Confusing, but charming.
It’s interesting to see how the Mana series has been treated over the years, both by Square and the general public. Secret of Mana was widely considered one of the best RPGs of its time and even today carries quite a bit of clout, but many of the other titles either didn’t get localized or arrived overseas years after their initial release. Legend of Mana—the fourth entry in the series—was one of the earliest to be localized, but it was met upon release with middling reception. Now, over twenty years later, and following on from 2019’s Collection of Mana and the Trials of Mana remake the following year, Square has finally seen fit to bring this misfit classic back into the light, and while many aspects of it still hold up, it is unmistakably a very weird game.
The narrative of Legend of Mana is… confusing, to say the least. You begin as a nameless, self-insert character, and you’re tasked with effectively creating the world as you explore it. The story goes that the legendary Mana Tree burned down centuries before the events of Legend of Mana and the world of Fa’Diel was subsequently broken up into fragments called “Artifacts” which were then scattered. Broadly speaking, there are three ‘arcs’ to the story, but they can be experienced in any order you choose and are each comprised of a series of sidequests that can also be played in a very loose order.
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