Tag Archives: Skyward Sword

The Zelda Awards

Today, we are here to honor some of the best of the best that The Legend of Zelda has offered to us. I don’t even need a prelude here; let’s just get right to it.

Warning: thar be spoilers below

 

Best Dungeons: Twilight Princess

320px-Arbiter's_Grounds

 

Many have sited the Stone Tower Temple from Majora’s Mask s as the best Zelda dungeon of all time, and while that may be compelling and challenging, Twilight Princess has the most consistently excellent dungeons, with great weapons to match.

My favorite is the Arbiter’s Grounds, with the Snowpeak Ruins as a close second. The Temple of Time has grown on me over time, and once I got over my initial confusion, City in the Sky and Lakebed Temple are pretty sound too. I think the only place I can’t stand going through is the Twilight Palace, and that’s only because of the goddamn Zant Hands and their unnerving chase music.

Zantshand

 

They are more obnoxious than fun, and I hate them more than I initially hated the Silent Realms and the guardian chases in Skyward Sword.

The Arbiter’s Grounds feels like something out of The Mummy or Indiana Jones, and it takes advantage of your newly acquired ability to switch between your wolf and human forms at will. It also borrows the Poe quest from Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple, which is a pretty clever throwback; here, you track down the Poes using your sense of smell. The mini-boss has one of the coolest designs I’ve ever seen,

tumblr_mdnonoxDSV1rtt7p1o1_500

 

and the Spinner item is ridiculously fun, even when trial and error is required to cross a room. In my opinion, this is what the Shadow Temple from Ocarina of Time should have been: creepy and crypt-like, but not overly gruesome and severely clashing with the tone of its game. Not that the Shadow Temple is that bad, mind you; it just comes out of nowhere and kind of undermines the dark and sinister implications of Ganondorf’s plans thus far.

Trying to murder an entire race via starvation, and then, failing that, feeding them all to a dragon on their own mountain? Poisoning a race’s deity and freezing them under thick sheets of ice? A castle guard dying in a back alley after Ganondorf’s siege? That’s cool and all, but now check out this temple we made that’s a precursor to the Saw franchise!

hqdefault Zelda1 tumblr_inline_ms75gkn55c1qz4rgp

vwxmx zlCfzSS9ku4N03TERf

 

…the hell?

It’s like watching a Japanese horror film for an hour, and then at the 30 minute mark it gets hijacked by Eli Roth.

Ikana Canyon is much the same, but it was perfectly in alignment with the tone of Majora’s Mask, and it does have it subtleties, believe it or not. I think the most disturbing, semi-subtle thing about the Shadow Temple is that Hyrule would even have a place where the worst criminals in history were entombed, and that their murderous spirits haunt the place. I can buy the Gerudo doing that because they are a warrior-thief race of badass amazon women who probably rape men to continue their population and wow have I digressed here. But again, dark implications that get a lot of their creepiness sucked away by the “In-Your-Face” Temple.

templetime-1

 

In conclusion: if you want fun dungeons, play Twilight Princess. They’re grrrrrrrrreat!

 

Best Enemies: Wind Waker

3_Bokoblins

 

The common monsters, for the most part, are all variations of the same thing you get in every Zelda game. But while I like the design of the Twlight Princess incarnations, and love being able to beat on them as a human or tear them apart viscerally as a wolf, Wind Waker’s monsters are goofy and lovable in their own way; the moblins are in particular are somehow creepy and hilarious at the same time, all because of how they are animated.

Moblin_(The_Wind_Waker)

 

As an added bonus, many of them drop piñatas full of hearts, rupees, and other useful items, and the ones that don’t often guard treasure chests or other important areas. It’s fun being able to sail up to an enemy watchtower, bomb the beejezus out of their canons, and climb the ladder to engage them in a twirling, fluid swordfight.

Or just snipping them with your bow or boomerang.

These enemies are pretty creative, but most importantly, they are fun. The ReDeads are a unique and clever improvement on their Ocarina of Time predecessors.

tumblr_inline_nik78m8CCm1r9yi32

 

Best Sidequests: Majora’s Mask

See my top ten list here for more details.

Save a farm from alien ghosts. Stop bandits from attacking a milk wagon and smashing all its cargo. Put longing souls to rest. Do an awesome, physically impossible sound check.

Not only are the quests awesome, challenging, and even emotional, but the items you get from them are useful on their own or great for getting the Fierce Deity Mask.

 

Best Adventure (aka Most Fun Overworld and Gameplay): Wind Waker

maxresdefault

 

Sailing the seas discovering new islands, people, and treasure; that’s what this game is all about. It looks like a Saturday morning cartoon, but it has plenty of emotion and pathos too. In fact, the ending is probably the most depressing in all of 3D Zelda history.

This is the game I would recommend most to newcomers. The dungeons and monsters aren’t particularly hard, but the graphics and gameplay are engaging and awesome, and the sailing music really puts you in the mood for an adventure.

 

Best Bosses: Ocarina of Time

lZm4oMv

 

Twinrova, Volvagia, Phantom Ganon, and more. How can you not love these bosses?

Better bad guys may have come along, but I feel that Ocarina of Time has the most consistent fun, want-to-play-again bosses, and they set the sound foundations for many a boss battle to come. None of them are super hard, but they look cool, their lairs are cool, and I enjoy seeking them out on repeated playthroughs (or Ocarina of Time 3D’s bed of infinite rematch).

 

Best Character: Midna, Twilight Princess

36190303zeldatp020203161280-1454550288987_large

 

Midna is also the least annoying companion character, so I’m including that in this category as well.

She is the young princess of the Twilight Realm, the Australia to Twilight Princess’s Britain. Her people are the descendants of power-hungry magic users who were banished from Hyrule when they tried to take control of the Sacred Realm. With the help of Ganondorf and his Triforce of Power, a Twili man named Zant steals the Twilight Realm and curses Midna, forcing her to flee. With his new-found power, Zant moves on to conquer the world of light as well.

Zant_Battle_Ready

 

When we first see Midna, we don’t know who she is. She seems arrogant, happy with the state of things in the world of light; and flippant in her concern for most people’s safety. Seeing an opportunity, she frees Link from prison and helps him restore light and order in exchange for gathering 3 items called the Fused Shadows, which she believes will help her overthrow Zant.

Midna

 

She genuinely wants save her people, but initially, she makes herself look like a bitter rebel. Midna also mocks Zelda, no doubt thinking that she is a coward who is trying to save some semblance of face by remaining a powerless prisoner with her people.

But as Link acquires each Fused Shadow, Midna grows more and more attached to him, to the point that she tries to protect him when Zant thwarts her plans and steals the cursed items away. After that, she is mortally injured, only saved by the actions of Link and the willing sacrifice of Princess Zelda’s life force.

In an early cutscene, it is revealed that Zelda willingly surrendered Hyrule to spare her people from death. While we don’t see the exact condition of Midna’s confrontation with Zant (a waaaay later cutscene), she implies that she was weak and ashamed of her cursed form. Midna went into exile and hid, allowing her people to suffer and mutate at the hands of Zant, so a parallel is definitely drawn between the two princesses and their choices.

twilight

 

Deeply moved and with a new respect for Zelda, Midna becomes more humble and considerate. She still gets angry, cocky, and impatient, but it’s more understandable, and definitely more subdued than the beginning. She clearly cares about Link and the world of light much more than she did before; for example, she feels awful for what the shard of the Mirror of Twilight did to Yeta, and for the fact that Link had to hurt her to stop the possession. Zelda’s people lived in fear and hopelessness, but she acted for their sake with no regard for her own fate, and she did what she could to aid Link and Midna, knowing that they were her best hope for saving Hyrule.

