Author Topic: A Mana series retrospective.

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Aeolus

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2014, 11:03:00 PM »
I lucked out and strongarmed my siblings into playing SoM's multi player. It actually works quite well when you're not trying to sabotage each other. In fact that's really where the importance lies in; the game is perfectly playable in both single player and multi player without feeling like you had to have at least a second player. You weren't getting shortchanged on a half-baked multi player mode, you weren't forced to find some friends to do anything in the game and all you needed to get a player on board was an extra controller and a multi-tap device (which were pretty goddamn reasonable back in the day, even if the multi-tap didn't see much use outside of it and Bomberman). There are lots of multi player games nowadays that aren't playable because the AI is too useless and the game's interface is too cumbersome to get around the AI with or everything's in single player and the multi player was just some last minute novelty to add one more bullet point to the back of the box/gaming magazine/online review.
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Hathen

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2014, 11:06:43 PM »
Like many other people have stated, Secret of Mana was amazing when I was a kid, but it has aged really poorly. As a standalone game I think Legend is probably the best of the series. It's terribly underexplained though, especially the way the weapons work. I think what made Secret special for me though, is that there was this air of mysticism throughout the game. I don't think I can think of any other games that made me feel like I was adventuring into the unknown the way Secret did. I think a large part of this was the music.

Despite the flaws in the series from the start though, that wasn't the only problem with the later games and I really have no idea what the hell went wrong. Children of Mana was passable on a basic gameplay level but had repetitive grind and nothing particularly interesting in terms of the world or story, and then aside from that the rest ranged from mediocre to utter crap.

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2014, 11:45:24 PM »
You'd think a game with such a basic and genius combat would have stayed good, but something got funky along the way....

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Damacon

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2014, 02:15:47 AM »
I agree Dice, wish they would of just kept improving the initial design while removing the flaws from the previous works.When it comes down to it there just is not enough rpgs that you can play with friends that are not exact clones of diablo or mmo's anyway. Speaking of that I always wanted  to play the final fantasy crystals for the game cube but could never justify it needing the gameboy for 4 controllers if you wanted to play multi player. It looked like a really really fun game though did anyone here ever play it?

Tomara

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2014, 03:22:51 AM »
I played the original one and Echoes of Time. The original was a ton of fun, but yeah, you need enough hardware and friends for proper multiplayer. Echoes of Time is slightly more userfriendly. If you have the Wii version, you still need a bunch of DSs and DS version of the game to play with people in the same room, but hey, it's wireless!

They really should have called these games Chronicles of Mana or something...

Mickeymac92

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2014, 10:13:59 AM »
Quote
probably moreso with friends

Not really.

The problem with playing SoM with friends is that nine times out of ten, you're growing up in a crappy suburban neighborhood and your friends are just whoever's around that's your age, and then they end up like robbing your parents.

:\

...yeah, that sounds about right...;_;

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Damacon

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2014, 10:16:11 AM »
Gah that is right they had a Wii version to and I tried renting it only to find out I couldn't play multi-player for the same reasons as the one on gamecube. I mean what the hell, who can afford to buy 4 DS just to play a game. Its not like people who don't live by the rpg are dumb enough to buy a DS or any handheld device for that much.

Tomara

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2014, 10:48:22 AM »
I think they were counting on groups of friends who already owned DSs. By the time Echoes of Time was released there were over 125 million DSs out there, so they were not exactly rare. So anyway, group of 2-4 friends, each with their own DS, and the only thing they have to invest in is gamecards. That's not unreasonable.

Unless you use this logic, that is.


MeshGearFox

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2014, 07:36:27 PM »
fwiw, I enjoyed the original FFCC in single player, although the gave you a moogle and fiddled with the mechanics a bit to make it actually work, unlike Phantasy Star Online which was... basically impossible to reasonably solo in.

I was under the impression the later games gave you proper AI companions but the AI there was mixed, whereas the moogle was just a little buddybot that did what you told it.
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Zendervai

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2014, 07:47:28 PM »
Ring of Fates had a somewhat interesting story and the A.I. companions were...serviceable, if annoying. (Why did they both need annoying verbal tics?) Echoes of Time had much dumber A.I., I guess because they didn't have personalities to inspire the A.I. behavior, and the other two CC games are a town sim and a tower defense game, so it's kind of a moot point for those. Although the adventurers can be really stupid in My Life as a King since they can seriously wander around town all day, every day, buying random equipment and then running out of time to actually visit the dungeons.

