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Trials of Mana Review - Very Fun Classic JRPG


Trials of Mana Review - Very Fun Classic JRPG


Releasing two remakes in one month is certainly not something easy for Square-Enix. They must divide the team so that all is completed within the specified deadline. After being satisfied exploring the beauty of Midgar in Final Fantasy VII Remake and scavenging old memories that shine again. We were allowed to taste the sweetness of the classic JRPG series that was remade with a very slick namely Trials of Mana.

Trials of Mana Review - Very Fun Classic JRPG

This series has surfaced in the Super NintendoEntertainment System or SNES in 1995 ago. But strangely, he did not get an official English translation for the western market at that time. Until in the end Square-Enix decided to make the rematch and was released simultaneously throughout the world in 2020. Precisely on April 24, 2020.

Because I have never played the version in the past and only watched it via YouTube, I will give my opinion from players who have just played the game. When compared to the original series, the increase given by Square-Enix in the Trials of Mana is not exactly half-hearted. They succeeded in translating how all the worlds up to their 2D characters into 3D are very accurate.

Same with other modern games, the game will also have English or Japanese voice acting that you can choose as you like. But if you are very pro-voice-acting in English, it seems like this time you must give up and choose the Japanese version of the voice in the Trials of Mana, the reason? Check out the following review.

Save the World and Which Tree from Destruction

The game itself has a very standard and classic JRPG setting with various kingdoms and monsters in it. Trials of Mana takes place in the world called Mana which is threatened to be destroyed thanks to the flow of which is one of the world's greatest resources is getting smaller. This is caused by the presence of an evil force that began to envelop his world since the owner of the great power which is Goddess of Mana fell asleep. The evil forces are trying to activate and take over the power of the Mana Stone and Mana Sword as one of the keys to the rise of the Goddess of Mana.

However, some things can be done before all that happens, namely revoking the Mana Sword first by the chosen people, before the forces of evil succeed in grabbing it. From here, chosen six heroes who will save Mana from adversity. Did they take Mana Sword and save the world?

A Different Story from the "Pair" System

In contrast to most JRPG games, Trials of Mana has six main characters with their stories, although in the end it runs on the same goal. The main story of the Trials of Mana will depend on the main character you choose, but in reality their story will be connected to a system that I refer to as "pair". Pair is a system where one character will have the same story as another main character. In other words, your character chosen with another character will have the same enemy. This is translated at the end of the story, where you will fight different last bosses according to the character you choose.
To activate "pair", you need to choose the main character and companion 1 who have the same story. Some of the heroes who have the same story include Duran and Angela, Hawkeye and Riesz, and Kevin and Charlotte. In this review I chose Duran as the main character and Angela as a companion 1. With this system, Trials of Mana has three different storylines from six main characters that you can choose from. In other words, you have to finish the game three times if you want to know all the story timelines.

Because I chose Duran as the main character and Angela as companion 1, I will represent this review with the story of Duran and Angela. Duran is one of the strongest soldiers of the Valsena kingdom. He is also the son of one of the strongest golden knights in the Valsena kingdom that has died. His work as a soldier tells how Duran, who was guarding the post, was suddenly attacked by Crimson Wizard who killed his colleagues. Aware that he was still weak in the eyes of Crimson Wizard, Duran vowed to find a way to change classes to take revenge on the Crimson Wizard who appeared to ravage his kingdom.

Meanwhile, Angela is the daughter of the queen of the kingdom of Altena. Angela was not cared so much by her mother as a child that made her childhood in the kingdom as a child who was hungry for attention. Unfortunately, Angela's suffering continues in her teenage years. He was forced to leave the kingdom because his mother, who was influenced by the Crimson Wizard, ordered his troops to kill Angela to become a sacrifice where stone. Did the two of them achieve their goal of defeating Crimson Wizard?

Action RPG with Classic Taste

Trials of Mana still adheres to the mechanics of action RPG and hasn't changed much from the SNES version. The thing that makes it different is that now you can enjoy the game in 3D and a third-person perspective with different movements and variants. You can do light attacks, combos, to issue your ultimate attack which will get stronger as your story and level progresses.

