The Legend of Zelda 2015

I’m sorry if you missed it, but Nintendo announced the next installment in the Legend of Zelda series for the Wii U yesterday during its digital keynote for E3 (link to Polygon’s article on Zelda 2015).

We don’t have a title, nor a story, but we do have the following from the producer himself (and you can hear it all at the link above):

  • First installment made specifically for the Wii U
  • Supposedly will harken back to a more open-world feel of the original Legend of Zelda

That is about all we know.

Zelda 2015 2

Needless to say, I’m more than a little excited about this game. The style seems to be a good mixture of Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess. It will be fun to see what Nintendo can do in HD with this franchise.

While I don’t know what an open-world Zelda is going to be or play like, I am interested to see what a Japanese development studio will do with what has become a decidedly American style.

Review | The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

A Link Between Worlds

I don’t have a lot of time to play video games anymore. I’m giving that as an excuse for the fact that it has taken me so long to complete the game (it sat in its plastic wrap for months before I broke it out).

Please do not let it deter you from picking it up and completing it if you have no already done so. Quite simple, A Link Between Worlds is a joy to play and harkens back to a much simpler time for both video games and the entire Zelda series. It’s hard to describe how fun the game was the play, but I’ll do my best.

Also, you can listen to the second part of This One Podcast Episode 103 where Phil and I talk about A Link Between Worlds in a larger context.

I will also try to keep spoilers to a minimum and focus more on the overall gameplay and game since that is the important part.

Comfortable to Play

The first thing anyone who has ever played The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past will notice is how comfortable this game is. It is immediately familiar, but not dull or boring as it would have been had it been a remake of the original. It is set in the same world, but it is still a new game.

I would liken it more to the difference between Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. They are obviously tied together, but they are entirely separate games.

In the TOP episode I linked to above, Phil and I discuss our own personal preference for simpler games (which is a terrible way to describe them). For me it boils down to needing to make fewer decisions at a given time. When you only have four buttons and two dimensions … your mind can focus on and enjoy other things.

The game flows much like A Link to the Past and that is to its benefit. There are no obscenely long tutorials here, just encouragement to get going and start saving the world. The cut scenes are sparse and tasteful which means there are few minutes-long forays into story telling. I think I counted three in total.

A Link Between Worlds is a game you can easily settle into a groove with. You’ll flow from area to area, instinctively knowing what it is that you need to try to accomplish and then going forth and doing so. The game also, quite quickly, eliminates the tedium of moving from place to place as well so that you don’t feel like you need to backtrack over terrain over, and over, and over, and over again …

Button-Mashing Goodness

There are obviously times when you will need to be careful and take steps to make sure every swing of your sword is going to count … but when you only have a single button dedicated to the sword it enables button-mashing to come back into full effect.

It is haphazard in any way, but it is the viable defense and offense. It is a simple way to clear yourself of obstacles … and it is enabled because the game designers were limited in what they could do with a single button and two dimensions.

I say: good.

This speeds things up considerably. Need to get from A to B and enemies are in the way … start swinging and don’t let up until they are gone. It allows the game to flow from place to place quickly.

Again, I say: good.

Music for the Mood

This is a short review, but I do want to comment on the music. Obviously A Link to the Past has many iconic tunes that are still with us and the soundtrack for A Link Between Worlds is not going to reach that stage. It is not because it shouldn’t, but because it is more derivative than A Link to the Past. Because it is a direct sequel, the music is instantly familiar.

However, the arrangements done are excellent and of an extremely high caliper. Especially near the end of the game, we get to see them pull out the stops and fit the music to the mood extremely well. Just a splendid melding of tone.

There isn’t much more to say besides the fact that I still smile every time I hear any arrangement of the Overworld theme.

The End

This game is good, excellent, and well worth any amount of time or effort you can put into it. It not only puts aside any fear I had about Nintendo coming into it, but it also emphatically states that there is a lot of life left in 2D games.

A Link Between Worlds definitely calls back to a time when games needed to be simpler because they had less to work with, and I think that is a good thing. Tacking on decisions and extra fluff just because you can is a poor reason to do so.

End Screen

Verdict

Purchase a 2DS or 3DS and play this game TODAY!

Games are not Serious

Note: This is an old post from the soon-to-be-defunct Slow Gamers. That site is closing, so I’m moving over my Opinion posts from that site to here.

IllusiveMan1

In the never-ending quest to “legitimize” games, it feels like we’ve lost something in the process. Maybe it is nostalgia, or maybe wishful thinking, but I don’t think I’m alone in wondering: why are games so serious all the time?

It isn’t just the games themselves, either, that seem to be so serious. It is now the people around games that are getting more serious. You need to be a gaming monk in order to have any opinion worth taking. If you can’t tear apart a new game because it doesn’t have some specific game mechanic from the past that you enjoyed … well, you don’t have any opinion or a voice worth listening to.

If you can’t look at the current gaming landscape and be discouraged by the endless number of sequels and remakes you might as well pack up and go home. You obviously aren’t a gamer and can’t be listened to.

Why do we take gaming and ourselves so serious? What benefits do we derive by having such attitudes? How does this help anyone?

It seems that you can’t walk ten feet without someone declaring that X game is overrated because Y game did it before or did it better. It is like we all think we are sitting in a room, by ourselves looking over this vast world of “gaming” with a vastly superior knowledge and understanding and can declare whatever we like. We are auteurs! Our opinions are paramount! We are very serious people with opinions on this very serious subject of video games! Listen to us!

I’m not sure why this happens, but it makes us all sound a little funny. I’m unabashedly biased for Nintendo and I won’t deny that fact, but I also understand that my wants and needs aren’t serious. I’m not going to be paralyzed if the next Legend of Zelda doesn’t fix some issue I have with their past games. I can’t take myself so seriously. They are video games! They’re supposed to be fun, right? Maybe?

I have a catalog of video games just sitting around collecting dust (or whatever they might collect sitting in my Stream catalog) that I have never finished because, frankly, I just wasn’t having fun. Oh well. It isn’t a big deal, I have many better things to do with my life than to get upset about video games or the companies who create them.

I’m being quite hypocritical here because I just started up this video game website and will be posting my own opinions on video games hopefully quite regularly. However, I hope that I won’t take myself too seriously. These things are games and should be fun. If they aren’t fun anymore, then walk away, go outside, make some friends, and enjoy life. If you are having fun, then continue to enjoy the games you are playing.

Times change and people change, that is the way things work. Wishing for companies to do things to appease people who are just like us isn’t going to make it happen. We need to enjoy what we do have, hope for the future that things will continue to get better, and get back to enjoying the life that we do lead.

We don’t need to be serious when it comes to video games.