When I was a kid, Final Fantasy Adventure was one of my favorite games. My Game Boy went everywhere with me, and FFA was one of the games that I just kept going back to. I can remember playing it upon release in 1991, and I remember still having it in my backpack when I was in high school in the late 90's.
Although Final Fantasy Adventure began life as a loose FF gaiden, it was actually super secretly the beginning of its own series - one that'd be known as the Mana series in the US. The second game showed up on SNES as Secret Of Mana, while the third game, Seiken Dentsetsu 3 - also on SNES - would never leave Japan.
In the early 2000's, Final Fantasy Adventure received a remake on the GBA under the new title Sword Of Mana, to further remove itself from the FF brand, and to really cement itself as the first Mana game. And Secret Of Mana went down in history as a SNES cult-classic. But Seiken Dentetsu 3 remained a Japan exclusive for nearly twenty-five years.
In fact, I was so convinced that SD3 would never come to the states that I actually imported the Collection Of Mana just so I could have a playable version of FF Adventure on Switch. And then the unthinkable happened: Collection Of Mana was released in the US. And along with it came the very first official English translation of SD3, now given the western title Trials Of Mana.
Around the same time it was also announced that Trials Of Mana would be getting a full on 3D remake on Switch. But WHO CARES? In my mind that remake would have been quasi-exciting if it was the only way to play a version of the game in English. But Dudes! The original game was now in English, and fans have been clamoring for such a thing for 24 years. I mean, c'mon!
So yeah. Now I have the US version of Collection Of Mana, and I'm finally delving into Trials Of Mana.
So far, it certainly looks and feels like a sequel to Secret Of Mana. It's got that same visual style; it's got the multiple party members, and so on. This time around you have six characters to choose from - one will be your main character, and two will be supports.
I decided to pick Charlotte as my starter because I like the name. And I've played about an hour of it, I guess. It's a cool game, though starts a little slow like many RPG's of its time. Although I vastly prefer turn-based battles in RPG's, it's a little refreshing when I mix up sub-genres and get a little variety in my gaming.
I wish I had more to say than just "I like it so far," but I like it so far.
I've tried, yet failed to really get into to Trials Of Mana. And to be honest now, I've played enough of the Mana games to conclude that I just don't really like them. Let's recap...
Final Fantasty Adventure - This game is awesome. It holds a lot of nostalgia for me. But more importantly, it totally holds up. I'm talking specifically about the original Game Boy spin-off of Final Fantasy here, though.
Sword Of Mana - The GBA remake of the above... I didn't like it. It feels clunky compared to the original.
Secret Of Mana - Considered by many to be a CLASSIC and one of the shining examples of the SNES' fantastic RPG library. I didn't like it. I found it clunky and slow.
And now TRIALS OF MANA is another game that is boring me hard. It's SO slow. So clunky. The combat, ugh. The menus, ugh. Even the art style is kind of turning me off. I just really don't think the Mana games are my cup of tea. There are so many RPG series that I really enjoy from the 8 and 16-bit era: Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Phantasy Star, and so on. But Mana? This doesn't seem like one of them. It's funny that this collection coming to Switch was such a big deal because it was the first time Trials was playable in English, and because people love Secret Of Mana. It's like FF Adventure was a tacked on afterthought. But for me, it's the sole reason to own this collection.