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January 29
2013

Review: Hyrule Historia

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51pZqGu-Q6L._SL500_SS500_For years, fans have been trying to figure out a way to put all of the Legend of Zelda games into a coherent timeline. Well, now Nintendo has made it official, with the release of Hyrule Historia from Dark Horse Comics. This deluxe hardcover volume contains a history of the franchise, a detailed timeline linking the games in chronological order, and more artwork and development materials than you can shake a stick at! But is it worth your money?

If you’re a big Zelda fan, no doubt you’re already intending to purchase Hyrule Historia for yourself (or perhaps you already did at the special preview event held at the Nintendo World Store). And if you’re that big of a fan, you may find that you have major issues with the timeline as laid out in these pages. Personally, I never really considered linking all the games together, so I found it kind of fascinating to read how one affected the other. (Who knew Minish Cap was so crucial?!) I also appreciated the inclusion of some definitions for people places and things in the right hand column as the timeline went along.

There is a good amount of developmental material for the various games, and it’s fun to compare the sketches and how the appearances of Link and the other characters not only developed throughout the series, but also during the development of each game. My only complaint is that the biggest chunk is for Skyward Sword. And later, when they do offer art from the earlier games, it also felt like Twilight Princess had a bigger showing than many of the others. This could likely be because they simply had more materials on hand to include from the later games in the series, but I would have appreciated a more in-depth look at the creation of the earlier games.

The back pages of the book are actually read in reverse, as they contain an exclusive 23-page manga story from Akira Himekawa. It’s a beautifully-illustrated tale chronicling the events that led up to Skyward Sword. The timeline in the book mentions them, but it’s a treat to see them so vividly brought to life.

All in all, Hyrule Historia is a tremendous package. Yes, I wish it focused more on the older games, but every one is at least mentioned (even Link’s Crossbow Training!), and there is some great never-before-printed artwork included in its pages. But you can always find flaws with everything, and so while it’s not exactly what I wanted, it’s still a great book that belongs on the shelf of every Zelda fan.

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About Chris Eades

(Writer) I love Animal Crossing, music games (even though I can't sing or play instruments) and adventure games. And the occasional 40+ hr JRPG when I can find the time! I live in Brooklyn, NY with my husband and our hamster, Ch'p.

3 Responses

  1. avatar Silver Phoenix says:

    The timeline is still bullshit and even Miyamoto himself stated that it would need more games to fill in the holes.

    • avatar Cody Shiranai says:

      Just because you disagree or it doesn’t fit doesn’t make it bullshit and more so, having more games go IN it, doesn’t make what we know (officially) wrong either. Fans are getting a little pretentious claiming the CREATOR is wrong (and remember that Miyamoto has NEVER really done the stories, only the gameplay).

      Of course more games can go in, they haven’t been created yet to GO IN. The new Zelda on Wii U will obviously have to be put on there too, but we certainly don’t know where yet. The Hyrulean Civil War comes to mind or where Link goes during the events that lead to Wind Waker (remember Majora’s Mask is NOT the same timeline).

      I also notice that a lot of complaints about the timeline only come from people who only saw the SINGLE page spoiled on most of the gaming blogs and NOT those who actually OWN the book (myself included) and read the EXPLANATIONS of the timeline throughout and even the events that have no games yet. Those make way more sense than the random ranting and speculations of entitled fans who think their love for something equals the right to dictate their own wishes on it.

  2. avatar Ben says:

    I agree with everything you wrote, Chris. I enjoyed looking at everything, but also missed more development info and artwork from the earlier games. I was hoping for lots more on my favorite, Link’s Awakening, but there wasn’t a whole lot. They did have tons more from Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword, and I feel like that stuff was being posted online as those games were being developed. I think you’re right, it’s because they are newer, and they had more artwork readily available.

    The timeline is kind of weird, and it’s a bit like the Castlevania timeline, where sometimes it seems like a stretch to have them in chronological order. They have to do some mental gymnastics to make it all work out. Zelda gets especially confusing once it branches out into 3 separate timelines…oh my head!

    Also, I’m perfectly content with my regular non-collectors edition. It’s the exact same content, and I like the green and gold better than the fake leather cover. I’m actually thinking of having the page edges gilded on my copy though to make it look even nicer.

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