This game is a large network of frustrations. Sword of Mana
Game Boy Advance
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Everything good that could be said about the experience is hobbled by bad design decisions.
1: Whenever you enter a screen, the game is frozen in place while a marginally useful menu telling you where you are is displayed.
2: The existence of the regularly spawning blobs that exist only to force you into a menu to equip an allowed weapon in order to kill them.
3: The many, regularly spawning enemies that are entirely immune to certain weapons, forcing you to go into a menu and equip an allowed weapon in order to kill them.
4: Spirit totems that require you to guess which spirit you must go into a menu to equip, whose magic allows you to destroy the totem.
5: Encountering a chasm with a flail point requires that you go into a menu to equip the flail to enable you to cross.
6: God help you if you want to kill an annoying blob with a Scythe.
Entering and exiting the menu thousands of times during a 30-hour experience is frustrating and grossly unnecessary, not to mention it drags the action into the toilet and drowns it in the excrement of tedium. Note that this game is sold as an action role-playing game, not a menu simulator.
1 should have never existed. It's perfectly possible to have an information window appear on a Game Boy Advance game without freezing the entire experience in place. Let alone freezing it on every screen. Forever.
2 and 3 exist for no other reason than to waste time. It's not challenging. There are no rewards. It's just a thing the game forces you to do because of poor planning on the behalf of the design team. If they were parts of unique puzzles, like most of the orbs were in Secret of Mana, they would be tolerable. Even a boon to the experience.
4 is what Secret of Mana would've forced you to do if the Analyzer magic hadn't existed. It's interesting to see how poorly designed Secret of Mana could have been if foresight hadn't gone into its systems.
5 is another example of what happens when you half-ass the implementation of Secret of Mana features. You don't have three people to keep a whip equipped on. You have you. What should have been done is automatically allowing you to cross the chasm by activating the giant bolts.
But that'd require a team that had a strong desire to make a streamlined, quick moving action experience.
It's somewhat sad given that, the many issues aside, the battle system is by far the most solid in the entire series.
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