What we have here is the Super Mario version of Zelda. Let me quantify that. In Zelda II, you return to the overhead map view of Hyrule, and journey to each castle while encountering enemies along the way; but once you do, you actually get to control a full bodied Link this time around. And it’s glorious.
Playability/Controls- This game is harder than Gannon passing a kidney stone. As I said, when you get to control Link, it’s glorious; but then, reality sets in and this game has no freakin’ mercy. When I say this is the Super Mario version of Zelda, what I mean is the old style castles from the original are gone; you’re in a full 2 D side scrolling castle that is so close to the “-4” worlds from Super Mario Bros, well, it’s not funny because everything in this castle is killing me! The puzzle solving is a bit out the window as well because well, there isn’t a need for it as you are moving linear and can discover things in the board.
Graphics (8.5) & Sound (10)- The graphics have upped their game; not only including the full Link and side scrolling action but the map is better defined and more detailed, the enemies are more detailed and the bosses are really well done. The sound is just as crisp and iconic as it was in the first game.
Replay Value (6.5) & Originality (7)- This game doesn’t have the replay value the original had; you can start a quest on Legend of Zelda even though you’ve already done it 15 times in your life and it still feels fun. Here, traversing the map, going through the boring towns and the ridiculous hardness all are beatdowns that simply make you want to play another Zelda game. I give it points for originality but if you take out what works from what they changed, there’s not a lot there.
Some may have this has their definitive Zelda; and while the atmosphere of the game puts you there, all it does to me is makes me remember how frustrated I used to be trying to get very far when I was a child; now we have save cheats, so I can actually pick up where I left off and play this damn game and I only wish I would have experienced it as a kid before we had so many amazing genre changing Zelda games.