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Author Topic: Dawn of Mana Impressions  (Read 6688 times)
Ashton
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« on: December 23, 2006, 09:43:13 AM »

Okay, so the last thread was ruined by dumbfucks and faggots. I'll write something that's actually meaningful.

Graphics - Really great. Vast plains, deep forests, and dark caves are all really colorful and vivid. The character models are really detailed and all the animations are smooth and nicely done. The overall feel of the game is something like a storybook put into 3D.

Sound - The music is okay, it's kind of actiony, like something you hear out of an anime.  Fits with the game's cartoonish look. The game is fully voice acted, with characters talking during battle, while travelling, in cutscenes, everywhere. Very nice. Localization'll be a bitch though.

Story - Haha, are you kidding? Nobody plays a Mana game for story. That's crazy talk. You're crazy.

Gameplay - This is the part which will split the player base. On one hand, it's very fun. The combat and really great; you get enemies thrown at you in big sprawling environments which you have to utilize - you have to either hit the enemies against each other or use the environment against them to cause them to become dizzy, then attack while they're down to gain stat bonuses. This causes combat to be a bit hectic when there are lots of enemies on screen (and believe me, I've already had to fight like fifteen enemies at once. When they go bouncing, it's not a pretty sight), but there's no slowdown at all. There are a bit of ragdoll physics in the game; the first boss plowed into me and I flew halfway across the battlefield, it's like Dawn of Mana's planet has gravity that's equal to a fourth that of Earth's or something.

The magic system is intruiging, you have many different elements and you get limited uses (though you can pick up more - they're lying all over the place), and press circle to use the specific elemental bullet attacks. The only bullet attack that has infinite use is your inital bullet (which sucks and doesn't stun enemies). Every other bullet has limited use, but you can stun enemies with them for easier stat ups... but don't overuse them or you'll be out for the boss encounters. Your little faerie friend also gets more spells as your magic level increases, with Attack and Defense Up spells at level 1, a Healing spell at level 2, and some others I haven't messed with yet. You use the left and right directional buttons to scroll through your bullets and up and down to scroll through your faerie's spells. Quite intuitive.

The battle system is quite simple; three default slashes that will increase in number as your combat level rises. Your sword can extend into a whip, which I have no idea what the use is for, I've found no practical use for it yet. Items are left behind by enemies and objects in the environment (money, HP recovery, and MP recovery, the last two of which are used on the spot and cannot be saved). The game operates on a pseudo mission based type of play, so it's very linear, though you can do whatever you want on the huge maps. Each chapter has a certain nnumber of missions (I think 5, with the last one being the boss), and you get a ranking for each chapter when you're done. When you choose a mission, the game will start you off with the stats you had when you did that mission last.

Now here's the thing, the stats DO reset after every chapter, which is weird, but you get stat up items so incredibly easily, it's pretty unlikely you won't be able to build up quickly. But the weirder part comes with the save system. You'll mainly save in one save file and instead of just making you start off at your last save point, the game lets you choose where to start off at. You can go back to a previous mission to redo it for a better ranking (and more money), or you can keep going from where you left off. I don't even know what money does yet, as I've not seen a shop and there's no inventory or anything.

So, SD4 is a bizarre mix of action and adventure, with a few RPG elements thrown into the mix - as far as RPGs go, it isn't one. It's an action/adventure/platformer that resets your gains after every chapter. It's really fun, but it's not clear whether it has staying power or not since I've only played the Prologue, Chapter 1, and part of Chapter 2. Don't go into this expecting Secret of Mana in 3D.

Bottom line: It's not for everybody, and it's DEFINITELY not for those seeking another Secret of Mana or Seiken Densetsu 3.
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Fei
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2006, 12:01:40 PM »

I loved going for the highest ranks in Contra:Shattered Soldier, so perhaps trying for the highest ranks in this game will have me just as addicted.
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Eusis
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2006, 01:01:27 PM »

Quote from: "Leyviur"
Story - Haha, are you kidding? Nobody plays a Mana game for story. That's crazy talk. You're crazy.

Hey! It's a few hundred times better than most action RPGs! Which... Just puts it about on par with typical RPGs I guess. Eh, I liked SoM's anyway.

Sounds good, but weird as hell, so naturally I'm still cautious. Plus I could quickly tire of 'smack things around lots' gameplay.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2006, 02:15:05 PM »

Eh, I can understand why the other thread was closed QUITE well, but everyone was being civil up to that point (so it's probably good Eusis closed it when he did ^____^)

Also I am sorry about editting my post. I was just messing with you and figured everyone would see the timestamp :(

ANYWAY.

The combat does sound interesting. I'm thinking Dynasty Warriors for some reason, possibly because you mentioned lots of enemies. It sounds faster than the last, uh, four mana games have been, at least.

It doesn't sound like it has many puzzles though. That's something I've kind of wished the SD games would've adopted.

