Review by P1Falchion
Welcome back to Koholint Island
The Legend of Zelda is one of my favorite video game series. Before the release of Breath of the Wild, I wanted to play through every Zelda game. Link’s Awakening was a game I had heard so much praise towards and knowing that I was excited to eventually play. So I did just that I played it and in the end, I wasn’t a big fan of the game. I felt like the Gameboy limited the game. In the Gameboy version, you would have to switch out your items all the time including your sword and shield. When this game was announced to get a Remake I was excited because a lot of the issues I had with the game would be fixed now that it was coming to a system not limited like the Gameboy. With this being on Switch, there are more buttons so there would be fewer times when I had to pause and equip items now that things like the sword and shield have their dedicated button and same for items like the power bracelets and the pegasus boots. Now that Link's Awakening Remake is here I am happy to say that this game was not only a great remake of a classic game but this game is also now one of my favorite Zelda games I have played.
The story of Link’s Awakening starts with a cutscene showing Link on a raft and trying to sail pass a heavy storm. Unfortunately, the storm destroys his raft and Link washes ashore on the island of Koholinst. Link wakes up in the home of a girl named Marin. She tells him that she found him at the beach and some of his stuff is still there. When Link goes to the beach to retrieve his sword he is met by an owl. The owl tells Link he must wake the Wind Fish and the only way to do that is by retrieving 8 instruments from 8 dungeons and just like that Links adventure begins. The story is pretty straightforward and familiar to many Zelda fans. You go to a dungeon, get the item needed for the boss, and retrieve an instrument. Rinse and repeat for all 8 dungeons. The reason why this story is effective is because of the characters you meet on the island. These characters are so likable specifically Marin she is the heart and soul of this game. She is the character that teaches Link The Ballad of the Wind Fish which is the song that will wake the Wind Fish.
Speaking of the music of Link’s Awakening, the soundtrack for this game is great. The remixes for a lot of these songs are great and some even gave me goosebumps especially in the moments when you get one of the instruments. Every time you get an instrument you will hear a short version of the Ballad of the Wind Fish. There is a lot of stand out tracks in this game like the overworld theme, the end credits theme, The Ballad of the Wind Fish, Tal Tal Heights, and the list goes on. This is one of the best Zelda soundtracks I have heard.
Now as for the presentation of this game. I love the art style of this game, it looks like all the characters are part of a diorama and the characters themselves look like they were made out of clay. This is one of the best looking games on Switch because of this art style but, one thing that is unfortunate about this game is the frame rate for the game. Whenever you transition from one area to another the games frame rate is cut in half. So there will be times when the game goes from 60 frames per second to 30 frames per second. Personally, the frame rate cutting in half isn’t a deal-breaker, but it is a distraction and for some, it can be a deal-breaker.
With this being a remake there are a couple of changes made to this game. Like I mentioned earlier, this game now has dedicated buttons for things Link’s sword and shield. Having dedicated buttons for these items is what makes the remake an all-around better experience to go through. In the past, you had to pause and equip your sword, shield, and all the items you get throughout the game. Doing that in the old game was annoying and thankfully what used to be an annoyance caused by a system’s limitation is no longer a problem on Switch. There were only a handful of times when I had to change the items I needed to equip and that usually happened when entering a new dungeon. Additionally, there are more items to find like the number of heart container pieces and seashells to find. The number of heart pieces you need to find is now 32 instead of 12 like in the original. Seashells are collectibles you find and every time you find a certain amount you are rewarded with something.
Another addition to this game is Dampe’s Chamber Dungeon which is where you have to make dungeons and when you make them you have to play through them and after playing through a certain amount Dampe rewards you with something like a heart piece. On paper Dampe’s Chamber Dungeon should be a lot of fun and maybe something you can share with friends so they can try out levels you make. And you can technically do but you can only do that if you have the Link's Awakening amiibo and give it to the person you want to try out your level. I was not a fan of this mode because making levels for this is just not fun and it sucks that I can’t skip this if I want to collect all the items. In the original game instead of Dampe’s side game, there was a photographer that would take pictures of Link and the characters he meets. Those pictures were a great part of the original game because it was Link being with these characters and a lot of the pictures taken had so much charm and added to the story. This is the only thing the Remake does worse than the original game. I wished we had kept the photographer instead of Dampe’s Chamber Dungeon.
Other than the Dampe’s Chamber Dungeon I don’t have any other issues with the game. I will say for newcomers this game plays like a classic Zelda game. What I mean by this is the game doesn’t hold your hand. The game wants you to explore and find the locations of the dungeons. Every time you beat a dungeon you get a vague idea of what to do next, but for the most part, you have to explore and find the dungeons and sometimes find keys to get into the dungeon. Some houses can give you a hint as to what to do next but again even those hints are pretty vague. One really good addition I like about this game and believe a lot of veteran players will appreciate is right off the bat if you want a more challenging experience you can play the game in Hero Mode. It’s basically the hard mode of the game. The damage you take will be doubled and you can't find hearts in this game so you have to be careful in this mode. One last thing I loved about this game is just how faithful to the original game this is. Before this game, I played through Link’s Awakening DX and because that game was so fresh on my mind, I was able to find heart pieces and seashells easily because a lot of their location was almost in the same spot in the remake. So if you loved the original game you will feel right at home playing this game.
Link’s Awakening is a game I knew I was going to like more than the original but, now after experiencing this Remake and understand what makes this game so special I now consider this one of my favorite Zelda games I have played. The ending was beautiful and all the quality of life improvements made to this game makes it easy for me to come back to it anytime I want. It also helps that this game is pretty short. Even if you wanted to 100% percent the game it will take about 10 hours to do so. With the short run time, it makes having multiple playthroughs easy. The only issue I have with this game is Dampe’s Chamber Dungeon and the frame rates dropping but other than that this game easily is a must buy if you are a Zelda fan. This is also a great starting point if you want to get into a Zelda game. Link’s Awakening left such a memorable experience and I can’t wait to play this game again.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (US, 09/20/19)
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