The good: Fun characters, varied combat
The Bad: Quests not very linked to story
The main story of the game is easily depicted in the cut scene as you start the game, there was a magical tree of some sort that held a big power of magic, and due to…something (most likely people screwing it up) it was burnt to the ground. Some war then ensued to try and control the few remnants of this power that remained. The power disappeared and people went on with their lives. Now sometime…after that, a series of events take place that bring about the revival of the mana tree and the awful power of mana. Whether or not the events that are taking place have any relevance to the tree is under my speculation.
What I’m saying is that the various missions you have to do to bring back the mana tree aren’t really connected to it at all. Most missions consist of you helping people with their problems in various locations. The people you meet in this world are very interesting and varied, you may meet some pirate penguins, a con artist merchant rabbit, a gullible teapot man…thing and way way more.
The main character is sort of a silent protagonist, offering no dialogue save for some choices you can make to influence some missions. Usually nothing more than yes or no, or him or her. Despite being a silent person when not bold facedly asked a question most of the general populace with a name will attempt to ask for your help. Which makes me think the character is a person who doesn’t really like people, but is a bit too much of a pushover to say no when asked. Then again half of the missions you decide it’s your business to meddle in affairs. So maybe the character is a pleaser, or determined to make people shut up.
Let’s talk about the missions a little more, since that’s how the story is pulled out. I’m not sure how the mana tree is brought back out of completing a certain number of missions, they don’t have to be beaten in any particular order, and most of the missions don’t have to be done to beat the game. The missions seem arbitrary and scattered, not making any sense in the grand scheme of the plot’s point. And you need a damn stragedy guide to complete some of the side characters full stories.
This game does something I wish more rpg’s would, you can equip multiple types of weapons ranging from swords to hammers to staves and even bows. You also get techniques based on what weapon and skills you have equipped. You start with basic skills, jump, spin, charge, but by combining skills you can get new ones. For example if you equip crouch and jump you’ll get hi-jump.
Battles start by non random encounters where you vary fast and heavy attack, and if you’re feeling sassy you’ll throw in some skills and techs. Another thing I like about the combat is the ability to have a second person pilot the secondary characters, though you can’t change their equipment or skills you can still level them up. You can also have pets that you catch to fight alongside you. There’s this whole side thing about catching monster eggs and raising them and feeding them, though once you get the ability to make robots to fight with you the pets seem a little useless. You can also forge and augment armor and weapons with a blacksmith shop next to your house. Oh I forgot to mention, you can use magic through magical musical equipment, I’d like to see the main character duke it out with link in an ocarina competition.
Being on the Ps1 the graphics don’t really need their own section. They aren’t pretty but aren’t really that ugly. It’s bearable and somehow emotionally satisfying to see the old style graphics.
Quite lacking in the sound department, I mean sure the background music fits and all but it would be just as good listening to favorite songs seeing if what you do matches the music. And for me it did pretty well oddly enough.
Well overall this game is quite fun, which is important. You’ll find yourself excited to see what quests await you in new areas, and what interesting characters are involved in it.