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.
- To see one of the most highly rated games in history.
- 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.