PS4 Secret of Mana

Last updated: March 1, 2023

PS4 Secret of Mana

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We looked at the top Fantasy Games and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Fantasy Game you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 97 expert reviews, the PS4 Secret of Mana placed 6th when we looked at the top 6 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Originally released in 1993 and widely regarded as one of the greatest RPGs of all time, Secret of Mana invites players on an action-packed adventure taking on the role Randi, along with his two companions, Prim and Popoi, as they battle a treacherous empire to reclaim the magical power of Mana and bring the world back to order. Embark on an action-packed, worldwide adventure in the 3D remastered version of Secret of Mana. Take on the role of Randi, a young boy tasked with reviving the magical power of Mana. In order to defeat the forces of evil, Randi, Prim and Popoi must befriend the eight elementals who hold the power that comprises Mana. The legacy of Mana returns as the brave warriors set forth to bring balance back to the world.

Expert Reviews

What experts liked

This new version keeps with the original theme of vibrant graphics in an immersive world — flora and fauna in the environment have been freshened up to provide even more details than before. The soundtrack has also received an overhaul, utilizing actual instruments alongside synthesizers for a classic feel. Having also played the original on the SNES, this Secret of Mana for the PS4 does go out of its way to create a new experience for more modern times.
The soundtrack for Secret of Mana on the SNES is one of its greatest strengths. The remake does a good job at capturing the spirit of the original while still having an identity of its own. Tracks like “Fear of the Heavens” and “Into the Thick of it” are particular standouts. If you prefer the original, there’s also an option to change the music to the SNES version.
The rearranged music, for one, is great outside of some questionable instrument choices on a few tracks. If the new soundtrack (or just certain songs) is not to your liking, you can easily flip to the original music right in the settings menu. The new mini-map is a great addition, and its 16-bit style is a nice touch that I enjoyed quite a bit. You can also now hold up to 12 of the same item, which goes a long way to mitigating some of the original's more frustrating item-shortage moments.
One bright spot was the inclusion of both the original and remake arrangements of the OST and given I ended up going with the original OST after a few hours with the new tracks, I was happy to have the option.
The graphics are now in 3D, though the action is still presented in an isometric top-down view. The characters’ super-deformed 3D models are cute, and translate well from the original sprite-based art.
One of my absolute favorite features of the new game is the mini-map, which is just the original game world as it was on Super Nintendo. It’s very cool to be able to look at the mini-map and compare how certain houses look, and it also allows you to see more of what the original designers were going for with the limitations of 2D.
The core combat is still fine, if simplistic. The variety in weapon types is nice, and I like that the charge system (which continually raises damage as players wait between strikes) encourages us not to relentlessly spam attacks.
The game runs in full HD with the most vibrant, candy-like color palette this side of Willy Wonka’s factory. Even with the game’s entire universe inflating from a 2D to 3D world, much effort was made to retain the original feel and soul of the SNES game and in this respect, the remaster succeeds.
The one genuinely new element that the remake adds to Secret of Mana is the new character conversations at inns. When you rest and save your game, your party members will banter about the most recent plot developments. This is mildly amusing.
Mana’s world design is scrumptious eye candy: almost everywhere you go you’re greeted with scenic fields bursting with flora and coated in cheerful, sugary pastels like so much colorful caramel. Wolves trot through clusters of glittering, multihued trees while quaint wooden signs point travelers toward their destination so they don’t get turned around by an endless procession of right angles. Even the imposing palaces guarded by hostile ducks wearing kettle helmets (don’t ask) look inviting when decorated with beautiful stained glass windows. These lovely settings feel like chicken soup for the soul.
Fortunately, you can switch back to the original version of the soundtrack in this remake, which I heartily recommend you do. I have a feeling that if someone unfamiliar with the original played the remake with the original sound on, they wouldn’t even know they were listening to 16-bit chiptunes.
- Kotaku
The plot is lightweight but charming, putting the heroes and the legendary Sword of Mana against an evil empire looking to revive a colossal death machine. Your three protagonists are charming, especially now that they pause for a quick chat every time they get some shuteye at the local inn.
Updated graphics are bright, vivid, and distinctive.
The first big change you’re likely to notice is the art style and character models. The beautiful sprite-based graphics have been replaced with 3D polygonal models.
Secret of Mana’s scattered tale is held together by the charming relationship between its three protagonists, Randi, Primm, and Popoi (usually referred to by fans as The Hero, The Girl, and The Sprite, since you’re free to name them whatever you want.) This friendship is the most improved aspect of the remake, thanks to new “interlude” scenes that play out almost every time you save at an inn.
New cutscenes and dialogue helps flesh characters out more.
One “notable” addition in the remaster is the extra character conversations you get when you sleep at the inns.
The world is bright and colorful and peppered with details and the character models are great. The game even includes the original bitmap as a mini-map in a nice nod to the original release.
Visually, Secret Of Mana excels where the gameplay fails. Environments look great and the level design faithfully recaptures the top down feel of the old SNES title which is great to see but along with it comes a host of familiar issues.
Gameplay is easy enough to pick up and play, no overly complicated systems.
- UnGeek

