Jump to content
LCVG
Sign in to follow this  
Mark E

“Hey! Listen!” - A 16 game tour of Link’s adventures from Agahnim to Zelda.

Recommended Posts

The Minish Cap

 

I feel like the expedient nature of this next entry gives you an idea of what the main issue with Minish Cap might be.

 

This is a game I had good memories of and enjoyed playing... but... it’s not great Zelda. It’s strictly average and not better for it. It has a dynamite concept - the size changing mechanic could be amazing if they did it again with a little more oomph - and great graphics and solid controls. But...

 

The story is serviceable. Vaati takes over for Ganon this time out and makes a mess of things and turns Zelda to stone. He wins a sword fighting contest and you never get to duel him, which I think is a misstep. You also get Ezlo the talking hat who is generally helpful but does get a little annoying now and then. His function as hint system is solid though.

 

Dungeons are okay. They have some neat bits - the barrel based one at the start of the game is probably my favorite because of the central concept and how fun it is. The puzzles are satisfying without being too easy.

 

I will give it up for them trying hard to come up with some new gear for Link. No hookshot this time, and you can buy the boomerang if you want it but it’s not required.

 

In the end, however, it’s too damn easy (in acknowledgement of this we will not be awarding a most annoying enemy this time) and that means the busy work like heart containers and the actually enjoyable Kinstone fusing system (you match pieces with people and are rewarded by the map becoming more interesting which is a win-win for the player) don’t need much of your attention because you can plow through the game with minimal issues (the last boss does have a bit of a difficulty spike but I still did it on 13 hearts and one bottle of medicine).

 

Couple the ease of play with the short run-time (it has six main dungeons, which is not much to work through) and it’s just there as a Zelda. Fun and cute and worth a play through but not a series highlight. Even if I would probably play this again over the Oracle games, I cannot in good conscience say that it’s in any way a better game.

 

After a brief hiatus it’s off to Twilight Princess, which I briefly played on the Wii and never did finish. I remember very little about it, so this should be fun.

 

Current Ranking:

 

1) Wind Waker

2) Link to the Past

3) Ocarina of Time

4) Link’s Awakening

5) Oracle of Seasons/Ages

6) The Minish Cap

7) Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link

8.) Majora’s Mask

9) The Legend of Zelda

 

 

85CA2A62-1BD7-4483-8C63-03A6B3B9B9B7.jpeg

D6355572-A909-4BAB-B5A3-EF5E9DF1E1F2.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Silly me, I forgot a couple of points.

 

1) Music is basically nonexistent or so low key you don’t notice it, which is a bit of a bummer. Most of the games have excellent soundtracks and this one I mostly listened to podcasts while I played.

 

2) Dungeon of the game award goes to Snowpeak Ruins, which sends you out of a central hub on a series of progress quests that are mostly puzzle based. It feels different and novel and an easy choice.

 

3) Since the game systems themselves don't have standby yet, I greatly praise the inclusion of the ooccoo, a hideous plucked bird thing that is in each dungeon and lets you create a warp point at any spot you want so you can leave the dungeon for potions or to save and have a life and then come back later. It was a godsend.

 

4) There is no ‘most annoying enemy’ award yet again because the game is bog easy. I think I used maybe two fairies in a jar at the start and in the time I took on Ganon I didn’t lose more than eight hearts (plus a couple from pots). It doesn’t need to be Dark Souls, but damn, son.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Phantom Hourglass

 

Boy, I really enjoyed this the first time I played it.

 

On the revisit, and with a slew of Zeldas under my belt, it’s hard to feel like this was anything more than a half-assed DS version. Gimmicks everywhere and the content is in service to them.

 

Hey, no Ganon this time out... but the story has an absolutely ‘who gives a shit’ baddie and pulls Tetra out for the game, making her into the typical Zelda role of thing to be saved. Tepid humor, poorly designed characters (maybe an exception for Linebeck, but he’s clearly in the Jack Sparrow vein), and a stapled on story.

 

Naturally for a first party title, too much DS mic and touchscreen and other crap. Stylus controls are really just... why... and the ship pieces being random... ugh. You want a strong ship for the end (allegedly) but you can’t buy them, can get duplicates, and are encouraged to trade which is now bloody impossible.

