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Dawn of Mana not fooling nobody

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Word on the street is Square Enix's Dawn of Mana ain't the best game ever. After receiving some harsh rebukes from Famitsu magazine and rebates gallore from Amazon.co.jp, the latest entry in the Seiken Densetsu series has launched in North America to lukewarm reviews.

Word is out on Dawn of Mana, the long-awaited fourth entry in the Seiken Densetsu series for the Playstation 2. Fans who have been longing for another trip aboard Flammie the Dragon may be disappointed to hear that Famitsu magazine gave the latest outing a score of 30/40, six points below Children of Mana. What's more, just weeks after its Japanese release, Amazon.co.jp was selling the Playstation 2 title packaged with a free soundtrack CD at 40% off its original retail price. Since the game launched in North American last week, the general consensus on the Anglophone side of the Pacific has been none too good.

An ad for Dawn of Mana shoulder to shoulder with a tepid IGN review

Dawn of Mana has been serving as a Rorschach test among game reviewers, and everyone seems to be coming away with their own take on how the game falls short of its predecessors. The most visible complaint, however, has to do with the game's curiosity of a battle system. Rather than encounter enemies straight on, Keldy, the game's protagonist, is forced to pick up objects such as blocks, logs, and berries, and bat them in the general direction of foes. The game's roaming camera and unwieldy controls make the task that much more difficult. Furthermore, upon the completion of each chapter, no sooner does Keldy gain rnough powerful magic spells to stand toe to toe with his enemies than these abilities are stripped away from him. While I have not had the chance to play the game myself, the reviews hitting the web are not exactly whetting my appetite.

Amazon is currently selling Seiken Densetsu 4 for 70% off,
with a free Maxi single thrown in to sweeten the deal


To get a sense of just how dissatisfied reviewers are with the most recent Seiken Densetsu romp, here are a few representative excerpts. Regarding the controls, Cactaurjoe at RPGamer says the Havok engine is living up to its name. "Player control and basic camera work are two areas where Dawn of Mana fails utterly. Basic control of Keldy can be a trial by fire, as his physics seem so lightweight as to be ridiculous." Meanwhile, Andrew Fitch at 1Up.com, lays into the counterintuitive battle system. "Forget straight-on attacks, like, oh, I don't know, just about every other action-RPG ever made," he writes. "In order to coerce power-ups out of enemies, you have to 'startle' them by tossing boxes, berries, rocks, and other assorted obstacles in their general direction." Not to put too fine a point on it, Chris Laramie at Gaming Age weighs in against the leveling system, saying, "One of the biggest frustrations this time around is that whenever a chapter is started, all experience is lost... it becomes a large pain." Gamespot's Kevin VanOrd concurs, writing, "Dawn of Mana's RPG elements are so thin as to be almost nonexistent." He gives the game a score of 5.1 out of 10, and a ranking of "Mediocre," but does point out, "At least it looks pretty."

Players report feelings of fatigue, listlessness, and "loss of essence"


All in all, word on Dawn of Mana is pretty grim, and might look to be the fitting end to a once noble franchise if Heroes of Mana, a Nintendo DS strategy title, were not already on the way. Square Enix, as I know you read this website avidly and are always looking for advice, if you really want to resuscitate your flagging Seiken Densetsu series, I have two words for you: HIROKI KIKUTA.


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Forums / News / Dawn of Mana not fooling nobody

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I want to like this game, but it'll probably have to wait until it's in the bargain bin.
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Godai from gamemp3s?
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Yes, and we're happy to have him here. Aren't we, Rahul?
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Only if he reseeds the Dawn of Mana soundtrack so I can download it.
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You haven't heard it? Damn that's a good OST.
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I moved and didn't have internet in the new apartment, and as such have been completely out of the game music scene for the past 4 months. Now I'm back. And ready. Baby.
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