When the world was shrouded in darkness, the Goddess of Mana drew forth the Sword of Mana to smite the eight Benevodons, monsters of destruction. She sealed the horrors inside the eight Mana Stones, bringing the realm back from the brink. Weakened from rebuilding the world, the Goddess changed herself into a tree and fell into a deep sleep for many years. However, the forces of evil soon sought to free the Benevodons to gain control of the world. They started a terrible war to further their plot and destabilize the kingdoms. Peace was at an end.

Trials of Mana is unapologetically traditional and, yet, still makes itself accessible to all JRPG fans, both new and old. The dedication that the developers show as they retain the fantasy appeal of this classic title with updated systems is what ultimately shines during every moment of this adventure.

If you are from that select group that enjoyed Seiken Densetsu 3 at the time, I can assure you that you will be amazed with the result of this reissue. It’s one of those remakes that we didn’t know we needed.

Trials of Mana is colorful, quirky, familiar, and a lot of fun. It is a blueprint for how an older RPG can be remade in a way that keeps the charm and working parts of the original but upgrades it so that it is graphically appealing to a modern audience. The game is unapologetically retro in its story and progression. This works as its best quality and greatest detriment. The handholding for the first eight-or-so hours makes for a less interesting experience, especially considering that makes for roughly a third of the entire game. However, even with that early dip in excitement, Trials of Mana is a thoroughly worthwhile game.

Trials of Mana is a colorful remake which is too faithful at times: Square Enix updated the combat system and dungeon design but the narrative was left in the early 90s.

Trials of Mana is an escape from reality many of us can use these days. The plot is easy to follow, generally lighthearted, and as mentioned combat is about as easy as it comes. The beginning eight hours or so are very slow-paced, but once the first chapter is cleared, things really pick up. The graphical overhaul leaves a bit to be desired, but the audio work makes up for this, even with the occasionally cheesy dialogue or overdone acting. While RPGs have come a long way since the ‘90s, Trials of Mana stays true to its roots as a game most everyone can enjoy.

Every Mana game after Secret of Mana has felt diminished, by comparison. Time has revealed even that gem’s numerous flaws, but there’s still a bar that’s been set. Trials of Mana reaches for that bar, perhaps even grasping it. The graphics are lovely, the music is compelling, and the combat is engaging. It’s a weird, beautiful action RPG with enough hooks to keep me on the wire to the very end. The story may be wafer thin, the characters might be flat, and their dialogue might be clumsy, but the core remains intact. Whether you’ve played the original or not, Trials of Mana should be on your ARPG radar.

This is a remake done correctly, as charming as the original, the story isn’t original but it’s easy to follow and still holds it’s weight. The voice acting is kind of bad, but most fans of the series will be using Japanese voices regardless. A faithful remake through and through.

Only those who played the original can appreciate the good work done on this remake. The nostalgia of it all is such a bliss to wander in again. The music, artwork and enhanced game features cannot be talked about enough. Thank you Square Enix for this beautiful release.

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