The Legend of Zelda - Rating(7 RPP)
1) 1 - Character advancement:
2) 1 - Combat:
3) 1 - Items and Equipment:
4) 1 - Story:
5) 2 - Exploration: open world from the beginning, visited locations remain open
6) 1 - Quests and Puzzles:
While I'd happily play through this game again, I can't bring myself to include it among the other games in this playlist. There are some points that it has in its favor, but none of the key features I'd consider necessary to put this game in the same category as Final Fantasy, or even the upcoming Miracle Warriors, are present.
What we do find most like those games is a large--mostly open--world ready for exploring. There's hardly any direction, which allows the player to approach the game however they like. I can see this leading to an investment in the actions taken, and into Link as a character. Muted in this experience is growth from practiced actions. We're rewarded only for completing dungeons, and finding hidden areas, by gaining additional health, but no other character based gains are made.
Combat is only excelled in by the skilled, and improving is dependent on the player becoming better at the game rather than the character. Link becomes stronger by finding more powerful swords, but only gets small amounts of rupees, health refills, or bombs from defeated enemies. It's a nice mix of progress, but hardly the same experience as leveling up. I'm not saying one is better than the other, but there's an obvious difference, and my focus here is on the latter.
We've already seen the series dip on the other side, but in future versions they toe the line on this side of the genre boundaries. Who knows, maybe there'll be another time when a Zelda game is included in this list. Until then, we say farewell to Link and Zelda.