Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Legend of Zelda: A Retrospective

John’s mentioned Final Fantasy once or twice so I reckon it’s only fair I do the same for Zelda. It’s a long standing debate in the gaming community which is better of the two, personally I prefer Zelda sure the story telling might not be as strong but I just prefer the gameplay, and since the release of XIII Zelda has one thing I really enjoy, and that’s the lack of Leona Lewis. Though, in all honesty there are plenty of games I’d sooner play over Zelda, but out of the two I prefer it.

My first Zelda game was either Links Awakening DX or Oracle of Ages, I forget which. Both are GBC games so are in turn very similar. More akin to the original or link to the past than the more recent additions to the series. I never owned any Nintendo console before the GB/GBC so they where my first opportunity to try out the series. I enjoyed them both fully, they made you think, the combat was simple but at the same time fun and the minigames, for the most part were enjoyable (let’s just not talk about the dancing one, ever).

Then I got the Gamecube, my first home Nintendo console, with which came Wind Waker. I was a little unsure about it at first, after having seen parts of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask the ‘cartoony’ graphics kind of put me off but eventually, after playing a bit of it at a friend’s I caved; and I’m glad I did. This may cause alot of debate, flames or possible even death threats but Wind Waker, in my opinion, is the best Zelda. Maybe it’s because it’s the first 3D one I played and I just feel more connected to it, or maybe it’s because of its charm. For the first time, Link had something close to what represented a personality, every other game he’s incredibly hollow this time round with his exaggerated expressions and funny eyebrows I just felt more of a connection and as a result more immersed. A lot of people complain about the sailing and treasure hunting but I enjoyed these just as much, if not more than the actual plotline.

Then I tried Ocarina of Time that came with the bonus disk with Wind Waker and in all honestly, I found it really, really boring. I can’t explain why, I just couldn’t bring myself to play it; I got a few hours and just lost what little interest I had. I probably should force myself to play all the way through it but I just can’t bring myself to.

Later, I borrowed the Collector’s Edition disc from a friend which had both OoT and Majora’s Mask on it. Now Majora’s Mask I loved, it had a much darker tone than other Zelda games, the moon approaching the earth slowly with a timer constantly at the bottom of the screen says impending doom a lot more than a fairy telling you “Oh Gannondorf is doing evil things somewhere, just trust me ok”, plus the final boss fight was pretty damn epic (why they didn’t make Fierce Deity Link Link’s Final Smash in Brawl is beyond me).

Then there’s Twilight Princess which is... ok. I played it, completed it and for the most part enjoyed it. Some of the bosses and items where creative but nothing makes me want to go back to it, not like Wind Waker that I have completed about 5 times including a 100% run and a Three-Heart Quest (Well, nearly). The Wolf Link parts were kinda fun but I felt they could have done alot more with them (saying that why wasn’t Wolf Link in Brawl... Did they design Link on the Monday morning after the Bosses birthday do?).

Then we come to Phantom Hourglass, a direct sequel to Wind Waker (and I mean direct, it takes place like literally 5 minutes after WW ends). Which was a good idea gone bad, the Temple of the Ocean King was nothing short of torture, the controls where fiddly and the tacked on Multiplayer was, well all in all pretty pointless. I finished it but I can’t actually remember that much of it at all which just shows how mediocre it was. Recently I got Spirit Tracks which unfortunately is the same story and I’m struggling to force myself to play it, it just feels... meh. Some of the areas have been improved on and I gotta say I do like the new boomerang it’s kinda gimmicky but fun nonetheless but the train riding is a chore and it just feels like it’s been created using a “How to Make an RPG for Dummies” approach. They’ve pulled off good handheld Zelda games before so why the decline now?

I’ve played a few other Zelda games like the original and LttP but none of them so far have kept me as entertained as WW did. Strange how the game that people commonly disregard as the worst Zelda is my favourite, given that maybe I should try Final Fantasy XII...

Probably should point out that the majority of his Final Fantasy experiences come from Crystal Chronicles.

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