Trials Of Mana Releases With Its English Voice Acting Being The Most Notable Deterrent Of The Title

Trials Of Mana Releases With Its English Voice Acting Being The Most Notable Deterrent Of The Title
Credit: Square Enix via YouTube

It’s a fine line to walk for many studios that have the arduous task of bringing an eastern-oriented title, or media in general, to the west. One of the most immediately noticeable discussion points inevitably falls around translations for eastern developers bringing their works to the western hemisphere, and for good reason; translating, say, Japanese to English directly doesn’t necessarily offer impeccable results; it can get even worse when developers opt to use Google Translate directly instead of working with an intermediary translator, although the term ‘worse’ could easily be exchanged for ‘hilarious’.

Yet many have their preference of translations firmly rooted in their minds, from anime to JRPGs; watching dubbed anime is paramount to treason for many, as the voice actors tend to deliver performances for animations that were made for the Japanese language, resulting in strange segments where the information being delivered by dialogue doesn’t necessarily match the length of sentences that characters are speaking. Add into this that, for some reason, many voice actors that work on bringing Japanese media to the west aren’t necessarily the best match for the original voice, and English dubs can quickly become grating.

I still maintain that the entirety of Persona 5 is best played with English subtitles, and the original Japanese dialogue: if that makes me a web, it’s a title I can stand with at the very least.

A popular JPRG has just been released once again, called Trials of Mana, a title that originally came out in 1995. Square Enix has dedicated a surprising number of resources to bring the classic Super Nintendo adventure to modern devices, releasing for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and on the Steam platform.

The entirety of the title is more than serviceable, with fantastic graphics and hack and slash combat that continues its predecessor in eschewing the classic menu-based battling in favor for realtime actions. It’s faithful in regards to plot, character arcs, and everything else you would expect; including some arguably iffy dialogue that seems to have somehow survived the transfer.

The aspect that has everyone talking right now, however, is the English voice-acting. It’s not the best that has been seen in recent memory, and the hokey dialogue that has remained isn’t the best vehicle for the voice acting in the first place.

Granted, there are more than a fair share of titles with poor dialogue that still manage to be completely playable; Borderlands 3 similarly turned-off players with its writing that has many players reaching to mute the in-game dialogue. Further, if the English voice-acting continues to be the singular complaint levied towards Trials of Mana, then Square Enix will more than likely consider the port to be a wild success.

A day after release, and the title has been reviewed favorably on Steam, with 90% positive rating out of a total of a surprisingly low 228 reviews. It’s presumed that the title is seeing far more action and playtime on the PlayStation 4, the standard home of JPRGs on consoles. Trials of Mana currently costs $50 regardless of which platform you’re purchasing it for, and the demo is completely compatible with the actual title, allowing you to give it a test run without committing funds.