Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons - Review

'Tis The Season
By: Roku

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 4
   Interaction 4
   Originality 3
   Story 3
   Music & Sound 4
   Visuals 4
   Challenge Easy
   Completion Time 15-30 hours  

That weatherman was sooo wrong
That weatherman was sooo wrong
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons plays very well as a stand alone game, but can also be combined with The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages to create something even better. Alone it follows the quest of Link who quests in order to free the Oracle of Seasons from the minions of Ganon. To aid him in his quest, he is given the ability to change the season to create changes in the environment.

The Oracle games mark a return to an overhead perspective which effects battles slightly. Link loses his 3D sword techniques and evasive powers, but gains a number of new tools to aid him. These tools can be used in addition to Link's sword and shield to offer even greater battle ability. With the roc cape Link can even fly for short periods. The greatest addition to the battle system is Link's ability to use equipment. Though he is only able to use one accessory at a time, he can gain special abilities such as immunity to his own bombs and taking one full heart of damage no matter how powerful an attack he is hit with. These offer a number of interesting new battle strategies, especially when Link is able to carry a larger number. To aid him further, some special animals fight alongside Link as well, though they are mainly used as transportation. Though there aren't any massive additions, they help make the real time battle system even better than it was.

If this is the first game that is played of the two oracles, it will be a little more difficult, but still fairly easy. If it is the second, Link should be more than strong enough to defeat most of his enemies with ease. The addition of equipment allows Link to be very powerful if he swaps them at critical points. Even the strongest enemy can be defeated by switching between attack bonuses and defense bonuses.

As with other Zelda games, Seasons has a good interface and tight play control. Even the newest addition, the equipment menu, is relatively easy to use. There is a small amount of dialog, but, as with most Zelda games, it is has few noticeable errors.

Seasons is much like pervious Zelda games, though it does have a few additions. These include new tools such as the roc cape, the new accessory system, and a number of creatures that aid Link on his journey. Seasons can also combine with Ages to create a much better game, though it is also good alone. The ability to change seasons is more original than Ages' time travel.

The Seasons' storyline is average for the most part, it's still quite good for a Zelda game. The plot flows well and there is a bit of character development. Though there isn't as much character development as in Ages, the story is still good for an action RPG. Another nice feature is the expanded storyline it features when linked with Ages. Though it isn't a major improvement, it helps keep things interesting.

Changing seasons
Changing seasons
Though Seasons only takes about 15 hours to complete on its own, if it is the second of the two and players attempt to gather all of the powerups, it is likely to take as many as thirty. Combined they can take up to as much as fifty hours to complete in full.

Music shows a slight improvement as well. Most of the tracks a less repetitive and there are plenty of good new tracks too. There are a few that are remixed, but those all well done. Sounds show a slight improvement too, though it isn't very noticeable. Overall, a great job.

Visuals are a bit better in Seasons than in Ages due to the clear differences in the seasons. Springs are bright and green, winters are white and blue with snow and ice. As far as sprites go, they've come a long way since Awakening: now in full color and detailed a bit more. Some of the bosses look especially good including the last few which demonstrate how far visuals have come.

Seasons features a graphical makeover and improved battles and story. These make it a great choice. When linked, Ages and Seasons can even rival Link to the Past. They're still great on their own, but the best way to experience them is together. I highly recommend them in either form. Seasons is more original and Ages, but features less character development.

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