Mana Trials Could Be Just What This Series Needs – E3 2019



Make Mana awesome again.

By Chris Reed

The Mana series has been battered lately, at least in the United States. There has been no new notable entry since 2007, and the remake of Secret of Mana last year is generally considered a disappointment. If you are worried about the next remake of his suite, Trials of Mana, I have good news for you: Trials looks much better. It seems less related to the source material, freeing it for itself – which could be exactly what it needs.

Mana fans in the West have long been waiting to play this game. Originally released on Super Famicom in 1995 under the name of Seiken Densetsu 3, Trials of Mana has not made its way to the United States. United before the release of the new Collection of Mana.

As they say: when it rains, it rains. Beginning next year, Trials of Mana receives a remake that gives the game a complete redesign in 3D. I attended a manual demo at E3 2019, and the game looks to take shape.


Cities, wilderness and general presentation reminded me of Dragon Quest XI.

Like all Mana games, it tells an autonomous story. You do not need to familiarize yourself with the first two to get started in Trials of Mana. At first, you choose one of the six heroes as the main character and two others as companions. Each hero has unique skills: there is a fighter, a ranged attacker, a healer, a magical user and even one who turns into a beast at night.

You can take control of one of your companions at any time on the battlefield and the other two will continue to fight automatically by your side. That said, your initial group of three is locked once you have made your choice and you will not be able to play like the other three heroes without starting a new game. Producers say that adds the opportunity to replay.


The demo I saw does not go into the story but focuses on the fight. Typical for the series, the battles take place in real time as you pirate and cut the ground to eliminate enemies. The fight seems deeper here than in Secret of Mana, in that you have heavy and light attacks that you can combine to create combos that repel enemies or deal damage to the attack zone. You can also lock the camera on enemies and bypass them while searching for an opening. If you fight long enough, you fill a bar at the bottom of the screen that allows you to trigger a special attack.

Unlike the still camera in the 2018 Secret of Mana remake, you have total control over your vision of the action in Trials of Mana. The cities, wilderness and general presentation reminded me of Dragon Quest XI, which is a good thing for those who were disappointed with the rigid presentation of the remake of Secret of Mana.


The short demo ended with a boss battle against Fullmetal Hugger, a giant crab that you can see in the trailer Trial of Mana. (And for fun, you can check out the Collection of Mana trailer to see what it looks like in the Super Famicom version). The eyes of the crab are its weak point and once you inflict enough damage to one of them, it disappears. Then you must attack the other until the beast falls.

The demo did what it was supposed to do and left me wanting to play the finished game. Although the series has not made a strong impression in the West in recent years, Mana could still be alive.

Chris Reed is the Purchasing and Commerce Editor at IGN, who has already played Secret of Mana a long time ago. You can follow him on Twitter @_chrislreed.


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