LTTP: A Link to the Past, Does it hold up?

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    Yes that's right, I'm very late to the 'The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past' party.

    Just to set the picture, I owned an SNES but back then, you'd go into a game store and pick the coolest looking box art. For some reason I either completely ignored or never saw A Link to the Past. Fast forward 20 years or so later and here I am with a N3DS and the first thing I purchased was this game for two reasons.

    1. To see one of the most highly rated games in history.
    2. To see why Kyle Bosman dislikes it so much.

    Art Style - I love how this game looks. The only negative I have in that department is Links hair being pink. I just don't really understand why it is pink. Other than that, I love the detail in the world, the enemies, the colours. It's really nice. I could say this for most SNES games to be fair.

    Exploration - This is arguably the best part of this game. There is so much to find and at the same time you're not being forced to find anything. I love that it rewards the player who goes out of their way to find things. The first time I switched between light and dark worlds to acquire a heart, my mind was blown. It completely changed how I played the game and what I did. It feels so rewarding in an era where we get a map which points out all the stupid feathers to collect. Bring back the old times I say.

    World - So I've positives and negatives on this one and I understand this is a game running on a very old platform. The world itself is very cool. It's diverse, there are loads of cool and interesting places to explore and of course it's cool to see how things change in the Dark World. However my issue is the world doesn't really feel lived in. Where you start the game, it's just your Uncle's house. There's the castle north and a very small village to the west. Things feel like they were placed there for the sake of the game and not for actually making sense. It would have been nice to interact with more people in other areas or have a more lived in village. Minor complaint really.

    Dungeons/Bosses - For the most part the dungeons and boss fights are great. They are well designed, they force you to get a good understanding of the dungeon layout and provide you with interesting items that push the player to think a bit more on how they will tackle a situation. I wouldn't say the bosses themselves were particularly challenging. Only one really frustrated me and that was because initially it kept knocking me off the platform so I had to start again. I also think the further along you get, the worse the dungeons get. They aren't as interesting visually, they are built more like mazes so it's difficult to remember the path and the worst is the final area where you have to fight three bosses you previously fought. I just felt this was your typical game just throwing everything at you to make it more difficult instead of something more interesting.

    Story - I'll be honest, I've never been massively into the story of Zelda games and this one is no different, even worse I'd say. I can see why Kyle doesn't like the premise or the 7 princesses. It's just nonsense really and there is nothing really behind it. But I will say this didn't bother me too much, I wasn't playing the game for that.

    Sound - I love it. Obviously these are tracks we're used to now in every Zelda but hearing it on the SNES sounds wonderful. The sound design is great too. It doesn't really add to the environment or setting, but the sound of collecting items, hitting an enemy or shield, they are all really solid.

    Other Positives -

    • Map - I loved the map. I did not expect to see a map which had markers on it in the SNES era.
    • Saving - Small thing but I liked that you could save anywhere.

    Other Negatives -

    • Blue Cane - I think this item breaks the game. If you have enough magic, you're essentially invincible.
    • Tablets/telepathy - I just hated seeing them pop up in dungeons. I understand they are there to help you but I wish it was a bit more elegant

    Overall/TL:DR - A Link to the Past absolutely holds up. I don't think it's a masterpiece, it's not my favourite Zelda (That goes to Skyward Sword... yes that's right Damiani and many more, Skyward Sword is my favourite so far) however it's definitely up there.

    If you haven't played it, I'd definitely recommend giving it a chance. LTTP has a colourful world with loads of diverse areas to explore and uncover secrets in, along with your traditional dungeons and bosses that you expect in an adventure game.

    This went way longer than expected. If there is anything I missed that someone wants me to talk about, let me know.

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    Great write up Tim.

    It's been a while since I played through the game and same as you I'm going to get it as soon as my N3DS arrives (craving some Zelda action after E3).

    I totally agree with you on the story, it's always (for me at least) something that is there, as a backdrop to the gameplay and world and it feels more like that in this game than the others.

    One thing that I love about A Link to the Past is the graphics, the 2D sprites have always held up far better than say, Ocarina of Time, due to the art style. Early 3D games always look of their time.

    What are your thoughts on the music and sound design Tim?

  • The best Zelda is Zelda 2.

    Because I AM ERROR

  • @MCRMJ Damn.. the sound!! I'll add to the OP

  • Went back and played LTTP a few months back during a little Zelda bender I had going. The controls and visuals are just so good and there's still some sense of mystery/exploration like the NES games which I always appreciated. Agreed it's not the best Zelda game, that one goes to Winder Waker for me personally (I could sail and listen to that music all day; sometimes you'd have to :laughing: ), but it is a timeless classic.

  • Excellent stuff Tim. Thanks for the read.

