Mr Fibbles is very cross.
A long awaited return.
Recenserad i Storbritannien den 19 oktober 2017
I originally reviewed this back in March 2017 when the game first came and instantly gave it five stars. However, after revisiting the game I started to notice some cracks that I feel many have over looked or ignored. Now this is not to say the game is bad in anyway, quite the opposite in fact but they should not be ignored if we want even better Zelda games in the future.
So here it is. After what seems like an eternity, the next installment in the Zelda series is here and it has made some big changes while it has been away. Some for the better and some not so much. However, is the game any good? The short answer is yes with a but.
The game starts with a familiar style for the Zelda series with our hero Link waking up to the sound of a mysterious voice. After a quick change of clothes (if you want to that is!) and a new tablet like device at his side, our hero Link is ready to begin another adventure in the land of Hyrule. I feel that the opening sequence is easily going to be one of the most remembered moments in the series history as Link runs up a short hill to look over the vast land that awaits him. All of which can be travelled to and explored at the players own pace. I can easily see people talking about that moment years from now for good reason, it is amazing, and sets the stage from the get go. The music that plays is simple yet touching and fits the scene perfectly.
After this, the game starts in a small area that acts like a tutorial zone, which will take around one to two hours to complete depending on how to tackle it. This area works extremely well to show the player that this is no ordinary Zelda game. You must clear four shrines which act like mini dungeons to unlock player abilities but apart from the first one, the other three can be tackled in any order and in anyway. A good example is a shrine that sits on top of a cold mountain. On my first play through I carry a lit torch to keep of the cold and yet my second play through I unlocked a warm coat and climbed up the side of the mountain. This gives you an idea of how varied the game is.
As I mentioned just, the game has introduced a temperature system. This means when you enter a certain area such as a cold maintain, you will need heated clothing or cook something to keep you warm. The same for the hot places like Death Mountain where you need armour to keep you cool. This is one of the features I was worried about but has now become one of my favourite in the whole game.
After that, you can go anywhere at any time. Some of the areas however are clearly designed for later on in the game as the biggest and most difficult monsters are in those areas. You can go there if you want but you will die almost instantly until you have unlocked a good amount of hearts and upgraded your armour.
One of the most notable problems some will have is the games unbalanced difficulty when it comes to monsters. Some can be taken out with ease yet just a few yards down the road, the same type of monsters can deliver an instant death especially if your number of hearts are low. The game does thankfully save quite regularly so even when you do die (I said when not if) it’s never more than a few moments back but the spikes will put many people off the game and certainly newbies or younger players to the series may not be happy with seeing the game over screen time and time again. While it’s certainly not Zelda 2 hard, it’s still unpredictable how much health you will lose in a fight. However, once you’ve upgraded your armour to full and have the best weapons, the game can become too easy where enemies do almost no damage but you can kill in just one hit. While not game breaking in anyway it is unbalanced at times.
As for the health, that has had a complete overhaul in this game. Gone are the dropped hearts to replenish your health and in comes cooking. The game is littered with ingredients, meats and fresh fruit that have different effects depending on how they are cooked. At first, I didn’t like this idea but it does grow on you as the game progresses. It’s akin to having a health pack with you at all times. One of the biggest annoyances though is the health doesn’t regenerate which is something odd for an open world game or at least, the ones I have played such as Skyrim.
The graphics in this game are very impressive for the system with a Studio Ghibli vibe to them. They are done in a cel-shading style but unlike the Wind Waker cel-shading in the world has many details. The water effects are great, the world feels alive and you want to keep exploring even long after completing the game. Truth be told, I have spent more time wondering around the world then playing the main quest.
On the flip side the sound is probably the worst part of the game and especially for a Zelda game. The sound effects are spot on with every weapon making the correct sound (clanging of metal or the thud of wooden swords) and on their own get a ten out of ten. However, the music is the huge let down overall. One thing that nobody can deny is that the Zelda games have some of the greatest and most iconic video game music ever created. That is sadly lacking in this game. It does have a soundtrack but it is mostly ambient in its style. Unlike say the Elder Scrolls games that play beautiful music when traversing the world. It’s really missed when the only sounds are the wind blowing, birds tweeting and the odd piano key now and then. However, certain areas do have proper music such as Zora’s Domain and the Horse Stables that it is all-orchestral and sound fantastic.
The voice acting is hit and miss. Some like the Goron’s and the Rito sound pretty good but others like the Mipha of the Zora Clan is quite poor and Zelda herself can sometimes be cringy. When compared to other voice acting in video games it does need some work. However, I do think adding voice acting is the right move for the series and if you ask me, it should have been adding back in Twilight Princess. I hope this does return for future games in the series but better voice actors are used. I personally changed it to Japanese once the update came out and it sounds a thousand times better.
Now on to the gameplay. One thing that the series has brought back from Wind Waker is the ability to use enemy’s weapons and this time you can keep them. I really enjoyed this idea as each weapon has it’s strengths and weakness and does mix up gameplay for the better. However, the durability of these weapons is ridicules. They can break at the drop of a hat. For example, I found a trident in Zora’s Domain and it broke after throwing it at one enemy. Swords can break after less than five hits and so on. As I said I really like the idea but the weapons need to last a lot longer than they do. It does force you to think fast about what weapons to use but at the start of the game it is insane when you are given a stick and it breaks in three hits. I actually found myself avoiding conflict completely.
The climbing feature is also something new to the series and I do believe it is not just the best thing to happen to a Zelda game but could be one of the best things to happen to an open world game in years. Everything is truly open to you and nothing is out of bounds. You can climb almost any surface making the game world truly open. One complaint I’ve always had about Skyrim is getting stuck trying to climb a mountain where in this game, that’s not a problem!
Speaking of the game world, it amazing to see what Nintendo have made and for the first few hours it will astound you. However, later on it will start to become a little tedious, as some areas are just too big for their own good and without a horse can take a long time to cover a short distance.
Oh and another thing, for some reason everyone but the Hylians are giants. I really mean it, the Zora’s, Rito and the Gurudo are about eight foot tall! Not sure why.
So on conclusion do I recommend this game? I’m going to say yes.
However, many will disagree but I have found this game is not the same the second time around. Ocarina of Time is still my personal favourite and I play it at least once a year and enjoy it every time. However, wen I played this through for the second time it lost all of its fun. The shrines become boring, the dungeons can be done in less than 15 mins and it just didn’t hook me like so many other entries in the series.
Oh and why have they removed the file select? Seems like a step backwards there.
My first play through I rated it a strong third but at this point, I rate it as my sixth favourite in the series.
The game is not perfect in anyway and many of the critic’s scores are a little too generous for my liking as they overlook some of the games minor problems but it is a triumph none the less. It has some creases that need to be ironed out in the future but if this is the direction the series is going in, then I for one will be one happy Zelda fan once again….just don’t let us wait another six years for a new Zelda next time, Nintendo.
Value for Money:- 20/20
Replay Value:- 16/20
(86/100). A must buy.
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