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I finished A Link to the Past yesterday

Content of the article: "I finished A Link to the Past yesterday"

I played the LttP redux romhack which just adds some changes like changing Link's hair color, some UI changes to make it more consistent with other more recent Zelda games, and some QoL changes.

TL;DR – The game is solid enough, but it has a lot holding it back, partly from hardware limitations, and partly from poor game design. 6/10

I'll start with what I liked about it. The world feels really big for a SNES game, and there's lot's do to and many places to explore. Each location had it's own unique character and I loved that. The art style is very cute and I think it has aged very well. The dungeons were fun to figure out a path through. I especially liked the feeling of coming across something that was just out of reach because I didn't have the dungeon item, and then figuring out that item's use and going back to that place.

There are quite a few things about it that I didn't quite like as much. Some were because of limitations of the SNES but others were just poor game design. The world map was basically unusable, and lots of characters in the game mention places by name, but there are very few places where the game will tell you where a named location actually is and this got to be very frustrating at times. A labeled and more detailed map would have made this better for players, but instead we get a static image with not detail to pan the camera over. Travel was also a pain sometimes. I could never get through a dungeon in a single sitting because I hardly ever have time for long play sessions. I had to often find convoluted routes to get around from the spawn point since hills and bodies of water often get in the way of travelling around, and I had to often resort to using walkthroughs because finding routes to places was difficult. Being able to use fast travel in the light world, or being able to use the magic mirror to toggle freely between the two worlds rather than only to go from dark to light would have made navigating the world so much easier (although I understand that interferes with some of the puzzles for getting items). I also found that the rate at which I was losing health didn't really fit in with the rate at which enemies, pots, bushes, etc drop hearts and fairies, which meant that I spent a lot of time leaving dungeons, going to a fairy fountain and getting my health back up, and then going back to the dungeon. I'm not really a fan of the 'git gud' solution because I'm not a teenager anymore and I don't have the time to sink entire afternoons into getting good enough at the game that this isn't a problem anymore. What made this problem worse is that when you save and restart the game, your save file is labeled as having however many hearts you saved with but you spawn with only 7 or 8 hearts which is really infuriating. After the first few dungeons I just abandoned the game's save system and went with emulator save states because a game shouldn't punish you for saving and coming back to it later. Also the fact that mandatory items are hidden away in the way that bonus items are, and you can just follow the main story line without coming across them or coming across at the very least a hint that the item exists or roughly where it is is completely bogus. Walkthroughs alleviate this problem, but I can imagine that if I was playing this when it came out I probably wouldn't have made it all the way through.

Read:  Xbox Series X/S | Playstation 5 Pre-Launch Mega Impression Thread

As a final note, the story was pretty boring, but it's a zelda game so I was sort of expecting that. The standard formula of "Ganon is after the triforce so you gotta go kill him so the world doesn't turn evil" is kind of stale, but maybe that wouldn't have been a problem if this was the first Zelda game I played.


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