The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Impressions (DSiWare/eShop)
We don’t really post reviews of Virtual Console titles here at Nintendo Okie so you’re not going to get a traditional review of The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords. The game was made available yesterday for North American DSi and 3DS owners to download for free. I’m here to tell you, take advantage of that opportunity, because this game would have been worth the $7 or $8 that Nintendo is going to ask for it in February.
If you don’t know anything about Four Swords let me give you a bit of background on the game. It was originally released as a multi-player addition to the GBA remake of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It came on that cartridge and was only playable by two or more people using the GBA link cable. In the game you play as Link, or one of three copies of Link that are made after he pulls a sword, called the Four Sword, out of a pedestal. From there you have to go through four different worlds collecting rupees, solving puzzles and beating bosses along the way. It’s basically a time attack, score attack mode for four players where you have to co-operate with each other to solve puzzles and defeat enemies while competing for rupees at the same time.
The game has been released by Nintendo, for free, as a part of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Legend of Zelda franchise. However, this isn’t just a straight port of the GBA game as there have been some additions and changes made along the way, the first being that you don’t have to have a group of friends to play along this time. You can play the game by yourself if you prefer. You’ll be in control of two different Link characters and you’ll have to swap back and forth between the two to solve the games numerous challenges.
You can tell that the game was really designed for multiple people to be playing as some of the puzzles in the game can be a little tough, or tedious to do alone. They’re all solvable, but sometimes the jumping back and forth can get a bit confusing. I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally called my “partner” to me by hitting the Y button when I was simply trying to switch over to one or the other using the shoulder buttons. Luckily, the levels are designed to be small and compact and there’s not a lot of problem getting back to where you were to complete the puzzle.
The puzzles in the game all feel like they’re pulled straight out of a Zelda game. They’re familiar while being new and unique. The multi-player aspect brings something Zelda fans aren’t used to. It’s refreshing (if you’ve never played the game before now) and it shows that the Zelda franchise could handle a multi-player component. IT makes me wonder if we’re ever going to get a true Zelda game with co-op, either offline or online.
The game itself is pretty short. I was able to finish the game in just under four hours. The original content will take you around two and a half to three hours to complete. There are four areas to play through. Each of the first three will have you play through two levels based around usual Zelda locations, Death Mountain, a land of ice and a Forest. You’ll collect a key from each of these places that will unlock the fourth area, Vaati’s dungeon in the sky. None of this is very difficulty. As long as you have a good stockpile of rupees you’ll be automatically revived and continue the fight. Each of the levels takes less than 10 minutes. You’ll get bonuses for doing it faster so speed running is encouraged.
When you’ve completed all of the content of the original game you get a brand new area called the Realm of Memories. This new area, designed specially for this game is based around classic Zelda games. There will be levels that use design elements from three classic Zelda games, complete with the look and sound effects from those games. It’s a nice little treat for fans of the franchise and a nice bonus for people that have played the game before. This new area fits in with the overall theme of the game, despite the look of these levels being completely different from the main area. You’ll get a new weapon when you’ve completed this new area that you can use when you go back to replay the game for more rupees and faster times.
This release, wasn’t necessary for Nintendo to give away, and it would be worth purchasing anyway. Fans of the game will enjoy getting to go back and play this game and explore the new areas. Franchise fans who haven’t had the chance to play the game will love getting a new Zelda experience. It’s not as deep as a proper Zelda release, but it’s tons of fun to play. Groups of players will enjoy trying to find the proper balance between cooperation and being jerks to their friends. If you’re playing alone it’s easy enough to understand and control. It’s all around a fun Zelda experience for anyone, and more than worth the asking price.