  • I played A Link to the Past for the very first time in 2013. I never touched the game before then so I had no nostalgia for it. One of my college roommates brought it and a SNES to school with him that year. I had a SNES growing up, but not ALTTP. I decided to play through it to see why everyone loved it so much and I quickly realized that it is truly one of the greatest games ever made. No BS handholding, cutscenes aren't constantly inturrupting gameplay, and there are no pacing issues. Many modern Zelda games take forever to let you get in and start playing, often times having insanely long tutorials. ALTTP just gets right into things and gives you control almost instantly. Within the first 15-30 minutes you are in a dungeon fighting enemies. That's Zelda. You're getting the core Zelda experience right away. Not an hour after starting, but ten minutes after starting.

    It's a masterpiece of a video game and immediately rose to the top of my all time favorites list. I don't even consider myself to be a huge Zelda fan. I like other games in the serie but I've never actually beat any of them. That is until I played ALTTP. It's the first, and still to this day only Zelda game I've played all the way to the end. Probably because it respects my time and doesn't waste it with constant interruptions and tutorials. It's kind of like Sony's 2016 press conference: All killer no filler.

    I like Kyle Bosman and his takes on video games, but he is so wrong about ALTTP.

  • I am not sure to be honest. I remember playing it middle school on the GBA and absolutely adoring it

    It sounds like Kyle is conceding to Huber on the the E3 bets, so we might actually get to see him play through all of it soon. Not sure I could watch that many hours of stream, but will pop in for the highlights.

  • I'm glad you enjoyed the game a lot! I think I first truly played it back around 2006 on the GBA version. We had owned it for a few years, but I never got around to beating it. Out of all the Zelda games, I would put it as my sixth favorite, which is pretty high. A Link Between Worlds beats it for me, but I realize that's unfair, since it builds upon A Link to the Past so much.

    If Kyle does not like it at all, I can't blame him. There are well loved games I don't really care for too, so it's not crazy of him to not like it. It is an odd case, but Kyle's never been one to shy away from being weird.

  • Has Kyle ever explained why he hates it so much? He's got to be trolling, right?

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    Maybe we'll hear when he plays it for the E3 bets.

  • @Axel said in LTTP: LTTP, Does it hold up?:

    Has Kyle ever explained why he hates it so much? He's got to be trolling, right?

    Kyle tends to have very odd reasons for disliking games. Love the guy, but sometimes he finds one minor thing and harps on it. I wouldn't be surprised if he has no satisfactory answer to why he dislikes it so much. To each their own, and all that.

  • @Axel said in LTTP: LTTP, Does it hold up?:

    Has Kyle ever explained why he hates it so much? He's got to be trolling, right?

    Youtube Video – [02:09..]

  • Is it even a question!? Yes! It still holds up!

    In fact, I have it on my GBASP, and still throughly enjoy it!

  • @tokeeffe9 Solid write-up Spud. I remember liking this game a ton as a kid but not in the monumental way that Ocarina of Time did. I haven't revisited it since I was a little kid but did beat the 3DS sequel which I dug. I think it's best I avoid replaying it though because I don't think my 30 year old self will find as much enjoyment in it I did when I was younger.

  • @Carlos said in LTTP: LTTP, Does it hold up?:

    Is it even a question!? Yes! It still holds up!

    In fact, I have it on my GBASP, and still throughly enjoy it!

    Well, I think it holds up to people that enjoyed it when it came out, but I never did, and on playing it recently I just couldn't get into it

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    @Exist-2-Inspire said in LTTP: LTTP, Does it hold up?:

    @Axel said in LTTP: LTTP, Does it hold up?:

    Has Kyle ever explained why he hates it so much? He's got to be trolling, right?

    Youtube Video – [02:09..]

    I'd never watched that before, what a great video!

  • I mean it holds up, I guess. I've never really had a problem with games 'that don't hold up' or 'haven't aged well'; it's an argument I've never really understood.

    Regarding whether or not it's a good game, I'd say it isn't. Never liked it.

  • @Exist-2-Inspire said in LTTP: LTTP, Does it hold up?:

    @Axel said in LTTP: LTTP, Does it hold up?:

    Has Kyle ever explained why he hates it so much? He's got to be trolling, right?

    Youtube Video – [02:09..]

    Wow, his arguments are so hypocritical! Criticizing the fact that it's not realistic, "he never went anywhere else in Hyrule and he just decides to go to all these places all of a sudden..." Erm, isn't that what happens in pretty much every single Zelda game? The dungeons and all, fair enough, but it's a SNES game, of course the world is not going to be as realised as the modern games! Haha I felt just like Brad during the video, what would you even reply to this when it's so obviously biased?

    Anyway, back in the day it was one of my very first SNES games and I have such fond memories of it. Replayed it on Wii U a few years ago and to me it does hold up, although I'll admit A Link Between Worlds is a smoother experience (and of course it should be, with 20 more years of experience!).

    The best Zelda it could be at the time, I would say.

  • I had a similar criticism to him though. While I'm willing to let it go that Link hasn't ventured very far, the world didn't feel completely lived in as I mentioned in the OP. It felt like things were placed there. But as you said, I've been spoiled by games like Uncharted and The Witcher now.