The Purple Parade is marching in full stride to the beat of that 'other' drum we all hear, but generally ignore. ;)

Main Menu

Review - Seiken Densetsu 3

Started by Nightcrawler, July 27, 2007, 04:19:08 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


I haven't bothered playing this game in years. Being that it's hailed as one of the SNES greats and it's multi-player and I didn't remember my previous play through at all, I recently played through this game again with my girlfriend.

I must say I was ultimately disappointed. I don't know why this game is so popular. I will admit it has fabulous graphics and sound and is a good technical achievement on the SNES, but it's sour to the core elsewhere. This game tried so hard to have replay value that it wasn't very good at all for any single play through. I should also note that I came fresh off a replay of Secret of Mana, so I can even compare it to that.

Secret of Mana was a fun game all around. The only part I didn't like about that game was the lack of story. The framework for a good story was there, but it was never really developed, along with the characters, and it felt rushed in the end. I'm pretty sure that's due to the history of Secret of Mana originally supposedly being for SNES CD and then hacked to fit on cartridge. My only other gripe was the constant missing during battle or when it seemed like all three characters were hitting an enemy and it didn't register. Beyond that, it was a solid, fun game.

Now we go to Seiken Densetu 3. At first glance, I was excited. More responsive battle system, intro gave hint of a much meatier story, and the visuals and audio were great. It was all downhill from there. The battle system was better and more responsive, but there were still hordes of misses all the time which was very frustrating.

Next, the story. Aside from the nice intros for each character, there really wasn't much of one at all. Aside from the characters you pick, you barely see or hear from any of the others and learn nothing about them. I learned more about the other characters from playing their intros than I did in the entire quest. They other character just show up every now and then with some grudge, they never help defeat anyone, and they just go away and barely talk to you. Pathetic. I'm sure this was a ploy to get you to play the game again as other characters. Too bad it made the first play through so lame, I don't want to play again. After the story filled beginning of the game, there's nothing through the rest of the game but go find the spirits, and then go do it all over again with the god beats. They could have at least tried a little bit.

Sure, you've got the little bit of story in the middle where the three factions head to the Holyland. That would have been cool if they didn't just have a huge copout and kill off the other two factions in their entirety. Lame. They could have developed so much more, but instead, tried cheap tricks to add what they thought was replay value.

Even the three characters you have don't even resolve their stories well. Only the main character actually shows a full plot for the game. Your other two team mates pale at the end in comparison to if you played them as the main character. Yup, another part that made the first play through so bad as a cheap method to try and get you to play again for more.

Some of the bosses were ridiculously mundane and tedious. The first two bosses were the most fun in the entire game. Then the remainder of the game contained bosses you couldn't even tell were bosses because they looked like regular monsters until you got to the God Beats. However the God Beats were mainly just annoying as hell rather than fun.

Next are the stupid '???' and 'Weapon/Armor' seeds. These are about the dumbest concept I've ever seen in a video game. Make the best weapons and armor in the game and special items you NEED for a class change absolutely random? That's so stupid. I could go through 15 seeds and get all useless crap out of them. It was even annoying to manipulate the system to get what you wanted or use savestates. Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if you didn't need to get 50 seeds to legitimately get the best weapons and armor or the items you need for a class change. Poor execution. I hated it.

Raising Levels became useless above 50. Why even have them? Your reward is ONE friggin' hitpoint. Lame. You just stop getting stronger as well as your stats are all maxed out.

Fun Factor went way down as the game progressed. I would have never finished if it weren't for the fact that I never quit what I start.

Ultimately, Secret of Mana was a much better game. Had it had a slightly more responsive battle system and a fleshed out story, it would be king.

Seiken Desnsetu 3 is a disgrace of a follow up. Too many corners were cut to try and offer replay value that any single play through was poor.

I give it a *4 out of 10* - The central hub of the ROM hacking community.

Gideon Zhi

I dunno, I enjoyed it. I've gone through it two or three times already and I'm in the middle of another playthrough as well at the moment. It's not something I do often, but I find it to be good fun. Completely agree with you on the Holyland copout, though. If they ever remake it, I'd love to see at LEAST that part of the story rehashed. Big war in the real world over it, all that sort of thing.

