By MajorMitch 1 Comments
It’s been all Zelda all the time for me recently. After finishing Oracle of Ages the other week, I immediately dived into Link’s Awakening DX, blitzed through that pretty quickly, and then did the same with Oracle of Seasons. The Zelda train only moves forward! It’s all become a bit of a blur, which is only enhanced by the fact that all three of these games are very similar in a lot of ways. Same perspective, same graphical style, same overworld theme, same annoying two button limitation on items, same controls, many of the same items and enemies (and even bosses; I feel like I’ve beaten some bosses about five times by now), and so on. So forgive me if they run together and I get some details mixed up between them.
Anyway, I really enjoyed all three games. I wrote about Oracle of Ages last week and more or less everything I said there applies to both Link’s Awakening and Oracle of Seasons as well, so there’s not much point in repeating it at length. The short version: the dungeons remain amazing, and most of the between dungeon stuff remains tiresome. If I compare and contrast, I think Ages has the most devious and exciting dungeons of the three. The other two are certainly no slouch in this area, but I think Ages has just a little bit more to each dungeon, and they ramp up in intensity sooner. Link’s Awakening and Seasons give you a few “intro” style dungeons to get the ball rolling, but Ages pretty much hits the ground running. Or maybe it was just because Ages was the first one I played of the three, and thus not as wise to its tricks. Who knows? Outside of the dungeons, I think Link’s Awakening has the most memorable and fantastical world. It’s certainly the one I’ll remember the most, if for no other reason than it’s super weird. Looking back Zelda games on the whole can be pretty darn weird, but even in that context I think Link’s Awakening takes the cake. You’re collecting instruments to wake a giant hippy whale asleep in an egg on top of a mountain. That’s hard to top. Also, you fight what are basically Kirbies in the game. Case closed.
I like the weirdness though, as it does well to give Link’s Awakening its own unique charm. The world on both both Ages and Seasons came off as fairly standard to me as far as Zelda games go, with not much of note either way. The time and season altering mechanics, for Ages and Seasons respectively, are fine, but for the most part don’t play as big of a role as they could have. Still, exploring the world in all three games was fun. Except for all the fetch questing, but I rambled enough about that last week. Link’s Awakening was probably the worst of the three about that. Do people really enjoy having to trade ribbons, dog food and bananas just to gain access to the next area, which itself is an item hunt? I guess I prefer it when the overworld action is focused more on traversal than fetch quests, but oh well. I also got a little annoyed with some of the later stages of Seasons, especially a few bosses, but that was probably just me getting tired of Zelda in general by that point. I’ve certainly played a lot of it recently.
Overall I really enjoyed all three games, and think they still hold up pretty well in 2012. I think they're worth checking out for Zelda fans who, like myself, missed them back in the day. As for me it’s time for a Zelda break; it’s been kind of nonstop for the past two weeks. The only two “core” Zelda games I have yet to play are the two NES ones, which I’ll try to get to in a few weeks or so after my Zelda batteries are properly recharged. From what I understand about those two games I’ll need to be ready to rumble.
In between all the Zelda playing I took short breaks here and there trying And Yet It Moves. I really like platformers, and I like it when they do something offbeat and creative, but I can’t get into this one at all. Its unique trick of being able to rotate the world is interesting in theory, but I don’t think the game does enough with it to be enjoyable for long. Clever uses of the idea are pretty sparse, and in between each new idea is a lot of rote, boring platforming. Even then, the different uses of the mechanic aren’t really all that functionally different from each other. Simply put, rotating is rotating no matter what the end goal is. Otherwise it simply feels like the basics are missing; the pacing and variety that define the very best platformers are just not here. It’s too slow, and the simple platforming that fills the numerous, lengthy gaps doesn’t feel good to me at all; the actual jumping and level design left me wanting. So I’m kind of sour on And Yet It Moves right now, and I’m not sure whether I’ll decide to play more of it or not.
Anyway, this coming week is more or less the end of the summer lull for me (kind of a shame too, as my backlog is still enormous). In addition to Sound Shapes, which just came out and looks pretty rad, the trio of Darksiders II, The Last Story and Dust: An Elysian Tail all come out this week. I’m interested in all four games to varying degrees, and I’m sure I’ll check one or more of them out soon. For now I’m going to start on Vanquish, which I’ve wanted to play for a while and should be something good to squeeze in before picking up one those aforementioned new releases. That’s going to do it for now though, until next time!
Currently playing: Vanquish