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Topic: Why is Zelda: Link to the Past so highly regarded compared to 3D Zelda games?

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shadow-wolf
Joeynator3000

It's just a classic, I grew up with the game, so back then OoT didn't even exist. lol
So yeah back then it was a pretty amazing game. Don't think many games even had an actual story when ALttP first came out.

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cadaver138

Link to the past is the game that set in stone what makes a Zelda game, the first game was a success, they tried something very different for adventure of link. It was no so well received, and then link to the past came out going back to its roots, but building on it so much more, it looked amazing for its time, it had side quests, hidden items, a long and great story with twists. It was just the very best a Zelda could be at that time. Years later the N64 came out and Nintendo embraced 3d, this more traditional style of Zelda became the standard for the handheld titles that came next.

I understand where you're coming from when you say you feel Zelda is missing something if it's not 3d but without the 2d Zelda as a foundation we may of never got ocarina of time.

Edited on by cadaver138

cadaver138

Joeynator3000

@cadaver138 Please use the edit button to add to your first post instead posting multiple times...

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BAN

@shadow-wolf I don't understand your logic here. Saying Zelda's not Zelda unless it's in 3D is like saying Mario's not Mario unless it's in 3D, which we all know is just a patently absurd position to take. These are franchises that were born, raised, and refined in 2D, long before 3D was even on the horizon, so their 2D outings are just as valid and in some cases superior. There's a reason many people consider Super Mario World to be the best Mario game ever created, and that reason is that it's just an amazingly good game according to practically everyone that plays it.

The same is true with Zelda, and any franchise, for that matter. A good game is a good game, regardless of where the camera sits. It really is that simple. The given perspective or technological limitations of a given game shouldn't be regarded as valid reasons for discounting the quality of a game, at least not automatically. All of the important elements can still exist in a 2D game. The story, the setting, the music, and even the fundamental mechanics are still present. You're just looking at it all from a different point of view. If 3D worlds are a personal requirement for you to feel immersed in a game, that's totally fine, but ultimately you're just dealing in opinion, and the consensus opinion is that A Link to the Past is among the top of the Zelda rankings, and if you play the game, it should hopefully be abundantly obvious why that is the case. That game is where the series really found itself.

So, I would just recommend that you actually play the game if you're serious about knowing for yourself why people like it. I'm guessing you've had very little or no experience with the 2D Zelda games. If you want a better appreciation of the series, I'd suggest that you seek out that experience, and LttP is by far the best place to get started.

BAN

ThanosReXXX

@shadow-wolf I can understand that OoT is what makes Zelda a Zelda game for you, but for people that have grown up with the entire series from the beginning, or who started with the series long before the N64, I think it's more about the story, the lore and the scope of the world, which for a 2D game back then, was quite revolutionary to have, especially in the West, since we weren't quite as inundated with jRPGs back then as we are now, so for Western gamers, there weren't that many titles quite like it.

So, for us, LttP is actually what defines a Zelda game, and adding 3D only made it even more great, it wasn't that the games only started to become great because of 3D. But I can understand that going back to try out old games that you've never played or experienced for yourself can be somewhat underwhelming, because you would have to make the effort to look past what you've been used to all these years, and would have to try and see past the perceived shortcomings of these older games.

And although Zelda in 3D is a great example of a game that's actually good, there are also quite a few games who's first 3D outing was decidedly inferior to their 2D predecessors, often because of the 3D tech not being quite there yet/mature enough. But that's at least one thing that we can trust Nintendo with: to give us great games regardless of the aesthetics or tech.

And that is also why their 2D games, LttP definitely included, are just as good or even better than some of their 3D counterparts, also because the 2D pixel art can stand the test of time far better than early 3D.

As a side note, I would like to add that if you are a really big Zelda fan, then you should perhaps still give the game a go, because it has a great story and it also gives you a broader insight into the world of Hyrule and its inhabitants, and the history behind the later games, so it definitely wouldn't be a punishment to play for the avid Zelda fan.

