Over the past couple of years I have tried several times to get into the “Zelda”-franchise. While I played and finished “Twilight Princess” back when the Nintendo Wii launched, I never was able to really enjoy other games in the franchise. I always thought my enjoyment of “Twilight Princess” was mostly due to it being my first game for the Wii. And while “Phantom Hourglass”, which I played later, was a fun little adventure on the DS, it didn’t really impress me. Thanks to “Hyrule Warriors” however, my interest in the franchise as a whole has been renewed and right now, I’m play “A Link to the Past” on the Wii U.
When I first sat down to play “A Link to the Past” a week ago, I had a rush of nostalgia, which was a bit surprising, considering I never played the game before. But I had seen others play it. As a child, I spent a lot of time in the gaming section of the local supermarket when my parents were shopping and they always had a Super Nintendo or NES hooked up with some game playing on it. And sometimes, that gane was “A Link to the Past”. I loved the colourful graphics back then but outside of that, I don’t remember whether I was impressed by it or not.
However, the look and feel of this game, in all its 16-Bit glory, are really charming and are able to pull me into it right from the get go. That’s a real testament to the overall aesthetic design of the game! The music is also enchanting, with many well known pieces to be found here. Even if you never play Zelda games, you should be able to recognize many of the melodies present in the games, which just goes to show how embedded this game is in popular culture.
I grasped the basics of the controls fairly quickly and made my way through the beginning section of the game. All was fine until the game really opened up and I felt memories of “Ocarina of Time” creep up again. Yes, I dislike “Ocarina of Time”, mostly for its obscure structure and the lack of a general sense of direction. This was a problem in “Link to the Past” too, at least at the beginning, but since the map screen tells you where to go, it wasn’t as bad as with the cult classic on the N64.
Of course I understand, that for many, this openness is a huge part of the “Zelda”-experience, but it never did anything for me and it’s not appealing to me here either. It’s strange too, since in the “Metroid” games, I appreciate the freedom, but here, it just frustrates me. Maybe it’s because I always feel like I’m wasting my time. As a child, I might have enjoyed the exploration more, but nowadays, I just feel like I’m loosing precious game time…
As soon as I entered the next dungeon, I felt right at home again. I have completed the first three dungeons and while they were not all that spectacular, the basic puzzles, fight and boss battles managed to keep me engaged and interested. There’s a nice pacing going on here and I think playing this game will be quite enjoyable. I hope I’m going to have as much fun as soon as I get the Mastersword!