Damacon

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2014, 11:03:36 PM »
I wish my group of friends had DS's or the gameboy advance but we were all poor kids who had to each buy different systems so we could play the maximum amount of games lol.

Aeolus

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2014, 04:35:34 PM »
Despite the flaws in the series from the start though, that wasn't the only problem with the later games and I really have no idea what the hell went wrong. Children of Mana was passable on a basic gameplay level but had repetitive grind and nothing particularly interesting in terms of the world or story, and then aside from that the rest ranged from mediocre to utter crap.

That's basically the World of Mana compilation in a nut shell (or any Squeenix era compilation for that matter). Children, Heroes, Friends and Dawn all came out in roughly the space of a year (like almost to the day in Japan), and only Dawn felt like there was any effort directed towards it (not to say that said effort was well guided or thought out). Children in particular I found myself rating it between two similar DS games Summon Night: Twin Age (mediocre dungeon crawler with a Summon Night series veneer keeping it from being totally lame) and From the Abyss (probably someone's Comiket entry one year that they decided to make into a full fledged game, I don't think even one launch title for the Original GameBoy Grey and Yellow Brick had less depth than this PoS; it eventually got ported to the DSiWare in four parts; yes that's right, DSiWARE where only Shantae 2, X-scape, and the limited edition Four Swords port were the only worthwhile things to come from that service), because it really wasn't all that different from those two games (Children had that obnoxious pinball physics mechanic and little else).


Anyways, I was going to mention this in my previous :effort: post (which got swallowed by my shitty computer/browser) but with the early games you could feel like they were going for more of the 80s/90s style action adventure high-fantasy anime (if you've ever watched an anime like Vampire Hunter D, Fist of the North Star, MD Geist, Slayers, Record of the Lodoss Wars, Psychic Wars and a bunch of other contemporary OVAs to the point of kinda understanding their structure, then play SD1; you'll realize that it roughly follows the same formula). The problem with this is that the genre more or less died off by the early 00s and Final Fantasy of all things basically was the closest thing to a proper successor (and that's also when Squeenix decided to disappear up its own asshole) so when you play SD1 and Sword of Mana back to back, you can see and feel the massive difference in style (and quality). Sword is far far wordier than SD1 and yet says far less than it (the plot was broken up into two halves for the alternate protagonists; the Boy got a shortened variant of SD1's plot, whereas the Girl got the parts the Boy didn't get and about five times the words; the game itself doesn't really contain any "new" content to make it its own thing).

So now you get parts where guys like Willie, who only existed in SD1 for about a minute to hand the MC his quest and instructions as to what to do next and promptly dies, whereas in Sword he's a dipshit who's sole role in the game is to be the Girl's Boy surrogate (for the points where in the original game they were paired together but cannot do so now because they're off doing their own thing) despite showing up multiple times. And then you have Hasham who straight up dies the moment he appears in SD1 get entirely cut from Sword despite having an even better reason to be around (since you can now start as the Girl), instead Willie also gets his role despite not really doing anything with it. Count Lee was basically the episode 2 or 3 villain of the week in SD1 (i.e. some clown to prove that the MC is a badass) is now some completely misunderstood guy who's goal is only to protect the Girl instead of eating her (even though she's still stuffed in a coffin in a room full of coffins on the Boy's route and all the girls that disappeared due to bad cases of mistaken identity are never seen or heard from again). Hell, SD1 ended with a Green Aesop which was all the rage back in the day whereas Sword ended with Power of Friendship.

And you can sort of see similar lines going through SDs 2 & 3. Hell, Secret had the Scorpion Army which are massively blatant expies of Yatterman's adversaries and those guys became a cliche in monster of the week type shows (it took Team Rocket to really replace them). Secret also had the Four Generals bit, the evil cult led by an evil sorcerer bit, the mighty Empire selling its soul for power and a monster army to said evil cult and so on. SD3 is really where the series tries to start to become its own thing which is why every Mana game since has referenced it more than any other Mana game (Legend was basically a SaGa game in disguise and game the series the lore it needed to be its own thing, even if it clashes with the preexisting stuff so hard, the series ended up developing a Zelda style timeline).
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Rucks

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2014, 06:49:15 PM »
Despite the flaws in the series from the start though, that wasn't the only problem with the later games and I really have no idea what the hell went wrong. Children of Mana was passable on a basic gameplay level but had repetitive grind and nothing particularly interesting in terms of the world or story, and then aside from that the rest ranged from mediocre to utter crap.