Like Tatl and Fi, Midna gets a character arc, but hers is far stronger and more emotional than either of theirs. She’s also much less annoying to take with you; her advice can actually be helpful, and she can lift large, heavy objects; warp you and said objects; and later, she can change you into a wolf or human whenever you want (thanks to an accidental “gift” of some of Zant’s magic).

link_midna__default-news-image

 

She’s not only a great companion, but a great character in general, and she really makes Twilight Princess a more fun and compelling game than it already is.

 

Best Ultimate Villain: Motivation: Skull Kid, Majora’s Mask

                       Boss Fight: Ganondorf, Twilight Princess

Skull_Kid_(without_mask)

 

I’ve already discussed the Ganon boss fight on my Top 10 Zelda Bosses list, so you can find the breakdown there.

Fifty points to Ocarina of Time Ganondorf for the best played game of tennis that Zelda has seen these many years.

4fb304fb6e97ad62c5fff5db9fac49b2

 

Wind Waker Ganondorf had a little more humanity and insanity added to his character than the standard “Get Power/Take Over the World” mindset. Zant is a deranged, merciless heretic that is used and empowered by Ganondorf to plunge the Twilight World and the world of light into shadow and chaos. Ghirahim is the minion and sword of Demise, Skyward Sword’s ultimate villain; ambiguous like Fi, who is the Master Sword, but without any of her compassion and curiosity for human beings. Like Zant, he is deranged and unpredictable.

Ghirahim_Artwork

 

Despite often having the plot hijacked by Ganon/dorf, it’s clear to see that the Legend of Zelda franchise has some great villains that are especially fun and challenging to defeat.

20150214214025

 

But Skull Kid is, in my opinion, the most human and tragic of all of the villains. He’s a natural prankster, but he means well. When his friends, the four giants, appear to be leaving him, he tries everything he can think of to make them stay, including acting out like a spoiled child. His actions hurt and sadden the people of Termina, who summon their guardian giants back to save them from him.

Skull_Kid_and_the_Four_Giants

 

While Skull Kid is terribly upset, he befriends two fairy siblings named Tatl and Tael, who briefly distract him from his pain. They start playing and pulling pranks together, which results in Skull Kid finding and putting on Majora’s Mask, a dark, possessed magical item that then uses him to inflict even more pain on the people of Termina. Majora’s Mask convinces Skull Kid, in his bitter loneliness, that he should even go so far as destroying the world, and soon, it is unclear how much of Skull Kid is left in the body being manipulated by the mask. Like Zant and Ghirahim, Majora’s Mask itself is deranged, dark, and dangerously powerful.

Among his many terrible actions, Skull Kid uses the mask to seal away the guardians, making them unable to hear the calls of the very people they are there to protect. It is a cruel, but poetic revenge.

Majoras-Mask-Moon1

 

Eventually, Skull Kid is defeated by Link and the guardian giants, but the mask then casts him aside like a doll and challenges Link directly, drawing him up into the moon that Majora created and intended to crush down into the town.

But, if you will remember, I’m picking Skull Kid, not Majora’s Mask itself.

It’s a sad story, and even somewhat relatable to the player. Skull Kid misunderstands his friends’ duty and inadvertently drove them away when he needed them most. It is everyone’s fault and no one’s at the same time, leaving everyone feeling betrayed and/or hopelessly alone. Skull Kid’s new friends try to help, but they can’t heal his bitterness, and they are powerless to stop his possession and subsequent terrible behavior. They are somewhat responsible for the monster he becomes.

 

You don’t have to be a genocidal asshole to see the tragic and pitiable elements, but that doesn’t mean that you have to condone or forgive Skull Kid’s actions either. He does bad things for bad reasons, but even Tatl, in all her harsh directness, can’t find it in her heart to completely hate him.

In the end, you can only work to clean up the mess he made, and bridge an understanding between old, estranged friends.

 

Best Link: Majora’s Mask

Link_Artwork_1_(Majora's_Mask)

 

I’m basing this category not on personality, items, or hotness, but on which Link was best suited to his game. As far as I’m concerned, that would be Majora’s Mask.

While Wind Waker Link is adorable and bursting with cartoonish expressions, he was the outlier for a while as far as Zelda games were concerned. Link is the “link” – clever, right? – between the player and the game, so he has no real personality to speak of. I think that’s for the best, and it will be even better once the game designers finally figure out how to make players’ dialogue and choices actually mean something in the game experience.

Majora’s Mask Link is the epitome of a hollow shell, to the point that he can even summon one of himself with the use of his ocarina to solve certain puzzles. Because the clock is reset every 3 days and Link is constantly donning different masks to take on new identities, his actions are either forgotten or attributed to someone else entirely.

tumblr_mnh9hfWB3G1sps423o1_500

 

It really feels like he’s saving the world because he feels compelled to, not because anyone asked him to or it was preordained by some prophecy. Like the player, he is just some guy who now has the chance (read: is forced) to take on an adventure, and if you think about it, your choice to do any one thing in the game is ignoring and dooming other people throughout the world of Termina.

You wanted to spend 3 days working through a temple, or getting a side item? Well congratulations, you monster: the little girl at the ranch was abducted by aliens and is now a tormented, confused shell of her former self.

romani romani

 

Despite its often colorful exterior, Majora’s Mask is grim, bleak, and unrelenting. It’s not just in the subtext; it is text. There’s a reason that it’s one of the more polarizing 3D Zelda games ever.

Cartoony Link was the closest we came to Link being an actual character (although Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword Links at least had jobs), but as far as player avatars go, Majora’s Mask Link made the most sense and fit the most with his given plot. His is a sad, sad, horribly tragic story, and it translates to his sad, sad, horribly tragic reincarnation into the Hero’s Shade in Twilight Princess. There, he got some character retroactively handed to him as a lonely, regretful soul, unable to pass on what he has learned and thereby rest peacefully in the afterlife.  

Majora’s Mask Link can be a Zora, Goron, Giant, Fierce Diety, or Deku, on top of his other masks and items. There is also that.

 

Best Overall Story: Skyward Sword

The-Legend-of-Zelda-Skyward-Sword-30

 

It’s the one (for now) that started it all. This is why we have Links, Zeldas, and Ganondorf’s appearing across time and space.

Link and Zelda don’t have the most personality here, but they do get a believable friendship and almost romance going on, having been childhood friends. I like that while Link is gifted at the Knight’s Academy, Zelda makes it clear that her father spoils him, treating him almost like a son. Despite Groose being the way he is, you can understand why other kids might be bitter towards Link for all the favoritism he seems to get.

Zelda is snatched from your grasp by an unknown force, and Link leaves his sky island to dive down below the clouds, where no human, except one, has been in…centuries? I think I’ll go with that. He explores an uncharted land to save Zelda, discovering that she is the human reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia, who faithfully protected the Triforce and her people, but also wished to experience humanity.

link-vs-demise1

 

Meanwhile, a long-banished demon is resurfacing, and he sends his minions to thwart Link and hunt Zelda down so that he can use her to fully revive.

