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Enjoyable old-school adventuring
Secret of Mana and Zelda are a couple of the greatest old-school RPGs ever made and while this third entry in a massively popular series of Japanese games might not be quite up to these standards, it remains a solid effort. The epic storyline revolves the coming Death Eclipse, a time which only one chosen individual will survive, with everyone else perishing. However, no one knows if this lone survivor will be a holy man or a demon who will either bring peace back to the land, or devastate it further. Against this backdrop of confusion, a group of eight characters find their own personal tales being interwoven as the player controls each of them at various points of the game. In true RPG fashion, you've got heaps of quest to embark on as well as monsters to slay and treasure to find, with combat playing out in turn-based tactical style and with plenty of upgrades and customisation to be explored. This is certainly an ambitious game and one which will appeal to lovers of retro, 16-bit era games, thanks to its epic quest, imaginative setting and well-realised characters. The quests are nicely varied and provide some interesting tasks which are well-balanced in terms of challenge, while the game also scores highly for its visuals, with lots of well designed environments that are quite striking and which are supported by some pleasant and atmospheric tunes and effects. There are a few nice touches with things like the combat mechanics and the sheer oddness of some of the characters and which help to raise this from being overly familiar to something which is well worth spending some time with. It's not a classic but if you like you RPGs old-school, it makes for a good ride.