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If you are looking for a unique RPG to spend some time with on the go, then Heroes of Mana is right up your alley. So in the beginning, I asked if this game could stand up to its many past iterations, and I say definitely yes. It is a rock solid RPG with several vital and well balanced RTS elements.
The World of Mana series has come under fire from many sectors due to none of the new games being anything like Secret of Mana or Seiken Densetsu 3. However, as with Children of Mana, Heroes of Mana shows that a change is as good as a rest. Brownie Brown has created a very workable RTS experience on the DS that is far more welcoming to newcomers than other games in this genre. Be sure to give this your full attention...
Though “Heroes of Mana” is only one of a handful of titles looking to give players their real-time strategy fix, this game is the first that truly does it with style. It’s easy to pick up and play for RTS veterans and first timers will be shown how to play at a good pace. This is one game that belongs in any DS owner’s library and gets a high recommendation.
Seiken Densetsu: Heroes of Mana is a fun new experience in the Mana series but sadly, bad AI and path finding really drags down the gameplay. As a so called RTS, there isnt much strategy to it because for the most part of the game, its a straight forward process of producing one type of fighting units and then ramming them into your enemies while your Charisma heroes do the rest. Nevertheless, the excellent presentation helps make up for its flaws.
The presentation is great, the fully-animated sequences are simply beautiful, the music is captivating (not as much as something like Final Fantasy, but still pretty impressive), and for the most part the gameplay is intuitive and downright fun. For anyone willing to put up with a few annoyances Heroes of Mana delivers a great pocket RTS experience plain and simple, and with a deep story, diverse cast of characters, and a pretty remarkable amount of depth it's a no-brainer for strategy fanatics. It isn't the franchise you remember from over a decade ago, but Heroes of Mana proves one very important element of Koichi Ishii's philosophy: The gameplay may change, but the soul remains.
It was a novel try, but Heroes of Mana fails to pull me in with anything but its story and art. Which is enough to keep me going, but not enough to keep me from begrudging it. Only try it if you are a hardcore fan, or if you are willing to master an inefficient and frustrating control system.
This game is the next part of the Mana series, unusually combined with real time strategy mechanics. For the most part, it executed well as both a Mana series game and also an RTS. To have this style of game on a handheld like the DS is unexplored territory and is quite remarkable. However, those looking for an RPG are left out in the dark. The Mana series is a spin-off of the Final Fantasy series, but this game seems like a spin-off of the Mana series also. A phrase I use a lot in real life is "it delivers what it promises," and this game certainly does that and then some. It may not be quite what I wanted (a Mana RPG), but for what it is (a spin-off RTS), it is very good.
Issues aside, Heroes of Mana delivers a surprisingly deep RTS experience in a portable format, with easy to learn controls and lovely visuals. I can’t help wishing it had been turned-based, though; it would’ve kept the action manageable no matter what the skill level of the player might be. As it is, those experienced with real time strategy titles will find it to be solid and deep, offering challenging gameplay in a refreshingly different style than their usual RTS fare, but anyone else may find the game’s fast action too overwhelming and frustrating.
Honestly, hardcore RTS fans probably won't enjoy Heroes of Mana's simplified design. And fans of more traditional RPGs probably won't appreciate its chaotic, large-scale engagements, either. Taken for what it is, though, Heroes is an enjoyable little excursion, with enough Mana elements to lend welcome charm and familiarity to its curious approach to strategy gaming. If this is the last we ever see of Mana -- which it might well be, given the way Mana games are selling these days -- at least the series goes out on a positive note.
Heroes of Mana shows that it is possible to have an RTS game work on the Nintendo DS and remain fun. The main problem with this game is the dumb AI and very slow-paced gameplay. Hopefully the developers will give this game another shot as if they can fix these things, they will have a sure-fire hit on their hands.
Anger management and other problems aside, Brownie Brown manages to pull off a solid real-time strategy experience on the DS that does get a lot of things right. The game has an excellent storyline, spanning a lengthy quest set in the Mana realm, and up to 40 bonus maps can be unlocked. You can also go head-to-head in local wireless matches against opponents, but each player's strength is limited by how far they've progressed in the single-player campaign. The Wi-Fi capability is disappointing, as it only allows you to rank your progress against other players instead of battling it out with them. Heroes of Mana is far from perfect, yet it's bound to easily win over new players and Mana fans alike.
