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by Sean Engemann
The Legend of Zelda is coming back in a big way with a remastered Wind Waker and a brand new Zelda title headed to the Wii U. The latest Nintendo Direct also brought happy news to 3DS owners with a sequel based off the classic Super Nintendo title, A Link to the Past, coming this holiday season. Though often overshadowed by Ocarina of Time, fans of the nostalgic, isometric perspective easily place the SNES game as their favorite in the venerable series. Yet, unlike Ocarina of Time 3D that launched shortly after the release of the handheld, this new Zelda adventure is much more than a touched up port with 3D effects.
The land of Hyrule will be instantly recognizable to veterans of A Link to the Past, where vibrant colors, hidden caches, and familiar foes abound. You should probably expect many bouts of déjà vu as you travel the overworld, and you'll be happy to know that the Dark World is making a return. However, the dungeons have been completely re-imagined, designed with the unique perspective of the 3DS in mind.
The verticality of the dungeons will play an integral part in the puzzles, such as whacking face shaped trampolines with your hammer to access the floors above, and judging the shadowy floors below before taking leaps of faith. The overhead view with the 3D slider cranked up displays a unique sense of depth, giving this new Zelda game that diorama-esque feel that so many developers for the system have adopted and coveted.
The biggest new feature thus far, though, breaks away from this perspective, and brings the camera down for a portrait view of our hero. This happens when Link fuses into walls, turning into living graffiti with the ability to hug the walls to access areas not possible in his 3D form. While in this state, Link can escape pursuing monsters and slink through barred windows. This allows developers even more possibilities to tax our strategic brains with cunning and complex dungeons. It does seem like this ability, however, could be exploited by players to easily traverse dungeons. In A Link to the Past, many sections tease us with inaccessibility until we locate the treasure chest containing a new piece of equipment. The ability to circumvent this tried and true formula could be a detriment to the game. One method Nintendo has devised to limit our use of the wall-hugging ability is causing it to drain Link's magic meter.
The trusty green gauge for all of Link's conjurations makes a return, though we know nothing yet about which items they will charge aside from the aforementioned graffiti Link. What we do know is that instead of scouring for magic decanters to replenish the magic meter, it will slowly refill automatically. Link's trusty bow is another item that has also forgone a finite limit; it too has a recharge gauge. Link's sword retains its ability to do the Whirling Blade Technique, while the Master Sword can launch a Beam Attack when Link is at full health for those useful ranged strikes. No other equipment is showcased in the brief trailer, so it will be interesting to see which fan favorites from the original make a return, and what new gadgets Link has up his tunic.
The classic overworld melody can be heard in the trailer, as well as many sound effects from A Link to the Past, which pays a nice homage to the heritage of the series. Nintendo would do well not to fool around with new compositions for this title.
It's highly doubtful this will be anything but a single-player adventure; multiplayer will only happen if Nintendo decides to add a separate Four Swords adventure to this title like they did with the GameBoy Advance one. Hopefully, by the time it is released, we will have Miiverse up and running on our 3DS systems. Pulling out the Master Sword, launching a soldier down a bottomless pit, and nailing an Eyegore straight in the eye with an arrow are just a few screenshots I already have lined up for posting.
The new Zelda game for the 3DS seems like a perfect fit for the system. The isometric perspective, the analog control setup, and the modern update of a classic design will no doubt all work together to create the perfect Zelda adventure to take on the go. The 3DS already has an incredibly robust lineup for 2013. Slated for release this holiday season, this sequel to a beloved game should be the perfect way to end the year with a bang.
Date: May 14, 2013