Zelda: Link to the Past 2 preview: vertical slice

A Link to the Past was one of the finest 2D Zelda games, but what really sets it apart is the vertical nature of its dungeons, Nintendo's Bill Trinen said. So, the 3DS sequel will be "taking advantage of elevation" in a big way.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past stands as one of the highlights in a franchise known for quality. More than 21 years after the game's original release on SNES, Nintendo is finally making a sequel to the classic. And while many would likely be content with a game that simply takes the LttP formula and adds more dungeons, Nintendo is aiming to "really take that classic 2D Zelda gameplay and make it fresh," Nintendo's Bill Trinen explained. A Link to the Past was one of the finest 2D Zelda games, but what really sets it apart is the vertical nature of its dungeons, Trinen said. So, the 3DS sequel will be "taking advantage of elevation" in a big way. The new 3DS Zelda expands upon the concepts introduced in the top-down Zelda-inspired level from Super Mario 3D Land. The top-down camera emphasizes height, an effect made all the more prominent by the system's built-in 3D screen. It's a game that's clearly been designed with 3D in mind.

The height of objects is far easier to discern in 3D than in 2D

Many of the puzzles involved playing with height, at least in the dungeon I played. For example, one solution required Link to be atop a depressed pillar before hitting a switch, so that he could be elevated to the proper height. Another puzzle demanded Link hammer the floor in the right place so he could land on the appropriate platform below. The vertical focus of the new Zelda will likely result in some devilish dungeon designs. Even in this demo dungeon, there were some head-scratchers. The demo we played had 13 floors, and we wouldn't be surprised if that number only grew higher for the game's more challenging levels. Some secret areas involved taking some major leaps of faith--dropping three or more levels by stepping off an elevated platform.

The new Zelda feels like a LttP sequel in many ways

Beyond the top-down perspective, there are many elements that make this new game feel like a classic LttP game. For example, Link once again has a magic meter that depletes as you use items. Arrows aren't consumable, but you can't spam them--you'll have to wait for that meter to recharge. And like in the classic games, Link's Master Sword also shoots a projectile whenever his health his full. In addition, although Link can move around in 360 degrees, it seems that his attacks aren't analog. Instead, he can only aim in eight directions around him. But while the game largely feels like a sequel to LttP, one element of the game did feel out of place. Link's newfound ability to flatten himself as a drawing on the wall is used to great effect in the dungeon design, but I couldn't help but feel it's a gameplay mechanic better suited for Paper Mario--or at the very least, Toon Link. I found myself constantly forgetting about that ability (which also drains the aforementioned magic meter). Although it felt out of place, I will say that the ability is utilized in clever ways.

Turning into a drawing felt a bit out of place

A Link to the Past is cherished amongst many. And with two decades of nostalgia built up, it's hard to imagine any sequel being able to recapture the same magic of the original. The new Zelda game looks to be a clever, inspired addition to the franchise. But, it has incredibly large shoes to fill.
From The Chatty
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    April 18, 2013 10:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Zelda: Link to the Past 2 preview: vertical slice.

    A Link to the Past was one of the finest 2D Zelda games, but what really sets it apart is the vertical nature of its dungeons, Nintendo's Bill Trinen said. So, the 3DS sequel will be "taking advantage of elevation" in a big way.

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      April 18, 2013 10:02 AM

      The art is horrendous.

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        April 18, 2013 10:22 AM

        It does look rather bland, especially in dungeons. LttP had so many little details in its art that made the graphics pop off the screen, and that's supposed to happen literally, here. Of course, keep in mind that the game is also a good 6-8 months away from release.

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          April 18, 2013 10:30 AM

          The art reminds me of the art in Square's iOS efforts, especially FFD and FFV. There's just something about it that feels like it's trying to ape styles from the SNES generation without getting it right. It ends up looking kinda bland and generic in comparison, especially when you know that modern 2D stuff could look much, much better.

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            April 18, 2013 12:25 PM

            With regards to square-enix I think that's what happens when you have HD but try too hard to stay simplistic.

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        April 18, 2013 10:25 AM

        you are horrendous

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        April 18, 2013 10:26 AM

        not really. the video looks great

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        April 18, 2013 10:48 AM

        A Link to the Past looked so much better. I miss the days of the 2D art, it had so much more style and personality than the jaggy 3D stuff we often see now.

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          April 18, 2013 12:35 PM

          Its all around depressing - why change the look and placement of icons? Its ego at its worst by game developers that have nothing but contempt for the IP, for the fans, and for what I imagine is bitterness at not being able to work on something original. Someone who lovingly played the game and had it shape their youth wouldn't have been so callous. Sometimes its better to leave things buried in the past, rather than trying to resurrect them into some freakishly undead, blasphemy that hurts the eyes almost as much as it hurts the heart.

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            April 18, 2013 12:55 PM

            The industry is so cut throat there really is no room, money or time for contempt especially for people who are given the opportunity to work on a Zelda title.

            You'd think there would be a lot of cynicism based on how vile the vocal minority is but then they wouldn't last long at the company anyway.

            Most video game studios are not slow moving beasts like in massive government organizations where everything is muddied by checks and balances or bureaucracy. The huge ones who are struggling, like ea and activision have issues sure but it's not like what you're projecting.

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        April 18, 2013 11:53 AM

        I think it is alright, but I would prefer sprites.

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        April 18, 2013 12:10 PM

        it looks decent, not liking the low res textures though. Maybe it will look better on the smaller display?

