3/03/2017

Zelda Reminiscing

I'm actually not that big of a Zelda fan. Think about this though, when is the last time you heard someone actually publicly announce that? Either you have to be super into Zelda or you are a fucking insane person. I'm not saying Zelda is necessarily overrated, I'm just saying at the end of the day they are still just fucking video games. I love video games and understand the emotional impact that a game can give you. Kingdom Hearts II is a game I play when I am in a large bout of depression, The World Ends With You and Klonoa: Door to Phantomile make me cry, and I still occasionally enjoy Sonic Adventure 2 even though I know it isn't that great of a game. Some people just have a different outlook on things than others. If you genuinely think Zelda is God's gift to man, or whatever, I think you should think whatever makes you truly happy... as long as it isn't at the expense of others. I grew up with Ocarnia of Time too you entitled fuck, stop calling me retarded for not thinking its the best game on the planet.

The inspiration(s) for this blog is that Breath of the Wild came out today.... I have not played it yet, but it looks really cool. I also haven't written a blog this week, and I can't sleep. So I'm going to talk about some Zelda games in a way that isn't just "nnnghhhh ohhh Zelda's so good!!!" First though, here is a list of Zelda games I haven't played at all so nobody is like "why didn't you talk about this one". Here:

Four Swords Adventures, Skyward Sword, Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, The Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, A Link Between Worlds, Tri Force Heroes, the CD-i games, the Tingle games, Crossbow Training, Hyrule Warriors

Those are the games I haven't played, or at least I am pretty sure I haven't played the Oracle games, I might be wrong on those. That's well over half of the franchise but that doesn't mean I haven't spent a fair amount of time on some Zelda, baby. Let's dive into the games I have played as a guy who really is and isn't a Zelda fan. Whoopeeeeeeeeee!!!!!


Twilight Princess

This one is a good one to start with because it is a filter for people that are just going to see this as me bashing the Zelda franchise and all its fans. That isn't what I'm trying to do here, but because I don't have the same experience with the series as others, they will see this entire blog as an attack. So here:

I fucking hate Twilight Princess.

Alright, that weeds them out. Let's continue.

Picture me as a young teenager at the end of middle school really excited for a new Zelda game where you can swing your sword around a bunch where before this I had been primarily playing Sonic and the Secret Rings or Wii Sports boxing or something dumb. I tried to love the Wii so much as a kid. Plus I was subscribed to Nintendo Power who was stroking Twilight Princess's dick. I had three posters of the game before the damn thing even came out. For Easter, my parents got me that game because they knew I was really excited for it, and this crazy awesome game guide that I still have. Well.... I was bored.

From that point on and even when I see other people play it today, I can only think that they upped the ante on the art style and overall hype to get people to think "this is the next Ocarina of Time" and in a way, that's not wrong. Twilight Princess was, in many ways, the closest thing you could get to Ocarina without playing Majora's Mask or just shutting the fuck up and playing Ocarina again. But that's why I hate it, it is a boring, streamlines Ocarina. And why I hate that fact even more is because the visuals are fucking gorgeous, or at the very least the concept art is.

I really want to love Twilight Princess but slowly running around as a wolf that can't really do anything fun and jerking a remote around in dark, earthy caves doesn't grab me for more than five hours... which I think after about a year of hype was all the time I spent on Twilight Princess. It also has issues that I have with 3D Zelda in general where I get stuck. Not stumped, just not entirely sure what the hell to do. See in Ocarina this was okay because I felt there were somewhat more fun things to do in the overworld in general if you did have to hunt around for actual progression. Twilight Princess has a lot to do to the point of which it is overwhelming and tedious. This is something I hate about most modern day fantasy adventure games in general that squander such an amazing foundation of a genre, and the last franchise I expected to go down that road was Zelda. For me, Twilight Princess was that game, but a lot of people told me that ironically the GameCube version is better. Even more people have told me to shut my stupid mouth.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

This is one of the games on this blog, list thing that I have played a bit, but not too extensively and in this case, not in many years. My cousin had that GameCube collection thing that had a bunch of old Zelda games on it and I thought Zelda II was one of the more intriguing titles. Looking back on it now and watching let's plays of people actually beating the game to my amazement still makes me feel that way, but admittedly there is a lot of "how the fuck was I supposed to know to do that?" in the game that dissuades me from buying a new-aged port of the game.

The only reasons I would ever say that I like Adventure of Link more than Twilight Princess are because The Adventure of Link wasn't a major disappointment because I played it when I was like 10 and had no expectations. The other reason is because unlike Twilight Princess, this game was made to be a whole new experience. There are very little similarities to draw between this and the original Zelda, and that's fucking cool. This is the kind of innovation I wish they would take with the rest of the series, seeing as the stories aren't that intertwined to begin with. I feel like they did this a bit with Breath of the Wild from what very little I have seen of it so far and would go as far to say that Breath of the Wild looks like what an adolescent version of me wanted Twilight Princess to be.

But enought about that shitty, overrated game. I also just wanted to bring up Adventure of Link because it has always been the underdog of the series and yeah, it's not the best, but I think it deserves a little more credit.

Majora's Mask

I honestly don't have much experience with Majora. It's a cool game and all, and I hear it makes some pretty major improvement over Ocarina, especially in regards to the 3DS remakes, but as a kid I just sucked balls at it, so I never got that far. Even as a sheltered kid raised in happy foo-foo land, I found the darker tone of Majora's Mask strangely inviting. It begins with despair, but in a way that kind of makes me want to get into it more to end this suffering. The whole world is being bullied by a big moon, so that's plenty of suffering to work towards ending too. This plagues you for the entire playthrough and because of the weird time mechanic, the moon even sometimes accomplishes its goals of... getting really close to the screen. But this isn't you fucking up and getting a game over because you suck, it's just part of this really bizarre game. I always felt Zelda's more bizarre elements were the moments where Zelda shines the most anyways, so having a whole game around that was a pretty ballsy yet fitting choice. Maybe one day I will actually play it and beat it, but I never owned the game so who knows.

