Trials of Mana

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Trials of Mana
Seiken Densetsu 3 Front Cover.jpg
Japanese Super Famicom box art
Developer(s) Square
Publisher(s) Square
Director(s) Hiromichi Tanaka
Producer(s) Tetsuhisa Tsuruzono
Designer(s) Koichi Ishii
Artist(s)
Composer(s) Hiroki Kikuta
Series Mana
Platform(s)
ReleaseSuper Famicom
  • JP: September 30, 1995
Nintendo Switch
Collection of Mana
  • JP: June 1, 2017
  • WW: June 11, 2019
3D Remake
Windows, Switch, PS4
  • WW: Early 2020
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Trials of Mana, originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 3, [lower-alpha 1] is a 1995 action role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Famicom. It is the sequel to the 1993 game Secret of Mana , and is the third installment in the Mana series. Set in a high fantasy world, the game follows three heroes as they attempt to claim the legendary Mana Sword and prevent the Benevodons from being unleashed and destroying the world. It features three lengthy main plotlines and six different possible main characters, each with their own storylines, and allows two players to play simultaneously. Trials of Mana builds on the gameplay of its predecessor with multiple enhancements, including the use of a time progression system with transitions from day to night and weekday to weekday in game time, and a wide range of character classes to choose from, which provides each character with an exclusive set of skills and status progression.

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".

Square Enix Japanese video game company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling 144 million, the Dragon Quest franchise selling 78 million and the Kingdom Hearts franchise selling 30 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

Contents

The game was designed by series creator Koichi Ishii, directed by veteran Square designer Hiromichi Tanaka, and produced by Tetsuhisa Tsuruzono. Artwork was produced by manga and anime artist Nobuteru Yūki, while the music was composed by Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta. Although the game was only published in Japan, English-speaking players had been able to play Seiken Densetsu 3 due to an unofficial English fan translation released in 2000. Seiken Densetsu 3 received considerable acclaim from reviewers, who praised the graphics as among the best ever made for the Super Famicom and the gameplay as an improved version of its predecessor's. The plot received mixed reviews by critics, who found the overlapping stories to be interesting and to enhance replayability, but the characters and plotlines themselves to be flat and clichéd. Overall, the game is considered by some critics to be a Super Famicom classic.

Koichi Ishii, sometimes credited as Kouichi Ishii, is a video game designer perhaps best known for creating the Mana series. He joined Square in 1987, where he has directed or produced every game released in the Mana series. He has also contributed to several games in Square Enix's SaGa and Final Fantasy series, and created the well-known chocobo and moogle characters.

Hiromichi Tanaka Japanese video game designer

Hiromichi Tanaka is a Japanese video game developer, game producer, game director and game designer. He was Senior Vice President of Software Development at Square Enix and the head of the company's Product Development Division-3. He is best known as the former lead developer of Final Fantasy XI, Square's first massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG). He oversaw ongoing development of that title and Final Fantasy XIV until late 2010. He also worked in a prominent role for earlier single-player games including Secret of Mana, Seiken Densetsu 3, Xenogears, Threads of Fate, Chrono Cross, and the Nintendo DS version of Final Fantasy III..

Nobuteru Yūki is a Japanese manga artist, illustrator, and animator. He began as a doujinshi artist under the nom de plume The Man in the High Castle and Ubik, both references to the works of American science fiction author Philip K. Dick. He has designed characters for manga, anime and video games, and has frequently collaborated with director Kazuki Akane, including on his most famous work, The Vision of Escaflowne.

In June 2017, the game was included in the Seiken Densetsu Collection release for the Nintendo Switch in Japan; the collection was released in June 2019 in North America as Collection of Mana with Seiken Densetsu 3 titled Trials of Mana. That same month, a remake of the game under that title was announced for worldwide release for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 in early 2020.

