Secret of Mana
Final Fantasy VII’s not the only classic JRPG getting a remake
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.
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.