iden­ti­cal to the way it ap­peared in the game’s ini­tial re­lease al­most a quar­ter of a cen­tury ago. From what we’ve seen so far, this is a re­make done right. It lov­ingly re­tains the essence and core me­chan­ics that made the orig­i­nal so pop­u­lar, while ad­ding a wealth of new-fan­gled tech­ni­cal en­hance­ments that should give an even deeper ex­pe­ri­ence and sat­isfy the mod­ern player.

In a clever nod to the past, the mini-map is ac­tu­ally a replica of the orig­i­nal 2D ver­sion of the game.

All the old el­e­ments make a re­turn, in­clud­ing trea­sure chests and the chil­dren’s atro­ciously un­bal­anced diet of cho­co­late and candy.

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