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The Legend of Zelda Tri-Force Heroes Preview July 5, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Previews, Site Videos.
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A few weeks ago, I managed to get some hands-on time with The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes on the Nintendo 3DS while waiting in line at Best Buy to demo Super Mario Maker.  The game had been announced just a day earlier during Nintendo’s E3 2015 Press Event, so it was quite a shock to be able to get some hands on time with such a new game, but I’m happy that I was lucky enough to preview it, because as a die-hard 3DS enthusiast, I’m always glad to see whenever Nintendo decides to innovate on my favorite handheld platform.

Just be aware, this is a preview of the game’s multiplayer mode.  Tri-Force Heroes can be played either alone or in a three-player cooperative mode, and Nintendo had three demo units of the game playable during the event.  Given how the demo units were set up, I couldn’t tell if the games were being played in a true local wireless multiplayer mode, online, or through some wired connection intended for 3DS development kits, but there was absolutely no latency during gameplay, and trust me, that’s a very good thing.

When you boot up the game, you are asked to pick a costume which would determine your weapon and item loadout.  I don’t know if costumes get unlocked as you play the game, or you will be able to choose any costume you wish from the first moment you start to play when the finished game hits shelves, but there was a lot of costume variety available to us in the demo.  I chose to wear the default Link garb, but one of my teammates chose an outfit which allowed for them to fire three arrows at once from their bow.  After choosing their outfits, all three players vote on which level you want to play, and the game selects the level based on the votes.  About ten levels were playable for the E3 demo, and my team chose to play the forest level.

When you first start the game, you’ll immediately notice how similar the game’s art style is to other Zelda titles.  I heard a pretty direct comparison of Tri-Force Heroes’ art style to the 3DS game The Legend of Zelda : A Link Between Worlds, but honestly the game reminded me a lot of The Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures on the GameCube.  Given that this is a cooperative multiplayer game, that might have been what Nintendo was inspired by when designing this title, but that’s just my opinion.  I would try to describe the game’s art style for you, but I thought it would be a lot more appropriate to show you some footage of actual gameplay.  So, take a look and see for yourselves, and apologies in advance for the glare.

True to Zelda’s roots, levels would not be restricted to just a focus on combat, some sections of the game were puzzle oriented.  A particular puzzle required all three players to stack on top of each other like a totem pole to hit a target.  In this totem mode, only the player on the bottom could walk and only the player on the top could attack.  When each section was completed, all three players would stand on opposite sides of a glowing triforce to signify they were done, and then the next part of the level would load.  Many puzzles required the three teammates to be in perfect sync, so communication among my group was essential to completing the level.  This is fine for games played in local wireless mode, but I have no idea how communication will work for games played online.  To complete some puzzles, complex commands have to be given in short order.  It would be nice if Nintendo would allow voice chat with the 3DS microphone during online games, but Nintendo might be against that decision for privacy reasons.

Each level in the demo made up of several short sections and the ones we played were pretty short.  On average, my team was completing each section in less than a minute, and then moved on to the next one.  I would say it took us no longer than five to ten minutes to complete the entire forest level, but it might take longer for less seasoned players to complete it.  This was probably due to the fact that this game was designed to be played while on the go, so they decided to offer lots of levels, but with each level presenting a short experience.  All three players share a single health bar, so if one of your teammates gets injured or falls of a cliff, you better start looking for hearts while they respawn.  If the group health bar completely depletes, you’ll have to replay the entire section of the level until you get it right.

All in all I had fun playing this game, and I’m glad Nintendo decided to let people preview it during their Best Buy E3 event.  My group was made up of a seasoned Zelda veteran, a player who has only completed the original NES classic on their 3DS, and a person with no Zelda experience whatsoever, and we were able to get through our level without losing all of our lives.  I can’t wait to see if Nintendo decides to offer a demo for this game on the Nintendo eShop, because I would download it in a heartbeat.

So those are my thoughts based on the time I was able to spend playing the game.  Apologies for not having this on the site sooner, but the Fourth of July weekend had put me behind by a few days of work.  Don’t forget, you can watch our preview of Super Mario Maker here.