Polygon/Arthur Gies: Is the Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds game of the year?

May 24, 2013
23,025
0
710
#1
It's a bit odd when you think about how in a 2D Zelda game Link can make himself flat, and thus actually two dimensional. But the game is actually a three dimensional game, but made to resemble a two dimensional Zelda game, which itself was trying to appear three dimensional. But then there's Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask which are both 3D and also technically 4D. Also there's Oracle of Ages which was 2D and 4D... Ok, it's time to stop thinking about this now.

This month, we'll be interviewing co-workers about the games they believe deserve the title of Game of the Year. Today on Friends List Editor-at-Large Chris Plante asks Reviews Editor Arthur Gies: Is the game of the year The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmizJxWh1qU
 
Dec 23, 2007
11,687
0
0
Austin
#6
It's why I de-subbed from Rebel FM despite loving Chuff.

Gies just loves to hear himself wax philosophic rather than make a cohesive point while reminding everyone he's reviews editor with every breath.

Worthless.
 
Feb 6, 2012
7,492
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#10
So choosing the GOTY 2013 in 2014 is irrelevant? Taking time is dumb?
It kind of is. "Awards season" for games takes place at the end of the year, unlike the film industry. With all the GotY awards that have already been, the current attention on CES, and people looking forward to 2014's big games, interest in last year's games is already diminishing.

Gamers have already heard to death about how great TLoU/GTAV/BioShock is, and want to talk about something else. Releasing a GotY list now won't draw the same interest as releasing it in December.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
3
0
#11
I don't really think it comes even close.

It's a very pretty game that is extremely fluid in motion. The music, although mostly remixes of existing tunes, is very beautiful. The 3D effect is very nice in the game. The way the game both stokes your memories of ALTTP and subverts them (eg
Turtle Rock being a turtle-shaped dungeon where the ice dungeon was in ALTTP
) is great. I'm glad they got rid of dungeon maps. And it's nice that they pruned down some of the typical Zelda bullshit in terms of handholding and explanation text. I think they've made a pretty great game. And I think being able to do most of the dungeons in any order is very interesting. The painting mechanic is used in a number of very cool ways and really keeps the game fresh. The Dark Palace is probably one of the best Zelda dungeons I've ever played and felt inspired throughout.

But it doesn't come without a cost. Most of the dungeons are quite small, very few really feel expansive or daunting (not unlocking items you need to finish the dungeon contributes to dungeons feeling superfluous). The game is remarkably easy, and Hero Mode adjusts the difficulty in the wrong way. The octo-baby hunt is not super interesting. The rental mechanic simply doesn't work because you get so many rupees so quickly and rentals are so cheap that there's no reason not to rent anything. The rental mechanic also means that the dungeons require one or two specific items and nothing else. While previous Zelda dungeons built their dungeons around the dungeon item, they often required some on-the-fly thought about previous items. ALBW does not. The plot is stupid, Hilda is obnoxious, the painting villain whose name eludes me mere days after playing the game is stupid, the ending is stupid, bosses are mostly pretty dull (use dungeon item on boss until shielding is dropped, hit with sword until dead). Navigating Lorule is a pain in the ass because it's segmented for no real reason. Despite the great 3D visuals, almost no dungeons other than the Ice Dungeon and maybe Lorule Castle make use of the way that dungeon floors are layered one on top of the other. There's oddly some load times and pauses between screen transitions which wrecks what is otherwise a really beautifully smooth game. Some of the game's best puzzles are optional and just lead to rupees. They not only brought back the 50 floor combat dungeon, you need to play through it 4 times to get the major item rewards. The stakes never feel big.

Oh yeah and the UI is pretty tedious. The quick item switch is pretty good but requires the stylus and is imprecise with fingers, even though the game doesn't otherwise use the stylus. It's also something that only exists because switching and using items is frustrating because the controls don't hold up all that well.

I think it's a very interesting experiment that hopefully leads to more interesting experiments, and I think it's a great game, but it's pretty flawed and the novel elements that cause the flaws don't do enough to justify it as an ahead-of-its-time game.

I 100%ed the game with all heart pieces, maxed items, 100 octobabies found, maxed rupees, maxed monster bits, and 1 death on Normal Mode in 14:30.
 

Xav

Member
Dec 12, 2006
4,378
2
0
#12
I'm not interested in Polygon's initial game of the year pick. Will wait for the superior updated game of the year winner in a few months time.
 
Jun 7, 2013
6,808
1
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#13
Polygon said:
It's a bit odd when you think about how in a 2D Zelda game Link can make himself flat, and thus actually two dimensional. But the game is actually a three dimensional game, but made to resemble a two dimensional Zelda game, which itself was trying to appear three dimensional. But then there's Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask which are both 3D and also technically 4D. Also there's Oracle of Ages which was 2D and 4D... Ok, it's time to stop thinking about this now.
What the fuck am I reading? These guys are hurting their own brains with this trash.
 

manueldelalas

Time Traveler
Mar 18, 2007
6,033
0
995
#17
I don't really think it comes even close.

