Posted by: seanmalstrom | December 22, 2013

Email: I beat a Link Between Worlds

It’s Puzzelda through and through. No doubt about it. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you otherwise because they don’t know what they’re talking about.

This is NOT classic Zelda. This is not a return to form. It’s merely Aonuma Zelda with some of the fat trimmed. Think of it like the Mario 3D Land of Zelda. It’s an attempt to lure classic Zelda fans back with old content and promises of old gameplay, but the spirit just isn’t there. And that’s intentional. After all, this is a man who previously said, in regards to the first Zelda, “I didn’t ever think that I wanted to make a game like that.”

Like 3D Mario, this game doesn’t deliver the classic gameplay. Hell, the scary part is that this may even be a Metroid Zero Mission – an attempt to redefine classic Zelda as having always been Aonuma Zelda.

For every step forward this game takes two steps back.

The overworld itself is fairly open and somewhat fun to explore. I enjoyed simply wandering around and discovering heart pieces and whatnot. That aspect made me feel like playing the game. There weren’t even bomb cracks anymore. You actually had to bomb walls without any identifying marks.

However, the overworld also kind of sucked because you couldn’t find neat items (like the Ice Rod in a Link to the Past) just by exploring. Instead, you have to rent, then buy, most of your items from that idiot in the bunny suit. Your items then get upgraded through a stupid collectathon where you round up these squid things.

Once I got into the dungeons, I no longer felt like playing the game anymore. That’s because the game simply devolves into the typical formula of solve puzzles, enter next room. Rinse and repeat. And since most of the combat related items were removed from dungeons to be sold in the shop, it felt like there were no rewards.

Taking dungeons out of order doesn’t matter because they aren’t fun to begin with. They have no flow. They’re cramped and they’re slow. Also, Nintendo’s 3D obsession is in full force here because just about every room has this unnecessary focus on depth, meaning there are 3 or 4 levels of depth in EACH ROOM, and you’re supposed to differentiate between them all.

It’s just like Miyamoto shooting all sorts of objects toward the screen from the background in Mario 3D Land. It has nothing to do with good game design and has everything to do with “OH MY GOD THE 3D EFFECTS!” There are several areas where you do nothing but ride platforms over deep pits and fall off them to reach the other platforms below… Gee, I wonder why Nintendo included those sections….

If some defensive emailers try to convince you otherwise, just look up footage of any dungeon in this game, then compare it to the corresponding dungeon from A Link to the Past (since the content was merely recycled in this “sequel”). You’ll see the difference.

Despite this game increasing the overall damage you take (like Skyward Sword did), it’s still not that challenging. I didn’t die once. Also, the combat is fundamentally wrong. That’s because no matter how strong the enemies are in this game (like those cyclops in the dark world), you can simply stun lock them with repeated sword swings, and they’ll be unable to counterattack. Enemies are rendered helpless from simply mashing the B button.

Do you remember that from classic Zelda? I sure don’t. Classic Zelda was challenging specifically because most enemies couldn’t be stunned. You might be able to knock them back, but you usually couldn’t stun them. For instance, it was dangerous to fight Darknuts or Wizrobes head-on in the first Zelda. They’d keep attacking even as you attacked them. You needed to get behind them to be safe, and even then, they could turn suddenly and hit you. A Link Between Worlds treats enemies like they’re decorations.

Although this game removes some of the garbage from prior games (less narrative, the annoying helpers are gone), it still has stupid shit. For instance, right in the beginning of the game when you go to Hyrule Castle you’re forced to stay in this art room for about a minute or so and look at paintings (which contain the game’s intro story) while your “presence” is “announced” to Zelda. You can’t skip this section and you can’t leave the room. I tried. You have to wait for the princess to get her royal ass up to come get you.

You can just tell this was the designers forcing you to bask in their in their incredible “art” and “story” while you’re stuck like a helpless prisoner.