 

The dungeons are incredibly dull and same-y (no best dungeon award this time around). The repetition of the main dungeon to get sea charts (charts that give you emptier and emptier as you get more of them) didn’t bother me on release, but man is it a slog now that I’m a cranky old dude. Graphics were bad then and are bad now - the DS never did 3D well.

 

The few power ups you get your hands on are okay, but the most fun is definitely the boomerang and being able to trace elaborate paths with the stylus. It’s the most fun version of that item in the series. There’s at least a decent multi-stage boss fight to finish the whole thing off.

 

WiiU emulation is fine, minus the mic. I nearly gave myself an attack trying to do the blowing actions, which has me dreading trying to work Spirit Tracks and the pipes.

 

So of course that’s next...

 

Current Ranking:

 

1) Wind Waker

2) Link to the Past

3) Ocarina of Time

4) Link’s Awakening

5) Twilight Princess

6) Oracle of Seasons/Ages

7) The Minish Cap

8.) Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link

9) Majora’s Mask

10) The Legend of Zelda

11) Phantom Hourglass

 

 

E76E71FE-3E2A-49B3-9197-12B0387C9784.jpeg

F0ECFB0C-A4D2-4D43-9644-B53AA6CF04F1.jpeg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/28/2019 at 6:14 PM, Mark E said:

Naturally for a first party title, too much DS mic and touchscreen and other crap. Stylus controls are really just... why... 

 

I have to admit, I really liked the touch controls on both Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. I thought they were incredibly well done, and it didn't feel like I was sacrificing anything with them. I've often wished that there would be games on iOS (specifically the iPad) that used similar controls.

 

My biggest gripe with PH was the Temple of the Ocean King for the reasons you mentioned. It sucked having to go back to this dungeon again and again, even though they did give you shortcuts to make it a little less tedious. I thought that Spirit Tracks did this sort of thing much better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess my point is that they don’t ADD anything so why bother. Yes, you can draw paths. Yay. It handles fine, but d-pad support with Stylus for notes and some items would have been just as feasible. It’s there for the sake of being there, not because it makes it better.

 

I actually stupidly went straight into Spirit Tracks after this and it’s a lot better in this one - they learned a lot and fixed some of the worst crap.. Spirit Tracks reuses too much art but the game is leagues better than Phantom Hourglass and I genuinely enjoy the hell out of it thus far - PH did not hold up for me at all, but ST is looking like it will. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spirit Tracks

 

This holds up a light year better than Phantom Hourglass, but the DS Zeldas stand out as super weak to me on revisiting them, compared to the others. They’re fine, but does that really cut it for a Zelda game?

 

They fix a lot of what was broken in Hourglass, but the nature of a portable still means short dungeons. They’re much more fun and the unique power ups like the sand wand are cute at least (the boomerang still rules though). They do increase the game’s length with excellent puzzling in the big main dungeon while not forcing you to replay it endlessly. There’s also a ridiculous amount of mostly unnecessary and typically uninteresting side quests.

 

A lot of people don’t like the trains. I personally like it a bunch. No worse than the boat and you get a whistle! Still, they try and make it hell to upgrade the damn thing again (you have to collect an insane amount to just add a single car) and any time you have passengers on board the game bogs down. On the plus side, the overworld music is hands down the best in ANY Zelda game.

 

Speaking of music, however, the pipes you have to play in this game are the absolute worst and a dismal chore to get the timing right on. I legit gave myself a headache at a couple points trying to get the mic to pick me up.

 

Story is usual bland stuff, but big props for giving Zelda something to do. It’s pretty cool to have her tag along and help out with her special abilities and it adds a lot to the experience.

 

Final note, good luck if you play this on the DS. I wouldn’t. The last boss area is a string of several picky fights in a row and if you die you have no save points and have to endure all the cut scenes again to boot. Not so much fun.

 

I guess my point at the end is that even a game like Majora’s Mask that I dislike I can see how it adds to the canon, but if neither DS game was released I can’t imagine many people caring.

 

Now we’re on to the last stumbling block before two amazing final games... the slashing chatterbox that is Skyward Sword.

