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If you have not played this game, you are missing out!!

10

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Masterpiece"

Summary

If you have not played this game, you are missing out!! This game has SO MUCH TO DO and a rich storyline that you can engross yourself in infinitely without it ever getting boring. There is a two-player element that is usually never seen in games; you can load another character off the second memory card slot to join the first player in whatever he chooses to do, including storyline.

The story itself has many points of plot and emotions as well as many lovable and unlikeable characters. Everything is drawn so the settings and characters blend into a fairytale style and are very easy on the eyes for long term gamers.

If you have not tried this game, please do. The GS reviewer can only say one opinion, but for someone who STILL plays this game in the era of Wiis and Xboxs, it is a must play for those who love Action RPGs or any RPG in general.

The third game in the Seiken Densetsu series is by far the best multiplayer RPG experience around, and you will be going back to it and customizing everything to how you want again and again.




This game is one of those games that comes immiedietley to mind when i think of the best years of my rpg gaming life. ^^

10

Editors' Choice

Summary

There aren't enough words to describe how great i think this game is. Sure it's old and your basic side scroller but, it's awesome. This game just reminds me of the old times and i think this was the first game i played that you had the freedom to change the way the game flowed by deciding which path to choose next. I love this game. ^^ When i think of great old-school rpg this is what i think of.

Music - awesome
Gameplay - easy to understand
storyline - sexy as your imagination

Everything that you would want from an old-school, scroll rpg.



One of the interesting things that i discovered in this game was that there is a board that the music is the main theme of one of Janet Jackson's later songs. I don't know if any credit was given but i played both simutanously and they match...same beat and a couple of years before the Janet song..mmhhmm. Don't get me wrong, i love Janet and the whole Jackson family but this always stuck with me.




Truely the best RPG game I have ever played for any console. Definitely a must have for any fan of RPGs.

10

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
The Bottom Line:
"Immersive"

Summary

Truely one of the best and most innovative RPG games ever. The story is interesting in that it is not a typical story line that you follow throughout the game. You get to play out many different stories that come together in the end and shape the very world you live in the way you want. Every story is great to play and well worth the time. The many supporting characters you meet along your journey are interesting and add life the the game and story. The design and art is breath-taking, like a dream or a fairytale. The music is beautiful and fits perfectly with the gameplay. You can spend hours just doing the side jobs like making golems and instruments and weapons and taking care of your pets and trying to collecting essences and planting seeds. There is just so much to do and enjoy in this game. Definitely go out and get this game. You will not be disappointed.




An excellent game that makes the time go by, it gives you so much to explore you won't get tired of it.

10

Editors' Choice
Difficulty:
Just Right
Time Spent:
100 or More Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Immersive"

Summary

Although the last time I've played the game is around six or five years ago, this game has been very into my mind for years that I think I can tell my thoughts on this game.

One thing that I remember most vividly on this game is how much the player can explore search in this game. Each scene (or area or scenario) has a lot to explore, with hidden treasure in hard-to-get and far areas in the scene, lots of monster eggs you can hatch to make your pets, lots of equipment to find and try out, and a large amount of quests to do. It's enough to keep someone hooked for tens and tens of hours.

About the other aspects of the game..I don't remember much, but the graphics are very good for a PS1 game and the storyline, however scattered it is, is not enough to bring the game down. An excellent game overall, and one of the games one should play.




Legend of Mana is a beautifully made game -- marred by sluggish combat, disjointed pacing and absence of a solid plot.

6.5

Fair
Difficulty:
Hard
Time Spent:
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Almost, but not quite"

Summary

Thousands of years ago, the benevolent Mana Tree, the infallible source of life in the world of Fa'Diel, burned to ashes. This horrific calamity prompted a violent war between the Faeries, Humans and all other species for possession of its precious resource; the power of Mana. As in response to the turmoil, the exhausted remains of the once-great tree sealed bits and pieces of Fa'Diel into artifacts. After a lifetime of slumber, Fa'Diel awakens the destiny of a lone hero (or heroine), who answers the call to rebuild its scattered remnants. From there, the story is yours for the writing. This is the fundamental structure of Legend of Mana, the fourth game in Square Enix's lesser-received Seiken Densetsu (Mana) franchise. Unfortunately, the emphasis of style over substance, lack of a central plot and sluggish combat system eviscerate any potential the game had to become a truly memorable experience.

