The Hyrule Fantasy

So that new game got a subtitle and a release date yesterday.

Let's talk about it and the series as a whole. What are you looking forward to? What are you hoping to see? What's your history with the Zelda series?

What gripes do you have with arguably the most uncritically lauded video game series of all time, and what is the most insert credit-ass 7/10 entry in that series?

Hmm I think Link‘s awakening was my first Zelda. Very charming and an exceptional gameboy game. After that I played Link to the Past and then Ocarina of Time which blew my mind at the time. I think I was 11 when it came out so it was prime time to engrain itself on my brain, but also the open world stuff was very exciting to me and I think big open world games (that aren’t boring) are still what excites me the most, e.g. Witcher 3. I enjoyed Majora‘s Mask but don’t remember it that well.

I have super fond memories of Wind Waker. It felt very fresh. I recall the dungeons were very easy though? Maybe it was just good timing for me. Twilight Princess was a cool atmosphere and I remember enjoying it but thinking something about it was a bit stale. I tried to go back and play it but the SD and weird controls was too much! I borrowed a copy and tried to play Skyward Sword but same deal, never got more than a couple hours in.

BotW is cool, but gosh if I fall out of the loop do I get bored. I bailed after 40 some hours and just watched other people play it. Didn't quite catch hold of me but I am resistant to addictive game loops!

I don't think it's going to happen but I would desperately like them to ditch the bad black and white hero villain story and endlessly recycled narrative. There's also this sensation I get from BotW where it feels just a bit too 'safe' in a sense. Like the art style or something was toned down to be safe for all ages. I guess what I'm saying is it kind of looks like baby toys sometimes. I'd like it to do the opposite of that.

wind waker holds a lot of sentimental value for me - i played it through with my older sister when we were kids, and it‘s how i learned a lot of game logic - so i’m always down for these games. i liked breath of the wild a lot but i missed actual dungeons; especially coming off of skyward sword, my choice for the most insert credit-y zelda (next to link‘s awakening but i feel like that’s pretty obvious), which had amazing dungeon design. i hope they bring that back for this one.

An insert credit 7/10 LoZ game is a hard question. Practically the whole series is polished and playing it safe that the usual qualities of a 7/10 game are absent, namely ambition and vision. When LoZ has deviated from its own tradition it does so in a nearly universally praised and accepted way. Was Breath of the Wild a huge departure for the series, ambitious in scope and execution? Absolutely. Feels weird and wrong to call it an insert credit 7/10.

I'll hesitantly throw out Zelda II for consideration. Zelda II mostly successfully combines hard-as-nails action game play with the sense of an epic adventure, but the progression feels jagged, and it's puzzles are boring (one is even totally broken in English). But the action is tight, the different moves you unlock are super cool and satisfying, you can turn into a literal fairy. The different types of enemies and challenges it throws at the player can sometimes feel incomprehensible, but are still neat as an attempt. I'm thinking of dark areas being not pitch black, reactive enemies who change their shield position based on player action, etc...

BACK IN MY DAY Zelda II was the one to look down on. It seems to have been rehabilitated, but it's always hard to tell this type of thing.

I've completed them all EXCEPT Zelda II (nearly done though - 2 dungeons left), and Oracle of Ages and Seasons.

My first was also Link's Awakening. I played Link to the Past briefly at a co-worker of my dad's but I didn't know what was going on as it was a late game save.

The Nintendo Power coverage worked me over for Ocarina of Time and I got a beat up copy of Link's Awakening from a friend in middle school in preparation since I never played one. In fact here it is:
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I consider it one of the most important games I ever played. It was the transitional game from the usual action platformers and beat 'em ups to the more cohesive RPG that unfurls before you. Granted I was 11 years old and probably a little late to RPG games, but it was the more complicated game I needed and made me think about game design. I had a taste of open world exploration with Mario 64, but the intricate world puzzles of Link's Awakening and subsequently Ocarina of Time made me a lifelong Zelda fan. They are just so tidy, elegant and satisfying to explore and unlock, but the open feeling creates more of a sense of "what's out there" than the interlocking chambers of a Metroidvania.

