The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes E3 Preview: Linked Forces
Kalvin Martinez / Jun 25th, 2015 No Comments
Perhaps the biggest surprise during Nintendo’s digital E3 event was the announcement of a new cooperative Legend of Zelda adventure. The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes brings three Links together to tackle dungeons in online or local co-op.
The game is done with a similar top-down and art style as The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between World. The big emphasis for the game is on height, which comes through the game’s totem mechanic.
Nintendo showed off the game’s multiplayer at E3, and we got some hands-on time with it. The gameplay is what you’d expect from The Legend of Zelda, but new multiplayer and gameplay aspects add an interesting wrinkle.
The first step to getting started in TriForce Heroes is gathering two friends (or strangers at E3) to venture into dungeons with you. Select a dungeon to enter and get ready by selecting an outfit.
Each Link can select from a number of different outfits, including a Princess Zelda costume or a bomb suit. The outfit players choose will confer special abilities to Link. For instance, the Big Bomb Suit gives Link the use of giant bombs, while the Princess Zelda costume makes it more likely for hearts to drop and the Samurai armor improves Link’s spin attack.
Depending on the dungeon, certain outfits are more beneficial to Link. Every dungeon has specific items and weapons that each Link can use, and selecting a good outfit for a dungeon will improve those items. With a well suited team of Links, you’re ready to take on any danger or puzzle a dungeon can throw at you.
The Importance of Teamwork and Emojis
Once players embark on their co-op dungeon scuttering, they will encounter four main areas that culminate in a boss fight. The dungeon our intrepid Links entered was a temple that required the use of arrows, defeating spiky spinning tops and avoiding the piercing sting of walls shooting streams of arrows. The hulking and spiny Margoma was waiting at the end of the temple.
Each area features a series of puzzles that become increasingly difficult. That isn’t to say the puzzles are too much of a match for seasoned Zelda players. Mechanics foundational to the series will be immediately recognizable, and those with keen eyes and leadership skills will be able to lead their team to the solution.
Like any multiplayer game, communication is key, but in TriForce Heroes it is vital because you can’t succeed without effective cooperation. There are instances where players won’t be able to solve puzzles without the help of teammates. In the Margoma dungeon, we piled arrow Link on top of a three-person totem to fire arrows into a flame. This is a common trope in Zelda transformed by the totem mechanic and co-op.
Another co-op function in the dungeon involved using a giant block, which required three Links to move, to shield a wall from arrows. Using communication and timing, all three Links moved the block from spot to spot to shield certain paths and avoid taking damage.
All three Links share hearts, thus any faffing about will result in your entire team dying. Taking damage while in totem mode will cause an even greater drop in health. There is also the fact that you literally can’t move to another part of the dungeon unless all three Links activate the TriForce pressure plates at the end of the area.
To aid in your teamwork, all Links have a set of emojis to communicate with teammates. Using these expressions, players can direct others to come to a specific area, use an item and totem up. These emojis all have charming art associated with them. However, communication issues might arise if players rely too heavily on emojis instead of direct cooperation. It is one thing to flash the totem or throw icon to prompt the action, but it is another for the person to perform the action as needed. In the same room, you can tell teammates what you need. It’ll be interesting to see how well these emojis work.
While the four sections before the boss fight gently imply that teamwork is important, boss fights punish players who do not work together. Margoma is a boss that cannot be beaten if each Link is doing his own thing. It requires tightly coordinated synergy and timing to cut Margoma down to size.
Much of this is due to the different phases of the boss fight. Margoma starts off invulnerable, but becomes open to attacks by dodging his spiky spin move. Once Margoma has been stunned, Links can totem up and throw a bomb into his bomb hole.
After it explodes, Margoma’s vulnerable eye gets exposed and the person carrying the top totem needs to throw a Link at the eye. Without missing a beat, the top Link needs to slash mercilessly at Margoma’s eye. If successful, Margoma will take damage and transform. Each transformation raises him up a level and makes him faster and meaner.
The higher Margoma gets, the more important tight teamwork matters because the window for performing each action gets shorter. The fight can either be super quick or take an eternity based on how willing or savvy your teammates are. This need for cooperation makes boss battles much more exciting, and the adrenaline your team gets for successfully attacking is unparalleled.
Sometimes Three is Better than Four
The comparisons to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords are inevitable, but TriForce Heroes is much more than a simple clone with one less Link. There seems to be much more depth to gameplay. It feels more like a full Zelda adventure that happens to feature co-op. The new totem mechanics and emphasis on teamwork to accomplish goals adds a new twist on the dungeon exploration the series is known for. TriForce Heroes has a huge amount of potential.
The game is expected to release later this year. The E3 2015 trailer for the game can be viewed below.
The Legend of Zelda: TriForce Heroes E3 Trailer
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