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Best Zelda Game Ever?

zelda

Possibly the best game Nintendo has released, ever. Yeah, I know, that’s a heavy claim. But it might be true.

Now for years, I’ve been a staunch supporter of “A Link to the Past” as the best Zelda game ever. There are plenty of people that say that “Ocarina of Time” is the best. I’m not even willing to entertain those people. I will accept arguments for other Zelda titles holding spots above “A Link to the Past”, but not Ocarina. The problem with “Ocarina of Time” is that it’s a flawed game, development-wise. A Link to the Past has no flaws (we can argue that another time).

But that’s not what this is about! This is about “Breath of the Wild” being the best Zelda game ever made. Is it? I don’t know yet. But after only playing for about 30 minutes, I found myself uttering that statement to myself. I couldn’t believe the thoughts and feelings I was having. I felt like I was cheating on myself somehow; that somehow these thoughts weren’t true and were simply alien in nature, placed there by outside forces. After 25+ years, has something finally trumped the vaunted The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past? I don’t know. I’m still figuring it out. Either way, I can’t get enough of this game.

 

Can’t contain my hype!

Just over 3 weeks away. This is my #1 game this year. I honestly did not think I would be THIS excited about it. I thought I was tired of the whole Dynasty Warriors formula, but you know what? This really works for me. Digging the heavy metal Zelda.

What I’m even MORE excited about is Square Enix and Sony’s announcement of a limited edition metal slime PS4, which will probably never reach the states.

metalp4

And of course the announcement of Dragon Quest Heroes! Oh joy of joys! For those who know me, you know I love me some Dragon Quest. Another Dynasty Warriors cross over spin-off, and a first for the Dragon Quest series, stepping outside of their standard RPG style. And will also probably never reach the states.

Zelda Hyrule Warriors – first thoughts

hyruleI got a chance to play Hyrule Warriors yesterday. It was excellent. It didn’t disappoint me at all. Granted I only got to play it for about 10 minutes, but everything I experienced was fantastic. It’s not so much that the game is flawless in it’s execution, it does have its problems, but it does exactly what I wanted it to. It kicks ass. It’s heavy metal Zelda. I remember the first time I ever played Dynasty Warriors I thought to myself, “I didn’t know they had electric guitars during the Three Kingdoms Era in China.” And I was sold immediately. No different with Hyrule Warriors. Classic Zelda tracks remixed with heavy metal guitars. It’s just fun. No mucking about in unforgiving dungeons, or frying brain cells trying to solve puzzles (not that those things are bad), it’s just constant nonstop action. Something that Zelda has never done before. Which I have no problem with, but I fear this game may fail to find it’s place in the market.

One thing Zelda games have not really had a problem with is suffering from franchise fatigue.  -See Call of Duty, Gears of War, Assassin’s Creed, Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero- It’s what happens when you release too many games from the same franchise too quickly without enough variation from game to game. A new Zelda release takes its time and at least attempts, if not always successful, to try to change the gameplay elements with each release. But they always, for the most part, have the same core elements to their gameplay. Hyrule Warriors being so vastly different, I feel it has a very specific niche to fill. For starters, it’s much more for the hardcore gamer, which aren’t generally found playing the Wii U. Dynasty Warriors has always been Xbox or PlayStation. And for fans of classic style Zelda games, I know the feeling of “But this isn’t MY Zelda game” is out there, and they may feel underwhelmed by the repetitive hack and slash combat, mourning the lack of adventuring and dungeon delving. It’s still Zelda, it’s just a new way of playing it. I know Nintendo wants to get more serious with their games. Hopefully this is a glimpse of what is to come.  The release date, I think, is also not the best timing. It’s being released right around some other lumbering behemoths, such as Destiny. It’s likely to be overshadowed and should have had a more isolated release date.

Why does even concern me? Because I want Nintendo to be king again god dammit! I fucking love Nintendo and it saddens me to see them stumble. Yeah the Wii was a piece of trash, but the Wii U is great and there’s some great content coming out for it. I know this game is going to be awesome and I want others to share my joy. I don’t want teenaged to twenty-something males to feel emasculated playing on a Nintendo console anymore. It actually makes me sad when I see 12 year olds and all they want to play is Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. A game doesn’t need to have guns in it just to be fun to play. But that’s a discussion for another time.