In regards to Breath of the Wild, I really enjoyed it and did everything aside from getting all the seeds. But I will say I missed the traditional dungeons and the idea of going underground to explore an off the road cave. I'm hoping Tears of the Kingdom has longer interlocking dungeons rather than the mini dungeons of the shrines.

As far as the most IC of Zeldas, after playing Zelda II it's a good fit. It has some great ideas that get mucked up by the NES's limited capabilities, but it's still enjoyable once you get past some mental hurdles like restarting at the temple and not grinding for experience.

Another contender would be BotW since it allows for so much free form gameplay, but again you must get over some mental hurdles like embracing the breaking weapons (like Streets of Rage!) and fully exploiting the cooking system.

And the final one is Majora's Mask - a game that forces you to REALLY think about progress and recognize that going back in time is not a burden, but a useful ability that's yours to control.

The most Insert Credit-y Zelda has to be Majora's Mask, which is weird and interesting and was made too quickly to sand off all the earnestness. It uses lots of mechanics which are intentionally stressful or abrasive to create a specific and enrapturing mood, its willingness to face tragedy dead on means its ultimately hopeful message hits much harder than the usual Zelda fantasy fare, and it never stops making creative decisions that grab your attention from start to finish.

More than any Zelda, it's not just willing to be _weird_, it's willing to be _vulnerable_. Majora's Mask uses thin paint to paint a thick picture; each individual character has very few lines of actual dialogue but collectively they make up a world which feels full of complicated, difficult, messy lives. As with so many pieces of great fiction it uses its writing to sculpt the empty spaces into interesting shapes.

It's also the Zelda that the most people tell me they bounced off of because they find the time mechanic stressful, and what's more Insert Credit-y than being willing to embrace the parts of games that people find rough and love the game under that roughness anyway

wind waker‘s sailing is great. if you just point the boat in a direction and don’t explore the things you find on the way, then you made it boring. compared to the vast emptiness of twilight princess‘ field areas, WW’s sea is teeming with stuff.

that's the main zelda opinion i feel the need to say. i like the series as a whole even if i _actually_ enjoy less than half of the entries.

I impulse bought one of those mini Zelda Game and Watch thingies and I didn‘t like “need” it in order to play the games, but I’ve certainly been playing a lot of Zelda! Especially with the older ones, I feel like you need a map/walkthrough/guide, but if you use them, it‘s still lots of fun. The NES games were arguably designed with use of a guide or support materials in mind. I’ve actually played and enjoyed much much more of Zelda 2 than I ever have before!

_Zelda 3_ is actually a Zelda-skinned Metroidvania. It is probably my favorite in the series. Especially since it's internally supported and one does not need supplementary materials to complete the game. I will not be taking additional questions about this at this time. 😋

I played through Ocarina of Time over the weekend on switch and was struck by how non-critical I was throughout. As in, I had nothing to say about the experience.

Some context. This is a game that I've (probably) played than any other. I once helped my younger sister with a boss and ended up playing another thirty minutes on autopilot. Playing through the game in my head honestly helps me fall asleep. So when I say I'm being non-critical, I mean that the game exists outside of game design for me. It's just, I don't know, I think I do with my hands on occasional weekends?

I would say Awakening and A Link Between Worlds are easily my favorites. Honorable mentions to BOTW(at the time it came out I would have said it‘s my favorite, and it might still have been that if it was exclusively a big exploration and survival game in Hyrule without the shrines and divine beasts), the Oracle games, the first Hyrule Warriors, and Minish Cap. I played Wind Waker(HD) to completion for the first time, started and stopped the original back in the day, and was pretty surprised how much I didn’t like those dungeons! Everything else was great but I liked very few of the dungeons.

Despite Zelda being an omnipresent entity in gaming I'd say I don't actually have much nostalgia for the series, growing up I'd quit playing them before finishing more often than not. Awakening was the one I really stuck with as a kid. Sometimes it feels more like more of an general expectation/pressure to play a Zelda game than it is a real want. I only played SS because of this feeling of expectation, and quit when I got to the awful ghost trinket hunt. TP occupies this space in my mind too, but I actually don't think I will play it whenever it gets the Switch release. As an adult I've come to most of the series and I've found myself liking a lot of the smaller handheld ones more.

