Tag Archives: Zelda

The MoeGamer Awards 2018: The Evergreen Award

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!

If you’re a gamer on a budget or simply going through a lean month or two, it’s always a good idea to have one or two “evergreen” games on your shelf.

The concept of an “evergreen” game is simple: it’s a game that you can always return to at any time and have an enjoyable experience with. It’s a game you can set aside for weeks or months at a time before returning to when you feel like it, able to pick right back up where you left off.

Evergreen games can involve narrative, but the best ones place a strong focus on mechanics, providing them a pick-up-and play quality coupled with extensive — potentially infinite — longevity. One game that I covered in 2018 definitely fits that bill more than pretty much any other.

And the winner is…

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Hyrule Warriors: The Real Game Starts Here

You know how dedicated MMO players say that the game is “just beginning” when you reach the level cap? Hyrule Warriors is a bit like that in some respects; completing the main story mode is far from the end of the game.

In fact, one might argue that the “endgame” of Hyrule Warriors, if you choose to look at it in that way, is in fact the most substantial meat of the package. Eschewing the narrative focus of the main story mode in favour of a non-linear, mechanics-centric experience that is all about just having fun as you see fit, this part of the game will keep you busy for a long, long time.

And, moreover, it will do this not by forcing you to grind the same things over and over again, but instead by offering you a huge variety of different, highly replayable challenges that each put their own fascinating twists on the core mechanics of the game.

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Hyrule Warriors: Leading the Charge

The Warriors series as a whole has experimented with a few twists on its basic mechanics over the years, and Hyrule Warriors most certainly provides one of the most accessible, immediate takes there is.

This is at least partly down to the influence of Koei Tecmo’s division Team Ninja, who played a role in the game’s development alongside longstanding series producers Omega Force. The result is a speedy, fluid Warriors game that is easy to get into but challenging to master in its entirety.

Today we’re going to take a look at the various components that make Hyrule Warriors’ gameplay tick, and see how they come together to create such an enjoyable experience.

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Wii U Essentials: Nintendo Land

It’s easy to write off a pack-in bundle of minigames as being somehow “lesser” than full-scale titles. But the Wii U’s Nintendo Land was special — and in a different way from its spiritual predecessor Wii Sports.

Functioning as a joyous celebration of Nintendo’s most beloved properties — and a few slightly more obscure ones, too — Nintendo Land is an enjoyable enough experience in single-player, with several games specifically designed with solo play in mind, but it’s in multiplayer that it truly shines: Nintendo’s same-room party gaming at its finest.

And it’s an evergreen title, too; some five years after its initial release, for many Wii U owners it’s a game that still gets regular play, particularly when friends come to visit. Let’s take a closer look at what makes it so special.

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Wii U Essentials: Hyrule Warriors

At the time of writing, the Wii U may be yet to play host to a brand-new, original mainline Zelda title — Breath of the Wild will be one of the last retail titles for the system — but it’s home to one of the best spin-offs the series has seen.

Unlike its stablemate Super MarioZelda actually hasn’t seen all that many spin-offs over the years, with only Link’s Crossbow Training on Wii and the two atrocious CD-i titles springing immediately to mind. This is perhaps because Zelda is an inherently more “serious” affair than Super Mario — sure, it has its moments of levity, but it’s always been less focused on cartoon silliness and as such it would be rather strange to see perpetual protagonist Link doing things outside his normal remit such as playing tennis or golf. (That, of course, didn’t stop him making an appearance in Mario Kart 8, but that was something of an outlier.)

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t scope for the series to explore gameplay styles outside the mainline titles’ “explore, dungeon, puzzle, boss” formula, and Hyrule Warriors is a potent proof of concept that demonstrates the ensemble cast the series has built up over the years is more than strong enough to carry a game that doesn’t focus exclusively on Link.

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Wii U Essentials: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Any time someone claims that Nintendo’s flagship action-adventure-kinda-sorta-but-not-really RPG series The Legend of Zelda is stagnant and doesn’t try anything new, the perfect rebuttal is The Wind Waker.

Originally released in 2002 to a somewhat surprised Gamecube audience that wasn’t sure what to make of its cel-shaded visuals and seafaring-heavy gameplay, The Wind Waker has subsequently proven itself to be a timeless classic in the series as well as one of the most interesting Zelda titles there has ever been.

And with the HD remaster for Wii U, the definitive version of the game now exists thanks to some much needed tweaks and updates as well as full widescreen support and glorious high-resolution visuals.

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