The Legend of Zelda series has been apart of the handheld scene for quite a while now, and has evolved since Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy. The stories have changed, new characters have been added, and best of all the franchise has overly evolved and added to the magic Zelda supplies for us loyal fans. With this evolution, the gameplay mechanics have also changed greatly—leaving us to look back at the old styles and wonder: have they changed for the better? But that is not what I’m here to discuss.
With the 3DS released we are left to sit here and anticipate a brand new Zelda title for the handheld console. However, a great question is buzzing around my head: what will we see in Zelda 3DS? We have been given a decent amount of handheld Zelda’s since the DS’ release in 2004: Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, and Ocarina of Time 3D. With this information we can speculate a decent amount of information of what we may see in Zelda 3DS, and we can always discuss what we want to see, and hence starts this new series: Zelda 3DS - Debate and Discussion. This series will target what we want to see in a new 3DS Zelda, so be prepared to think. I thought we could go with a nice break of Wii U speculation, and throw in some 3DS.
What we know: In June of 2007, a wonderful addition to the Legend of Zelda series finally released for the new Nintendo handheld console, the Nintendo DS. This game was long-awaited since the 2004 DS release, and was labeled the Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Phantom Hourglass was something new for the Zelda community. It was not your typical 3D Zelda environment that we saw in Twilight Princess or Wind Waker, nor was it the daring 2D environment of the original Zelda games. The gameplay mechanics were more of a mix between the two: with a beautiful 3D world resembling the graphics of Wind Waker, and an above the head view of our hero Link as he slashed his way to the credit slides. It was something new and different, and best of all accepted, with a staggering 90/100 score on metacritic. In 2009 another entry to the portable Zelda series enters, by the name of Spirit Tracks. It is a game with pretty much the exact same gameplay mechanics as Phantom Hourglass, which also had great reception and reviews. With an 87/100 score on metacritic, you can’t go wrong with this piece.
It was just last June of 2011 where we had our latest addition to the portable Zelda series, and it was something different than the standard. Ocarina of Time 3D was released that June for the Nintendo 3DS, and it was a great remake and graphical overhaul of our dearly beloved Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo64. The game was a success, with an excelling score on metacritic with a 94/100. Despite it being a remake, it was still something new for the portable Zelda franchise. With the 3D style of Zelda finally taking place on the handhelds, we now have a dilemma. Instead of the lesser of two evils, we must pick the better of two greats.
The new Legend of Zelda for 3DS may be just around the corner, and we have little to no information regarding it. Now this is the part where I ask you what you would like to see, and it is also the part where you need to think. Which style of gameplay mechanics would you like to see in the newest Zelda 3DS? The cartoony and playful style of Phantom Hourglass/Spirit Tracks, or the 3D environment console-like Zelda from Ocarina of Time 3D?
What I think: Although I loved Phantom Hourglass and it’s sequel Spirit Tracks, I don’t think we’ll be seeing that style of gameplay again anytime soon. The Nintendo 3DS is a powerful piece of machinery that can handle extensive graphics and mechanics, and we’ve seen that in Ocarina of Time 3D. I would think Nintendo would like to take advantage of that fact and not go back to the simplistic and minimal gameplay Phantom Hourglass gave us.
Thinking of how Phantom Hourglass played, with the map on the top screen and the gameplay on the bottom screen, it just proves further the lack of ability that type of gameplay would have on the Nintendo 3DS. The top screen is the 3D screen, and that would not be wasted for such minimal features. I do, however, think that 3D gameplay could easily be done, and may just be the winner here.With Ocarina of Time 3D Nintendo proved that the usually-console 3D gameplay could be done on the 3DS, and done extensively well. I do not see why Nintendo would drop their success there, and not push out another exclusive and new title with that type of gameplay, since it is already well-known that it works and is well accepted.
Between the two gameplay styles, that is my two cents: Phantom Hourglass/Spirit Tracks, no. Ocarina of Time 3D, sure. I would think that a 3D styled Zelda is what we are looking forward to while anticipating the new Zelda 3DS. Perhaps something completely different, although I find it highly unlikely—seeing as Zelda has done just about any play style I can think of except for first person, and god knows we don’t want that.
Thanks for reading the first addition to my new article series: Zelda 3DS - Discussion and Debate. Help me out! Tell me what should be discussed in the next edition of the series in the comments below as long as it concerns Zelda 3DS it should be fine.