Saving Zelda -an in depth critique of the LoZ series

Dec 21, 2011
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I actually agree with him. Zelda is really good at painting the illusion that it's very big, when really it's quite linear. I think he's spot-on when it comes to exposing how the puzzles are really the same thing as finding the shapes that fit snug into the hole; hookshot does this, arrows do this, etc. The games hardly have any real puzzles, and the combat these days is too easy to make up for it, unlike Zelda 1. (I disagree about Zelda 2 though; I really don't like that game).
 
Mar 13, 2009
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Terrible critique. But what would I know? In my life, food, air, and water are the three keys I need to get to the next level. Clearly I'm doing it wrong.

here we go again.

person #53985689345 is sick of Zelda games. news at 11.
And he will still buy every single one.

Double space after period = no read.
Double space is best space. Single space is disgusting.
 
Jun 25, 2005
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The first thing Nintendo needs to do, is ignore all the escaped mental patients who demand that it needs to be [Okami/Darksiders/God of War/Ico/Shadow of the Colossus/Oblivion/Skyrim/Uncharted/Demon's Souls/Dark Souls/Insert Flavor of the Month].
 
Oct 23, 2011
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The first thing Nintendo needs to do, is ignore all the escaped mental patients who demand that it needs to be [Okami/Darksiders/God of War/Ico/Shadow of the Colossus/Oblivion/Skyrim/Uncharted/Demon's Souls/Dark Souls/Insert Flavor of the Month].
...I think it's downright impossible to make absolutely any criticism of the series without people jumping up and down ranting that all you want to do is turn the game into Okami/Darksiders/God of War/Ico/Shadow of the Colossus/Oblivion/Skyrim/Uncharted/Demon's Souls/Dark Souls/Insert Flavor of the Month.

Doesn't really foster a good discussion.
 
Nov 7, 2011
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How to save a multi million selling franchise:

Don't let the fans touch any part of development.
Exactly, the last time Nintendo tried to cater to the fans Twilight Princess happened, a calculated, dull & soulless game that tried to be OOT 2 for those that didn't like how "kiddy" Wind Waker was. I love Zelda, but couldn't bring myself to like TP. With Skyward Sword it seemed like there was an artistic vision again and it shows, it's the first Zelda since Majora's Mask that felt really fresh and original to me.
Nintendo need to ignore the fans and do what they want, the Zelda fanbase is so divided that every game is the best to some and the worst to others.
 

Principate

Saint Titanfall
Dec 17, 2011
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The whole saving Zelda and evolution of Zelda business is a farce. OOT was considered to be at the time and even now one of best games an extremely large group of gamers have ever played. This by its nature brings several negative connotations. Everyone wants its sequel to be again the best games they've ever played, but everyone’s vision of their best game is completely different. There is NO way to fix the Zelda series as it was impossibility to begin with. Everyone can agree on what's a good game but it's very hard to discern the overall best. There will always be an extremely large amount of people that will dislike a heck of a lot on what is currently considered to be the best let alone something that may not be the best (like everything is) and may not have had the same impact on them as it's predecessors which at this point would probably be impossible to do. So regardless of what Nintendo does with Zelda from now on their will always be an insane amount of bitching.

The best Nintendo can do is create the very best game they can and innovate in ways they consider to be necessary, which they have been doing, practically all the 3D Zelda's very good games they may not be the "perfection" some people are wanting it to be but they’re good games none the less. Should Nintendo continue to innovate on the series like they have, yes, should they do it more drastic ways, yes, like they have and will continue to do so. The series isn't broken it's people's perception of it that is.
 

rar

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Aug 12, 2009
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The best Nintendo can do is create the very best game they can and innovate in ways they consider to be necessary, which they have been doing, practically all the 3D Zelda's very good games they may not be the "perfection" some people are wanting it to be but they’re good games none the less. Should Nintendo continue to innovate on the series like they have, yes, should they do it more drastic ways, yes, like they have and will continue to do so. The series isn't broken it's people's perception of it that is.
so i should be happy to have another "good" game, even if it has the same linear structure, same boring combat, same uninteresting story - basically all the same flaws as the one before it

sorry i can't, i have this crazy idea that sequels should improve on the things that their predecessors did poorly

i understand that they're changing the series enough for you, but i have the opposite opinion. my perception of the series isn't "broken"
 

