Collection of Mana review: a nostalgic ride for RPG lovers

Nostalgic gamers are in luck. Square Enix has brought together the first three titles of the popular Mana RPG series in a single cartridge for the console Nintendo Switch. But this title is not only for people who already played Final Fantasy Aventure (better known in Japan as Mystic Quest), Secret of Mana (which recently had a remake for PS4) or Trials of Mana (recently announced a remake for several platforms), but it can be a good proposal for any lover of good RPG. Do you dare to enjoy adventures full of fantasy anywhere with our analysis of Collection of Mana?

Three sets in one

At Collection of Mana includes the first three games of the Mana series, published in 1991, 1993 and 1995. Square Enix gathers in the same cartridge a series full of adventures, nostalgia and a lot of Mana. We will be able to play three of the most influential titles of the RPG in the industry and we recommend you to do it with our new Arkadia gaming controller, with which you can also play on your PS4 or PC.

Hero seeks to save the world from Mana extinction

One of the key points to highlight in our analysis of Collection of Mana is undoubtedly its history, analyzed in the historical context of the publication of the titles. Final Fantasy Adventure was a revolution when it was released in North America in 1991. The story introduces us to a hero who is held in a castle and is forced to fight for his life against countless enemies. A gladiator by profession, and tired of seeing his fellow professionals fall, he will face his destiny and witness a conversation between a person he knows and the villain of the story (the Dark Knight) that will change his life. As in Zelda, where link is a hero called to save the world using a sword, in Final Fantasy Adventure our hero will also be called to his ranks by destiny itself, as legend has it that a hero will recover the lost essence of Mana

The second video game included in Collection of Mana is Secret of Mana, the second part of the Mana series for the SNES console. Its release took place in 1993 and its proposal is similar to that of the first part and coincides in structure with the aforementioned Zelda or with the series Dragon Quest. Greed led to a civilization prosperous through the use of Mana, a civilization that used that power to create an ultimate weapon: the Bastion of Mana. The gods could not allow this act of selfishness and fought against the beasts that defended the Bastion and sowed chaos. A hero wielded the sword of Mana and saved the world. Now history repeats itself.

Collection of Mana also includes the third part of the Mana series, Trials of Mana. The third part of the series was released in 1995 for the Super Famicom console. Recently it has been announced a remake for PC, , Nintendo Switch y PS4 with a release date of April 24, 2020. This time the Mana Goddess (using the Mana Sword) defeats eight world-threatening beasts and locks them inside the Mana Stones. And as we have already learned from the first two installments of the series, humans always stumble over the same stone, and the world will once again need a hero to stand up to those who want to free the beasts and preserve the already withered Mana tree (the reincarnation of the Goddess herself).

Three nuanced ARPG proposals

During our analysis of Collection of Mana we have been able to verify that all three titles have gameplay similar to that of the first titles in the series The Legend of Zelda. In the first title (Mystic Quest in Europe and Final Fantasy Adventure in North America) we will be able to move freely in lateral or vertical displacement with a mapping based on screens that appear as we change direction. We are not facing an open world, but our movement will be limited by the actions of our character. With a button we will attack and we will also have to solve puzzles to make our way to our destination. Unlike the series Zelda (where we collect life hearts), in the first installment of the Mana series we will improve attributes typical of an RPG, such as life, level, strength, etc. The key to the title lies in the use of weapons, which affect enemies differently

The second installment of the series is an improvement in terms of gameplay as it allowed to play with our friends to the main adventure. It is noticeable that two years have passed since the first installment to this one Secret of Mana, although the mechanics of attacking, reloading blow when we do not attack and solving puzzles are maintained, the elements move better on screen and we do not have the feeling that we had in the first installment of imprecision in the controls and in some movements. It is a longer adventure than the first one, so we recommend to be comfortable when playing... Have you already tried our new gaming chairs?

Trials of Mana comes for the first time to the West from the hand of Collection of Mana. It comes even before the recently announced remake of the title, which will arrive in April 2020. The gameplay is maintained in this third installment, but we must choose a character from six different characters (each has its own class) and two others to accompany us throughout the adventure, forming a group of three Octopath Traveler, another ode to RPG nostalgia. And as in Octopath, each character has its own story, which gives this game a replayability that the first two installments did not have. We will be able to attack with a button and use special hits that recharge as we attack

Old school graphics and a soundtrack to remember

The graphics from the three deliveries have been maintained in this Collection of Mana. The evolution from release to release is evident (two years pass between release and release) and Secret of Mana and Trials of Mana are the two proposals that most love today because Mystic Quest did not have access to the 16 bits. The graphics and sound of the last two installments of the Mana series is impeccable (each in its historical context).

What's new in the Nintendo Switch collection

Thanks to this compilation, we will have access to some features not included in the original titles, highlighting that it will be the first time that Trials of Mana to the West:

  • The third installment in the West, translated into
  • Quick saving: ideal for the current era. They are difficult games with few save points. Nowadays we are used to being able to save how and where we want (even in RPGs).
  • Music player: to listen to the soundtrack of the three titles at any time
  • The three videogames translated into English, French and German
  • Trials of Mana is also translated into Spanish
  • Multiplayer in Secret of Mana (up to 3 players) and Trial of Mana (2 players)
  • Display modes with filters and the possibility of switching to pixel perfect

The best

To be able to enjoy the third installment of the series for the first time in the West (and translated into our language)

Three cult RPG games on the same cartridge

Being able to play these three video games anywhere with Nintendo Switch

Durability: completing all three deliveries will take a minimum of 60 hours of gameplay

The Worst

Some gameplay mechanics outdated for today's age

Three proposals with a high difficulty for the user not accustomed to playing RPGs

We conducted this review of Nintendo Switch's Collection of Mana thanks to a copy of the video game provided by Koch Media.

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