Sunday, June 12, 2022

Hyrule Blog: Rewind Reviews

The Legend of Zelda Reviews with lots of screenshots showing different games from 2013 to 2016

This blog is 14 years old now as of this month and together with 36 years of The Legend of Zelda that's 50 years of Zelda goodness. Well, it doesn't really work like that, but nevertheless I have been preparing something for Hyrule Blog. Actually, the timing is more or less a coincidence, where I have been working on this particular project in the background for quite a while, over one year in fact...

Last year was the 35th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda and even if Nintendo wasn't in the mood for big celebrations, the fans found their own ways of honoring the series. With the 25th and 30th Anniversaries I did this by replaying the majority of Zelda games, where for my 30th Anniversary Replay List I've gone through all Zelda games that are playable on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U – which were all of them except for Four Swords Adventures. This undertaking ended right before Breath of the Wild was released and I came to a closure with the series at the time, where from now on I will be mostly sticking to the new releases on the Nintendo Switch, like Skyward Sword HD last year.

Instead, I've decided to revisit my past as a Zelda fan in a very different way: by translating my old German reviews (and previews) to English. As you may or may not know, I was writing for ZeldaEurope (now found under between 2011 and 2016 – mostly news and guides, but also some reviews.

For the most part this endeavor didn't clash too hard with this blog, because my work on ZeldaEurope was about sharing information, mostly the news, while this blog is more focused on my personal experiences, opinions, and predictions. A review is an informal opinion piece, however, where it fits both a news site and a blog rather well. Originally, it was even my goal to translate some of these reviews right away, but this felt like too much mindless busywork at the time, so I couldn't do it.

Now that several years have passed, however, it was actually interesting to revisit these texts and translate them. It's also a nice preservation of my work from that era, where the ZeldaEurope main page is already a relic and the original reviews can't be found there any longer (only in the forums)... Having it all together here on this site simply felt right for a nice collection and also filled some gaps in those years.

A few additions or adjustments were made to these articles whenever I felt like it was for the better or that something critical was missing. But it wasn't my goal to rewrite history here, so these opinion pieces still reflect what I thought of the games all those years ago and not necessarily how I feel now, though I'm still content with most of it.

Everything was also translated by myself. I know that I could have used DeepL or something similar to speed things up tremendously, where it even delivers some very good results, but I really wanted it to be my own words, for better or worse. After all, this was all about dwelling in the past.

The (p)reviews got posted on their original dates to this blog to preserve the history and to avoid putting them out of context. You can find them all under previews and reviews, but this post will also feature a complete list of what has been retroactively added to this site, for your convenience. Feel free to check any of it out in case you're interested. It's a lot to go through and it's old stuff, so I don't really expect anyone to read all of it, but I think that having such a large collection of reviews is certainly of good value for this blog.

In addition, I've also been updating the year reviews and year previews from that era, because the ones I wrote for ZeldaEurope were much nicer and more extensive. But that's not really as important as all the following...

Main Games:

Ironically, the Skyward Sword preview was first written for this blog, then got translated to German for ZeldaEurope, and now translated back again, because I removed the original and couldn't find it anywhere... Back then I wrote it here out of habit, without considering that I've only signed the NDA for ZeldaEurope and not this blog, so this is how this back and forth came to be. But now, almost 10 years later, it shouldn't really matter and it's good to have it back where it belongs.

Still, the preview for Skyward Sword might not actually be that interesting, but the one for A Link Between Worlds is, because it effectively describes my first journey through that game's Hyrule. Sadly, I haven't written a game journal for A Link Between Worlds, because I had an early review copy, but thanks to this preview I feel like the entire A Link Between Worlds section is a lot more wholesome now. I also went over some other posts from that time, adding images and such, while I was at it.

In case of Tri Force Heroes I have also added a collection of all Drablands Diaries easter eggs. Previously, I had only posted these on Miiverse, where I was too lazy to post it all a second time on this blog. It seemed redundant, but since the Miiverse is gone by now, it feels like a good thing to have it all here preserved. Coincidentally, there is a big overlap between the Miiverse era and my time at ZeldaEurope, where I made good use of my screenshots posted on Miiverse for some of the reviews and other posts.