 

Current Ranking:

 

1) Wind Waker

2) Link to the Past

3) Ocarina of Time

4) Link’s Awakening

5) Twilight Princess

6) Oracle of Seasons/Ages

7) The Minish Cap

8.) Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link

9) Majora’s Mask

10) The Legend of Zelda

11) Spirit Tracks

12) Phantom Hourglass

 

5B7A8977-8067-4429-BEF3-470E70C5D10D.thumb.jpeg.9a1e46357cd25c96aa24c569a97d2187.jpeg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Mark E said:

Now we’re on to the last stumbling block before two amazing final games... the slashing chatterbox that is Skyward Sword.

 

Don’t you mean three games? I mean September's just around the corner, right?

 

Not only that, but depending on how long it takes you to play BotW, you may be playing its sequel as part of this series as well.(Ha ha.)

 

Speaking of which, I know I said in another thread that I’ve been playing Breath of the Wild off and on between other games. Well, that's out the window now. Seeing the announcement of the sequel to BotW announced at E3 gave me the urge to play it again, and I haven’t been able to stop since. A little over a week ago, my Switch said I had played it for 30 hours or more. I looked again yesterday because I played it a ton over the holiday weekend, and it said I had played it for 75 hours or more. So, yeah, that escalated quickly, as they say.

 

I have completed 97 shrines, three Divine Beasts, and recovered all of the forgotten memories (including the 13th one). I’ve also found all four Great Fairy fountains, and am trying to upgrade all of my armor to the max. I also have the Champion's Ballad DLC pack, which I never really played on the Wii U. So, lots of content left for me to do. I may be doing this for a while. Send help.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Link’s Awakening gets a pass because it’s a straight remake :). I may play it but it doesn’t fit my definition of being a new Zelda, technically.

 

I’ll resurrect the thread for BotW 2 and if I play Awakening on Switch, in addition to the other stuff I’ve listed...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Skyward Sword

 

Ah, well, you know. I, uh, kind of loved this game.

 

So, here’s the thing. Skyward Sword falls down where you know damn well it’s going to fall down. The motion controls are a pain in the ass.  You can see what they’re going for and when it works - WHEN IT WORKS - it offers dynamic combat like the series has never seen and a bundle of other fun additions.

 

Problem is, the WiiMotion Plus is where the Wii should have been from the start and then whatever its next incarnation was would have nailed it. Admittedly, I was really pushing the tolerance of the sensor bar, but even without that it would have been irritating. Towards the end I was constantly recentering the remote. So big boo on that note.

 

So what did work for me? Pretty much everything else. This game reverses course from Twilight Princess and instead of big open nothing with intermittent points of interest you have smaller areas that have things to do stuffed everywhere. There are four main areas and it only seems small until you’re exploring and realize just how much there is to do.

 

There’s a robust crafting system, so you’re always hunting materials, and a series of cubes to hunt on the ground that translate into rewards up in the sky. Heart pieces are all around, side quests galore. You can see the evolution towards Breath of the Wild so clearly in this one.

 

Dungeons are uniformly excellent and look small but are filled with some of the best puzzles to date in the series and the design is on point in giving you shortcuts after you pass the most difficult parts. Tons of fun and unique items too, including the beetle, which replaces the series mainstay boomerang but is a super functional rope-cutting, item grabbing support bomber.

 

Story is okay. It starts strong and then sags in the middle. There is some repetition of tasks towards the end that doesn’t help and Fi, the Sword spirit, is the absolute worst companion in the series. She never shuts up and serves no purpose - Navi is SO redeemed by Fi’s existence.

 

Otherwise the bond between Link and Zelda is well done and there are fun side characters like the pumpkin soup guy and Groose, who is possibly the best side character in the series.

 

It adds up to be better than the sum of its parts. This game needs a remake and better controls. It’s a damn shame it seems to languish in history. It’s a bitch to get working but I’m super glad I played it. Oh, the graphics are also damned fantastic, especially considering it’s a Wii game.

 

Next stop, a victory lap of one of the best handheld entries... Link Between Worlds.

 

Current Ranking:

 

1) Wind Waker

2) Link to the Past

3) Ocarina of Time

4) Link’s Awakening

5) Skyward Sword

6) Twilight Princess

7) Oracle of Seasons/Ages

8.) The Minish Cap

9) Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link

10) Majora’s Mask

11) The Legend of Zelda

12) Spirit Tracks

13) Phantom Hourglass

 

 

F65E9DB7-B3C1-4C43-BDEA-AAB53315B207.jpeg

EDB32FB9-0100-4130-BDBA-C9C0F090771F.jpeg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Link Between Worlds

 

As usual, when the next entry in this series is mere days after the last one...the most glaring problem is pretty clear. Link Between Worlds has minimal challenge; I’d go so far as to say it is hands down the easiest of the handheld titles and arguably of the series (though Twilight Princess was a dawdle as well).

