First up, a confession. I’ve only ever played three of the Zelda games, and only one of those to completion. The one I played to completion was “A Link to the Past” on the SNES. The other two were “Link’s Awakening” on the GameBoy, and “Ocarina of Time” on the N64. Whilst there are many other games in the series, “A Link to the Past” and “Ocarina of Time” are usually highly acclaimed games – but not by me.
Whenever I play an RPG, I always like to know exactly what it is that I’m supposed to be doing next. You usually get to talk to characters in a village (or some other setting), and through that and other dialogue (e.g. in cutscenes) you know what location in the game’s world you’re supposed to go to next, and what it is that you’re supposed to do there. But with the Zelda games I just don’t get this. I find myself having to wander around, trying to guess what it is I’m supposed to be doing next. Maybe I’m missing something, but it was never clear to me what I was supposed to actually be doing.
Yes, I was once able to make it all the way through “A Link to the Past”, but this was only when I was using a walkthrough – a complete guide to the game that someone else had written. It was only through this that I was able to know what I was supposed to be doing next in the game.
Whilst I will often acquire walkthroughs and guides to RPGs, I usually only use these to help me to discover what hidden parts a game has, and I prefer not to use them to just complete the game at a first play through.
When I play an RPG for the first time, I like to be able to figure out what to do by myself, using only what is available within the game itself (e.g. talking to the non-player characters). But I just can’t do this with the Zelda games. The only way I can play them is with a walkthrough. That is why I don’t like the Zelda games, and why they don’t feature in my list of favourite video games.
Maybe you think differently and love the Zelda games. Maybe you know of a good Zelda game that can be completed without having to use a walkthrough. In which case, I’d be welcome to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Join me again next week when I’ll be doing one final video game related post, where I’ll be listing all of the video games I own. (Spoiler: The list is quite long...)