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Game Debate #210: Secret of Mana


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27 members have voted

  1. 1. Rate based on your own personal preferences, NOT historical significance

    • 10/10 - One of your very favorite games of all time.
    • 9/10 - Killer f'ing game. Everyone should play it.
    • 8/10 - Great game. You like to recommend it.
    • 7/10 - Very good game, but not quite great.
    • 6/10 - Pretty good. You might enjoy occasionally playing it.
      0
    • 5/10 - It's okay, but maybe not something you'll go out of your way to play.
    • 4/10 - Meh. There's plenty of better alternatives to this.
      0
    • 3/10 - Not a very good game.
      0
    • 2/10 - Pretty crappy.
      0
    • 1/10 - Horrible game in every way.
      0
    • 0/10 - The Desert Bus of painful experiences. You'd rather shove an icepick in your genitals than play this.
      0
    • Never played it, but you're interested.
    • Never played it, never will.


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I have a lot of personal nostalgia for this one. It was probably the RPG I spent the most time with on the SNES back in the day (today, that honorific goes to Super Mario RPG). I only rented or borrowed, never owned, FF2 or FF3, so while I enjoyed those games plenty, I would never fully experience them in the '90s because I just didn't have enough time. Secret of Mana was the SNES RPG that I owned and thus really got to dive into. The added multiplayer functionality meant that I could even take it to a friend's house or sit down with my brother and we could both play.

To this day, I haven't finished it, although I made several attempts over the years. I need to fix that as I feel that is a bit of a loss for a game I enjoy as much as this one.

I loved the weapon variety and upgrade system. I love the real-time battles. I love the magic wheel. Is it a perfect RPG? Probably not but I'm likely too nostalgic to really pick it apart at this point.

Easily 8/10 and maybe even as high as a 9 on the right day.

Edited by Webhead123
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I remember my 7th grade science teacher had the t-shirt from I believe pre-ordering it. I didn't play it as a kid, but I started it like ten years ago or so. I can't give it a proper rating, but perhaps I should revisit playing it sometime.

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I have a ton of nostalgia for this game, I owned it as a kid and loved it but never got very far. As an adult I've gone back and beaten it once or twice and I've gotta say...it's very broken. The hit boxes are TERRIBLE, chaining magic on opponents is pretty much always the best answer, the companions are AWFUL, and enemies can chain magic/attacks on you and there's nothing you can do about it. Grinding weapons/spells is boring as hell (but I do it anyways because I'm a glutton for it). The ring menu is slow, obnoxious, and unintuitive.

I rated it a 7/10 though because it's still a good game despite all that. Love the graphics, characters, music, story was...alright...the different weapon animations/charges were pretty neat. Getting a new summon hits the dopamine hard.

If it weren't for the TERRIBLE, GOD AWFUL combat system, this game would be a masterpiece. Unfortunately that really cripples the game, especially on boss fights which are rarely, if ever, skill-based. All weapons are story-based objects and all armor is just a flat DEF increase from the previous piece of armor. For an RPG there are shockingly few decisions to make about your character; basically just which weapon(s) and spell(s) you want to level, which isn't truly a decision either because you can do all of them.

I've got lots of thoughts about this game, but overall I think looking at the ratings and descriptions above, I'm sticking with 7/10

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In the era I'd have been happy to hit it with a 9 or a 10, but having come back around to it, the sound track alone is like an 11, I love the CD and made MP3s of it for my phone among others, but the game play there are a few odd quirks that really confuse progress, one quite early, and the ring can glitch a bit so I'd hit it with the 8 I gave it.

Utterly gorgeous environment, solid enough mechanics, great spaces to play within, good weapon selection, the AI isn't utterly dim for the era either and it has a story worth riding through but there are cracks.

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My favorite SNES game. Playing the whole thing with three players (once you get the other characters) is one of the best gaming experiences I can recommend. The music is incredible, one of my favorite game soundtracks ever - if you've never listened to the final boss theme, do yourself a favor and listen:

10/10.

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Heh love the marketing lie on the cover, that last bulletpoint but it was that era.  "First game in a new action adventure series"  Original title: Seiken Densetsu 2.  First title, Gameboy - Final Fantasy Adventure. 😄

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1 hour ago, Tanooki said:

Heh love the marketing lie on the cover, that last bulletpoint but it was that era.  "First game in a new action adventure series"  Original title: Seiken Densetsu 2.  First title, Gameboy - Final Fantasy Adventure. 😄

Honestly, I'm not sure if it was a lie or laziness. I'm guessing the latter.

