You have to feel a little sorry for fans of the Super Nintendo's Secret of Mana, a videogame that constantly makes the All Time Top 100 lists for its seminal offline multiplayer adventuring experience. Almost every sequel and spin-off since its release in 1993 has been an abject disappointment, critically panned (or at least met with muted praise, which, in many videogame publications amounts to much the same thing) and shunned by players. Not only that but fans have had to put up with also almost every review of these sorry sequels opening in much the same way: reminiscing about the good old days.
Like the equally directionless and, mercifully, currently defunct ‘Saga' series, Square-Enix has used the ‘Mana' name, universe and framework to try out creative but mostly unsuccessful new ideas for the genre. It's a commendable enterprise that has certainly helped distinguish the series from the identikit JRPG throng, but has so far failed produce anything approaching another good videogame.