THE CHAT ROOM: Groundbreaking new take on Zelda
Jordan Rhodes is a sophomore political science and creative writing major and writes "The Chat Room" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Jordan at email@example.com.
On Feb. 21, 1986, Nintendo Research & Development 4, under the direction of Shigeru Miyamoto, released a new game, "The Legend of Zelda: The Hyrule Fantasy," for Famicom, the Nintendo Game Boy and the Nintendo Entertainment System.
This game was resoundingly popular and considered a pioneer of what would become the role-playing genre. The game is iconic for incorporating a unique story with a relatively vast world to openly explore. It broke the norm of the traditional linear gameplay style, allowing the player to go where they please and do as they please.
It was considered a groundbreaking video game, bringing an element of storytelling and adventure in a way had never been seen before.
Then, again, on Nov. 21, 1991, under the direction of Takashi Tezuka with producer Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development released "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past."
It completely revitalized the gaming industry’s interpretation of what it meant to be an “adventure game.” It set the bar overwhelmingly high.
The game was colorful; it was intricate and artful. The iconic music that had become a staple of the franchise had be remastered and expanded.
The game currently stands almost indisputably as one of the greatest games of the 1990s, if not of all time. They had done it again.
It seemed almost impossible that they could “1-Up” "A Link to the Past," and by 1997, with a handful of other Zelda titles unable to do so, it’d seemed certain that they had reached their apex.
Then, back under direction of Shigeru Miyamoto with Eiji Aonuma, they released two games nearly back-to-back: "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" on Nov. 21, 1998, and "Majora’s Mask" on Oct. 26, 2000.
These games absolutely shattered every precedent set by their predecessors; especially "Ocarina of Time."
"Ocarina of Time" won countless awards and became the game with the most perfect scores from professional reviews for almost two decades. It also holds the most awards for “Best Game of All Time.”
And, from there, they released countless follow-ups and Zelda became a household name and the franchise itself became the pinnacle of gaming, arguably, to this very day.
I grew up on "Ocarina of Time." It was the first game I ever played and I was hooked from day one. I never believed another game had the ability to surpass it in innovation or quality until a few weeks ago.
On March 3, 2017, Nintendo Entertainment Planning and Development with director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma released the video game "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild."
A follow-up to "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword," this game borrowed elements from that game that had completely revolutionized the franchise, like the addition of the stamina bar and extensive in-game collecting, and added entirely new concepts, like rock climbing and voice acting.
Breath of the Wild manages to encompass the classic Zelda world whilst also borrowing elements from other major open-world adventure franchises, like the "Elder Scrolls," "Dark Souls" and "Far Cry."
This game is a perfect blend of realism and fantasy. It’s wholly ambitious while also not being overwhelming to the casual player. Anyone can pick up this game and have a good time, but the hardcore gamer can also find content to keep them exploring and learning for days and weeks.
This game features the biggest open world map to date, as far as I understand, with 360 sq. km to explore. That’s over 3,500 times bigger than "Ocarina of Time," 4.4 times bigger than "GTA V," 9.2 times bigger than "Skyrim" and 2.7 times bigger than "Witcher 3."
I’ve now been playing this game nonstop for the last three or so weeks and I can safely say I’ve only scratched the surface. This game is immense.
The map and content is only the beginning of the list of praises I can give for this game.
Other Zelda games have been great. I wasn’t a huge fan of "Twilight Princess," but the rest of the franchise gets almost unanimously a 4 out of 5, at the very least, from me. Solid material, great music, great atmosphere and a great story every time.
This game has all of that and more. It feels alive and breathing. The animations, the voice acting, the story and the gameplay are all nearly flawless.
I know it sounds like I’m just fawning over another Zelda game because it’s another great Zelda game and I’m a fanboy.
While all of that is true, I can honestly guarantee you this is the first Zelda game since the very first title that has broken the mold in this way and it has reimagined Zelda into the mainstream.
This is perhaps Zelda’s "Skyrim." By that, I mean "Elder Scrolls" was largely a critically acclaimed franchise with a massive following, but not entirely mainstream. Skyrim came out, made the game bigger and appealed to the mainstream while not losing the classic "Elder Scrolls" vibe.
That’s exactly what Zelda did here.
If you liked "Skyrim," "Far Cry 4," "GTA V," "Witcher 3," "Dark Souls" or "Horizon: Zero Dawn," then this is the game for you. This is an adventure game for all people of all ages and demographics.
There are few flaws with this game, really only in that there’s so much stuff Link can do that the controls get a little weird and button mapping would’ve been nice. That, and you can’t actually name Link in this game; he’s just Link. I’m kind of on the fence about that, myself.
But all in all, I give this game a near 5 and a must have for anyone with a Wii U or Nintendo Switch, Zelda fan or not; you will love this game!