The Legend of Zelda Fan Made Games

I figured since the Skyward Sword released that it would be prudent of me to talk about some fan made Zelda games.

Link's Awakening

Probably most deserving, and more importantly the most complete,  I’ve seen so far is this remake of Link’s Awakening. Made by Xfixium using RPG Maker 2003. This Game Boy classic has been lovingly recreated with 16 bit graphics, combining the look of A Link to the Past and Four Swords Adventure. Up until recently (the 3DS now has this available as a download), this was one of the few Zelda titles that has not seen a re-treatment. A couple quick features that made Link’s Awakening a stand out title – you were not required to wield a sword and shield;  it was the first in the series to be able to assign them to specific buttons, switching them out when necessary. And aside from a passing mention of Princess Zelda, this one has little to do with the other Zelda games. Musical instruments were used in place of the Triforce and it all takes place entirely on Koholint Island.

Download the game HERE before it goes away forever.

Xfixium also has an Ocarina of Time 2D remake in the works. Check out the Zelda Fan Game Central for a whole host of other user created Zelda games. There’s some cool ideas on there that I look forward to seeing completed.  The Legend of Zelda: Threads of Despair is a fan original tale which is styled after A Link to the Past but borrows some concepts and sound effects from Ocarina of Time. The Legend of Zelda: The Sage Knight is a traditional turn based RPG, though I’m not sure how I feel about this one yet. Even as a fan created game, it doesn’t appear to carry much of the Zelda series with it aside from the fact that you play as an elven eared Link.

Realm of Shadows

There was also as completed version of a game titled, The Legend of Zelda – Realm of Shadows. This one uses a style taken from Link’s Awakening although a bit more colorful. It was originally written in spanish, so as long as you can stomach the poor english translation, it’s a pretty decent game.

I’ve also heard of a Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 3D fan remake but there wasn’t much information about it so I’m sure it was shut down by Nintendo. Shigeru Miyamoto himself has hinted that he’s really interested in recreating A Link to the Past as the next official Zelda release.

Lastly, and probably the most impressive, The Legend of Zelda: Wand of Weather. Unfortunately the entire thing is in german. Though you can get through much of it without knowing what’s going on. Dialogue in Zelda has never been too important. Has the look and feel of a GBA Zelda game. If there is an english translation out there somewhere, I’d love to see it. Get the download HERE and check out the trailer below.

FREE Zelda Four Swords

Starting today, for a limited time, Nintendo will be giving away free downloads of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition, to anyone who owns a 3DS or DSi. This is basically the GBA version of The Four Swords, but unlike the GBA, you won’t need a link (does that count as a pun?) cable in order to play multiplayer.  This promotion is part of Nintendo’s celebration of Zelda’s 25th anniversary and will be running from 9/28/2011 – 02/20/2012. To check out other Zelda awesomeness, head to the official The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary homepage.

Worst Games EVER for the NES

Most of us have fond memories of NES games. Games like Ducktales, Mario Bros., Zelda, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Castlevania, Contra. I could go on like that for hours, but you get the idea. I’ve heard the term “shovelware” get tossed around rather loosely when referring to the Wii, but I think we forget that the Wii wasn’t the first perpetrator of such an offense. We either were too young to remember, or have chosen to forget about these video game dung heaps. I’ve pulled together what I feel are the worst games ever made for the NES. Yes there are some other really awful games out there, but I decided to set it at 8 and I think these are the worst of the worst. If you don’t recognize the names of some of these games, then trust me, you’re better off. Let’s see what you think.