De todas formas, el juego sigue siendo recomendable tanto si te gusta la saga como si eres fan de este género, ya que divierte, que realmente es lo necesario.
With the Mana franchise and the DS's hardware, Square had a great shot at making Heroes of Mana the next cult SRPG classic. Sadly, what we got is basically "SRPGs for Dummies." Given the nature of the DS and Nintendo's love of non-gamer friendly games, maybe that's a good thing. If you're a hardcore gamer and like some challenge, though, you may want to pass this up. Whether you like this or not, however, there's no denying this game will pave the way for future DS SRPGs.
But is the beauty of the game enough to counter the path-finding issues dogging Heroes of Mana? The reality is that, probably for all but the totally fanatical strategy gamer, this will be a disappointing experience. Those with the patience to personally direct their units up and down hill and over vale, however, will certainly be compensated by the great control method, the depth of strategy, and numerous gameplay options.
As is common with games from Square Enix, the story of Heroes of Mana (while maybe not terribly original) is surprisingly deep and emotionally engaging. While that doesn't completely make up for the tragic pacing of the game or the substandard AI, it at least provides something to motivate the long-suffering Mana fan. Suffice it to say, unless you count yourself among the devoted Mana-ites, you'll probably want to skip Heroes of Mana.
Overall, Heroes of Mana is a nice enough diversion, but it's hard to see what Square Enix was trying to do with this title. RPG fans will obviously disdain it for its RTS skewed focus while RTS fans will turn their noses up at the lack of strategy necessary and idiotic unit AI. And both parties will be turned off by the limitations of the DS' screen size. It's a hard title to recommend to anyone but the most ardent Mana 'verse fanatic.
Additional development time really would've gone a long way into improving Heroes of Mana. Aside from the aforementioned AI issues, the overall pacing and frame rate needs work. Addressing these elements of the game would have improved it immensely and really have emphasized the big genre change. Instead, we're left with another title that's pretty much what we expect from Mana these days - an average game (irrespective of the genre change) that's nothing compared to series' heyday.
Kann man klassische Echtzeit-Strategie inklusive Basisbau und Rohstoffernte unterhaltsam auf dem DS inszenieren? Vielleicht ist das mal möglich. Aber Square Enix scheitert daran. Weder die epische Story mit ihrem Beziehungsgeflecht noch die edle Menüführung können darüber hinweg täuschen, dass es auf dem Schlachtfeld hinten und vorne nicht passt. Man kann sich zwar mit Geduld und Konzentration durchkämpfen. Man kann sich auch an so mancher Spezialattacke erfreuen, seine Helden aufrüsten, Magie nutzen und sich vom Konflikt der Reiche durchaus unterhalten lassen. Aber im Jahr 2007 und auf einem System wie dem DS muss einfach mehr möglich sein als Einheitenbabysitting ohne Steuerungskomfort: Gebt mir mehr Befehlsgewalt, mehr Karteninteraktion, mehr Formationsverhalten und weniger Chaos! Ich hätte für mehr Möglichkeiten in der Spielmechanik gerne auf die Story mit all ihren hübsch inszenierten, aber belanglosen Dialogen verzichtet.
Heroes of Mana does have its moments, but they are few are far between. These moments, however, are surrounded by fatally flawed gameplay decisions that make you wonder whether the designers here had ever played a full-on RTS, or maybe they were just relying on the Mana name and the good memories of us Secret of Mana players to push the sales of this along. The result is a very average RTS that only just scrapes average due to the Square elements. And so the wait goes on for the next great Mana game.
You may occasionally find yourself enjoying Heroes of Mana in spite of its shortcomings. At the very least, it confirms that RTS works on the DS. Sadly, vital aspects of its strategy gameplay are deeply flawed, which leaves you wondering what could have been if these major issues had been corrected. It's a step in the right direction, but it's a tiny, tiny step.
Although the game has major flaws, they can be worked around if given time, patience, and hard work. The biggest problem with Heroes of Mana is that it is confused with what it wants to be: it's an epic story sold short and a simple RTS made painfully difficult. Unfortunately, Heroes of Mana fails to break the dreaded curse. The powers of Mana continue to wane, leaving the future of the series in a very bleak position.
