The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons Review


Legend of Zelda is a series where the main games tend to be terrific but some of the older ones don’t work as well. It’s a little bit like Metroid to that extent where I didn’t care for the first couple much but then they got better. This game plays out like a very old school LoZ title where you are really left to your own devices. It ends up making for a game that is pretty annoying to play.

So someone has decided to mess with the 4 seasons. The global climate is out of whack now and nobody really knows what to do. Fortunately Link is on the case. He will have to use the staff of seasons in order to put the world right again. It’s the only way to bring peace and prosperity back into the land. We don’t know exactly who the villain is, but he will certainly regret getting in Link’s way.

The main gameplay style here is that of an overhead adventure. You travel across the world as you look for different essences as well as the 4 seasons themselves. You can use various weapons in the hub world like your sword, boomerang, and other weapons. Talking to civilians will help you get past obstacles that can’t be overcome by brawn alone. There are also portions of the game that simulate the Mario experience as the game turns into a side scroller. It’s always pretty fun to go through those segments as a change of pace.

I played this game as a virtual console port on the 3DS. I can say right now that I can’t imagine playing this game without the access points. I use those quite a lot. Without them there are obstacles that will take you back to the beginning of a dungeon. If you make a wrong step you may find yourself in a room that you can’t back out of and you have to take the long way around. The game has many anti quality of life features that stack up.

On the plus side, I do like the graphics. They’ve aged well and this is a colorful style that just really works well. It’s why a lot of people like sprites since they transition into the future really easily. The soundtrack’s also pretty decent. It’s all catchy and works well for the various dungeons. So on a technical level this game was on the money.

The actual gameplay is pretty smooth as well. You never feel like the weapon is hitting too late or you miss something that you’re aiming for. The core gameplay is solid so I don’t expect you will really come across any issues. So this pretty much wraps up the good parts of the game. They are considerable of course but the negatives do outweigh them this time.

First off, there’s not much of a story. It’s not the kind of thing that will lower a score but when bosses show up without any dialogue or cutscene, you know something is up. Yeah there is still a story overall but it’s fairly barebones. I will give the game credit for having a cliffhanger ending though. It flat out tells you to go and buy Oracle of Ages as the game ends. There is a caveat to that though.

It looks like you have to buy both games to effectively link them and unlock the true ending. If you just buy one then you will really be playing through almost the same story. So…this seems like a really crafty way to get people to buy both titles. I also wonder how that would work through virtual console. I’m guessing I wouldn’t be able to transfer save states like that and if so that would be awful. I don’t know for sure though so just keep that in mind if you want to see the true ending.

No, the real issue with the game is the puzzles. LoZ loves its puzzles but the problem is that the series is often not as good at it as the real puzzle titles like Professor Layton. Half the time you are given no clue as to what to do next or have to use your weapon in a new way that was unexplained. I spent 20 minutes blasting one enemy with elemental attacks only to find out that it wasn’t actually causing damage. (Why have the boss glow as if you landed a hit when the hit didn’t work?)

Between dungeons you often have to do tasks in the hub world but there is no way to know what you are supposed to do. Additionally the hub world is huge so running back and forth is incredibly time consuming. The game took a lot longer than I expected it would in order to conquer it and this was why. I spent hours just spinning my wheels when I could have been at the next dungeon already.

I never cared much for that aspect because if I got a game then I want to be playing it. I want to feel the gameplay and just go all in but this really slows things down. I ended up needing a guide for many parts and I don’t see how I would have ever guessed what to do in some of these cases. There are some places you can teleport to in order to save time but not nearly enough of them. You still have to walk large parts of the world map on your own which is not ideal.

At the heart of it, the game just isn’t very fun to play for this reason. Sure, some of the dialogue can be fun, you can enjoy the boss battles but anytime you’re having too much fun the game slams you down with a dead zone where you have to figure out where to go next. It leaves you in a tough spot but not a fun one as you’re running through areas you’ve already been to a million times already.

At least because of that the length is considerable. If you get this game for the going rate of $10-$15 bucks then this is really not a bad deal. There’s also the replay value of getting the true ending but if you do need two copies in order to get to it then that may not be applicable in the virtual console version anyway. Definitely do your research before buying the game.

Overall, The overhead Link games aren’t really my style and this one was no exception. If it focused on more combat and less wandering around then I think it would have fared a lot better. Link games always have solid combat after all and that would have aged really well. So if you’re in the mood for a Legend of Zelda game, I’d recommend checking out Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, or Breath of the Wild instead. At the end of the day this one just wasn’t fun and is best left to history.

Overall 4/10

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Review


Tri Force Heroes is definitely an interesting Legend of Zelda title. It’s far different from most of the ones that come out. I would say it’s closest to Four Swords in terms of gameplay. You’ve got the classic overhead view back but this time you’re controlling 3 Links. It is held back to an extent though in how much this is built for multiple people to play it as opposed to a 1 player experience. It also ramps up the difficulty levels quite a bit to the point where this is one of the few games that took me longer to complete than the average time from the Howlongtobeat site.

