Category Archives: The Legend of Zelda Series

Top 5 RPGs of 2013

There were some fantastic RPGs released in 2013. From stellar entries in long running series, to some fresh new experiences. The Nintendo 3DS had a great year and some of its best games are reflected in this list. Unfortunately there are a few quality RPGs I have yet to play so please leave some thoughts on your favourite RPGs of 2013 in comments.
1. – The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds –
A true triumph of game design, A Link Between Worlds manages to rekindle memories of one of the greatest games of all time while also reinventing the classic Zelda franchise. Focusing on straightforward design lets the gameplay really shine as the combat is fast and fluid and the dungeon puzzles are creative, imaginative and rewarding. The fresh elements include the item rental system and Link’s ability to turn into a painting and merge into walls. These seemingly simple mechanics completely change the way you play the game as the world is yours to explore very early on and not only do you have to think about puzzles from the top down view, but sometimes the answers can only be achieved by looking at them from a completely different perspective. The 3D effect also adds to the gameplay in a meaningful way. This is Nintendo at the top of their game.
Zelda ALBW Battle
2. – Bravely Default –
While the start of a new series, this game feels like the direction the classic Final Fantasy series could have taken in recent years and what a game it is. Bravely Default features beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds, an exciting and strategic new take on tradition turn-based combat, a robust customisable job system, fully explorable world map, charming and interesting characters, brilliant soundtrack, memorable villains and a story centered around crystals and saving the world. It perfectly combines the spirit, freedom and customisation from the SNES era Final Fantasy instalments with the presentation, atmosphere and character development of the PS1 era titles. If this sounds like the things you look for in an RPG, you need to play this game.
Bravely Default Ship
3. – Fire Emblem: Awakening –   
While Fire Emblem is a long running series, not all of its entries have been released in English or really gained any mainstream success, that is until this brilliant title. An in-depth strategy RPG at its core, Awakening also features the ability to create your own character, manage interactions and relationships between the enormous amount of party members, superb presentation, substantial addition content and an engaging story with great dialogue and character development. The experience and difficulty is adjustable making it approachable to new players, while also keeping its hardcore gameplay the series is known for. A game that will keep you coming back for a long time.
Fire Emblem Awakening Battle
4. – Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix –
A high definition update to a PS2 classic. While the original Kingdom Hearts is the gem of this collection it also includes the PS2 remake of Kingdom Hearts: Chains of Memories and cutscenes from the Nintendo DS spinoff Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. The first game in the series is still a fantastic action RPG expertly combining some of Disney’s greatest animated movies with popular Final Fantasy characters connecting it all with an entertaining original story, superb voice acting, fun real time combat system and a fantastic soundtrack. Whether you are playing this for the first time or reliving fond memories this is a great collection and will get you ready for 2.5 Remix coming in 2014.
Kingdom Hearts Sora Riku
5. – Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch –  
A combination from acclaimed RPG maker Level 5 and famed anime company Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni features some of the best visuals you will ever see in a video game. The art direction and animation will draw you into the magical world, but you will stay to explore the imaginative locations, quirky characters, intriguing story and unique battle system that combines real-time action with menu commands and monster collecting. A whimsical adventure that is both charming and inviting.
Ni No Kuni Forest

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Filed under Bravely Default, Fire Emblem, Kingdom Hearts Series, Ni No Kuni, The Legend of Zelda Series, Top 5 Lists

Preview: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The Legend of Zelda is an absolute classic video game series and the SNES master piece A Link to the Past is not only seen as one of the best instalments, but one of the best games ever made. It is a daunting task to go back and revisit such a classic, but over 20 years after it’s release Nintendo are making a sequel for the Nintendo 3DS.
Zelda ALBW Hyrule
A Link Between Worlds harkens back to 2D top-down style of it’s predecessor featuring a bright and colourful Hyrule over world to explore, contrasted against a new take on the Dark World with the dreary alternate land of Lorule. For players who miss the classic style top down RPGs this looks like a great game to bring back that old magic. Even the character designs have a unique look that makes the game feel like a modern day SNES game. A Link Between Worlds will also use the 3D effect of the hardware to add verticality and depth to the visuals including making effects jump out of the screen at the player.
 Zelda ALBW Link Jump
While A Link Between Worlds features many returning elements from the revered SNES game, it is also looking to add innovations of its own. The original Legend of Zelda allowed the player to explore the world any way they wished, choosing which dungeons to complete in which order and A Link Between Worlds is expanding on that concept. Recent games in the series have been known to hold the players hand, but in this game the player can rent or buy whatever items they want from the mysterious merchant and challenge any dungeon, in any order depending on what items they need for the task.
 Zelda ALBW Boss
Another new feature that is set to turn the gameplay on its head, is Link’s ability to become a painting and merge with walls. This changes the perspective of the camera, enabling the player to access other areas, dodge enemies, find hidden secrets and travel between the two alternate worlds.
 Zelda ALBW Merge
Set generations after the events of A Link to the Past, the pointy eared hero is again off to save Princess Zelda and Hyrule. If you loved the SNES masterpiece or have longed for another epic 2D Zelda adventure, then you should be interested in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

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Review: Why You Should Play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is an adventure RPG for the Nintendo Wii that revolutionises the series by utilising motion controls to allow the player to further enhance the experience.