Nintendo Switch hybrid video game console by Nintendo

The Nintendo Switch is a video game console developed by Nintendo and released on March 3, 2017. It is a hybrid console that can be used as both a stationary and portable device. Its wireless Joy-Con controllers, which include standard buttons and directional analog sticks for user input, motion sensing, and high-definition tactile feedback, can attach to both sides of the console to support handheld-style play. They can also connect to a Grip accessory to provide a traditional home console gamepad form, or be used individually in the hand like the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, supporting local multiplayer modes. The Nintendo Switch's software supports online gaming through standard Internet connectivity, as well as local wireless ad hoc connectivity with other Switch consoles. Nintendo Switch games and software are available on both physical flash-based ROM cartridges and digital distribution via Nintendo eShop; the system does not use region locking. As an eighth-generation console, the Nintendo Switch competes with Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.

Microsoft Windows is a group of several graphical operating system families, all of which are developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. Active Microsoft Windows families include Windows NT and Windows IoT; these may encompass subfamilies, e.g. Windows Server or Windows Embedded Compact. Defunct Microsoft Windows families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone.

PlayStation 4 Sonys eighth-generation home video game console

The PlayStation 4 is an eighth-generation home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15 in North America, November 29 in Europe, South America and Australia, and on February 22, 2014, in Japan. It competes with Microsoft's Xbox One and Nintendo's Wii U and Switch.

Gameplay

Angela, Duran, and Riesz fighting Land Umber, the Earth Benevodon Seiken Densetsu 3 Gameplay.png
Angela, Duran, and Riesz fighting Land Umber, the Earth Benevodon

Trials of Mana has similar gameplay to its predecessor, Secret of Mana . Like many other role-playing games of the 16-bit era, the game displays a top-down perspective, in which the three player characters navigate the terrain and fight off hostile creatures. Control may be passed between each of the characters at any time; the companions not currently selected are controlled by artificial intelligence. The game may be played simultaneously by two players, as opposed to the three of Secret of Mana. [1] [2] There are six possible player characters. At the beginning of the game, the player chooses which three of them will be playable and which one they will start with; the other two playable characters will join the party when met. The remaining three characters act as non-playable characters (NPCs) when encountered. [3]

<i>Secret of Mana</i> video game

Secret of Mana, originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 2, is a 1993 action role-playing game developed and published by Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It is the sequel to the 1991 game Seiken Densetsu, released in North America as Final Fantasy Adventure and in Europe as Mystic Quest, and it was the first Seiken Densetsu title to be marketed as part of the Mana series rather than the Final Fantasy series. Set in a high fantasy universe, the game follows three heroes as they attempt to prevent an empire from conquering the world with the power of an ancient flying fortress.

In the history of computer and video games, the fourth generation of game consoles began on October 30, 1987 with the Japanese release of NEC Home Electronics' PC Engine. Although NEC released the first console of this era, sales were mostly dominated by the rivalry between Nintendo's and Sega's consoles in North America: the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. Handheld systems released during this time include the Nintendo Game Boy, released in 1989, and the Sega Game Gear, first released in 1990.

Player character fictional character in a role-playing or video game that can be played or controlled by a real-world person

A player character is a fictional character in a role-playing game or video game whose actions are directly controlled by a player of the game rather than the rules of the game. The characters that are not controlled by a player are called non-player characters (NPCs). The actions of non-player characters are typically handled by the game itself in video games, or according to rules followed by a gamemaster refereeing tabletop role-playing games. The player character functions as a fictional, alternate body for the player controlling the character.

Each character can use one type of weapon, in addition to magical spells. The effectiveness of spells depends on the magical ability of the character and the element of the spell in relation to the enemy. [4] When in battle mode, attacking monsters fills a gauge that allows the player to use character-specific special attacks. [1] Upon collecting enough experience points in battle, each character can increase in level to gain improved character statistics such as strength and evasion. [5] Options such as changing equipment, casting spells, or checking status are performed by cycling through the game's Ring Commands—a circular menu which hovers over the controlled party member. The game is paused whenever the Ring Command menu is activated. Within the Ring, the player has nine slots for storing items; additional items can be placed into item storage, which is inaccessible in combat. [4]

An experience point is a unit of measurement used in tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game. Experience points are generally awarded for the completion of missions, overcoming obstacles and opponents, and for successful role-playing.

