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The great thing about playing on the 3DS is that you can save anywhere and load back instantly. This will help you in some instances where you have to perform a few tasks to get an item or power-up. ~J.A. Laraque
Oracle of Seasons
As someone who loved the top down versions of the Zelda world getting a chance to play Oracle of Seasons on my 3DS was a real treat since I never got to play the Gameboy Color version. Now Oracle of Ages, which I will discuss in a follow-up article deals more so with the puzzle elements of classic Zelda games you would find on the NES, SNES and Gameboy. Seasons deals with the action element and much like, A Link to the Past, the game tosses you right into it. In fact, I would say that if you never played any of the top down Zelda adventures before it may seem a bit tough at first, but the learning curve is not hard at all and soon you are slashing down enemies and defeating dungeons.
Now as far as the story you kind of have to think of this as Link’s Adventures as it is not about saving Zelda or the Triforce except for the fact that it is the Triforce the directs you to the town of Holodrum. Once you arrive you meet Din and soon she is kidnapped by the evil Onox because she is the Oracle of Seasons. Because of this the lands weather is thrown into chaos which does add a cool element to the game since the weather changes periodically and that can decide where you can and cannot go and what items you will need to advance.
Most of what you need to do is told to you by the Maku Tree, but if you are used to the top down Zelda games the point is to get specific items that allow you to advance to even more places and defeat enemies in and out of dungeons. The great thing about playing on the 3DS is that you can save anywhere and load back instantly. This will help you in some instances where you have to perform a few tasks to get an item or power-up. For instance, in one area you have to dance to get an item. Now the dance is not hard, but if you are struggling then you can do a move correctly, save and then continue and if you mess up you can start from where you saved not having to begin the dance all over.
Now let’s pause for a moment to say that you should get both Oracle of Ages and Seasons as you can link them and when you beat one game you get a code that can be entered in the other game. I played Seasons first, but went back and played Ages and then Season and when you do you change the story a bit. I won’t spoil anything, but some of the changes are small and others are huge like a different final boss fight.
Now the zones in the game are pretty interesting. Remember going to the dark world in Link to the Past, well, while the changes are not that drastic there are four different versions of every screen you are on when in the outside world. This is because of the four seasons. As I said, the seasons changing can help you get somewhere you could not normally. For instance, a lake in the summer is frozen so you can walk over it in the winter.
In the game you will receive the Rod of Seasons which you will need to power up in the underground town of Subrosia. With the rod you can change the weather on command which is key to get to certain places. You will not get all the seasons at once, you start off with winter and eventually get them all.
Besides the rod you get many of the normal items you would expect including the boomerang, torch and bombs. You can select one of the items and assign it to your secondary button with your primary being your sword attack. You can also collect rings which add different abilities or augments existing ones. It is important to upgrade your items and weapons as the boss fights are harder than you might remember from previous Zelda games. The final fight with Onox is especially hard if you do not upgrade. Now if you are a Zelda vet you can do it, but then again if you are a Zelda vet then you want to explore, collect and upgrade via side quests.
Overall, Oracle of Seasons is a great addition to the portable Zelda series. The game is more action oriented than some of the other Zelda games, but that is not a bad thing. The story is good enough and the graphics and changing seasons are a nice touch. I would recommend however, getting Oracle of Ages to go along with Seasons and if you do play Ages first.