What You Need to Know About Secret of Mana

Square Enix has just announced that it will be bringing a remake of the 1993 action RPG Secret of Mana out on February 15, 2018. It's huge news for role-playing game enthusiasts, especially since it's being remade in 3D, but what is Secret of Mana and why's it so important? Is it worth playing?

Lucky for you, as always, we’ve got the answers to your burning questions. So when you’re chatting about classic Square games and this remake inevitably comes up, you’ll know exactly what you’re talking about, or at the very least if you want to pony up for the remake or not. Spoiler alert: You’re definitely going to want to.

What kind of remake is Secret of Mana getting?

Secret of Mana, the original SNES game, will be given high-definition 3D graphics, talking events, voiceovers, and plenty more polish to bring it into the modern age. It's also supposed to ensure it keeps the same kind of charm the original had even as it implements improvements to gameplay and new arrangements for its musical score. It will be released digitally worldwide on February 15 for PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PC.

It looks like it's going to retain its signature colorful style, though it'll obviously be reworked for modern systems, and it's even getting a special edition in Japan. Don't get your hopes up for it to come here, unfortunately.

What is Secret of Mana, anyway?

Secret of Mana is actually not the game’s original name. It’s actually called Seiken Densetsu 2, and it’s the sequel to a 1991 game called Seiken Densetsu. The Seiken Densetsu series’ title translates roughly to “Legend of the Sacred Sword,” and all of the games within the franchise are action role-playing titles. Created by Koichi Ishii and featuring development from Square, the series in itself is now owned by Square Enix.

Wondering why you’ve never heard of Seiken Densetsu or Seiken Densetsu 2, though? That’s because the original Seiken Densetsu was released in North America as Final Fantasy Adventure, or Seiken Densetsu: Final Fantasy Gaiden in Japan. It came out for the Game Boy in 1991, but found a North American re-release in 1998.

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The Secret of Mana you likely know or have heard of is the aforementioned sequel to the original Seiken Densetsu, and the first of the Seiken Densetsu series to actually be marketed as the Mana series instead of the Final Fantasy series, which these Densetsu titles were spun off into.

It can get pretty confusing, but those are the basic building blocks to understanding the games and their naming conventions. Just remember the first Seiken Densetsu is Final Fantasy Adventure, and Seiken Densetsu 2 is Secret of Mana. Of course there are other games, and remakes, and re-releases, but that’s enough to get you started.

Why should I care about Secret of Mana?

Well, that’s an easy one. It’s an excellent role-playing game, for one, releasing to nearly universally positive praise from critics upon its debut. More than that, however, it’s a gorgeous and colorful adventure with fantastic combat and characters that you’ll remember long after finishing the game. Following heroes Randi, Primm and Popoi (or whatever you’d like to name them), it takes place in a fantasy world where an energy source known as mana powers much of the modern world’s convenience — at least it did, until a great calamity fell upon the world. It’s up you to gather eight Mana Seeds, which need to be “unsealed” before mana can be restored to the world and everything can be like it was again. That’s the story in a nutshell, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

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The top-down perspective and real-time combat make for some engaging scenes that not only force you to combat enemies when you see them instead of running away all the time with random battles but challenge you. There are tons of weapons and skills to learn in addition to magic, and an especially gorgeous set of destinations to travel to. Along with a moving soundtrack and graphics that really pushed the SNES to its limits, Secret of Mana is considered a masterpiece by some, and it’s generally held in high regard. If you’re an RPG fanatic and you haven’t played it, well, you should consider remedying that.