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Trials of Mana

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1Trials of Mana  Empty Trials of Mana on Fri May 01, 2020 1:45 am


When I first played the demo I didn't like it that much but after doing some more research and learning about that each character has multiple class upgrade paths, it's definitely sounding better. I'm going to try the demo again and use this topic to post any mechanics videos I come across.

For starters, this video goes over the class upgrade paths. It doesn't show them, but the the guy explains them well enough.

2Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sat May 02, 2020 12:49 am


Another class video. Some different info in this one.

3Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sun May 03, 2020 4:45 pm


So, I've only played the demo (which is a fair bit, goes up to Full Metal Hugger) and I have a lot to say as someone who's played the original Trials of Mana (AKA Seiken Densetsu 3).

Long story short it's a completely different game than the original, and I strongly suggest anyone interested to try the original out (it's part of the Collection of Mana on Switch, came out in the west for the first time not too long before the remake). While the plot's the same the gameplay couldn't be any more different.

As a bit of background, The Mana series was Square's first foray into Action RPGs. Their approach to the genre is different from most companies- mostly because they were some of the first Action RPGs ever. Since they predate Tales of Phantasia, the game to introduce combos and beat 'em up/fighting game elements to Action RPGs, before that point most games in the genre took after Zelda and Ys (a game that's older than Zelda IIRC).

Basically, Mana was more of a "Real Time RPG" than an Action game with RPG elements like most people would expect. Or you could say it's half Action half RPG, rather than a mix.

So for the original Trials of Mana (which I'll refer to by the shorthand Trials SNES) it was a top down action game. There were no combos whatsoever- it kind of translated "turn based" to real time. Each attack you do has a short cooldown, during which you're free to move, reposition and dodge. Once it's done you may attack again. Might sound cumbersome, but it was heavily improved off the first two games (Final Fantasy Adventure was the first, and Secret of Mana the second) and honestly feels really smooth. Enemy and boss design is built around it, they don't exactly have their own combos, and you can knock them down and away with different attacks.

Difference 1: The remake does not use this system at all. There's no cooldown system and you can freely cancel out of attacks with a dedicated dodge mechanic (original had none, just movement. Instead you have basic combo strings with little to no endlag.

Even though I love, love fast paced action games and would hate for things to slow down, I prefer the cooldown system. It's just more unique, there's not really anything else like it, it makes a fun rhythm when you get it down... and the remake's combo system doesn't really feel anything special. Not very weighty.

In addition to that there's a meter that fills up as you land hits, and when full you can unleash a combat art.

There's also the Ring Menu which you can use to use items and cast spells at any point.

Enemies of course have their own spells and arts...

Difference 2: Enemy Arts and spells function completely differently now. In the original, enemy arts and spells would freeze time and are guaranteed to hit their target. In the remake, there is no time freeze and instead there's a red aoe indicator letting you know where the attack will hit to dodge it.

This is the real point of contention. A casual player might say the remake's better because you can finally dodge attacks instead of being forced to take a hit. But we're not casual players, are we? We can look at the design of things with more nuance.

The truth is it all goes back to how they designed the mix of Action and RPG. As I said it was *half* action and *half* RPG. The way the Action parts work is obvious, you dodge attacks, aim your own, use the right moves at the right time... but the RPG part, that's not just the stats and levels. That extends to the combat design. Think to turn based RPGs- if an enemy attacks you, you *will* get hit. There's no option to dodge it. Maybe a random chance to, but it's always so low you feel lucky when it happens. You go into fights knowing you'll take a few hits.

In an RPG, your HP is not a "mistake meter", it is a resource. Manage it by knowing when to heal and how to minimize how much you take.

That's the design Square took into the Mana games, including Trials SNES. Enemies have many real time attacks you can dodge for the action game, but also guaranteed attacks you *have* to take. You're expected to manage your HP like an RPG. The way this plays out is clever, the better you are at the Action part (by dodging attacks and killing efficiently), the more leeway you have into how your HP is managed for the guaranteed damage you'll take.

This is removed entirely by the remake. Now every attack is dodgeable. Purely from an action game lens this might be fine, but I lament the loss of a unique mix of Action and RPG...

It also tips the balance in the player's favor. From the little I've played, I've gleamed that even though enemy arts and spells have been changed to be dodgeable, the player's are still time freeze moves that are guaranteed to hit. In the original game, even if you didn't realize the point of the design was to make you manage your HP, it still felt balanced that the player had access to the same guarantee hit moves the enemy does. Now it's only the player that has it, tipping the balance a bit. In fact... in the original, the player's level 1 art was NOT a guaranteed hit, playing out in real time, and only later level arts had the time freeze. In the remake, even the level 1 art is like that. They knew what they were doing.