Statistic (role-playing games) piece of data representing a particular aspect of a fictional character

A statistic in role-playing games is a piece of data that represents a particular aspect of a fictional character. That piece of data is usually a (unitless) integer or, in some cases, a set of dice.

Magic (gaming) attribute assigned to characters within a game

Magic or mana is an attribute assigned to characters within a role-playing or video game that indicates their power to use special abilities or "spells". Magic is usually measured in magic points or mana points, shortened as MP. Different abilities will use up different amounts of MP. When the MP of a character reaches zero, the character won't be able to use special abilities until some of their MP is recovered.

Character level progression is coordinated by the player, as a choice is given as to which statistic to raise by a point at every level up. A "class" system is also present. Once a character reaches level 18, the player can visit one of several Mana Stones located throughout the game and choose to upgrade them to one of two classes for each character—either a class aligned to "Light" or a class aligned to "Dark"—which provides a different set of skills and different improvements to character statistics. A second class change may be optionally performed at level 38, again split between a light and a dark choice, if the player has obtained a required rare item for the target class. The class changes do not affect the plot of the game, only gameplay. [4] [5]

In role-playing games (RPG), a character class is a job or profession commonly used to differentiate the abilities of different game characters. A character class aggregates several abilities and aptitudes, and may also detail aspects of background and social standing, or impose behavior restrictions. Classes may be considered to represent archetypes, or specific careers. RPG systems that employ character classes often subdivide them into levels of accomplishment, to be attained by players during the course of the game. It is common for a character to remain in the same class for its lifetime; although some games allow characters to change class, or attain multiple classes. Some systems eschew the use of classes and levels entirely; others hybridise them with skill-based systems or emulate them with character templates.

In some role-playing games (RPGs), alignment is a categorization of the moral and ethical perspective of the player characters, non-player characters, monsters, and societies in the game. Not all role-playing games have such a system, and some narrativist role-players consider such a restriction on their characters' outlook on life to be overly constraining. However, some regard a concept of alignment to be essential to role-playing, since they regard role-playing as an exploration of the themes of good and evil. A basic distinction can be made between alignment typologies, based on one or more sets of systematic moral categories, and mechanics that either assign characters a degree of adherence to a single set of ethical characteristics or allow players to incorporate a wide range of motivations and personality characteristics into gameplay.

Trials of Mana also employs a calendar function into its gameplay. A week cycles much more quickly than an actual one, with a day passing in a matter of minutes. Each day of the week is represented by a different elemental spirit. On that spirit's day, magic of that element will be slightly stronger. An in-game day is also divided into day and night. Certain events only happen during certain times of day, such as a nighttime-only black market selling particularly rare items. Enemies encountered in the field also change during certain time periods, and some may be sleeping if the characters approach them at night. In addition, the character Kevin transforms into a werewolf when he fights at night, greatly increasing his attack power. Using an inn's services allows the player to "skip" the game's clock to that day's evening, or the following morning. [6]

Plot

Setting

The story takes place in a fictional world where Mana represents an ethereal, but finite, energy source. Some time in the past, the Mana Goddess created the game's world by forging the powerful Sword of Mana and defeating eight monsters of destruction, the Benevodons—"God Beasts" in earlier translations—with it, sealing them within eight Mana Stones, before turning herself into the Mana Tree and falling asleep. [7] The game is set at a time when Mana starts to fade and peace has ended, as several people plot to unleash the Benevodons from the stones so as to gain ultimate power. [8] The game is not a direct sequel to the events in Secret of Mana; according to series creator Koichi Ishii in 2006, the Mana games do not take place in exactly the same world, and characters or elements who appear in different games are best considered alternate versions of each other. Instead, the connections between each title are more abstract than story-based. [9] Despite this statement, the 2007 game Heroes of Mana is a direct prequel to Trials of Mana, taking place 19 years before the latter's story. [10]

Characters

The characters (and their individual stories) are grouped into three main sub-plots. Angela and Duran oppose the Dragon Lord, Hawkeye and Riesz oppose the Dark Prince, and Kevin and Charlotte oppose the Masked Mage. [lower-alpha 2] The main storyline is determined by the first character chosen, though there is significantly more character interaction and dialogue if the other member of the pair is also in the party. [5]

