Tag Archives: zelda

Zelda’s Ongoing Timeline Wars

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Pretty much as soon as the footage started rolling at E3 for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, did fan speculation about its place in the franchise’s overall timeline and lore begin. Personally, I’ve stopped caring about the timeline in itself, but the continual heated and lively discussion surrounding it is still a point of interest, and I find myself wondering about how Nintendo decided to handle it. Continue reading

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[E3 2016] Conference Round-Up

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I’m gonna see if I can cram all my thoughts from all Monday’s and Tuesday’s E3 2016 presentations, so I’ll try to keep each subject brief. I won’t go over every press conference, just the games I’m actually interested in playing (not necessarily the only ones I think look good) along with some more general thoughts. Continue reading

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Beginnings And Memories With The Legend of Zelda

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So the Zelda series turned 30 (in Japan) this past weekend. In the past I’ve already done a couple significant posts explaining my opinions on the series overall. They’re pretty fitting for this occasion. One thing I never really did on this site though was go over my initial experiences with and introduction to the Zelda games.

The subject fits right in with the second post I linked above, about why I personally like A Link to the Past above any of the other entries in the series. If you don’t want to read the posts above, I basically said it was the most advanced Zelda game made before they started getting over-informative about where things are and what you’re supposed to do. It’s still a beautiful-looking game with great atmosphere where you’re tossed into the world and trusted to find and decipher its secrets largely on your own. I think that atmosphere was enhanced by the nature of my first real experience playing ALTTP. Continue reading

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Video Game Anniversaries That Will Occur in 2016

Here it is — the list of what gaming-related anniversaries I found are taking place in 2016. This year is a big one too. A lot of major franchises are celebrating major anniversaries, to the point where some other websites have already taken notice. Red Bull in particular is totally on it. Many publishers of these major games have already begun to mark the anniversaries with new game releases too.

Part of this is because 2016 marks a major anniversary for at least two past console cycle transitions. This year it will have been 15 years since 2001, which was not only when the Gamecuube and original Xbox launched, but also when the PS2 received an absolutely monstrous lineup that included the beginnings of some franchises and major entries in others. 20 years ago was 1996 which was a transformative year in 3D video game design — three of the most influential 3D games came out that year. 1991, 1986, and 1981 also saw some major beginnings and landmarks a lot of people might not notice today. Continue reading

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So You Want To Start Playing Zelda

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Every once in a while I see someone asking where to start on the Zelda games and how to proceed through the series, and to be honest I find that a very hard question to answer. The Legend of Zelda is definitely a favored franchise in video games with one of the highest standards in game design quality if you ask me, but it’s also a divisive series with a lot of variety. There’s really no linear scale of “this game is better than this one is better than this one,” or even a scale of how advanced each game is compared to others.

All the discussions I’ve seen over the series have taught me one main thing: nobody really agrees on what even makes ZeldaZelda. People love the games for a wide range of reasons which leads them to prefer some games over others. Almost all Zelda games fit into the same “genre” or “formula,” but they still manage to offer different things. People talk about how Dark Souls is a proper modern Zelda, but I don’t think they’re the same type of game at all. Others say God of War is better, but I don’t even understand how you could compare the games. At the same time I like comparing Zelda to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus which has gotten me odd stares.

I don’t think it makes sense at all to list specific games everyone should or shouldn’t play. Instead I’m going to try to go over what I think individual games and the series overall offer for different people who may want different things from video games.

TL,DR List of Suggested Zelda Games For Newcomers Based on Different Qualities
(Disclaimer: I haven’t played the Oracle games or Minish Cap)

Starter Games That Best Summarize Zelda:
A Link to the Past — Wii U Virtual Console
Link’s Awakening — 3DS Virtual Console
Twilight Princess — Gamecube

I Want Epic Exploration:
A Link to the Past — Wii U Virtual Console
Twilight Princess — Wii
Wind Waker — Wii U

I Want Puzzles/Good Level Design:
Just about all of them starting with A Link to the Past

I Want Challenging Combat:
The Legend of Zelda — Any Virtual Console
Zelda II — Any Virtual Console
A Link to the Past — Wii U Virtual Console
Link’s Awakening — 3DS Virtual Console

I Want An Open-Ended Systemic Game:
The Legend of Zelda — Any Virtual Console
A Link Between Worlds (Kinda) — 3DS

Odd Men Out:
Majora’s Mask — 3DS
Zelda II — Any Virtual Console
Phantom Hourglass — DS
Spirit Tracks — DS

My Favorite Games Like Zelda:
Okami (Epic exploration, atmosphere) — PS3 Digital
3D Dot Game Heroes (Challenging combat) — PS3
Mega Man Legends (Exploration, charm) — PS1/N64
Mega Man Legends 2 (Same as above) — PS1
Ico (Puzzles, level design, and atmosphere) — PS3
Shadow of the Colossus (Bosses and atmosphere) — PS3 Continue reading

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Let’s Put The Zelda Wii U Delay Into Perspective

If the delay of the Wii U Legend of Zelda game into 2016 has you seriously panicked about the Wii U, Nintendo, or your gaming schedule for the next 12 months, I think you need to chill.