Trials of Mana Review Action RPG with Classic Taste

Combo during battle is fairly simple, you only need to press the circle for regular attacks and triangles for heavy attacks, if you play it on PlayStation 4. At the beginning of the game, the variation of the combo is still not much. But as the story goes on and class changes, he will present a new variant of the combo.

Hit with a charged attack (the triangle is held if in PlayStation 4) will produce CS Particles from the enemy. CS Particle is used to fulfill the CS Gauge. When CS Gauge has entered 100%, then you will be able to use each character's ultimate move. CS Gauge can be increased as the class changes and your character level increases.

I feel how Square-Enix has changed its battles to become more fluid and satisfying for action game lovers. Indeed, there are not so many new things from the battle mechanics, because it is the same as action games in general. But small things like having to use a charge attack to break the enemy shield, so the wheel menu that can be accessed while pause the game can be a satisfying mechanic. Because that way you can determine where your attacks will land.

Even so, they also still embed the ultimate ability without the need to wait for your decision like the wheel menu. A feature that is perfect for you lovers of action games and you as someone who has an old-school soul who likes turn-based features.

Your battle against the boss will also feel like the modernization of the Legends of Mana series, where you can move at will to avoid and destroy some of the unique elements that he releases, before the boss launches his "broomstick" ability. Unfortunately, there are things that I don't like about this woman. This is due to their ability to dodge when one of the characters is doing the ultimate with cinematic animation.

Shortly after the character does the ultimate animation, some bosses can move at will. One of them by doing abilities such as teleportation. This makes the attacks that have been launched feel futile. Moreover, when some characters do not automatically lock the boss after the ultimate animation runs and you cannot do anything to change it. Inevitably you have to pay attention to the right timing so that the CS Particle that you are struggling to collect is not in vain. Even though this simple problem should be solved by locking the enemy even though he had teleported.

Poor camera settings during battles are one of the features that I am not interested in. The camera itself cannot adjust wherever you act during battle. For example, when you are cornered in a narrow gap or when depressed on a hill. The camera also cannot be zoomed or adjusted at will, because Square-Enix locks it in one fixed area and cannot be set as freely as possible.

Indeed, they have provided a zoom setting option in the options menu, but the settings are quite simple. Starting from Normal, zoom, and semi-zoom. You also can't point the camera down or up. Reducing the flexibility of its function. Even if you can do it, then you can take a good angle to just be a screenshot.

Simple Exploration, But Contains

Just like JRPG games in general, you will be able to explore the vast world with various treasures stored in several pots, boxes, and glowing spots. Everything is made with enough detail. Square-Enix knows very well when and where to store some of these trinkets. Make you who have too often played classic JRPG games in the past unconsciously know the location of each of these objects.

Along the way, you will find another unique element from the Trials of Mana named Li'l Cactus. As the name implies, it is a cactus that is spread throughout the field. This feature is very similar to Ni no Kuni's stamp system. But instead of completing the quest, you will be forced to search for this tiny cactus by exploring its vast field.

There are about fifty cacti that you can find from the beginning of the story to the end of the main story of the Trials of Mana. Some can be found in the city, while some can be found in the field. Collecting it will give you unique prizes, from 2x boost EXP to a free stay at the inn.

The emphasis of this exploration is also not limited to Li'l Cactus, because consciously or unconsciously, you can get secret abilities after you talk with several iconic NPCs after a few sessions since the main story goes. For example, Fortune Teller.

There are changes day and night both in the field, dungeon, and city. Entering the night some of the monsters will fall asleep except nocturnal monsters, uniquely those who sleep can still know your whereabouts if approached. What makes it different, they become more unprepared for your arrival.
The variants of monsters during the day and night are also different. So for example during the day you will find bird type monsters, then sometimes you will find a bat type night. Meanwhile, the city will change over time. Where residents will sleep soundly at home, and only a few NPCs are still awake.

Changes in the day and night can also improve each element of magic that you have. This is because these changes are also indicated by different day names according to the elements. For example, Salamando Day with the element of fire, Undine Day with the element of water, and so on. On Salamando Day, your fire attack will be stronger than usual, while Undine Day will change your water strike to be stronger, and so on.

