Our resident RPG guru Mr Toffee was disappointed with The Secret of Mana remake last year. It felt very cheaply-made, the added dialogue and story bits did not help elevate the source material, and it somehow made the 1992 original game superior.
Based on what we’ve seen at E3 2019’s Treehouse live stream, Square Enix is making amends with the true Secret of Mana sequel with its 3D take on Trials of Mana, or Seiken Densetsu 3 for you old-school JRPG SNES fans out there who can read Japanese back in 1995. This version still has the same heroes: Duran, Kevin, Angela, Riestz, Charlotte, and Hawkeye, but everything else gets quite an overhaul.
Just like a modern third-person action JRPG, the camera is fully controllable, and you can jump. This latter feature leads to you being able to do aerial combos and even climb ledges to higher pathways and even secret spots with treasure. Battles are still real-time, but this time you get different objectives apart from “kill all the baddies and don’t die”.
If you kill enemies quickly or use only specific attacks -like just melee and no special moves- you’ll be awarded extra experience points. You’ll get access to lots of treasure chests too, which means more loot. Whether they have the roulette treasure system where you’ll either get booby traps blowing up in your face or not remains to be seen.
Unlike that hack job that is the Secret of Mana remake, the Trials of Mana remake feels more like a huge overhaul, changing what wouldn’t work in this day and age and make it feel more modern and immersive. At the very least, Square Enix is putting a lot more effort this time around. With this, the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and the Collection of Mana (where the original Trials of Mana is playable for the very first time in English, legally), the company’s redemption mark isn’t going to absolve all of its sins. But it’s painting the RPG-making company in a positive light.
The Trials of Mana remake will be out early 2020 for Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PC.