Every now and then, there’s an announcement of the release of a new Nintendo 3DS game that I’m considering to add to my collection. This series of articles will cover share my thoughts on these new Nintendo 3DS game announcements and so I can share why they got my attention in the first place. Today, I’m going to talk about The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is a game that I totally didn’t expect. Usually, Nintendo releases only a few of their core titles for each console/handheld generation, and we already have three on the Nintendo 3DS. We even have Hyrule Warriors Legends coming next year, so I was surprised at the announcement of a new Legend of Zelda game during this year’s E3 event.
It’s easier to just write “this is a Legend of Zelda game, so I’m definitely interested” and be done with this post, but that would be lazy. And, well… I’ve got some concerns about this game, so it’s not an automatic purchase for me – not yet.
Unlike most Legend of Zelda games, Tri Force Heroes is a co-op adventure game. This actually isn’t a first for this series – more than a decade ago, the multiplayer title Four Swords was released and followed shortly after by its sequel, Four Swords Adventures. I’ve actually played an enhanced remake of Four Swords (called Four Swords Anniversary Edition) and based on the updates and announcements that I’ve seen so far, it looks like Tri Force Heroes is going to be very similar to it, which is why I’m concerned.
I enjoyed Four Swords Anniversary Edition but I had two big problems with it.First is that I didn’t like how it’s single player mode played out – in this mode you’re given two Links that you can control, but only one at a time. You’d have to switch between the two quite often in order to solve the game’s puzzles, which I found very tedious and especially cumbersome during boss battles.
I enjoyed the multiplayer experience a lot more but in order for the game to be playable with two, three, and four players, the developers opted for randomly-generated levels. This allowed the game to offer a challenge that adjusted according to the number of players involved, but also resulted in levels that are too simple and generic. The more I played Four Swords Anniversary, the more repetitive it became.
Unlike Four Swords, the developers of Tri Force Heroes designed the game as a co-op adventure specifically for three players. This is both a good and a bad thing for me. It’s good because we can expect the level design for Tri Force Heroes to be much better and thus have a more lasting appeal. It’s bad because, well, we only have two ways of playing this game – either alone or with two other friends. And, at least for me, it’s hard to get two other people who also have their own 3DS to sit with me and play a session, and that’s on the assumption that Tri Force Heroes will be entirely playable via Download Play. I’ve seen at least two different sources claiming that all the levels can be played via Download Play, so I don’t have to worry about finding two other people with a copy of the game to enjoy this. I don’t have good internet access at home for online sessions, so local multiplayer is the only way for me to play this at the moment.
Even if the game is completely Download Play compatible, I still have some concerns about it. For one, is the data transfer efficient enough, for one? It may be inconvienient if we’d need to sit through long periods after every level waiting for the needed data transfer. Another concern is the completeness of the Download Play experience – will those who don’t have a copy of the game have the same options that owners of the game have? Or will the experience be limited in the same way that Download Play is for games like Mario Kart 7? Download Play limitations are justified, but I still have to be mindful of this.
As for the single player experience, well… Based on the released trailers, it looks like the single player mode of Tri Force Heroes will be the same as Four Swords in that you’ll have three Links that you’ll need to switch between. I don’t know if the developers factored this in and were able to design the game to make all that switching between Links flow naturally.
Despite these concerns, my interest on Tri Force Heroes is still very high. I like how Nintendo used the A Link Between Worlds engine for this, and I’m glad to see the Toon Link design (from Wind Waker) make a return. Both the new and returning gameplay features are also quite intriguing – I’ve already seen how they updated the Boomerang item to work in conjunction with three players and I like it, and I’m pumped about this new Costume mechanic too. I’m still high from the Majora’s Mask 3D experience and I see this Costume mechanic as a callback to how Majora’s Mask revolved around Link having different masks that did various things. There’s also this Totem mechanic wherein the three Links will need to stand on top of each other to form a tower which is interesting but I’ll need to see how it plays out first.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is set to be released on October 23, 2015 and I’m definitely keeping an eye on this game. I think anyone who owns a 3DS should be on the lookout for this too.