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The Legend of Zelda: Tales of Hyrule

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Tales of Hyrule is a game released by Nintendo in 2015 for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.  Tales of Hyrule is considered of Zelda’s crowning achievements of all time. It has graphics that push the console to its limits, an original never-before-seen battle system, and the addition of actual voices and voice actors.

In the game, the protagonist is Link, along with his comrades: Impa, Ruto, Lana, Kyuketsuki, Zelda, and Agitha. The heroes fight against Ganondorf, an evil overlord, while traveling through time to save their world.  The game’s characteristic genre is “Legendary RPG, Embellished with Voices.”

Story

Tales of Hyrule begins by showing a heroic battle between four unknown warriors against an evil sorcerer, Ganondorf, the outcome of which changed the fate of the world. The warriors are victorious, but Ganondorf escapes through time. However, four different heroes await him: they seal the weakened Ganondorf away by using the power of two pendants, thus returning peace to the world.

In Hyrule Castle, twenty years after Ganondorf was sealed away, there lived a young swordsman named Link and his best friend Zelda. Link is sleeping in the castle, until a Twili named Zant and his soldiers destroy it. Zelda runs and tells Link that Hyrule has been destroyed by Zant and she gives you the Ocarina. Everyone is killed in the attack, including the King of Hyrule and both of Link’s parents. While Zelda mourns, Link vows for revenge. He decides he will head to Skyloft, as his mother asked of him before she passed away. The two friends decide they will meet up later in Skyloft. But before his arrival in Skyloft, He talks to the Great Deku Tree, who tells you that Zant is after the Triforce. Upon his arrival in Skyloft, Link is soon betrayed by his uncle and is thrown in jail, captured by Zant. The heirloom pendant entrusted to Link given by his father is taken away from him, but Link does not know of its significance in holding Ganondorf sealed, nor that his father was one of the four who sealed him away.

Link meets Impa, who is in jail, and she joins and helps Link escape. Soon afterward, the duo meets Zelda again at the home of Ruto, another descendant of the four warriors (Lord Jabu-Jabu). Ruto informs the party that Jabu-Jabu knew Link’s parents and Impa’s mother quite well, and they once joined together to seal away a great evil. She is horrified to hear that Link’s pendant has been stolen and immediately runs off towards a nearby mausoleum.  Link, Impa, and Zelda deduce that Zant must be there, and so follow Ruto without her knowledge and against her will. Unfortunately, Zant manages to release Ganondorf using the pendants before Ruto and the party can stop him. With no hope of dealing with the all-powerful Ganondorf for now, Ruto attempts to send Link, Impa, and Zelda back two centuries into the past, so that they will learn about Ganondorf and procure a means to preemptively defeat him. After killing Zant, Ganondorf attacks the party with a magic spell that Zelda dives right in front of. So it is that Link and Ruto are left behind to suffer Ganondorf’s wrath, with only a broken bow and a diary respectively all that Impa and Link have to remember them by.

In the past, Ganondorf is still causing chaos preparing for an imminent war against the two largest human countries, Hyrule and Lorule.  These events happened one hundred eighty-eight years before he was sealed. In this time period, Ganondorf’s evil pervades most of the world, and he even controls the prince of Hyrule’s royal family. The party learns that the only way to defeat Ganondorf is by using magic, but neither Link nor Impa can practice the magical arts—only elves and half-elves can use the powerful spells. However, they soon meet Lana, and Kyuketsuki, who join them in their quest.  Lana is a summoner, so she can evoke a magical or elemental spirit and is thus one of the only humans who can indirectly use magic by forming a pact with the spirits via special rings and then summoning them in battle. She suggests that the Goron Darunia may be useful to them, and so the party travels across the world to the Dodongo’s Cavern in search of Rupees and members who would be willing to join to help fight Ganondorf.

Once they reach Dodongo’s Cavern, they fend off Ganondorf’s army in the war. They proceed to Ganondorf’s castle in search of him, with hopes of restoring peace to the world and avenging the deaths of their loved ones. Reaching the throne room, an epic battle with Ganondorf ensues. Unfortunately, Ganondorf escapes through time, much in the same way as before. The party travels back to their original time to interrupt the resurrected Ganondorf from killing Lord Jabu-Jabu and the King of Hyrule in the mausoleum, and fight him once more. This time Ganondorf is completely defeated, and the cave begins to collapse in on itself and an unconscious Ganondorf. In the aftermath, the party decides that with Ganondorf most likely dead, they have succeeded and can part ways so that Lana and Kyuketsuki can return to their original time. But at that moment, a time-traveler arrives from the future to inform them that Ganondorf is still alive and is terrorizing the future one-hundred years to deal with Ganondorf and his minions once and for all.

Upon the advancement of their journey, Link, Impa, Ruto, Lana, Kyuketsuki, Zelda, and Darunia learn of the Infinity Sword, which is considered to be the only weapon that may eliminate Ganondorf once and for all by sealing his ability to flee through time. After acquiring it and another ally, the Princess of Insects Agitha, the party ventures into Ganondorf’s castle, invisible to those who do not wield the Infinity Sword. When they reach the top, they battle against Ganondorf who they learn is much more than a simple sorcerer. He is a traveler from another world that is trying to save the Great Deku Tree from withering and dying; the manna from the tree exudes is of utmost importance to the survival of his home.  After his defeat, Link and the others return to the Tree, and the Twilight Princess Midna explains Ganondorf’s circumstances. The game's protagonists come to realize that in the end, Ganondorf was merely trying to save his people, a noble intent marred by his actions. Finally, Lana and Kyuketsuki return to their own time, while Agitha, a denizen of the future, parts ways with them. Midna, after the party leaves, helps Ganondorf’s home survive with the manna from the Great Deku Tree. Link and Zelda come back to Hyrule, looking for the Triforce, finding out it was Midna who stole it.

Characters

Link – A young swordsman from Hyrule who sets out on a revenge-fueled journey after losing his family in a bloody massacre.

Impa – A calm and collected healer who was taken prisoner by evil knights just before the Demon King Ganondorf is released. She joins Link on his quest when they escape together.

Zelda – Link’s childhood friend who loses her father, the King of Hyrule when their kingdom is destroyed. With her powerful magic, she swears to get revenge by defeating the Demon King Ganondorf.

Lana – A sorceress from Hyrule who helps Link by summoning spirits. Her goal is to one day master the art of magic despite being a human.

Kyuketsuki – A cheerful half-elf, half-vampire witch with powerful magic who can feel the world's energy slowly draining away.

Agitha – A young princess who searches desperately for her parents, only to find them under the ruthless control of Ganondorf.

Ganondorf – The “Demon King” who wishes to eradicate all Hylian life. Although sealed away by four warriors in the past, he is set free at the beginning of the story.

Gameplay

The game uses the Linear Motion Battle System or LMBS for short, where battles are fought on 2D plane with enemies that act in real time. Standard RPG features such as Stamina and Potions are implemented. Commands must be input either using button presses or selecting options via a menu.  Heading to either the far left or far right of the screen will cause an Escape. Targeting enemies is automatically assigned beforehand but can be changes manually. Physical arts only work at either long or short range, while the effects of spells are limited to those targets that are displayed on the screen, and all actions stop when high-level spells are cast. It is only possible to control Link in story mode, but in Free Play, you can play as any party member. 

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