OPINION: Zelda and E3 2016

Monday, June 20th, 2016

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*The opinions of the author may not necessarily represent the views of the entirety of Operation Rainfall.*

The Legend of Zelda | oprainfall

I have a long history with The Legend of Zelda. The gold cart version of the first game was one of my first NES games, although I was old enough to draw parallels between it and the Atari game Adventure. It was definitely the far better product. So, on the NES, I really got into the first game, and learning that a whole new adventure waited for me after beating the game the first time — that ranks up there with learning that Samus was a woman. It blew my young mind. Zelda 2 was quite the mind trip, but when you have so few games to play, I was able to power through the differences and ended up enjoying that game, as well.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past | oprainfall

Fast forward to the SNES. By this time I was old enough to earn a paycheck, so I was able to purchase and play far more games than I could in the NES era. And then The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past came out, and things changed. I went from enjoying the series to truly loving it. This is still my favorite Zelda game of all time, and is in my top five games of all time, period. But, once you have such a powerful experience with a game, its sequels will always have the difficult task of living up to those expectations. There were some highlights since then. While I have generally not liked the handheld titles, Link’s Awakening and A Link Between Worlds were definite highlights. Their association with Zelda 3 is quite obvious, though. On consoles, though, only two games since the SNES entry have almost reached its heights.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD | oprainfall

Most people probably expected me to extol the virtues of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time here. And while I enjoy that game — even more than Majora’s Mask — my favorite Zelda game after A Link to the Past is actually The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. And this wasn’t a sudden realization after the HD remaster, I’ve always been a vocal supporter of this game. However, having that HD remaster on my Wii U has been a wonderful thing. Especially because it looks like this will be the last Zelda that I truly love, at least for a while. Skyward Sword gets a lot of grief, and justifiably in my opinion, but I didn’t like Twilight Princess any more than that one. And that brings us to E3 2016. The news of a new Zelda fills me with very mixed emotions. It certainly doesn’t make me worry about the continuing war of adult tastes that Nintendo has been waging and I’ve discussed before. But there is some trepidation about the direction they have taken this series. But there was a Zelda game this year that truly attracted my attention and made me excited to play in that world. Sadly, it wasn’t The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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About William Haderlie

Born in the 1970's, I've been an avid participant for much of video game history. A lifetime of being the sort of supergeek entrenched in the sciences and mathematics has not curbed my appreciation for the artistry of video games, cinema, and especially literature.

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  • Mr0303

    That was an interesting bait and switch. To be honest I didn’t get the Zelda vibe from Horizon. If anything it was more Monster Hunter with some Skyrim thrown into the mix. Zelda games were always about the adventure and Horizon looks to be more about the world itself if that makes sense.

    P.S. We totally need Darksiders 3.

    • William Haderlie

      We’ll see, there is a lot of rpg mechanics and finding enemy weaknesses and such behind the veil in Horizon. But it’s still quite a ways from completion. It’s not exactly the same, Darksiders 1 was more of a Zelda than 2. But I still get the same vibe from all 3 examples. And it’s still more the Zelda I want than what I’ve seen from the newest Nintendo offering.

  • madmofo145

    Really? Exactly what have we seen in Horizon that suggest it will be full of great puzzles? That new items acquired will change the the way we navigate the world? Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and I will likely end up grabbing it, but to me it simply does not look like Zelda. On the other hand the 100+ shrines promising new powers and puzzles in Breath of the WIld sounds very much like the Zelda I’ve been waiting for.

    Zelda has never been about graphics, or even about deep combat, and while the scale of the world and certain design choices like weapon fatigue have me a bit hesitant, it still gives off the Zelda vibe. I also think that Nintendo chose a poor format for showing off the game. The live Demos are always risky as the people playing it just didn’t seem to be that good at it, and spending so much time fighting a giant rock monster they couldn’t beat left a bad taste in peoples mouth. I do hope that we will see a larger enemy diversity, even in areas mostly dominated by one type though, as that could really be an issue.

    • William Haderlie

      Zelda is different things for different people. But I don’t only base my opinion on what was shown in the conferences and live streams. I also base it on behind closed doors demos and what the developers are saying their games are going to be. Feel free to disagree, though, it’s only my opinion.

  • Josh S.

    Much as I would like to disagree, I can certainly see your reasoning here. I would say that Horizon reminds me far more of Xenoblade Chronicles than Zelda, however. That said, I agree it looks incredible. As for Breath of the Wild, I have high hopes for that as well 🙂 Great opinion piece!