The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition

Nintendo’s commercial decisions often make sense only to Nintendo, but with how difficult they’ve made it to play any version of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords, I almost expected some travesty on par with the CD-i titles. While that’s certainly not the case, the single-player content in the Anniversary Edition is extraordinarily lazy and inappropriate, creating what might be the widest gap in entertainment based on player number I’ve ever seen. Making large sections of the original game a varied rupee-gathering competition was inspired multiplayer design that translates to meaningless grind with only one user. This version also lacks the formation system of Four Swords Adventures, which means cooperation-based tasks are handled automatically at best, and either skipped entirely or given added repetition at worst.

With friends, the game is better than ever. The more arcade-style dungeon crawling atmosphere is surprising at first, but it’s ultimately fitting for the inevitably goofy multiplayer action. The new bonus dungeons are the best of the lot; they eschew the rather pointless procedural generation of the main locations, and they allow some underused mechanics a bit more room to breathe. The use of classic Zelda locations for one of them also returns some much-needed energy to the soundtrack, which is otherwise uncharacteristically dull and irritating. The game’s origins as an incidental inclusion with A Link to the Past’s GBA port are still evident, however, as its story is embarrassingly shallow and the first half-hour or so is bogged down with decidedly unsophisticated tutorial.

5/10
5/10

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