To a certain type of player, Legend of Mana is likely to be considered the perfect remaster. It touches up the visuals, but not too much. It makes quality-of-life changes, but preserves the original design and difficulty – warts and all. Some may find that preservation detrimental, with this twenty year-old game showing its age – but it does also make this the new definitive way to experience a classic.
Game Builder Garage seems to want to showcase just what it’s like to make a game, albeit in a simpler way. It’s sometimes challenging to the point of being headache-inducing. It is unrelentingly complicated. When it clicks, however, it’s fun, magical, and incredibly rewarding.
Taken alone, any one slice of the game – like a single house, the village itself, even the way combat handles – has its issues. But combined, it merges into something that’s still special – even if it isn’t quite as brilliant as Resident Evil 7 or 2 Remake. It’s an easy recommendation – though if you didn’t back in 2017, you might want to play RE7 first.
If you’re the sort of player who got really mad about the national Pokedex in Sword & Shield, you might also bemoan the level of content here. But I think this is plenty, delivering far more than the original and with a whole lot of replay value – it’s just a shame the developers felt the need to stretch it out artificially to justify what they’ve managed to build.
While the backtracking remains, it feels much less painful this time around thanks to it being part of a game with smooth performance that’s ultimately much more fun to actually play. The game is considerably improved as a result, and much of what made the original quietly special can now shine far more brightly. It might not be perfect, but within this slightly flawed framework beats the heart of an absolute masterpiece. Those who fell in love with Nier through Automata should go into this with a clear expectation that this is not that game – but if they do, they’ll find much to love.
A-Train: All Aboard! Tourism won’t be for everyone. That’s not just because it’s part of a niche genre – it’s also because of the way it’s structured and the time commitment to truly get into it and dig deep into the ‘good stuff’. It never quite goes off the rails, but sometimes you’ll wish the journey could be a little quicker – and not everyone will be able to stick it out. If you manage that – and more fervent fans of transport sims should be able to do that – there’s a bit of a hidden gem here.
Everything that made that original game special, and ultimately a cult classic, is faithfully and lovingly reproduced here. It’s a safe reimagining, but simply on merit of all the small modernizing touches, which add up to a lot, it’s also pretty clearly a better game than the original – and considering how much I loved that game, that’s no small feat. I can see many more hours in my lair ahead – and with potential updates and DLC down the line to address some issues, true world domination could still be ahead.
I’m not sure I’m yet at the point where I’ll be able to play Ghosts ‘n Goblins with the proficiency that so wowed me to witness as a child. But playing it always gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling that’s entirely at odds with the fiendishly challenging, unforgiving nature of Knight Arthur’s adventure. It’s an all-time classic, and seeing such a game resurrected so lovingly on new platforms is always welcome.