Trials of Mana

Anyone else planning to get the big 3D remake of Seiken Densetsu 3?

Reminds me of good ol’ Alter-Mana.

No, no and no.

Travis and I have had numerous back-and-forth email chains on Squeenix, Squeenix remakes and the state of gaming in general.

So, my take: the SD3 Remake is garbage. I hardly think it’s worth anyone’s time, especially given that the one thing that would make it a big draw – multiplayer – isn’t a feature. Which, honestly, of all the stupid decisions Square’s made in the last 15 years (coughcoughcoughFINAL FANTASY 12coughcoughcough), this has to rank as among the most profoundly lacking in any kind of thought, intellect or even basic insight into what players want in 2020.

Clearly, nobody who worked on Trials of Mana was aware of the buzz we were all smitten with when Secret of Mana first came out in the U.S. as a three player game!!! Who at that time had ever heard of such a thing!? Everybody knew that video games could only support, at most, two players at a time! Anything more was purely conceptual, a fever dream nested in the most remote, pie-in-the-sky, cut-off-from-reality corner of every gamer’s heart. AND YET THERE IT WAS!

Do you remember going out to Toys R Us to buy a special “multi-tap” just so you could take advantage of three-player Secret of Mana? Do you remember gathering into parties of three friends and then drawing lots to see who was going to play as the girl? Do you remember fighting over which character got to use which weapons? (and how bummed you were if you ever wound up stuck with the javelin?)

Granted, SD3 is a very different game from its predecessors. It is far more story-driven, with the action more shackled to set pieces and plot progression than in SoM (where, my memory tells me, the action and gameplay were what drove you to keep coming back). SoM almost seems to punish you for not having at least two players to keep control of your party, while SD3 seems much more forgiving in this regard. (that and SD3’s original release only supported two-player play, giving up on the novelty of a three-player game)

But even so, even given that SD3’s narrative focus is more given to single-player progression, I feel like this was an unforgivable opportunity missed. In an era where so much of the gaming industry tries to funnel you into multiplayer competitive situations, a two-player co-op RPG in 2020 would have been a refreshing breath of fresh air. It’s really disappointing that they chose to take it in a different direction.

(and it’s also worth noting that the English-translated ROM is still floating around on the internet out there, and there are a couple of SNES emulators with fairly stable multiplayer options… this is a pretty compelling argument against giving Squeenix any of your hard-earned money for a product that finds itself immediately inferior to its 16-bit past life)

What, no multiplayer?? Like…


I don’t even hate some of the recent remakes – well, okay, I liked the FF7 one (but didn’t have great fondness for the original) – but that’s… c’mon. That’s the core of the game. If I want a single player action RPG, I can go…y’know.

Anywhere else? Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition is around the corner?

Also, editing to add: my brother… loved the javelin. Like, he wanted it first and foremost. He did it on the Sprite. He got good with it. I went many of my years, until the internet, thinking the javelin was actually good.

Omg the javelin was objectively the worst weapon in SOM. For ranged, the bow, whip or boomerang were far superior. IIRC, the javelin was sort of comparable to the bow, but its basic attack lacked the bow’s range and its charge attacks were kinda sucky.


And yet he loved it and like, it was his first pick. And we got through the whole game, Sprite on javelin, just ripping shit up.

you know, I did play through SoM with my brothers.

Also: Luna’s spells on the girl are broken. Every hit is a critical!

I might buy Trials of Mana even though Matt is mr. grumpypants about it. But I need to finish Fire Emblem 3 Houses first.

SoM couch co-op is a classic. One day I wanna get some of us together and do that.

I admit I did buy Trials. I don’t like the lack of multiplayer, but I watched some on a stream and… well, I wanted a short game to get through before May 29 and Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition hits.

I’m about an hour and a half in. I like it so far; it’s got its flaws. Besides the lack of multiplayer, my biggest gripe is the occasional awkward portion with jumping… but otherwise, the 3D isn’t grotesque and it feels like Secret of Mana did (if one player). But: pretty fun!

How are you liking Three Houses? Which House did you go with?

lol I mean… SD3 isn’t what I’d call a short game. Mechanically it’s way more complex than Secret of Mana was because of its class-change and alignment system. It also has branching story paths that change depending on who you pick as your main, and then who you pick as your second and third characters.

It retains some of SOM’s grind-fest, but a lot of this is boiled down to level advancement rather than having to build up weapon and magic levels.

And, again, I’ll say my personal recommendation is to pick up an up-to-date copy of ZSNES or Snes9X, and then find the English-translated ROM for SD3, if only because it preserves the ability to play multiplayer (Snes9X is by far the superior SNES emulator, but its network multiplayer is not very stable; ZSNES is far better in this regard). Also worth noting: either emulator will support USB controllers, which means that if you happen to be in quarantine with other people you can play multiplayer SNES the way we did back in the 1990s.

… but yeah, I’m not going to waste my money on Trials of Mana. I really don’t see the point.

I did play Dragon Quest XI before this, which… uhhhhh… a little ridiculously long?

I got to the ending at around 95 hours (quarantine gaming!), and it wasn’t done because there was a 20+ hour postgame.

That can wait.

…lol, so the other game I might play is Assassin Creed: Odyssey, which DEFINITELY makes SD3 look short. I’m not a big AssCreed fan at all, but I want to run around in ancient Greece, especially before the Viking one comes out.

