Sword of Mana Hands-On

We play Square's handheld remake of Final Fantasy Adventure.

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We got to play through the first few minutes of Sword of Mana at Square Enix's E3 booth. The game is a Game Boy Advance-based remake of the first Seiken Densetsu, which was released in English on the original Game Boy as Final Fantasy Adventure. Longtime Square fans will remember that Seiken Densetsu 2 was released on the Super NES in English as Secret of Mana, and it seems that Sword of Mana is being patterned in gameplay mechanics and visuals after that popular game.

At its heart, Sword of Mana is a Zelda-like overhead action RPG. You'll have a basic sword combo attack and other special abilities that you can also use during or between battles to achieve various effects. The one ability we saw was sleep, which let you lie down in the grass and slowly recover hit points. Like in Secret of Mana, we quickly gained an ally in the form of a young traveling girl. The game uses AI to control characters helping you, and you can set preferences related to how you want these characters to behave. Sword of Mana also uses the wheel menus seen in Secret of Mana, which will surely take old fans back.

The visuals in Sword of Mana consist of good, solid RPG-style sprites and tiled backgrounds. The game looks more or less like many Square games on the SNES, and this coupled with the fact that the game is a remake evokes a lot of nostalgia. We're looking forward to playing more of Sword of Mana, and we'll tell you about it when we do.

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