What experts didn't like

The biggest flaws I encountered in this updated version come with the battle system. As much as I love and appreciated the original iteration of this title, the battle system of 1993 does not hold up as well in the year 2018. By today's standards, real-time battle means something completely different. There are more mechanics in real-time battle that gamers are used to. The fact that players can't dodge attacks or have any control over how enemies are engaged can lead to frustrating moments in the remake. The charge gauge for attacks was a key component in the retro version that doesn't fit as well here. Instead of making a separate stamina bar like many other titles are using these days, Secret of Mana continues to use an outdated system. Only being able to hit an enemy once before having to wait for a recharge makes combat slow and, quite frankly, clunky. A stamina bar would've kept with the charge gauge in some way, but allowed for multiple hits that don't decrease in power. This can make slogging through areas feel long and tedious. It also draws out boss battles too much and makes them feel one-sided.
Additional characters throughout the game aren’t that appealing either, aside from maybe one or two like Watts, the dwarf blacksmith.
Secret of Mana's most vital new feature just may be its autosave function, though there's nothing particularly innovative about it. Instead, the autosave feature is a basic necessity due to SoM's tendency to completely crash and wipe away progress. My playthrough spanned both pre- and post-patched versions of the game, and the crashes actually occurred more frequently for me after the patch was installed. It's astounding that such a game-breaking bug is present in such a small and simple game, but Square Enix appears to be struggling to find a solution.
One thing that annoyed the most was the ridiculous level of evasion that enemies had which rendered my attacks meaningless more than 50% of the time. I’m a firm believer that if I’m playing an action-rpg game and I see my sword clip an enemy, it should take damage. I shouldn’t have to wait for a internal dice-roll to happen to see my attack had landed. This stung the worst when I went for my charge attacks which would take upwards of 12 seconds to build up and seeing every hit of my multi-attack barrage miss was rage inducing.
Unfortunately, when controlled by AI, your partners can be fairly helpless. They tend to get stuck behind walls, die often, and attack sparingly. They also don’t use magic on their own. You can change the AI personality in the action grid, though it’s much simpler than the SNES version’s customization system. In the remaster, you can only choose who they will attack and how much they will charge their weapons.
The 3D models for the characters are very cartoonish, and they don’t look very good close up in the cutscenes. Also, the characters mouths do not move as they speak, and it is an uncomfortable sight when viewing the models for a long time. It has this eeriness to it that really disconcerts me.
That historical context is nowhere to be seen in Square Enix’s pointless, soulless remake. Faithful to a fault, this new rendition doesn’t consider whether things that worked in the 16-bit era would feel jarring and out-of-place when rendered in 3D, running at 60 frames per second. I’m now looking at a sharper image of Secret of Mana than ever before, and it’s only making the blemishes more visible.
When you cut right down to it, Secret of Mana has one serious issue: it isn’t fun (or as fun as one may remember).
Secret of Mana’s remake instead emphasizes the parts of the original that didn’t quite work while leeching all joy from the parts that did. What few things it changes, it alters for the worse. This is a remarkable remake, but not in a good way: the kind of update that leaves you scratching your head wondering how they could hew so closely to the original and yet manage to get everything about it so catastrophically wrong.
On the other, there’s something off about the character models. The heroes’ large heads and saucer-sized eyes are pretty weird looking, and their mouths never move when speaking. The addition of awkward voice acting doesn’t help – performances seesaw between sounding like sleepy robots and fledgling Shakespearean actors.
Not everything about Secret of Mana gells so perfectly, though. The combat, the very core of the gameplay loop in an action RPG, is notoriously buggy—you can have your weapon positioned right over an enemy, and the attack simply won’t connect. The story doesn’t really hit the complex notes of other Square games from the same time period.
- Kotaku
Graphics manage to look dated, yet not retro enough.
Not nearly enough done to the user interface to bring it up to modern standards.
The AI controlling your companions isn’t very aggressive and won’t attack an enemy until you do; they also won’t use magic unless you direct them to. Not only will you end up micromanaging them in battle but also while wandering through dungeons. They’ll frequently get stuck round corners or up against rocks.
Unfortunately, the game cuts visual corners — animations are often choppy and, oddly, characters don’t move their mouths during cutscenes. This isn’t a bad-looking remake, but it doesn’t live up to its potential. I think every Secret of Mana fan has dreamed of a version of the game that looks like Hiro Isono’s iconic box art, but it seems it’s never going to happen.
The biggest hindrance to Secret of Mana‘s success is that it isn’t a true remake, but more of an extensive remaster. At its core, the game remains the same, flaws and all. The additions, rather than being boons that bring Randi and friends into the future, are hindrances instead. It’s baffling to me that this release could have just been the original game, graphics and all, and likely make for a better investment of time, but that’s where we are.
The remaster’s visuals and animation fail to even replicate that charm, and instead made the game look like a semi-cheery Korean mobile phone game.
But there are some inconsistencies, too. The remake adds voice acting, and it’s actually pretty good, but the characters’ mouths don’t move when they talk.
Mana’s repetitive, lifeless combat system makes this more of a chore than it should be. Most attacks lack weight unless fully charged and the UI serves to show just how charged your sword is but the wait times feel far too long. You’ll regularly find yourself running in circles to evade attacks before slashing and waiting again for the bar to fill up.
I was angry at the fact that the soundtrack of the game was unable to hook me at first listen, unlike how the 1993 version did.
- UnGeek