The idea that Link and Zelda are both reborn, doomed to face Ganondorf forever but also bound by their eternal friendship, is tragic, powerful, and romantic. And in the game context, Link, not unlike Hercules, is given many tasks to prove himself worthy of protecting Zelda and being the hero that Hyrule needs and deserves.

 

Most Satisfying Endings: Skyward Sword

tumblr_inline_o08uz2iizT1syf2yq_500

 

The villain is defeated, the people of the isolated town of Skyloft can now experience and repopulate the lower world; and Link and Zelda remain together in Hyrule as friends, their bond now stronger than ever. The saddest things involved in the conclusion of events are Impa remaining with the Master Sword and Fi retreating into the sword and going into a long slumber, but the latter is at least hopeful in that all games following, you can think of Fi being bonded to Link and helping to protect him and the land through the ages.

Fi can be very annoying as a companion character,

2088956-fi

 

but she had her good moments, and it is genuinely sad to see her go, after she has come to understand humans so much better. It is sadder than Navi leaving, but also less of a relief (although to be honest, Navi never annoyed me nearly as much as she seemed to annoy other players).

Impa is a decent character as well, but her departure is sadder for Zelda’s benefit than the player’s. Old Impa was nice, wise, and helpful to you, but young Impa liked to give you crap for not coming to Zelda’s aid fast enough, which is fine I guess, but if I had no way to avoid being late to the party, it’s not really my fault then, is it Impa? Especially when I was only partially informed of the situation and was going above and beyond what an average person would do in a situation like that.

tumblr_lwzv3yxlVl1r3gd2t

 

Just saying.

mqdefault

 

But yes. The ending is a bit sadder than in Ocarina of Time, but it has more weight and emotion attached to it, so it wins.  

 

Best Item: Any game with the Double Clawshots

3248149_orig

 

My God, is this item awesome! The original hookshot was a great idea, but this? Turning Link into Spiderman? Genius!

Bravo, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword (as those are the only two games at the time of writing that employ them)! On the one hand, the former game lets you hang down on a chain if you need to and grab far away items, but on the other hand, the latter game lets you use the clawshots from hang vines, and uses the Beetle to fill that second function just fine.

clawshot

 

Either way, great idea, great items, and unlike the much beloved Spinner, they actually have tons of use outside of the temple you find them in.

 

Best Use of Rupees: Skyward Sword

20140520-160632

 

Way to make your in0game money finally mean something, Nintendo.

In Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, money was ridiculously easy to get your hands on, and in Twilight Princess, you definitely had to save for some occasions, but it was more annoying than fun. Especially when having to pay for something pulls the break on the story, like fixing the Sky Cannon.

And though I love the campy store, getting Malo Mart at the Castle Town is pretty much like doing homework. And what did I ultimately get for my efforts? I paid 3600 something rupees to get a cool suit of armor that sucks even more rupees out of me in order to function. Wheeeeeeee!

Zelda-skyward-sword-upgrade-600x300

 

In Skyward Sword, there is only one real “shop,” but it allows you to upgrade your items, shields, and potions. Sure, you need bugs and loot as well, but rupees as an absolute must if you want better, cooler toys to play with. While they are easier to find than a lot of monster drops, there is some actual planning involved in their acquisition. I make it sound as though it’s mostly salad dressing, but this is the first game to really implement shield deterioration and increased potion potency.

Even your non-wooden shields can take damage and be destroyed now. And, as you might guess, the number of hearts a Red Potion can recover can now be increased.

That may be the closest any video game will come to actually teaching your kids the value of money, but only in the eccentric, spend-a-holic sense.

 

And finally, we come to some Honorable Mentions, which I have reserved for Zelda herself. She is the legend, after all.

Ocarina of Time gave us a great, positive gender-ambiguous Zelda incarnation. I have always believed that Zelda and/or possibly Impa altered the princess magically, so that she was physically a man. Zelda was aware of her true identity, but she was so committed to the disguise that she didn’t just tape her chest flat and pad out her ninja spandex. No, she became a man.

33145946464ea68695f990d806b7c8c7

 

That has opened up so much room for debate over the years, but sadly, more recent games have tried to sidestep controversy by make Sheik indisputably female. I think that is a shame and even an insult, both to a character and the LGBTQ fanbase in general.

American game localizers have a bad habit of censoring and striping down positive gay and “coded gay” characters, while overemphasizing depraved, ambiguous villains, all in the name of parents, many of whom rarely give a crap about what their kids play. Japan has a bad habit of stereotyping people who are not Japanese, sometimes even demonizing characters who do not fit their ideal. In this case, I believe Japan made a good, interesting character, and then folded to pressure from America and other interest groups who didn’t want to offend the “right” people or raise difficult questions.

Nevertheless, I appreciate and admire the original Sheik. If you want an even more interesting take on his/her story, I suggest the Ocarina of Time manga. It’s not canon, of course, but it adds another layer of intrigue to the Sheik/Zelda distinction.

 

Wind Waker Zelda is probably the best character of all the Zelda’s.

 

Skyward Sword paints the young girl as a fairly typical anime-esque love interest and childhood friend to Link, but adds some depth when she remembers being the reincarnated goddess Hylia in human form. That’s pretty cool, but we only get the insight of Zelda distantly remembering her past life under a human filter. I’d personally be interested to know more about her mentality and exploits as a goddess, especially because the bigger goddesses Nayru, Din, and Farore never get any character whatsoever. Would they be like the Old Testament Christian God? The Greek Gods? New Testament God? Where did they come from, why did they want to create the world in the first place, and how are standings and power established?

Skyward Sword raises a lot of questions, but its Zelda is still an interesting and compelling character.

 

Tetra_and_Pirates

Wind Waker Zelda begins as Tetra, the leader of a crew of pirates. She reminds me of a fully realized Tatl or Princess Ruto; sassy and definitely aware of her standing , but warm, caring, and even fun. Even before being made aware of her great destiny, she feels obligated to help Link save his sister, compassionate for the people of Outset Island when a destructive storm threatens to destroy them, and even comes to Link’s rescue after she could have just sailed away to a great reward.

Tetra is great because she represents a moral grey area. She’s a thief that loves her life, but she’s also bound by her own code of honor, which is shown to not always align with her crew’s priorities. I have to dock some points, however, for how bland and ineffectual she becomes after donning the official Zelda dress.

You could say that she’s overwhelmed by the new sense of responsibility and purpose she feels, but that doesn’t change the fact that it feels like a downgrade to an awesome character.

Tetra is the kind of girl who should have been able to save her own damn self.

 

*Pictures and video belong to Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto.

Advertisements

Marge’s Top Ten Zelda Boss Fights

At this, the tail-end of what the fans have begun to dub “Zelda Month”, I wanted to offer my own paltry praise and tribute to the massively-entertaining and immersive series of games known as The Legend of Zelda. 

I have been playing a little bit of Triforce Heroes with my friends, and I got to thinking: Zelda has some really fun and memorable bosses. Only in this most recent game have we been able to use other players to team up and defeat them, but the variety of settings, monsters, items, and, for lack of a better phrase, ways to expose and exploit weaknesses, have become pretty ingeniously inventive since the first game’s release in 1986. Add spectacular graphics and wide fields of movement to the mix, and you come away with much more challenging battles.

So today, I thought I’d give you my top ten favorite boss fights across the whole series.

I’m sorry to say, and don’t hate me for this, there will be no 2-D battles on this list. I haven’t played many of the earlier games, and most of the ones I have tried didn’t grab me the way 3-D Zelda games have. I think that is mostly due to how I was introduced to the series in the first place, with Ocarina of Time.

