While I don’t disagree that the Mana franchise needed to be revived. I have to say that I didn’t expect it feel so underwhelming. I loved the original and when I heard that there was going to be an HD remake, my mind wandered as to what new features or updates would be in the game to translate it to today’s generation. Turns out, it’s literally the same game from 20 years ago with a new coat of paint. With the exception of the updated/remixed music, nothing has been changed. Secret of Mana is considered a classic and this update should be sought out by those are feeling nostalgic. It cannot be recommended however, if you are being introduced to the Mana franchise. This is due to how dated everything is, including the battle system, it might actually bore new players. The gameplay can be quite repetitive given the fact it takes so long to charge your stamina gauge. You literally have to run around to reset yourself before you use an ability or attack otherwise the action won’t be as effective.
Now I mentioned that there is a new coat of paint, but even in that regard it looks about 4 to 5 years old. They’ve added voice acting, which is really hit or miss, and I really feel that maybe they should’ve just kept as a text based game as the dialogue can make you cringe. Cut scenes have been added to the game and they are enjoyable and help flesh out the story. But all in all, while it is an HD remake, it looks it was specifically made for a handheld device. That isn’t to say that the game is lacking charm as it can have its moments. But overall, it really is an underwhelming package in regards to the audio and visuals, which is a shame because while Secret of Mana wasn’t the best looking game of its generation, its visuals still hold up pretty well today.
Remakes or remasters tend to be hit or miss. Ratchet and Clank, for example, was remade successfully for the PS4 and is great, everything has been updated for today’s generation. This re-release feels like it’s only targeting one specific demographic and it’s truly a shame that there wasn’t enough emphasis on updating the gameplay, because Secret of Mana should be remade. New players should want to experience the introduction of a once great franchise. Because to be honest, playing this game brought back a lot of good memories. It reminded me how much I enjoyed the Mana franchise. But I really can’t recommend this game to anyone outside of those who have experience it before.
It wouldn’t be fair and saying that about a classic game is a shame.