Secret of Mana HD
Top Critic Average
The Secret of Mana Remake is an overpriced and carelessly implemented remaster of a timeless classic with a terrible art style and soundtrack selection. If you wanna enjoy the best version of this classic, get a SNES Classic Mini.
Review in German | Read full review
The magic of Secret of Mana seems to have faded during its transition to HD assets. Beyond a graphical upgrade that will certainly not please everyone, it is especially the old rhythm of the combat and lack of difficulty that make the adventure much more bland than the original. If you played the original, I would advise not to tarnish your memories with this so-called upgrade.
When breaking down a product such as this remake it's important to look at the game through the lens of the two different audiences. If you're an established fan then this remake is a mixed bag, it refines and improves the game in some ways, but is a backwards step in others. If you're new, then you're a small purchase away from experiencing one of the truly great JRPGs of all time, not carrying the baggage that others bring with them.
A bewildering assortment of bad updates and very few good ones makes this an unnecessary and disappointing remake of a beloved SNES classic
Looking to remake a classic like Secret of Mana was certainly a tall task, with Square Enix succeeding in some ways and disappointing in others. While overhauling too much might have seemed blasphemous, the lack of any real non-superficial changes gives you less reason to play this remake of Secret of Mana versus just pulling out the original and playing it instead, even if this is a solid remake overall.
While largely entrenched in the past with few mechanical changes, the Secret of Mana remake contains new audiovisual elements that are inconsistent yet enjoyable. With its added dialogue, new voices, and arranged music, the remake is a serviceable if somewhat dated take on a classic title.
Those attempting to play for the first time are going to be dealing with the archaic systems on top of a presentation that feels more like a mobile port than a full-fledged console release. On the other hand, returning players will probably find themselves disappointed with the remixed soundtrack and lack of any work done to polish the rough edges. Nostalgic gamers should just stick to the SNES original, newcomers really don’t even need to bother.
Secret of Mana has a lot of good ideas that are neutered by the shocking abundance of technical issues and bugs that make this remake almost unplayable. Though the visuals and sound are fantastic, those who want to experience this classic are much better off playing the original game.
Ultimately, Secret of Mana is a letdown that the series doesn’t deserve, and nor does its fans. The remake has lost some of the charm that made the original have such a cult following since 1993, due to its bland transition into 3D and certain gameplay mishaps. The experience isn’t entirely for naught, but it’s sure to rub some fans the wrong way. For newcomers, it’s best to steer clear and stick with the classic version, especially for the steep asking price of $39.99. Perhaps it’s best to keep the remake a secret and pretend it didn’t happen.
This isn’t a bad remake, per se. The game functions without crashing, and it’s a close approximation of what the original Secret of Mana had on offer. The problem is that in recreating the game, Square Enix forgot what the point of a remake is. Very little in this remake can have a serious claim to being “better” than the original, and in some cases, it’s arguably worse. Once the nostalgia wears off for returning players, your enjoyment with it will go downhill fairly quickly. It’s also hard to recommend to anyone that hasn’t played Secret of Mana before since there isn’t anything noteworthy you would get out of this version that you couldn’t experience in the original.