Saving Zelda -an in depth critique of the LoZ series

Sep 7, 2011
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I think Zelda needs is to focus on what it is good at and get rid of the annoying filler. I would rather have loger dungeons with multiple ways to complete them then some of the things Nintendo added to recent Zelda games to make them longer. They should also make the game less annoying to play if you have some degree of intelligence, add difficulty levels from the start, and skippable tutorials.
 
May 31, 2009
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The whole reason the game was made is because they could reuse assets and concepts from OoT's development. The game wasn't created from scratch in a year.
Right. I want them to re use assets. If there's any game franchise that deserves to re use the gorgeous assets for a sequel, it's fucking Zelda.

When it runs out you're moving as basically the same speed you move at in every other 3D Zelda.
But I'm always rolling in other 3D Zeldas!

OOT has backwalk and Epona.
MM has Epona, bunny hood and Goron roll.
WW has rolling.
TP has rolling and Epona.

I like rolling, damn it!
 

jooey

The Motorcycle That Wouldn't Slow Down
Jun 10, 2004
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Videogame Essays
But Our Princess Is In Another Castle
Kirby and Texture
Sonic and Tension
Thunder Force III and Trance
Portal 2 and Point of View
Saving Zelda
He's about as original as he thinks modern Zelda is.
 
May 20, 2007
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LDN
Is it well-written, owing to the score?
Are you trying to say the Gamespot review was well-written? The EDGE review may not be the best example of the magazine, but it is a league apart from the Gamespot one(& I gave you an example of a review that matched your views & was coherent, it has little to do with the score).

You have a strong desire for the selfsame Zelda in 2030?
The next Zelda game will take 18 years to make? I guess Nintendo will struggle with HD gaming.


People who think The Legend of Zelda OoT is the greatest game of all time are pretty crazy. I would love to see an argument where they explain why a prototypical step into 3D action gaming is better than decades of strategy gaming design, including games like Civilization 4, Total War: Shogun II, and Paradox's Universalis Europa/Hearts of Iron/Victoria/etc. Then after achieving that impossible feat, they can explain away the shitty technical problems and explain why 3D gaming hasn't evolved since then (with titles like Devil May Cry and Dark Souls immediately drawing inspiration from it). With that sacred cow business out of the way, it becomes easy to understand why someone wouldn't care about how much a game sold or what an unworthy circle of published critics thought of it.
If you think OoT was merely a step into 3D action gaming you do it a disservice (also check out EDGE's 200th issue, it has a very good argument why OoT has the reputation it does). To be honest though judging by the games you listed(btw Tetris is a far better candidate then any you listed) I doubt you would agree.

Skyward Sword was in development for 5 years and had needless padding and backtracking. I'd rather have a large, empty overworld than a smaller world filled with filler.

And I'd rather have a shorter Zelda than a long one for the sake of length.
Unfortunately the development team wanted the opposite to you (& the mentioned they wanted more "backtracking" than ever before, so you should have been expecting it).
 
People who think The Legend of Zelda OoT is the greatest game of all time are pretty crazy. I would love to see an argument where they explain why a prototypical step into 3D action gaming is better than decades of strategy gaming design, including games like Civilization 4, Total War: Shogun II, and Paradox's Universalis Europa/Hearts of Iron/Victoria/etc. Then after achieving that impossible feat, they can explain away the shitty technical problems and explain why 3D gaming hasn't evolved since then (with titles like Devil May Cry and Dark Souls immediately drawing inspiration from it). With that sacred cow business out of the way, it becomes easy to understand why someone wouldn't care about how much a game sold or what an unworthy circle of published critics thought of it.
Let me go on record and say that I don't think OoT is the greatest game ever. It is, however, one of the (if not the most) cited games on such lists.
 
May 23, 2006
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Majora's Mask. Got it done in 1 year.



Dark Souls. Modern day Zelda 1 and 2 mixed into one glorious package.



