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

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Edelgard

Matt_Barber wrote:

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.

Wait you need to play it in order to appreciate it? Yeeah that's kinda the case with every game in existence I agree with you though. The gameplay of 2D Zelda games doesn't look particularly comprehensive and Link is always easy to control, but there's a lot of intriguing gameplay to be found. I'd say that equipment and dungeons work better in a 2D top view. The 2D games feel balanced out. Your skill level steadily increases as you learn how to use newly acquired equipment in order to solve puzzles. Also I'm not sure why but to me the 2D overworlds feel more magical / mysterious. That may have something to do with the density and variety of the 2D overworlds.

Edited on by Edelgard

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SKTTR

A Link to the Past was THE Zelda game from 1991-1998.

Some people already played Zelda for 12 years (1986-1998) before the first 3D-Zelda game (Ocarina of Time) came out.

There are older fans that grew up with the original The Legend of Zelda, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Zelda III: A Link to the Past, and Zelda IV: Link's Awakening. Yeah, back then they were numbered like that in official Nintendo guides and magazines. Of those four classics, A Link to the Past is regarded as the best one. It was a huge step up from the 2 NES games. Link's Awakening was "only" a Game Boy title that was destined to be forever in ALttP's shadows from the very beginning: Without color and SNES-power it was clear it's going to 2nd place. We loved it anyway because it was new Zelda-food for starving fans (and a reason to buy a Game Boy), and it was a much better choice than going back to the 2 cryptic and hardcore NES games because it was much closer to the quality and gameplay of A Link to the Past.

A Link to the Past was unlike anything before it. And nothing (apart from Link's Awakening) came close until Ocarina of Time released 7 years later. Nowadays you play a masterpiece like BotW and think "I've seen this or that in another game". But A Link to the Past was a different beast: Everything was brandnew and never done before by anyone else. It was unique and positively surprising around each corner. It was a really epic game. One of the very few truly mindblowing ones.

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Bolt_Strike

ThanosReXXX wrote:

@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...

I mean, at best you could say it's an important part of the series' history, but as far as still being fun to play coming back to them, failing to have a unique hook and just relying on regular old design elements kind of dilutes the fun factor and makes them feel ho-hum. When you've had 50 sequels that have all done what that game has done, it takes away from what made that game so special and it just feels like any old entry in that series.

Look at NSMB for example, that game has a similar impact as the SNES games. By itself it's a pretty good game, but because it didn't really do anything to make itself stand out and got 3 sequels that all did the same things it did, it makes all 4 games feel repetitive and similar and so all 4 games are given the rehash label despite only the latter 3 being at fault for failing to build on the gameplay. But if you look at a game like say, Sunshine or Galaxy or Odyssey, you don't see another game where Mario has FLUDD or gravity mechanics or Cappy, so those games' strengths have more lasting appeal regardless of whatever Mario does next. A lot of SNES titles like Super Mario World, Super Metroid, ALttP, DKC, etc. don't really take that kind of approach and so they just get lost in a sea of other similar feeling entries in long running series.

Bolt_Strike

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Bunkerneath

@shadow-wolf If you never played it, then you don't know

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ThanosReXXX

@Bolt_Strike Failing to have a unique hook? Well, I don't feel like that at all. To me and to millions of others, classics remain classics and their strengths aren't diminished just because subsequent outings "have done it better", which would then by default make the previous games less worthy or good.

No offense, but that's complete nonsense to me. Every Zelda game that has been made, from the first one to the last, has its own unique hook that makes it worthy to play and enjoy, even to this day, and some titles rise above that and remain one of the jewels in the crown, and LttP is one of those titles, whether you like it or not.

And the Zelda games are in an entirely different spectrum than Mario, so that's not really a good comparison, even though games like Mario also laid foundations for what was to come, but unlike that relatively simple platformer, Zelda is WAY more expansive and complex, and therefor much more pivotal in its role of where the series was going to go. I feel that Metroid would come closer in that comparison, because that also has some more depth to it than just platforming, and relies more heavy on its story, although still not as much as Zelda, so Metroid is somewhere in the middle between Mario and Zelda, complexity-wise.

The rest of the argument still sounds like "3D is better than 2D" to me, which ones again makes it an argument based upon how a game looks, instead of its actual contents, which to me instantly makes a large part of the argument invalid, seeing as the initial question was "what makes LttP so highly regarded compared to 3D Zelda games" and not "why LttP shouldn't matter anymore", which seems to be your argument...