Beautiful World Map and Unique Class System

Field and dungeon with changes day and night are not one place to uncover the mysteries stored in the world of Trials of Mana. Because as the story goes on, you will again taste the beauty of the world map with a unique marine vehicle and air. Unfortunately, because the classic JRPG process is extraordinarily linear, air vehicles can only land in predetermined places that are marked by light.

Trials of Mana Review Beautiful World Map and Unique Class System

The world is quite extensive thanks to the world map representation that you can explore with these two types of vehicles. In some parts, you will find a lot of equipment and weapons that can change the visual appearance of your weapon after it is installed. No exception items for class changes.

Yes, Trials of Mana has a class system that has now been abandoned by most JRPG games. Class will be able to become stronger by going to where the Mana stone is. He is divided into three levels from the original series, and four levels for his rematch in 2020. Each one with branches of Light and Dark with their abilities. Light will be more inclined to light, healing, and supportive element attacks, while Dark will be more dominated by support elements, dark elemental attacks, too insistent combos for characters with melee attacks. You can see all the advantages and disadvantages of each class before deciding to choose your "ninja path".

Any changes above the second class (your base class is counted as the first-class) will require specific items that you can get from the main story, or for those of you who want to experiment can search for these items via ??? seed that can be planted through pots. This change will not only add the ultimate attack, but also automatically change your character's costume. But calm, this costume can be replaced if you don't like the visual appearance.

Pin Gacha RNG

Changing costumes and weapons are not the only features offered by the Trials of Mana. But believe it or not, Square-Enix offers another feature that is now popular in mobile games, namely Gacha. They call it the seed system, where you will be able to get random items from the seed items you find on the map. Simply put, seed is an RNG gacha system in the single-player JRPG game. Seed can be planted in pots that are in the inn to get items. There are five levels of seeds. From ordinary seed, silver, gold, rainbow, too??? seed. Each seed has a different item. Either potion, XP enhancer cake, equipment, to items that are very important for class changes.

Planting seeds will not only give you items such as boosting items, bread, or strong equipment. But also increase the level of the pot as you often plant it. The higher the level of the pot, the higher your chance of getting rare items. Unfortunately, it is limited to quite a bit when compared to other JRPGs.
In general, the item variants in Trials of Mana are quite small for RPG game classes. Therefore, you will not find too many variations of items from treasure chests or glowing spots. Unlike other JRPG Square-Enix games with various complexities for RPG problems, Trials of Mana does an RPG approach that is quite simple and easy to understand. This level of simplicity can be shown only from the seed items that you find on the map. Where you can get the strongest items from the game only from planting seeds. I got the strongest equipment for the first phase also from the seed that I found. Some functions they switch to abilities with a complexity that is not so complex and easy to understand.

You can install passive abilities such as to increase HP base to magic attack. There are two types of abilities: each character's special and chain abilities that can be used by all parties. But unfortunately, when you decide to install it after increasing the status in the training menu, you cannot go directly back to the training menu. Making it impractical at all in my personal opinion. Because if Square-Enix can add these features, the skill settings will feel more comfortable and faster than having to go back to the main menu and choose the training menu.

Feeling Awkward Because of One Direction

Simple and classic mechanics that reflect how the classic JRPG tastes carried by the Trials of Mana are, of course, incomplete without the presence of a story that becomes the main benchmark why RPG games are so in demand. The story is written without reducing the various aspects of the original game. Looks classic with various modernization blends that exist today. Variety of cutscene with modern shooting, as if melting scenes that could not be raised when the game was released at SNES at the time.

Various dialogues that were almost all filled with voice acting on display, showed how Square-Enix intended to remake the Trials of Mana in such away. But unfortunately, some aspects that are maintained seem irrelevant for modern games.

If you have to compare it with their other games like Dragon Quest XI with the same JRPG classic theme, Trials of Mana is more inclined to represent how the Japanese developer still wants to stay with the original series. It was as if they were afraid to change what the fans liked then. Including how they explain the relationship between the characters are left alone with a few changes and additions that seem safe but less relevant.

The character you choose as the main character and the party will later meet the protagonist on the way. Your first meeting will give you the choice to see and play past the characters. If you choose to play the past, then you won't be able to save and get items. Meanwhile, if you don't choose to play it, then it will tell with narrative explanations. Characters that you don't choose will still appear and explain a handful of backgrounds. But it is not as complete when you choose it as a party partner.

