Sword of Mana Review

Sword of Mana is perhaps one of the most enthralling games and definitely one of the best RPGs for Nintendo's Gameboy Advance. Though perhaps not as good as its predecessors, it is highly addictive and has everything for a nearly perfect RPG.

You begin by choosing a male or female character, but unlike most games, which gender chosen is very important. It determines the course of the game, which areas you go to, which bosses you fight, and not only that, you get partnered up with whomever you did not choose relatively often.

Additionally, weapons and spirits work out differently from most RPGs. Typically, there is some sort of elemental aspect that determines damage. This exists in SoM's spirits, but it also exists in the weaponry, though not by element.

However, there are so many bad guys, who all look very similar, that after killing a half-dozen of them off, you still don't know who is the real evil behind everything. And they all have evil-sounding names, even though most of them tend to fall under the "good, but misguided" category (i.e. Medusa, Devius, Dark Lord), so they're hard to differentiate.

Overall, this game takes together a bunch of good ideas and makes them work together relatively well. Real time battling is always great, but the addition of freedom in escaping makes it even better. Taking away the necessity of buying the latest weapons was a great idea, supplemented with the additions of being about to temper/forge, weapon shuffling, weapon leveling, and winning every weapon from battle.

The ring menu is great for the GBA, as shuffling is easy with the L and R buttons. Magic also takes an interesting turn, with spirits, upgrading, spirit leveling, one button casting, and spirit shuffling. Most of all, the plot is well developed enough to be captivating without being an overload of dates, names, and information. All this combine to be an easy to use, but still challenging RPG.

7 / 10

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