Angela [lower-alpha 3] is the princess of the ice-covered Magic Kingdom of Altena. Her mother uses her magic to keep the citadel in Altena in a perpetual Spring, but the spell weakens as Mana starts to fade. To power the spell, she and her assistant the Crimson Wizard decide to invade other nations to claim their Mana Stones, though the spell to use the Stone is fatal to the caster. When the Queen tries to force Angela to use it, she flees from Altena. [11] Her paired character is Duran [lower-alpha 4] , an orphaned mercenary swordsman of Valsena, Kingdom of the Plains. His father Loki was lost in battle with the Dragon Emperor. [12] One night, Duran is on guard duty at the castle of Valsena when the Crimson Wizard attacks the castle. Duran is left for dead after confronting him, and after recovering he vows to become the best swordsman in the world and to exact his revenge upon the Crimson Wizard. [13]

Hawkeye [lower-alpha 5] is a member of a guild of noble thieves based in the desert Sand Fortress of Nevarl. The guild's leader, Lord Flamekhan, suddenly and uncharacteristically declares Nevarl to be a kingdom. [14] Hawkeye decides to confront Flamekhan about it, only to discover he is being controlled by the witch Isabella. Isabella kills Eagle, Flamekhan's son and Hawkeye's friend, framing Hawkeye for his death and forcing him to flee. [15] His paired character is Riesz [lower-alpha 6] , the princess of the mountainous Wind Kingdom of Laurent and captain of its Amazon army. Two mysterious ninjas from Nevarl trick her younger brother Elliott into turning off Laurent's protective winds and kidnap him. With the winds gone, Nevarl attacks Laurent with a cloud of sleep powder and kills its king. Devastated, Riesz makes her escape. [16]

Kevin [lower-alpha 7] is the prince of Ferolia. He is the son of the Beast King, who is sick of the treatment of his people by "normal" humans. His desired revenge is made possible by the appearance of Deathjester. He shows the king his abilities by forcing Kevin to awaken his werewolf abilities by killing Kevin's best friend. When Kevin confronts the Beast King on this act and the King's plans to invade the human Holy City Wendel, Kevin is thrown out of the kingdom and swears revenge. [17] His paired character is Charlotte [lower-alpha 8] , the half-elf granddaughter of the Priest of Light in Wendel. An orphan, she is looked after by a fellow cleric, Heath. Feeling an evil influence in nearby Jadd, the Priest of Light sends Heath to investigate, but Charlotte follows to witness Deathjester abduct Heath. She decides to journey to save him. [18]

Story

The story begins in a different place for each playable character. With the exception of Charlotte, the main character is soon told (or otherwise decides) to seek the advice of the Priest of Light in the Holy City Wendel. They arrive at the city of Jadd soon after the Beastmen have invaded. Due to the Beastmen's werewolf powers, they are able to make an escape by night. The main character—now including Charlotte—on the way to Wendel stays overnight in Astoria where they are woken by a bright light. [19] Following it, it reveals itself to be a Faerie from the Sanctuary of Mana, exhausted by her journey. Out of desperation, the Faerie chooses the main character to be her host, and tells them to get to Wendel. There, while they explain their grievances to the Priest of Light, the Faerie interrupts and explains that the Mana Tree is dying and that the Sanctuary is in danger. The Priest explains that if the Tree dies, the Benevodons will reawaken and destroy the world. [20] He goes on to explain further that, because the Faerie has chosen the main character as its host, they must travel to the Sanctuary to draw the Sword of Mana from the foot of the Mana Tree. [21] They can then restore peace to the world, and have their wishes granted by the Mana Goddess if the sword is drawn before the Tree dies. [22] A great deal of power is needed to open the gate to the Sanctuary. The Faerie does not have the strength to do it, and the ancient spell which would do so by unlocking the power in the Mana Stones also takes the caster's life. The Stones' guarding elemental spirits, however, will to be able to open the gate if their powers are combined. [23]

