2019 has turned into the year of Mana. At E3 2019, the series was resurrected. Square Enix revealed it was not only bringing Collection of Mana, a compilation of the first three games in the series, to the Nintendo Switch. It was also remaking Seiken Densetsu 3, a former Japan exclusive, for the PS4, Switch, and PC as Trials of Mana. But, in the meantime, there are other games you can play. Secret of Mana is one, sure. An even better idea would be the rather odd, but cool, Legend of Mana.
A New Way to Save the Mana Tree
A war has shaken the world of Fa’Diel. The Mana Tree burned down, and all of the races found themselves fighting for the scraps of Mana left. Everything was destroyed in the process. But somehow, you survive! You’re still there, alone.
But, you don’t have to live that way. Legend of Mana is about picking up the pieces after the end. While the Mana Tree is regrowing and recovering, you have a chance to set things right. Everything that once existed in Fa’Diel is still present in the form of Artifacts. As you find and acquire them, you place them around you to create a whole new world with stories to tell and adventures to explore.
Shaping the World
Essentially, Legend of Mana plays exactly like other Mana games. It is a 2D, action-RPG. You’re going it alone, or can pull in a second person to control your additional support character. But, how you eventually reach the Mana Tree and revive it changes based on your actions. This is an open-ended game from a time when we didn’t really see those, which makes it really exciting.
Part of it comes from deciding how the world grows. You decide where things go. Placement determines mana power and what could happen. You also can find different main and side quests, depending on what is available in your world. There are even opportunities to acquire pets and build up your home.
But the story is what can be really special. Legend of Mana lets you choose which main storyline you experience on your way to the final story where you head to the Mana Tree. You could learn about a pair of Dragoons, the Jumi race and its surviving members, or childhood friends from a number of different races who suddenly find themselves torn apart. The first few times you play, it could be a different story each time.
Even More Mana
Legend of Mana is an odd game. It was open-world in a time where that just didn’t happen, letting you see different storylines or experience a different world map depending on the choices you made. But, it still had all of the Mana staples people knew and loved. Thanks to it being a PlayStation Classic, PlayStation 3, Vita, and PSP owners can still play this PSOne game today for $5.99.