I'm am 100% more familiar with the FFA than this. I didn't get to play Secret of Mana until well after college.  I also never got to get too far. I think I would have lost my mind over this one if I played it right after I first played through FFA.

I had to give this one a 7 because, well, that feels about right. I think, somehow, the simplicity of the GB really helped this one.  I can certainly think of several, minor QOL changes I'd want to apply to the GB game if that were possible, but I think the nature of these titles do well in a paired down, simplified environment and system.

 

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Editorials Team · Posted

I ranked this the #83 game in the US SNES library.

I guess that translates to like a.... 7/10, maybe?

Here's my detailed (and complicated) thoughts on the game.

It definitely provides some nice highs and some very low lows.  Anyone expecting something in the same tier as a Chrono Trigger is setting themselves up for massive disappointment imo.

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8 minutes ago, Reed Rothchild said:

I ranked this the #83 game in the US SNES library.

I guess that translates to like a.... 7/10, maybe?

Here's my detailed (and complicated) thoughts on the game.

It definitely provides some nice highs and some very low lows.  Anyone expecting something in the same tier as a Chrono Trigger is setting themselves up for massive disappointment imo.

Wish I could upvote twice. This is basically my story, except I didn't beat it as a kid. Thanks for the read, it was really interesting!

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5/10

Lackluster combat redeemed somewhat by good graphics and music but stretching gameplay I don't think is very good in an action genre that generally asks you to actually pay attention across a 20+ hour game still kind of annoys even with good production values. Story and characters have a few amusing gags but don't have much going for them either.

If they had put more effort into the dungeon design and had cool puzzles or structurally interesting places to explore I'd probably be more generous but instead it's mostly just straightforward hallways to have combat in and given what I thought of the combat that's not doing the game a lot of favors.

Agreed on Final Fantasy Adventure being better. I kinda think almost every reasonably reputable Zelda-ish game of the era is better.

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Administrator · Posted

Secret of Mana is a strange one for me, because I will absolutely acknowledge some of the jankiness and gameplay issues that Reed mentioned in his review, and that others mention as well, but at the same time, I really really like this game and have such a great fondness / nostalgia for it.  Part of that is definitely that I was a lot more forgiving of gameplay issues in my younger days, not having too many games and needing to enjoy each for what I could.

Despite the lack of story and character depth, and mechanical issues, I still found myself very attached to this game.  The music and visuals, and general ambiance, definitely helped quite a bit - and I also liked that they took some risks and did some unique things with the combat, differentiating it from other JRPGs of the time.  I enjoyed the action-rpg elements, which was almost a bit refreshing after playing TONS of traditional turn-based JRPGs at that time in my life.

So for me, this is an example of a game where the whole is greater than the technical sum of its parts, and there will always be a special place in my heart for Secret of Mana.  I can't argue with the criticisms, but I still love this game.  I gave it an 8.

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This game is super nostalgic for me, for a long time I considered it one of my favorites in SNES but I replayed it some time in the last 8 years and I didn't enjoy it quite as much as my memory led me to believe. Still a good game, but very tedious combat and confusing map, and incoherent story. I'll never understand where Santa Claus comes into the picture. One of the best soundtracks on SNES, charming, nostalgic, but just not a game I will be e revisiting often. 8/10

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Stellar visual and soundtrack.  Some jank and annoying parts (that CPU ally getting stuck) but it provides a unique 3 player rpg experience on the snes that is hard to beat.

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On 6/20/2024 at 4:13 PM, Makar said:

One of these days I’ll get around to this game. It is took me a longgggg time to try chrono trigger. I know I need to try this too. 

I tried to start Chrono trigger and didn't make it much past the intro... so I doubt I would have the patience for this.

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2 hours ago, G-type said:

I tried to start Chrono trigger and didn't make it much past the intro... so I doubt I would have the patience for this.

I would never dare to compare them.  SoM is most comparable to a game like Zelda or Soul Blazer.  It has nothing much in common with CT other than the same game maker as CT is still a turn based game, even if they walk around the screen some instead of being stationary to the side in other JRPGs.   SoM doesn't start slow either you get to swinging on stuff pretty quickly once you're dropped into the water to get the rusty sword.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/27/2024 at 10:17 AM, G-type said:

I tried to start Chrono trigger and didn't make it much past the intro... so I doubt I would have the patience for this.

Aww man chrono trigger is an rpg pinnacle for a reason. 

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