Legend of Mana is an action-RPG released on the original PlayStation and is must play for any RPG fan with a sense of carefree adventure.
The first thing you will notice is the fantastically drawn 2D artwork. First released when 3D was taking over game design, the background artwork is wonderfully detailed and colourful, while the character sprites are interesting and appealing. You will always be anticipating how the visual presentation of the next location on your journey will impress you, as you travel from the fiery depths of the Underworld to the mystic Bejeweled City. Special mention is needed for the colossal boss monsters that are articulately designed and often mesmerising.
The player is tasked with rebuilding the world after the Mana Tree was burned down centuries ago and the lands were stored in ancient artifacts. The main plot is non-linier and is broken up into small story arcs and side quests that the player can choose to complete at their freedom. This works to flesh out the busy world and makes best use of the large amount of characters introduced. It keeps the game fresh, as well as engaging.
The action-based battle system lets you attack in real time from a choice of a variety of different weapons, while also implementing special techniques and magic attacks. It keeps the gameplay moving along at a brisk pace as the enemies are fought on the same screen as exploring, with no random battle transitions. Similar to the multi-player in Secret of Mana a second player can control various characters that join your journey throughout different story arcs.
Legend of Mana is also graced with a lovely musical score that for what it lacks in quantity, more than makes up for in quality. The music is lively and fits the mood of the different settings well, coming to together with the art direction to create an amazing storybook-like world.
Legend of Mana is an intriguing RPG in many ways. If you daydream of escaping to an imaginative fantasy world, then you should play Legend of Mana.