That's basically the World of Mana compilation in a nut shell (or any Squeenix era compilation for that matter). Children, Heroes, Friends and Dawn all came out in roughly the space of a year (like almost to the day in Japan), and only Dawn felt like there was any effort directed towards it (not to say that said effort was well guided or thought out). Children in particular I found myself rating it between two similar DS games Summon Night: Twin Age (mediocre dungeon crawler with a Summon Night series veneer keeping it from being totally lame) and From the Abyss (probably someone's Comiket entry one year that they decided to make into a full fledged game, I don't think even one launch title for the Original GameBoy Grey and Yellow Brick had less depth than this PoS; it eventually got ported to the DSiWare in four parts; yes that's right, DSiWARE where only Shantae 2, X-scape, and the limited edition Four Swords port were the only worthwhile things to come from that service), because it really wasn't all that different from those two games (Children had that obnoxious pinball physics mechanic and little else).


Anyways, I was going to mention this in my previous :effort: post (which got swallowed by my shitty computer/browser) but with the early games you could feel like they were going for more of the 80s/90s style action adventure high-fantasy anime (if you've ever watched an anime like Vampire Hunter D, Fist of the North Star, MD Geist, Slayers, Record of the Lodoss Wars, Psychic Wars and a bunch of other contemporary OVAs to the point of kinda understanding their structure, then play SD1; you'll realize that it roughly follows the same formula). The problem with this is that the genre more or less died off by the early 00s and Final Fantasy of all things basically was the closest thing to a proper successor (and that's also when Squeenix decided to disappear up its own asshole) so when you play SD1 and Sword of Mana back to back, you can see and feel the massive difference in style (and quality). Sword is far far wordier than SD1 and yet says far less than it (the plot was broken up into two halves for the alternate protagonists; the Boy got a shortened variant of SD1's plot, whereas the Girl got the parts the Boy didn't get and about five times the words; the game itself doesn't really contain any "new" content to make it its own thing).

So now you get parts where guys like Willie, who only existed in SD1 for about a minute to hand the MC his quest and instructions as to what to do next and promptly dies, whereas in Sword he's a dipshit who's sole role in the game is to be the Girl's Boy surrogate (for the points where in the original game they were paired together but cannot do so now because they're off doing their own thing) despite showing up multiple times. And then you have Hasham who straight up dies the moment he appears in SD1 get entirely cut from Sword despite having an even better reason to be around (since you can now start as the Girl), instead Willie also gets his role despite not really doing anything with it. Count Lee was basically the episode 2 or 3 villain of the week in SD1 (i.e. some clown to prove that the MC is a badass) is now some completely misunderstood guy who's goal is only to protect the Girl instead of eating her (even though she's still stuffed in a coffin in a room full of coffins on the Boy's route and all the girls that disappeared due to bad cases of mistaken identity are never seen or heard from again). Hell, SD1 ended with a Green Aesop which was all the rage back in the day whereas Sword ended with Power of Friendship.

And you can sort of see similar lines going through SDs 2 & 3. Hell, Secret had the Scorpion Army which are massively blatant expies of Yatterman's adversaries and those guys became a cliche in monster of the week type shows (it took Team Rocket to really replace them). Secret also had the Four Generals bit, the evil cult led by an evil sorcerer bit, the mighty Empire selling its soul for power and a monster army to said evil cult and so on. SD3 is really where the series tries to start to become its own thing which is why every Mana game since has referenced it more than any other Mana game (Legend was basically a SaGa game in disguise and game the series the lore it needed to be its own thing, even if it clashes with the preexisting stuff so hard, the series ended up developing a Zelda style timeline).

This soliloquy has forced me to adjust my question from the dice thread: is there any Square or Square Enix game you don't actively hate on at every opportunity? You don't seem to miss a beat around here.

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MeshGearFox

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2014, 09:39:50 PM »
No, I'm the guy that really doesn't like Squaresoft as a whole, although I have to admit that part of that's probably just an adverse reaction I have to their rabid fanbase and... what I think is a completely undeserved reputation as having been one of the greatest RPG companies ever.

In my eyes, Square made a bunch of really generic RPGs, they just made them a lot /pettier/ than anyone else was doing for a long time.
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Damacon

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Re: A Mana series retrospective.
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2014, 10:56:16 PM »
I would tend to agree that most of squares work were really no better than any other rpg at the time and for me once they became square enix. They were basically just eye candy, I would have to say that final fantasy 10 was the last final fantasy game I played that even felt remotely like a final fantasy game. Even still I was really disappointed with FF10 story wise as I hated cast of characters except Lulu. I was probably one of the few people who was happy when Tidus disappeared and had no urge what so ever to play FF10-2 to save his star blitzderp player ass.