Graphics are only a single facet of the entire spectrum of facets that a game is built from, which is why I also said that to appreciate it in the RIGHT way, you need to let go of comparisons with modern day iterations, and see the game in its OWN time frame and in the right perspective. A good game truly is a good game forever, no matter what comes after it, and it would most definitely seem that the general consensus is that this is the case here as well, and not just on this forum, but worldwide, so any opinion or consensus deviating from that, is essentially just a minority group. Even professional media still put LttP in SNES top ten's (or even top 5's), so if anything, that should tell you enough, because they judge on merits, and not so much on sentiment.

For some, it could probably also be an age thing, and I can understand that in part, especially for people having to go back because they've never played any of those NES/SNES games, it could be harder to get into, because they're probably way more "3D-minded", but that doesn't take away from the games themselves, that's only the personal opinions that people have about those games, which are also often based upon first impressions instead of actually trying the games out.

I'm 47, and I've been gaming since they released the first Pong console to the public, and we only had a black and white TV to play on, and after that, I played (in color) on an Atari, and after that came Nintendo's and Sega's consoles, so I've lived and experienced it all live as it happened, and although I'm also sometimes wowed and what not by what modern systems can do, I also still appreciate every single step that came before it, because without them, we wouldn't even have all those pretty graphics and massive game worlds.

And although a lot of those old machines haven't aged well, and some games truly ARE only good based upon personal memories or sentiments, the 16 bit age has definitely set some standards that are STILL the foundations upon which we are building today, or dare I say it: strife to achieve to this day, in some cases, looking at franchises that keep on failing to achieve their former greatness...

And not only on Nintendo systems. Just look at Sonic: to this day, the 2D Sonic games are still seen as the best in the series, and even recent outings have opted to at the very least implement some 2D elements into them, and some even adopted the now infamous 2.5D style, which is essentially still the same, only with 3D models, and yet, the original 2D games are still some of the best around, regardless of all those shiny new ones.

Edited on by ThanosReXXX

'The console wars are like boobs. Sony and Microsoft fight over which ones look the nicest and Nintendo's are the most fun to play with.'

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Bolt_Strike

ThanosReXXX wrote:

@Bolt_Strike Failing to have a unique hook? Well, I don't feel like that at all. To me and to millions of others, classics remain classics and their strengths aren't diminished just because subsequent outings "have done it better", which would then by default make the previous games less worthy or good.

No offense, but that's complete nonsense to me. Every Zelda game that has been made, from the first one to the last, has its own unique hook that makes it worthy to play and enjoy, even to this day, and some titles rise above that and remain one of the jewels in the crown, and LttP is one of those titles, whether you like it or not.

And the Zelda games are in an entirely different spectrum than Mario, so that's not really a good comparison, even though games like Mario also laid foundations for what was to come, but unlike that relatively simple platformer, Zelda is WAY more expansive and complex, and therefor much more pivotal in its role of where the series was going to go. I feel that Metroid would come closer in that comparison, because that also has some more depth to it than just platforming, and relies more heavy on its story, although still not as much as Zelda, so Metroid is somewhere in the middle between Mario and Zelda, complexity-wise.

The rest of the argument still sounds like "3D is better than 2D" to me, which ones again makes it an argument based upon how a game looks, instead of its actual contents, which to me instantly makes a large part of the argument invalid, seeing as the initial question was "what makes LttP so highly regarded compared to 3D Zelda games" and not "why LttP shouldn't matter anymore", which seems to be your argument...

Graphics are only a single facet of the entire spectrum of facets that a game is built from, which is why I also said that to appreciate it in the RIGHT way, you need to let go of comparisons with modern day iterations, and see the game in its OWN time frame and in the right perspective. A good game truly is a good game forever, no matter what comes after it, and it would most definitely seem that the general consensus is that this is the case here as well, and not just on this forum, but worldwide, so any opinion or consensus deviating from that, is essentially just a minority group. Even professional media still put LttP in SNES top ten's (or even top 5's), so if anything, that should tell you enough, because they judge on merits, and not so much on sentiment.

For some, it could probably also be an age thing, and I can understand that in part, especially for people having to go back because they've never played any of those NES/SNES games, it could be harder to get into, because they're probably way more "3D-minded", but that doesn't take away from the games themselves, that's only the personal opinions that people have about those games, which are also often based upon first impressions instead of actually trying the games out.

I'm 47, and I've been gaming since they released the first Pong console to the public, and we only had a black and white TV to play on, and after that, I played (in color) on an Atari, and after that came Nintendo's and Sega's consoles, so I've lived and experienced it all live as it happened, and although I'm also sometimes wowed and what not by what modern systems can do, I also still appreciate every single step that came before it, because without them, we wouldn't even have all those pretty graphics and massive game worlds.

