Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages - Review

More Time Travel For Link
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  

Well, that stinks
Well, that stinks
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages plays very well as a stand alone game, but can also be combined with The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons to create something even better. Alone it follows the quest of Link who, with the assistance of another warrior, quests in order to free the Oracle of Ages from the minions of Ganon. To aid him in his quest, he is given the ability to travel through time once again.

Once again returning to overhead real time battles, Link loses a number of sword techniques, but he gains new tools and is more agile overall. The sword and shield still make up most of Link's offensive and defensive capability, but tools also play an important part, especially against bosses. Gaining new tools such as special seeds and the seed shooter, Link can boost his speed and fire at the enemy at the same time. The largest addition to battles, however, is Link's ability to equip an accessory to aid him. These range from boosted attack or defense to changing the spin attack to a projectile sword beam. Another addition is Link's animal friends who each have some kind of special battle power. The additions, though few in number, make an already good battle system even better.

Though many enemies feature an increase in difficulty over other overhead Zelda games, Ages features a number of powerful accessories that can make Link enormously powerful. 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.

Ages' interface is similar to the one found in other overhead Zeldas and is quite good. The equipment menu makes it easy to switch between accessories too. As always, play control is good too. There is a small amount of dialog, but, as with most Zelda games, it is well translated.

Though much of the game isn't very original, there are a few new tools to keep things interesting. The equipment system is also new and a great improvement. Another minor addition is Link's animal friends who help him get around difficult terrain. The ability to link with seasons to create a super-game is relatively new as well, but all of these additions can't hide how similar this is to previous overhead Zeldas.

The storyline is nothing special, but is better than that of most Zelda games. Plot progression is smooth and there is a reasonable amount of character development. There are a few minor twists and overall it is well done. When linked to Seasons, a number of new an interesting pieces of story are added too and are a very nice touch.

A hidden evil
A hidden evil
Though Ages 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.

While most of the music isn't anything too new, it's a big jump from Zelda Awakening. The music isn't anywhere near as repetitive as it was and a good deal of it is well done. Sounds have been improved as well. While the improvement is minor, it still helps. Overall, a great job.

Visuals, however, are the area of largest improvement. It features many sprites that are much more detailed than Awakening and are colored too. Most of the large boss sprites are incredibly impressive, especially the final bosses.

The improved battle system and story alone make Ages an excellent game, but it also features improved visuals and sound. 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. Ages features less originality than Seasons, but it has more character development.

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