Remember how you hated that massive puzzle right before the Master Sword in Twilight Princess? I hated that too, but Aonuma obviously loved it because now you have to complete another one to get the Master Sword in this game. A bunch of ghosts move around in a confusing pattern to disorient you, and you have to track where two or three of them are going (at the same time) to take the correct path through the Lost Woods. It’s like one of those games where a ball is hidden in one of three cups and you’re supposed to follow it. So I guess Aonuma is a magician now. He should disappear from Zelda. I’d applaud that act.

There are still lame ass characters. That guy in the bunny suit has no place in a Zelda game (it’s downright embarrassing and childish), and that evil magician is so ridiculously androgynous that I actually thought he was a girl at first. Turns out he’s not…. Sure surprised me.

The story makes no sense. The dark world in a Link to the Past was the golden land which housed the Triforce. It was turned evil by Ganon obtaining the Triforce and wishing to conquer the world. The dark world was then destroyed and returned to the golden land at the end of that game because Ganon was killed. So it doesn’t exist anymore.

Yet this Lorule is now the dark world. Why the hell does Lorule even exist? And why the hell does it have its own Triforce? That’s stupid! Aonuma keeps ruining the lore of this series like he did with trains or the creation of the Master Sword in Skyward Sword.

The forced circle pad controls are irritating. I missed so many shots with arrows and fell off so many ledges because the game wouldn’t let me use the D-pad and the circle pad just isn’t suited to 2D gaming. It doesn’t even have the 8 notches around the edges like prior Nintendo analog sticks to let me do diagonal movements easily. Thanks for taking away my control scheme, Nintendo. You dicks.

I could identify many more problems, but long story short, A Link to the Past murders this game in quality. There’s no comparison. Hell, I think Link’s Awakening is still way better than this game. This game is comparable to Minish Cap at best.

Here’s what I expect for the Wii U Zelda. Aonuma will toss the prior motion controls out the window to remove control options from players, and he’ll undoubtedly create some gameplay innovation based around the GamePad. So everyone will have to use the GamePad. But he’ll recycle all of the content from prior games, and he’ll bring back more lame characters, atrocious story and a ridiculous amount of puzzles.

The graphics will not be based on the Twilight Princess-style that was shown at E3 2011. Instead, they’ll look like Mario Kart 8 or, more likely, the yarn or Lego/block style used in Nintendo Land (think the Zelda or Metroid mini-games). Mark my words. He’ll do it. And Wind Waker kiddies will cheer him on like idiots.

Zelda has no future as long as Aonuma – and possibly even the current Zelda team – are in charge. That man despises classic Zelda and doesn’t have the skill to make one anyway.

Good review.

My impression is that Nintendo will not allow another NSMB event to occur (where gamers are allowed to choose a direction for the series Miyamoto does not like). Sakamoto had to say that Super Metroid was about ‘maternal instincts’ because Other M wasn’t a Metroid game.

I see Nintendo making Link Between Worlds as not so much as to make people want to like Zelda but to squash the Classic Zelda enthusiasts by trying to confuse by removing the perceived differentiation. “See? It is Classic Zelda because it is top-down.” Top-down isn’t what made Classic Zelda. Zelda 2’s similarities with Zelda 1 and 3 show us what Zelda actually is.

“See? We keep making Mario and Zelda games. There they are.” From my perspective, Nintendo stopped making Mario and Zelda games. 3d Mario was never Mario to me. Aonuma Zelda is not Zelda.

The thing is that Nintendo knows this. But with these classic type games, the developers perform more like engineers which is not that fun. With Gamecube-esque ways, they get to perform like ‘creative writers’ where they put down whatever falls out of their ass (which is why the material is so horrendously bad).

I think it all boils down to Nintendo developers altering the tactics again and again so they get to have a game sell when they do what they want. They need a new attitude. They should do what they don’t want to do because it is about gamers having fun, not developers. Game development is a job like any other. The only one who is entitled to fun are the customers.


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