The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Does It Still Hold Up In 2019?

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The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Does It Still Hold Up In 2019?

Darius Walters, Staff

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 The newest Zelda release to hit the Nintendo Switch Is the beautiful reimagining of the game boy classic, Links Awakening. This title is beloved for its simple yet deep and emotional story. Over the years the game became less and less accessible only having its additional appearances on the game boy color in the form of links awakening DXand the Nintendo 3ds eshop. Finding the game nowadays isn’t as easy. Since 2011 Nintendo has been creating Zelda games and remakes alike with the developing team Grezzo, who had previously worked on the remakes, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D. In addition to the remakes, Grezzo also helped develop The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds as well as The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes. 

The games story involves a Link after his adventure in A link to the past, sailing a harsh sea. He is caught up I a terrible storm and washes up on the mysterious Koholint island. The young hero is destined with a quest to find his way off the island, but everything’s not what it seems. On his journey, he must find the eight instruments of the sirens. 

The visual overhaul is well a well appreciated and needed addition to the games modern presentation. The move from 8-bit to full-screen HD graphics isn’t surprising but adds so much definition to characters and the world. The land has many cool visual treats. The overworld of the game has an ethereal haze on the top and bottom of the screen creating the beautiful tilt-shift perspective.  

Though it is controversial this tilt-shift perspective along with the toy-like art style makes the game unique and stands out among the many different art styles of the Zelda series. Many people dislike the art style because it is too cutesy and bland. The Claymation type art style is a big contrast to how the game opens on the harsh bouncing waves of the ocean in an Anime like the art style. This transition choice, instead of being jarring, fits with the game’s story very well. 

Many of the game’s enemies have gotten the modern treatment with more in-depth combat systems and fleshed out designs that pop with the rest of the world. Along with new color pallets, enemies can attack Link differently and take a bit more effort to defeat. Shielded enemies must be hit from a vulnerable angle or be parried with the shield 

The game’s controls have gotten a modern update that gives the player lots of breathing room. The Gameboy only had two buttons. Because of this, the game could always only have two items in use, they’d have to constantly switch out items including the sword and shield. This means that the player would often have to surrender their offense and defense to solve puzzles or traverse the world. On the Nintendo Switch, some items are mapped to specific buttons and so are made a lot more accessible, for example, the sword will always be on the B button and the shield will always be in the left shoulder buttons like most Zelda games. 

Links awakening was the fourth game in the entire Zelda series when it first released in 1993. As the fourth game, it introduced a lot of firsts to the series, like mini-bosses, boss keys, a fixed dungeon order, and items like the roc’s feather and a multi-use ocarina/instrument. It also took an interesting approach to dungeon design. The dungeons used a higher understanding of three-dimensional settings on a two-dimensional plane with puzzle motifs like handling multiple keys, bombable walls, pathways land rooms that connect via passageways.  

The 8-bit music from the 90’s releases is replaced with gorgeous fully orchestrated pieces that make the already outstanding soundtrack a joy to hear along with the mesmerizing visual presentation. Some of the compositions use a chiptune in tandem with the bright orchestra instruments, which evokes a timeless and nostalgic sound.   

Along with improved controls and visuals is the new Chamber Dungeons mode. Accessible by the inclusion of the character Dampe, who lets players make their own dungeons with pieces of dungeons they’ve completed throughout the main campaign of the game in his shack. This is a welcome addition to a relatively simple Zelda game and gives players an interesting look at what a Full-on Zelda dungeon creator could look like. 

For the first-ever handheld Zelda title, it still holds up today even without the enhancements of the new Nintendo Switch remake. The legacy of links awakening is one that sings a bright and colorful yet melancholy tune that will stick with anyone long after the adventure.