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Dawn of Mana

Square Enix
Action RPG
Seiken Densetsu
  • May 22, 2007
  • December 21, 2006
B 4 total ratings
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Dawn of Mana Square Haven Preview

A Dawn of Mana review Author: Jeriaska Published: December 24, 2006
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Dawn of Mana, the fourth title in the Seiken Densetsu series, goes on sale December 21st in Japan. For the first time, the game tells the legendary story of the sword of Mana and the Mana tree in three dimensions, using the Halo 2 physics engine, no less. In the following press release, Square Enix North America has touted the lush terrain of the latest Seiken Densetsu game as "a world ripe for adventure!"

Dawn of Mana, the first true Mana sequel in a decade, reveals the origins of the legend behind the Mana Tree and the Sword of Mana. Breaking the series' 2D mold, Dawn of Mana brings the world of Mana to three-dimensional life while preserving the atmosphere that fans have come to know and love. Players can see for themselves how vividly characters and monsters move about these new yet familiar surroundings. This installment of the Mana is a true action-adventure, with sweeping plains and mountains stretching as far as the eye can see.

The story follows the travails of a 16-year-old boy named Eldy who is forced from his village by the invasion of a brutal foreign army. He is joined by Ritzia, an adolescent priestess who can communicate with the natural forces of the planet through the Mana tree. A friendly Rabite named Puck befriends the party, as does a certain dragon familiar to fans of Secret of Mana.

Dawn of Mana incorporates the Havok physics engine used for Halo 2, allowing the player a greater depth of interactivity with the gaming environment. In the videos below, Ritzia is shown shooting an arrow to cause a far-off rope to snap, initiating an impressive chain reaction in real-time. In another clip, the bridge the hero is standing upon collapses under the weight of an approaching monster. Speaking about the game to Famitsu magazine, Mana series producer Koichi Ishii wished to implement a truly immersive environment as early as Legend of Mana, but settled on a 2D adventure whose novelty resided in the non-linearity of the story. With the new game engine on the PS2, the designer felt he could honestly call this the next proper installment in the series.

Less glowing than the North American press release have been the Japanese magazine reviews. Dengeki gave the game a bewildering hodge-podge of great-to-middling grades: 75 / 90 / 95 / 70, while Famitsu gave Dawn of Mana a lukewarm score of 30/50. By comparison Children of Mana, by no means a fan favorite, received a 36.

Will Dawn of Mana prove to be a worthy successor to Secret of Mana? Time will tell.

The Jump Festa 2007 Trailer

Twenty minute introductory demo

Editor's Grade
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Endoplasmic Reticulum
Square Haven Editor
Member since October 03, 2003
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