When I was but a wee child, I looked forward to summer vacation as much as any kid; but instead of running around in the hot sun like a normal child, I sat in front of my television all summer, controller in hand, conquering every Playstation game that sat on the shelves of Family Video. The hot summer sun was for losers as far as my younger self was concerned, I was much more content sitting in my air-conditioned room saving various worlds with nothing but the touch of a button.
I am an old-school gamer — I’m all about the nostalgia — and out of every console I grew up with, the titles on the original Playstation were by far my favorite. With rumors of a new Sony console on the horizon, I felt it best to mention a few of the titles that hooked me right from the start, ultimately launching me head-first into the world of gaming. A majority of these have not been given the praise I feel they so rightfully deserve, hence why every so often, I’m going to introduce you to some of what I consider to be the best Playstation games to ever hit the market.
Today, I’m going to tell you about Legend of Mana; an epic RPG where you are entrusted with complete control over almost every aspect of this game – ranging from which gender your hero should be to building the entire world itself as you see fit.
Legend of Mana
IGN’s rating: 8.3 out of 10
This game is set in the universe of Fa’Diel. You, the player, have been tasked with the tedious responsibility of restoring the Mana Tree (essentially, the source of all life and Mana in the world) to its former glory. In order to do so, you must reintroduce the concept of love to those who have forgotten it by budding into everyone’s personal lives and resolving their issues for them, because, evidently, they are not smart enough to do it themselves.
Restoring the Mana Tree requires you to complete one of the game’s 3 main plot lines by collecting items known as ‘artifacts’ and placing them on a map of your choosing so that they may permit you access to the locations they represent. There are 26 different artifacts, meaning you have 26 different locations to explore and conquer. Some are mere towns where you can chat with the locals and buy materials for forging and tempering your weapons, while others are run by monsters that you must annihilate in a real-time battle system.
The first central storyline is about a race known as the Jumi. They are a dying clan of humanoids recognizable by the jewels embedded in their chests (dubbed their ‘cores’). A Jumi is essentially immortal unless their core is scratched, damaged, or removed, and can only be repaired by ‘Tears of Healing’. Throughout the ages, Jumi’s were sought after and slaughtered by ‘Jewel Hunters’ aiming to create jewelry from their beautiful cores. As the hero, you accidentally discover the few remaining members of this race and inevitably are chosen to be the one to save them from extinction, even if doing so means possibly sacrificing your own existence. This is, by far, my favorite plot line; it is choc full of bosses you must strategically defeat as well as compelling character development from all parties involved – including the bad guys.