There's no denying that Legend of Mana looks absolutely gorgeous. Like a children's fantasy storybook come to life, the game's environments are meticulously crafted with a painterly feel; a far cry from its predecessors. There's certainly a ton to look at, and each of the game's play environments are divided into sections with 2D planes to walk around in. The monsters and creatures you encounter range from delightfully petite to incredibly huge, and their designs are indicative of a childlike fantasy influence. The music by Yoko Shimamura is some of her best work yet with a lot of haunting melodies and catchy tunes. The world of Fa'Diel itself is surprisingly diverse, brimming with strange races and characters. For instance, the Jumi resemble humans and are differentiated only by the cores supplanted on their bodies; the cores serving as their crucial life source. Sproutlings are weird little green things that look like mutated Brussel Sprouts and are attuned to the power of Mana. Niccolo the merchant is a fat rabbit creature who finds joy in making people happy and ripping them off at the same time. And so forth. Fa'Diel is an interesting place to visit, and you'll definitely grow to like and admire its culture.

You'll wish the same can be said of everything else. One of the main problems that Legend of Mana suffers from is the lack of a dedicated storyline. In Fa'diel, there are vignettes of individual stories discovered within many of the artifacts that you find during the course of the game, and you'll have the opportunity to meet and say good-bye to a multitude of interesting people; some of which will even join your party temporarily as NPCs. The player will likewise be given the chance to rebuild Fa'Diel as they see fit by placing their artifacts on a blank slate in proportion with one another, opening new areas for exploration. This simplified element of creation is what gives Legend of Mana a slight appeal, and it is done to decent effect. The stories and character situations found in each artifact (whether they be one-shots or branching chapters) are memorable, touching, humorous and even tragic, and their unending variety is what gives the game a sort of distinctive flavor. But, a necklace of colorful beads can't be made without a string holding them together. In Legend of Mana's case, almost none of the stories have any relevance whatsoever to the seemingly invisible plot, and are little more than redundant fetch and hack quests that feel more optional than mandatory. And without a string to hold them all in place, everything falls apart and Fa'Diel is more disjointed than it initially appears---even if you happen to physically restore it to prominence near the end of the game with every single documented artifact. Good intentions notwithstanding, the game relies so heavily on its open-endedness and the overabundance of unrelated story quests that it is very easy to lose sight of your initial goal in seeing the journey to its conclusion, where the true antagonist of the game is finally revealed. Even then, because of the disproportionate nature of the narrative flow, this inevitable boss fight comes across as purely one-dimensional.

I've had the honor and privilege of playing Secret of Mana on the Super NES in the past, and one of the things I liked best about that game was its arcade-style, real-time combat system that supported up to three players at once. The Seiken Densetsu franchise was notable as being one of the first to introduce cooperative gameplay to the console role-playing genre. Figuratively speaking, Legend of Mana strips this important element down to its bare minimum. For starters, combat is arthritically cantankerous and unresponsive, slowing to a turtle's trot during intense moments. Two people can play together simultaneously, but only if your friend is willing to take the helm of either a temporary NPC or a character from their own copy of Legend of Mana imported via memory card. Not exactly enticing, is it? Your character is able to utilize a variety of different attack maneuvers according to the weapon you have on hand and, like Secret of Mana, you have access to many different kinds---like the Sword, a Spear, an Axe and so forth. You can learn attack moves for each individual weapon through meritorious use, and many of them are quite powerful in a given situation. In addition, elemental monsters of the series mythos (i.e. Undine, Salamando, etc.) can be summoned to grant temporary character buffs or obliterate any and every enemy on screen with their incredible power. These things and so much more bring a little depth to an otherwise sluggish and poorly-paced combat system.

It's a shame that item and weapon management is more trouble than its worth---the convenient menu ring of Secret of Mana is pathetically underutilized and cannot be called upon during combat or even exploration. Outside of battle, there's a decent amount of stuff to do as well. Your character is given possession of his or her very own house that they can retrofit with a garden to grow their own items for crafting, and a workshop where series mainstay Watts can help you forge and create new weapons. You can even raise pets and build Golems to become permanent NPCs to lend a hand during combat. Much like character NPCs, however, their AI is incessantly reckless, getting themselves killed about 70% of the time and minding too much of their own business to help you when you desperately need it. Character development is dependent on picking up gems dropped from defeated enemies, and leveling is a fairly straightforward process in and of itself. To the game's credit, these things are a welcome break from the rigors of questing, and many powerful items can be made to help the player with the increasingly difficult challenges that lie ahead of them.

But, when everything is said and done, the true challenge is writing your own story within Legend of Mana's blank pages. Without question, the world of Fa'Diel is absolutely breathtaking. The characters are memorable, the stories are intriguing and the diversity is remarkable. Yet, it is startlingly fragmented with no foundation to hold it together, falling short of a solid gameplay experience overall. Legend of Mana is certainly not a bad game by any stretch---just not a great one.

7.0

Great
.