Tuesday 12 November 2019

Legend of Zelda - Link’s Awakening review: Tasteful remodelling of a puzzle pearl

Switch ★★★★★ Age: 3+

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
The Surge 2
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Nintendo's exhumation of the vaults continues with this beautifully restored and elegantly enhanced version of a 26-year-old pearl.

Anyone who can recall 1993's monochromatic Link's Awakening would struggle to recognise this reupholstering purely from the screenshots. But a few minutes of play confirms this is practically a shot-for-shot remake, a 2.5D dungeon crawler and explorathon now gorgeously rendered in bold colours with a pleasing tilt-shift sheen.

From a modern perspective, the quarter-century-old gameplay could seem quaint - a lot of fetch and carrying, with the game world gradually opening up as new tools (boots, flippers, bows, etc) grant new abilities. Set alongside the recent Zelda masterpiece Breath of the Wild, Awakening is clearly of its time and, bar a few concessions to inventory management, adds little new to the 1993 ethos.

But it's still a remarkable work of design economy, every location potentially crammed with secrets, every frame a charming vignette and every character capable of either tugging the heartstrings or eliciting a chuckle.

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Aficionados may derive the most joy from this little piece of refurbished history, but even a new generation can fall in love all over again.

 

 

 

The Surge 2

XO/PS4/PC ★★★ Age: 18+

2019-10-12_ent_53948382_I2.JPG
The Surge 2

Dismissed as a pallid sci-fi take on notorious medieval brawler Dark Souls, The Surge nonetheless had a few ideas to call its own, even if they were implemented somewhat haphazardly. This sequel shifts the one-cyborg-vs-all-the-evil-robots setting to a chaotic city, which makes for some welcome variety.

It's certainly an enticing challenge to wallop mechs - parrying blows and counter-attacking while targeting body parts that might be useful to you - as you experiment with various enhancing implants. But the longer the game goes on, the more its transparent debts to Dark Souls begin to weigh it down.

The upgrade system wilfully wants to confuse you, the graphics often degenerate into a sludgy mess and the camera is a capricious flibbertigibbet.

Seeing as the Dark Souls series is on permanent hiatus, The Surge 2 may offer enough of a hit to tide over addicts, but it's not exactly a substitute for the real thing.

 

 

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