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The thing is, I actually felt like Final Fantasy Adventure was pretty okay for what it was. It had its flaws, but I could mostly put them down to being the first in the series before they got the formula right, and also to the technical limitations of the Gameboy Color.
Which is why I was actually looking forward to Secret of Mana. "Surely, they'll be able to fix all that stuff!" But it actually got WORSE.
I've played through the game, beaten it, and I generally found Secret of Mana(Seiken Densetsu II) to be a decent game. I will say however that the amount of hype surrounding the game is impossible for the actual thing to live up to, like many retro games. When compared to Seiken Densetsu I aka Final Fantasy Adventure, I found SoM to be a worse experience. I thought the game boy game was very well made actually. It's still my favorite in the Seiken Densetsu series.
I believe critiquing and pointing out the bad parts in games is very important, more important than the good parts most of the time. The bad parts can make or break a game for many people. That said:
They took a lot of steps backwards with Secret of Mana. The story is butchered with at least 1/3rd of it missing in the US translation. The stuff that did get translated got butchered in the typical SNES Squaresoft fashion as well, to save space on the cartridge and reduce the manufacturing costs and increase the profits for the company(Larger ROM chips are more expensive.) The combat system is flawed. Having to wait till 100% to attack or hitting for nothing with what can only be described as half-dodgy hit detection at times is kind of annoying and a step back from the system in the first game. You also cannot attack immediately after one of your other party members does, or the monster takes damage, as the attack will not register and you'll miss. The magic and weapon leveling system is kind of annoying and clumsy, as spells and weapons take absolutely WAY too long to level up. If you're the type of person that likes to obsessively level everything, it will drain you to complete boredom very quickly. The AI for the computer-controlled characters is extremely poor and annoying as they will constantly get hung up on things in the environment. The AI issue can be somewhat fixed by playing it with another person, but that doesn't completely solve the issue as you'll still have a third character that holds everything up, and good luck finding someone that will play a 20-40 hour RPG with you.
However, despite all these shortcomings it is still a decent SNES game. It's not as good as the hype around it leads you to believe though. The game forces you to not follow your basic instinct of smash attack as fast as possible, like you would do in Zelda or most action RPGs, as you'll do absolutely no damage and have a miserable time as your OP shows. You have to learn to attack around the other party members. The graphics are good for the SNES, and the soundtrack is enjoyable. The game was quite innovative and different from the rest of the games on the market when it was released. The story that is there is good for the most part. The gameplay can be enjoyable when you're not bored to tears grinding for spell and weapon skillups, but that issue isn't as bad if you just pick certain weapons and certain spells for each character to focus on instead of trying to make everyone learn everything. Boss fights are much easier when you know the proper strategy for fighting them, what magic they are weak to, etc. A lot of the love for this, like many older games, is based in nostalgia. Things that were acceptable gameplay wise in the 1990's are not as acceptable today and people often remember games from their younger years fondly and are more willing to overlook the flaws, no matter how obvious they are.
Secret of Mana is a game where if you try to rush through it, be it not spending time grinding, not being patient with the battle system, etc. you are likely to have a bad time. You have to learn how it's battle system works and play around it. The game expects you to play a certain way if you want to win. It's an older RPG which also means looking up a guide for the game is extremely beneficial, as most older RPGs don't really tell you everything you need to know. It's less frustrating if you know how much you should be grinding, where upcoming boss fights are, what they are weak to so you can plan ahead, and where all the hidden goodies are. I know this ruins games for some people though, but comes with the territory of old RPGs.
(edited 2 months ago)
Committing to it for my first time, COVID-19 lockdown time & SNES Classic, I'm actually enjoying how unique a gameplay interface it has.
It's refreshing to play a thoughtful game like this with its brilliant audio & visuals. Not every game can play like FFVI or Chrono Trigger... nor would I wish that. Literal clones aren't very pleasing.
I played through Super Mario RPG in the fall, my first time, & that was also nicely unique. It wasn't until Nimbus Land that I truly felt immersed, & yet I appreciated that game's efforts from start to finish.
The only decent games this franchise has to offer are Trials of Mana remake and Legend of Mana
You may block me, report me even
but you can't unsmell my ass
Gotta say that I agree with OP. I bought the game of a friend more than 15 years ago and didn't understand the hype. Lent it to someone and never got it back.
I just bought the collection to give this game a new try and since Trials seems cool, and goddamnit, that first boss is even worse than in my memories and the camera is just aweful.
The mods of this board are corrupt
I had way more fun with Final Fantasy Adventures than I did with Sword of Mana. Holy cow how is this game even liked by anyone? I tried to enjoy this game twice and it fails. I got into this series with the Trials of Mana remake. I mean come on, that spikey tiger boss made me quit SoM.
How in the world does my backlog keep getting bigger?
Oh look, new game!
Lol trust me once you get magic you will wish every boss to be as difficult as Spikey Tiger.
It's a product of its time..
You can't go into a game that is now approaching 30yrs old and expect it to be the same 'plug and play' experience we get now.
SoM isn't perfect, in fact in many ways it IS frustrating. But, it is a game I played in 1994 and instantly fell in love with. I play through it (via emulation) at least once a year.
I choose emulation to overcome my own personal gripe, as an experienced player, the relative slow speed the game runs at. (Ironically, as a PAL gamer in the 90s, that slow speed was exacerbated by the 50Hz PAL SNES being 17% slower than the 60Hz NTSC machines!!)
Being able to play at 200% speed transforms the game for me!
I get the feeling that a lot of people who start topics on here about how bad SoM is, for them at least, have two arguments that can easily be used against them..
First: Read the f^(king instruction manual!!! It clearly explains how weapons, when used, need to charge back to 100% before using them again. It's not complicated!
Second: Don't approach the game expecting it to be anything like the 'easier than breathing' games which are released today. The truth is SoM isn't that difficult, it's just... Shall we say.. Quirky!
I Like Your Style Gnome
Very well said!
For those complaining about how hard this game is, I'm reminded of a hack that a German gamer was playing that could cause a game over in mere seconds, with hundreds in damage commonplace.
The LttP hacks seem too hard to enjoy but I'd love to try a hard hack of this game.
Our kitty has left to be with the Lord.
RIP Rascal, March 12, 2016. We miss you dearly...
Still tryna understand how folks really said som 2 is better than 3 or mana. Im currently tackling the reborn translation and game is a complete chore fest. I think many let the nostalgia and music waver their judgement cause this didnt stand the test time. Hell the remake fixed some issues but still has its issues.