Principate

Saint Titanfall
Dec 17, 2011
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so i should be happy to have another "good" game, even if it has the same linear structure, same boring combat, same uninteresting story - basically all the same flaws as the one before it

sorry i can't, i have this crazy idea that sequels should improve on the things that their predecessors did poorly
Yeah and that's the point that's YOUR view, I'm not saying it's wrong, but demanding the game should be like your conceptions of what the game should be like doesn't validate the view.

I personally would prefer it be more open, world in fact I'd love it to be the case. i just simply don't care as long as it's a good game. You can't please everyone, especially with a series as critically acclaimed as this which produces unnatural expectations.
 
May 31, 2009
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The first thing Nintendo needs to do, is ignore all the escaped mental patients who demand that it needs to be [Okami/Darksiders/God of War/Ico/Shadow of the Colossus/Oblivion/Skyrim/Uncharted/Demon's Souls/Dark Souls/Insert Flavor of the Month].
I could say the next Zelda needs better combat, a higher difficulty, more RPG elements, a dense, connected overworld and no tedious fetch quests.

But it's much easier to say more like Dark Souls. I'm not saying it needs to be Dark Souls. I just think Dark Souls does so much right and that Nintendo should take some fucking notes instead of traveling down the bizarre road they've gone down starting with Wind Waker.


but nah, zelda is perfect and nintendo is flawless and all other games suck.
 

rar

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Aug 12, 2009
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Yeah and that's the point that's YOUR view, I'm not saying it's wrong, but demanding the game should be like your conceptions of what the game should be like doesn't validate the view.
i'm not demanding anything or trying to validate my view. i'm just saying what it would take for me to enjoy another zelda game. so don't call my perception of the series broken because it's not
 

Principate

Saint Titanfall
Dec 17, 2011
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i'm not demanding anything or trying to validate my view. i'm just saying what it would take for me to enjoy another zelda game. so don't call my perception of the series broken because it's not
I'm not noone has incorrect views of the series, and the series certainly has several flaws. The issue is people moaning till the sun goes down for the series, to be perfectly in line with their tastes which is fine for any game, they just do it far too much as well as demanding it must become their perfect game in order to be truly successful. This isn't everyone nor even most people but there's varying degree's of this belief in many people. Hence the constant bitching that goes on with it.
 
May 3, 2006
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I actually agree with him. Zelda is really good at painting the illusion that it's very big, when really it's quite linear. I think he's spot-on when it comes to exposing how the puzzles are really the same thing as finding the shapes that fit snug into the hole; hookshot does this, arrows do this, etc. The games hardly have any real puzzles, and the combat these days is too easy to make up for it, unlike Zelda 1. (I disagree about Zelda 2 though; I really don't like that game).
Zelda II has some of the best combat in the series.
 
May 4, 2007
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Meh, Skyward Sword is a very good game held back a lot by technical limitations.

TP was a borderline great game held back by being delayed and ported into an inferior control scheme.

There's nothing fundamentally broken with the Zelda series, unless it's that past entries have been so close to perfect that they make anything less seem unacceptable.
 
Jun 18, 2005
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I'd much rather harp on "peripheral issues". The "core" isn't broken; it's my favorite core design of them all. The shell is broken. Nintendo is so concerned that idiots might not know how to play their game that they've ruined the experience for the rest of us.
 

Kai Dracon

Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
Jun 7, 2004
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...I think it's downright impossible to make absolutely any criticism of the series without people jumping up and down ranting that all you want to do is turn the game into Okami/Darksiders/God of War/Ico/Shadow of the Colossus/Oblivion/Skyrim/Uncharted/Demon's Souls/Dark Souls/Insert Flavor of the Month.