And although a lot of those old machines haven't aged well, and some games truly ARE only good based upon personal memories or sentiments, the 16 bit age has definitely set some standards that are STILL the foundations upon which we are building today, or dare I say it: strife to achieve to this day, in some cases, looking at franchises that keep on failing to achieve their former greatness...

And not only on Nintendo systems. Just look at Sonic: to this day, the 2D Sonic games are still seen as the best in the series, and even recent outings have opted to at the very least implement some 2D elements into them, and some even adopted the now infamous 2.5D style, which is essentially still the same, only with 3D models, and yet, the original 2D games are still some of the best around, regardless of all those shiny new ones.

If anything, it's the opposite that's nonsensical. The human brain dislikes repetition, so you'd think after 5 games of the same thing people would get tired of it. That's where the 3D games are stronger, they actually build on their formulas and are willing to shake things up to keep things fun. And really, that's what it's all about, video games are entertainment, so all of the technical design in the world doesn't mean jack if the game isn't fun, and repetitive gameplay decreases fun.

Bolt_Strike

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ilikeike

@shadow-wolf Ocarina of Time and A Link to the Past have far more in common with each other than many people realize. It's even possible to view Ocarina of Time as a 3D version of ALttP, as it follows many of the same design philosophies (albeit in three dimensions). I adore both games, but I personally hold ALttP in higher regard because of how well it's aged compared to OoT. The sprites and overall design are still awesome to this day and compare favorably to many modern games, while time hasn't treated OoT as kindly in those same regards. If you love OoT, you will definitely love ALttP as it is basically its 2D predecessor.

Mario Galaxy is ten years old, and now I feel old.

ThanosReXXX

@Bolt_Strike Repetetive gameplay, yes. But that was not the argument, nor was it what I was claiming, and it is a generalizing statement that is hugely out of context.

The rest is just your opinion, not fact. And for those that actually still like and treasure the old Zelda games, it's also their opinion, except that opinion is the majority, and not just by a tiny margin, so that should tell you something about how well-remembered and liked these games still are.

As I said, that does NOT diminish with time, in fact it probably only grows stronger. Newer games can do and show more, but that only works to the advantage of these older games and systems, because they still achieved marvelous end results, even though they had far less to work with.

Anyway, I suppose we're not going to see eye to eye on this one. Could also be an age thing. I just feel I have far more appreciation for things that have come and gone than you, and not just because I'm almost two times older, but also because I have a different view on things and have witnessed it all live. And I'm able to disconnect from comparisons with modern day aesthetics and features in games because it's literally the ONLY way to truly and honestly judge these classic games and see them in the right perspective. If you compare them to modern day games, they'll almost always lose by default, so that alone already shows that no 1 to 1 comparison is possible.

This also brings me back again to you appearing to be a graphics over contents person, or someone who simply finds everything that has come before, even from just one generation ago, ugly and/or not worthy of playing anymore, which to me is absolutely crazy and total bs.

So, since we're not going to agree on anything, apparently, I'm out. No offense, but I have no need or desire to continue a useless discussion if you're not open to any of the valid points that I brought up.

'The console wars are like boobs. Sony and Microsoft fight over which ones look the nicest and Nintendo's are the most fun to play with.'

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NintyPricer

Part of it is that LttP was one of the last really open ended Zelda games (up until BOTW brought that back), where you could really explore without having your hand held.

You had to go and look for things, the hints were often cryptic and there was no owl to walk you through the game.

Really happy BOTW brought all that back and more.

Edited on by NintyPricer

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Dezzy

Because it started the Zelda formula that went on to define the series.

And for it's time, it's an incredibly advanced game.

By modern standards I don't particularly care for it though. I much preferred the A Link Between Worlds.

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NEStalgia

"I feel that LttP, with its 2D perspective, is simply missing a huge aspect of what makes Zelda games, well, Zelda games."

It's all a matter of perspective. If you came from the original games, the 3D perspective still feels kind of "wrong" for the series, because it interferes with the type and nature of puzzles/navigation.

ALTTP was great in its own time, taking what was great about the original, and returning to form after the radical departure that was Link's Adventure. It added an addictive system of upgrades to get ahead, a structured, themed sequence of dungeons, each with a special ability added that helped you in the over-world as well, and added presence and story via the light world/dark world mechanic. The gameplay just clicked, perfecting everything that worked in the original (on D-Pad controls.) Ultimately it's improvement in world, art style, size, scale, scope, freedom of exploration, secrets to find, puzzles to solve, unique dungeons to explore and solve, is a timeless formula. It's not really fair to compare the 3D games since they ultimately play very differently. While OoT was basically ALttP in 3D, the nature of the tech restricted it to a different experience overall, and felt smaller as a result.

