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Replaying this game right now—last time I played it was a year ago—and every time I come back to it I'm blown away by how good it is. It’s almost better every time I play it.
It's been said a million times what a great world this game has, but I really don't think the game gets enough credit for how fun and interesting and challenging its combat is, despite being so simple. And then because its moment-to-moment gameplay is so fun and challenging, all of the mysteries throughout the world have huge gameplay-changing consequences.
As much as I love Ocarina of Time, finding your fourth bottle in that game isn't that big of a deal—but uncovering a secret in NES Zelda can really change how you play the game. And the way you uncover those secrets isn't nearly as obtuse as people who “traded secrets on the playground with their friends” back in the 80s like to claim. Sure, there are a couple heart containers that you'd probably never find without the cheats section of Nintendo Power, but for the most part the locations of every single dungeon entrance and major upgrade are hinted at.
It's crazy how thirty years later this is still one of the most elegantly-designed, well-thought-out games out there in terms of every single element—whether it’s an item or an enemy or a piece of the environment—having multiple implications all the while being really fun to play.
Hopefully the upcoming Wii U Zelda can capture that too!
Do they reflect these in Hyrule Warriors? I feel like they did...something with them.. Hyrule Warriors felt like a callback to a lot of Zelda games I used to love (they DEFINITELY reference the White Sword, 100%).