With a review copy provided by Dark Horse Comics, Justin and Naru took the opportunity to discuss one of the more important books to come out in recent memory: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia. Come read our discussion on our thoughts of the book, features we liked, and stuff we could have done without.
Naru: Hyrule Historia is finally out! I think my heart skipped a beat or two when I finally had the chance of reading it, haha. Who doesn’t want to learn more about Zelda? Until now, we’ve never had an official timeline regarding when the stories take place and I believe Hyrule Historia was very necessary.
Justin: It’s kind of a mixed bag for me. Throughout the years of playing Zelda games we would always have this green tunic wearing warrior named Link who would suddenly be thrust into the position of Hero and having to save the world. In regards to the story they would always be pretty different — so to hear there would be an official timeline meant there would also have to be an addendum, or certain circumstances that make it so, and I wasn’t sure if I should be excited or care about this revelation.
With all that being said, Hyrule Historia made sure to give the hardcore fans of Zelda a sprawling, informative guideline on how the series started, and not surprisingly, we start off with what Miyamoto himself considered “The most balanced game of all the Zelda games” in Skyward Sword, which is considered the start of the entire franchise.
Naru: Y-you weren’t awaiting this? Boss, I am disappointed in you.
Justin: Hey, hey! I had my doubts and worries!
Naru: And you didn’t care! Anyways, after Miyamoto’s thoughts, we turn the page to come face to face with the most recent game of the Zelda franchise, Skyward Sword, and information on the chronologically first Link of the games. I have to admit, I was rather sad they didn’t add any fresh information on Link. Even if he is simply an avatar of the gamer, I would have liked to learn more about the lazy knight-in-training who becomes a hero. I was honestly expecting more information about the characters, but I can’t say I was completely disappointed since you get to see early sketches of the main characters.
Justin: Yeah, I would have thought they’d go a bit more in detail with the characters, but who knows, stuff like that might resonate with the ones who’ve played Skyward Sword, and I have not played it at all so I can’t say for sure. In the end, the reasons why the characters were designed a certain way and their creation were given. Along with the character sketches and designs — Zelda, in her simple dress, is pretty radiant — it got the job done.
Naru: I had a fun time re-discovering Skyloft, Lake Flora, and the other places you visit in the game. As compared to the characters, information about the different places were highly detailed and I even learned a few things I didn’t know about them. Let’s not forget about what most Zelda fans were looking forward to know more about, the monsters. Do you know who were the presumed ancestors of the Zora? The Parella! I was not expecting that one at all, I tell you. (However, I was not looking forward to seeing a Skulltula again, ew.
Justin: But they’re just Skulltulas–
Naru: You don’t know the evilness oozing from them! I’m shuddering just thinking about them. Double Ew.
Justin: Haha! Ok ok, I won’t bring them back up anymore! In fact, I think it’s time to move onto what I would think all Zelda fans are curious to know: the timeline of the Zelda series, which appears right after information of Skyward Sword. It makes sense to start with Skyward Sword since that is apparently the first start of the Legend. But what games came after it story wise? Well, the first established storyline stems from Skyward Sword to…The Minish Cap, then Four Swords? I admit to being surprised, if only because I admittedly just believed Four Swords to being somewhat of a spin off to the franchise. That’s probably why I was a little surprised. It helped that there was a detailed explanation on how these games come together and form the story.
Naru: And spoiler beware for those who haven’t played any of the Zelda games but want to! I personally have yet to finish Twilight Princess, so I avoided the pages on it. Regardless of the spoilers, I was extremely pleased with the detailed explanations of the stories that take place within the games. Instead of just being long text, images of the games and interesting characters are used depending on the paragraphs. I also appreciated the little side notes they added on the objects and creatures found throughtout the game. If you forgot a certain object in the game, there are chances you’ll find it in one of the side notes.
Justin: Yeah, I liked a couple of the side notes for some of that as well, as it added an extra element after you finish reading the main storyline, you can take a look to the side and see, “So more info on the Light Force (The Minish Cap) and oh hi Navi (Ocarina of Time)”. I think the main source of interest regarding the timeline is when it ends up branching off into three distinct areas. We have the timeline set: Skyword Sword, Minish Cap, Four Swords Adventures, and then Ocarina of Time. But after that, how do the rest of the series make sense? Well, the only way they can make sense if a certain scenario happens. Were you a bit surprised in seeing the differing scenarios Naru? Admittedly, it was a surprise for me in seeing an arc where the Hero fails…
Naru: Honestly, I wasn’t surprised. Before the release of this book, fans had long ago created a fan-made timeline that very closely resembled the official one. If there was anything I was surprised about in the information given in the timeline, it would be the the lack of information concerning the City in the Sky from Twilight Princess and its relation with Skyloft. Also, to “celebrate” or make us green in envy, limited items of the Zelda franchise are shown, but I don’t really believe it was a necessary element to add into this book.
Justin: Yeah, I think I’d agree with that, since some of the items aren’t available anymore right? I guess it’s included to show what they’re doing to properly celebrate the anniversary of this legendary franchise. And welp, I think it’s obvious they’ve done a pretty good job in celebrating the Zelda series. Being picky, I would have loved even more behind the scenes information from the staff for at least games like Ocarina of Time and The Wind Waker, and I maybe could have done without the manga, but otherwise, this is as detailed a history of the franchise any Zelda fan could have I think. Do you share the same sentiments?
Naru: Pretty much, yes. Hyrule Historia did offer what it promised, but it also could have provided us so much more. While I see this book as a must-have for fans of the game, it has quite failed in impressing those who already knew a lot and were perhaps wishing to find out more behind the scenes information as you said. And yes, the manga was…not needed. Or rather, they could have done a much better job with it. Still, Hyrule Historia is a neat gift from the Zelda staff to its fans and even if it didn’t fulfill all of our expectations, it’s way better than any collection of articles you can find on the internet.
Justin: With the number of character designs and artwork from each series and timeline, I would agree with that statement.
Naru: Of course you agree, dude.
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