That being said, while ALttP was my favorite for a long long time it has since been replaced by ALBW. It's the same basic game, retold, with some of the now dated mechanics and level designs replaced with something that fits modern gameplay, inputs, and sensibilities much more cleanly. As excellent as ALttP is, it's still a 25 year old game and some of its design is quite dated as a product of its time. I modernized remake of the almost perfect classic is a dream come true.

NEStalgia

BanjoPickles

Having beaten the game numerous times, I think that I can answer that question:

-at the time, it had the most epic opening of any game that I had ever played. In 1992, it blew my eleven year old mind to start the game in a realistic (at the time) rain storm. It made it feel more like the opening to a really timeless fairy tale.

-the music! It was such a quantum leap from what had come before it. There’s a reason why so many of the themes are still used in the series (save for Breath of the Wild)

-the vastness. Sure, Ocarina was the bigger game (obviously), but this was the game that really showed what the series could accomplish.

-it’s timeless! Apart from some of the color choices that make it look like a first generation snes game, it has aged beautifully in almost every way! With Ocarina, most everything has aged poorly: the graphics, the emptiness of the open world, the camera, the lock on system, etc. every Zelda that succeeded it either refined or fixed the lesser parts. With Link to the Past, there wasn’t much to fix.

-No Navi!

-the pacing was perfect! At no point, in LttP, was I bored!

BanjoPickles

Haru17

I wouldn't say it was better, it was just first and shared a lot of thematic and structural stuff with Ocarina. Granted I only played half the game so I can't comment, but I've certainly experienced enough of the game's dull imagery through what seeped into Four Swords Adventures and A Link Between Worlds.

And to people saying 3D / 2D is an insubstantial distinction, of course it's not. 2D games are literally limited to be simpler than 3D ones in terms of the ceiling of what they can possibly do. A lot of what I love about Zelda, i.e. 3D Zelda. i.e. the first 4 3D games just isn't present in the 2D, top-down games. Exploring the Fire Temple looking for skultullas by sound, gliding down across ravines with cuccos, the windmill puzzles on Windfall Island, swimming down to the bottom of Lake Hylia and the temples beneath — all of that is just missing in the 2D games. The vertical elements they had in Phantom Hourglass and A Link Between Worlds just sucked in comparison, everything looks squat and the sense of depth is terrible even with 3D on.

The dungeon experience is Zelda. I don't care if you disagree, that's simply true for myself and countless others. You just can't have that correctly without 3D puzzles like those in Snowhead Temple and the City in the Sky. The replacement dungeons in 2D games have puzzles that just feel restricted by tiles, all done in forgettable elements like switches, keys, and enemies without the standout moments that tie them all together.

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NEStalgia

@Haru17 "replacement dungeons in 2D games".....again....unless you started with the 2D games in which case the 3D ones are the odd replacements for proper 2D dungeons........

Why can't anyone just admit that the 2D and 3D games are actually different genres that have some similarities in structure? Mario Odyssey is rarely compared to SMB3. Why is ALTTP compared to WW?

NEStalgia

Ralizah

It cemented the Zelda formula that lingered until BotW. It has numerous dungeons, most of them being exploratory, fun, and not terribly long, unlike the bloated, concept-driven monstrosities in games like Ocarina and TP. Every aspect of the game is snappy (no 20 second build-up to pulling a key out of a chest, for example). The music is iconic. And the final boss is actually challenging, unlike pretty much every 3D Zelda game I've played to completion.

Fantastic game, and up there with BotW, MM, and TWW as one of my favorite entries in the series.

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

Haru17

@NEStalgia That's essentially how I feel about it, 2D Zeldas don't even feel like the same kind of game at all. But yeah I've seen a ton of Mario games get compared to 3, lol.

@Meowpheel Thankfully with how Nintendo handles continuity, it's a stretch to say any Zelda game is canon past the credits.

Edited on by Haru17

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NEStalgia

@Ralizah I don't know that the dungeons are "short" versus bloated. Part of that is down to the experience and gamer sense we've picked up since then. NOW they're short. But back in the day I'd wander the same dungeon for days or weeks before figuring out how to do something. The TP dungeons are bigger, but in relative terms of the medium take the same time for their era of gaming. I cleared TP's big dungeons WAY faster than any ALTTP dungeon the first time through.

NEStalgia

NEStalgia

@Meowpheel I think anyone that started with Ocarina views the whole series through the Ocarina lens and the predecessors seem limited or backward. (Not sure which @ Haru17 started with.) Same generally for most series that transition from the (S)NES to N64. There's a schism there between the player groups that will probably never be reconciled.

My avatar says it all

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