The times they are a changin.’
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Secret of Mana, the colorful and dynamic Super Nintendo RPG that remains near and dear to many an old-school JRPG fans’s hearts.
Though the original title received an enhanced port for iOS in 2010 and Android in 2014, publisher Square Enix decided to reintroduce the game to old and new players alike with a proper remake for PC, PS4, and Vita – one that remains faithful to its roots while adding a few changes to make it more accessible to modern gamers. Below is a quick roundup of some of the biggest changes not found in the original SNES title. It’s out February 15.
The 2D sprites and 16-bit graphics from the original have been swapped out for 3D models, giving the game a more modern look and feel.
If you’ve ever wondered what the the three intrepid heroes of Secret of Mana sound like, wonder no more. Thanks to the addition of fully-voiced dialogue, you can now hear Randi, Poipoi, and Primm talk about their adventures in English or Japanese. Even NPCs have found their voice.
Newly Arranged Score
Whenever anyone mentions Secret of Mana, it’s a sure bet they’ll bring up its breathtaking soundtrack. You can still listen to the original score if you’re feeling nostalgic, but now you have the option of listening to entirely new arrangements of beloved classics like “Fear of the Heavens” and “Into the Thick of It.”
The convenient menu rings are back, but now you can assign weapons, items, or magic to the L and R buttons on the PS4, which makes changing tactics on the fly much easier. Or, you can just stick with your handy Mana Sword. Take that, pesky Rabites!
More AI Options
The AI settings for your travelling companions were pretty limited back in the day. Now, however, you have a few more options: you can either have your companions attack the same enemy as the character you’re controlling, or have them target different enemies surrounding you. You can also have your buddies power up their attacks while you’re on the offensive.
Long ago, the only way to save your game was to find a merchant located in random areas or stay at an inn. Now a handy auto-save spares you the pain of having to retrace your steps if you and your friends unexpectedly kick the bucket during an encounter with werewolves who know kung-fu.
If you somehow missed a little wooden sign telling you where to go, it was pretty easy to get turned around in Secret of Mana. In the remake, fans now have access to a mini map, which makes it easier to get your bearings.
If you pre-order the Secret of Mana remake on PS4 and Vita, you’ll get special DLC costumes and PSN avatars. (Pre-ordering on Steam will grant you access to special costumes and custom downloadable wallpaper.) This was definitely not a feature back in 1993.
Meghan Sullivan is IGN’s foremost JRPG expert. Talk JRPGs and WWE with her on Twitter at @Meghan_IGN.