Posted on May 30 2016 by Jon Lett
After Skyward Sword introduced a flying-based overworld, where the player uses Loftwings to travel from place to place, a number of longtime fans (especially after dealing with Skyward Sword‘s rather bland overworld) wished to be back on the ground with Link’s most trusted steed: Epona. None can deny that Zelda’s most famous methods of travel, beyond Link and his slow little feet, is Epona, the age-old horse that is making her latest appearance in Zelda Wii U’s new open world. That being said, the last game that featured her, Twilight Princess, had her making several meaningful appearances, and even a few battles alongside Link. Will she be as important in this new title, and if so, how?
Join the discussion after the jump!
One of the most interesting and praised parts of Twilight Princess was it’s horseback battles; taking down King Bulblin multiple times, and defeating Ganondorf and his spirit minions with Zelda alongside you. The concept was awesome, the controls were smooth (though Twilight Princess HD made it much more awkward), and it added a new and effective use for Epona, reminding us of how important she was to that game. With a new game bringing her back for the first time since the realistic Gamecube classic, I imagine she will be extremely important, just like before, and her combat mechanics will be even more important. Nintendo has made a point of showing off her new controls/gameplay, revealing that she can automatically move around trees and such, while Link hunts monsters with a bow, or leaps off of her to make a jump attack. There is surely going to be more cool stuff to do with her, but I am primarily interested in fighting bosses with her. With an open world, we are likely to fight some very large monsters in the open environment, rather than just bosses of similar to size to Link. This would likely mean that Epona will be essential at times, giving us an avenue of keeping up with and taking on the monsters. Think Shadow of the Colossus, only with… well, actually, I can imagine Zelda Wii U’s mechanics being VERY similar to that of the Playstation 2 title. The new Zelda seems to be focusing on both bow-and-arrow and sword combat, so adding in giant monsters and horseback combat can only make me think that Shadow of the Colossus would be a great point of inspiration for the developers.
Aside from the actual gameplay, Epona can play some other major parts throughout the game. There are always minigames – ones that could test your skill at racing, and using Link’s new slow-mo move as he leaps of the horse. There are also story aspects that Epona could be involved in, acting as a way of getting to know other characters that interact with Link and his horse, like Ilia in Twilight Princess, and Malon in Ocarina of Time. Of course, there is also the idea of bringing out a more significant relationship with Epona herself, and thus, somewhat advancing Link as a character. That’s always nice. After all, Epona has about as much development and dialogue as he does these days, so why not throw in some extra cutscenes for her, am I right?
What do you guys think? Will Epona be more than a simple tool for travel in this new game? If so, how meaningful to Link’s adventure will she be? Drop a comment below!