Skyward Sword features a vibrant world that takes inspiration from Impressionist artwork. It is colourful and full of personality and each new location is a joy to explore. The introduction of flying and many puzzles in the over-world give the game a huge sense of scale and the numerous weapons and tools in your inventory keep the game play feeling fresh and fun to play. The Legend of Zelda series has been around for 25 years, but Skyward Sword still captures the spirit and wonder of classic instalments while updating it with a modern control scheme and new ideas.

The game’s story is the earliest in the The Legend of Zelda timeline and outlines the origins of Zelda, the Master Sword and the series villain Ganon. Game play definitely takes centre stage, but the narrative is engaging and the characters are genuinely interesting. Zelda is given more personality than previous instalments and the antagonist Ghirahim is menacing and memorable. Voice acting is not present in the game, but the silent protagonist is still a great “Link” between players and this magical adventure.

Game play is the main focus of Skyward Sword and the implementation of motion control takes combat to another level. Using the Wii remote the player has full control over Link’s sword. Many enemies will block your attacks, unless you strike them from different directions and later in the game the AI is no push over. Sword combat is fun, but motion control is also utilised to aim the slingshot, throw bombs, crack whips, guide the remote beetle, shoot arrows and guard attacks with your shield. Bosses take it up another notch requiring thoughtful strategy and precise attacks. Once you have mastered the control scheme it really feels like you have complete control over your arsenal of weapons. Skyward sword also features some of the best designed dungeons in the series including imaginative enemies, though provoking puzzles and great locations.

Another first for the series is a fully orchestrated soundtrack. The music is melodic and epic, featuring brilliant new compositions and enhancing some old favourites. “Ballad of the Goddess” is an energetic main theme, while quieter pieces such as “Isle of Songs” and “Zelda’s Lullaby” are beautiful. The music complements the art style and world adding some extra emotion to the game.

Skyward Sword is the reason we play RPGs, to participate in an adventure through imaginative worlds. If you wish to play an RPG that puts you in control of a hero unlike any other game, then you should play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

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Why I Prefer No Voice Acting in RPGs

There was a time when characters only “spoke” through dialogue boxes and showed all their emotions and charm through body language. In modern RPGs voice acting is the norm, but I find myself more immersed in older games where I am free to imagine characters personalities. At first I thought this was just nostalgia to games made from that era, but after recently playing the newly released The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword I have come to the conclusion that I prefer it that way.

Firstly, by having characters converse through written dialogue the player is free to input their own ideas of how they think the character should sound. This really helps with engaging the player in the story as they care more about characters they have helped conceive. It is also easier to identify with the protagonist of the story if the player feels like they can imagine themselves saying the characters lines or adding in a bit of their own personality.

With the emergence of voice acting, musical scores in RPGs have also seemed to take a backseat. In older games music was used to create atmosphere, highlight a memorable scene or to characterise an important party member. In Chrono Trigger we instantly knew Frog was a courageous and noble character just by the triumphant music that played with him and most players would also remember fondly each character from Final Fantasy VI just by hearing their accompanying theme songs. When an RPG features voice acting, it takes centre stage and the music is relegated to background noise, more like a movie. Most of the soundtracks I hear in modern games consist mostly of not very memorable ambient sounds rather than the catchy melodies of years past.

Voice acting can also be over the top, and may even lose the simplicity of scenes where characters show their feelings through their actions. In Final Fantasy VII, after Aeris’ death, each character has their own unique reaction to the tragedy. Some look to the heavens or stand in contemplation, others break down crying or try to hide their tears, but no one says a word and the whole scene is more powerful because of it. If it were remade with voice acting I fear it would lose a lot of the emotion by trying to be too dramatic. Even the cut scenes in previously mentioned The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword perfectly demonstrates Links insurmountable determination and his affection for Zelda without the need to reiterate it through having him speak. I guess a picture really is worth a thousand words.

There are many RPGs that have featured fantastic voice acting, but for me I would rather let my imagination fill out the characters personalities, let the enchanting music set the scene and have the characters show me their emotions.

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Filed under Chrono Series, Editorial, Final Fantasy Series, The Legend of Zelda Series