The mission/level based system without a, uh "persistent" world inbetween quests is sort of odd, still, I guess. That's not even really that popular in action games anymore, with stuff like Half Life 2 and Metroidvania becoming the norm.

Anyway, does the manual make any mention of, uh, getting new weapons or abilities as you progress? Like, since your stats get wiped each chapter, are you getting the exact same skills over and over again, or does Chapter 2 have a different skillsets from 1, or what? I imagine that if you don't ever get anything genuinely new here, this could be tedious.
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2006, 06:01:55 PM »

The ragdoll physics and ricocheting enemies and player sound a lot like combat in Children of Mana.
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Eusis
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2006, 07:26:09 PM »

Quote from: "MeshGearFox"
Eh, I can understand why the other thread was closed QUITE well, but everyone was being civil up to that point (so it's probably good Eusis closed it when he did ^____^)

Wait, I'm a mod? And I can lock things? Why didn't anyone tell me? :P

Seriously though, another mod saw that and locked it. If I had the ability and was going to, it'd have been locked with my prior post, not that last one. And to address something I noticed in that old thread...
Quote
Relevancy: I'm much in the same camp as others here, particularly Neal. This entire affair sounds ridiculous. SD2 and 3 pretty much showcased one of the finest gaming setups ever made, and all of a sudden that's all abandoned for some action-RPG bullshit?

... What the hell Mark. The Mana series has always been unquestionably an action RPG series: Maybe you're thinking 'some generic hack & slash bullshit' or something. Plus I imagine games like SD2&3 are exactly what Chris was talking about with wanting more action RPGs, or close enough at least. :P
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2006, 10:42:37 PM »

Yes, pardon me. I mean more of the hack-and-slash variety, as opposed to an actually sensible action-RPG system. I realised that earlier, but failed to make comment.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2006, 02:55:47 AM »

... Why the hell did I say Eusis XD See, kids. This is why you don't eat mounds of curry and try to get by on three hours of sleep.

Anyway, Summoner 2 always reminded me of the earlier mana games for some reason. Not entirely sure why. It was very actiony, and I guess the sliding menus were sort of similar to the ring menu system. I can't really explain why. Just got vibes like that from it.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2007, 11:15:36 PM »

Need bumpage here and I don't see the need to make a new topic.

Anyway, I'm considering starting a new game in SD3. Which character would you say plays the best? Like, tightest controls, fastest, maybe?
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Eusis
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2007, 11:36:13 PM »

Quote from: "MeshGearFox"
Need bumpage here and I don't see the need to make a new topic.

... I think an /entirely different game/ warrants a new topic. It's not like you have to pay or something to make one.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2007, 12:56:53 AM »

Quote from: "MeshGearFox"
Need bumpage here and I don't see the need to make a new topic.

Anyway, I'm considering starting a new game in SD3. Which character would you say plays the best? Like, tightest controls, fastest, maybe?


Duran felt slow and clunky, but I liked his story a lot.

Hawk(eye) has the tightest controls and is definitely the fastest.  Probably the best melee character.

Kevin was also pretty decent with melee and fast too.

Angela was good with magic.

Never used Carlie.  Heard she was pretty good depending on what class you made her.

I forget how the Riesz/spear wielding girl is.
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2007, 01:47:54 AM »

Riesz/Lise (the amazon spear chick) is my all-time favorite character. I've beaten SD3 three times, and each time I had her in my party so I could take her to a different class by the end. She's simply excellent.

(funny, though I used her 3x, I never made her my main character. For main characters I did Duran, Carly, and...I forget...Kevin? Whichever got me the 3rd last dungeon).

Ramza
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2007, 02:26:55 AM »

I'm not finding Hawk's controls terribly tight. He... always tends to fly around a lot on me. Riesz sounds interesting though. I've got her in my party, so I'll try controlling her for a bit.
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Ashton
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2007, 05:17:03 AM »

Quote from: "Ramza"
Riesz/Lise (the amazon spear chick) is my all-time favorite character. I've beaten SD3 three times, and each time I had her in my party so I could take her to a different class by the end. She's simply excellent.

I just played Reisz every game because she was a total hottie.
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Bernhardt
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2007, 12:06:52 AM »

From the sounds of it, not so sure how I feel about it.

The save system sounds strange. If it's anything like Samurai Legend Musashi (only one real save point in the game - your room - the rest are simply checkpoints that you respawn to if you get killed, but you don't continue from any of those checkpoints if you turn the game off, then return to it) I'm going to hate it, and I'm going to see it as if a lot of potential was lost. (All of those checkpoints in Samurai Legend Musashi could've been used just as easily to save progress; it wasn't that long or large of a game!)

As for resetting stats after every chapter, well, I guess it's an interesting take on trying to keep numbers small, rather than allowing them to reach astronomical values, so it just looks like your characters and enemies are more powerful, when what has really occurred is simply an inflation of HP and other stats.

I'll definitely be watching out for this one, though; I hope just a little bit of the Seiken Densetsu style has been left intact, and that it hasn't taken on too grandiose of an evolution.
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