One thing that may help insofar as character development is concerned is figuring out the related pairs of characters. Example: Hawkeye's country of Navarre invades Lise's country of Rolante. The characters' storylines, therefore, are connected, and they'll start to develop a slightly deeper relationship than just a random trio. The other such pairs are Kevin/Carlie and Duran/Angela.

Now, I haven't dug into the technicals of the game, but I get the feeling that it fell to the limits of time and technology. It was a late game in the system's lifecycle, and I'm almost sure the data's pretty well packed in there; it could be that they had something a lot broader in mind, but either ran out of data space or into a deadline (or both) before the full vision could have been realized.


It's been so long since I played that... it was around the time when I first got into emulation. I never bothered to replay the game, but I replayed SoM many times... that should give you an idea of what I thought about the game. I can't remember details such as the item stuff, but I do remember that I were annoyed at the multiple character stuff.
I'm not the type of player to replay a game many times in a row to see all the endings. I finish a game once and that's it. I felt cheated on the story then, as the game only presented a tiny fraction of it for one playthrough. I can't remember if what was shown was good or not, it's been too long.

One I thing remember as totally annoying was a catlike boss. It was some important story event towards the end even I think. It was totally boring standard button mashing on him - the problem is the fight took AGES. They gave it so much HP. It didn't even make any sense. As if they just wanted to stretch the fight as long as possible. THAT battle really put me off so much that I still remember this after all these years!

So yeah, I totally agree that the game is overrated.


I think Secret of Mana was the high point of the series but the nosedive didnt really take place until it hit the playstation.  
Winston Churchill in response to allying with the Soviet Union: If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons


I haven't been able to even play more than 30 minutes of Legend of Mana for Playstation. It's just way too different for me to even get into. No central storyline is really a turnoff to me. As for Dawn of Mana for the PS2... Well.. I was really hoping this one was going to be the revival of the series. Nope.. sorry.. a game based on throwing things doesn't live up to the Mana name.

I haven't played through Sword of Mana on the GBA which is of course a remake of Seiken Densetsu 1. Is that worth playing through? I never played the GB original either. I never could get into many GB monochrome color games, especially when it came to RPGs. I don't want to punish myself with any other Mana games unless there's high probability it will actually be a fun experience.

At this point, a 'Director's Cut' version of Secret of Mana would be awesome. It was obvious Secret of Mana suffered from cuts and rushed production. I would love to see this game remade in modern 2D, fleshed out, and made into the game it should have been with it's initial concepts for the SNESCD. - The central hub of the ROM hacking community.

Gideon Zhi

I dunno, I enjoyed Legend of Mana. Sure it might not have a *central* story, but it does have a bunch of smaller ones told through interconnecting quests, and the wealth of people and personalities to interact with, along with the variety of places to explore, really made it something special for me. Maybe I went into it without any real expectations, I don't know...

As far as Sword goes... it's alright. Nothing really special. It's certainly better than Dawn of Mana and probably better than Children, but then, that's not saying much. It's probably a tossup. It does some things better than SD1 (which really is quite a decent zeldalike, if you ever really get into it) and it does some things worse. It changes a lot of things. My biggest gripe is probably that the focus on random drops pulls it dangerously close to Diablo territory. It's not a bad game, but it's not earthshatteringly great either.


I loved Legend of Mana, me and my friend devoted a summer to that game. I think our combined total played time was like 600+ hours. Sad I know but it had great replay value.


In my estimations Seiken Densetsu 1 and 3 are very alike and Seiken Densetsu 2 is it's own beast. In this way I think it's unfair to call one better than the other, I liked them both. I will say though that I spent more time in SD3, and really enjoyed it. Not because I played through it with every character combo, but it just seemed big and had a lot of places to go. I don't know, I think there are certain expectations, and if it doesn't fit into your expectations then you may be disappointed.

I think it has solid battle, and the way the characters fight and how you have to use them is all very unique. I do feel that some character paths are more interesting story-wise than the others, the beastman and sprite kid being my least favorite and the theif and the valkerie being my favorite. But that all really comes down to taste.

EDIT: to add to my post I think it's safe to say that hype is a factor, you think something is going to be great, and it isn't as great as you expected. Can it really be said that SD3 had LESS character developement or class developement than the last game? no, it IS more complex.