The story this time revolves around a princess who is so beautiful that she ends up being cursed by another person who is jealous. She is now forced to wear a skintight suit at all times so she can no longer put on the fancy dresses she once had. A kid is instructed to destroy the monsters in 8 key worlds and break the curse on the Princess. He dons the name of Link as well as the classic gear and gets ready to accomplish this. Can Link really save the day or is he ultimately doomed to be crushed here?

Interestingly both Zelda and Ganondorf don’t appear in this game. I’m surprised they didn’t just make Zelda the princess but that’s probably for the best because I can’t really picture her just taking the curse sitting down like this. It was a good move not to make her the damsel but it would have been fun to maybe see Zelda appear as a supporting character. I was also waiting for the big twist that Ganondorf was the big villain all along but that one didn’t actually end up panning out. The actual villain who doesn’t even have a true name beyond “The Lady” is decent at best. She is a little on the petty side since the whole reason she did this is because she’s jealous of the princess. It’s not exactly the best motive.

Her role is also small but that’s the way the story is in general. You can go through the game without seeing much of the story at all. See, there are 8 worlds to complete and each world has 4 levels. Each level has 4 sections in it. You can clear all of these in one shot or break them up as much as you want. if you turn the game off after any world or leave the room then you’ll get a quick cutscene of encouragement from the King or some information from the wardrobe owner. However, if you just beat the game right up front then you won’t get these cutscenes and instead will get a lot of them back to back at the end. That’s what happened to me and it’s an odd tactic.

I feel like the plot was thrown together more as a formality but the game didn’t actually care about it all that much. As for the gameplay, it’s fairly basic. You have to get to the end of each area by solving a puzzle or defeating an enemy. You can move and swing your sword as well as using a power up specific to the level. You will need to use multiple Links to clear these levels as well like throwing Links onto higher levels or holding them up so they can slice away at enemies who are too tall to be hit normally. That’s the way to clear a lot of the puzzles since the multi links is a big part of the game’s theme.

Here’s the thing though, if you’re playing multiplayer then everyone controls a Link. In one player mode the other two are Totems so they can’t move or do anything. You have to constantly switch between them to solve the puzzles on your own which takes a lot of extra time. Additionally for bosses where you have to distract them with one Link and attack with another, it can be tough to switch that quickly. So the game is absolutely meant for multiplayer. If the other Links would move on their own as A.I. or something I think that would be a lot better. That could potentially work. Like this it can get a bit rough although the challenge was fun.

The game flies by pretty quickly. It took me a little over 8 hours to conquer it so around 1 hour a world. Part of that is just because the levels can be tricky though as they are usually pretty short otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that the game allows you to skip levels as well by using the fairy. Each level has 4 areas as I mentioned and you get 3 skips for each level. So what you can do is clear area 1 and then skip the rest of the level. If you do this then you only have to clear 32 areas in the game or effectively just 8 levels. It’s definitely an effective way to speedblitz the game but at that point are you really getting the full experience? It seems like it wouldn’t be all that worth it but at the same time if you have a level that’s particularly annoying at least you have it as an option I guess.

The graphics are pretty decent. It’s going for a pretty retro look here but everything does appear to be in HD with a lot of detail. The art style is charming and definitely gets you into the flow of the game. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable but I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It may not have the iconic theme you would expect to walk away with but it does have that classic LoZ charm to be sure. The boss theme would probably be the most memorable one if I had to choose one theme to walk away with.

As for replay value, there is definitely more to do here. For starters you can go back to the levels you completed and clear the Challenger Mode. Each level essentially has another version to play so that could last you another 8 hours. You can also try to obtain all of the clothes from the shop. I didn’t explore the hub world much at all but there is also an items shop which I could see being pretty handy. All in all I wouldn’t call it a ton of replay value but the content is absolutely there. The going price nowadays is also very low so that helps make this a bargain as well.

Overall, Tri Force Heroes is a good game. It can be a bit repetitive due to the puzzle style it has. You will be doing the same actions over and over a lot of the time which can get a bit dull so you don’t want to play this in super large batches. The fact that the game is really built around being a multiplayer experience also makes things feel a little clunky at times. Still, at the end of the day I would recommend this game if you like LoZ. It’s not quite up to the standard of the main games but as a spinoff it does accomplish its duty of being a game you can rally behind and to see the classic characters one last time.

Overall 6/10

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

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Twilight Princess has finally gotten a manga. It’s still the only big LoZ game that I have not played so it’ll be cool to see how this title pans out. Wolves better not keep perishing though or that could end up hurting the series quite a bit. I’ll have a review for the series when it finishes.

Overall 6/10