Gaming

Trials of Mana review: A nice glow up

Something for both old timers and newcomers.

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It’s the year of fantastic remakes and this game is no exception. Trials of Mana gets a glow up that should make it enticing to both old timers and newcomers.

For the unfamiliar, Trials of Mana was originally a 16-bit game first released in 1995. In Japan, it’s known as Seiken Densetsu (聖剣伝説, lit. The Legend of the Sacred Sword).

The game series revolves around the “mana tree” or the world tree. It’s a source of power containing nine elements: water, wind, fire, wood, stone, dark, light, metal, and moon. As with any valuable resource, it attracts forces of evil that want to use the power of the mana tree for darkness.

Having played other gamers in the Mana series, this certainly is an amazing job by Square Enix to modernize a classic. The colors are gorgeous and striking. You can easily tell this modernization was treated with utmost love and dedication.

Choose your party

At the beginning of the game, you are asked to choose your main character and the supporting cast. The game gives you six classes to choose from: Warrior, Priest, Thief, Beastman, Mage and Lancer.

Each character you pick will have her/his own unique story. My first run through in the game was about 25 hours which I think is excellent. It’s enough time to feel like a complete adventure, but not too much that the player can do multiple playthroughs to learn about the story of the other five characters.

As the game progresses, the character can change classes. This can happen after reaching levels 18 and 38 (with class items) using the mana stones or the mana statues that are spread across the map. Naturally, you’ll be able to unlock more powerful spells and skills that can help take on the harder bosses as you go through the game.

If you’ve played other JRPG titles under Square’s umbrella like the Final Fantasy series and Kingdom Hearts, you’ll know that your party needs to have all the essentials. That means striking a balance among defense, attack, support, and offensive magic that fits your play style.

The characters have their own strengths and weaknesses depending on their class. The combos and spells depend on the skills you unlock as the story and the level progresses. The higher the level, the higher the rates of combos and skill chains that can be unlocked to make grinding and boss battles lean more in your favor.

Get ready for a lot of button mashing, quick triggers

The gameplay adopts the chaotic feel of the Mana series. Every move is in real time. The way the player moves, dodges, hits, casts a spell or uses an item makes every step crucial in every facet and situation in your battles.

During battles you get a ring menu that almost feels like you’re pausing the game. This gives you ample time to strategize and plan your attack or how you want to approach each battle.

Here you can select what items you want to use as well as the skills that are available to your class of character. You also have a quick trigger that you can customize to fit your play style depending on the kinds of characters your party has.

You can switch with your support characters at any point during battle. This lets you maximize the potential of your party, most especially through the tough fights of the game. AI for your party members is also pretty good when you’re not controlling them. They act based on their skillets instead of mindlessly launching melee attacks.

Special techniques can be triggered by filling up a “CS GAUGE”. There are two ways to fill it. First, you smash all the enemies lurking around every dungeon on the map. Second, find some vases that will fill the gauge for you.

Personally, I prefer the first method because I like to do some ass kicking especially during this pandemic. A really good way to blow off some steam is to kick those rabites (hopping yellow and pink-tailed leporine monsters) in the beginning of the game.

A lot of traveling and being shot out of a canon

During your travels, you will encounter different stages across the Trials of Mana world. Each stage is unique and offers different kinds of NPCs that make you feel like you’re in another world.

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As you proceed in the game, you will find different ways of traveling: with ships, riding a water monster, flying and being shot out of a canon???

Verdict

Trials of Mana is a beautiful game based on the Old Mana Series. The game is straightforward and offers an easy learning curve. It’s simple and anyone should be able to catch the play style even after just an hour of going through the game.

It does run the risk of sometimes feeling too simple due to the lack of side quest. Harder side bosses and secret items or ultimate weapons could have made this beautiful game even better.

One thing I didn’t particularly enjoy were camera views and angles. Battles can be chaotic especially during boss encounters. It makes it difficult to properly plan your attack especially during stages that have plenty of obstacles.

I also encountered a lot of issues in focusing on targets that can either delay or break the momentum of your attacks. You can control the camera view with your shoulder buttons but it takes some getting used to especially in high pressure situations.