It's a very pretty game that is extremely fluid in motion. The music, although mostly remixes of existing tunes, is very beautiful. The 3D effect is very nice in the game. The way the game both stokes your memories of ALTTP and subverts them (eg
Turtle Rock being a turtle-shaped dungeon where the ice dungeon was in ALTTP
) is great. I'm glad they got rid of dungeon maps. And it's nice that they pruned down some of the typical Zelda bullshit in terms of handholding and explanation text. I think they've made a pretty great game. And I think being able to do most of the dungeons in any order is very interesting. The painting mechanic is used in a number of very cool ways and really keeps the game fresh. The Dark Palace is probably one of the best Zelda dungeons I've ever played and felt inspired throughout.

But it doesn't come without a cost. Most of the dungeons are quite small, very few really feel expansive or daunting (not unlocking items you need to finish the dungeon contributes to dungeons feeling superfluous). The game is remarkably easy, and Hero Mode adjusts the difficulty in the wrong way. The octo-baby hunt is not super interesting. The rental mechanic simply doesn't work because you get so many rupees so quickly and rentals are so cheap that there's no reason not to rent anything. The rental mechanic also means that the dungeons require one or two specific items and nothing else. While previous Zelda dungeons built their dungeons around the dungeon item, they often required some on-the-fly thought about previous items. ALBW does not. The plot is stupid, Hilda is obnoxious, the painting villain whose name eludes me mere days after playing the game is stupid, the ending is stupid, bosses are mostly pretty dull (use dungeon item on boss until shielding is dropped, hit with sword until dead). Navigating Lorule is a pain in the ass because it's segmented for no real reason. Despite the great 3D visuals, almost no dungeons other than the Ice Dungeon and maybe Lorule Castle make use of the way that dungeon floors are layered one on top of the other. There's oddly some load times and pauses between screen transitions which wrecks what is otherwise a really beautifully smooth game. Some of the game's best puzzles are optional and just lead to rupees. They not only brought back the 50 floor combat dungeon, you need to play through it 4 times to get the major item rewards. The stakes never feel big.

Oh yeah and the UI is pretty tedious. The quick item switch is pretty good but requires the stylus and is imprecise with fingers, even though the game doesn't otherwise use the stylus. It's also something that only exists because switching and using items is frustrating because the controls don't hold up all that well.

I think it's a very interesting experiment that hopefully leads to more interesting experiments, and I think it's a great game, but it's pretty flawed and the novel elements that cause the flaws don't do enough to justify it as an ahead-of-its-time game.

I 100%ed the game with all heart pieces, maxed items, 100 octobabies found, maxed rupees, maxed monster bits, and 1 death on Normal Mode in 14:30.
What games would you choose for GOTY contenders?
 
Jun 22, 2013
2,087
0
0
#18
It kind of is. "Awards season" for games takes place at the end of the year, unlike the film industry. With all the GotY awards that have already been, the current attention on CES, and people looking forward to 2014's big games, interest in last year's games is already diminishing.

Gamers have already heard to death about how great TLoU/GTAV/BioShock is, and want to talk about something else. Releasing a GotY list now won't draw the same interest as releasing it in December.
I love how you speak for all of us about what we want to hear, personally I think its great that some outlets actually wait until after the year is done to discuss which game was best.
 
Aug 25, 2009
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#20
Sums up my feelings quite well. I really enjoyed it, I just didn't 'love it' like a GOTY should be. I felt I had already done almost everything in the game before I did it. It was easy but I died more than I should pushing through too quickly and just not being patient.

Either way, the game was gorgeous, I really enjoyed it, but it wouldn't be my GOTY, that lies with ACIV.
 

John Harker

Definitely doesn't make things up as he goes along.
Feb 26, 2005
17,582
0
0
Santa Destroy
#22
the worst part of GOTY lists... are people who comment on GOTY lists.

now im part of the problem

I think ALBW is utterly brilliant. I didn't put it as my #1, but it certainly deserves to be up there. It's one of the few games this year that has the right length, doesn't overstay it's welcome, is really innovative from a design perspective, and constantly makes you feel amazed at how clever it is.

well done, in my opinion.

