Posts Tagged ‘legend’

I Went to Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses at the Sydney Opera House

Oh look, a post that isn’t ludicrously lengthy.

At the end of last month I put to bed a small regret of mine – Half a decade ago I was presented with the opportunity to attend the Sydney debut of Symphony of the Goddesses, a worldwide concert tour immediately following on from the special Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary concerts in Japan and the USA. For reasons I can no longer remember clearly (probably funds), I did not take this opportunity. Naturally I regretted my decision pretty soon after the performance dates arrived and several of my friends raved about how good the show was. I told myself the next time I had such a chance I would not let it pass. But for years, no such chance appeared.

So when, after years of sporadic worldwide tours with varying set lists, the announcement was made that Symphony of the Goddesses would be returning to Sydney harbour this year, no price would have been too high for me to snatch up a ticket. Two years after entering the opera house for the first time to attend the Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions showcase, I was back in the venue’s main concert hall to take in the fully-realised music of one of my absolute favourite media franchises. And what an evening it was.

There are three main reasons I’d go to see an orchestral performance of a videogame music selection – The atmosphere, the craft and the arrangement. Hardly groundbreaking reasons of course, and I’m sure the majority of the people in attendance on the night had similar motivations. Atmosphere is created mostly by said people, whose collective energy and passion tend to elevate an event that otherwise gets by on a uniquely strange blend of nerdiness and class. This department provided the largest point of difference between the Pokemon concert and the Zelda one for me. At the Pokemon event, there seemed to be more themed and/or casual dress in and around the hall, while during the concert the audience reacted loudly to each track and arrangement – especially the more widely recognised ones. While the Zelda show was hardly black tie – and cosplay was there if you looked for it – I definitely noticed more of a conservative attitude to dress code in general. What’s more, during the concert you could tell a crowd favourite by a groundswell of hushed whispers and gasps rather than whoops and shouts. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason for this (perhaps Zelda’s slightly older fanbase, or the fact the concert landed on the exact weekend of PAX Australia in Melbourne) but it certainly lent the atmosphere a more reverential tone and allowed quieter pieces – of which Zelda boasts several – to shine.

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Revisiting The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess – In High Definition & High Detail

Well this looks a bit weirdly-timed now, but I have been working on it for almost two months, so here we go. Strap yourself in.

It’s been a while, old friend.

Ten years ago, in 2006, I picked up The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess alongside my brand new Nintendo Wii console at the system’s launch. After years of hype and a string of exemplary prior Zelda games, I could barely contain my excitement. 80 hours of gameplay (and weeks of real-world time juggling Wii Sports) later, I had completed it very close to 100%. And what a rollercoaster it had been.

Twilight Princess promised a lot, as the Zelda series’ long-awaited return to the dark, “realistic” aesthetic made popular by Ocarina of Time following a controversial – at least at the time – stylistic sidestep with The Wind Waker. And in fairness, it delivered a lot – sensational dungeons, standout set pieces built on fan wish fulfilment, a breakout companion character and bosses on a truly grand scale, mainly.

Ooh baby.

Yet the game also came in for its fair share of criticism for its slow and inconsequential opening, largely empty world, bland colour palette, litany of rupee-related annoyances, relative lack of difficulty and slavish devotion to aping Ocarina at the expense of the freshness offered by predecessors Majora’s Mask and the aforementioned Wind Waker. Though I remember plenty of moments from Twilight Princess fondly, it came in at Number 7 on the Top 10 Zelda games list I wrote back in 2013.

And yet early last month, it received a new lease on life.

Link makes a triumphant return with a new HD sheen.

With help from little-known Australian studio Tantalus Media, Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for Wii U here on March 5th. Based on the “waggle-free” Gamecube version of Twilight Princess, which I never touched, and boasting quite a few tweaks and supposed improvements, it marked the perfect opportunity for me to revisit the classic adventure with a critical eye, separated somewhat from the perhaps exaggerated criticisms the internet has whipped up over the last decade. Now that I have finally finished TP in its newest iteration, here is what I have to say about it.

Prepare yourself – this will be a long one. A very long one.

Be aware that this post contains a huge amount of spoilers – worth mentioning if you haven’t played the game before. All you need to know if you’re a Twilight Princess newcomer is that yes, I believe this HD version is definitively the best version of the classic title, and yes, you really should play it. If you really want to read on, continue at your own risk, but you should know that what follows is so exhaustive that you may not even feel like you need to play it by the end.
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VR Zelda Month: Top 10 Zelda Games

VR_Zelda_Month

Here we are at the end of a tiring but very exciting (almost) 30 days of Zelda retrospectives. It has long been a dream of mine to be able to write so many Zelda countdowns and put them all in one place, but this list is the big one. Until last month I would not have considered myself qualified to compile a proper top ten list of my personal favourite Zelda games of all time. But now, at long last, as I have completed ten out of the sixteen currently released titles in the series (with at least every possible heart container in each, I might add), I can finally put my long-dormant thoughts to my keyboard and reach those sweet, sweet double digits. Without further ado, here we go: My top ten favourite videogames in the Legend of Zelda series.

Oh yeah, one quick condition: I am judging each game on this list by what I consider to be the best version of that game (that I have played), even if it isn’t the originally released version.

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VR ZELDA MONTH DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. Respectful disagreement is welcome. Spoilers may follow.
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10. Four Swords (GBA, DSi)

A dream package.

Ah yes, the most forgotten one (or should I say the second most forgotten one? See the next entry on this list). Four Swords may bring up the rear of this list, and by the end of this year if I were to rewrite the list it may not even make it on, but that doesn’t mean I did not enjoy playing it. The game may have had the least amount of mentions these past 30 days out of any Zelda game I have finished, but that’s because it either used Zelda traditions that had already been better established elsewhere or introduced new things that were improved upon in later releases. I didn’t play through the bonus levels featured in the 2011 DSi port of the game, but I did play the original in conjunction with my first ever experience of A Link to the Past on the Game Boy Advance, when the two games were linked together in a very cool way.

There is no avoiding that Four Swords is a multiplayer game at heart, and though the aforementioned DSi release did patch in a single player mode, a lot of the game’s best moments are taken right out of the picture without friends to crawl through the unpredictable dungeons with. Having said that, I only ever played the GBA original with one other person, which doesn’t compare all that well to my four player experience with the next game on the list. Yet some of the really cool puzzles in Four Swords have not been seen since, the semi-random layout of each dungeon every time you re-enter it makes for some nice replay value and the competitive-cooperative slant Nintendo is so good at pulling off is on full show in this title. Thanks to that downloadable DSi port, it is by far the most accessible way to enjoy the surprising joys of multiplayer Zelda nowadays, which cannot be a bad thing.

Oh yeah, and if I were to do a “Top Ten Zelda Title Screens” list, Four Swords would easily run away with the number one spot. I must have watched that first cutscene twenty times back in the day.
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