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Secret of Mana (PS4 Remake) First Impressions!

[EDIT: I cannot for the life of me get this thing to format correctly with proper spacing and breaks for my paragraphs, so please bear with me...] ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I got my original copy of Secret of Mana for SNES at the age of 10 in February of 1994, for my birthday. It blew me away after months of eagerly awaiting it having read about it in Nintendo Power previously. It was a magical game for me during a magical time in my life. So I'll post this with you knowing I'm a BIG fan of the original, it holds a very special place in my heart. That said I've tried to stay as neutral as possible while writing this after having played last night for several hours. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ This remake was created with a person like me mind, I feel. Either to love the shit out of it, or to criticize every single difference between it and the original. A game I know backwards and forwards. Allow me to stat this by saying... ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ...This is Secret of Mana. I mean that for better or for worse. They didn't do anything here that's going to make you dislike the game if you already like it. Likewise they didn't do anything here that's going to make you like the game if you already dislike it. It plays nearly identically to the original. Almost to a fault. The graphics are more modern, but I feel they lose of their old charm in the process. But I suppose that's personal opinion. I would have been happier with high quality sprites. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The characters (and most NPCs) are voiced now, and I'm indifferent to this. The voice acting actually isn't too offensive. In fact I even like some of it, like the Sprite Child's VA. I just don't feel it was truly needed. It's just OK. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The controls feel a tiny bit smoother, but that's mostly because you actually have analog movement now. Other than that, again it's nearly identical to the SNES original. Depending on what you're looking for this might be a positive or a negative. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The remixed soundtrack is pretty hit and miss, but rarely terrible. At times the new arrangements don't make a lot of sense and seem to lose some of their luster and charm compared to the originals. HOWEVER, there are two (IMO) big improvements here. The one that can't be argued is that there are no longer instances of sound effects overlapping and cutting out the BGM. I was never sure why this was a problem in the original, as that was an 8-bit NES hardware problem and yet it happened to an SNES game that released a few years after the system launched. It's a problem that wasn't present in several games from inferior developers no less. That's gone though, be it with the new arranged soundtrack OR the original. That's a major plus in the audio department. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Then my second plus here is a more personal opinion. The new soundtrack arrangement actually features some dynamic hooks and loops. The theme will play as normal, but with some added flair when you enter particular rooms or areas. This is especially noticeable in an area of the Dwarf Village. With the music in that area normally being in a very short loop that becomes MADDENINGLY repetitive just a short time within it. But with some extra flair now and again it makes it easier to swallow. In my opinion this is a very welcome change and it alone makes me want to use the new remastered soundtrack. At it's worst the soundtrack is usually still at least OK, rarely offensive. In some rarer instances it's even preferred. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ So far there's one other thing I'd consider and overall plus to this remake package over the original. Often in between story bits when you'll go to sleep at an inn you'll see a little dialog exchange between the three party members in relation to your next task or perhaps referencing the last one. This is actually really cool and it helps to flesh out the story a bit more but more importantly adds some very much needed character to our three heroes! So far this is my favorite new addition and the thing I think is the biggest plus added to the overall package. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ So in conclusion I think this is a wholly in-offensive remake if you're already a fan of the original. There's not much to dislike here in that regard. At the same time there's very little to have actually changed outside of the obvious coat of more modern paint the game's been given. If there's one complaint I have with this though it's that there is NO online co-op play whatsoever. Strictly couch co-op. This is a complete and total bummer. I have a feeling this will be a game that will get torn to shreds by critics because I feel most will be looking some bigger modern changes that just aren't here. Instead they'll find a merely slightly updated take on the original 16-bit classic. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ For better or worse, this absolutely IS Secret of Mana. I'm enjoying the game just fine, but it just begs the question. Was this really needed? Hell, any new Secret of Mana is good Secret of Mana I guess, right?
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About Xeoone of us since 1:36 AM on 02.21.2011