I found almost no two-way dialogue when meeting with other characters who became one party except the "pair". For example, when meeting with Hawkeye and helping Duran and Angela get out of prison. There was not a word from Duran or Angela even though it was only a small talk, making the dialogue that was only sung by Hawkeye felt awkward and only went in one direction. No real problem, but this becomes unnatural. Especially for the series they call "remake" explicitly.

Some scenes when meeting with "pair" has indeed become one of the awaited scenes, considering all pairs interact with each other. But unfortunately, only limited to certain scenes and more often absent until the end of the story. Although, my dream was relieved after finding the scene that I predicted, but it ended up being a potato because it only became a "signal" at the end of the story.

The absence of intense dialogue between characters when undergoing an event also makes the story seem to only go one direction and focus on the main character. Make the three characters you choose as if not one way with the protagonist. No one complained that any decision made by the protagonist made it feel less dramatized.

Indeed, in the future one of them took part when entering their own story, but the fact that communication seemed to go in one direction could not be avoided. For example, Hawkeye, who I chose to be the third character, will play a massive role in entering the part of the story that is on the same path as my main character, Duran. However, what do Duran and other characters do? Silent His expression was only represented through an animation. This is because all dialogue is taken over by Hawkeye. Making this classic featureless relevant if you compare it to the JRPG game mechanics that Square-Enix has done very well in the past decade.

Trials of Mana Review Visuals and music stimulates imagination

This one-way dialogue is one of the weaknesses of the game with many main characters. Especially for the Trials of Mana who tried to bring back the classic JRPG kiss that had a fairly rigid dialogue in its time. Make the story of each character separate, even if it's one goal.

That's right, Square-Enix managed to cover up this shortcoming in games like Octopath Traveler, where all the characters are the main characters. They added a dialogue session between the main characters when the story of one of the characters is running that can be witnessed by pressing a button. But unfortunately, not for the Trials of Mana. They allow it to stay with the original for the remake series and only add very little of the fragments towards the end of the story.

If they do the same amount as the Octopath Traveler in a different way, the small change at least affects that the communication between the characters and their groupmates feels more alive. Of course, while maintaining the storyline. This implies that they traveled for the same purpose, even though in reality the path was different. For example, adding Angela who grunts or fears while in a ghost ship, or maybe a dialogue between Duran and Angela and other characters when facing something.

Interestingly, when you have enjoyed the credit screen with The End writing, this remake version will prevent you from stopping there. Because your adventure is not over. So, don't expect "The End" to be the end of everything in the Trials of Mana.

Visuals and music stimulates imagination

Your endless adventure in the Trials of Mana becomes more complete with the presence of visual and musical displays that support its existence. And Square-Enix's hard work, deserves a thumbs up for this one problem. They do it half-heartedly and can take advantage of existing technology today.
The music is divided into two: classic and remake. And guess what? The classic version is still pleasant to listen to today even though it is classified as super old music. However, the remake version is equally beautiful. He was present with high-quality orchestral music. It makes you able to enjoy the magical strains that indirectly stimulate your brain and imagination to imagine what if you are in the classic fantasy world that is always plastered in JRPG games.

Throughout the game, the main theme music of Trials of Mana became one of my favorite music in this game. Because indirectly, he was able to make me imagine how beautiful the world of classic JRPG is full of colorful stories and mysteries that are very rich.

Meanwhile, the visual appearance seems unquestionable for the expertise of Square-Enix artists in using Unreal Engine 4. Starting from Dragon Quest XI, the developer and publisher from Japan is back to spoil our eyes with a visual display that can be considered quite straightforward from Final Fantasy VII Remake that also uses the same engine.

If Final Fantasy VII Remake makes you feel a semi-dark visual appearance while remaining colorful, then Trials of Mana has a colorful world. The combination of blue and green that dominates tirelessly keeps my eyes at home watching the screen. No exception a unique blend of colors complete with various effects such as bloom and chromatic aberration in each field, world map, and dungeon. No, they don't use matte painting techniques like Final Fantasy VII Remake. Instead of using images, the background is made with a three-dimensional model with several effects that can blend with the field. Give your nuances that you can feel as the game goes on.

