If youre a Zelda fan,
youre probably in either the love-it camp or the larger hate-it camp that formed
shortly after Nintendo released the first screen shots of this venerable license. The
cel-shaded cartoon look has sent more than a couple of Zelda fans into fits of hysteria as
the increasingly polarized groups debate the merits of the new cartoon look.
This years E3 show
ought to silence the critics; if it doesnt, a few minutes with the controller surely
will. Perhaps more than any other game in history, the new Zelda game delivers a fully
interactive cartoon into the hands of gamers everywhere. If youve been nervous about
the graphics, or the presentation, or any other aspect of the new Zelda title, rest
assured -- Nintendos second most bankable title makes its way into the next gen
arena in grand style.
thing I noticed was how much this game looks like the Saturday morning cartoons I grew up
withonly much better. The second thing I noticed was how smooth everything is. Every
aspect of the game just seems to fit together seamlessly, and it creates an aesthetic
unlike anything else on the market. Its much later that the rest of the details
become apparent. In one scene I played at E3, young Link is crossing a rope suspension
bridge. The enemy on the other side spots our hero, and, abandoning years of videogame
villain strategy, decides to charge across the bridge instead of waiting for Link to walk
up and smite him. Once on the bridge, Link engages the foe with sword and shield; an
errant sword stroke misses the enemy and slices through part of the rope suspension
bridge. The bridge teeters and threatens to fall, which would send hero and villain alike
into the river far below. Another misplaced stroke and young Link might be pulling an
Indiana Jones or going for a swim.
biggest advantage to the new cartoony look is the ability to show facial expressions, and
more importantly, raw emotion. If this is combined with excellent voice acting and solid
dialogue (which remains to be seen) the results could be compelling. Though my only
complaint after spending some time with the demo at E3 is that I cant really
identify with a prepubescent child-hero, and I really hope I dont have to hear him
grunt and whine too much. The final product should reveal all.
Link can pick
up torches to light his way, or pick up enemy weapons if he needs a new one or just wants
a little variety in his thug whacking. Things just seem willing to interact with Link, and
this is a very good thing. Link also has a variety of gadgets and tools to provide varied
game play. His grappling-hook looked especially interesting, with both offensive and
seems to be a lot of variety in game play. In addition to the standard dungeon crawling
and general exploring, Link is put in a variety of situations to keep things interesting.
In a playable section at E3, Link is sailing the sea, catching air off the barrels he
needs to hit and avoiding the explosive ones. It had a mini-game feel to it, but looked to
be woven into the story. Most of all, it all looked marvelous.
So far, all we know about the story is that Links sister is kidnapped and our
young hero sets off to find her. To find out more, well have to wait until early Q1,