Brando made a little video about Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - MARS (PS4) and that was basically the parting shot to dive into the game myself. Having last touched it during its launch, I remember it being insanely difficult. It still is, but that's only the case if you are playing to defensively. Give it your all and go in guns blazing, and the game drops its difficulty a bit. Good times.
In terms of graphics this game is The Wind Waker of PS2 titles. Its pure style is simply unmatched and gels incredibly well with the angular mecha sci-fi aesthetics. The soundtrack I already enjoyed more times than I can count, so everything's just dandy in that department. If there's one glaring problem: it is that the animated cut scenes are of a very low resolution. It's also clear developer Cygames didn't have access to any of the cutting edge 4K AI upscalers, because the current look of the scenes are akin to switching back to a CRT TV.
Also, while the combat is nice, it does have the same issue as Final Fantasy VII Remake, in that it's doing its best to not let you experience normal combat sequences. There's always some wrinkle in the proceedings coming your way and the result that you can only truly enjoy a longer period of plain combat - allowing you to actually get to grips with the systems - only half way through the game. Slightly infuriating, but it does highlight its focus on replay sessions. Once in fights proper, aggressiveness and sub weapons is key. And fun. This is fast, furious, and has all the energy of a Trigger anime.
You know, Mystic Quest (Collection of Mana) (NSW) is old. Really old. Old enough to be suffering of reverse difficulty syndrome: this is immensely difficult to start with, but it then becomes almost too easy as you progress and level up.
The story in this game really takes a pounding due to the limited space available on a Game Boy cartridge. You might as well ignore the presences of a story altogether. A lot of details definitely got lost in translation. As such, it’s pretty hard to see how this was the start of the Secret of Mana series. But sure enough, it still is just that.
It’s fun in a mindless way, but very hard to recommend apart from getting some historical context for a much better game.