If you still have a Wii or Wii U, it might still available in the eShop, or you could always softmod them. Or even simpler: get a SNES Classic Mini. It has much more great titles on it that started some of Nintendo's greatest series, such as Metroid, F-Zero, Castlevania, Kirby and of course Mario.

EDIT:
Obviously, I made a mistake mentioning Castlevania, because that isn't a Nintendo-owned franchise, but the NES and SNES did have some of the greatest versions of those early games, and later on, their portables also got quite a few great Castlevania games.

Edited on by ThanosReXXX

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ilikeike

@shadow-wolf Unlike the other people who have posted so far, I didn't grow up with A Link to the Past. Yet despite that, it's still my favorite game of all time. Why? Because it just nails everything that Zelda does best, aside from maybe the story.

Here's a few reasons why I love it so much:

1. The overworld and exploration! The overworlds in both the Light and Dark Worlds are phenomenally designed. In nearly every single screen there is a secret to uncover, a cave to explore, enemies to conquer, NPCs to talk to, and more. Exploration in ALttP is a lot like Breath of the Wild, but (IMO) better because you never know what to expect in exploring ALttP, whereas in BotW you'll generally find either a shrine or a korok seed.

2. The dungeons are simply fantastic. Every single one of them is unique and distinct from one another, with clever puzzles and unique scenarios. Not to mention the epic boss battles, some of which are my absolute favorite in gaming in general. Take the Thieves' Hideout dungeon, which has to be one of my favorite Zelda dungeons ever. The setting is unique, the puzzles are clever, and the boss battle is incredible and surprising (I won't spoil it in case you haven't seen it yet). Each dungeon is impeccably designed and incredibly memorable.

3. The music! Oh my lord the MUSIC! The game's soundtrack is one of the series' best, as it introduces dozens of classic melodies like Zelda's Lullaby, Kakariko Village, Hyrule Castle, Ganon's Theme, Skull Woods, and more. It may not be the most complex or elaborate score ever composed, but it perfectly fits each situation in the game, and has been very influential over the series as a whole.

ALttP is brilliant not only because of the influence it has had on later Zelda games, but also because of its focused design. ALttP is the perfect representation of everything that makes the Zelda series great. It has brilliant overworld design, fantastic dungeons, transcendent music, tight gameplay mechanics...I could go on and on!

A Link to the Past is one of those games that you simply must play to understand. Pick up in any way you possibly can, be it on the Virtual Console or the SNES Classic. As a Zelda fan you owe it to yourself to play this game so you can understand how basically every 3D Zelda title finds its roots in ALttP.

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NotAceAttorney

2D Zelda games are quite special. I had an absolute blast with A Link Between Worlds and Minish Cap, and I don't think those are quite as good as A Link to the Past. I think with LttP and the other good 2D Zeldas, there's magic in their scope. In a 2D environment, the focus is on a smaller, but more condensed world, that is full of stuff to do. 3D Zelda's have had an issue with fairly empty overworlds - Hyrule Field from OoT and TP, the Sky in SS. But that isn't really the case in 2D Zeldas.

And they are much easier to pick up and play. You don't have to worry about clunky combat or camera controls. From my perspective as a person who missed all of these old games, going back to LttP was much easier than OoT (N64 version, not the 3DS remake). Older 3D games have camera issues and the combat doesn't feel as fluid. Thank goodness for z-targeting though.

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Bolt_Strike

Because nostalgia. So much obsession over the SNES era even though other games have blown them out of the water or done their formulas to death to the point where nothing really stands out about them anymore.

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kkslider5552000

Let's be honest, nearly every sequel to a well liked, well remembered NES game, that was on the SNES, is considered a classic. I'm not even sure I have further comments, it's well regarded for the exact same reason Mario World, Megaman X and Super Metroid are.

