Square Enix last August announced plans to remake Secret of Mana, arguably one of the best role-playing games ever released for the Super Nintendo. On Thursday, the refreshed game launched on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and on the PC via Steam priced at $39.99.
Classic remakes can be hit-or-miss. Based on early reviews, it seems Square Enix did more harm than good this time around. Despite revamped visuals, a rearranged soundtrack, new narrative scenes that provide additional insight into the Mana-filled world and the inclusion of modern features like shortcuts, auto-saves and improved AI controls, the remake misses the mark time and time again.
As Jason Schreier from Kotaku recounts, he recruited his fiancee for some local co-op yet after a few minutes, she turned to him and said, “This is boring.” Schreier realized to his dismay that she was right.
Jeremy Parish with Polygon notes that remakes should ideally strip away a game’s outdated or broken elements while doubling down on its strengths. Instead, Secret of Mana’s remake manages to emphasize the parts of the original game that didn’t quite work while “leeching all joy from the parts that did.”
Meghan Sullivan from IGN sums it up in the first two sentences: “You know what this Secret of Mana HD remaster makes me want most? A full Secret of Mana remake.”
Should you be interested in giving the remake a whirl, you can pick up a physical copy exclusively at GameStop (EB Games in Canada) or via Steam for the PC.