It’s actually happened! Nintendo, never known for making more than one sequel to any Zelda game, is on the verge of releasing exactly that. With the announcement of the A Link to the Past sequel (currently dubbed A Link to the Past 2) on the 3DS, we will finally return to a Zelda story that hasn’t been touched in many years (since Link’s Awakening in fact, though Link’s Awakening took place far from Hyrule, so no conflict at all). A Link to the Past was originally released on the SNES in 1992, and has been declared by many gamers as one of the greatest games of all time. It was undoubtedly a complete package, containing a brilliantly detailed over-world, thrilling boss battles, and eleven enormous dungeons. The potential for another masterpiece is vast, and here’s what I hope to see Nintendo do to capitalize on this potential.
Beat the nostalgia drum. Everyone who has experienced this masterpiece is likely loaded with fond memories. The world is supposed to be virtually unchanged from A Link to the Past, and screenshots suggest that this is the case. Which is a great starting point. Bring back specific characters and locations that will tickle our memories. Bring up dialogue that references the events of A Link to the Past (this was done very well in a few other games, like the references to Ocarina of Time’s story in The Wind Waker), and insert side quests that are expansions to those seen in the SNES masterpiece. Also, bring back a few of those bosses, all of which were fantastic in the original game (thankfully, screenshots have actually shown that they’re going to do just that). Don’t make them exactly the same; give them a twist to keep us off balance. But, at the same time, I don’t mean to say that this game should completely copycat A Link to the Past, as Twilight Princess arguably did to Ocarina of Time. Give us a new story with some actual changes to the basic Zelda formula, a new villain, new dungeons, expand the world with some new locations, make significant changes to existing locations (Hyrule Castle populated with people who don’t want to kill you?), etc. No doubt that Nintendo has to walk a very fine line between jolting our memories and making this game nothing more than an A Link to the Past clone.
Bring back the open-world exploration. This has been one of the most troubling aspects of recent Zelda games like Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword. In the former, your exploration is done on a boat, in which you draw a path and watch your boat sail. Spirit Tracks was the same way, except there was always a set path in which your freedom of movement entirely consisted of flipping the tracks. Skyward Sword allowed you to fly around the hub world, but there was virtually nothing to explore, and the worlds below almost completely consisted of linear corridors. No matter how much I wanted to get into these games, I truly struggled to. They’re not in the spirit of Zelda. Fortunately though, this is easy to correct: open up the world for us! Allow us to explore large portions of the world map without having to finish a dozen hours of random tasks. Give us secrets to find, and let us adventure!
How about some horse-riding in 2D Zelda? The last 2D Zelda games that allowed us to ride animals were the Oracle games, and it was a blast. I doubt it’s going to happen, but I’d really like to see this again. It worked so well before, so why not? This would even add the possibility for a new dimension to the combat, only truly seen in Twilight Princess. I’d really like to see how a horseback boss battle would work in 2D Zelda. And this could be utilized in more ways than combat. Remembering how annoying the thieves in the original game could be, it would be really cool to see something like horseback chases after you’ve been robbed. Run those little suckers down. A long-time dream of mine.
Cut the filler. Probably my biggest qualm with some of the recent Zelda games is the amount of fetch quests. Gathering the tears of light again and again and again in Twilight Princess. Finding all the tadtones, gathering the Kikwis, finding the propeller (along with other items) in Skyward Sword. Put more puzzles in the dungeons (and don’t have our guide tell us how to do everything; I’m looking at you, Fi). Add more battles, maybe mini-boss battles, to the overworld to keep us on our toes. Even cut-scenes and dialogue that reveal more facts about the Sacred Realm, Ganon’s invasion, the Knights of Hyrule, etc, would all be so much better than loads of filler content. If there has to be fetch quests, please make them fully optional. Thank you, Nintendo.
There’s no doubt that this is an absolutely huge announcement and that Nintendo has their work cut out for them in attempting to create a sequel to one of the greatest games of all time. I’m already a little worried that the announcement of the new mechanic of turning into a painting is a bit strange for a Zelda game. However, early footage has shown that it allows for an assortment of time-based puzzles, so it seems as if Nintendo might be able to insert this ability seamlessly. Other than that, everything looks positive so far. The world appears vastly more detailed than it did on the SNES, as it should, and it appears that there will be plenty of room for 3D effects. The controls won’t be stylus-based, and early gameplay looks really smooth. I have a feeling A Link to the Past 2 will erase the sour taste left in my mouth from the two DS Zelda games.
First introduced to gaming with Wolfenstein 3D, Daniel has never looked back. He still returns to the old classics while enjoying the current generation, and beats every game he can get his hands on. In addition, he loves to read and write and is an avid follower of sports and martial arts.
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