I love Oracle of Seasons and Ages, but those are the only ones I’ve beaten. And I digress. 

Here we go!

 

10) Majora 

At the very top of the list, we have the final boss battle in Majora’s Mask

If you’ve obtained the Fierce Deity Mask, the fight is insultingly easy, but it makes my number ten spot because it’s fun, fast-paced, and batshit insane. 

majorasmask

 

Majora’s first form is the mask itself, hovering around the arena while shooting beams at you and bringing the mask-remains of the former bosses to life to distract you.

Once you’ve sufficiently slashed that, Majora grows limbs and a head with a single, large eye as its second form, and it darts around and dances wildly while a silly, distorted version of its theme plays in the background.

gfs_98132_2_2

 

The third and final form bulks Majora up like a body builder, and gives it shocking whips that grow from its hands.

Majora's_Wrath_Artwork

 

This is the hardest stage of the battle, but again, not that hard for boss standards and certainly not for those of final bosses. But because the rest of the game is fairly challenging, Majora’s Mask can be forgiven in this instance.

 

9) Ganon (TP)

Zelda games fall under two categories most of the time: those in which Ganon (Ganondorf) is the villain throughout, and those in which Ganon hijacks the plot away from another villain (usually by way of Villain B attempting to summon him). Twilight Princess is probably the most egregious example of the latter, and while the battle with Zant was epic and challenging and I feel bad for not putting him here, some room must be made on this list for the king villain of the entire series. 

dark-beast-ganon-tp

 

Of all of the Ganon/dorf fights, this game has my favorite. The first stage involves fighting a possessed Princess Zelda, doing the classic light attack volley. Then, a massive wild boar charging at you, and you have to alternate between your human and wolf forms to defeat him. The wolf form is one of my favorite mechanics introduced in any Zelda game, and pitting a beast against a much larger beast and still coming out on top is very satisfying.

04r-010

 

In the third stage, you are chasing Ganondorf on horseback across a wide stretch of Hyrule Field, with Zelda reprising her role from the final battle in Wind Waker by firing light arrows to slow him down. 

Being able to use your sword while riding is a great upgrade from the last game, and you can either beat a path to Ganondorf or lag behind, slashing at his virtually ineffectual minions. It’s really fun.

Just avoid energy beams, as they will sting.

1623

 

Lastly, you fight him mano-a-mano, applying the sword techniques you learned from the Hero’s Shade throughout your journey. The only one you really need is the finishing blow, which you will be made to learn anyway, but the introduction of specific sword and shield techniques to the gameplay adds thrills and even a bit of skill to your battles, especially this one. Ganondorf can move and block fairly well, so being able to roll behind him and slash at his unprotected back can really help you.

Link_vs._Ganondorf_(Twilight_Princess)

 

Really, this game added a lot of good things. Some people say it’s just a rip off of Ocarina of Time with more story and better graphics, but I don’t think that’s fair. It’s not the most creative entry in the series, but it’s definitely not a straight-up rehash. A beefed-up, though still flawed, spiritual sequel is what I’d call it.

 

8) Volvagia

Ocarina of Time presents: Whack-A-Mole!:

 

7) Armogohma (TP)

I was tempted to put Gohma from Wind Waker here (Zelda has quite a few Gohma incarnations across the series, actually), but as fun as it is to hook on to a dragon’s tail with a grappling hook and swing over a giant beetle-centipede lava monster’s head, angering the dragon and unsettling the rocks on the ceiling and crushing said monster (yes, really), you know what’s more satisfying?

Squishing a spider!

350px-ArmoGhoma

 

The Armagohma fight in this game is a nice and familiar retread of the Gohma fight in Ocarina of Time, but, as you might have guessed from the gushing in the Ganon section, incorporates new elements for a relatively challenging battle.

Armagohma is bigger and more spider-like than ever, but with the help of the Temple of Time’s item, the Dominion Rod, you can bring her down quickly. Literally. When she crawls up onto the ceiling, shoot her in the giant eye on her back with an arrow. When she falls to the ground, Link can use the Dominion Rod to take control of one of the nearby giant statues and crush her weak spot with its hammer. 

 

The only part I don’t like is when you finally break her hard exoskeleton, she turns into a bunch of gross mini-spiders, led by a main spider that apparently made up the eyeball on her back. This is gross and mildly annoying, but once you get here, you know you’re basically in the clear.

 

6) Hellmaroc King

zlCfzRJgVNA_aeyxy_

 

Spoilers: It’s a giant flying chicken. 

In Wind Waker, you take the most awesome hammer in the entire series and smash a giant monster chicken in the face! How cool is that?

This villain was a bit more personal for me than most others. It appears a few times before you fight it, once when kidnapping Link’s little sister and then again catching you just before you can rescue her, only to fling you out into the sea to drown. Sure, it’s technically a lackey, but the game got me to build up a vendetta against this stupid giant chicken and boy is the conclusion to that plot satisfying!

First, you goad the bird into trying to attack you, causing it to bury its beak in the ground and trap it momentarily.

windwaker3_thumb

 

The hammer then chips away at its protective mask, until you can finally do more damage to the chicken itself. Meanwhile, dodge its gliding swipe attacks and gusts of wind, which will blow you into the painful spikes ringing the arena if you aren’t careful. 

It’s not the most fun battle in the whole series, but it’s definitely one of the most satisfying.

 

5) Blizzeta

In Twilight Princess, you come upon an old, dilapidated mansion in the mountains and meet two yeti, a husband and wife, who hold one of the pieces of a cursed mirror that you need.

YetaYeto

 

The yeti are nice and obliging, but the husband is preoccupied with making soup for his sick wife, and his wife can’t remember where she put the key to their bedroom, where the mirror shard lives, and you have to follow her baffled directions several times before you get it right. It’s a dungeon in practice, but not in name.

Eventually, Yeta the yeti will lead you to the bedroom and unlock it. In a case of complete tonal whiplash, the sweet yeti takes a look at the mirror and goes full-on Gollum over it.

tumblr_m4qb6xfyad1r34we5o2_400

 

This boss battle involves using a spiked ball and chain to chip away at the moving ice chunks that encase Yeta. The boss will go up on the ceiling, so watch the reflection on the floor and dive out of the way as she attempts to crush you with each ice chunk. Once that is done, you have a brief moment to break the ice, and eventually, you will attack the center chunk and free Yeta.

300px-Blizzeta

 

I love the music, the fight style, and the nice, helpful character who is corrupted and forced to battle you. It would be more emotional and dramatic in a movie, I think, but it works well in the game.

The moral of the story (and the theme of this list, so far): smashing things is fun.

 

4) Twinrova (OoT)

60973_CTRP_AQE_char25_01_ad_Kopie

 

I really like witches and natural element-based powers, so why not combine the two? Elemental witches!

In the last temple of the game, the Spirit Temple,  you fight Koume and Kotake, Ganondorf’s mothers(?), who can shoot beams of fire and ice respectively. When Koume fires you (pun intended), target Kotake and let the mirror shield do the rest. When Kotake gives you the cold shoulder, target Koume.

I just love turning the enemy’s powers against them; it’s a more epic version of “Stop Hitting Yourself.”

