GSQ6: That is all, folks

I’ve been working toward this post for a week or so — a little birdie (i.e. the PlayStation blog) told me that Legend of Mana would be showing up on PSN this week. And, as it happens, I revisited the game a few months back after it was voted the most underrated game ever by the fine denizens of Talking Time. I admit, I wasn’t so crazy about the game back in the day because, like a lot of people, I was hoping for sequel to Secret of Mana. That’s not what Legend of Mana is, however. And I was annoyed. Lots of us were!

But these days, a decade removed from the game’s release and a decade filled with an expansion of my interest in and knowledge of games (not to mention a decade of dire Mana-related disappointments), I can better appreciate it for what it is: namely, a precursor to today’s multiplayer, quest-oriented, action/RPG type games. World of Warcraft, Monster HunterDragon Quest IX, Final Fantasy XII — all of them owe a debt to the things Akitoshi Kawazu and his team explored with this game. So, please, drop six buck on Mana when it hits PSN tomorrow and give it a fair try. There’s a good chance that you (like me) will enjoy it a lot more this time around.

Also, this marks the final posting from GameSpite Quarterly 6. Now you don’t have to spend money to read the articles.

16 thoughts on “GSQ6: That is all, folks

  1. All I know is that, in Japan, Legend of Mana was released on PSN a mere five days after another Square RPG.

    But now that North America has gotten Legend of Mana, I have to ask Square-Enix: where is the best game from the Summer of Square, no, from the entirety of the year 2000? Where the hell is Threads of Fate!?

  2. Thanks for the writeup. I just finished Terranigma and was looking for an excuse to play another Action-RPG.

  3. I would also love Threads of Fate on my PSP. I never bought the game, but played the demo a dozen or so times as a kid.

  4. While you all ask valid questions, I think you’re missing the point–WHERE IN BLAZES IS TOM SAWYER FOR VIRTUAL CONSOLE? Thank you.

  5. I’m one of the ones who really enjoyed Legend of Mana the first time around (and hence helped vote it up in the under-appreciated games poll). It may be no SoM, but I really enjoyed digging into the multiple quest-based storylines, and it sure didn’t hurt to have what’s *still* some of my favorite 2D art and one of my favorite musical scores.

  6. I didn’t care much for LoM for similar reasons (it’s no sequel to Secret of Mana) but when I went back a year or so later and played it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the exact same experience with Mega Man Legends when it came out, it wasn’t a sequel by any means.

  7. Holy cats, lookit those screen shots. Gorgeous.

    I ordered a hard copy of GSQ6 over the weekend. Between it and GSQ2, I’ll have enough gaming inspiration to last for years.

  8. I’m not sure where to even begin. So I guess the best place is that I really dug this game. It’s funny, I had a friend, who still is one of my friends to this day, who was an avid Mana fan. Just chomping at the bit for a new Mana game and when this was announced he was just going off the handle for it. He got a copy on day one and hated it, just loathed it, so I played and thought it was great so he gave it to me. That’s the fate of games like LoM. The funny part though isn’t that but what happened later, I was playing it so I also talked about it and he would catch glimpses into the game through me and he ended up getting into it as well. He had to reject it first, but eventually my enjoyment allowed him to rationalize it differently and now we both occasionally bask in the nostalgia of playing LoM, we even had kind of a running gag where we would try to give our pets the most absurd names we could think of. I remember some other strange connectivity technology in that game and some un-used PS Pocket or whatever that thing was called that never came out in America.

    The thing about this game that never really settled with me was the constant mystery. To the point that it was like seeing a tasty looking hamburger except when I bit into it there as no meat. Or was there? Wait, yeah there was but, where was it? Or was the burger itself the meat, so to speak? Or was I eating it wrong? Was there something huge I missed? Was I supposed to miss it? Is there another burger inside this one hiding somewhere and I’m supposed to find it!? AGAAH!!! Yeah that’s how Akitoshi Kawazu does business. He’ll leave me frantic and confused until the very last second, I got enough of that smoke and mirrors act in SF1 and 2, no way I was going near Unlimited or the most recent Romancing game for the PS2. But in SoM it was balanced with enough east to understand mechanics, like the combat system and main quests, to make the game accessible enough while still constantly taunting me from all directions, rather than devolving into an unfocused mess like some his other efforts.

  9. Excellent writeup.

    I remember the “Summer of Square” well, it came that summer after I had gotten my PSX for Christmas. My brother and I swapped games that summer for our birthdays, with myself buying him Chrono Cross, and he buying me Legend of Mana. The irony is that I was the one that finished CC (although I also beat LoM), and he was the one that obsessively played LoM. It’s a phenomenal game, if a little unstructured. But in some ways, that was the beauty of it.

    And let’s be fair to the game: it may have had some of the SaGa obtuseness, but it was not nearly on the level of Unlimited Saga. The game was quite playable, even for those unwilling to explore the game in more depth.

  10. I loved the game to pieces as a child. I remember talking my mother into letting me get out of school early since it was the last day of the 8th grade for me when it came out. We went out of town to find it, (which was extremely rare at that time,) and simply buying the game became an adventure in itself.

    I spent the whole summer playing that game. I got most of the skills only to have my save get corrupted. I was crushed. I came back though, and managed to learn everything without a guide. I still look at that moment as one of my gaming achievements.

    I hope everyone enjoys this game. It is different, but worthwhile.

  11. Meh, I found this game to be too full of permanent missable and overcomplicated systems to really sink my teeth into it. The whole “placing land” think was particularly annoying, as your very first choice of the entire game could have negative repercussions later on… but that’s Kawazu for you, I suppose.

    Still, it’s a better $6 than what I spent on NES Battle Chess a few months ago, so I might have to download this one once I pick up a PSP later this year. If nothing else, it’s worth that for the soundtrack alone…

    • @Super Boy Alan: Battle Chess? The only chess-like game on the NES worth playing is Archon.

      • @superflat: You’re probably right, but as long as I live under the foolish delusion that I can beat every NES game ever made before I die, I’ll keep buying everything that’s not in my collection. Even so, Battle Chess will be utterly, utterly painful, making Final Fantasy VII’s battle system feel like an action-RPG. Seriously, those pieces could not move any slower if they tried.

    • Hmm… so I just read the article through from beginning to end (as I should have before posting, perhaps), and the addition of New Game + should be enough to brush over my usual compulsions about missable stuff. That and the fact that you’re making a bit of a defense about it, Jeremy, makes me curious. That’s the same reason I picked up Unlimited Saga for five bucks from my local McKay awhile back, and again, I’m considering downloading this one for six…

      And I just realized why there was such a sense of familiarity to Radiant Historia’s soundtrack… it’s by the same composer. Good stuff.

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