Almost every action adventure game with RPG elements and dungeons, that's set in an open or semi-open world, can trace its roots – a link to the past, if you will – back to the original Legend of Zelda game on the NES. And this is surprising, because that game is 37 years old. That’s roughly as old as I am, which in human terms is “should probably start thinking about life insurance” levels of decrepit. In the context of a medium driven by technological advancement, it might as well be an eternity.
And yet, it endures. Not only is the series still going strong, with the latest entry The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom still finding ways to innovate and move the medium forward, but traces of its DNA can be found absolutely everywhere. From the prestige third person narrative-em-ups that have become Sony’s USP, to every Ubisoft Open World Game and their numerous non-Ubisoft derivatives, to your Witchers and Skyrims, Zelda’s profound influence on game design can be seen wherever one cares to look. It’s often cited by game developers as a long-standing inspiration, and for good reason.
And so, the scope of this week’s Best Games Ever topic is enormous: almost every modern action adventure game owes something to Zelda, consciously or otherwise. But it’s also inspired plenty of direct, unabashed clones. What is Fable if not a Zelda game with Monty Python gags? What is Oceanhorn if not Zelda on a budget? What is Darksiders if not Zelda for goths?
And what is Football Manager if not… no. He can’t do it again this week. There’s no way Tom can crowbar Football Manager into this week’s episode. Surely. Surely? To find out, you’ll have to watch or listen via the methods below.
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You could also simply read the summary below, if you're the sort of person who skips to the last page of a book (a wrongun, a reprobate, a Bad Seed).
Tom's argument for Football Manager was surprisingly strong this week, to the point where James even conceded that he deserved to win on the strength of the farce. However, he did not.
As James points out, Genshin Impact is essentially the skeleton of Breath of the Wild with an anime skin. And, uh, a built-in casino for gobbling up pocket money.
Alex sensibly picked Ōkami which, as well as being a very conscious effort by Clover Studio to make a Zelda-like game focused on Japanese mythology, is also extremely bloody good.
“What is the Best Games Ever Show?” you ask? Well, it is essentially a 30-minute panel show where people (Jim Trinca and associates) decide on the best game in a specific category. That's it. It's good. Listen to it.
Come back in a week for another exciting instalment of the Best Games Ever Show.
Buy The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom
TOTK is out now for Nintendo Switch! Check out the links below to secure your copy today.