After about three or four successful deflections, the witches will combine into this delightful thing:

Twinrova_(Ocarina_of_Time)

 

She still has two staffs, one per element, and you just have to let her hit your shield three times with the same element, and it will create a blast strong enough to knock her to the ground…I guess because at least half of her is weak against either element? Then, hop over to the platform she’s on and smash! (your hammer does more damage, so I use that)

It’s relatively simple, but very fun, and combined with the cutscenes, it makes a nice conclusion to your journey through the Spirit Temple and your dungeon/temple run in general.

…But she is kind of creepy too.

tumblr_lfoxn3X7du1qfjta1o1_400

 

3) Koloktos

Speaking of using your enemy’s power against itself…

The whip seems a little lame compared to most dungeon items, and switching between it and the sword when you need to slash immediately afterwards can be a bit annoying, but it makes this fight a fan favorite, and one of the most memorable in all of Zelda, for one major reason: you rip off your enemy’s arms, steal its sword, and then beat it to death with it.

Koloktos

 

Koloktos is a giant golden automaton reminiscent of an ancient Buddhist deity, bearing multiple arms and swords. It sits still at first, striking at you and then chucking blades at you when you get too far away. But once you do enough damage, it gets up on legs as well. It can also summon up zombie bokoblins to hurt you.

maxresdefault

 

The exterior of the boss is very hard, so once it puts a cage around its weak spot (can you guess where?), the only way you can get to it is by using something just as hard and massive. This is where the real fun comes in, but you have to be quick on your feet. Even if you manage to detach one or two arms, Koloktos has a wide range for its powerful swipes, and you have to balance staying in range so you can attack while also not getting completely clobbered.

tumblr_nhtkjj6XZO1r9lpmmo6_r1_250

 

Hearts will burst from any pillars Koloktos destroys. These will be your friend.

Then, when at least one arm/sword combo hits the ground, pick up the blade and go to town. Bowl over bokoblins, or go straight for the boss. Whatever you do, it is absolutely essential that you cackle maniacally. 

1041

 

This fight is made all the more enjoyable by the vastly-improved motion controls (improved since Twilight Princess, which was not designed with them in mind to begin with). If only you could also hit something in real life, I think this fight would be damn near perfect. As it stands, it’s pretty satisfying.

 

I give this one major points for creativity, and for being the most fun sword fight of all of the games. This boss even gets a little bit creepy when you hear the girlish, childish giggle it lets out upon defeat (~4:40 of the video above).

 

2) Goht

Short, but sweet, and without a doubt my favorite boss fight in Majora’s Mask.

majora_ghot

 

He’s not the prettiest boss, but he packs a wallop.

Goht charges around the track/room as a giant mechanical bull, and you must don the Goron mask to roll out and give chase. Every time you slam into him, he will send chaotic bolts of lightning back at you, as well as place extra obstacles in your path, from falling stalactites to kicked up bombs.

The nice thing is that you don’t need to worry about running low on energy; the room is full of green energy pots, and all you have to do is roll into them and keep on going.

The-Legend-of-Zelda-Majoras-Mask-3D-How-to-Defeat-Goht-Bos-Guide-01

 

I’ve heard some people call this fight difficult, and I guess that’s because it’s a rare instance of controlling a racing object, rather than moving more slowly with a sword in hand. But it’s not rocket science. Hugging the inside of the track will make you go faster, and dodging projectiles is fairly easy when you’re over or under a certain distance behind Goht.

It’s not nearly as difficult as the Goron race track.

I love the hell out of this fight. Majora’s Mask very kindly lets you go back and replay any boss fight that you want at any time, and more often than not, I find myself back in Snowhead Temple, ready for another run with Goht.

 

1) Stallord

After rocking your way through one of the best dungeons in the entire game (Twilight Princess’s Arbiter’s Grounds), and snagging one of the most fun and memorable additions to the LoZ arsenal, the Spinner, you reach my favorite boss of all time.

Stallord the Twilit Fossil comes alive as a towering skeleton creature, held up by several small vertebrae, emerging from a sea of quicksand. In addition to breathing fire and surrounding the outskirts of the sandpit with rotating circling blade traps, he summons up armored but otherwise harmless soldiers to surround and protect his spine, which serves as the weak point.

670px-Defeat-Stallord-in-Legend-of-Zelda_-Twilight-Princess-Step-4

 

To defeat Stallord, mount the spinner like a skateboard and latch yourself onto the circular edge that runs around the sandpit. When you see an opportunity, or have to avoid a blade trap or fire blast, detach from the edge and make a beeline for his spine.

You may pinball off of the soldiers, but each one you hit is one less that you will have to go through the next time through. Avoid losing momentum and getting stuck in the pit by hooking back onto the edge whenever possible.

After the traditional three to five good hits, this battle actually gets a part two.

01007

 

Stallord will fall to the ground, leaving only the head. It will come alive again, levitating, and shoot fire blasts at you some more. Hop back on the spinner and hook onto the ridge along the center pillar. The wall to your right will also have a track, and you must jump back and forth between the two surfaces to avoid being burned.

The blasts will cause Stallord to slow down slightly, so eventually, you’ll end up right next to his head. Jump into him, and then once he is lying helpless on the ground, strike the sword in the center of his forehead as many times as you can. When he gets up again, the blade traps will start to appear more frequently, making the next few hits a little bit harder to land.

 

Much like the Ghot fight, this boss battle involves staying in motion almost constantly. Riding around on the spinner is inexplicably, ridiculously fun, and it’s a shame that the item has virtually no use outside of its dungeon. Using it in battle is a test of your planning and reaction time more than anything else, but the crunch of breaking apart Stallord’s spine is just as satisfying as striking anything with a sword. 

I’m not usually a fan of boss battles that have multiple parts/forms/etc, but I’ll gladly make an exception for my favorite Zelda battle of all time. 

Who agrees? Who disagrees? Who’s feeling half and half? Let me know in the comments, and Happy December Holiday!

*The pictures and footage belong to Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto. I do not own nor claim right to any of it.

Top 10 Favorite Zelda Sidequests

 

I am not a completionist. At all.

When I play, unless it’s something I’ve done before, I’m mostly interested in character and plot. I see video games like movies, but better, because you can be an active participant.

As long as I can move, and the camera isn’t conspiring to assassinate me, I’m a happy camper.

When I game, I am the type of person who often rushes into a battle unprepared (not sufficiently leveled up or stocked up) because I just want to advance the main story. I level up when forced to, or happily during a second playthrough, but usually, whether I’m going in as the tank or the strategist, I’m praying I can just move on. Sidequests can be the bane of my existence; sometimes feeling more like chores than anything else.

That said, Zelda games are my big exception.

I still don’t typically strive to get everything you could possibly get in the game, but there are a ton of different quests you can choose to do, and a lot of them are really fun. I complete them as soon as I can, or later, when I’m trying to stall the inevitable ending of the game.

For the purpose of this list, I am classifying a side/subquest as: any quest that either a) has no or little effect on the end’s result, and/or b) does not need to be done to finish the game. More items will probably lean to the latter, but there you have it.

Let’s begin!

 

10) Poe Soul Hunting

This spot was a toss up between bug hunting and poe hunting from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but the poes win because:

poe

Come on.

Sure, Agitha is a disturbing but intriguing character, and the bugs get to go to a tea party at her place once you collect them all. And yeah, catching bugs is extra fun in Skyward Sword, once you figure out the net. And you can use them to spice up potions, strengthening status effects. This is fun and useful stuff here.

