Children of Mana
Review by TenRyu572
"Mash A. Rest. Mash A more."
The Mana series is an interesting one. Spawned from a gaiden to Final Fantasy, it soon grew into a dungeon crawler, and some good games came out of the series. Children of Mana is one of those games that you like for the first day, and then you realize all the annoying little things.
The story of Children of Mana plays out fairly well, but some parts require you have knowledge of the past games, and in all, a game like this doesn't need an elaborate story. The one thing I have a problem with in the story is the way you revisit levels. Time and space distort to put you back before you beat the boss the first time, but the seemigly random distortions put you back at the same place every time. It's a little strange that you can control when the distortions come, too.
They're not bad at all. The backgrounds are well detailed, and the enemies have a pretty wide range of movement. And trust me, you'll be seeing enough of all the movements for the recolors of enemies. Your four characters look good, but you will get tired of thier animations very quickly. NPCs, and the elemental spirits are well done. All in all, good graphics, bad animations.
This is where things start to fall apart. CoM uses all the buttons of the DS; the directional pad is for movement, A and X are set to one weapon each (out of four possible weapons), Y is a healing item, and B is magic. Now, with 4 weapons and 16 spells, 2 to each elemental, it would seem like a lot of diversity. It partly is, but then again isn't. But it is. Um... Basically, I remember getting the flail after the sword, trying it out, then going back to the sword. The same thing goes for the bow, and the hammer. I tried all 8 offensive spells, and found my sword more effective. I tried the support spells, and found them useless. Everything eventually pales in comparison to the 3-hit combo of the sword. Not good.
You'll see the repeated backgrounds, coupled with recolor enemies, and your 3-hit combo animation OVER AND OVER, until you finally pray for the game to end. I actually found it possible to play this game and hold an actual conversation at the same time. It's that mindless. Mash A. Mash A. Mash A. And you'll need to battle alot. Items cost way too much, I remember being almost cleaned out after buying 3 gems and a new sword. You'll need to fight for money and leveling up. Items are unusable until you reach a certain level, and enemies come in swarms. I mean swarms literally. They'll jump you from all directions, and you'll need to take each out quickly. If two words (well, one word and a term) describe this game, they're "grind" and "ad nauseum".
After listening to that annoying ditty in the main town, I turned my volume off, so nothing to report.
Children of Mana's difficulty comes from the hordes of enemies attacking you. However, if you level up far enough and equip gems to power up your sword, you'll tear through it like it's a kids game. Either very easy or very hard, once again, not good.
There are 4 characters, but the story is basically the same for each. I couldn't think of a reason you'd want to grind even more, so low.
Children of Mana isn't a bad game. It has nice backgrounds, an alright story, and is fun for an hour or two. Then the grind, grind sets in, and it just drags on. If you like to grind through levels that are literally the same, then go for this game. If you play in short spurts (like I wasn't smart enough to do), then go. But don't play for extended periods of time.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 12/19/06
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