In Three Houses I ended up picking Black Eagles. I kind of want to do all the routes eventually, though, with New Game +. Three Houses is really good. My only gripe is it’s a bit easy for a Fire Emblem game, though I haven’t tried the top difficulty level yet. I also haven’t beaten it yet, so they’re might be a big difficulty spike.

Oh, yeah, I wanna do the new viking one for a similar reason.

How far into the Beagles are you? I did find 3H easier than previous entries, myself.

I just did the time skip as Black Eagles. And I did Edelgard’s path, because the Church is always evil in JRPGs, though I saved before the big decision and I can reload and play through the other path.

Nice! Yeah, I suggest doing both; I didn’t feel the story was complete otherwise.

You know, I picked up Fire Emblem Warriors when I first got my Switch, and I really really like it… but, I’ve never actually played a Fire Emblem game before, so… because FE Warriors is sort of set up in a way that it crosses the streams of the time periods of multiple different Fire Emblem games and incorporates various Fire Emblem characters… I feel like a lot of the subtextual goodness of this game is kinda wasted on me?

Also, because I’ve never played a Fire Emblem game before this one, I’m mostly assuming based on context clues that this is what’s happening. I don’t actually know for sure. I just like Koei’s Warriors game format and beating the everloving snot out of giant swaths of nameless extras with an over-powered beautiful anime person as my avatar.

…I’ve sometimes thought about getting Fire Emblem Warriors. It’s that vs. Zelda Warriors for me.

Also: Assassin’s Creed is… meh. I feel like at this point they are squeezing the dead horse’s corpse for whatever milk is still within it. The formula is played out. I didn’t bother with Odyssey because the last Assassin’s Creed game I picked up just didn’t grab me. I think it was either the French Revolution one or the Victorian England one.

The best the series had to offer is long since past. The first game was okay for what it was, and by all rights should have been a one-off, but then the sequel kind of re-invented the formula and I think was actually better than the original. AC2 was so objectively good and beloved that it got its own sequels. Ezio Auditore is legitimately one of the best video game protagonists ever, and Renaissance Italy turned out to be the definitive setting for the AC franchise.

AC3, I felt, was way underrated, and much better than a lot of players gave it credit for. I personally got a bit of a thrill out of hunting down Redcoats from the treetops and then murdering the shit out of them, and the alternate-reality expansion/sequel “The Madness of King Washington” was a fun little diversion from the formula.

And then there’s the last “good” Assassins Creed game, Black Flag, where the core design premise was: “Hey, people were kinda down on AC3, but the one thing everyone seemed to love was the ship. So let’s build an entire game around the ship.”

The one thing that all AC games after AC3 sort of suffers from is that the entire premise of the games is that you’re reliving your ancestors’ memories, and your main vehicle for this up till AC3 was the meta-protagonist Desmond Miles (who, spoiler, dies at the end of AC3). The fact that all the assassins we met up to that point were Desmond’s ancestors was a nice narrative through-line… but, it’s gone now.

That and Ubisoft is now committed to bogging down all of its products with pay-to-win microtransactions… I dunno. This is a franchise whose best days are behind us.

… I got both…

Well, as a not huge AC fan, my outside impression of the series is that they’re just using their known brand and franchise to make meticulously constructed historically-themed adventure games. I don’t actually give a shit about the series’ grand sweeping narrative, but I care quite a lot about being able to run around in extremely expensive, well-crafted sandbox of ancient Greece. And I also care a lot about Vikings.

Though agreed that UbiSoft has shitty business practices, but having not-too-long ago given money to Blizzard I can’t really get on my high horse about that.

It so happens that Fire Emblem is probably my favorite – or at least one of them! – series. So I can give pretty good advice, with the same thing I think is fair to warn anyone: I’m a hardcore fan. Sometimes my opinions are weird because of that, I’m passionate about some stupid things in the series.

If you want to try it, do Awakening. Awakening has less punishing, more modern gameplay with an opt-in for the more punishing stuff (autosave every turn and permadeath). It has good characters, a good story, and its narrative conceits make sense. However, you do need a 3DS to play it, and if you don’t have one, you’re SOL. It is also a little dated, graphics-wise, and it’s 3D graphics… so that can sometimes jar because (in my opinion) 3D graphics tend to age worse than 2D. However, it has solid gameplay, a fun story, good characters, and it’s a good time.

If you have a Switch, Three Houses is very good but has some flaws. I’ll avoid getting into them here because Travis is playing. It also has a silent protagonist, and I just don’t like those usually (with the exception of Crono, Serge, and oddly enough, Dragon Quest).

I’d avoid Fates; it’s got a real DLC issue, in that you need to buy large DLC for 30-50 bucks to have a complete story. Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is neat but hard to recommend as a starting point, but is quite good and doesn’t have that Fates-ish approach.

For the older ones, the GBA, Gamecube, and Wii ones are fucking hard. Autosave every turn, people stay dead forever, and quality of life options go down tremendously. They’re also a lot of fun! But with Awakening existing, it’s hard to earnestly recommend them, and they’re kinda hard to get a hold of, these days.

And yeah, I’ve never done an Assassin’s Creed ever. That said: I may watch a gameplay video cause I am kinda bad at action games?