I consider myself a casual gamer. My field of study/work is in Psychology/Psychiatry, not in Design or Programming. I don’t have a vast knowledge of video game history or the inner workings of the industry. I don’t claim to understand market trends on an expert level. I have no problems admitting that I’m almost exclusively a Nintendo gamer. I’ve only owned Nintendo consoles, and the closest thing to owning another console was during a time when I had a roommate with an X-Box 360 that I had pretty consistent access to. Most of what I post in the comments is based largely on opinion.
The take-away message is simply that I’M NOT AN EXPERT. Just a guy that plays games.
That being said, I would definitely consider myself a nerd when it comes to Zelda. I have owned every game in the series (save the CD-i Zelda’s, for obvious reasons) and I still maintain that it’s the greatest video game series to date. I own Hyrule Historia and have pored over it like it was a statistical report (much to my wife’s chagrin). The Legend of Zelda has been around since the the dawn of the NES and hasn’t shown any signs of slipping into obscurity. It has introduced some of the most loved and recognizable characters and storylines in Video Games. If Mario is the Rolling Stones of Nintendo, then The Legend of Zelda is the Pearl Jam.
I’ve decided that it’s time for me to get my reviews down on paper (er, electronic paper…). I’ve come to a point in my life where I’ve settled on a ranking list for The Legend of Zelda series. Over the course of the next few months (or years, cuz I can’t promise I won’t lose interest or get busy with real world stuff), I’m going to give detailed reviews of each Zelda game in retrograde fashion, starting with Skyward Sword and Finishing with Ocarina of Time. I’ve decided to stop with Ocarina of Time due to the fact that it was the first Zelda game I played upon release. The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link and A Link to The Past are all games I played after they released, so I’ve decided to disclude them from my reviews.
During these reviews, I will probably refer to what a lot of people call ‘the Zelda experience.’ This has become somewhat of an arbitrary term thrown around in the gaming community, but it hasn’t exactly been defined. People who’ve been playing since the first title in the franchise have a very different idea of what ‘the Zelda experience’ is as opposed to someone who (like myself) was introduced to the series with Ocarina of Time. With this in mind, I’ve decided to define ‘the Zelda experience’ as such: Ganondorf is attempting to obtain the triforce and/or dominion over Hyrule, Zelda and Link are trying to defeat Ganondorf, Zelda is captured by Ganondorf, Link gathers items in dungeons, and the game concludes when Link defeats Ganondorf. Simple, easy, and it applies to most games in the franchise. Some may argue that ‘the Zelda experience’ is more complicated than that or that it is something completely different, and that’s fine. For the purposes of my reviews, I’m going with my definition.
Some things to keep in mind:
As I mentioned before, I will only be reviewing games in the series that I played upon their initial release. The reason being that I believe it’s an important part of how I’ve settled on my scores of each game. The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link and A Link to The Past were all approached with previous scores and impressions from other gamers in my head, which unfortunately prevents me from giving them a truly fair score (in terms of both objectivity and personal opinion).
Replayability and additional content following one complete playthrough will also affect the overall score. Some games in the series have held up well over time and multiple playthroughs, while others have not. For example, I would have given Skyward Sword a perfect score of 10 following my initial playthrough, and Twilight Princess a 6 or a 7. Having played through both games at least twice, I would be more inclined to give SS a 6 or a 7 and TP a 10.
Lastly, each game will receive two scores…one which I believe is a reflection of it’s technical and objective quality, and another that is a personal score based on how much I enjoyed the game. I want to do this because I want to appear less like a fan-boy with scores given based on personal reasons exclusively. For example, my favorite game in the series is The Wind Waker. However, I wouldn’t say it’s technically the best game in the franchise on an objective level. My love for The Wind Waker stems from personal experiences and preferences.
Annnnnd that’s all folks! I am not above criticism, and I encourage anybody that feels like it to post their own feelings about each game as I post the reviews. You could even post your feelings in the comment section of this blog, but I’ll probably save my discussion for each individual reviews.
Disclaimer: These blog entries were originally published on Game Informer Online. As such, you might see some ‘review lingo’ throughout. Just so ya know.