But screw that! Ghost hunting!

ghostbusters-image

And the ghosts look like this:

imppoe

And this:

Poe_(Twilight_Princess)

Hell, I thought they were fun to hunt back when they looked like this:

468px-I8y97gt98BigPoe

Along the course of the plot, you will meet a man named Jovani. He has quite the sparkling personality.

tumblr_mdvau0fnP51rnmjr5o1_500

His story is that he got greedy and sold his soul to the poes for abundant wealth. They granted his wish, but also turned him into a living jewel, so he can’t even spend his money, or swim around in it Scrooge McDuck style!

So he’s turned over a new leaf, and he needs you to murder 60 poes before he can be returned to normal.

This quest is a spiritual sister to both the poe and skulltula quests from Ocarina of Time. The difference here is that the hunt employs Link’s other form, rather than a bow or other standard weapons. You can only see poes using wolf senses, and once you’ve spotted one (usually at night, indicated with a floating ball of light and creaking sounds), you jump and bite it repeatedly until it falls to the ground, then dig the soul right out of its chest.

You get the picture by about 0:06, but still. Hardcore, and pretty damn brutal. It’s not the darkest thing that Nintendo has ever given us in these E rated games, either.

But it’s a fun collection quest with some freaky adversaries.

Who you gonna call?…Yourself!

 

9) Gerudo Training Ground

After you obtain the Gerudo’s membership card (which is hilarious) from the desert tribe of Amazonian/Spartan women, you have access to several things. The Haunted Wasteland (needed for plot), the horseback archery game, and the Gerudo Training Ground.

gerudo 2

Inside await various puzzles (many of which are timed), to test your stamina, ingenuity, and whether or not you’ve got all the right items. Or, in some cases, whether you’ve brought enough of the right items. Like bombs and arrows.

You’ll need those.

gerudo 1

Water puzzles, fire puzzles, monster puzzles, and more. All for the relatively useless, but nice and item-collection-completing Ice Arrows.

gerudo 3

And when I say useless, I mean that there aren’t many or any boss battles left where you could use them by this point.

There really isn’t too much to say about this one. It’s pretty low on this list, but still a fun mini-dungeon with elements from most of the other dungeons you’ve faced, combined in an atmospherically-acclectic moosh. Just beware misusing your keys, because you only win so many.

 

8) Magic Armor 

eq032_1

Yeah, the sailing in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker did get a bit tedious after a while, but thankfully, the HD remake keeps the ability to teleport while upgrading you (via the auction) to the swift sail, making traversing the Great Sea more fun and fluid. Now, if only they gave you the option to bypass the fish man’s dialogue every time you want to fill in your chart…

006

He’s a contender with this owl, Navi, and Fi as most annoying, “helpful” character.

He's a contender with this guy, Navi, and Fi as most annoying, "helpful" character.

But in defense of the sailing, the game is very big on color and atmosphere; the weather and lighting changing frequently, as well as a multitude of interesting islands to explore. So suck it up, whiners!

This is a big fetch quest and you will probably need a guide to avoid backtracking and unnecessary purchases. There are several people scattered across several islands on far sides of the map, and they will give you things in exchange for other things. And money. You will need lots of money.

Zunari

GZLE01-10

The nice thing about these various trading items (flowers, flags, statues, etc) is that later, you can buy them on Windfall Island and use them to decorate the place or your own personal cabana, if that’s your thing. It’s not really mine that much, but few other fetch quests can say that they allow you to use and reuse items you traded away for your own purposes.

So, while I haven’t been upselling it very much and it can be frustrating occasionally, this quest is mostly fun, and in the end, you get a nice shielding device that makes you invulnerable for as long as your magic meter holds out.

Nifty!

 

7) Fetch Quests/Gratitude Crystals

Sword_0835

Gratitude crystals can either be found lying around Skyloft in hard to reach places, or by doing favors and quests for characters along the course of your adventure. I like the latter more, particularly those that involve going down to the surface and dowsing to locate lost items, like the fortune teller’s (replacement) crystal ball and the Fun Fun Island clown’s party wheel. Dowsing in general was pretty fun for me throughout this game.

Anyway, you collect crystals to get things like pieces of heart and wallet expansions. You get those by giving the crystals to a demon who longs to become human.

I’m not kidding, either. He looks like this:

05a

Friendly-looking, right?

Despite the mildly sketchy way that Batreaux is introduced (you go looking for a lost child only to find her having “screaming contests” with this guy in a hidden bungalow beneath the graveyard), he gives good rewards in exchange for the crystals, and you can have oodles of fun tracking stuff down. Sometimes, the solution to someone’s problem is interesting and complicated, while other times it just the standard point a to point b delivery.

It’s more fun finding things in a game when you know where the item should be and can scope for it. In real life, your car keys go missing, and you’re in trouble. All you can do is retrace steps and blindly fumble and hope. 😦

But on the other hand, video games make people look really morally horrible. They will only help you if you help them first…

Moving on!

 

6) Circus Leader’s Mask

CircusLeadersMask

This mask is ugly as sin and virtually useless, but the jam session you go through to get it is fun. Fun, and short, but it takes a lot of elements and items to even get to this subquest, so it does feel like an accomplishment.

 

5) Skulltula Houses

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask will take up a lot of this list. It’s the game with the most sidequests and, in my opinion, some of the most fun ones. Especially because of the useful items you typically receive for your troubles.

Swamp_Spider_House

Oceanside_Spider_House

There are two spider houses: one in Woodfall, and the other at Great Bay. I like both pretty evenly, but if I had to pick my favorite, it’d be the Oceanside Spider House. It’s dark and haunted-looking, with Stalchildren hanging around to add to the ambience.

hqdefault

Ocean_05

Creepy, grinning, giant masks; minimalist, isolating music; a hunt through several dark and dusty puzzle rooms; and a giant wallet as a reward, with a new mask waiting around the corner. Also, you’re genociding these pleasant things:

goldskultulla

 

Enjoy!

 

4) The Romani Mask

RomaniMask

The first step in this quest involves aliens.

No joke.

Romani Aliens

It is one of the most bizarre things in all of Zelda. But that is what makes it so fun and interesting.

On the first day, you go to Milk Road and blow up the bolder blocking Romani Ranch. Inside, you will find several people (and activities), but the most important are Romani and her older sister, Cremia.

normal_Romani-Cremia

Romani will be outside, running around with her dog and shooting at a balloon with her bow. You talk to her and get your horse after a brief mini game, with the promise to help her ward off an alien invasion early the next morning. Cremia doesn’t believe that such a thing will happen, but she is delighted to hear that the road is open to travel. Now she can deliver her alcoholic milk to town!

…I’m not really kidding about that, either. It’s tied into a really dark scene later, and the game makes no bones about it being hard stuff.

So you fight off these…alien…ghost…looking things:

Majoras-Mask-Them-Aliens

for a couple of hours, keeping them away from the barn with arrows, until they all go away. When you talk to Cremia, she will offer to give you a ride back into town on the second night, which you should accept.

The two of you chat (as much as Placeholder Link is capable to), and a series of road blocks lead you into “ugly country.” Some local farmers in masks come riding up to your wagon like bandits and try to destroy the milk bottles. It is your job to fight them off with arrows to the face.

7b+24

newzzz

Once you’re done: congratulations! You get a cow mask/hood/thingy! It gets you into the 21 and over milk bar in town after dark!

Paaaaaaarty!
Paaaaaaarty!

