How hard it was to get addicted to Japanese action RPGs in the last century: Despite the undeniable success of Secret of Mana, Western gamers saw Seiken Densetsu 3 right under their noses. A generation and a few years later, Square Enix cut the pear in half when it released Legend of Mana in the United States. 22 years later, the French can finally discover this episode. All the better since it seems like the value isn’t waiting for the number of years.
For those who would not have had the opportunity to get the fourth episode of the series by importing its release, keep this in mind Legend of Mana differs from previous works in that it offers a completely different path, almost on a map: in the course of the adventure, our hero (or heron) acquires artifacts that allow him to place increasingly diverse environments on a map. Cities, dungeons and other areas to be explored are discovered in no time and offer a completely different path, a complexity that makes this first translation into our beautiful language even more necessary.
The first detail that inevitably stands out when this version is launched in the form of an HD remaster is obviously the width of the image, which leaves the original aspect ratio of 4: 3 in order to push the straight curves of our widescreen screens and a very nice rendering that but sometimes gives the impression that the settings are a little overwhelming, as lush as they may be.
This is because the plastic of the title should be the most attractive: The already shimmering graphics of the PlayStation Opus benefit from a nice smoothing in high definition, which creates a contrast that is all the more puzzling as the sprites are present in it. .. their juice, or almost. Enemies and allies, therefore, contrast with the modernity of the environments, an odd choice that we will ultimately accept, given that pixel art of 1999 remains pleasant even two decades later. Given the youngest wolves in terms of smoothing, the aesthetes, who we are all a little bit, will happily accept this awareness.
That 90s show
The (many) menus of the title also show the weight of the centuries and are a little sneaky, especially when you realize that you have to tame them yourself, no explanation worthy of the name will enlighten the novice player. The observation also quickly applies to the whole game. Legend of Mana is a title of its time, complex, with a very special path, and which requires reading a good old manual in order to understand all its intricacies. And we immediately hit one of the limits of this edition: if the old-timers of the action RPG somehow manage to escape, the game becomes very excruciating for the newbies. You may have forgotten, but we are still in the days when the quest cannot continue until you have greeted this or that NPC or activated an easy-to-avoid trigger zone. Enough to quickly turn Zinzin into a modern day practitioner who had forgotten that sometimes the exercise simply consists of figuring out how to trigger the sequence of events.
Because of its specialty, this HD remaster is from Legend of Mana would certainly have deserved an accompaniment that deserves the name, especially when you consider that the only “menu” was occupied SIX PAGES from the original manual. Even so. Fortunately, quick save is part of the game in its time, but is accessible through a second menu exclusive to this remaster, a duality that doesn’t help in our case.
He had the high verb
Fortunately, the French version is said to be the cleanest: it took 22 years to get out, but this localization tries to transcribe the many language levels and other more or less confused phrases of the Japanese version. At first sight irritating that the French version participates in the immersion at the expense of some ugly abbreviations from the various providers of the game. At this point the promise is more than kept: it is almost a reference figure, it is called. While they wait to find out the name of the person (s) responsible for this pretty feather, they are thanked anonymously.
Another promise that has been kept many times: The orchestrations of the music of the illustrious Yoko Shimomura also benefit from a fine gold treatment. Regardless of whether you are visually attached to the themes of the original or not, it is difficult to try this 2021 vintage that improves the slightest composition on all levels. Just listen to the heroically arranged versions of. at Traveller’s Road or the percussion of To the sea be convinced. In addition to some great artwork and the option to save (almost) at any time, the entire soundtrack is also directly accessible via the main menu, not without rediscovering the look with a smile. so PlayStation Conventions of the time.
The same menu also gives you access to the new bonus game: Ring Ring Land, a little extra that is unlocked as soon as you have the first pet in your possession. As profound as it is optically pure, this cross between Tamagotchi, Monopoly and paper role-playing game is content with throwing the dice for advancing and fighting without being really convincing, as much as the exercise wants to be repetitive and random.
But we saw it: all these additions cannot make us forget the character for good old school about this adventure that sometimes requires speaking to the right NPC in order to advance the main quest, which is divided into sixty chapters, and despite the possibility of deactivating the underdeveloped battles in order to better focus on exploration (be careful, the confrontations necessary for the narration) remain compulsory), fellow travelers always behave erratically. A problem that was forgivable in 1999 but undoubtedly deserves to be corrected. Fortunately, the presence of a local two-player mode will help those who are best supported to take the pill and enjoy the journey that remains very shimmering, both visually and musically.