Tag Archives: action rpg

Trials Of Mana Looks Much Better Than The Secret Of Mana Remake

Screenshot: Square Enix
E3 2019It’s time for the biggest gaming show of the year. We’ve got articles, videos, podcasts and maybe even a GIF or two.  

Disappointed by last year’s 3D remake of Secret of Mana? Well, Trials of Mana, the upcoming remake of its sequel, looks nothing like it. Nintendo and Square Enix showed off the Switch game on today’s Treehouse Live stream, and it looks like a completely new, modern game design based on the Super NES original.

The Secret of Mana remake for PlayStation 4, Vita, and PC did have 3D graphics, but the design itself was nearly unchanged from the 16-bit game. The perspective was locked to top-down, the dungeon designs were identical, the enemies were in the same places, and the awkward parts of the original game were mostly left unchanged. I didn’t think it was much of an upgrade at all; if the gameplay’s going to be identical I’d rather play it with 2D pixel art than zoomed-out polygons.

Not so with Trials of Mana, which will release early next year. It’s a remake of 1995’s Seiken Densetsu 3—which was unavailable in the U.S. until yesterday, when it was released as part of Collection of Mana for the Switch. The remake is a modern-day action RPG not only in looks but in the design, too. The camera is fully controllable, defaulting to over the character’s shoulder. You can jump, which you couldn’t do in the original game, leaping to hit higher enemies (or just for the fun of it).

The battle system has been totally overhauled, too. For example, when you enter a battle you’re given some bonus conditions like “defeat all enemies within 20 seconds,” which will give you extra EXP if you meet them. There’s a mini-map with waypoints. There’s treasure scattered in nooks and crannies of the newly overhauled map, which was not the case with the original.

Screenshot: Square Enix

Just from the few minutes of play we saw in the Treehouse stream, you can tell that from a design perspective, this is essentially a brand new entry in the Mana series, just one that happens to be based on the story of a previous game. That’s exciting! I’ve gone from utterly uninterested in this remake (based on having played through what Secret of Mana got) to 100 percent definitely playing it on day one. I’ll still be playing the SNES game it’s based on, of course, especially since I was looking for another 16-bit RPG to sink my teeth into. But I can’t wait for this.

The Mana series has had a difficult time of it over the last couple of decades with disappointing remakes, gacha-based mobile spinoffs, and few attempts at creating a truly new high-quality triple-A game that continues the action RPG legacy of the originals. Trials of Mana isn’t “new,” but it is clearly an attempt to update the Mana formula for the modern day. Who knows, maybe it’ll even paint the path forward for the series and lead to a truly new episode.

Source: Kotaku.com

God Eater 3 Is Like Monster Hunter But Simpler

The God Eater series is Bandai Namco’s take on Monster Hunter, and while not nearly as big or deep as the best games in that series, God Eater 3 does a good job of making up for those shortcomings with flashy combat and an apocalyptic backdrop that helps raise the stakes.

God Eater 3, which is out February 8 on PS4 and PC, seems overwhelming at first, but its story and gameplay are pretty straightforward. It takes place in a futuristic world where much of the planet has been ravaged by Aragami, a race of monsters that can consume natural resources and other life forms to take on their power. They can only be killed using special biomechanical weapons manufactured by big pharma, and only certain people have the mental and physical capacity to wield these weapons. The select few who can have the God Arcs grafted into their physiology and are called God Eaters, forced to roam Earth’s wastelands fighting monsters to keep what remains of humanity from going extinct.

At the start you create a character, customize how they look, and then go off into battle. You have a set amount of time to finish each mission, the object of which is usually to kill everything in sight and check the surrounding areas for valuable crafting materials. In between combat you can walk around a homebase, a giant roving armored tank, talking to other characters who fight alongside you as part of a four-person squad and craft new weapons and equipment based on what you’ve been able to scavenge. That’s pretty much it. You select missions from a main terminal, all of which can be replayed on different difficulties in order to grind for better stuff. God Eater’s world is also full of haves and have-nots, and part of the drive to keep getting more powerful is to eventually break free of the rigid social hierarchies that govern life after apocalypse.

Fighting itself takes the form of bashing monsters with your preferred type of weapon, linking up with allies to temporarily boost stats and damage, and occasionally dodging or blocking incoming attacks with a shield. Whichever weapon you’re using can also transform into a gun whose bullets can be customized to provide unique benefits like healing party members or freezing enemies. There’s also a stamina meter which, while generous, prevents you from just constantly mashing the attack or dodge buttons.

God Eater 3 also has multiplayer, including special assault missions designed for eight players to tackle together.
Screenshot: Bandai Namco (God Eater 3)

That formula is far from groundbreaking, but God Eater 3 has all the dials calibrated tightly. Combat is fluid and fast-paced. Gear and character progression happens at a steady enough pace that every mission feels like it was worthwhile by the time you complete it. It’s perfect for anyone looking a quick Monster Hunter fix without being immediately overwhelmed by weapon combos and stat menus. Like the remakes of God Eater 1 and 2 which were ported to PS4 from the PSP and PS Vita in recent years, God Eater 3 also benefits from being on a home console. While the grindier aspects of the series have always made it perfect for portable gaming, it’s nice to be able to see the series’ dystopic world in such vibrant detail. Its twitchy combat is also a lot less prone to aggregation when wielding a Dualshock 4 as opposed to the PSP’s d-pad or the Vita’s tiny thumb grips.

I don’t see myself playing through God Eater 3 to the end. It’s really just more, prettier God Eater. But it’s been great to get back into that dreary world for a bit and smash up some Aragami with my favorite giant ax gun.

Source: Kotaku.com