×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Trials Of Mana Remake Release Date, Characters, Multiplayer And Gameplay

The '90s birthed many classic JRPGs that people still talk about today. Games like Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy 6 constantly make the rounds whenever people discuss the genre. The iconic Final Fantasy 7 is so popular the Square Enix will release a ground-up remake of it in early 2020.

However, no one in the West really talks about Trials of Mana, and it's understandable why. The game never officially released outside of Japan. Generally speaking, the Mana series as a whole doesn't have a big footprint in the West. Furthermore, the lackluster Secret of Mana remake didn't help things, either.

Well, it looks like Square Enix is trying to change public perception as it breathes new life into the Mana series. The upcoming remake of Seiken Densetsu 3, or Trials of Mana, looks to take the series to new heights, all while helping more Westerners get excited over one of the longest-running Japanese franchises.

If you're interested in picking up a new JRPG next year, stick around while we tell you everything you'll need to know about the Trials of Mana remake.

Trials of Mana's release date

Square Enix revealed that Trials of Mana would launch on April 24, 2020. It will come out on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam, leaving the Xbox One out in the cold. No special editions of the game are planned at the time of writing.

Relatively speaking, the first half of 2020 is a competitive time frame for game releases. Just a week before Trials of Mana launches, CD Projekt Red will drop the long-awaited Cyberpunk 2077. Meanwhile, Marvel's Avengers assembles on May 15.

The Soulsborne title Nioh 2 is slated for early 2020. Additionally, Genshin Impact, which looks a lot like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, aims for a spring 2020 launch. Minecraft: Dungeons also looks to launch in spring 2020, and if it's even a quarter as successful as Minecraft, it could have a huge playerbase. Long story short, Square Enix will have a lot of competition as it releases Trials of Mana.

Trials of Mana's trailers

Square Enix has a few trailers out for Trials of Mana. The first one was at E3 2019, and another one launched ahead of Tokyo Game Show. The TGS trailer showcased the English dub, which sounds pretty solid. We get to see each of the six main characters in action, and major villains like the Crimson Wizard, Belladonna, and Goremand make special guest appearances.

We also get a glimpse of the class-changing system, complete with an animation for Angela. Afterward, we're treated to a montage of in-game combat, including a menagerie of boss fights and a series of special attacks. Overall, it presents a holistic picture of what Trials of Mana is all about.

The E3 trailer feels more like a condensed version of the TGS trailer. It also shows off the six main characters, with cutscenes that provide a little bit of insight into their stories. We also get some clips of combat and world exploration. This trailer differs, however, in its use of the Japanese voice acting. When players get Trials of Mana, they can choose between English or Japanese audio.

A quick primer on the Mana series

For those who are unfamiliar, the Mana series is a long-running JRPG franchise known as Seiken Densetsu in Japan. It failed to garner the outreach of Square Enix's other major series, like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. Funnily enough, the Mana series started as a spinoff of Final Fantasy; the first one was called Final Fantasy Adventure. Afterward, Secret of Mana came out, which is one of the more well known titles in the franchise.

These games shed the turn-based combat of Final Fantasy and opted for real time action. However, they kept the anthology approach to storytelling, meaning the games aren't direct sequels to one another. They still share common elements though, like recurring musical themes or enemies.

Recently, the series has been in a bit of trouble. None of the recent games have reached the same critical heights as Secret of Mana. Even the remake of that classic title didn't make waves, as it was met with lukewarm sentiments. With Trials of Mana, Square Enix looks to remake Seiken Densetsu 3, hoping to thrust the series into a new spotlight.

The story in Trials of Mana

In the original Trials of Mana, the Goddess of Mana fought eight powerful monsters called Benevodons. She used the power of the Sword of Mana to defeat them, and afterward, she sealed them away, locking them into eight Mana Stones. With peace returned, she set out to rebuild the world so others could prosper. As her final act, she turned into the Mana Tree and fell asleep for years.

Now, three major factions look to reawaken the eight Benevodons, harnessing their power to take over the world. All the while, the Mana Tree has started to die, and the mana in the world is disappearing with it. It's up to you and your party of heroes to save the world from imminent destruction.

Granted, this story was already told in the original Seiken Densetsu 3, so if you really want to know how it goes, you could pick up Collection of Mana and play it right now. However, it's worth noting that Square Enix plans to change up the story a little bit in this remake. It'll remain faithful to the basic structure, but certain ideas will be expanded.

The evil factions in Trials of Mana

Trials of Mana features three major evil factions. All of them appear in the story, but your choice in main character determines who the main villains are. Each faction has multiple villains attached to them, but the main leaders are the Dragon Lord, the Masked Mage, and the Dark Majesty. All three of them have their own reasons for wanting to release the Benevodons, none of which are good. To see the entire story, you'll need to replay the game at least two more times.

The six protagonists are divided into three pairs, and each pair is linked to an enemy faction. For example, if you want to fight the Masked Mage, pick Kevin or Charlotte as your main character. Having both, though, leads to more interactions.

This remake could change or expand what we see from all these factions. The TGS trailer for Trials of Mana gives us a taste of some of the major players of each faction. For example, we see the Crimson Wizard, who works under the Dragon Lord. Goremand also makes an appearance, and he serves the Masked Mage. Belladonna appears as well, representing the Dark Majesty faction.

Duran and Angela

When you start a new game in Trials of Mana, you'll have to pick your main character and two companions. Unlike other JRPGs, these three characters will comprise your party all the way to the end. If you're interested in fighting the Dragon Lord and, by extension, the Crimson Wizard, pick Duran or Angela as your main character. Both of these protagonists are somewhat at odds with one another, but both still oppose the Dragon Lord.