The stamina bar did fuck all for me. I still wanted to roll at all times, and at the very least, I wanted to be sprinting at all times. Holding run, waiting for your stamina to build up, and holding run again got real old, real fast.
They should have added pegasus boots to give you infinite sprint.
 
Sep 21, 2010
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If you think OoT was merely a step into 3D action gaming you do it a disservice (also check out EDGE's 200th issue, it has a very good argument why OoT has the reputation it does). To be honest though judging by the games you listed(btw Tetris is a far better candidate then any you listed) I doubt you would agree.
The original Tetris has been outdated by follow-ups in its own series (people seem to assume there is only one Tetris). Aside from that Puyo Puyo, at the very least, was better anyway. The problem here is that reputation doesn't mean shit.
 
Feb 18, 2011
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Sweden.
Are you trying to say the Gamespot review was well-written? The EDGE review may not be the best example of the magazine, but it is a league apart from the Gamespot one(& I gave you an example of a review that matched your views & was coherent, it has little to do with the score).


The next Zelda game will take 18 years to make? I guess Nintendo will struggle with HD gaming.




If you think OoT was merely a step into 3D action gaming you do it a disservice (also check out EDGE's 200th issue, it has a very good argument why OoT has the reputation it does). To be honest though judging by the games you listed(btw Tetris is a far better candidate then any you listed) I doubt you would agree.



Unfortunately the development team wanted the opposite to you (& the mentioned they wanted more "backtracking" than ever before, so you should have been expecting it).
Does the "dead" score make the criticism indigent? GS had the guts to be wholehearted and sincere.
 
May 20, 2007
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LDN
The original Tetris has been outdated by follow-ups in its own series (people seem to assume there is only one Tetris). Aside from that Puyo Puyo, at the very least, was better anyway. The problem here is that reputation doesn't mean shit.
I don't really get your point, it is impossible to objectively decide what is the best game of all time, but OoT will likely be in that conversation for a long time, just because you disagree means squat.

Does the "dead" score make the criticism indigent? GS had the guts to be wholehearted and sincere.
This is gibberish, I have no clue what you are trying to say.

Red Dead Redemption disagrees.
RDR was empty.
 
Sep 17, 2006
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Though Skyward Sword wasn't in development for 5-6 years.
They started planning, experimenting and other aspects earlier; but actual development was 2-3 years. It wasn't like they spend 6 years "making fetch quests". :p
 
May 3, 2006
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I love both DS games, but I don't think they're really what people who want oldschool Zelda are looking for. The experimental control system is fine for what the games were going for, but a major, top-down Zelda game with direct control and a more connected structure would be best for the return of classic Zelda.

It's the same way that while Donkey Kong Jungle Beat may be a great game, it's not the same thing as Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Or Donkey Kong '94.
 
Jun 26, 2008
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Though Skyward Sword wasn't in development for 5-6 years.
They started planning, experimenting and other aspects earlier; but actual development was 2-3 years. It wasn't like they spend 6 years "making fetch quests". :p
I might have twisted my words a bit, but I consider planning to be development as long as they're seriously considering ideas and not just idly thinking about the next game.
 
May 20, 2007
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Red Dead Redemption had towns, immersive environments and interesting things to do. That’s what an overworld needs.
"immersive environments"? What does that even mean? RDR was a great game but to try & claim the over-world isn't mainly empty & devoid of interesting content(which admittedly can be explained away by the setting) is an odd position to take.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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Great read. As a Zelda fan who has experienced all the games in thier own time, I must say this man is spot on.
Agreed. I've no clue what the massive rage is on about in this topic, the article in itself hits the nail on the head for the most part, even if it's a bit too exaggerated at times.

The series just completely lacks any sense of organic level design. Everything feels too sterile and utilitarian, eventually making me feel more like I'm going through the motions rather than an epic adventure. There is zero sense of discovery when everything in the world feels bolted down and exists for solely one purpose.

It's really all in the details. Using the word "saving" might be too strong, but there definitely needs to be a different director. Practically everything about the series can remain intact actually, it's just a matter of execution that needs to be changed.

