VG Tribune

Review: Legend of the Hero

January 11, 2015 / 11:19 PM

By: David Jones

If you’ve ever played a game in the Legend Of Zelda series, you’ve probably found yourself thinking about certain aspects of the game’s world. From the unique items, peoples, and lore, to the proper order of the timelines, there’s a lot to ponder. Author and Illustrator Kari Fry undertook the task of creating Legend of the Hero, a compendium and field guide for the world of The Legend of Zelda, and there’s never been a more appropriate time to use the phrase, “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this!”

Legend of the Hero is your Hyrule Survival Guide, and looks as though it fell straight out of Link’s world. The hardback edition comes wrapped in an elaborate double-sided dust jacket that folds out into a poster featuring thirty-six items in the Hero’s arsenal, and beneath that is the book itself. Presented in a reddish-brown faux leather cover with stamped gold foil designs and Hylian script, this is a book you’re going to want to show off.

Once you dive inside, you’ll find a wealth of information about nearly everything in the Zelda Universe, with accompanying illustrations that breathe fresh new life into a lot of enemies and items that, by now, seem all too familiar to longtime fans.

These, along with playful descriptions are what really made Legend of the Hero stand out to me. One of my favorite entries was the description of the Magic Potion:

“The inclusion of specific secret herbs and extracts is said to give this green-colored medicine the ability to bestow supernatural powers on the drinker. The common dose, sufficient for the average person to accomplish a single magical task, is usually stored in a miniature vial, small enough to be held in the palm of one’s hand and stored in a small tool pouch. Larger doses can also be found, however, which might be required by those who specialize in the magical arts.” – Healing Items, Page 86.

How many times have you mindlessly collected bottles of magic potion without even thinking about the way they’re used? Reading this paragraph sparked a small revelation in me. The book is full of fun little tidbits and in-jokes to enjoy, and even the smallest details make a big impact. As you read the book, the borders around the illustrations change to match the objects or creatures shown. It was impressive to see that level of detail.

If you’re a longtime fan of the series, reading the Historic Feats of Courage section will be a stroll down Memory Lane. It’s an overview of eight of the main entries in the Zelda series, with an accompanying illustration of all of the main bosses you encounter in each game.

Legend of the Hero succeeds in many ways, but it isn’t without some flaws. There are a few instances where a page of illustrations was so crowded that I felt some kind of numeral system to identify each object may have been useful, especially for people who aren’t completely familiar with the page’s content. I also found the Flora, Fauna & Fiends section a little dry by the end, but trust me, there are some really outstanding entries in there.

Legend of the Hero is one of a kind. It’s incredible to see an author pour so much time and effort into covering this content so thoroughly. For the most part, the unique voice Fry and her research team have given the book presents the information in new and interesting ways, and due to the way they’ve chosen to avoid certain key terms (Deku becomes Woodkin, Zora becomes Seafolk, and so on) the book verges on the edge of becoming something greater than the foundation it’s based on.

Legend of the Hero is an amazing book for any Legend of Zelda fan. Whether you’ve played one or all of the Zelda games in existence, there is plenty to enjoy. It indulges in exploring its source material, and tells its own interpretation of a world gamers have played in and loved for decades.

VG Tribune gives Legend of the Hero a 9 out of 10.

Legend of the Hero is currently available from FanGamer. The Hardback edition is $35, and the paperback is $26.


About the author /

David is a California native and has been a gamer all of his life. He is a graphic designer and the author of The Rainblade and Onyx The Half Hero Dragon.

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