That aside, Trials of Mana is an excellent game overall. It has all the makings of an awesome game thanks to its storyline and gameplay. There’s enough here that Square Enix can build on to make another Mana game that will appeal to both old and new players.


This game was reviewed on a PS4 by Ron Erik Rivero. Ron is an ESL teacher, chef, and businessman who is passionate about gaming. When not playing, he spends most of his time teaching Japanese students business English. He is also a foodie, a loving husband and a doting father to his five-year-old son. You can contact him at [email protected]

Gaming

Trials of Mana now available on mobile

Mobile gamers might want to try this!

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Since its release in 1995, the Trials of Mana has come a long way. From the 16-bit era to the mobile gaming platform, this game is rich in history spanning 26 years. Now, the 3D remake of the JRPG classic Trials of Mana is now available on mobile.

The mobile version of the game includes many features, including new touch controls,  adjustable graphics settings and cloud save capabilities. Players can also receive two pieces of starting gear to help jumpstart their quest. The starting items are the Rabite Adornment and Silktail Adornment. 

Originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 3 in 1995, Trials of Mana is a remake of the third entry in the classic Mana series. The game features a selectable main cast  with upgradable classes and over 300 different abilities to learn as they discover a world of secrets and mysteries. The series’ action battle system will put players to the test as they encounter enemies. The game was received well by its release on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Steam platforms.

Price and Availability

Trials of Mana is available on iOS and Android devices via the App Store or Google Play Store. The game is priced at US$ 23.99. 

SEE ALSO: Trials of Mana review: A nice glow up

 

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Gaming

Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy is coming to Genshin Impact

Will be available for all players… eventually

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Aloy

Turns out the PlayStation and Genshin Impact collaboration goes beyond PlayStation 5 specific updates. Aloy from the PlayStation game Horizon Zero Dawn will be a playable character on Genshin Impact.

Aloy — a five-star character — will be playable for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 players via in-game mail when Version 2.1 drops. The character can then be played on any platform thanks to the cross-save feature after being claimed from the PS5 or PS4.

Not a PlayStation player? Fret not. Aloy, will arrive to all players who have reached Adventure Rank 20 on Version 2.2. Her weapon, unfortunately, is a PlayStation exclusive.

Version 2.1 and Version 2.2 will also bring other updates that MiHoyo promised to release in detail shortly. Version 2.1 is coming on October 13, 2021 while version 2.2 will arrive on November 24, 2021. Could these also be clues on when the Horizon Zero Dawn sequel will release? We’ll have to wait and see.

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play open-world action RPG that brings players to the world of Teyvat. The player takes on the role of the mysterious “Traveler,” who sets off on a journey to discover the fate of their lost sibling.

Horizon Zero Dawn was a PlayStation exclusive game that launched in 2017. It received plenty of critical and commercial success. Its sequel — Horizon Forbidden West — is set to arrive in late 2021.

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Accessories

Steelseries unveils new Prime lineup of gaming peripherals

Get your head, and hands, in the game

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Steelseries Prime

Steelseries has a knack for creating some of the best peripherals in Esports. This time around, they’re looking to expand their growing library of Esports peripherals with some “pro” help. After collaborating with over 100 competitive professional players, the company unveils its new Steelseries Prime lineup of gaming peripherals.

Within the Prime lineup, Steelseries introduces three new gaming mice: the Steelseries Prime, Steelseries Prime+, and Steelseries Prime Wireless. For the company, these three gaming mice bring their own set of features and customization depending on the user’s style of play. Although, all three mice come with a TrueMove sensor that provides proper tracking performance fit for competition.

Along with these, Steelseries also introduces the Steelseries Arctis Prime gaming headset. Built on the heritage of the Arctis franchise, this headset provides great sound quality in a comfortable and lightweight package. Also, the Arctis Prime comes with new noise-isolating ear cushions to eliminate background noise during playback.

The Steelseries Prime lineup is currently available in Steelseries’ official stores on Shopee and Lazada and select authorized dealers. For the SRPs, the gaming mice are priced at SG$ 119 (Prime Gaming Mouse), SG$ 149 (Prime+ Gaming Mouse), and SG$ 299 (Prime Wireless Gaming Mouse). Meanwhile, the Steelseries Arctis Pro retails for SG$ 179.

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