Twenty-five years have passed since the release of the first Seiken Densetsu, or that Final Fantasy Adventure known in our part as Mystic Quest and today re-proposed under a new guise, with the title Adventures of Mana. The progenitor of the Mana series was born, however, as a spin-off of Final Fantasy which, taking full inspiration from The Legend of Zelda, also represented Square Soft's first attempt to introduce action mechanics in its RPG series. peak. The two universes, however, ended up separating more and more, so much so that the same Mystic Quest was revived for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, with the title Sword of Mana and with a story in many parts different from the original. With this new remake, however, Square Enix has decided to take a step back, proposing in a more modern version one of the most exciting adventures experienced by the players of the time.
Adventures of Mana is a good remake for fans of the series, although it's not without its flaws
Knight for a day
Unlike Sword of Mana, which had largely upset the source material, Adventures of Mana avoids falling into the temptation of unnecessary detours. The story of the hero, who must save the world from the evil Dark Lord, and the heroine guardian of the magical Mana tree returns to be lived from only one point of view. There is no double campaign then, but do not worry: it is good that the line of Sword of Mana, which had proved more verbose and less engaging than the original, is not followed.
With its concise dialogues and with characters capable of getting into the player's good graces with very few lines, Adventures of Mana in fact proposes a simple story, but no less compelling. The twists are not lacking and trigger a series of events that reach a climax in the finale, which can still be counted among the saddest and most melancholy in the history of video games. But if the plot has been carefully safeguarded, the same cannot be said for the gameplay, which, fortunately, has undergone substantial changes. The combat system and interface are thus taken directly from Sword of Mana, which from this point of view had introduced some interesting innovations. The clashes are still in real time and managed with the press of a button for physical attacks and one for magical ones, but each weapon also has a special attack, different depending on the type and which depends on a special bar with reload a weather. The arsenal not only differs according to the attack power, but offers specific bonuses (for example, the recovery of health points) and is indispensable in solving environmental puzzles. Exploration is a central element and the player is never accompanied by the hand: to continue, you need to activate the brain, understand what tools you need and, sometimes, turn around a bit to find out about some clue that is not very clear. . It will also often happen that you have to retrace your steps several times before you can move forward. It is precisely this aspect, together with the combat system, that feels the weight of age the most: the objects dropped by monsters are in fact too important and in some circumstances it is necessary to return repeatedly to the same areas hoping for the right loot; the clashes themselves are all too simple, even against the bosses, due to a really lacking artificial intelligence, which does not spare even the allies. From time to time, in fact, some characters accompany the protagonist and on request each offer a different support ability. These can be very useful, unlike their contribution in battle.
Adventures of Mana has 37 trophies, including platinum. The hidden ones are 24 and are easily unlockable by continuing the adventure; the others are secondary objectives, linked for example to reaching level 99 for the protagonist and to obtaining the various types of objects. The road to platinum is so full of aimless grinds, as the game can be completed in a maximum of seven hours, with the character at level 45-50. Finally, we recommend that you collect the items related to exploration and loot before embarking on the final phase, since once you reach the last dungeon it is impossible to go back (and there is no post-game).
New foundations for the future?
As mentioned above, the Adventures of Mana interface is also a direct legacy of the previous Game Boy Advance remake. Inventory management then passes through a ring menu, assisted by three quick keys, which are essential for quickly switching from one weapon to another while exploring the dungeons. From the menu you then access weapons, armor, objects and spells, but here you can also see the statistics of the character, which increased at each level according to a division into four classes: warrior, monk, wizard and sage. Each class allows you to privilege one statistic over the others, but basically the most important attribute remains strength, precisely by virtue of the basic simplicity of the clashes.
However, there is an element of annoyance, which makes the management of health points problematic, in the early stages of the game and not only: the appearance of monsters when passing from one area to another. From this point of view, the development team's work was in fact rather lacking: the world map (which is actually a planisphere) is in fact made up of many squares, which represent the different areas. Switching between areas requires a short reload which not only breaks the pace of play, but brings monsters to the screen with a slight delay to the hero. Here then is that you can simply die because of a chance encounter with a giant pig that suddenly appeared. We would then have preferred to be able to choose to disable the touch keys, which bring a mobile HUD a bit too intrusive and that affects the view. Apart from that, the new 3D graphics, with the characters in "chibi" style, we are not at all sorry and allowed a better differentiation of the monsters on the map. Finally, the beautiful soundtrack is present both in the original version and in the rearranged version by Kenji Ito himself, or the composer who had also edited the music of Mystic Quest. The Spanish translation is missing as expected: given the not excessive amount of text, perhaps Square Enix could have made a little more effort.
CommentTested version PlayStation Vita Digital Delivery PlayStation Store, App Store, Google Play Price 13.99 € / 9.99 € Resources4Gaming.com
Adventures of Mana for PlayStation Vita is probably the best version of Mystic Quest around and, despite some imperfections, the presence of the physical keys is a big advantage over the counterpart for mobile devices. The differences, however, stop there, while the price of the port still rises by four euros. The story, in its brief simplicity, remains very fascinating even today, but the gameplay derived from Sword of Mana begins to feel the weight of the years. A little more could also be done from a technical point of view, since defects such as loading areas end up undermining part of the overall gaming experience.
- The story is the original Mystic Quest one
- Old school exploration
- New pretty graphics
- It is very short
- Insufficient artificial intelligence
- Tanto backtracking