Defining The Legend of Zelda: The Role of Combat

Near the end of May, I examined the important role that puzzles have had in the evolution of the Legend of Zelda series. In that article, I noted that fans often debate whether puzzles or combat is more important to the series. Both puzzles and combat have played an important part in the evolution of the Legend of Zelda series and today I’m going to to take a closer look at the role of combat in The Legend of Zelda.

A newcomber to the Legend of Zelda series would quickly note that Link’s weapon of choice is a sword, but after playing through a portion of any Legend of Zelda game the same player would realize that there is far more to the combat of The Legend of Zelda than swordplay. The inventory items that Link acquires throughout each game have always played a pivotal role in Link’s adventures. I’ll be exploring roles of both swordplay and inventory items in this conclusion to “Defining The Legend of Zelda”.

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Darksiders Review

When I first heard about Darksiders, I was glad to hear that there was another game following in the footsteps of The Legend of Zelda’s item-based exploration. While other popular games are often copied endlessly by their competition The Legend of Zelda series seems to have avoided this problem entirely. The Legend of Zelda series has always introduced new ideas that have influenced the industry, but the the basics of the gameplay are rarely copied outright. Unfortunately, this causes a different problem that fans of other video game genres do not have: there are no similar games to play between Legend of Zelda releases.

Darksiders builds on the basic gameplay of The Legend of Zelda series and outperforms its predecessor in some ways. The result is a game that feels similar enough to The Legend of Zelda to make fans feel at home but offers enough differences to feel like something entirely new. Continue reading

Defining The Legend of Zelda: Examining the Basics

How would you define The Legend of Zelda? It is difficult to define something that covers such a large number of subjects and genres. The Legend of Zelda is not solely a puzzle game, an adventure game, or a role-playing game, but it contains elements from all of them. The Legend of Zelda series regularly incorporates ideas from other genres as well. In 2004, Shigeru Miyamoto spoke briefly at Nintendo’s E3 press conference. While on stage he made one very important statement: “The Legend of Zelda never stops changing.”

Even so, there are parts of The Legend of Zelda that never change. I’ve heard these constants referred to as the “core Zelda gameplay” in the past, and it’s a subject I’d like to explore in further detail. Exactly what is the “core Zelda gameplay”?

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Modern Game Design and The Legend of Zelda

Before the next Legend of Zelda game is released, Nintendo needs to stop for a moment and pay attention to what other developers are doing. Being innovative is great, but not all unoriginal ideas are bad ideas.

There are a handful of specific ideas that I would like to see in the next generation Legend of Zelda game. You have likely read some similar arguments in the past, but that doesn’t make them any less valid.

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review

I love the Legend of Zelda series, so it should be no surprise that I arrived at my local GameStop at midnight November 20th to pick up my limited edition copy of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I spent the next week playing through the game, and logged about fifty hours before I completed it. When I completed the game, I created a new file and began playing through the game again.

Needless to say, I found a lot to enjoy in Skyward Sword, and the game has quickly become one of my favorite Legend of Zelda games. I’m not sure that I’m ready to say that Skyward Sword surpasses Ocarina of Time or A Link to the Past as the best games in the series, but Skyward Sword is, without a doubt, the best Legend of Zelda game released in the last ten years.

Skyward Sword is the climax of Nintendo’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Legend of Zelda series. The game itself celebrates the series as a whole. Not only does Skyward Sword serve as a sort of origin story for the series, but there are regular references to other games in the series and the game refines the elements that make the series great. Continue reading

Zelda Deserves a Cohesive Story

One of my favorite aspects of the Legend of Zelda is the story. Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto have both made it clear on multiple occasions that the various games fit together in a specific chronological order. Eiji Aonuma has also commented that he has a confidential document on his work computer that contains that order, but he has also made it clear that very few people have ever seen that document, and that fact isn’t something likely to change.

I think Nintendo ought to rethink their stance on the Legend of Zelda timeline.

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Zelda Deserves a Cohesive Story

Review: The Legend of Zelda Four Swords Anniversary Edition

Earlier this week, Nintendo released a special version of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords as part of their on-going celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Legend of Zelda.

Four Swords was originally included as a bonus game in the Gameboy Advance remake of  The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but Four Swords required two or more players and was largely ignored due to the requirements (each player needed their own Gameboy Advance and their own copy of A Link to the Past).

Almost ten years later, Nintendo has taken this opportunity to improve the game. The most important change is the addition of a single player mode. Nintendo has also added new stages based on some of the oldest Legend of Zelda games. The best part: the game is a free download for all Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS owners (for a limited time). Continue reading