After journeying across the world to get the spirits, meeting the other two members of the party, thwarting the invasion attempts of Nevarl and Altena, discovering the powers of the Fire and Water Mana Stones, and learning the disappearance of the Mana Stone of Darkness along the way, the main character tries to open the gate to the Sanctuary of Mana with the spirits' assistance. [24] The first attempt fails, but the second succeeds; the Faerie realizes that it was opened because someone else released the power from all the Mana Stones. [25] The characters travel into the Sanctuary and the main character claims the Mana Sword. It is then discovered that the main character's adversaries—the Crimson Wizard and the Darkshine Knight for Angela and Duran; Jagan and Isabella for Riesz and Hawkeye; or the Deathjester and a mind-controlled Heath, for Kevin and Charlotte—have defeated the other two sets of primary enemies. The remaining adversaries capture the Faerie and will only release her in exchange for the Mana Sword. The trade is made, and once the enemy receives the Sword, the Mana Stones shatter and the Benevodons are released. [26]

The characters must then defeat the Benevodons before they can gather and destroy the world. However, after doing this they realize killing the Benevodons has given more power to their main enemy, who their personal enemies were working for—the Dragon Lord for Duran and Angela, the Dark Prince for Hawkeye and Riesz, and the Masked Mage for Kevin and Charlotte. [27] The already powerful villain absorbs the power of the Sword of Mana and the Benevodons in order to become a god, but is halted by the Mana Goddess blocking some of its power. [28] After defeating the villain's minions, the characters go and defeat their main enemy, but are unable to stop him from destroying the Mana Tree and eliminating all Mana from the world. [29] The Faerie then fuses with what is left of the Mana Tree; she will be reborn as the Mana Goddess in a thousand years, but until then Mana will not exist in the world. As the game ends, the characters go back to their homelands. [30]

Development

Game director Hiromichi Tanaka in 2007 HiromichiTanaka20070131.jpg
Game director Hiromichi Tanaka in 2007

Seiken Densetsu 3 was designed by series creator Koichi Ishii. The game was directed by Hiromichi Tanaka and produced by Tetsuhisa Tsuruzono. [31] Tanaka had previously worked on several titles for Square, including as a designer on the first three Final Fantasy titles. Manga and anime artist Nobuteru Yūki was responsible for the character concept artwork, based on designs by Ishii. [31] Yūki's artwork for the game can be found in the Nobuteru Yuki Seiken Densetsu Illustration Book. [32]

During the game's development and after its release in Japan on September 30, 1995, Seiken Densetsu 3 became known abroad as Secret of Mana 2, [33] [34] [35] though a preview in Next Generation in August 1995 called it by its correct name, despite still stating it to be a sequel to Secret of Mana. [3] The preview noted the six characters, calendar system, and a game world "three to four times" the size of the previous game, though it also reported that the game would be playable by three players, not two. [3] Square stated in a 1995 issue of its North American newsletter that they planned to release the game during the second half of the year. [36] A second preview in Next Generation in February 1996, calling the game Secret of Mana 2, stated that the game's North American release had been canceled by Square's American branch due to programming bugs that they deemed impossible to fix in a timely manner. [37]

Before 2019, Seiken Densetsu 3 was not released outside Japan. Retro Gamer stated in 2011 that localizing the game for North America or Europe "would have cost a fortune", and that the rise of the competing PlayStation and Sega Saturn consoles diminished the benefits of spending so much on a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) game. [38] Nintendo Power , a few months after Seiken Densetsu 3 was released in Japan, said that the probability of a North American release for the game was low due to issues of "a technical nature" and that it would have been far too costly to produce at the time. [39] This is further supported by Brian Fehdrau, lead programmer for Square's contemporary game Secret of Evermore , who mentioned that Seiken Densetsu 3 had some software bugs, hindering its likelihood of being certified for release by Nintendo of America without extensive work. [40]