A lot has come forth concerning Nintendo over the last couple weeks, but I think I’m gonna take a minute to go over what we know is still coming this year to the Wii U. Honestly, I think it has another couple significant years left in it despite the system’s commercial performance. Continue reading

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Stop Saying Every Year is the Best Year of Gaming Ever

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2015 is looking like it’s going to be a pretty good year, but I swear if I see a bunch of publications making “Is 2015 going to be the greatest year of gaming ever?” stories, I’m going to lose it. Every time these discussions come up I have to remind people that 1998 was and still is the greatest year ever in terms of software releases.

There have definitely been great years since, but something separates almost all of them from 1998. We’ll continue to have years seen as greater than most others, but I honestly don’t know if we’ll get another “1998” in the near future. It was a product of circumstances unique to that time I don’t see arising today. Continue reading

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Indie Game Radar: Secret Legend

 Not long ago a guy under the twitter handle “andrew souldice” posted some animated images on twitter and tigsource revealing his first independent project, currently titled Secret Legend. So far literally all we have is a handful of short animated images, but they already suggest a lot about what the game is and what it’s trying to do.

Basically, it looks like it’s going to be an isometric or 2.5D Zelda clone. Zelda clones in general are relatively rare (otherwise they’d simply have a name for the “genre”), and that half-step between 2D and 3D is something that’s rarely if ever been done for the formula. It begs thinking about what Nintendo’s recently done with some of its franchises as well and where Secret Legend could go in comparison. Continue reading

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Nintendo Direct Did Not Make Me More Excited For 3DS

Before the latest Nintendo Direct I was contemplating if I was almost done with mainstream support of the 3DS. Now I know I very nearly am.

Now this is pretty much all a matter of personal preference on my part. There was a lot for people to enjoy for the system in this week’s Nintendo update. I’m just not one of those people. Probably not in 2015 anyway. My priority will likely switch completely to the Wii U. Continue reading

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A Link Between Worlds And The Value Of Tactile Feedback

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The main reason The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a fun game is its controls and user interface. It’s another great example of how snappy controls can enrich an entire video game, and I think that’s something a lot of people have started to miss in recent years.

When I first saw live gameplay of ALBW what caught my eye the most was how smooth everything looked, and that was the first thing I noticed upon starting up the game. I guess this is the first time in a long time I’ve played an action adventure game at a basically flawless 60 frames per second. It even makes the 3D wall painting mechanic feel great and 2D Link’s character model animate attractively.

Maybe that smooth framerate sticks out so much now because it became so rare on consoles this past generation. The PS3 and Xbox 360 were dominated by western developers that are only just now learning to reconcile console hardware ceilings with visuals and frame rates — something the Japanese have been doing for decades. I can only think of a few non-Japanese games (like Call of Duty) that even aimed for 60 on current-gen consoles. Hopefully the trend of next-gen action games aiming for 60 holds.

ALBW isn’t just about running at 60 though. What really caught me off guard has been its sound design. It’s an amazing fusion of nostalgia and clean design. Most of this game’s sound effects are actually the same ones from A Link to the Past but perfectly placed with a higher overall sound quality to make them more crisp. That combined with ALBW’s framerate and thus low input lag creates an extremely good sense of tactile feedback.

The reason I hold this kind of thing in such high importance is because I think tactile feedback is the main reason people play console games. Pressing a button to get an immediate reaction has been the binding point of console games from Mario to Ninja Gaiden Black. Nintendo and a handful of other developers try very hard to maintain that quality of feedback. This past console generation a lot of publishers tried to advertise “visceral” experiences while sacrificing feedback for eye candy and quick-time events.

When you have good feedback from a smooth-running game with satisfying audio, it’s like a strong foundation that enriches the entire experience that’s built on top of it. In my opinion every task in ALBW is more fun because it involves taking down more enemies to hear the clang of Link’s sword and collecting more rupees to hear the “blink” noise whenever you grab them. Even the sound effect for when you grab hearts to heal is directly from ALTTP and sounds wonderful in the new game.

Good feedback can even salvage a game I otherwise wouldn’t touch. I was pretty critical of the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, but I have to admit I still played the game to 100 percent completion. I did so primarily because the game actually has very smooth controls. Lara handles noticeably better here than most third person shooter characters. This even convinced me to turn Tomb Raider’s graphics settings down to medium so I could play it at 60fps.

I’ll add there’s a lot more about ALBW that makes it feel like a much more “gamey” experience than recent Zelda games. I saw a lot of worry about its visual design when it was first announced, but now I think it’s a great fit. It’s basically the same art direction as ALTTP but rendered in 3D. When people saw that game’s sprites and concept art 20 years ago many probably took it to be some kind of Tolkienesque fantasy held back by 1990’s hardware. Today that art just looks like a fantasy cartoon, which I think makes for a really fun game.

The best way to describe ALBW is that it feels more like a video game than most of what came out this year.

BULLETS:

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