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 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.

  • humulos

    I agree with most of what he says, though I still love Ocarina (just not as much as most other Zelda games, Ocarina is in my bottom 5). The main thing to look at in this criticism is that he is looking at Ocarina as a sequel to earlier Zelda games, NOT as an individual game. His comparison 100% checks out, as Ocarina really does stray pretty far from what the first game was, and even a lot from what aLttP was, becoming far more of a story driven game than an exploration based one.

    Regardless of comparisons though, the amount of cutscenes showing things off NEEDS TO DIE. Yes, I got a chest, woo! DON’T WRITE ME A STORY ABOUT IT. Skyward Sword obviously was the most major offender of this, and would have been so much better without it (Skyward Sword, actually is in my top 5). It even fixes a lot of the issues Egoraptor has with OoT.

  • Reece Heather

    Great video, and worth the wait!

    Some aspects of Ego’s argument derive from some pretty trivial stuff — I can’t say I care that much about having to jump platforms, or watch the treasure chest cinematic.

    I do agree, however, that Ocarina of Time’s dungeon design is often flawed, and there’s far too much filler running to each destination and standing around waiting to progress. For these reasons, it’s an overrated game in my opinion (but still a good one!).

    Most of all, I agree that Zelda should be about the world, not the story. I do think there’s a place for story-telling in video games, but Zelda’s doesn’t interest me all that much most of the time. Less is definitely more in Zelda’s case. The worlds are often so wonderful, unique and interesting that they speak for themselves. The promise of exciting exploration is what motivates me in Zelda, not being told who to fight, who to save and why I should care.

    All that said, the beauty of the series is it means so many things to different people, so good on all you guys who adore the story, characters and timeline above the other aspects. I wish I could see what you do!

  • Kalis Van

    First, OOT is the first 3D Zelda game. In every progression, quality is lost a little bit. For example, at the beginning of “talkies” in 1927 (cinema), the films with people who talk were boring but attract the public. That is because it was new. Those films haven’t music and visual effect, also the talking described the action we see. Bad films, but very important in the progression of this art. It was the same thing for the 3D in video game. It became popular with the CDs, in the time of the first PlayStation. Nintendo didn’t believe in the CD, but they do for the 3D aspect. If we look for the english game Tomb Raider, the first one, the 3D aspect was amazing in that time, but not the gameplay. In this last game, they were no music, big space with one direction to follow (one line), few enemies only in donjons close to the boss, briefly a boring gameplay. In OOT, they progressed since the first Tomb Raider. The music and the liberty in the movements in the space was more there. Of course, it wasn’t perfect.

    For a first 3D game of a sequel, Zelda OOT is incredible. The problem is Nintendo didn’t try to find the quality of the 2D gameplay, the quest part. The quality of some enemies, the donjons, the difficulties inside the quest didn’t change a lot since OOT. It wasn’t the fault of OOT, but of the games who follow it. The donjons are still the same then in OOT. The enemies appear in a strategic room. Nintendo tried something new with OOT and they did it very well. Same thing with A Link to the Past. The color, the graphic, the map, the items, a longer adventure. I just hope that the next Zelda game, in 2015 for Wii U, make the change that we need as a gamer and a Zelda’s fan.

  • Guest

    One thing to consider before you comment,

  • Trinosaur

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. A lot of good points (and typical egoraptor humor). I remember feeling rather empty while playing Skyward Sword, and he explains a lot of the reasons why.

  • I understand that you feel the need to summarize a half-hour video, but reading this kinda spoiled the whole thing. Now I don’t feel like watching the video at all. Next time, I suggest you bring up the topics presented in the video, but don’t just blatantly repeat what the author said. Not only that, those extra paragraphs needlessly extend the time it takes for me to start watching the video.

  • This episode should be called “ZELDA: I’m Really Bad at Ocarina of Time!” or maybe “ZELDA: Why Isn’t This 3D, Third-person Game Exactly Like This 2D, Top-down Game?!”

    Seriously? Complaining about having to remember that Keese are in the room? A baby has better memory than that.

  • LukesAlike

    I forgot about this vid for the longest time. Freaking hilarious and insightful.