Tag Archives: The Legend of Zelda

First Impressions of the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild

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The initial release weekend has come and gone. Finally, am I right? How long has Nintendo been hyping this game in particular?

I will preface this by saying that I spent the weekend constantly trading off my playtime with my boyfriend, who works significantly different hours than I do, but we both can safely agree that we love this new system.

The portability is amazing, and any graphical quality reduction that might occur when moving from a TV screen to the Nintendo Switch’s screen is more than forgivable, assuming I even noticed it in the first place (which I haven’t). No longer are you tied to Wii U’s exact location, unable to take the controller more than 10 feet away  before it starts fussing. Now, you could take The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on a several-hour car trip, provided that it is properly charged on the docking station beforehand.

I’m saying all of this because I started playing the Switch almost completely blind. Unlike my boyfriend, who has been watching updates on the system and the game for months, I ignored all news, obsessing over other things in my hope to make the time go by faster.

It worked, by the way. I was excited, but not agonizingly so, like someone I know…

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The switch controls were a bit confusing and awkward at first, but you can arrange and rearrange them at your leisure. The system comes with a classic-style controller, into which the joy-con controllers can be snuggly inserted. Otherwise, you can strap them to your wrist, much like the original Wii’s controllers. The flexibility is a welcome change, and while I was dubious at first, I’ve come around to it very quickly. Overall, the Nintendo Switch feels like a fully realized-realized innovation over their original Wii system, whereas the Wii U was, as I’m sure many will agree, a floundering, confused half-step in the right direction.

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As for Breath of the Wild (hereby referred to as BotW) itself….my God.

The comparisons to The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim are apt, but at the same time incomplete. Both games have impressively large overworld maps to explore, numerous side quests to choose from, vast amounts food to prepare, and various different weapons to pick up along the course of your adventure, but Skyrim allows for a complex job system with its enhance-able skill trees. For example, a person could, in theory, choose to improve their magic spell-casting and nothing else, and spend the game as a mage. In BotW, you have that one “job” you always have in The Legend of Zelda series: Swordsman Hero of the Land. Sure, you might employ a bow, hookshot, bombs, etc., but at the end of the day, you’re going to use the Master Sword to defeat Ganon.

I don’t even need to finish playing this game to tell you that.

The towns are fewer than in Skyrim, due to much of the population being scattered one hundred years prior to the time of the game. They are also very Japanese. It’s almost like being back in something like Okami, but with less Ukiyo-e.

Or like stepping into a scene out of Princess Mononoke.

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The roads between locations are more visibly populated with enemies as well; the encounters tend to be less random at every time but night, when skeletal monsters can pop out of the ground, but even then, the location still feel like they have been pre-ordained by the programmers. The only enemies that seem to truly appear out of thin air at any given time are the Guardians, the ancient, large, autonomous, mechanical beings that move quickly and shoot death beams at you. But I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on game design. I just tried returning to a location where a Guardian was meandering around before, and it wasn’t there anymore.

I won’t go into any spoilers here, but BotW is very addicting and fun. Exploring the land feels organic and engaging, and once you get the Paraglider, there is no limit to where you can go. You can go straight to Hyrule Castle at that point, not that it’s advisable.

My favorite things, as with Skyrim, are hunting enemies and animals out in the wild. You use the parts and meat collected from your kills to make different food and elixirs, which grant health and status effects depending on the combination. Link’s cooking and eating animations are adorable and hilarious as well, and I personally feel that they help to break up the monotony of long cooking sessions.

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I also like finding wild horses. I’m a bit confused by the ones that appear to be blue and pink, but otherwise, the experience of catching and taming them is not too terribly removed from actual riding and training (keeping in mind that this is a video game). Each horse almost has a mind of his or her own, and he or she may try to fight your control occasionally, especially if you have a heavy hand with the reins and don’t soothe your mount at all. It’s not as difficult as riding Agro in Shadow of the Colossus, but it’s not as easy as riding Epona in earlier games like Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.

The camera system also feels much less out-of-place than it did in The Wind Waker (regular and HD).

BotW feels new and different, but recognizable enough as a Zelda game. It is just as ambitious as it looks in the previews, but by no means feels like it’s taking on too much. At least, not in the beginning.

We’ll have to see as the story progresses.

But I think that long-time fans of the series will adore it, provided they can comfortably adapt to the less linear, more open-world elements. Those who prefer the 2-D games may find themselves presently surprised, as this might just be the 3-d iteration they’ve been waiting for. It seems to be marrying story and exploration very well, but keep in mind, I haven’t even reached the first dungeon yet. My boyfriend has, however, and he definitely agrees with me in this aspect as well.

 

So far, 9/10

*The images in this post do not belong to me. They belong to Nintendo.

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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

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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.

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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,

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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!

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…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.

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

 

Best Enemies: Wind Waker

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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,

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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.

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Just saying.

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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

The Legend of Zelda Overview

How about that trailer for Zelda 2015?

E3 has come and it will be ending tonight, but it has left a huge amount of potential for new games….for 2015. Yeah, that’s right we have to wait for 2015 in order for the next gen to really kick-start. I will be going into more detail about this year’s E3 in a later article.

However, in light of two new Zelda based games, Zelda 2015 and Hyrule Warriors, I wanted to team up with Marge to do a Legend of Zelda series “review”. It is a favorite series of games for both of us, and the legends and the lore are as fun and fascinating as the gameplay.

This really won’t be a review as much as it will be us talking in-depth about each of the games separately and some of the theories that have spawned from each game, even adding some of our own theories and research.

We’ll be getting those out to you when we can.

Thanks again, and stay thirsty my bros.