The Legend of Zelda

I played this a little more than that of Zelda II and Majora, but still not much. Really it just boils down to this game is incredibly impressive for its time. This isn't in a King Kong or Noseferatu kind of way where you watch it and go "yeah, it sucks ass, but its so impressive!" Zelda 1 is still fun, it is just also actually impressive for its time. Zelda 1 is an adventure game that pretty much defined adventure games and still feels like more of an open-ended adventure than most modern adventure games released decades later. DECADES! This is another Zelda game that I wish I just didn't have to sleep so I could grab this game and beat it to have a more solid opinion on it, but as it stands now, I can totally still see this being a fan favorite beyond just being the original game.

Ocarina of Time

Ocarina is the Zelda game I have the 2nd most experience with. It's not my favorite. I'll get to that. But if I'm not mistaken, Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game I ever played, as I'm sure it was for a lot of people. It still has a special place in my heart... I guess... but at the end of the day, like I said before, they are still just video games. Ocarina has a lot of things fundamentally wrong with it that I think take away from what people tend to call "the perfect game" or at least "the best Zelda". I really don't get it.

There are a lot of kooky, entertaining characters and the visuals are pretty great for late 90's and all that but like...

What was that targeting system? Why were there so many time-wasting mechanics like the Gerudos throwing you out of the town and making you do shit over and over again? Why did I play tennis with the lord of darkness? Why were there huge amounts of boring dialogue with a character who doesn't speak? Why do people leap to defend puzzles in this game and then use things that aren't puzzles as examples?

Oops. I did that thing where I shit on games that people don't like again.

I think they should remake Ocarina in a way where the characters make it a million times more clear as to where you are supposed to go, and an updated combat system similar to Wind Waker, and the dungeons are just completely redesigned. And maybe less dialogue. The whole plot is explained in the beginning basically. Most of that didn't need text. Maybe Master Quest already solves most of my gripes with Ocarina, but I never played it and don't feel like spending an arm and a leg on Zelda. So um. I won't.

I get why people love Ocarina so much though. It definitely has a world and portrayal of said world that is weirdly heartwarming to come back to, despite the fact that I don't even like the game that much. To each their own. If you love Ocarina, that's cool. I just admitted earlier that there was once a time in my life where I enjoyed playing Sonic and the Secret Rings more than Twilight Princess, so what the hell does my opinion matter when it comes to what you like?

Link's Awakening DX

Since I don't really like Ocarina, I hate Twilight Princess, and I haven't played too much of the other games, Link's Awakening DX, a game I borrowed from aforementioned cousin, stands as one of my favorite Zelda games of all time. I honestly don't remember much of this one. I just remember being really enamored in the world, it's inhabitants, and I just generally felt more engaged. I remember fighting a lot of things. And I remember being overly amused by Chain Chomps being in the game. I really wish I had more to say about this one because a lot of people don't talk about it. I would like to revisit this game some time more so than the others, but again, I need sleep and food sometimes, so I can't just be playing yer goshdang Zelda all damn day!

Four Swords

Four Swords is another favorite of mine, which is sad because now I play it alone. Originally you could only play this on the GBA port of Link to the Past and you could only play it with two or more people. It wouldn't let you past the menu without the big wonky multiplayer cable thing. Now I have this DSi version on my 3DS where you can play it by yourself, which is good because no one else I know has it. Four Swords is a lot of fun, because it basically just a modern expansion of Link to the Past with Minish Cap graphics... oh, I'm sorry did you need me to explain more?

The items had more actual puzzle potential than anything in Ocarina (just as an example) and teamwork was essential to not only getting far but getting the most out of the game (because it is ultimately pretty short).

If nothing else, Four Swords is one of the most memorable Zelda games for me because I really like Vaati. I think he looks cool and was a fun boss. Mechanically he is fun because being able to defeat him shows how much you and your teammates excelled in this team-building exercise of a Zelda game. That's pretty much all I know to say without you playing it for yourself. It really isn't amazing or anything but what other mainline Zelda game has something like Four Swords?

The Wind Waker

Wind Waker HD on Wii U is pretty awesome. I haven't beaten it yet but it's already one of my favorite Zelda games. It controls like butter, the combat system is as complex as you need it to be as a player, and the whole world is bright and goofy. There are some game modern-isms like dialogue text giving away teaching moments and puzzles that I don't understand why they are in this game at all, but ignore that and you have a really solid adventure at the tip of your thumbs.

A Link to the Past

I still actually never beat this game, but came close, and don't know why I never did. I spent a lot of hours on the GBA version and now have the Wii U port and really need to beat this game. Might even do a video on it one day. Either way, this game puts a big smile on my old, miserable, gross face for some reason. None of the other Zelda games do that as much Link to the Past. They may do it, but not as much as Link to the Past. I like the perfect blend of being open-world and linear in this game and how it gives you an urgency to keep going whether you give a shit about the princess or not. I always say any fan of Zelda should really play this game. I would be surprised to find a Zelda fan that truly despises it.

That petered out at the end a bit because I need sleep, but yeah, A Link to the Past is my favorite Zelda game. Um. What's yours?

(Also thanks for reading my sleep-deprived, Sprite-induced, spell-check-ignorant internet rants. Enjoy Breath of the Wild. I have to save money right now that I can't blow on a $60 game but the rest of you enjoy it.)

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