There was an apparent misconception among video game fans that the SNES title Secret of Evermore was released in lieu of an English language version of Seiken Densetsu 3 in 1995. [41] [42] Secret of Evermore was developed by a new team at Square's office in Redmond, Washington called Square Soft. According to Fehdrau, no one who worked on the Evermore project would have been involved in a translation of Seiken Densetsu 3; the Redmond team was specifically hired to create Evermore. [40] In 2000, a fan translation project for Seiken Densetsu 3 led by Neill Corlett was successfully completed and made available on the internet as an unofficial patch, which could be applied to ROMs of the game when played with an emulator or played on a Super NES console with a development kit or backup device. [43] A port for the Nintendo Switch was released with ports of Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana as part of the Seiken Densetsu Collection on June 1, 2017 in Japan. [44] The collection was released in June 2019 in North America as Collection of Mana with Seiken Densetsu 3 titled Trials of Mana. [45] That same day, a remake of the game under that title was announced for worldwide release for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows computers in early 2020. [46]

Music

Composer Hiroki Kikuta in 2011 Hiroki Kikuta @ MAGFest 9 (crop).jpg
Composer Hiroki Kikuta in 2011
Seiken Densetsu 3 Original Sound Version
Soundtrack album by
Hiroki Kikuta
ReleasedAugust 25, 1995
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length3:19:21
Label NTT Publishing/Square

The score for Seiken Densetsu 3 was composed by Hiroki Kikuta, who had previously composed the music for Secret of Mana as his first video game score. [47] Kikuta performed the sound selection, editing, effect design, and data encoding himself. Just as he did for Secret of Mana, Kikuta spent nearly 24 hours a day in his office, alternating between composing and editing to create a soundtrack that would be, according to him, "immersive" and "three-dimensional". [48] Similarly, rather than use premade MIDI samples of instruments like most game music composers of the time, Kikuta made his own MIDI samples that matched the hardware capabilities of the Super Famicom so that he would know exactly how the pieces would sound on the system's hardware instead of having to deal with audio hardware differences between the original MIDI sampler and the SNES. [49] The soundtrack's music has been described by Freddie W. of RPGFan as "bouncy, energetic, flowing, and serene", and is noted for its use of piano and drums. [50] [51] He further called it a "more refined and matured" version of the Secret of Mana soundtrack. [50]

The 1995 soundtrack album Seiken Densetsu 3 Original Sound Version collects 60 tracks of music from Seiken Densetsu 3. It was published by NTT Publishing, and republished by Square Enix in 2004. [52] The main theme from Secret of Mana, "Angel's Fear", is also featured in Seiken Densetsu 3 as a part of "Where Angels Fear to Tread". [51] In addition to the original soundtrack album, an arranged album of music from Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3 was produced in 1993 as Secret of Mana+. The music in the album was all composed and arranged by Kikuta. Secret of Mana+ contains a single track, titled "Secret of Mana", that incorporates themes from the music of both Secret of Mana and Seiken Densetsu 3, which was still under development at the time. [53] The style of the album has been described by critics as "experimental", using "strange sounds" such as waterfalls, bird calls, cell phone sounds, and "typing" sounds. [54] Secret of Mana+ was originally published by NTT Publishing/Square, and was reprinted by NTT Publishing in 1995 and 2004. [54]

The track "Meridian Child" from the original soundtrack was performed by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra for the fifth Orchestral Game Concert in 1996. [55] "Meridian Child" was again performed on February 6, 2011, when the Eminence Symphony Orchestra played a concert in Tokyo as part of the Game Music Laboratory concert series as a tribute to the music of Kenji Ito and Hiroki Kikuta. [56] One of the companion books of sheet music for the Mana series, the first edition of Seiken Densetsu Best Collection Piano Solo Sheet Music, included pieces from Seiken Densetsu 3, rewritten by Asako Niwa as beginning to intermediate level piano solos, though intended to sound like the originals. [57]

Reception

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
1UP.com B– [41]
Famitsu 31 / 40 [58]
GameFan 95% [59]
Jeuxvideo.com 17 / 20 [4]
Nintendo Life Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [1]
Cubed39 / 10 [6]
RPGamer8 / 10 [5]
SuperGamePower4.2 / 5 [60]

