Legend of Mana Dec 26, 2011 16:39:54 GMT -5
Post by Bytor on Dec 26, 2011 16:39:54 GMT -5
I believe one word can sum up the visuals of this game nicely. And that word is...stunning, well, maybe I should use two words, how about simply stunning. It is a gorgeous game to say the least. Everything is hand drawn and the sprites are set to a 2D background that is overwhelming in it's use of color and texture appearances an the attention to detail in the various backgrounds is to say the least breathtaking. You will simply NOT believe you are looking at a Playstation One game released in 2000. Yes, it's that good!
The soundtrack itself is somewhat subtle at times, often melancholy and seldom disappointing. It is not quite as striking as some games but having said that it is much, much better than most games. And more importantly it fits the look and feel of the game perfectly, sweeping in high crescendos where needed and utilizing whimsical woodwinds in other more subdued areas. It's really a true joy to listen to whether exploring, fighting or even raising your produce or creatures.
A very interesting battle system. It reminds me of Tales of the Abyss actually. The battles take place in 3D kinda sorta as movement is uninhibited attacks however can only be accomplished from attacking horizontally, so you are forced to attack from either the left side or the right side. This system takes a bit to get used to as for the most part you have to aim the attack pretty much perfectly, if you are too low or too high the attack will more often than not miss, and this does occasionally cause some frustrations, but not so much that I felt it detracted too much from the game. The attacking itself is simple enough to accomplish though. Mappable buttons will use a simple attack, a stronger attack (which takes more time to "recover from") or one of two magic attacks, and special combos can also be utilized using a (simplistic) combination of the mapped attack buttons. It's a simple system but it works. The complexity of the game occurs in pretty much every other aspect of the game. You can capture eggs and raise various creatures to accompany you in your travels. You can play music to garner tokens to utilize in weapon enhancement. You can feed seeds to a magic tree which will then grow various fruits/veggies (hilarious stuff actually) to use and there is an unreal amount of weapons, armor, minerals and gems to buy and/or get as spoils of battle. The amount of customization available to accomplish using these items is absolutely mind boggling. There are many, many modern games which have nowhere near the amount of customization this game does. Unfortunately I'm unsure how vital a lot of this customization really is. While it's fun to play around with the various creatures an enhancements it seems to simply actually be the cherry on the top, it's fun but in the general scheme of gameplay it's really not necessary. I used one pretty much two allies and one golem (be forewarned though, your allies AI is unreal stupid, they may help you attack, they may not...) throughout the entire game and I seldom messed with my weapons at all once I got them pretty strong, and likewise the same for my instruments (all two of them). Still, I admit it was fun to catch the eggs and raise them an play music to capture various spirits/beings. Even with these complexities the game is still not overly hard, the fun of the challenges is more in figuring out where/when to go and how to get there than the various battles. I wouldn't call it a "fluff" game but it is certainly not the hardest I've ever playing, but having said that it is tons of fun.
Hmmm...now here's where this gets a tad complicated, or actually maybe not, lol. There is no true central story, instead there are three main story lines loosely, and I mean loosely, connected. Instead of a main story there are sixty-eight mini-quests which introduce the various wonderful characters which inhabit Fa'Diel, a land which was ravaged by war and the destruction of the Mana Tree 900 years previously. Basically it is up to you to rebuild the land and it's artifacts and then save it from being destroyed yet again. But truly the game is more aptly described as a collection of short stories centered around the same places and some of the same characters as opposed to a more straight forward novel. I was hesitant in the beginning but the quests are, typically, so much fun and addictive to complete that I became hooked rather quickly, plus, it's somewhat refreshing to pick up a JRPG and NOT have to spend a minimum of three hours per level simply to continue the story. Now, having said that, would I want every game to thusly formulate, absolutely not, but it was still a lot of fun to play a unique and fun game that still incorporated elements which make RPG' so much fun to me.
Want a huge RPG with a sweeping storyline and huge socio-poliical theological implications....? Look elsewhere. Want a RPG with a complex battle system and long, hard drawn out battles....? Look elsewhere. Want everything good that comes in a RPG without a ton of weaknesses or aggravation? Then play this game. It is challenging and fun, but it is not an awe inspiring game which will drive you crazy.