The moment a lot of us have been waiting for has finally arrived! Animator Arin Hanson, better known as Egoraptor, released his long awaited installment in the Sequelitis series and it is a debate for the ages. In this episode, Arin takes a stance considered quite brave in the internet world: a criticism of two beloved titles, Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past. Having admittedly not been a huge fan of certain Legend of Zelda games, Arin takes us through a short and opinionated history of the Zelda franchise and how it has changed for the better and the worse.
He explains that the birth of Legend of Zelda was about having the ability to go wherever you want, whenever you want, without any sort of real direction or explanation as to how to operate the game. It was open world before open world was considered an asset to a video game. A Link to the Past was the first definitive Zelda game to recreate the exciting sense of exploration the original had enticed players with, but with some great additions. Instead of being a nameless dude in a green tunic, you were given a name, a purpose and a bit of a backstory. The downside to A Link to the Past‘s open world design is that it is much more constricting than the original Zelda, laying down specific paths for the player to take instead of letting them explore on their own. There’s less adventuring, and more process and guidelines.
The suspense is in the trials and tribulations, not in the cutscene to receive the treasure.
Ocarina of Time is considered by many to be the masterpiece of the series and therefore most criticism of its design and mechanics are not taken lightly. Egoraptor, being quite the seasoned gamer, gives an interesting review on the beloved brand. He talks about how of course Ocarina of Time was widely anticipated because it brought 3D graphics to Zelda for the first time, and how challenging it often is for games that were created with a 2D environment to add a Z-axis point. Which of course brings up Z-Targeting, a brand new and challenging addition to Zelda combat. Gone were the days of pointing and whacking with a sword; now you had to focus on your enemy and think about your attack.
Even though Ocarina of Time was obviously a game-changer, Hanson explains that the core value of a Zelda game at the end of the day is exploration and there is simply too much waiting around for things to happen. Waiting for enemies to become vulnerable, waiting for chests to open (Ocarina of Time was the first game to add cutscenes whenever Link opens a new chest), waiting to switch locations — it’s all just too much waiting for him to bear. He compares that with A Link to the Past, which provides instant gratification; the way it should be in a series that involves long journeys through labyrinths of dungeons. The suspense is in the trials and tribulations you go through by defeating the enemies and solving the puzzles, not in the cutscene to receive the treasure.
Please note: The video below contains some profanity.
In the end, the video is highly enjoyable and Arin makes some great points on both fronts. He attests that players want to fight bosses, explore dungeons, be rewarded and succeed. As a player, your idea of fun makes you the hero, and in Zelda, fighting monsters and completing quests is your fun. It doesn’t need to be complicated by anything else.
If you enjoy Arin’s Sequelitis episodes you can also watch him actually play through some Legend of Zelda titles, along with many other games on his other YouTube channel Game Grumps.