For instance, one thing that drives me bonkers is how the puzzles work. Or actually, in how they don't. Back in the N64 era it really wasn't that big a deal that solving a puzzle consisted of doing random, esoteric things, like hitting thingie-switches with a boomerang and a treasure chest appearing out of thin air, but this kind of abstract representation of puzzles is archaic and frankly lazy at this day and age. I want to see how the puzzles work, and work through them in a way that I can actually understand what is going on. I want to manipulate objects that believably (though not realistically necessarily) triggers the classic Zelda stuff like treasure chests and opening doors. They don't have to be physics puzzles, but I really don't want to see rooms that inexplicably open up after the area is cleared of baddies anymore. It just seems lazy to me and ultimately bores me that the puzzles and dungeon mechanics are completely disconnected from everything. Like I said, it's the execution rather than the concept.
 
May 3, 2006
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People who think The Legend of Zelda OoT is the greatest game of all time are pretty crazy. I would love to see an argument where they explain why a prototypical step into 3D action gaming is better than decades of strategy gaming design, including games like Civilization 4, Total War: Shogun II, and Paradox's Universalis Europa/Hearts of Iron/Victoria/etc. Then after achieving that impossible feat, they can explain away the shitty technical problems and explain why 3D gaming hasn't evolved since then (with titles like Devil May Cry and Dark Souls immediately drawing inspiration from it). With that sacred cow business out of the way, it becomes easy to understand why someone wouldn't care about how much a game sold or what an unworthy circle of published critics thought of it.
Or even other Zeldae. Kind of like how FF7 is held up to a pedestal irrespective of other JRPGs. Yeah, I went there... again.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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My second thought: that's a lot of words to say "I really only liked the first two Zelda games, and am annoyed that Nintendo doesn't make 8-bit style Zelda games anymore."
But people like different things about them. On the whole "it was tough to survive" stance, firstly you were <=25 years younger but that aside I do wonder why Nintendo didn't keep Nazo no Murasemejo going as a action based alternative (or bring it back and no a camero in Samurai Warriors 3 does not count). At the very least I seriously struggle to survive in that game, there is so much going on and ninjas, ninjas everywhere...

Then again I also think of the entirely puzzle based Marvelous. This is giving me crazy ideas for a Zelda split into chapters or maybe some sort of dual world with the player unable to fight in one and the other pretty much being combat.

Zelda needs to feel less... mechanical?

I mean make the transitions more seemless. I freaking hate 3d link's opening door animation. The loading between rooms and scenes all feel way too long.
This all the way. Feels like I'm playing a game from the 90s. I was just "are your QC guys just a bunch of yesmen?" at a very early part of Skyward Sword that had its flow ruined by it
The bit where you're chasing Fi and the music is playing, until you walk outside and bam white screen of silence for two seconds, at the very least keep the music playing during the transition rather than kill the atmosphere

Log4Girlz said:
They should have added pegasus boots to give you infinite sprint.
Leg or boot upgrades they could have been. You need 5 Bubkin legs to start...
 

OMT

Neo Member
Apr 25, 2011
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Though a bit overblown, I think that there's a good point to be had here. The best part of Skyward Sword, in my opinion, was the
mook gauntlet
, because for a moment, it stopped seeming like a game, and got me feeling like I was a guy with a sword taking on the world.

Up to that point, I had been very frustrated with Skyward Sword, because it seemed so intent on being a pointing game that just happened to involve swords, instead of feeling like you were a swordsman. This, of course, was inevitable in some way (becoming a competent swordsman requires years of training), but I think Nintendo was a bit heavy-handed in its implementation.

The corridor-based game design didn't help much either - the game could have used an open area in which you could just randomly kill enemies to improve your skills. This might even be coupled with a cash-based progress barrier (like the procurement of the flippers in LttP) where novice players have to explore and train for some time, while more experienced players would already be keen to potential hidden treasure sources. I think that goes to the core of what the author's saying - progress barriers don't feel natural in latter games, and surpassing them isn't as fun as it could be.
 