And then there's the obvious differences that come with making a top down game into 3D...

Long story short, the remake of Trials of Mana is less unique than the original, which was an incomparable game. The changes just make it more in line with standard Action RPGs.

However I'm fine with this change. When Square remade Secret of Mana and kept that game exactly as unique as the original was, many people derided it (and acted as if it was somehow worse than the original when it really was the same game, just in 3D and more plot). A sad truth is that modern audiences may not be all that open to an action RPG that lacks combos and forces you to take damage, regardless of how well designed around those mechanics it is. And Trials of Mana SNES came out in the west, for the first time, less than a year before the remake, so even if we ignore the above reason, they're wise to make some change so it doesn't feel like the same game twice. At the end of the day, the remake is intentionally a game that will not replace the original, since they put a lot of work into giving the west the original as well, and both can be experienced by modern players to judge.

But there's one change I find unforgiveable...

Difference 3: There's no multiplayer. Secret of Mana and Trials of Mana were both co-op RPGs. Secret's remake retained the co-op aspect. The remake of Trials, for whatever reason, ditched this aspect. Co-op RPGs are hard to come by so it's sad that the remake didn't grace us with another one.

That's enough about the differences though. Here's what I can say about the base mechanics.

As stated before, enemy attacks are all dodgeable, there's a dedicated dodge mechanic, arts and spells have aoe indicators for the enemy but are guaranteed damage for you, and combos are fast with no endlag.

There's also a "soft lock" mechanic that causes your attacks and dodges to go towards the nearest enemy when you're not pressing the control stick. This is most likely just to make it easier to hit enemies in full 3D, but this aspect is the thing that got me interested in playing the remake more even though I know I'll like the original, because I like to do "no left stick" challenge runs in games where I know it's possible, and boy is it possible here. Probably won't matter to a normal player though. In fact, I did a no movement of full metal hugger in the demo...

Movesets are definitely expanded to accommodate 3D. There's running attacks, anti-airs, charge attacks and more abilities to unlock as you go through and reclass. You can also switch control of your character on the fly, so people who like to control an entire party have something to look forward to.

This is all things I've gleamed from the demo alone. I'll give the full game a deep dive when I finish the other RPGs I'm currently playing, lol.

4Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sun May 03, 2020 10:27 pm


I don't like cooldowns.

HP as a resource is fine. I love Chocobo Mystery Dungeon and you have to be hit in that, so you really need to worry about your item load out, abilities, and position on the battlefield.

End of the day, this Trials is a buy for me as it is an action RPG with good build variety.

5Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sat May 09, 2020 12:18 am


Since I won't be getting this until the 15th, I have some questions on Secret of Mana PS4.

I had my eye on this last year but totally forgot about it. Looks fun so I might grab it soon. I see you can equip any weapon to any character and I'm immediately drawn to the bow, especially since there are a few that inflict confusion.

Is there any weapon customization? Like can you combine or add attributes to other weapons/armor?

6Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sat May 16, 2020 4:05 am


Secret of Mana unfortunately does not have any sort of robust customization. Rather than getting multiple weapons of the same kind, there's one of each (so you can't have more than one bow user.) they can be upgraded to be more powerful and also unlock new charge moves, and each new set of spells has buffs that can be applied to each weapon, but that's it.

7Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sat May 16, 2020 9:48 am


I'll be happy if I can shoot confusion arrows all day.

8Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:32 am


Started Trials of Mana.

Disappointed that there's no immediate ranged combat. I went with Angela because she's a caster but not only does she start with nothing, the first spell I got uses too much MP to use more than 4 times at present.

I choose her because I read up on what she gets later.
My secondary character is Charlotte because I read she can summon monsters later. Third character is that thief guy. Forgot his name. I just wanted his poison ability. Some abilities can be used by others so I equipped poison to Angela which has a 30% chance to inflict with each heavy attack.

Can't do much more than melee poison and a holy bolt here and there right now. Can't wait to get to class changing.

9Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Mon Jul 06, 2020 7:16 am


Charlotte's summoning isn't even really summoning. I was hoping the monsters would stay on the field by they act more like assists which makes them no different from a spell. Guess I'll build her towards healing then.

Looks like status magic is down Angela's dark path so I'll go with that.

10Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:37 am



Shit's opening up a bit. So far I've been playing almost 100% melee as a caster ffs.

Got to the first mana stone which serve as class change points, but they're level and story capped. I won't be able to get access to the next tier of classes until the second stone and level 38. Thankfully, my next quest is one of two dungeons with mana stones.

