Truth is, I've been waiting for this game for years.

Japan got this release back in 2016, and Square Enix has been sitting on it ever since, uncertain whether they even wanted to release it in the States. As Seiken Densetsu 3, referred to in this title and the upcoming remake as Trials of Mana, was never released in the US before this collection, I suspect they weren't sure if they even should. In the end, I'm glad they did, though I do wish they'd done just a bit of work polishing the releases.

I started playing Trials of Mana a few nights ago. It's... interesting. I'm certainly not saying it's bad; it's a fantastic game, and graphically feels like the logical next step after Secret of Mana. Gameplay, it feels rather different, which isn't entirely a bad thing; I actually like the fact that you can just get right into attacking without waiting for a cooldown. The menu system will take some getting used to; while the round-robin quick-access item menu is essentially the same and there's nothing wrong with that, the character menu, which is where you have to go to do things like equipping new armor in this game, is radically different, much slower, and an all-around unpleasant experience. While I do still wish we'd gotten this game back when it first came out, in that aspect I'm kinda glad it got shelved. The mechanics for doing anything more complicated than direct attacking are basically never explained; while this was also true of Secret of Mana (save for the use of magic, which was explained but also trivially easy), it wasn't exactly difficult to figure out. Trials of Mana uses a sort of Tech system? I think? Based on what GameFAQs are telling me? Which, again, never explained. Maybe it was explained in full in the Japanese manual, which I've not really found this game's manual yet. (Switch games are frustratingly difficult with their manuals, as they're all "electronic", on the card itself.) One thing I'm not a fan of so far is how the story is basically being narrated to the player; I'm playing the game to experience the story for myself. I want to be the one who learns with the player character what exactly is going on; I want to experience the story as it unfolds, not as it was told to me. Maybe it gets better about that, I don't know. I've not gotten very far; my primary character is Kevin, and I've only really just picked up the third party member. I've literally only picked up Lumina; if I'd been playing Secret of Mana, I might've made it to Gaia's Navel in the same amount of time. For what it is — a faithful reproduction of the original three entries to the iconic Mana series — it's exactly what it needed to be, nothing less but nothing more. It makes me hope the upcoming Trials of Mana remake is good.