I wish I could play the game people talk about when they talk about Majora‘s Mask. They talk about vulnerability and heart and soul and whimsy, but all I get out of it is a not-very-compelling OoT reskin with a too-punishing time mechanic. Every time I give it a try, I get to a dungeon that isn’t very interesting (either the plant one or the ice one), and eventually I run out of time inside one, resetting all my progress. That sucks man.

Maybe I'll just cheat my way through it some day.

The more time goes by, the more I think the first one is not only the best Zelda, but arguably the best game full stop. It probably took the roguelite craze (Isaac and Gungeon in particular which both take their best ideas from it) and the randomizer for me to realize how good that game is, but damn there‘s nothing quite like watching two people who really know what they’re doing race in that game, sword buffering across the map, keeping track of item tables, juggling keys and items. It's still the best that combat has felt in any of them, and the enemies are all extremely distinct and well made so that every room with two separate enemy types feels entirely distinct and novel, especially with how limited your resources are and how much they affect the way you approach a room.

I’ve played most of ‘em over a period of thirty-something years, and yet I almost never finish them. I usually hit a wall somewhere around half way and lose interest. I want to like them more!

I can’t even name the things that made me want to finish the ones I did. IC hive mind: what’s the common ingredient between Minish Cap, Twilight Princess and Breath of the Wild? Those ones grabbed me.

they are further deifying iwata. :cry::cry::cry: my heart .

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edit for those who don't know:

this thing in the first frame of the trailer looks the the god of Satori Mountain in breathe of the wild. It was a sidequest symbolizing the late Satoru Iwata. The dev team of BotW had “do it for Iwata!” as their mantra while making the game. When they hit you in the face with this image at the start of the trailer, it evokes iwata. Very emotinoal.

a few years ago, i realized that the Zelda series is my favourite game series, but kind of just by lazy default. i‘m not a fanatic of any of the individual games except for Link to the Past (all-time top five favourite game for me). it’s simply because i've played every single one of them, and most of them entertained me enough to see them through to the end, though none of them stand out in my mind as being standout in any individual aspect. they just do everything they aspire to do reasonably well, without any glaring or offensive flaws.

i grew up alongside the series. almost literally. i was alive to experience all of them as they came out, and was 12 years old for Ocarina of Time, which was considered a landmark achievement in its day.

watching my dad as he played through Zelda II, and eventually beat it, was a mind-bending experience. i was like five at the time, and could barely wrap my head around Mario. watching him get through those later dungeons, he appeared to me like an actual hero of ~~time~~ sorts.

that experience, combined with being gifted a Game Boy and Link's Awakening when i was ten, as well as my Nintendo Power subscription and the years-long pedestal-placed status of Ocarina of Time as The Best Video Game Ever Made... cemented the Zelda series' status in my mind as The Important Video Game Series. the one to which all other games should be compared. the gold standard. the sliced bread. the fundamentals. the laps around the gym you have to run if you want to have a shot at making the team.

my top five would look like this:
1) Link's Awakening. all-time transformative media experience for me. loved the Switch remake as well - that one felt like it was made with love just for me.
2) Minish Cap. weird, colourful cartoonish take.
3) Wind Waker
4) Link Between Worlds
5) Ocarina of Time, but purely for nostalgia reasons. i absolutely hate playing it today, but my memories of it are powerful.

as for t**he most 7/10 insert credit Zelda**, i'd say Zelda II is the obvious pick, but what about **Spirit Tracks**? it feels more insert credit to me because: it's blue sky to the point of being almost-SEGA. it can really only be enjoyed on the original hardware because it makes use of every DS gimmick, not just the touch screen. it revolves around conducting a dang train, which is sometimes a lot of fun, but sometimes janky enough to be frustrating. Zelda has more agency and is more of a cool character in this one than in any other game.

and though it's not very insert credit, shout out to **Tri Force Heroes**. it's a spiritual successor to Marvelous Another Treasure Island, which is a very insert credit Nintendo game. it's a three-player 3DS game, which is weird and audacious. and it's just colourful and playful in a way Zelda usually isn't. feels like it has more of its own individual character than most entries in the series.

and, why the heck not, here are the Zeldas i like the least:
1) Skyward Sword. hate the Wii-waggles, and the constant hand holding. just not appealing at all.
2) Breath of the Wild. it's not a very "Zelda" feeling game, is it? it feels like a Studio Ghibli knockoff. may be my exit from Zelda fandom, if this is the direction they're going in, and that's fine.
3) Twilight Princess. way too dour and self-serious.
4) Oracle of Time. it's the only one i've finished but have absolutely no recollection of.
5) Zelda 3. probably not a popular opinion, but i came to it way too late (never owned a SNES as a kid) and by the time i played it, it felt as though i'd experienced everything it had to offer, more impressively, elsewhere in the series.