Ok, here's what I got with Angela.
I chose her light path class solely because of MP Saver. This drops costs by 30%. Then I got another ability called Bless which offers a chance that a spell won't use MP. Enigma makes enemies ignore you most of the time. Stealth basically. Last I have Victory MP boost which grants 2 MP upon killing an enemy.

Wish I had more slots but won't be able to get more until the next mana stone. I tried another set up that used a chain ability that gave 1% health every 5 seconds and skill that used 30% HP as MP cost. With these low level spells that only cost 4, 5 and 8 MP (with MP saver) this was nothing. Had to drop Victory MP though. The idea was to cut MP cost further while making up for the HP loss but every 5 seconds I'd only get 3 HP back. Once I get more slots I'll add this to the others.

Now I can fire weak spells, which is all I have, almost all the time. I often get the free spell to trigger, and MP restoring items are cheap and I have full stock. It's only going to get better.

Charlotte has stuff related to healing. Got Heal all and Twinkle Star which removes abnormal status. Close Call heals more when an ally is low on HP.

Hawkeye has Toxin. This gives a 30% chance to inflict poison when using heavy attacks. This is what's called a chain ability which means other characters can use it. I originally gave it to Angela but once I realized she was useless until later I started playing as Hawkeye to get stuff done faster.

Now I have an ability that does more damage to an enemy inflicted by negative status. Got two ranged special moves with the class change. Arrow rain and spike trap. They're no different from spells. The game sort of makes them sound like they're mechanically different. Like the spike trap sounds like a trap you set, but it's just magic spikes that appear under the enemy no matter where they are.

Going to rush these next dungeons.

11Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:35 am


Now that I have MP save 1&2, my current spells barely use MP. Together I get 70% off the cost. Bless makes them free sometimes.

Burn status is weird. Functions like blind and def down. Your view gets obstructed by smoke coming off the character and you take more damage from enemy attacks. It doesn't do any damage itself.

Freeze turns you into a snowman and you can't move. Pretty simple.

Poison is also the usual. Just ticks every few seconds.

Form change is really cool. It changes enemies into these little plant looking monsters that are level 1 and die instantly. Downside is the money and exp match the level.

12Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:34 pm


Would you say it’s worth picking up? I’ve been eyeing it.

13Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:24 pm


Hard to say. So far it's been worth it for me but that's just me.

Do you have any specific questions that would influence your decision?

14Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:53 am


Beat the final boss. Doing post game stuff now. Another dungeon has opened up where you'll find all the toughest enemies and best item seed drops.

You can also get 4th classes in post game after doing a quest for each character. Points and class can be reset to zero for all your experimentation needs.

I now have tons of MP saving/regenerative abilities that conservation is meaningless. I do lose damage though. I could focus on magic attack power and criticals. Might look into that. Not sure is it's better than being able to infinitely cast whatever I want.

Today I plan to reset Angela's class and points and look at her dark classes because those have negative statuses like petrification.

My set up with Hawkeye is no good for bosses since they usually can't be put to sleep or poisoned. He has good attack power though but the AI will keep trying to do stuff that won't work.

With a skill called Enigma, enemies will barely take notice of you. I've been lobbing spells from the side lines the entire game and barely any enemy or boss has targeted me. It happens but if you take off this skill you'll see how much more it happens and how harder it is to cast.

15Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:27 am


Hahaha I can't believe it.

Just beat the super boss, which wasn't really hard though I got beat down because I'd just changed my class to one that has a lot of statuses but none of them worked. This boss seemed resistant to everything though.

Anyway this boss gives you a chain ability that let's you cast for free. Infinite magic. I don't need to set up anything now.

Beat the post game dungeon and boss. No challenge whatsoever. However, after beating the boss you can fight her again with restrictions. If you beat the times you get goodies but no idea what they are yet.

The dark classes have all the negative statuses for Angela while her light side gets all the elemental nukes. Dark has few though.

Dark has all the elements covered but they work differently and inflict a negative status. For example earth magic from her light class is your standard rocks flying out of the ground, where in dark, earth creates an area a fog that hits 3 times with earth damage and also causes petrify.

Dark path Blazing Wall inflicts burn, wind inflicts silence, and ice inflicts freeze. She also gets an instant death spell where scythes  pop out of the ground. So far this has worked on every enemy that isn't dark element.

All of these are based on a percentage. They work pretty much all the time though, and they still cause damage even if the effects don't trigger. I did just get a chain ability that when equipped, boosts the party's chance to inflict by 30%.

This class is great for enemies but not so great on bosses. It doesn't get Lucent Beam which the strongest holy attack. Still managed to beat the post game stuff with it but doubt I'll be able to beat the time trials unless I switch.

16Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:50 pm


@Birdman wrote:Hard to say. So far it's been worth it for me but that's just me.

Do you have any specific questions that would influence your decision?

I’m curious to know just how much different characters/classes play, and how much the game really leans into the action side of things rather than RPG stuff, and if it does it well. I picked up Ys 8 after hearing a lot about how good of an action game it was and it didn’t do it for me.

Also are there difficulty settings? Sounds like you cleared things pretty easily.

17Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:56 pm


There's hard mode and it's a joke.

I've only played Angela and Hawkeye but there wasn't that much difference. Classes are more upgrades than actual classes.

Take Angela. She will always be a caster. The light and dark upgrades just change some of the spells/skills she gets. In light I see abilities that boost criticals and has elemental nukes. In dark she has magic that inflicts statuses, more dark magic and some abilities that use HP of herself or allies to boost magic attack power.

There is some room for modification because each character has what's called chain abilities and once you learn these you can equip them to any character. Like Hawkeye's Toxic ability has a high chance to inflict poison on a heavy attack. This is a chain ability so you could equip it to someone like Duran the big sword guy since you'll be using melee slot with him.

Chains can also be found from NPCs so there tends up being quite a bit to mess around with. I'm currently working on how to get them all through multiple NG+ runs.

So each character has a role with room for customizing. Team composition comes into it as well.

The RPG stuff is pretty simple. Level up to 99, equip stuff that raises stats. Every level up also gives training points and you use these to power up your skills.

Equipment is weird. You buy from shops but the best stuff comes from item seeds. Monsters drop them then you plant them in the box and they'll give you a random item. You have normal, silver, gold, and rainbow. They are pretty easy to farm though. I got 99 rainbow seeds easily in the post game dungeon and got all the best equipment for my team with ease. Although the results of planting are slightly rng, you only get stuff for the class you're using. I got a the same stuff a few times but with 40 seeds I got everything I needed.

There's really not much grinding. I'm level 95 beat the game and I'm only around 20 hours.

>action side
What do you mean exactly? I played that Ys but didn't like it. Not sure if for the same reason as you.

18Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:11 am


The post game boss has 3 time trials. 6 mins, 4 mins, and 2 mins. Did all of them in around 30 seconds each. Absolute joke.

Saw a video of someone doing it in 18 seconds. I might see if I can beat that but I know exactly how they did it and it's easy as it gets. Just have Angela with a certain set up and two others with certain abilities that boost magic or lower enemy magic defense. There could be some semblance of fun in trying to figure out how to push the damage higher.

I'm on NG+ now with characters I didn't use before to get their endings. I've kept Angela because I have no interest in the playstyles of the others. I've already got my money's worth out her as a debilitation mage but the toughest area in a joke so enemies are dead before you can blink.

I don't like how when you get into a fight you're limited to a small area.

Changing class is a nightmare and completely discouraging. What an awful system. First, you could only do it at mana stones but they are spread all over that world. There's no fast travel. Later they all get destroyed and you can only change at the Sanctuary of Mana, but you have to run through it.

To change class after tier 2, you need these stupid class items. You only get them from ??? seeds. Like equipment, only the ones related to your current party will be produced, but even then you could just get the same ones.

This is truly retarded. And there's like 5 loading screens just to switch. What kind of people sign off on this? The game is riddled with loading actually even though the graphics are basic and the areas small. Sometimes the backgrounds and characters don't fully render briefly. This cutscene that started with some queen talking up close did this. Her face didn't fully load and for a second she had this creepy mask like face.

19Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:19 am


Second playthrough. NG+ gives 3 new chains depending on who you used last time. You also get a bonus chain that grants 300% more exp.

20Trials of Mana  Empty Re: Trials of Mana on Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:40 am


Done with this. Did everything and got the platinum trophy.

Some notes on what I don't like:

There is zero difficulty. ZERO. Even from the start on hard. Not that every game has to be super hard. Okami is my favorite game and is pretty easy outside of no upgrade. No upgrade is possible here but Trials is a level up action RPG where you'd have no attack power or skills to make it even remotely fun and you'd be sitting there playing melee just whacking stuff for 30 mins. No thanks.

Battle area is limited in encounters. Not much space outside of boss areas.

Statuses are good but wind up useless because everything dies so fast.

Some enemies, increasing late game, have this barrier you have to break first. They don't take hit stun until it's gone. They can be inflicted with poison. Not sure about others.

No way to play solo. This would have made the game much more interesting. Even if you get you characters killed which is near impossible after a while, they get auto revived after battle.

Loading times are shit even on Pro. Switching classes requires 3 screens with loading. Testing builds is a nightmare.

Will let my brother borrow and then sell it.

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