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        April 18, 2013 12:21 PM

        Like with a lot of their games recently, it looks like they are allowing the Mii artists to work on bigger games.

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        April 19, 2013 8:54 AM

        I don't like it either.

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        April 19, 2013 6:34 PM

        its a bit of a turn off yes... would almost rather play a LttP homebrew...

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        April 21, 2013 6:11 PM

        i agree, 2d would look so much better than the crappy 3d they have going on.

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      April 18, 2013 10:28 AM

      I think I will cave in and get a 3ds because of this :-( any recommendations for non Nintendo games?

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        April 18, 2013 11:24 AM

        Well, if you're a JRPG fan, the 3DS will definitely keep you busy.
        - Soul Hackers
        - Etrian Odyssey 4
        - Devil Survivor: Overclocked
        - Tales of the Abyss
        - Unchained Blades
        - Crimson Shroud
        also, Rune Factory 4, SMT 4, and Bravely Default are all on their way to NA

        Oh, and the Shinobi 3DS game is really good.
        Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
        Crush 3D
        Nano Assault EX

        and while they're technically Nintendo published, I can't list 3DS recommendations and leave out Pushmo and Crashmo. They are both absolute must-plays, but play Pushmo first, as it's slightly less brain-fucking than the latter game.

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          April 18, 2013 11:51 AM

          Jrpgs can be fun. Is it region locked? Don't know if those are available in eu

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            April 18, 2013 12:56 PM

            The system is capable of region locking, but it's almost never used.

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              April 19, 2013 1:38 AM

              ok thanks, means I should check before importing anything :/ such a stupid mechanism

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          April 18, 2013 12:09 PM

          That Shinobi game was good? That's the first time I've ever really heard anybody talk about it. I could use a good action game on the 3ds... I might have to look for a cheap copy of that.

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          April 18, 2013 4:01 PM

          I sooooo want Rune Factory 4 to come here ASAP. I almost bought a Japanese 3DS and RF4 when I was in tokyo earlier this year. I wanted to play it that bad. My Japanese reasong comprehension is equivalent to that of a 3yr old. :(

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        April 18, 2013 11:27 AM

        Fire Emblem.

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          April 19, 2013 1:39 AM

          think I saw a quicklook on that one. not sure if I have the patience anymore these days :(

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        April 18, 2013 11:28 AM

        Best 3rd party game I've played has been Adventure Time. It actually plays a LOT like Zelda II: The Adventures of Link so it kinda feels 1st-party in that regard. The writing is halarious, controls are tight, music is fantastic, and my only complaint is that its beatable in about 5-6 hours.

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        April 18, 2013 3:51 PM

        It's 6 months away, but keep an eye on Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate -- a Metroidvania-style Batman game being done by some ex-Metroid Prime devs.

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        April 18, 2013 4:45 PM

        Yeah, this might be the game that puts me over the edge and gets me to buy a 3DS.

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          April 19, 2013 1:44 AM

          I thought I was completely over Nintendo, but a new 2d Zelda or Metroid are my weak spots I guess. If this one sucks I don't think I'll care much about New Nintendo Wii anymore afterwards though.

          Having my Gamecube / GBA collection is enough Nintendo shit for a lifetime. Maybe I'll start a SNES collection at some point or steal it from my brother.

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          April 22, 2013 2:45 PM

          Agreed, some of the JRPGs might also make me burn away some more lifeforce.

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      April 18, 2013 4:06 PM

      If they could make a 2D Zelda that looked like this http://clockworkmanual.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/plane1.jpg I'd buy a Wii U for it.

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        April 18, 2013 4:31 PM

        I wouldn't mind some color saturation. I know it's raining, I live in Seattle. It is however Zelda, not Diablo.

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        April 19, 2013 11:05 PM

        that does look pretty awesome. i would love the game to look like that, but not all the time of course. maybe during bad storms (as part of the plot, like when you first start the game and have to walk to the castle in the rain), in the dark world, etc. stuff like that.

        contrast that with nice bright colorful visuals while in the light world and the plot doesn't require it the dark visuals

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      April 18, 2013 4:09 PM

      overworld comparison http://i.imgur.com/xocR1cC.png

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        April 18, 2013 4:39 PM

        I actually like the old one better, and not just because of nostalgia. It looks less blurry.

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          April 18, 2013 4:47 PM

          It's like they're filtering really low resolution textures, and in some cases using them as "sprites," with the softened bi/trilinear edges off bleeding over in the alpha layer.

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          April 18, 2013 4:50 PM

          Isn't the one on the left just a series of images captured from a video? I'm not sure that's compelling enough evidence.

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        April 18, 2013 4:43 PM

        thats awesome they kept it in the same world with the same layout

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        April 19, 2013 11:01 PM

        i see the irony in the HD graphics looking far less sharp.

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      April 18, 2013 5:27 PM

      Couple videos I thought were interesting:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=U4X-pg7w8KU
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm_D5UrV-e0

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        April 18, 2013 7:01 PM

        I loved LTTP but something looks really off about this. I think the direct overhead perspective and the emphasis on jumping up to the next level and having them just appear is bothering me. It's like they are constantly just jumping into things blind and all of the reactionary stuff in the game is showing off is mostly being created by hiding what is going on from the camera until the last second.

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          April 18, 2013 7:21 PM

          That matches my initial impression as well. Those videos sort of helped, though I don't know how they expect to make a worthy successor to arguably the best Zelda through these mechanics. Beyond that, I am cautiously optimistic.