Duran is a hot-headed swordsman in Valsena, and he loses both of his parents at a young age. He becomes a guard at the castle, but he fails to protect it against the Crimson Wizard. After tasting defeat, Duran vows to become a skilled swordsman and ends up in Wendel.

Angela, on the other hand, is the only princess of Altena, a kingdom that experiences perpetual spring. In order to maintain that magical climate, the Crimson Wizard tells the queen to invade other empires for their Mana Stones, including Valsena. To use all that power, the queen decides she must sacrifice Angela. The princess runs away, seeking advice in Wendel.

Hawkeye and Riesz

If fighting the Dark Majesty piques your interest, choose Hawkeye or Riesz as your main character. The other two party members can be whoever you want, but having both on your team will provide more insight to the story.

Hawkeye works as a thief in a noble guild based in Nevarl, a sandy kingdom. His guild leader, Flamekhan, suddenly becomes much more aggressive, and Hawkeye learns that Belladonna has been pulling strings behind the scenes. She organizes an attack on the kingdom of Laurent, starting a war on the guild's behalf. The evil witch then curses Jessica, one of Hawkeye's close friends. If he tries to kill Belladonna or reveal the truth, the curse will kill Jessica. He now searches for a way to break that curse, starting in Wendel.

Meanwhile, Riesz is the princess of Laurent. She lost her mother after her younger brother, Elliott, was born. At some point, an attack on Laurent organized by Belladonna causes the kingdom to fall. In the battle, she loses her father, and Elliott is kidnapped. Lost and traumatized, Riesz turns to the Priest of Light in Wendel for advice.

Kevin and Charlotte

If fighting the Masked Mage intrigues you, make sure you slot Kevin or Charlotte in as your main character. Both of them were wronged by Goremand, the evil illusionist who works for the Masked Mage.

Kevin is a beastman, born to a beastly father and human mother. He never felt at home with his fellow beastmen or the humans, especially since humans have persecuted the beastmen for years now. However, he found a friend in a wolf pup named Karl. Unfortunately, his father, king of the beastmen, plans to attack the human city of Wendel for revenge. This bloodthirst was spurred on by Goremand, who proved his magical powers to the king by making Kevin kill Karl. After the traumatic experience, Kevin leaves home and heads to Wendel.

Charlotte, who already lives in Wendel, shares a similarly tragic story. She lost her parents at a young age, but a cleric named Heath became a father figure to her. One day, Heath investigates a disturbance near the village. Charlotte gets a premonition, worrying for her father figure's life. When she finds Heath, she sees him being kidnapped by Goremand. She sets off to rescue Heath.

The Collection of Mana introduces the original

Trials of Mana is still a relatively new concept in the West, despite having been released in 1995 in Japan. The game never made it beyond Japan's borders in an official capacity, but Square Enix and Nintendo changed that in June 2019. During Nintendo's E3 press conference, the companies dropped the Collection of Mana, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

This title collects the first three Mana games into one package, all for $39.99. That includes Final Fantasy Adventure, the acclaimed Secret of Mana, and the unexpected Trials of Mana. All three games are available in English, German, and French, with Trials of Mana also getting a Spanish translation.

If you want to see what the original Seiken Densetsu 3 was like, you can pick up the Collection of Mana and play it ahead of the remake's release. If that's not enough, you still have the other two Mana games to keep you busy.

Is there multiplayer in Trials of Mana?

Fans of the old-school titles will know that the Mana series supported couch co-op play. You could pop the game in, sit next to a friend, and whack evil monsters together. Surely, it'd make sense that this Trials of Mana remake would include such a prominent feature, right?

Well, if the multiplayer is one of the main reasons you're interested, you're in for some disappointment. Producer Masaru Oyamada told Game Informer in an interview that the Trials of Mana remake will not support any form of multiplayer. Instead, the development team wants "to focus on the single player part of the game, so you won't be going through this one with your friends."

Of course, if you're in need of a multiplayer experience, the Collection of Mana offers multiplayer support. In it, Secret of Mana supports up to three players, while Trials of Mana accommodates two players. For those who want the high-definition graphics, though, you'll have to journey into the remake solo.

Trials of Mana features real-time combat

For those who never played a Mana game, these titles opt for real-time action combat over turn-based fights. Every time you press the attack button, your character will swing their sword or swipe their claws. You can switch between the characters in your party at the touch of a button, so you always have three distinct weapons and skill sets at your disposal.

For this remake, Oyamada and his team added a few new mechanics to the combat to modernize it. For example, the original Seiken Densetsu 3 didn't allow players to jump or use evasive maneuvers. Now, players can jump and dodge roll, with more precision too, considering the new third-person perspective. This also means bosses have been revamped to challenge players' evasive abilities. For example, some bosses have a shockwave-like attack that requires players to jump instead of dodge roll.

Every character also comes equipped with special attacks, which come in the form of canned animations. These powerful moves all act differently, but they can turn the tide of a battle when used correctly.

The buzz around Trials of Mana

So far, critics have generally praised the early builds of Trials of Mana that they played. Kotaku's Chris Kohler saw it at E3 2019, and he describes it more like a new title that just happens to be based on an older game. For all intents and purposes though, he sees it as a brand new entry in the series, and he sounds excited for it: "Trials of Mana isn't 'new,' but it is clearly an attempt to update the Mana formula for the modern day. Who knows, maybe it'll even paint the path forward for the series and lead to a truly new episode."

Meanwhile, Gillen McAllister from Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe says that Trials of Mana feels familiar. He said he felt nostalgic, even though he never played the game before. He spoke with Oyamada, who claimed that change is a necessary part of the Mana formula. "With that philosophy in mind, it's only fitting that Mana's return is under a new guise," McAllister writes. "And from what I've played so far, it's a story whose newer embellishments make it worth revisiting. Even if it's for the first time."