Due to its Japanese exclusivity, most of the English-language reviews for Seiken Densetsu 3 were published years after the initial release. One contemporary English-language review was in 1995 in GameFan , which covered import games, and rated the game highly. [59] The Japanese Famitsu review also rated the game highly, though slightly lower than Secret of Mana. [58] [61] The Brazilian SuperGamePower magazine also gave it a positive contemporary review, noting it as having some of the best graphics of any game on the SNES. [60] Critics have also rated the game highly in retrospective reviews, published mostly after the release of the fan translation patch in 2000. The graphics were praised; a review from 1UP.com called the game "absolutely gorgeous", which they attributed to its position towards the end of the era of 2D SNES games, but before developers tried to start working with prerendered 3D graphics. [41] A review by Chris Parsons of RPGamer agreed, terming the graphics "awesome" and positively comparing some of the effects to PlayStation RPGs, which the Cubed3 review by Adam Riley did as well. [5] [6] A preview by Next Generation written after the release of the game in Japan stated that the detailed graphics "puts just about every other recent 32-bit RPG to shame", while the review by Corbie Dillard of Nintendo Life also noted the game as one of the best graphically on the SNES and called out the unique visual styles of each area in the game as of particular note. [1] [37] The game's music was also generally praised; Nintendo Life's Dillard called it "spectacular from start to finish", while Cubed3's Riley said it was "one of the most sonically pleasing out of the whole SNES lifetime" and RPGamer's Parsons said that "a wonderful job was done in the composition of the music". [1] [5] [6] The Next Generation preview praised both the quality of the soundtrack and the musical continuity from the Secret of Mana soundtrack. [37]

The gameplay was highly rated by most reviewers, though the combat system had detractors. Dillard of Nintendo Life felt that the gameplay was as good as that of Secret of Mana and it had "a much more strategic feel to it". [1] The 1UP.com and Cubed3 reviews also brought up the day and time system as interesting additions, though the 1UP.com reviewer felt that the combat was not "quite as tight" as in Secret of Mana. [6] [41] The Next Generation preview, while acknowledging that several flaws in the Secret of Mana combat system had been corrected and praising the boss battles, felt that the computer-controlled characters showed no sense of tactics, resulting in a free-for-all. [37] A review by JeuxVideo.com also noted several improvements in the combat system over the prior game, but felt that battles could turn into a chaotic mass of attacks and numbers. [4] Parsons of RPGamer also called out the Ring system as being flawed, as he found it frustrating that the menu could not be brought up while a character was performing an action, making boss battles hectic and difficult. [5] The JeuxVideo.com reviewer also took issue with this restriction. [4]

The plot received mixed reviews; while several reviewers praised the system of choosing different main characters, especially its effect on replayability, Cubed3's Riley felt that it meant that the story "can be quite confusing". [6] Parsons noted that the interactions with the characters that were not chosen often left plot holes, as their motivations were not explained. [5] The Famitsu review praised the replayability of the branching narrative. [58] The Next Generation preview, while praising the multiple storylines as an innovation in the genre, felt that it had been attached to a "magic-and-monsters fantasy-formula" plot. [37] The 1UP.com reviewer agreed, saying that the plot was not "too terribly engaging", suffering from clichés and flat characters. [41]

Overall, the game is regarded by many as a SNES classic; Nintendo Life's Dillard stated that it was "easily one of the best RPGs to come out of the 16-bit era", while the 1UP.com reviewer said that if it had been officially translated into English it "very likely would have become a fondly remembered classic". [1] [41]

Notes

  1. Japanese:聖剣伝説(せいけんでんせつ)3 ? , lit. The Legend of the Sacred Sword 3
  2. Character names are taken from the official English release in the Collection of Mana, which differ from the Corlett fansub translation
  3. Japanese:アンジェラ Hepburn:Anjera ?
  4. Japanese:デュラン Hepburn:Dyuran ?
  5. Japanese:ホークアイ Hepburn:Hōkuai ?
  6. Japanese:リース Hepburn:Rīsu ?
  7. Japanese:ケヴィン Hepburn:Kevin ?
  8. Japanese:シャルロット Hepburn:Sharurotto ?

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References

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