Nintendo knows what it's doing. We all laughed at the DS because handheld gaming was dead. We poked fun at the Wii because no one would want to own that console, obviously. Right now someone, somewhere is making a WiiU joke forgetting its probable, yet inexplicable, success will finally give Nintendo enough cash to purchase the sun. It's this logic that sums up A Link To The Past 2. I have no reservations in telling you I revere the original incarnation as one of the finest gaming experiences I've ever played. It's likely that if you were of the right age, you also feel the same way. Nintendo knows this. In fact, it's actively seeking to suck such emotion out.
Since its announcement yesterday you'd be forgiven for not really knowing what path this spiritual sequel would take. You were shown a video, most of which you missed because you were too busy squealing at a small boy in a green hat. Far from being weird - as it would be in any other walk of life - it was a reaction replicated all over the planet. We all recognised those distinguished environments and enemies from the SNES classic and let our emotions take over. Don't be ashamed. I am one of these individuals and I feel no less excited after playing it than I did 24 hours ago. There is a little more to the situation, however.
Getting access to one dungeon in A Link To The Past 2 underlines the fact this is far more similar to its predecessor than may have first been apparent. In fact, in many ways it's identical. Anyone familiar with what is considered by a large portion of ravenous fans to be the best in the series will be well aware of bizarre fundamentals such as hammering down on strange blocks to make a path, hitting switches to change the dynamic make-up of a level and attacking giant snake-like things in the arse. These are certainly elements that could be related to the franchise as a whole, but here they almost feel copy and pasted. Someone with only a passing interest may even convince themselves they're playing a remake.
It's at this juncture where Nintendo's aforementioned intelligence comes into play. It's likely you fit into two categories where A Link To The Past 2 is concerned. You're either deliriously excited to the point where anything set in that world will suffice, or you know of the previous entry due to its legacy. Any excuse to taste a piece of that pie is going to appeal.
It's not like Zelda's creators have completely rested on their laurels either. Visually this is one of the finer 3DS games you're likely to see, the tiny details - such as the mentioned snake's face when you plunge your sword into its tail - reminding you why you fell in love with Nintendo in the first place. The music, an aspect people constantly forget to mention, is as good as anyone could possibly hope for, bringing the themes of 1991 back into your now nostalgic-broken brain. There's the 'merge' mechanic too, the customary new layer all good Link-related adventures need, allowing him to literally become one with whatever wall he's touching. Despite there being no explanation to how this is possible - the smart money would be on it's all thanks to a giant, and frankly terrifying, fairy - it's painfully simple in theory and yet surprisingly apt at creating challenging puzzles. I was almost embarrassed in front of my peers as I was forced to stop playing and figure out what I wasn't seeing.
A Link To The Past 2 is yet another reason the 3DS has, arguably, the best line-up of any console this year and it's hard to imagine any other publisher or developer daring to bring a sequel to such a loved game so long after its release. If this small chunk of the experience is anything to go by, though, the results may appear a little more recognisable than we all were first expecting. Certainly no bad thing, but whether this hits the insane heights of its ancestor are a little more difficult to work out than they were before.
Ultimately, however, if last week someone had offered you A Link To The Past 2 what would you have done? Exactly. Sometimes it's best just to smile and nod...