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The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past 2 - hands-on

We've played it, it's brilliant. Obviously.

There are many reasons to be thankful for writing about games, but today ranks among the uppermost of them. Today, I got to play an early version of the upcoming 3DS Link to the Past sequel. Also, I got a free apple. It was a red one. It was really delicious. A Gala maybe? They'd taken the sticker off. Full disclosure and that. Anyway.

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My time with the game involved playing though a single, unnamed dungeon. If you've seen the trailer, you'll have seen bits of it already - that's a shot of it above. But before you realise quite where you are or what's going on, you notice that 3D effect Mr. Shibata was talking about yesterday.

Taking up a familiar position above Link, pushing the right slider up really does reveal the depth to a room, helping you plan where to move next (the answer was always "up") as much as it helps activate the simple "that is cool" sensors in your brain. It could even end up helping you solve puzzles - at around the 8th floor, you end up on a ledge outside, revealing not only the fact that this dungeon seems to be some sort of desert cloud-fortress affair, but that there was a hidden chest on a balcony I'd failed to see a few floors below.

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We can see some pretty upsettingly fiendish multi-floor puzzling turning up later on, but for now it was a case of us moving up and knocking the assorted enemies down. Those enemies included Stalfos, Crows, Terrorpins, Flying Tiles, and Blue Hardhat Beetles (whose habit of bouncing you away and down holes when you hit them was particularly irritating). The boss, located on the 13th floor, was a variation on Moldorm, who now looks like a succession of hamburgers with a huge, vulnerable ruby dragging along after them. Our weapons comprised the traditional sword, hammer and bow combo, the latter two of which were governed by Link to the Past's green power gauge.

There was one other gauge-linked ability too - the ability to turn into a sort of chalky wall drawing, changing both how you see the levels and how you move around them. Called Merging, it's activated by pressing A against any flat surface, leading to not only some cool traversal (sliding through a barred window like that watery dude from X-Men, for instance) but some moments of action-puzzling too, as moving platforms slide under jutting castle crenelations.

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It's a genuinely interesting little mechanic that forces you to think about your top-down view in new ways. The camera was perhaps a little too zoomed-in to make some moments when you should be using it apparent, but that just forced me into looking around my surroundings in more detail - not such a bad thing, really.

Of course, being contained within a single dungeon, it's impossible to tell how Zelda's traditional item-based progression might affect the game, or indeed how much more is going to turn up in Link's arsenal along the way, but the glimpse we got was enough to tell us that there are some new ideas being injected into the old formula - there's every chance this could turn out feeling just as new as the game its drawing from originally did.

Comments

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  1. TheNUKEnukeM Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 17:23

    Was it touch screen controlled, like phantom hourglass or controlled used the traditional method of buttons? I am guessing buttons or a mixture.

  2. Violet Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 17:27

    Sounds like excellent stuff. Did the game have anything on the bottom screen at this stage? Was the shield activated by a button press or was it automatic? Nice to see the return of classic 2D enemies like the Hardhat Beetles and the big Moldorm, of course!

    Can't wait for this, I feel like the dungeons are really going to be where the game shines, and those are my favourite parts of Zelda games. Hopefully it'll have a good number of them too. A Link to the Past had 13 dungeons!

    Lets hope it has a whole other world to explore as well.

  3. vtheyoshi Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 17:28

    What are the controls? Are they more traditional, or stylus based?

  4. Buffoonary Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 17:28

    But can you roll?

  5. Violet Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 17:33

    Was it touch screen controlled, like phantom hourglass or controlled used the traditional method of buttons? I am guessing buttons or a mixture.

    What are the controls? Are they more traditional, or stylus based?

    I just found some footage of the demo in action, the game uses button controls with the slider to move, with Y and X assigned to items.

  6. shy guy 64 Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 17:42

    sounds awesome, cant wait for it to come out

  7. OrangeRakoon Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 17:51

    Was it touch screen controlled, like phantom hourglass or controlled used the traditional method of buttons? I am guessing buttons or a mixture.

    What are the controls? Are they more traditional, or stylus based?

    I just found some footage of the demo in action, the game uses button controls with the slider to move, with Y and X assigned to items.

    Cool. It remains to be seen then whether there will be multiple control options, or whether the stylus will be used for something else (or perhaps not at all?)

  8. CyberGW Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 18:10

    I wish I could play a game less than 24 hours after it's been announced.
    It sounds amazing. Looks like a really good Zelda game.

  9. Mmmyeah Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 18:33

    When playing some of the 2D Zelda games I have found it difficult to see what platforms are above others. This will fix that.

    It certainly is a very exciting prospect, but at this moment I find it hard to even comprehend that this game is being made! It's interesting how the visual style resembles Ocarina if Time 3D, until you become a drawing, which has a Wind Waker look to it.

  10. Waldy565 Thursday 18th Apr 2013 at 19:22

    I honestly love this new mechanic of Link being a kind of painting on the wall, being able to stick to walls and stuff, it's great! I watched the 3D trailer on my 3DS, and anyone who's interested in the game and has a 3DS I completely recommend you download the trailer, cuz the use of 3D is fantastic! Like Joe says, you can really see how it will be useful in-game. As for new stuff you've reported, I'm happy to hear that some original enemies like te Staflos are returning!

  11. DragonEleven Friday 19th Apr 2013 at 08:40

    When I saw the clip in the Nintendo Direct I was a bit cautious of how much difference the 3D in this actually meant, as I didn't want it to be like a DS game with the 3D tacked on, but having now seen it on my 3DS and now reading this article I'm more reassured, as it's clear that it's there for a reason, and what they've shown is probably only a hint of what they're planning to do with it, so it could prove to be a really amazing game.

  12. MartinIsAwesome Friday 19th Apr 2013 at 10:04

    I can't believe yo guys got an early build so quickly! It's nice to read that it is as good as it looks to be. I wonder if all the dungeons will be towers? Or prehaps one or two might be multi-floored basements that take yo deep underground, getting increasingly dark as you go (cue the return of the Lanturn item).
    Most of all, I'd love to see a dungeon that uses the same mechanic as Eagle's Tower from Link's Awakening, where you have to use a wrecking-ball to destroy support posts - that on multiple levels would be immense!

  13. imbusydoctorwho Friday 19th Apr 2013 at 12:48

    I must admit the ability for Link to turn into a cave painting is one of the most interesting things about the game.

  14. Space Arena Friday 19th Apr 2013 at 15:22

    A Link To a Past was AWESOME. Can't wait to put my hands on this one.

  15. TheImprobableOne Friday 19th Apr 2013 at 17:23

    Well, Nintendo certainly got that out quickly. I know they usually work on a game for a while before announcing it, but wow.

    I still think this would work better as an eShop download, the style and nature of this just seem to me like it would work better there. It may just be me but just looking at it and hearing about it... It seems less like a full game, more like a nice little nostalgia trip for those who liked the original and want to relive it. And that just seems to me like the sort of thing that should be a download.

  16. TheSlenderman Friday 19th Apr 2013 at 19:37

    Good to hear that the 3d is not just a gimmick. :D

  17. Giorgos Saturday 20th Apr 2013 at 06:14

    i never finished my game. i couldnt get to the level where the 4th maid was!! :(

  18. Darkblizz Monday 22nd Apr 2013 at 17:02

    I've just realised, the wall drawing gimmick is a bit like when Yoshi could turn into a train.

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