@"billy "#p84777 Hidemaro Fujibayashi directed Minish Cap and Breath of the Wild, and also Skyward Sword: what they‘ve got in common is an overworld which is as much a puzzle as any of the dungeons. Certainly a quality variously present in other Zeldas, but something about the way they do it feels of a piece (don’t think they‘re too similar in many other ways, mechanically). Is that the itch you want scratched? I can’t personally recommend Skyward Sword, but maybe it'll do it…

Minish Cap and Twilight Princess... have sassy partner characters, and they're nice to look at.... They were my first two games in the series. My appreciation for them is better left to history

idk I'm not much help. I feel like the halfway point is usually where Zeldas get more interesting, not less: why do you think that's where you quit?


@“antillese”#p84767 Especially with the older ones, I feel like you need a map/walkthrough/guide

I guess this only reinforces your point, but I say all ya need for Zelda 1 Zelda Fun is [a pencil and a big piece of paper]( "Supplemental" yes, but not like you need a GameFAQs page breathing down your neck or anything.

I said this in another thread yesterday I think but I think my favourite is Master Quest, because I like those hard ass dungeons. Master Quest Water Temple rules.

_Ocarina of Time_ would be better if the Shadow Temple and the Spirit Temple were as good as the Water Temple. Although, to be fair, I might just be saying that because I'm able to think of the game as it was presented in the 3DS Remasters and thus with more convenient Boot switching.

Someone has to say it but _Tears of the Kingdom_ is a bad subtitle. It sounds corny and melodramatic. I also think it's gonna end up being some kind of stupid play on words, tears like out of eyes and tears like in the fabric of reality or whatever. Game looks hot as hell, though. I am really hoping it's going to be enough not like _Breath of the Wild_ to sort of be this era's _Majora's Mask._

Oh, right. I think the most 7/10 Zelda game is the combined experience of Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, if that counts. No offense to you all, but most of the other games mentioned are too good. Those games are kind of dumb but in a way I think works.

Although I also think the most “insert credit” Zelda game is almost a different question, because, like, we like straightforwardly good stuff a lot of the time too. Spirit Tracks might be more like that, although, I haven‘t played it, it’s just the vibe I get.

Pretty sure the Insert Credit Zeldo game is Crusader of Senty or Landstalker.

I quite enjoy the Zeldo series.

  • - Link to the Past is my favourite, probably as it‘s the first I’ve played and the one I've played the most.
  • - I've got a lot of love for Skyward Sword for the same reason (first 3D one). I understand it has flaws but will [stauchly defend it](, [size=10]just [kidding]([/size] The second half is the better half I M H O.
  • - My first reaction to Twilight Princess was that its pretty bad as it was simple and tryhard (I went to school with a wolf guy, he was really into it), I've warmed up to it a bit now.
  • - Minish Cap owns, I love the sound design and pixel art.
  • - Ocarina of Time has never held my interest, I've played through the first temple 3 or 4 times.
  • - I got stuck on some of the bosses for the Oracle games.
  • - I don't really understand the hype around Link's Awakening, I played it through on 3DS, thought it was good, but I barely remember any of it. I like the wind fish.
  • - Breath of the Wild is good (obviously), but I had a problem when playing that I never wanted to play more when I stopped. I'd often go days between playing it. I liked the climbing but the world is too big and the story too small.
  • - Spirit Tracks is the worst Nintendo game I've played. Some big design issues in there, fernackling the flute sections took forever and dont get me started on the final boss. The characters were good though.
  • The new game isn't doing much for me. I've got a feeling it's changing up the structure and will be a roguelike / roguelite / whatever they are called.