When the Collection of Mana came out, I didn't immediately jump to play Trials of Mana, since I had played it before. Instead, I was interested in the game I hadn't played yet, Final Fantasy Adventure. In reading about it though, I found that it had been remade a few times. The one that interested me was the GBA Sword of Mana. So I played through the Wendel Sanctuary on both FFA and SoM. Both games have their charm. FFA plays a lot more like a traditional 2D Zelda game, and has a snappiness to it that is refreshing. I can definitely see why it has its fans. However, I chose to finish the story on Sword of Mana.
I've been surprised lurking online that Sword of Mana is not well-liked. The game definitely has its warts, but what it has over FFA is something that hackers can't fix. It managed to re-imagine a "Final Fantasy" spinoff as a "Mana" game. Jumping between this and Trials of Mana, I FELT like I was playing games in the same series. I did not feel that jumping between ToM and FFA. That alone made it worth playing for me.
The game is far from perfect though. It is in great need of 3 hacks:
1. Color correction, now that we have backlit screens.
2. Gameplay rebalancing. (I personally would just do away with MP entirely.)
3. A 3rd Party Member hack that allows the Boy and the Girl to travel together for the majority of the game. This was the big one, as the game just keeps creating awkward situations for why you can't travel together.
I won't be the one to create these hacks, but I wanted to highlight what I think is an overlooked gem. It gets flak for being an unfaithful remake, but I personally think it did a great job of retrofitting an old game back into the franchise it spawned.