Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gaming Ramblings: The Legend of Zelda 3DS

So, Nintendo revealed a thing recently….

Now, it’s no great secret that I am a Zelda fanboy.  It is my favorite game series.  But when I saw this trailer, I literally spent most of it holding my hands up to my mouth and/or going “EEEEEEEE” in high-pitched squeals.

I’m just going to take a few moments to fanboy over why this is so amazing.

First: it takes place in the same world as A Link to the Past but with a completely separate story and design.  Obviously, most of the games take place in Hyrule, so they’re probably referring to the same incarnation of Hyrule as the one displayed in A Link to the Past.  This means one of two things: either it is directly linked to A Link to the Past somehow (and is consequently the first game specifically designed to be part of that particular Zelda timeline—there are currently canonically three of them), or it takes place in a different alternate timeline.  Either way, there’s plenty of opportunity to flesh out that particular timeline’s story and world.

Second: It is a top-down Zelda.  My first four Zelda games were Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Minish Cap, and A Link to the Past, which were also all top-down games.  These are the games that got me into the series.  These are the games that contain the classic block puzzles.  Don’t get me wrong, the 3D games (by which I mean the ones that use XYZ directional axes as opposed to just XY ones—it’s an odd dichotomy where the first original 3D Zelda is a 2D one) are good and have clever puzzles, but there’s just something to the nature of the 2D puzzles that I love.  Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks for the DS pretended to be this, but ultimately weren’t.  It was like they were a 2D representation of the 3D games.  They just didn’t have the same flavor, and I yearned to play one again.  Well, I’m getting my wish.  I was worried that the 2D Zelda formula was dead, and Ocarina of Time 3D only reinforced that worry.  This video?  Completely reassured me.  2D Zelda is not dead.  They’re just making it better.

Third: It releases THIS YEAR!  I can be playing this game this holiday season!  Wow!  I am getting so hyped right now.  Seriously.

Fourth: The game mechanics they showed look cool.  The transformation into what looks like some sort of hieroglyph (or should I say Hyruleglyph?) in particular looks like it has a ton of potential as a game mechanic, allowing for real brainteasers of puzzles. It’s a new sort of Zelda puzzle: one that the series has never used before, but one that fits in perfectly.

And now for the one complaint I do have: the graphics look sub-par.  I’m normally not a graphics guy, but already they look kind of disappointing.  Link and the enemies look a little too much like plastic inflatables, and it already looks dated.  Too soon to make a judgment, and I really don’t care as long as the gameplay is good, but it’s detracting from my enthusiasm a little.

But just a little.

Because, come on.  This is the Zelda I’ve been yearning for since 2005, when they released The Minish Cap.  It’s a new top-down Zelda that remains true to the roots of the series and utilizes the advances in technology made since then.  There is no reason for me not to be excited.

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