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Feature: 12 Days of Christmas - The Legend of Zelda's Legacy Continues

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Plenty to enjoy for 3DS and Wii U owners

The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo's most powerful and iconic brands, a franchise capable of exciting a legion of fans with little more than a subtle hint of a teaser. In pure sales numbers it doesn't always match up to the mighty Mario, but its impact has arguably been as great as the plumber's in terms of integral games that have forged Nintendo's reputation for excellence.

Nintendo has become adept at delivering something Zelda-related most years, even if occasionally we're limited to a solitary retro download that was previously unavailable — 2013, however, has delivered plenty of excitement for fans of the franchise with two major retail releases and some eagerly anticipated handheld titles from generations long gone. First up we had the popular release of Game Boy Color titles The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages on the 3DS eShop; these are still capable of earning critical acclaim and seem to have been a hit with the Nintendo Life community. At a reasonable price these arguably provide some of the best download value this year, especially as top-down 2D Zelda gameplay is far from being a mere relic of the past.

One of the most hyped releases of the year would follow a few months later, but was announced way back in January. Nintendo's reveal-heavy January Nintendo Direct this year brought the news some fans — particularly GameCube veterans — had been hoping to hear; The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD went from being a fan fantasy to reality. Its late September / early October release not only delivered the much-loved adventure in crisp HD and with some other visual tweaks, but also brought adjustments to the campaign — including assistance to cut-down the maligned backtracking of the original — and controls that nicely utilised the GamePad. It's a wonderfully executed remaster and earned praise from critics and gamers alike.

Wind Waker HD also delivered what is still, to date, the only physically unique Wii U hardware bundle. There are lots of bundles out there, of course, but this offering (pictured above) included a special GamePad design with golden patterns. The system itself also features a digital copy of Hyrule Historia, broadening the audience that can view the official timeline and then argue over its accuracy.

As the year's drawn to a close the Zelda bandwagon hasn't slowed down, however, with the arrival of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS prompting critical acclaim and plenty of positive feedback from fans online and on Miiverse. Also officially unveiled just this year — a moment that humorously prompted one of Nintendo Life's most senior figures to briefly lose his ability to complete sentences — it created huge buzz once confirmed that it was set in the same world as the iconic Link to the Past; it's fun to speculate that it did begin as a 3D remaster of that SNES classic (which Shigeru Miyamoto had suggested was a possibility) before becoming something new. What it's not, as most would surely agree, is a quick copy of old ideas. Quite the opposite, in fact, as its item rental system and wall merge move open up new ideas and allow the player greater freedom in choosing which dungeon to tackle at any given time. It also runs at 60 frames-per-second in full 3D, which truly shows what Nintendo's handheld can do.

Nintendo didn't miss the opportunity to release a rather attractive 3DS XL model, either, which is pictured above. It's an extravagant design, and some pre-orders also included a musical chest that hold 3DS / DS game carts. We mention this purely so we have an excuse to include the now-Legendary Vine, below.

Beyond these new releases we have had more Zelda Symphony concerts in North America, while fans of the franchise are often producing videos and soundtracks in honour of the franchise. Indie games such as Ittle Dew show their appreciation for the series with little hesitation — the developer even pitched it as a Zelda game to Nintendo — while any teases for Majora's Mask still grab fans' attention. European Wii U fans can also pick up A Link to the Past on the latest home console, though it's not arrived in North America at the time of writing.

Overall, then, we'd surely have to consider this to have been a terrific year for Zelda fans. We've had retro games make their download début, limited edition hardware, a HD remaster and an all-new portable adventure. Perhaps 2014 will bring us our first glimpse of the Wii U's current work in progress, and we can all lose our heads (and ability to type coherent sentences) once again.

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User Comments (31)



TreesenHauser said:

Great article! Thanks to the Wind Waker HD remake I finally got to play it, and I'm glad I got to. Such an incredible game. Looking forward to the first Zelda Wii U reveal in 2014, whenever that could be (probably E3)



Blast said:

Man.... I luv Nintendo. Seeing that Gif of Aonuma and Iwata playing around is awesome.



NintyMan said:

I'm very late to the Zelda fun this year. I won't be getting Wind Waker HD and A Link Between Worlds until this Christmas!



sinalefa said:

Still a bit sad that North America did not get the chest. Still, the Platinum reward is Zelda related. Now, if they would only ship it...

I got both Oracle games and Link's Awakening this year, and I haven't had the chance to play them, let alone getting WW HD and ALBW.



JaxonH said:

Sounds like a fantastic Christmas to look forward to. I bought my brother that Zelda Wii U bundle, and the hardcover Windwaker HD guide from Prima. Looks like he's gonna have a Zelda Christmas too!



JaxonH said:

I just received an email from Nintendo 2 days ago stating they were shipping my Club Nintendo Platinum gift. I had opted for the poster set, so I can't say whether the MM soundtrack is shipping yet.



element187 said:

@DestinyMan your not alone. My wife won't let me open LBW until Xmas... Although I did play WWHD, it was only September and I won't wait to Xmas to play it.



element187 said:

@JaxonH I chose the MM soundtrack and it hasn't shipped yet.

On another note, I hope each song is several minutes in length. I got the SMT IV special edition pack, and it has an awesome soundtrack on CD included, but most of songs are only 30 seconds to 1 minute. I think only 2 are like 7 minutes, the rest are just snippets.



rjejr said:

WWHD may have been anmounced in Jan but I dont think that cool Wii U Gamepad bundle was anmounced until mid August. I bought my Wii U Aug 9th Now N7ntendo Land sits on a shelf unplayed and we could have bern playing WW. Que violins



cheleuitte said:

I'm a zelda fan since I got the chance to play "A Link to the Past" in 1992, when nintendo release a new addition the more proud I feel to be a fan!!



Giygas_95 said:

It's been not only a good year for Zelda, but also a good year for video games in general. This year saw a ton of huge releases!



Darb said:

The Zelda GamePad looks really great, almost too nice to actually use. The 3DS looks great too, even if it's more of a basic design.



NightmareXIV said:

Nintendo give us Majora's Mask Remake whether it's 3DS, or Wii U I doubt we'll actually care at this point we just want a straight answer.



Morph said:

Im enjoying lttp at the moment, i was a sega kid growing up so it was one of those games that i never got to try out, finally getting round to playing it on wii u.

Im sure majoras mask 3d will be announced soon, given its based on the same engine as oot and i belueve uses many of the same assets you would think it would be an easier job for grezzo to port plus they dont appear to have been doing too much apart from the streetpass flower game, so i reckon they have been quietly working away on it



MrMario02 said:

On The 2nd Day of Nintendo my true love gave to me: 2 Zelda Games, and a year made just for Luigi.



shaggyc said:

Yeah.. I like Mario... but LOZ is why I will always own nintendo consoles (or whatever hardware is required to play nintendo games) I bought that zelda edition wii u so I could be ready when the inevitable wii u zelda comes out. Bought a 3ds for a link between worlds. I didn't wait for the zelda themed 3ds I knew was gonna have to come out.. kinda didn't like it at first, but I regret that decision now



Ichiban said:

Im currently on a mission to get a boxed copy of Majora's Mask, and man is it pricey!
What is it about xmas time which makes me crave Zelda games? Lol

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