Legend of Mana Remaster Review – Aging With Grace


Legend of Mana Remaster PlayStation 4 review

A lot has changed in the JRPG genre since the release of Legend of Mana. Gameplay mechanics have been refined, storytelling techniques have been refined, and tropes have grown and shrunk according to their popularity. Because of these factors, the recently remastered version of the Mana series classic finds itself in an interesting position. For better or worse, it’s now an unusual animal of a game with elements that JRPG fans will both love and hate.

Example: The game is set in a fairly traditional high fantasy world, albeit with the usual twist of the Mana series. Everything revolves around the Mana Tree, which grants life and the power of creation to the inhabitants of the world. However, after the inhabitants of the world exceeded their need, the tree disappeared.

Now, however, the world needs the tree again, and it’s up to the player to restore it. This can be done by placing artifacts on a world map which results in different areas and quests. Completing each area unlocks a new artifact and the ability to get closer to the tree resurrection.

It all sounds pretty straightforward, right? Well, that’s because I’m summing up what I’ve put together over several hours of playing the game. Legend of Mana never explicitly tells you what the plot is or why you’re playing the game. Instead, it does. lets you figure out what’s going on and why you’re doing anything. The point of completing the quests won’t be immediately apparent, and you’ll be able to run through the entire game without ever feeling like there’s a consistent course of action.

This is not in itself a bad thing. After all, several JRPGs are built around you to create your own adventure and have fun in a fantasy world. Likewise, the freedom to choose when and where you engage in different quests provides a welcome freedom that feels fresh even by today’s standards.

However, the game can also be unclear and obtuse in a way that has not been seen in games for a long time. This can make a first part difficult unless you use a guide or walkthrough. Knowing where to go, what to do next, how to get party members or even whether or not you are progressing through the game’s story can be nearly impossible otherwise.

This in turn could result in hours of frustrating experimentation and exploring for clues, only to realize that the answer was hidden in plain sight, or behind outdated game logic.

Legend of Mana Remastered live review

Fortunately, the other elements of Legend of Mana Remaster go a long way in filling these gaps. Gameplay-wise, the combat is deceptively deep, with a variety of attack types at your disposal. At any time, you can chain together light or heavy attacks to create combos. There are also special abilities you can use at regular intervals, allowing you to deal heavy damage to enemies while also triggering buffs and debuffs for good measure.

These combos and attacks also vary a lot between the many weapon types, making each one feel like their own beast to tame. Dealing with a certain enemy might require completely different strategies if you’re wielding a bow instead of a one-handed sword, and the positioning of a Staff Carrier will be completely different from that of a Dagger user.

It helps keep the game varied and helps the fight stay fresh even for 20 or 30 hours. Revamped visuals are strengthened. Legend of Mana’s original 2D environments and sprites have been significantly reworked for the Remaster, making it a feast for the eyes. The environments are bursting with color and detail, allowing the world to fully immerse you in its imaginative setting.

This upgrade is also pretty consistent across the board. Other than a few character portraits, everything feels good about this enhanced portrayal of art, helping to establish the remaster as a valid take on the game.

Legend of Mana Remastered live review

There is also the exceptional music and sound design. Each new zone is accompanied by its own track or its own twist to established melodies. While fairly straightforward, they all lend a sense of identity and personality to every place you visit, whether it’s the millionth Jungle to appear in a JRPG or one of the most quirky dungeons in the world. Game.

The sound design, meanwhile, will melt the heart of any classic JRPG lover. The not very melodious sound effects still retain the same charm they had so many decades ago and help to reinforce the feeling that this game is the product of its time.

Overall, the Legend of Mana Remaster is a big comeback for the classic title. Even though some elements haven’t aged well, it still retains its novelty all these years after its release. As long as you have the patience to look past those flaws – and a handy walkthrough for any points where its design isn’t clear – you won’t be disappointed with this reworked fantasy adventure.

Exam block

Legend of Mana Remaster live review

Reviewer: Keenan McCall | Award: editors Choice


  • Open gameplay design
  • The fight is deceptively deep
  • Great artistic retouched style
  • The music is always so great

The inconvenients

  • Has no plot or clear story
  • Requires guide or walkthrough to points

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  • Legend of Mana Remaster for PS4, Switch, and PC gets new screenshots showing updated visuals and more

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