 

See what I mean? Bizzzzzzzzaaaaaaarrrrrrrreeeeeeee.

What’s even more bizarre (and dark and twisted) is what happens when you fail to protect the ranch from aliens…

 

3) The Couple’s Mask

CouplesMask

Outside of making one guy happy and giving you a heart piece, this mask does nothing. Even less than the Circus Leader’s Mask, which can at least cry rivers. But the quest to get it is the longest in the game, and the resolution for the people involved is both sad and heartwarming. It’s very satisfying that way, somehow; one of the most in-depth and satisfying quests ever in the series, I would argue.

The Skull Kid (the main antagonist of the game) cursed a man named Kafei and gave him the body of a child, but still the mind of an adult, three days before he is supposed to marry his love, Anju. The customs of Termina (the land you are in, as opposed to the usual, Hyrule) dictate that two people commemorating their joining as husband and wife, as a symbolic gesture and simultaneous praise of the guardian giants, must each make a mask and exchange them with one another on the day of the ceremony. To add insult to injury, before Kafei could inform Anju of his misfortune, his wedding mask was stolen by a thief named Sakon, a “prancing man with a grinning face.”

tumblr_mk8sg41pcl1s3rw8ro1_500

Now Kafei, ashamed and desperate to find his mask before he confronts Anju, hides behind another mask that looks suspiciously like Pikachu (but is really more of a general Japanese fox mask) and lives on the far side of town. Anju, unaware of these events and having lost almost all contact with her fiancé, is distraught, and hesitant to evacuate town along with her family (due to the rumor of the falling moon).

tumblr_n7wkv5G5JD1qesuhio1_1280

Not even Kafei’s mother knows where he’s gone, and it’s up to detective Link to sort this mess out!

In-the-Kitchen

puzzle-3

mm-anju&kafei-event12

Haha!
Haha!

You get a lot of masks from this quest; the most out of all of the quests you could choose to undertake. It’s definitely not one of the flashier and funner masks, but in the end, the couple’s mask is a nice trophy to remind you how hard you worked to make all of these characters happy.

…Before you reset the time to the first day, and everything goes back to the way it was. Doomed.

tumblr_mbyog3rXx51rrpsd7

 

2) Nintendo Gallery

Picto-Box

I love Pokemon Snap. Always have, always will. And my Facebook is crammed with pictures. Not club pics and selfies (some of the latter, to be fair), but a lot of landscapes and nature shots. And deer.

I love taking photos. I love getting the perfect shot and focusing on every little minute detail to do so. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker foresaw this, and acted accordingly.

So you take pictures (once you upgrade to a color camera) and then take them to a small pillar of land near The Forest Haven. Here you will find the Nintendo Gallery, where you can turn in good photos for shiny figurines, lovingly sculpted by this fellow:

028

You track down every person, monster, and animal (almost) that you can find, no doubt freaking them out with numerous, obsessive pictures, and you fill the rooms in this place with colorful figurines. Not only will they look pretty, but they also have little blurbs about the characters they represent.

ChuChus_(The_Wind_Waker)

hqdefault

This quest is utterly useless in the grand scheme of things, even by other useless quest standards, but it feels great to the completionist, and even to those who just want to say, “I stopped to take a picture of this boss during the middle of the battle! I have horrendous battle scars now, but look! A trophy!” 🙂

Hooray for catering to youth culture who are increasingly self and phone/camera obsessed!

The HD remake is worse in this regard because (while you get the colored camera much more easily, have more open slots for photos, and can use other players’ photos to complete your quest) you have the ability to take selfies. Literally, selfies. And you can stick them in bottles and send them to other people, receiving their selfies as well.

Wind_Waker_Selfies_Linkstagram_02

Kill me.

 

1) Item Upgrading

Zelda-skyward-sword-upgrade-600x300

Hands down. This is. The greatest thing. Zelda has given me. Ever.

The fact that Skyward Sword shields can now take varying degrees of damage (rather than, say, the Deku shield just being obliterated by lava or fire) is an interesting, if occasionally irritating dynamic Nintendo recently added. But I barely used mine outside of certain battles anyway. Ironically, this game made shields feel more like decorations than anything else. Some people would argue you don’t need them to get through, although with hero mode I would definitely say, “pick one up for insurance.”

But the chance to upgrade my bow for better sniping capabilities?

Bows

Awesome!

The beetle can fly farther and faster now?

Beetles

Awesome!

You can use items you get from monster murder/drops, bugs, and just random things that you find around the overworld. That idea is so simple, but so brilliant, it moves me to tears.

…Well, not really. But still.

Scavenging and hunting has the most appeal in this game, I think, because you can put what you find to many uses that are nice and can help you out, but won’t stall out the plot waiting for you. And it’s not just for completionists! How about those folks concerned with always having the latest models?

No one else in Skyloft will have these cool toys!

Seriously, though. Why hasn’t Link ever thought to add on to his weapons before? Polish and spit-shine them, add a few tweaks! The closest he came before this was probably Twilight Princess, with the Eagle Eye and the ability to make bomb arrows.

Psst…Nintendo! Bring those back!

 

So there you have it. My top 10 favorite sub and side quests from the Zelda series. Which ones are your favorites? Are there any ones I so unfairly missed? Let me know!

*The fan art is by Zelbunni, and that and their other work can be found at the link under the image. As always, I don’t own any of these images or videos. All hail/credit to Nintendo, Ghostbusters, and the creative minds of the web for their collages.

 

Zelda 2015 Theories

Sorry everybody, I’ve been a way for quite some time. I had a couple of difficult things come up in my life that I needed to handle, but I am back to have my take on the Zelda E3 trailer.

In one of my posts, I briefly mentioned the new Zelda Wii U trailer that premiered at this years E3 Convention and of course, since it’s Zelda, new content sparks a lot of speculation. But before we delve too deeply in thoughts, theories, and the trailer itself, let me examine the information given by Eiji Aonuma in the very beginning of the trailer, and further more, establish what we can surely expect from the new Zelda title.