(also, how can you complain about a GOTY list coming out Jan 7... when WE aren't even doing our own till the END of the month?)
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
17,232
3
0
#23
What games would you choose for GOTY contenders?
I don't think it serves much purpose to distract this thread (or any list or opinion thread) into being about "<X> is the best!" "No, <Y> is the best!" level stuff, rather that discussing the actual games in question. But I'll be posting my GOTY ballot in the thread in the next few days (I played Wind Waker, ALBW, New Super Luigi, Guacamelee, and SM3DW in the last week and I have TLOU sitting in front of me and The Swapper installing on my PC)
 
Oct 31, 2011
46,389
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0
UK
twitter.com
#27
I don't think it serves much purpose to distract this thread (or any list or opinion thread) into being about "<X> is the best!" "No, <Y> is the best!" level stuff, rather that discussing the actual games in question. But I'll be posting my GOTY ballot in the thread in the next few days (I played Wind Waker, ALBW, New Super Luigi, Guacamelee, and SM3DW in the last week and I have TLOU sitting in front of me and The Swapper installing on my PC)
Guacamelee is brilliant. I'm so glad I finished it, the later bits get amazing in terms of the platforming challenges. Best Superman game ever :p
 
Dec 8, 2008
3,976
0
0
Tilburg
twitter.com
#28
So, wtf am I reading? Seriously...

It's a bit odd when you think about how in a 2D Zelda game Link can make himself flat, and thus actually two dimensional. But the game is actually a three dimensional game, but made to resemble a two dimensional Zelda game, which itself was trying to appear three dimensional. But then there's Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask which are both 3D and also technically 4D. Also there's Oracle of Ages which was 2D and 4D... Ok, it's time to stop thinking about this now.


The game is great, of what I played. I should pick it up again and finish it, but Etrian Odyssey is stealing all of my time already.
 
Apr 12, 2010
3,148
7
570
#30
I don't think it serves much purpose to distract this thread (or any list or opinion thread) into being about "<X> is the best!" "No, <Y> is the best!" level stuff, rather that discussing the actual games in question. But I'll be posting my GOTY ballot in the thread in the next few days (I played Wind Waker, ALBW, New Super Luigi, Guacamelee, and SM3DW in the last week and I have TLOU sitting in front of me and The Swapper installing on my PC)
It's a down year for games which helps it get pushed towards the top of people's lists, at least that was the case for me. I just wonder how much my love for LTTP makes me appreciate Between Worlds.
 
Nov 4, 2010
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0
#31
badly written joke aside, I don't think ALBW being considered GOTY is that out of the question. Possibly a bit too easy and reminiscent of LTTP, but out of everything else being listed as candidates (3DWorld/Last of Us/Bioshock Infinite/GTA V) it doesn't feel significantly more derivative (not necessarily a negative trait) than any of those those games were to previous games in those series (or in TLOU's case, the same 3rd-person shooter mechanics other ND games had, though I guess thinking about it it's the most original out of the lot).

Was amusing to see how apparently Gamespot got a ton of hatemail when they chose ALBW as their game of the year though.
 
Apr 15, 2011
36,667
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525
#33
Some sites wait till the year has ended and then make the list, there's no problem with that.

ALBW is in my top 5, I played better games last year but ALBW was great.
I actually consider it optimal to wait so every release in a year has a fair chance, but I understand there's pressure to get a feature out sooner than later, especially when December is usually the deadest month. Still, games like Gran Turismo can and have popped up, albeit typically at the start of the month.
 
Feb 12, 2010
2,055
0
0
#35
I don't really think it comes even close.

It's a very pretty game that is extremely fluid in motion. The music, although mostly remixes of existing tunes, is very beautiful. The 3D effect is very nice in the game. The way the game both stokes your memories of ALTTP and subverts them (eg
Turtle Rock being a turtle-shaped dungeon where the ice dungeon was in ALTTP
) is great. I'm glad they got rid of dungeon maps. And it's nice that they pruned down some of the typical Zelda bullshit in terms of handholding and explanation text. I think they've made a pretty great game. And I think being able to do most of the dungeons in any order is very interesting. The painting mechanic is used in a number of very cool ways and really keeps the game fresh. The Dark Palace is probably one of the best Zelda dungeons I've ever played and felt inspired throughout.

But it doesn't come without a cost. Most of the dungeons are quite small, very few really feel expansive or daunting (not unlocking items you need to finish the dungeon contributes to dungeons feeling superfluous). The game is remarkably easy, and Hero Mode adjusts the difficulty in the wrong way. The octo-baby hunt is not super interesting. The rental mechanic simply doesn't work because you get so many rupees so quickly and rentals are so cheap that there's no reason not to rent anything. The rental mechanic also means that the dungeons require one or two specific items and nothing else. While previous Zelda dungeons built their dungeons around the dungeon item, they often required some on-the-fly thought about previous items. ALBW does not. The plot is stupid, Hilda is obnoxious, the painting villain whose name eludes me mere days after playing the game is stupid, the ending is stupid, bosses are mostly pretty dull (use dungeon item on boss until shielding is dropped, hit with sword until dead). Navigating Lorule is a pain in the ass because it's segmented for no real reason. Despite the great 3D visuals, almost no dungeons other than the Ice Dungeon and maybe Lorule Castle make use of the way that dungeon floors are layered one on top of the other. There's oddly some load times and pauses between screen transitions which wrecks what is otherwise a really beautifully smooth game. Some of the game's best puzzles are optional and just lead to rupees. They not only brought back the 50 floor combat dungeon, you need to play through it 4 times to get the major item rewards. The stakes never feel big.

