Legend Of Mana - Review

The Long Awaited Mammon


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 5
   Interface 5
   Music/Sound 6
   Originality 6
   Plot 1
   Localization 8
   Replay Value 1
   Visuals 7
   Difficulty Extremely Easy
   Time to Complete

10 - 30 hours


Title Screen

   Maybe some of you have played Seiken Densetsu III as a ROM or even own the cartridge of Secret of Mana... You can hope against hope that you never get any more exposure to this series than that. The fourth installment in the Seiken Densetsu saga is quite possibly the most horrible RPG I've ever laid my hands on. So much so that I can hardly wait for Christmas and FFIX to get here so that I can clean the putrid smell of the LoM CD from my fingers.

   Much like (and - unfortunately - so much unlike) the battle system of Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu III, and Illusion of Gaia, Legend of Mana requires you to use speed and battle strategy to win fights. You move your own single character around the battle scene and hack away at your foes. Sadly, this becomes very tedious since the screen gets locked into place when battles start. There is also no way to avoid the fighting - even should you want to. I use the term 'battle strategy' above in as loose a way as possible. If you learn early on that you're indestructible (which is almost 100% true) then the idea of a boss is MUCH less intimidating.

   Magic is almost as difficult to use in LoM as it was in FFVIII. It's equally as irritating to find and is more or less useless anyhow. If you keep buying the best equipment in the game you can easily slay everything with a minimum of trouble. As a matter of fact, the only really good thing about magic is the fact that the animations and colors are incredibly impressive. Of course, when coupled with the pastel/kiddie graphics of everything else, the grandeur is dramatically detracted from.

   If you're looking for a wide variety of battle skills, you may have found the one really awesome thing about the game. Each weapon has a myriad of special maneuvers that are possible. When you couple this with the ability to raise pet monsters and create mechanical golems to aide you in combat, you're virtually assured victory.

Create Your Own World My Left Foot!
Create Your Own World My Left Foot! 

   Even the sound effects and music of the game are lack luster with few exceptions. The one thing that saves them at all is the extensive use of vocals throughout the game as well as the cool sound samples that play as you enter areas on the map.

   The most creative thing that the game employs is the idea that the pieces of the planet, from long ago, are trapped inside Artifacts. These items are able to reconstitute those places seemingly out of thin air. The major drawback is that there are only about twenty of them. Hence, all the sixty some quests in the game involve going to places you've been over and over again. That's not exactly my idea of fun, in all honesty.

   As for the games' gripping and edge-of-my-seat storyline (can you sense the sarcasm?) I can sum it up in three words:
Yes. You read that correctly. There is no centralized storyline to LoM. The main character (whom you know nothing about) wanders around recreating the planet with Artifacts and gets caught up in small - and often petty - troubles that do not even remotely involve him or her. The supporting cast of everyone else, is out to make you do their dirty work at every turn. Keeping all twenty of the five-minute-plots in order in your mind is a grievous task. The only way that you could ever make sense of them is to play them in consecutive order (which would involve heavy use of a FAQ or playing through the game a dozen or more times).

   Localization-wise, the game isn't outstanding by any means, either. It's well done enough that the conversations make sense but not enough so that you can hold the plot together. But, since the plot is virtually non-existant, that's not a serious problem.

Big Monster = Toast
Big Monster = Toast 

   I can tell you in all honesty that I never plan to play the game again. About all the good it'll do me now is as the 'L' placemarker in my PSX games rack. The game is nonsensical enough that it's not worth playing even once let alone again and again. And - if like me - you just can't stand not to finish a game in the hopes that the ending is superb... Well... I'll leave that to your imagination.

   Even if the games' sequence weren't enough to make it easy, you have the added bonus of being rescued every time you die to start over in the same place with 100% life. Even the final boss - should you actually consider it a 'boss' at all, really - can easily be bested in one or two tries. LoM is pathetically easy and made so that the lowest common denominator of gamer can beat it silly.

Shiny Waves Of Energy Mean A Can O' Whup @$$
Shiny Waves Of Energy Mean A Can O' Whup @$$ 

   The graphics - as I mentioned before - are an extremely mixed bag. They're very cutesie and aimed at children while the effects themselves are relatively impressive. The childishness of them eventually bogs the game down, though.

   The amount of time it will take to beat LoM depends almost solely on one thing:
Your determination to get done with it. If you really love the game, you'll want to play every mission and talk to every person, as well as, design every golem and cultivate every pet. I simply wanted to beat it, so it took me 11 hours.

   Now that I'm done doing my one good samaritan deed for the Christmas season, I'll go and play Secret of Evermore. Even IT is better than LoM...

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