Oct 27, 2011
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Right. I want them to re use assets. If there's any game franchise that deserves to re use the gorgeous assets for a sequel, it's fucking Zelda.



But I'm always rolling in other 3D Zeldas!

OOT has backwalk and Epona.
MM has Epona, bunny hood and Goron roll.
WW has rolling.
TP has rolling and Epona.

I like rolling, damn it!
That was my biggest beef with SS. I hated the fact they limited my rolling abilities.
 
May 31, 2009
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That was my biggest beef with SS. I hated the fact they limited my rolling abilities.
Dark Souls has a stamina bar that drains when you run/roll/attack as well, but even LEVEL 1 stamina lasts longer than SS's, which is supposed to last you the entire game.

I think when it comes to puzzle solving and combat, a stamina bar is a great thing. But for simple movement? Not so much.
 
Feb 19, 2007
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Or even other Zeldae. Kind of like how FF7 is held up to a pedestal irrespective of other JRPGs. Yeah, I went there... again.
You seem to be taking a lot of pride from merely stating your opinion.

I have my gripes with the series despite the fact that I really like each game, but none of them involve whatever that guy's trying to say. Also, it's not like we're getting loads of games that are similar to modern Zelda games.

Great read. As a Zelda fan who has experienced all the games in thier own time, I must say this man is spot on.
Is this supposed to make your opinion more valid or something? I'm in the same position regarding when I played the games, yet I don't agree with this writer's view.
 
Sep 10, 2006
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It's really all in the details. Using the word "saving" might be too strong, but there definitely needs to be a different director. Practically everything about the series can remain intact actually, it's just a matter of execution that needs to be changed.
Fujibayashi (from Minish Cap) was the director of Skyward Sword, not Aunouma.

And RDR - immersive overworld? Thanks for the lulz. Great game, but thanks for the lulz.

 

PantherLotus

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Jul 4, 2006
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I will say (admittedly not having played the new one on the Wii), of the 3D Zeldas, Wind Waker is my favorite. Going back to the article in question, the beautiful graphics are only part of the reason -- it's also the most explorable. It's barren, but still.

The key/lock key/lock key/lock thing is at the root of all adventure games, but his point, I think, is that they've been too straight-forward. The old 2D ones would have you traipsing across Hyrule with your new 'key' to unlock that thing you saw right at the beginning of the game. Is it like that now?
 
May 3, 2006
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You seem to be taking a lot of pride from merely stating your opinion.

I have my gripes with the series despite the fact that I really like each game, but none of them involve whatever that guy's trying to say. Also, it's not like we're getting loads of games that are similar to modern Zelda games.
Eh, not really. Just lampshading how it's not the first time, and how I realize I'm pushing a few buttons. Guess I didn't go with the right phrase.
 

MisterHero

Super Member
Jul 24, 2007
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I will say (admittedly not having played the new one on the Wii), of the 3D Zeldas, Wind Waker is my favorite. Going back to the article in question, the beautiful graphics are only part of the reason -- it's also the most explorable. It's barren, but still.

The key/lock key/lock key/lock thing is at the root of all adventure games, but his point, I think, is that they've been too straight-forward. The old 2D ones would have you traipsing across Hyrule with your new 'key' to unlock that thing you saw right at the beginning of the game. Is it like that now?
SS has a lot more self-contained challenges, but still has secrets you can can find in old areas.

I know Phantom Hourglass had you traversing between certain islands to get/use "keys". People didn't like that part though. :p
 
Dec 7, 2011
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Fujibayashi (from Minish Cap) was the director of Skyward Sword, not Aunouma.

And RDR - immersive overworld? Thanks for the lulz. Great game, but thanks for the lulz.

It's the setting of the game. Zelda won't be taking place in a vast desert. But point is that the whole "it's not possible to make open-world games in this day and age" argument is wrong.
 
Jul 21, 2009
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I am also one of the guys who likes all modern Zelda games.

