The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages have been rereleased for the 3DS. There’s no better time to review them.
Things to keep in mind: The version of the game that I am reviewing is not linked to Oracle of Ages. If it was, it would have more characters, items and gameplay. You can consider the linked version of the game to be better than the unlinked version. For more information on the linked version of Oracle of Seasons, you can check this website: http://zeldawiki.org/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_Oracle_of_Seasons
Also, I will reflect on the potentially different experience of playing on a 3DS rather than a Gameboy Color.
The following statement should set the tone; Oracle of Seasons (especially on the 3DS) is one of the best experiences you could have playing a Legend of Zelda game. It is necessary to give praise where praise is due.
There’s not much to say about the presentation this time around. Playing a game originally for the Gameboy, you wouldn’t expect a lot from the graphics of the game. The game does however make a successful attempt at using colors during different seasons to get the idea across – more about that later.
The music takes from your classic Legend of Zelda soundtrack. Most people will be happy with the nostalgic feel while very few will tire from the repetitiveness of the tunes. Some songs do manage to get stuck in your head while you’re playing a dungeon because of how catchy they are. Whether you like that or not completely depends on your preference, but this reviewer will be assuming it’s not a bad thing.
Story and Gameplay
This time around Link finds himself in the land of Holodrum. You’ll meet the character you have to save early in the game; she goes by the name of Din and she is the Oracle of Seasons. Once the main villain kidnaps her the seasons go out of whack, and it is up to Link to save her and restore Holodrum back to normal. This story sets up the uniqueness of the gameplay for this Legend of Zelda title. Throughout the story, Link learns the ability to change the seasons whenever he finds a tree stump. Every time you change the season, the environment changes along with it. Given that there are four seasons, there are four versions of the world map and opens the game up to lots of puzzles. This could arguably be the best part of the game. The possibilities are endless. However, this is not where Capcom stops. To add on to variety of ways to play and solve puzzles, there are animal buddies. Which animal buddy you encounter at a specific time in the game determines how the world map will look. One example is Moosh the flying Bear. The world map will have more obstacles with holes in the floor given that Moosh can fly for a short period of time. As you find more items and your animal buddy, you will be able to explore parts of the world that you couldn’t before, giving the feeling of success whenever you find a new area.
The only part of the experience that some gamers may find unappealing is a few hours into the game around the second and third dungeon. Capcom’s decision to make the game much easier in the beginning is a double-edged sword. While attempting to assimilate players new to the series, veterans of the series could feel like the puzzles are too easy and feel more like a chore than fun gameplay. The same goes for the bosses – especially of the third dungeon. The moth-like monster could be taken down in less than 30 seconds, leaving little to feel satisfied about. Of course, once passed this, the real challenges begin and you can feel deserving when you take down a boss or solve all of the dungeon puzzles. One thing worth noting about all of the dungeons is that in newer Legend of Zelda games, usually defeating a mini-boss feels meaningful because an item you’ve been looking for is sure to follow. The only thing you get from a mini-boss throughout Oracle of Seasons is a warp back to the start of the dungeon. Though a bit disappointing, this is welcomed because some puzzles you may take longer to remember where a specific room is than to solve the puzzle itself. Again, the slow beginning may seem like a complete negative, but the game picks up quickly afterwards and newcomers to the series can feel comfortable. Capcom does a good job of trying to make all types of players happy. An example other than a slow beginning is the use of water in the dungeons and world map. Personally, I hate water in video games, but it didn’t bother me this time around. Instead of water dungeons, they felt more like dungeons with water in them.
Another part of the game that can be argued as the best part is the items Link acquires throughout the story. These are some of the best items in the Legend of Zelda Series, leading to some of the better and more challenging puzzles. One example is a magnetic glove. This item allows Link to pull and push himself or items around the map. Also, unlike some of the other games in the series that are quick to forget about items that Link possesses, Oracle of Seasons does a great job of combining the use of items picked up in previous dungeons for new puzzles that couldn’t be accomplished before acquiring the items. The items end up being a big part of fighting boss battles because bosses may not necessarily be defeated with an item that was found in the same dungeon. This makes for much more challenging and fulfilling gameplay.
Another thing to note about the game is that in order to increase the variety of puzzles, there are times when a room in a dungeon will become a side-scrolling room. This is a great way to switch up the puzzles and keep players on their toes. Lastly, the ordinary enemies won’t give you much trouble, though they may remind you of Mario.
Other Features and Things to Consider
Accompanying Link on his adventure are rings. You can collect rings around Holodrum for special effects like to increase Link’s strength or resistance. These rings are fun to collect and can be useful against specific enemies. Side missions like this will indeed increase replay value. There is also a second world that you will visit throughout the game, giving the occasional change of pace in the story progression. Also, though I have not played the linked version, I highly recommend it if you’re a Legend of Zelda fan because it will add content to the story and will increase replay value even more which any Legend of Zelda fan loves.
For older Legend of Zelda fans thinking of buying this game again, I can confirm that the game plays great on the 3DS. The circle pad feels like it was made to move Link, and the use of the Y button for the map feels very smooth and convenient. Even pressing start to switch items frequently, which bothered me in Ocarina of Time, didn’t bother me this time around. Besides, they’re only 6 dollars each, and you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
|-Some of the coolest items in a Legend of Zelda game||-Beginning of the game starts off slow|
|-Gets you familiar with the game then turns up the difficulty to a satisfying level||-Puzzles early in the game sometimes feel like a chore|
|-Replay value is very high when considering the game can be linked to increase the amount of content, and two game files can be totally different with or without having a linked game.|
|-Only 6 dollars|
|-Switches up the items, puzzles, and story enough to make it feel completely fresh compared to other Legend of Zelda games|
|-Side quests are fun enough to keep you playing outside of just the main story line|
The Acosta Statement
Whether linked or not, Link’s adventure in Oracle of Seasons is not to be missed by any fan of the series. If you’re not a fan of the Legend of Zelda series, this may change your mind.