329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2) (1993)

This is where you'll find threads specific to the games we're covering in Volume Six
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JaySevenZero
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329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2) (1993)

Post by JaySevenZero » December 31st, 2017, 4:14 pm

Here's where you can leave your thoughts regarding Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2) for possible inclusion in the podcast when it's recorded.

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Re: 329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Post by AndrewBrown » January 2nd, 2018, 9:21 pm

Thanks for putting this late enough in the year that we can play the PS4 remake first!
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TheProf
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Re: 329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Post by TheProf » May 5th, 2018, 4:59 pm

I don't remember much about the meat and potatoes of this game but I do have wonderful memories of it. This is because I played through the game with my best friend of the time before we were separated forever by the inevitable forward march of our lives.

It was summer and my friend and I were looking for something to do to pass the time. I had a copy of Secret of Mana which had been purchased by my mum from a colleague of hers, but after briefly trying it I had dismissed it as not my type of thing. This summer though the planets aligned - my friend and I were bored and here we had a lengthy cooperative game just waiting to be played.

And play it we did! Through the summer we got together whenever possible to continue our adventures. I still have vague memories of a fantastic soundtrack, colorful visuals, flying around on Flammie, the circular menu system, and castles and swords and cannons that shoot you high in the air. One thing I remember well is that we had immense fun playing through the game. Sadly it was to be some of the last memories I would make of spending time with that particular friend - that being said, I'm glad they are such good ones.

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Re: 329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Post by Simonsloth » May 18th, 2018, 4:19 pm

I bought the remake to play on my vita specifically for the podcast having previously never had much interest in it. Having finished it I still don’t.

The combat was repetitive and dull, the game seemed far too easy for the most part and the story was practically non existent. The computer controlled companions often stood idly by doing nothing leaving me to spam magical attacks which seemed to be the answer to every single encounter. The melee weapons often missed for no reason which I understand is an RPG trope but with real time combat was so frustrating. It reminded me of bullets inexplicably missing from point blank range in fallout but at least that game has other redeeming features.

Some design choices like having the shoulder buttons for shortcuts to magical attacks or items was a great idea as the menus were quite cumbersome. I doubt I would have persisted to the end without these in place.

I remember finding one part particularly infuriating even more disappointingly nothing was done to change it for the remake. The part I’m referring to was where you have to press a hidden wall switch to reach the emperor. I’m historically quick to cheat when I get stuck with my mental resolve crumbling in minutes but the masochist in me made a New Years resolution to resist this temptation. Overcoming challenge and adversity is a large part of enjoying video games and some of my affection for the medium was being hampered by the ease in which we can see the solutions for any given game almost instantly. After an hour of tearing my hair out I looked up the solution and even then it took me a while. Maybe it’s my colour blindness that made it more difficult but the whole experience made me want do a 360 on my resolution. I hope you know the bit I’m talking about.

I don’t have the reference points which other contributors may have who comment on the different and inferior soundtrack. To my ears the remake’s audio was as forgettable as the game and in all honesty the only bit I will remember in years to come will be that stupid switch.

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Re: 329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Post by Magical_Isopod » June 1st, 2018, 5:53 pm

This is a game I've always wanted to love, as the graphics and setting are positively charming... But unfortunately, I really feel that this game has not stood the test of time in any way, and quite bafflingly, the HD remake actually keeps most of the bad design choices that keep me from playing Secret of Mana to this day. Some of the music tracks are downright ear-piercing with their screeching reverb, the combat feels limp as soaked bread with its "hit an enemy and wait several seconds before damage will apply again" mechanic, and the story really feels like it doesn't go anywhere. I understand some of the fault with this lies in translation, but it seems commonly accepted that the whole second half is a bit of a confusing mess. I have scarcely had a video game experience as infuriating as playing Secret of Mana with my then-fiancee and having my high-damage attacks do no damage at all while a light strike from the non-playable AI character hits for 2 or 3 chip damage at priority. It's a poorly designed mess, and Square-Enix utterly dropped the ball in making a remake that should have fixed these glaring design flaws.

For my money, I'd much rather play the superior Seiken Densetsu 3 10 times in a row than have to fight with Secret of Mana's infuriating design flaws.

I'd also like to acknowledge Secret of Mana Animated Theatre, a web series from the late 90s and early 2000s that really got me into Square RPGs to begin with. Without that series, I'm not sure I ever would have discovered the likes of Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy until much later in life.

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Re: 329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Post by ratsoalbion » June 6th, 2018, 10:15 am

Just in case it isn't clear, while we may mention and reference the recent remake, we are not playing or covering that version for the show, which will almost solely focus on the Super Famicom/SNES original.
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Re: 329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Post by AndrewBrown » June 6th, 2018, 6:24 pm

(that's probably for the best)
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Re: 329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Post by Simonsloth » June 6th, 2018, 7:10 pm

Apologies I didn’t realise. Some of my comments apply to both but I don’t think I can bring myself to go through the original to the end even though I have a SNES mini capable of playing it.

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Re: 329: Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2)

Post by Magical_Isopod » June 7th, 2018, 12:24 am

I should note that while I mentioned the remake in my post, the lion's share of the commentary was actually on the SNES original. The glaring issues of the SNES original were not fixed for a remake, which I am expressing dismay with.

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