And I personally won't understand the items as keys thing. You need the raft to get to Dungeon 4 in Zelda 1. You need the ladder to complete dungeons 5 and 7. You need the arrow to defeat Gohma and the Ocarina to defeat Digdogger. And Zelda 2 is also like that. You can't see anything in the caves, get the lamp first! You can't reach the platform, you need a higher jump! In every Zelda, the items act like keys. The difference is to find out which "key" you have to use in that situation.

And exploration? Zelda 1 clearly offers the most exploration, even though just the first three dungeons are explorable in any order from the beginning. But the other Zeldas are quite good when it comes to exploration.
Majoras Mask had tons of secrets, I think it has even more than any other Zelda game.
Wind Waker had 49 isles and you only visit like 20 of them for the story. T
wilight Princess had 4 big caves and finding these caves actually were one of my most favorite parts of this game. And still, there are many areas you can only reach through items in Hyrule Field, like the top of Hylia Bridge.
Skyward Sword, unfortunately, subverted it somewhat. The areas are more complex than in all previous 3D games, yet there is barely anything to find that wasn't story-related. The sky would've been great if there would've been several treasures already "unlocked". Still, you don't have to go to most of the bigger isles and I know that there are several areas in Skyward Sword, especially the volcano I haven't explored on my first playthough. Still, it feels like there is less exploration than in the previous ones. But it is there.

Btw: Is there a Workshop for the next Zelda? I want to see what everyone wants to see in the new Zelda. I already had a case where someone complained that he wants innovation in new Zeldas, and when Skyward Sword came out he suddenly complained that it was too different and the previous Zeldas had enough innovation.
 
Mar 16, 2011
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It is like this guy is discovering the act of dissecting how a game is designed for the first time in his life. He should apply his new found knowledge to other games and he will be equally amazed at how things break down.
 
Nov 8, 2010
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I thought this was going to be a critique on the games all using the "rescue the damsel in distress" trope.
Lol you actually expected an obsessive fan to display a real critical analysis on the series, rather than the usual thinly veiled bitching about how the series isn't evolving in the way he expected it to?

What this guy does is selling his own vision of the Legend of Zelda as some superior and insightfull analysis on how to turn the game into something he would like.
He showcases such an enormous lack of critical awareness that it's hard not to laugh at this.
 
May 31, 2009
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Btw: Is there a Workshop for the next Zelda? I want to see what everyone wants to see in the new Zelda. I already had a case where someone complained that he wants innovation in new Zeldas, and when Skyward Sword came out he suddenly complained that it was too different and the previous Zeldas had enough innovation.
Impossible. Everyone has a wildly different opinion on these games. Your favorite Zelda is probably hated by many other Zelda fans, and vice versa. Your favorite aspect of the games are probably hated by other Zelda fans too.

It's a mess. Really.


In conclusion, the next Zelda should be more like Dark Souls ;)
 
Jul 2, 2007
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Modern Zeldas do not offer worlds. They offer elaborate contraptions reskinned with a nature theme, a giant nest of interconnected locks. A lock is not only something opened with a silver key. A grapple point is a lock; a hookshot is the key. A cracked rock wall is a lock; a bomb is the key. That wondrous array of items you collect is little more than a building manager&#8217;s jangly keyring.
Almost everything in Zelda has a discrete purpose, a tedious teleology. When it all snaps into place, some call this good design. I call it brittle, overdetermined, pale. It&#8217;s the work of a singleminded god, a world bled of wonder.
This how adventure work. This is even how stories work. It's all about problem-solving to continue a path. Its the same for Guybrush, Macbeth or Wall-E: they encounter a problem (a lock) and need a sulution (a key) to continue the way to there goal. You can ask for multiple-keys or problems, where you need just one sulation to continue. You also could ask how they present a key or lock, how much they help you to find a key or if you even can regenoize a lock by encountering it. Or what about false key or destroyable keys. You could ask for a lot difference thinks, but if you want an adventure then they will always be about locks and keys!

In conclusion, the next Zelda should be more like Dark Souls ;)
Everybody seen to want this, even so there is already a game like Dark Souls out there. It's called Dark Soul.