The Mana games have always featured real-time combat, but in Heroes of Mana the typical action-RPG combat is replaced with real-time strategy. You control a band of heroes charged with saving the world in a story that unfolds in seemingly incessant cutscenes that constantly interrupt the flow of the underlying strategy game. The implementation of the real-time strategy elements are the only redeeming elements - selecting multiple units or enemies with simple stylus movements will feel instantly comfortable for fans of genre games on the PC. Unfortunately it is not enough to carry the game, as enemies are indistinct and battles never get terribly exciting. We can only hope that Square uses this combat system as a template to build an exciting and engaging real-time strategy game in the future.
These problems are, of course, all sugar coated by Square-Enix's fantastic presentation and artwork. Menus are slick and easy to navigate, sprites and environments are rich and colourful, and the anime cutscenes add yet more sheen and class to the package. But despite all of the positives, the game underneath, for all its features and ideas, remains a broken one, thus continuing the Mana series legacy of being a series that tries its hand at new things to get noticed, but one which fails to match up to the brilliance of its forefather.
Even if you consider yourself a fan of the series, don’t waste your time here. There was a time when the Mana name meant something, but this is a disappointing entry that drags the franchise through the mud.
In the end, Heroes of Mana does a fair amount of things right, but the core elements that would make the game playable are simply sloppily issued and broken. I had some fun with the game, don't get me wrong, but more often than not I was cursing my way through a given mission and that's never a good sign. I'd love to say that this is the Mana game that most of us have been waiting for, but I'd be lying if I did and Heroes of Mana ends up as simply another mediocre title in the Mana chain, which is a shame considering how well thought out some aspects of the game truly were.
When all is said and done, Heroes of Mana is a very average game. Square Enix should take the quality interface and build off that to produce a much more enjoyable experience.
Let this game serve as a warning to Square Enix: we don't want an RTS for the Mana series. And even if we did, we would only want it if the game wasn't broken from start to finish. I have a lot of respect for developer Brownie Brown as well, and I hope they also learned a lesson from this failed experiment: stick to what you know, and refine that process until your market is saturated. Then, and only then, is the risk of making a potentially horrible game worthwhile. Heroes of Mana is a scar on an otherwise decent series. Let's hope this never happens again.
En définitive, le joueur qui aime ce genre d’univers riches et colorés passera quelques bons moments sur Heroes of Mana. Bien qu’il ne soit pas exempt de reproches, le jeu propose une histoire agréable à suivre ainsi que des batailles intéressantes et stratégiques malgré les travers de l’Intelligence Artificielle.
Avec son gameplay de RTS pur et dur, enrichi par des éléments issus du RPG nippon, Heroes of Mana proposait des bases de jeu tout à fait solides et prometteuses. Le titre de Brownie Brown pouvait en outre compter sur un background forcément attirant, une histoire mature et intéressante et une réalisation très travaillée. Tous les ingrédients étaient donc réunis. Hélas, le jeu se retrouve tout simplement poignardé par une I.A. trop souvent à la ramasse qui rend les troupes pas fichues d'obéir convenablement aux ordres et aussi efficaces que des moutons trépanés. Le constat est aussi terrible que triste, mais Heroes of Mana se retrouve vraiment handicapé par ses défauts et l'on ne peut que constater les dégâts au final. Il restera donc une simple curiosité pour les fans de la série ou/et les amateurs de stratégie, alors qu'il aurait pu espérer bien plus.
However, regardless of your thoughts on the graphics, story and features this game has, the plain simple fact is that, as a game, Heroes of Mana stumbles. With troops that are as likely as not to ignore your commands, and lacking a large and ready supply of information, the “Strategy” in this “Real-Time Strategy” game is exceedingly limp. And while it might be briefly amusing to watch your rabites and mushbooms wander around hoping to blunder into whatever task you’ve set for them, it’s not nearly as amusing as a good game.
Nevertheless, the frustration just isn’t worth it. If Brownie Brown can take this game and add some real freedom of movement to it, then they’ll have something worth digging into. Sadly, for now, they’ve just made some more grist for the angry Mana fan’s mill.
Heroes of Mana feels like Dawn of Mana, take two. It's gorgeous and somewhat interesting, but undermined by basic flaws in its ability to let players see what's going on. Here's hoping there's no take three in the works.
Heroes of Mana is taking steps to rectify the mess that has become the World of Mana. There are a lot of good things to like here, for instance the story, and the overall design behind battle, but there are some nagging issues like the character pathing and balance that keep this from being a winning title. The Wi-fi multiplayer is some fun stuff if you have a friend with a copy so be sure to give it a shot. Otherwise, give this one a rental.