Trials of Mana

lol “well-crafted.”

Hey look, it’s Assassin’s Creed: Stretch Armstrong Walks on Water.

TBH, the “grand sweeping narrative” is sorta non-existant in current AC games. Assassin’s Creed up to AC3 were sort of telling a story about Desmond, and his story arc was sort of completed when he makes his Big Sacrifice to save the world from armageddon.
… I mean, yes, these big set pieces are cool and all of that. But the original conceit of the game was that you were plumbing your ancestor’s memories to get at One Specific Memory, that was important because the badguys in the real world also wanted that One Specific Memory, and losing Desmond sorta lost that element of it.
I mean, I guess you can just make yet another UbiSoft-style, open world game where your minimap is full of all these icons of busy-work to take care of… but that seems sort of pandering.

It also feels a little dirty to hand-wave away concerns about storyline, when we’re literally writing these posts on a message board WHERE WE ASPIRE TO TELL GOOD STORIES. I mean I’m just saying.

So I rolled credits on this the other day.

Here’s my conclusions, in brief:

  • This is a fun game. Yes, the coop is gone, but it’s a solid 3D port, with fun combat and it keeps the story. It adds a little without changing the plot dramatically; a lot of it is getting more interactions with the characters.
  • It smooths over some of the mechanical jank from the 1990’s. I never had to grind once, as long as I didn’t run away from stuff.
  • It’s not a deep game, though. The budget is mid-range and shows; sometimes the graphics are a little cheap, and the voice acting is also mid-range. It doesn’t add much, and sometimes that means it’s not a thing to write home about.
  • It does have an original postgame. It’s safely ignorable. The upside: cool fourth classes which are fu, character-centric quests. The downside: it uses a villain from some mid-2000’s PS2 Mana game that wasn’t Legend of Mana. However, the dungeon and boss fight were good.
  • And the boss fights? REAL good. Those were seriously quality, fun fights.

In short: I’d recommend it, but maybe wait for a sale. It feels a little lacking for fifty bucks, but well worth thirty to forty. I didn’t regret getting it at full price, though.

Also, I definitely wanna write a story in Alter-Mana even more now.

…man, meanwhile I got sidetracked with the new X-Com and I am finally almost beating a campaign of Total War: Three Kingdoms.

…even though Gongsun Zan is bugged which is going to make my lategame economy significantly weaker than it should be. I’m only playing on “Hard” though, because so familiar with 3K as I am with other TW games, so it should be doable. (I kind of wanted to save my VH/VH playthroughs for more the famous Three Kingdoms factions.)

Oh – and my brother and I are slowly but surely winding our way through Divinity II. When the connection decides to cooperate.

Oh, nice! I’ve never done a Total War before. I’d done some Stellaris lately, though that game has trouble keeping me into midgame… something about managing the planets gets more tedious than fun.

I started Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition today. I’d never played it before. Pretty cool so far.

Will be interested to hear your thoughts on Xenoblade Chronicles – I’ve been on the fence about it for some time. Reviews seem a bit divided. It sounds a bit like an MMO-like, which…I don’t know, if I wanted a ton of “content”, there are other options. I feel like game design in the 2010s was consumed with a more-is-more mentality, at the expense of more focused, crafted experiences.

It absolutely has the problem you mentioned. There are too many quests. I tried for half a town to do them, and gave up when I realized I hadn’t even found the titular Xenoblade after like two hours because I got bogged down in killing 6 things and finding 4 other things.

I reminded myself it’s not an MMO, accepted those quests, and just do whatever I can complete while moving to the next story point. I’m much happier that way, and do not appear to have any real money or experience issues skipping most of the quests.