Something New – Secret of Mana PC Remaster

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So, this title is one that’s close to home. My brother and I played it extensively on the SNES. It was a very action/rpg Zelda-like title, but it allowed for the protagonists to be controlled separately. You could even have three players if you had the controller hub thing. It’s exact name escapes me.

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Naturally coming into this I had very low expectations. Square’s PC ports are notoriously, well, bad. From FF7’s weird đŸ˜¯ problem to the many issues that people raised with Chrono Trigger. I heard they actually fixed the latter, for the most part. Regardless, Square has a certain reputation with their PC ports.

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So color me surprised that this isn’t just a lazy port, but in fact a very faithful one. It manages to be it’s own game while still being essentially what it was. Every character, map, and weapon have been recreated to match the original. For those of us old-timers they even included the original map in the top right corner. It doesn’t do anything except provide nostalgia and show just how close to the original they tried to stay.

Each stage of each weapon so far has had it’s own model, and their attack patterns are similar enough to the original that they feel familiar. Some of the animations aren’t quite as perfect, but an attempt was made. I had several little realizations with the 3D models though. I always though the merchant Neko had a really big hat, but it turns out to be a big bag on his back. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

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They have even added a variety of cutscenes, both for major events and some back and forth dialogue sections when resting at the inn. They remastered the entire soundtrack as well. I was a little less enthused about that, but they did a good job and the game remarkably retains the ability to switch to the original soundtrack, if you’d prefer. Completely new, obviously, is that every. Single. Line. Of NPC dialogue is fully voiced. All of them. I have yet to find one that isn’t. It’s an extraordinary amount of effort that I hadn’t anticipated.

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However, they did drop the ball with multiplayer. It’s pretty much limited to local same pc multiplayer only. I did attempt to use a streaming service to enable my brother to play with me remotely, and it did technically work. Unfortunately I just don’t have the bandwidth to stream video up, so his ability to play effectively was very spotty. Network multiplayer just seems like it would have really sunk the shot here. Nevertheless, I was really impressed and enjoyed this particular port.

It does command a high price though, $40USD when it’s not on sale. That’s pretty high for a Square port, but I think it reflects the additional effort and quality of the port as well.

Y’all take care.

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