tumblr_n6yk2sh3ng1qcbq9jo6_r1_500
Expectations
1. Exploration and Puzzle Solving
“As far as what you can do with such a vast field to explore…as soon as those boundaries are removed. It means you can enter any area from any direction.”
From this inference, we can safely assume that exploration is going to be a premium focus on Zelda Wii U. Aonuma has said that the inspiration of this new game has come from both Wind Waker and the first Legend of Zelda, where the player had the freedom to explore new areas in the world. You can also infer that it will be a non-linear story structure, giving more flexibility to the player when finding dungeons or exploring the vast over world. Part of the puzzle will be how to get around to certain places on the map.
Open World Zelda
2. Environment and Enemies
“Enemies appearing in such a peaceful world is one of the defining features of the Zelda series. That is one convention we can keep, right?”
From this quote, we can make a valid guess that the world be colorful, beautiful, and serene despite large enemy engagements as demonstrated by the beautiful presentation in the E3 2014 trailer. You can even see the finer details of the shadows changing as the clouds pass the sun if you look at the grass.
3. Character Presentation and Progression
This is a quote that backs this up this idea is from an interview back in late 2013.
“Something that is ‘traditional’ is in a sense often something that copies previous works, so if you continue doing that, it gradually takes away from its uniqueness. So we’re currently working on making those parts more and more unique. So, by no means, am I tired of it. Rather, the more we change it, the more I get fired up. Having someone think ‘Huh? Is this Zelda?!’ at first, then ‘Oh, it is Zelda,’ is what we’re going for. Something that wouldn’t make it matter whether Link or Princess Zelda appear in it or not. Something where it wouldn’t even matter if Zelda is actually a princess, or not.”
Note this interview will not mean that Link or Zelda will not appear. Rather, it’s saying that this title will present a new and unique game experience by changing some of the conventions that we have known throughout the series. In other words, we can expect an unorthodox storyline and character arcs for the next Zelda title, something that no other Zelda title has explored.
Speculations
1. It has been noted that the play can explore anywhere at any time. In the trailer, looking at the opening scene alone, there’s a lot of stuff that can easily be missed at first glance. Open World Zelda
It’s easy to be caught up in by the shear render-distance of it all alone. But when not staring in awe and wonder at the vast expanse of terrain, one can see that Link and his trusty stead are actually standing in a village of some sorts. Not only are there homesteads with long, steap, and triangular roofs, but there are some additional structures further back, including a well, stone pillars, and some elaborate outposts.
In addition, varies villagers or farmers and goats that can be seen in the background. You may also notice what appears to be Death Mountain and possibly Zora’s Waterfall off in the distance. It is also possible that Zora’s Waterfall is some new area since Zora’s Domain is generally in the west, while Gerudo Desert is in the east. Furthermore, there’s a large town in the back and , based on its apparent position on the map, this has me believing it to be Hyrule Castle.
zelda_wiiu_style02-690x388
But based of of the surrounding environment in this trailer, we have our first identifiers in aiding and supporting an open world environment and a non-linear story. Look at any sandbox and non-linear environments and it fits the bill perfectly.
read_dead_redemption
Example of Sandbox/Open World Environment

But just because the game is non-linear it doesn’t mean that the game is non-directional. There will have to be a quest system in place for the player to interact with the environments and explore dungeons. From this, we can assume that the villager can be quest givers.

Even if you look even further back you can notice some type of town or outpost, which can serve as the main hub for requesting and accepting quests. We can assume that the inhabitance of this world have interactions with Link in some way. Furthermore, A Link Between Worlds did this in a similar way regarding the order in which you could visit dungeons.
2. It is hard to tell whether or not the horse Link is riding is Epona or not, due to lacking evidence. But the horse from the trailer seems to be a change in the structure of the body and has a darker coat than Epona in previous titles.

Epona in Twilight Princess
Epona in Twilight Princess
Mystery Horse in Trailer

In addition, the function of the horse seems to have made a change as well. We can see what appears to be a shield, which resembles the round shield in Skyward Sword, and the bow and arrow off to one side of the horse. images We can also see to the other side of the horse what appears to be a satchel, the machanized arrow, and possibly a sheath of a sword. By having the horse wear a satchel and a backpack, this could suggest that the horse could manage and store your quest items as you travel throughout the land, kind of like the banking system used in Skyward Sword. 

It is also suggested that the horse can be used to execute certain attacks on large enemies as seen when the horse give Link a boost to launch an arrow at the enemies’ eye.

EAGLE!!!

3. Aonuma did say that he wanted to keep the convention of battling tough enemies in peaceful environments. However this doesn’t mean it will stay a peaceful enivironment through the course of the game. Possible evidence for this speculation comes from this quote made after the E3 2014 announcement.

“Many people from the media kept asking me if the footage from the new Zelda game for Wii U is just a promotional movie, but that really is actual gameplay on Wii U.”
 It is my personal speculation that this quote and from the looks of the trailer, that the game may feature some sort of destructive environment. tumblr_n6yk2sh3ng1qcbq9jo2_r1_500 This is indicated by the destruction of the bridge and one of the large Mayan-looking rock structures in the background as the monster smashes into it. 7664dOP This is also seen in the first reveal of the monster with the destruction of the grass surrounding, in what I can assume to be Hyrule field. tumblr_n6yk2sh3ng1qcbq9jo3_r1_500
However, Aonuma made no indication if the entire Zelda Wii U trailer was actually gameplay or if only a part of it was, so it is still to early to tell if this is a valid expectation.
4. Link appears to be wearing a unique wardrobe. All of it borrowing from different cultures within the Zelda universe.
He is wearing a blue tunic, similar to his pajamas in Wind Waker, at first glance. But besides the color scheme and the possibility of it being a starter costume, it bears no further similarities. The pattern around the collar is most similar to the waves the patterns on Groose’s pants in Skyward Sword. But overall, the pattern is too common to other swirly designs to really narrow down.
zelda-screenshot-11
He also appears to be wearing Gerudo styled gauntlets, in particular it resembles Ganondorf’s. Link is missing the blue squares in exchange for a blue-green line, but this may be just to distinguish him from Ganon.
Gerudos
He also is wearing a mysterious looking dark cloak that has a crest that may indicated where Link is from. The color scheme and style of the cloak is very reminiscent of some of the clothing that we’ve seen both Sheikah and Ganondorf wear. However, the iconography on the back of Link’s cloak in the trailer does not match up with any of the designs on cloaks we’ve seen in the past.
zelda_wiiu_style11
Link also appears to be a dominate archer. Though there is a small sheath that is visible right side of the horse near his backpack, we have no further information of his sword skills and may be a lesser game mechanic than in previous Zelda games. But it does beg the question, could he be some kind of hunter or charter? It would make sense considering his eclectic attire, but it is still too early in the development to tell or confirm.
tumblr_n6yk2sh3ng1qcbq9jo5_r1_500
But since we are on the topic of Link’s bow, it just looks like the Hero’s Bow from the last few console iterations, with the same bird-beak shapes around the grip. Where things get interesting are the arrows. One thing that is very interesting is that this attachment looks like it was tied on to the arrow and not the arrow itself, suggesting Link may be able to craft new and interesting arrow types.
tumblr_n6yk2sh3ng1qcbq9jo4_r1_500
Link’s arrows also appear to be highly advanced and mechanized and using some type of magic or electricity, much like the robots in Lanayru Skywards Sword. Like the mechanized creature he is fighting, they also resemble connected circle motif that we’ve seen from steampunk type characters and artifacts from areas in Lanayru in Skyward Sword.

screen-shot-2014-06-11-at-9-47-08-am

In addition, Link’s quiver, has a red ‘U’ shape, which we’ve seen before in the Lanayru Province in Skyward Sword, which coincidentally is where the Gerudos eventually set up shop by Ocarina of Time. With all these potential links to Lanayru and Gerudos, do you think that is where Link originates from in this title?

It is also to be noted that, Link appears to be a teenager in this incarnation. However we can not confirm what this all means in regards to timeline or storyline.
5. We can also assume that the map and HUD’s will appear on the gamepad. This speculation is supported by the cinematic and beautiful gameplay in the E3 trailer, notice that there are no visible HUDs or maps on screen. Also, Aonuma was very fond of this feature and had implemented it within the Zelda Wind Waker HD remake, so it would make sense that they had their development team dedicate that much time for that feature. Again, it is still to be reveal what the use of the gamepad will be.
Overall
Based on the information we have gathered it is sure to be a well crafted game and I am so hyped for this game to come out. Nintendo has announced that they will be attending gamescom, which I highly suspect that we will have more information or trailer of the new Zelda title in August. So only time will tell what we can expect further from this new Zelda title. I will hopefully be covering this in a timely fashion when more information is released. And as always stay thirsty my bros.
Sources