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shadow-wolf

@BAN @ThanosReXXX I understand what both of you are saying. I apologize if my post seemed to belittle Link to the Past; I've heard unanimous praise about it, and just from that I'm sure it's an excellent game, especially for its time. I was just wondering how well it would hold up today in comparison to the 3D entries. And for Mario, I feel that 2D Mario and 3D Mario each fill slightly different niches; 2D focuses on tight platforming while 3D focuses on slightly looser platforming with an emphasis on exploring. I feel 2D Zelda and 3D Zelda both have the same objectives, and 3D just offers a better scope and scale to a game, which is important for a fantasy adventure game like Zelda. For example, I just feel that the top-down nature of 2D Zelda would make things much easier and more simplistic when say, finding which targets to shoot with an arrow, finding something to hook shot onto, or fighting bosses. The sense of scale seems like it suffers in 2D. Once again, I'm not saying it's a bad thing - I'm sure it's an excellent game. I'm just saying that many people have liked it and said it was better than Ocarina and the other 3D entries, so I was just wondering what made LttP stand the test of time despite that disadvantage in lack of scope (to me at least, which could very well disappear once I actually play the game).

And you both are right, I have had no experience with 2D Zelda games, so I'm definitely keen on trying out LttP soon. Although I've heard that the Wii U version has some lag, and I'm not sure if I will like most of the games in the SNES Mini so I would like to get LttP on Switch, hopefully Nintendo actually does do a Virtual Console for the system.

@ilikeike It's interesting how you view Link to the Past, because that almost exactly echoes how I view Ocarina of Time (I even played Ocarina for the first time in 2009, long after it released). It definitely sounds like a game I'll try, I was a little hesitant about the 2D nature of it and how that affected scope and scale, but I've seen unanimous praise for the game so it definitely seems worth it. If only Nintendo could soon release the Virtual Console on Switch ...

Edited on by shadow-wolf

shadow-wolf

Tyranexx

A Link to the Past is, hands down, one of the best Zelda games I have played. Nostalgia, surprisingly, is NOT one of the factors of why I like this game; @ilikeike 's post summarizes everything I enjoy about ALttP quite well. This praise is coming from someone whose first game in the series was Twilight Princess and who has played a majority of the other mainline Zelda entries to date (I just finished The Wind Waker for the first time, actually).

I also recommend that you try the other 2D titles if you get the chance. The Minish Cap is my favorite handheld entry, narrowly beating out Link's Awakening in my book.

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StableInvadeel

I can't say much about nostalgia, since I first played the game on the gba as a teen... But while it's not really the first thing that comes to mind when I think "best Zelda" (I actually think it's quite clunky compared to the 2D zeldas that came after it)... It's definitely the Zelda game I've played the most.

Beat ganon, see the credits, restart the file. That's happened many many times on my GBA file.

I don't think there's many games that I can just play on a loop without thinking about it twice. So maybe it really is a good game?

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NotAceAttorney

@Bolt_Strike What about people who only played the games 20 years after they came out? Is it still nostalgia?

NotAceAttorney

ThanosReXXX

@shadow-wolf Hey, no need to apologize, far as I'm concerned. I just thought it was an interesting topic and decided to throw in my 2 cents.

As for that scope/sense of scale you're talking about, I hope you will take all our words for it that this is not exclusive to 3D, the entire world in LttP is massive, with many regions and dungeons to explore, and a truckload of memorable moments. It's not for nothing that there are so many old Zelda game-themed memes floating around the web...

And like some others have also said, the camera in OoT was actually pretty clumsy at times, making the game needlessly complicated in some parts. But in the end, some of its quirks also belong to its charms, and as such, it is also very fondly remembered by me, and back then I was VERY pleasantly surprised by how great the game was and so on, but looking at it now, even though I still have these fond memories of playing it, I do think it hasn't stood the test of time as good as a Link to the Past has.

