How hard it was to get hooked on Japanese action-RPGs in the last century: despite the undeniable success of Secret of Mana, Western players saw Seiken Densetsu 3 pass them right under their noses. A generation and a few years later, Square Enix cut the pear in half when it released Legend of Mana in the United States. Twenty-two years later, the French can finally discover this episode. So much the better, since it appears that value does not await the number of years.
For those who would not have had the chance to obtain the fourth episode of the series by importing its release, remember that Legend of Mana differs from previous opuses by offering a very different path, almost on the map: as the adventure goes on, our hero (or heron) acquires artefacts that allow him to place ever more varied environments on a map. Towns, dungeons and other areas to explore can be discovered in a trickle, and offer a very different path, a complexity that makes this first translation into our beautiful language even more necessary.
The first detail that inevitably jumps to the eye when launching this version in the form of an HD Remaster, is obviously the width of the image, which leaves its original 4: 3 aspect ratio to push the straight curves of our wide screens, and offer a very nice rendering, but which sometimes gives the impression of overwhelming the settings a bit, however sumptuous they may be.
It is because the plastic of the title is intended to be most attractive: the already shimmering visuals of the PlayStation opus benefit from a nice smoothing in high definition, which creates a contrast that is all the more puzzling as the sprites are present in it. .. their juice, or almost. Enemies and allies therefore stand out against the modernity of the environments, a curious choice that we will end up accepting, as the pixel art of 1999 remains pleasant, even two decades later. In view of the recent wolves in terms of smoothing, the aesthetes that we are a little all will accept this awareness with pleasure.
That ’90s Show
The (many) menus of the title also show the weight of the ages, and are a little devious, especially when you discover that you have to tame them yourself, no explanation worthy of the name coming to enlighten the player novice. The observation also applies quickly to the whole game. Legend of Mana is a title of its time, complex, with a very particular path, and which requires reading a good old manual to understand all its subtleties. And we immediately touch one of the limits of this edition: if the old hands of the action-RPG will somehow manage to escape, the game is very tortuous for the newcomers. You may have forgotten it, but we are still in the days when the quest cannot continue until you have greeted this or that NPC, or activated an easily avoided trigger zone. What quickly make zinzin any modern practitioner, who had forgotten that the exercise sometimes consists simply of finding out how to trigger the sequence of events.
In view of its peculiarity, this HD remaster of Legend of Mana would certainly have deserved an accompaniment worthy of the name, especially when one remembers that the only “menuing” occupied SIX PAGES from the original manual. Even so. Fortunately, fast saving well in its day is part of the game, but accessible via a second menu, exclusive to this remaster, a duality that does not help our business.
He had the high verb
Fortunately, the French version is intended to be the neatest: it took 22 years to come out, but this localization attempts to transcribe the many levels of languages and other more or less convoluted turns of phrase of the Japanese version. Disconcerting at first glance, we realize to what extent the French version participates in immersion, at the cost of some ugly shortcuts from the various sellers of the game. On this point, the promise is more than kept: it is almost a reference figure, it is say. While waiting to know the name of the person (s) responsible for this pretty feather, they are anonymously thanked.
Another widely kept promise: the rorchestrations of the music of the illustrious Yoko Shimomura also benefit from a fine gold treatment. Whether or not you are visually attached to the themes of the original, it is difficult to turn back when you try this 2021 vintage, which enhances the slightest composition on all levels. Just listen to the heroic arranged versions of Traveler’s Road or the percussions of To the Sea to be convinced. The whole soundtrack is also directly accessible via the main menu, alongside some magnificent artworks, and the possibility of saving (almost) anytime, not without rediscovering the look with a smirk. so PlayStation conventions of the time.
This same menu also gives access to the new bonus game: Ring Ring Land, …