Both A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes also have a small follow-up review for a bigger feature in the game, which seems to be a trend among top-down Zelda games, where the remake of Link's Awakening also got a separate Chamber Dungeon review on this blog.

Remakes & Remasters:

Ocarina of Time 3D was actually one of the first Zelda titles to get a review on this blog, so it's nice to finally have the follow-up present as well with Majora's Mask 3D, even though it had to receive a good amount of criticism. And the reviews of The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD might have some relevance in the future, should these two remasters ever get ported over to the Nintendo Switch. Then it will be very nice to have my reviews for them at the ready as a reference.

Similar to Tri Force Heroes, I've also added a guide from my Miiverse journeys in The Wind Waker HD, where this one is for the hidden Tingle Statues.


Virtual Console:

These aren't really reviews of the actual games, instead they are all about the different Virtual Consoles experiences on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Those are some short reads and I mainly did it for the free downloads at the time, not going to lie. Some of it may also be redundant from what I've already written on my blog at the time, so feel free to ignore these reviews.

Hyrule Warriors:

Translating all the reviews for Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U was a big chunk of the work this year, where the game got both a review and preview back in 2014 and also a review for every single DLC pack, which was absurd. Today I would probably review the Hero of Hyrule Pack as a whole, especially since Nintendo now prefers to only offer the entire DLC as a purchase option, like they did with the Expansion Pass for Age of Calamity. But it's still interesting to read how the game has slowly developed into what it is today with the Definitive Edition, where important features like a restart option for Adventure Mode battles got added piece by piece.

Other Reviews:

One of the very first reviews was actually not for a game, but for an event: the Symphony of the Goddesses in Berlin. Though, this was more of a report, not a real review. I posted about the event on this blog as well, specifically about the merchandise, and promised to add a short English summary later, but I have never delivered... until now. Sorry! Well, to make up for it I've translated the whole thing.

The rest are all titles that were released in 2014, Zelda's "Year of Crossovers", where this was the big focus next to Hyrule Warriors, which came out in the same year. And these reviews are definitely mixed, where I wasn't very fond of the new Super Smash Bros. titles at the time. The most positive one is for Mario Kart 8's DLC, which certainly beats the lackluster Booster Course Pass. And NES Remix is one of those curiosities that I've been completely ignoring on my blog, where now it's nice to have at least something present.


Lankelink said...

Hey Tourian! It's really nice to be able to read your old (p)reviews! Especially now that there are very few Zelda news (let's hope it changes soon). Reading about your old experiences also brings me back my own memories about the games :)

Also, now that you mention Miiverse... I miss it so much! I think it was a really great idea, and I think it could have continued until now. I liked to use it as a personal record of all my achievements.

Out of curiosity, what are you playing now? I'm enjoying the Fire Emblem 3 Hopes demo a lot, waiting for the game. I guess you didn't beat 3 Houses yet? And are you still playing Fire Emblem Heroes?

Let's hope we soon have more Zelda (and Metroid) news! There is still hope for a Nintendo Direct later this month!

TourianTourist said...

Hey Lankelink,

thank you for the feedback, as always. I've actually been hurrying last week to finish this project (with Tri Force Heroes), because I wanted this as a filler before all the attention will be on the sequel to Breath of the Wild. So, the timing felt just really good right now and I'm glad you're enjoying these old (p)reviews. There are rumors about a Nintendo Direct on June 29th, which sounds plausible to me, because it's after the release of Three Hopes. So, let's see.

Fully agreed about Miiverse!

Right now I'm only playing my daily stuff, so mostly Animal Crossing: New Horizons (still in my first year) and a bit of Fire Emblem Heroes. I'm currently taking a break from Quake Champions, but the new season should start soon...

Well, since I have also been busy with the translations, I otherwise haven't played as much in the last couple of months, mostly Hyrule Warriors: Definition Edition. But that went hand in hand with translating the old reviews for Hyrule Warriors. I'll talk a bit about the Definition Edition later on, once I've finished the first Adventure Map.

And you guessed right, I haven't played Three Houses yet, but right now seems like a good time to finally get into the game and then maybe play Three Hopes right after. What I've heard so far from friends, it sounds like the demo is really good.