And talking about what's important for fantasy games, I do feel that it's more your personal opinion, and not so much based on facts or data, which isn't a bad thing, mind you, but it is something that we should take into account when trying to find out any truth in certain statements and/or why Zelda: a Link to the Past is truly such a good, and moreover: important game in the series.

And besides Zelda, there are also quite a few other great fantasy/rpg series that had their glorious start in 2D, which now also have moved on to 3D: Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem, Dragon Quest, Harvest Moon, the Tales series (Tales of Symphonia and so on) are all great games, as were many of the SNES/GBA rpg games made by Square Enix, Atlus, and Capcom.

Edited on by ThanosReXXX

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kkslider5552000

I do have some nostalgia for LTTP since I played the GBA version when I was 12. That being said, to me it's always been "2d OOT" in terms of being a very well made, but basic Zelda adventure, and I played OOT when it was more new and younger so...yeah. That's always how I've put it, 2d OOT. Fittingly just like OOT, the next game after it was as fun and yet also had a significantly more interesting world.

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ThanosReXXX

@Bolt_Strike Wow, that's a decidedly sour look at things.

Granted, there are probably quite a few old games that are indeed more or less obsolete, but games that started it all in ways that have laid the foundations of what we now have, and that still have memorable stories, wonderful music and gameplay (and NOT just because of nostalgia or sentiment, but proven, on record and also awarded as such) are genre-defining, and will therefore not lose their appeal or worth for decades to come, regardless of whether you have already played them when you were young or not.

A great game is a great game, period. All it takes for one to see that is to take into account the era the game came from, and not compare it to modern day games, since that would never be a fair comparison. But without those games, we would never have been playing the games we currently play either, so even only for just that, they deserve all the recognition and praise that they still get. And they also happen to be games that are just fun to play, if you're willing and able to look past their "shortcomings" and see them in the right time frame.

Unless of course you're one of those "high end graphics over anything" type of gamers, which would probably make you feel more or less the same about Ocarina of Time as well...

And one more thing: if 2D was so bad, then how do you explain the success of the Game Boy Advance during a time when 3D gaming was already well on its way? More than enough great games on that system as well...

Edited on by ThanosReXXX

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ilikeike

@Bolt_Strike Yes, nostalgia definitely plays a part in this game's reputation, like it does for all classic games. However, it's far from the only thing keeping this game on the top of many "Best Zelda" lists. Its overall design is so immaculately constructed and so perfectly conceived that it's the blueprint for nearly every Zelda game to follow. That huge amount of influence is a big reason to hold the game in high regard. But IMO the best thing about this game (and the reason it's still so well-loved) is that it's still fun to play, 25 years after its initial release. It's just a supremely enjoyable experience that's not held back by gimmicks, glitches, or poor design choices like many other adventure titles. In addition, its graphics are still a sight to behold, and after all these years it still compares favorably to most pixel-based games today. It's aged well and it plays well, those are the most important things that have kept people loving this game for so long.

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Matt_Barber

I'd think that to appreciate the 2D Zelda games you'd really have to play them. That might sound a bit trite, but my experience is that - despite appearances - their gameplay can be every bit as deep as the more recent 3D games.

The first Zelda game I played was Link's Awakening on the GameBoy, and that was practically a revelation. Here was a game that was every bit as complex and subtle as some of the most advanced adventures I could play on my PC but running on a cheap handheld that might more readily be associated with more immediate thrills like Tetris or Dr. Mario.

The 2D Zelda games aren't equal either. The Adventure of Link would be one that most people would have down as a weaker entry in the series with poorly balanced gameplay and some experimental mechanics that largely weren't followed up on. A Link to the Past is at the other end of the scale though; in terms of the graphics, the game mechanics, the story, the music and pretty much everything it's as good as the series got in 2D. You'll find much of the same ideas in the subsequent 3D games, and it's only really Breath of the Wild that's greatly departed from the formula it set down.

Still, someone who'd never played anything but the 3D Zeldas wouldn't get that just by looking at it.

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