Use Japanese Dub! REQUIRED!

Visual appearance and music indeed managed to stimulate the imagination of players to enjoy how beautiful the world of Trials of Mana. But unfortunately, it is not directly proportional to the dubbing. Especially for dubbing in English. If you don't know yet, Square-Enix is ​​very careful to choose actors to fill in any language including English, given the contrasting cultural differences. This is proven by their success in adapting all the English-language dubbing they represent in the Final Fantasy series to Dragon Quest XI. Unfortunately, it seems they are in a hurry while working on the Trials of Mana.
This is indicated by the absence of sound color synchronization and proper translation of the dubbing of each character. Especially Charlotte who will make you want to hit and slam your speakers or headset. Instead of using British voice with a European accent, they use voice actors who, if heard from the accent are American.

I personally as a person who always put forward the Japanese dub in every Japanese game except for a certain series, did not make a problem at all because it was not my goal. On the contrary, I am very satisfied with his Japanese dub. At least that's how I feel.

Trials of Mana Review Use Japanese Dub

You could say that the Japanese voice acting is very okay, but because sometimes the character animation when acting is stiff and less expressive, some scenes can not be enjoyed. Square-Enix should give certain effects or certain animations to reinforce the impression that the character is angry, shouting, or something else.

This is one of the minus values ​​which in my personal opinion reduces the enjoyment of playing, especially in terms of stories in certain scenes. Because the player can no longer feel what if the character has an angry or happy expression, thanks to the lack of supportive animation. Eliminating the acting of voice actors who have the maximum.

Scenes with some delay seemed to wait for the code in the game to run, also making the story delivery feel awkward. Indeed, not all of them, but it would be better to pay more attention even though only a handful of their next project.

There is an interesting thing when you use Japanese dub, which is censorship. Especially if you understand Japanese like me. One of them is in terms of translation. Some dialogues with dub are translated, sometimes different from Japanese spoken. Starting from when Duran returned home with Angela who was then seduced by Angela when she did not want her party mate to enter her house. Angela who wants to know Duran's room in her Japanese dub suspects that Duran keeps obscene books in her room. But this is translated differently by Square-Enix to be more "friendly" by turning it into a human and "secret" framework.

Conclusion

Trials of Mana emerged as a series that tried to invite JRPG fans to get back to feeling the sweetness of the classic JRPG game that was popular between the 90-2000s. Some elements such as classic JRPG stories, world maps, treasure chests, and marine and air vehicles make players feel the beauty of exploring a world full of imagination. This then they are equipped with music and visual appearance that can make you feel the eyes and eargasm throughout the game.

Square-Enix can be said to have succeeded in presenting all the original two-dimensional elements of the Trials of Mana series which were translated very well and accurately using Unreal Engine 4 as its main engine. The combination of colors, models, cities, and all of its assets is carved with high accuracy and can provide a nostalgic effect for those who like the classic JRPG type.

Although they still survive with the originality of the original series. But the battle Trials of Mana made very fluid with a variety of changes, making the game can be said to be parallel to the new game today for the mechanical problems that carry the action.

The unique seed system, complete with the class system that is back, makes the content more solid, although I'm personally a little disappointed because the number of items is relatively small for the RPG game class.

Unfortunately some technical problems such as cameras to "pair" systems that make minimal interaction between characters. It makes the flow of the story feel stiff and only focus on the chosen main character. Indeed, there are typical scenes for you who choose "pair", but not as often as you might think.
Trials of Mana also seems to make you who like Square-Enix's typical English-speaking voice actor bow on his knees and admit that Japanese voice actors are superior. This is because some English-speaking voice actors do not have high consistency and lack of emotion that they must play.

Even so, Trials of Mana can be called a feast for those of you who miss playing the classic JRPG game. Moreover, you are required to complete it three times with a different "pair". With some fun elements, character customization, attractive visual appearance, and post-game content with a new class, Trials of Mana is a game that I recommend for those of you who have played the franchise in the past, until you have just played the game. While those of you who don't like the classic JRPG seems to have to rethink before weighing it.

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