I Wanna Be The Guy

Issue #1

For my first official game review on this blog, I’ll be talking about one of the most infamous indie games out there. Those of you who haven’t heard of I Wanna be the Guy yet, it was created by a complete sadist, Michael “Kayin” O’Reilly, in 2007, and it is perhaps the hardest game I have ever played. No, strike that. It’s DEFINITELY the hardest game I’ve ever played. Just saying that phrase, the hardest, doesn’t even really give you the scope of its complete and unrelenting evilness. It is the epitome of unfair. I am reminded of Street Fighter II, fighting M. Bison for the first time, and complaining that the computer cheats. That pales in comparison to the defeated, quivering, lump of fail that IWTBG leaves in its wake. Be careful not to use a control pad to play this game or it will, with utmost certainty, get thrown across the room in anger. Mainly because IWBTG breaks all conventions that have been by now practically hard wired into us by classic platforming games. Oh look, there’s a ledge I can jump onto for safety. NOPE! IT WAS A TRICK! Oh and what about the fruit in the tree? It’s gonna fall on me, better jump over it. WRONG AGAIN! They fall UP too! This game’s not fun and for those who think it is, they have a serious masochistic streak that probably requires professional treatment. It’s kind of like Two Girls One Cup in that you don’t really enjoy watching it (please say you don’t really enjoy it), but you’ll make your friends play it so you can behold the horror on their faces.

Ok, so maybe that all sounds entirely too hyperbolic for some of you or maybe even like I’m whining, but I do in fact enjoy games with a challenge;  this game is just completely out of control. Now I come from a generation when video games were more about skill, when storylines and graphics were generally not even considered. The deepest plot of my youth was, “But our princess is in another castle.” So when they start you off in this game, absent of directions or hints of any kind, it was nothing new to me. Usually games like this still follow similar patterns and even if you’ve never played it before, you can still usually get the hang of it in a few moments. Then IWBTG comes along and gives you, and what you think about platformers, the big ol’ middle finger.  At the very beginning you start, much like many other platformers, standing on the left side of the screen facing towards the right.  I spent about 20 minutes trying to go this direction only to figure out that no matter what you try, it’s the wrong direction. It leads to certain doom.  One of three spiked walls come slamming out of nowhere and after finally successfully navigating those, the floor below is littered with spikes with NO WAY IN HELL to get to the only safe looking ledge in the room. Then, only due to jumping relentlessly out of frustration, I jumped up the hole which I initially fell through to start the game, and there’s a whole different direction to go! It’s all bright and happy looking, with trees and fruit. With untold elation, my smiling Kid joyfully plodded his way again towards the right and DEAD, another splatterization caused by the unassuming fruit. I was furious, but the curiosity caused by discovering the new room would not allow me to quit yet. After a few more tries I got past the fruit and was about to loop back around, onto the ledges above, towards what would appear now as an easy victory to the next screen, but no. The fruit came right off the tree and flew UP at me.  Eff that game, I was done.  And that was only the beginning few screens of the game.

There are 4 difficulty settings with the default setting as HARD. You can then pick between medium, very hard, or impossible, though they don’t give you an easy setting. And don’t start thinking that medium is easy, it’s still just as unforgiving and no matter what difficulty you pick, if you get hit even just once, even the slightest little tap, you’re dead. Additionally, if you do try on medium, they taunt you by putting a pink bow on your sprite. The only redeeming  quality this game has is that you can hit ‘R’ at any point to retry and the reload is instantaneous. Though you may have to go back quite a ways and redo some stroke-inducing series of jumps. On impossible they don’t even offer this nicety though. Just one death and that’s it, it’s over.

This may all seem like a negative review, but I assure you it’s not. On some level, I am quite fond of this game. I mean it’s better than cutting yourself right? It plays very well for a game controlled by a keyboard. The controls are quick and responsive, the movements are very precise, and there’s no momentum on the character from jumping so you don’t slide around when you actually do land safely somewhere. And of course there’s the obligatory double-jump, which is imperative to your survival. IWBTG plays up some fan service to various classics, including Punch-Out!!, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Mega Man, and Zelda just to name a few. It’s worth playing through just to see how these get introduced throughout the game.

I definitely think it’s more fun to watch someone else shorten their lifespan with IWBTG than to actually play myself. Because you can find anything on YouTube, there’s a video of someone doing a complete run of the game in five parts. I’m disgusted with these videos though because of how easy it makes it look. You may not even want to play after watching and seeing some of the bullcrap the game throws at you. The first of the five videos is posted below and should link to the others.

Seriously though, if you enjoy a good challenge, or you want to irritate your friends and make them play it, download I Wanna Be The Guy. You can check out the official page of I Wanna Be The Guy below. The download is free, and they do welcome donations.

http://kayin.pyoko.org/iwbtg/

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you agree/disagree with me about anything, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m very welcoming to harassment. And if you haven’t checked out my trip to E3, it’s under the uncategorized section.

Thanks for reading!

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