Be transported to another world when you sit down to a great fantasy game on your favorite console. Whether you are an avid Xbox One player or you are exclusive to your PlayStation 4, you’ll surely discover excellent fantasy games that will fill your free time with exciting adventures on screen. Let’s take a closer look at the two consoles and what they have to offer fantasy game players.

The PlayStation 4 has countless perks for its players. With an excellent record behind it for graphics, the console offers detailed imagery with excellent 1080 resolution. Players also find a very easy-to-use interface on the PS4 along with endless options for playing with friends. Owners of the PS4 also love the feature that allows you to transfer your gameplay to another device when others want to use the television. For those who want to use their console for more than just game playing, the PS4 offers a couple of different options for media apps to access television series, movies or music.

Perhaps the biggest perk for PlayStation 4 owners is the copious amounts of games that Sony offers. You will find all kinds of genres from adventure to Indie and, of course, plenty of fantasy games. If you’re looking for non-stop action within an elaborate fantasy world, “Sekiro Shadows Die Twice” is the game for you. Situated in old Japan, the game allows players to create their own path through battles with creative monsters and encounters with friends and foes alike.

For an old favorite, discover the excitement in “Final Fantasy XV.” This PlayStation 4 fantasy game has been around for years, but never like this before. With improved scenes and performance options for the characters, this edition will leave you wanting more game time than ever. When you need a good fantasy game fix, these two will certainly give you the ultimate experience you want.

Now let’s turn our attention to the Xbox One. This console offers some competition to the PlayStation 4 players. With access to three generations of Xbox games and cross-play on PC games, Xbox trumps PlayStation 4 with its accessibility to games. The affordability of the games and console also gives it an advantage for budget-conscience consumers.

However, for those who want the best graphics, Xbox One is just a bit subpar with a 900 resolution on most games. A cool feature with Xbox Skill features is the ability to activate and control your console through Alexa devices with your voice. In addition, Xbox One, which features Xbox Live, has excellent options for entertainment outside of games, including Kodi, a sought-after media app. The console also offers compatibility with Dolby sound products for outstanding audio experiences as well.

Xbox One has simply incredible fantasy games. For challenging and diversified action scenes, “Dark Souls III” is the fantasy game for you. The player will find their way through intense combat with creatures of unimaginable characteristics surrounded by an edge-of-your-seat landscape that keeps you on your toes.

If “Dark Souls III” is a favorite, you will also enjoy “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.” Players will find a frigid atmosphere set in the Northlands during a post-war period in this fantasy game. Navigate through sparse lands while encountering enemies and friends in a unique and entertaining story.

The fantasy game lineup extends much further beyond these favorites for console game players. Take a deeper look into what Microsoft and Sony offer for games and get a feel for which has the library of your taste. From there, you can decide which console will best suit your fantasy game style.

Buying Advice

  • When looking for games for kids, be mindful of the rating on the fantasy game. You can find an explanation for the rating on the advertisement, such as violence or language.
  • Although subscriptions to the gaming networks for each console might seem pricey, it is a cost-effective way to have all the games at your fingertips for convenience. This is something to consider if you play games a considerable amount in your home.
  • Online networks help players to connect with friends and fellow gamers to create outstanding teams and enjoy the games further by tracking your progress and stats.
  • When you buy a subscription, you will find the latest news on recently released fantasy games or soon-to-be-released fantasy games. You’ll always stay up to date.