Oh yeah and the UI is pretty tedious. The quick item switch is pretty good but requires the stylus and is imprecise with fingers, even though the game doesn't otherwise use the stylus. It's also something that only exists because switching and using items is frustrating because the controls don't hold up all that well.

I think it's a very interesting experiment that hopefully leads to more interesting experiments, and I think it's a great game, but it's pretty flawed and the novel elements that cause the flaws don't do enough to justify it as an ahead-of-its-time game.

I 100%ed the game with all heart pieces, maxed items, 100 octobabies found, maxed rupees, maxed monster bits, and 1 death on Normal Mode in 14:30.
I personally loved the ending. It had some neat twists at the end and was able to deliver a story without shoving a lot of needless exposition down our throats. Maybe it's because I set a low bar for the game, once I heard it was a sequel to my favorite Zelda game I figured I'd be disappointed, instead it's one of my favorite Zelda games.

I understand your criticisms and can see how that would bother you, but many of those things didn't both me. I've never found any Zelda game particularly difficult. Even if the more difficult puzzles paid off in rupees, rupees held more value in this Zelda than previous titles so I was happy to get them. The octo-hunt is pretty pointless.

To say it doesn't come even close seems a little overboard to me. The way they mixed old and new and took risks with a franchise that isn't really notable for it, plus addressed many of the things that I found annoying about more recent Zelda games, the great music, the way utilizes the system it's on fantastically...I loved it. I can see why people would consider it their highlight of the year.
 
Jan 12, 2013
3,920
0
380
#48
I don't really think it comes even close.

It's a very pretty game that is extremely fluid in motion. The music, although mostly remixes of existing tunes, is very beautiful. The 3D effect is very nice in the game. The way the game both stokes your memories of ALTTP and subverts them (eg
Turtle Rock being a turtle-shaped dungeon where the ice dungeon was in ALTTP
) is great. I'm glad they got rid of dungeon maps. And it's nice that they pruned down some of the typical Zelda bullshit in terms of handholding and explanation text. I think they've made a pretty great game. And I think being able to do most of the dungeons in any order is very interesting. The painting mechanic is used in a number of very cool ways and really keeps the game fresh. The Dark Palace is probably one of the best Zelda dungeons I've ever played and felt inspired throughout.

But it doesn't come without a cost. Most of the dungeons are quite small, very few really feel expansive or daunting (not unlocking items you need to finish the dungeon contributes to dungeons feeling superfluous). The game is remarkably easy, and Hero Mode adjusts the difficulty in the wrong way. The octo-baby hunt is not super interesting. The rental mechanic simply doesn't work because you get so many rupees so quickly and rentals are so cheap that there's no reason not to rent anything. The rental mechanic also means that the dungeons require one or two specific items and nothing else. While previous Zelda dungeons built their dungeons around the dungeon item, they often required some on-the-fly thought about previous items. ALBW does not. The plot is stupid, Hilda is obnoxious, the painting villain whose name eludes me mere days after playing the game is stupid, the ending is stupid, bosses are mostly pretty dull (use dungeon item on boss until shielding is dropped, hit with sword until dead). Navigating Lorule is a pain in the ass because it's segmented for no real reason. Despite the great 3D visuals, almost no dungeons other than the Ice Dungeon and maybe Lorule Castle make use of the way that dungeon floors are layered one on top of the other. There's oddly some load times and pauses between screen transitions which wrecks what is otherwise a really beautifully smooth game. Some of the game's best puzzles are optional and just lead to rupees. They not only brought back the 50 floor combat dungeon, you need to play through it 4 times to get the major item rewards. The stakes never feel big.

Oh yeah and the UI is pretty tedious. The quick item switch is pretty good but requires the stylus and is imprecise with fingers, even though the game doesn't otherwise use the stylus. It's also something that only exists because switching and using items is frustrating because the controls don't hold up all that well.

I think it's a very interesting experiment that hopefully leads to more interesting experiments, and I think it's a great game, but it's pretty flawed and the novel elements that cause the flaws don't do enough to justify it as an ahead-of-its-time game.

I 100%ed the game with all heart pieces, maxed items, 100 octobabies found, maxed rupees, maxed monster bits, and 1 death on Normal Mode in 14:30.
Very good critique of the game. I enjoyed the game a lot although I was initially skeptical about it being ALTTP sequel. I had the same problems as you, and the fact that it felt too similar to ALTTP is why it didn't make my top 10 last year; it got an honorable mention though.