 

That’s really the only bad thing to say about it (okay, fine the Zelda sprite is the ugliest one in the series). The course correction after the DS titles is just amazing. We’ve got straight old gamepad controls and, oh hey, we’re back in the Link to the Past universe again.

 

As the most direct sequel to any Zelda game, you can see a lot of fan service in the sequel, but this one is so much more than the sum of its parts. Set far in the distant future, Link must traverse Hyrule and, sigh, Lorule (I’m still not sure if whoever came up with that should be given a raise or beaten within an inch of their life) to right the wrongs of a rather underwhelming baddie who’s trapping people in paintings.

 

First off, the game springs some excellent new mechanics on you - Link’s transformation into a 2D painting leads to some really clever traversal puzzles from start to finish. They wring everything they can out of it to good effect.

 

The other big switch is the removal of items from the dungeons. You now rent them (with an option to buy later on) and are given notice of what you need for a dungeon - most of which can be tackled in any order, another great change. The benefits of this are numerous - you get actual power-ups from the dungeons that come as a surprise for a change, death actually means something as you lose your rented items, AND it has the most emphasis on economy in a Zelda game.

 

This is also the fastest Zelda game. Not in terms of time, but both play and consideration for the player’s time. Link moves like a blue streak and traversal is a breeze, doubly so with the very generous fast travel that gets unlocked in the opening sections. The game wants you out there having fun and that’s a really nice change after the slow burn some have lead with.

 

The game IS too short. Owing to the portable nature of things, the dungeons are immaculately designed and fun, but incredibly brief. That said, there’s a plethora of side quests, including a hunt for 100 octopi-esque creatures that is probably the most fun hunting I’ve done in a Zelda.

 

It’s a damn, damn good game and the design feels tight and perfect in a way the portable entries haven’t since Link’s Awakening. I’m not sure it’s a straight classic but it is an easy recommend.

 

Hey, the two years I estimated originally appears to have been closer to one. Next stop (in October, this time for realsies, I have Fire Emblem to play) is the other game that radically shifted the formula to good effect... and the last game until it gets a sequel... Breath of the Wild.

 

Current Ranking:

 

1) Wind Waker

2) Link to the Past

3) Ocarina of Time

4) Link’s Awakening

5) Skyward Sword

6) Link Between Worlds

7) Twilight Princess

8.) Oracle of Seasons/Ages

9) The Minish Cap

10) Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link

11) Majora’s Mask

12) The Legend of Zelda

13) Spirit Tracks

14) Phantom Hourglass

 

683C1A54-C364-4BE9-8269-3AC38DCF0C4C.jpeg

A4872C39-BD39-4675-80E3-5400787703D8.jpeg

FEB3770E-CE0F-4FCC-AA1C-B8C2F37E5ED2.jpeg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Link Between Worlds was one of the three 3DS games my wife bought me for my birthday a few years ago, before I had even decided which 3DS model to buy. It was one of the reasons I finally broke down and bought the system so many years after its launch.

 

As excited as I was to play it, it didn’t resonate with me nearly as much as I would have liked. It was too similar to A Link to the Past. The fact that the overworld is more or less the same made it feel like a remake rather than an entirely new game. We don’t get many top-down Zelda games, so I would prefer Nintendo give us a new place to explore rather than retread old ground.

 

Still, I liked the fact that I could tackle dungeons in any order and wasn’t as limited in where I could go and what I could do off the bat. As much as I loved A Link to the Past, I remember being frustrated with it at the start the first time I played it because so many locations were off limits until I found the appropriate items to open the way. Once I found all the items and could explore the entire map, it was more fun, but I missed the freedom to explore anywhere I wanted right from the start like in the original NES game.

 

And, as you mentioned, Mark, Breath of the Wild returned the series that that go-anywhere-you-want ideal in a big way a few years later. That’s why it’s probably my favorite Zelda game, and why I just spent over 125 hours playing it again on my Switch last month.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...