Link’s Awakening is essentially a brand new Zelda game. It’s a faithful remake—the over the world has the same layout, dungeons have essentially the same puzzles, and you fight the same bosses.
One of the most pure-feeling Zelda games featuring dungeons, weapon upgrades, a great cast of characters, and some of the best side quests in a Zelda title yet. This remake for the switch console has upgraded the graphics, music, and sound, as well as tightening controls for the modern controller while staying true to the original. The extra buttons save countless visits to the pause menu.
Improved Gameplay & Storyline
The gameplay is even better than the original– many key items have been streamlined to be bound onto the shoulder buttons meaning you don’t see the pause menu as often. Movement options, as a whole, now make more sense; since Link exists in a true top-down 3D space, in the original you could jump with a charged sword attack, in the remake, the attack only connects if the opponent is tall or in the air. There are far more examples but this to me is the most prolific.
The overworld is like a realistic diorama of handcrafted clay models polished with a shiny coating. The difficulty brings a welcoming challenge since the enemies are no pushover or lacking in abundance. Dungeons have a light puzzle element to them but make up for it by requiring you to have more than one crucial item. Collecting required items lend to exploration making it feel satisfying to traverse every corner of the map. For my first time experiencing this classic remake trying out, the original version would be difficult which is good. The game holds up to today’s graphical and performance standards all without losing its identity.
Great Soundtracks & Combat
The link exists in a true top-down 3D space, in the original you could jump with a charged sword attack, in the remake, the attack only connects if the opponent is tall or in the air. The music is incredible, far beyond what I had expected, incorporating symphonic elements in places with some of the original MIDI sounding tracks from the first games.
They remixed the music of course, but they got really creative and mixed real instruments with chiptune parts that pay tribute to the Game Boy’s simple audio while also giving it more of an impact. I love retro styled music and I’m sure anyone with memories of what 8-bit music was like will enjoy it.
Camera Angles and Frame Drops
The camera angle allows you to see the background, but the camera focuses on Link and his surroundings while blurring anything out of focus. The lighting in this game is what makes it all look gorgeous and it gives me actual warmth as if it was a summer day. The problem with this is that it makes it really hard to see in dungeons or dark areas while on portable.
The frame rate also drops when you enter or exit a building for a couple of seconds, which isn’t horrible since you aren’t jumped at any point, but it does look weird for a game this simple.