Doesn't really foster a good discussion.
Yet isn't that the kind of exhausted attitude you'll find, when so many people do say, effectively, "Zelda is uncool now that I like <insert different game>, Zelda should be like this game that isn't really Zelda."

The problem, as I see it, is that one of Nintendo's strengths once upon a time, was that they focused purely on creating extremely high quality games regardless of trends, fashion, or flavors of the week. They were, and by some people still are, lauded with remembering how to make good games, by not just making another grey-brown yearly first person shooter series, or generic sports games, or whatever else is often cited as demonstrations of the rest of the industry being creatively bankrupt.

I'm not saying all Zelda criticisms miss the point, but a lot do. It's no different from when people actually still say "Nintendo is kiddy and should make matoor games", ignoring the basic premise that Nintendo's bread and butter is making all-ages games that are neither "kiddy" nor "matoor".

I can't shake the feeling that a lot of gamers who try a Zelda game shiver and reel back from something that isn't unmistakably (and stereotypically) Big AAA Western game, then say "Zelda is old and uncool. Take this series behind the barn and shoot it! Who would want to play this?" They don't have a really objective criticism of the series' fundamentals, but it's not trendy with the targeted 20-30 year old male gamer crowd, so it's got to go.

So sure. A lot of people sigh and headdesk when a Zelda gripe session starts. I guess it doesn't foster great conversation, but I see where it's coming from.

The irony here is that I think the article that started this thread DOES actually make a sincere effort at critiquing Zelda as Zelda, not whining why-isn't-Zelda-like-Skyrim-god-I-hate-reading-text-is-so-N64.

I think the author is attacking it from somewhat the wrong angle and trying too hard to justify why he doesn't want to play 3D Zelda games. But at least he's not someone who just thinks "Nintendo is so lame, why can't they be cool like Bioware".


I'd much rather harp on "peripheral issues". The "core" isn't broken; it's my favorite core design of them all. The shell is broken. Nintendo is so concerned that idiots might not know how to play their game that they've ruined the experience for the rest of us.
I feel here is where the real conversation about Zelda lay. Zelda's core design is so timeless and strong that other developers are still studying it intensely after all these years and trying to copy it piecemeal or wholesale (*waves at Darksiders*).

IMO here's what really bothers people about Zelda today:

1. It doesn't have high tech HD graphics.

2. It doesn't have western style presentation, aka epic but edgy tryhard cut scenes, wall to wall voice acting, hyper stylish UI.

3. Its storytelling, even with Skyward Sword's evolution (and it is evolved) is still too "teh kiddy". Translation: it's Pixar. People want Skyrim Goathead Berserker Screaming at Motherfucking Dragons.

4. It's paranoid about people being overwhelmed by playing a long and complex adventure with multi-faceted puzzles, and so holds the player's hand every step of the way to the point that it hampers the experience.

Hmm....

I know what the single truly important item on this this is.
 
Nov 7, 2011
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I could say the next Zelda needs better combat, a higher difficulty, more RPG elements, a dense, connected overworld and no tedious fetch quests.

But it's much easier to say more like Dark Souls. I'm not saying it needs to be Dark Souls. I just think Dark Souls does so much right and that Nintendo should take some fucking notes instead of traveling down the bizarre road they've gone down starting with Wind Waker.


but nah, zelda is perfect and nintendo is flawless and all other games suck.
Dark Souls does so much right because it has so little to do right - it's a very minimalist concept, the game only consists of exploration and combat. There also is no narrative so the game can be much more open from the start.
A Zelda game is a lot more complex and has many more aspects to combine in its design, and everyone has a different view of which aspects should be given priority over others (huge world vs small & dense; open vs linear; heavy on story vs no story; more action vs less action; dark & gritty vs bright & colorful; more difficulty vs less difficulty; focus on puzzles or exploration etc.), so making one everyone likes is impossible.
Thus, saying Zelda should be like Dark Souls is too easy IMO.
 
Dec 5, 2008
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I don't know why it seems like Zelda it's expected to be loved by everyone it makes no sense. No game is loved by everyone but only Zelda gets shit about it. Every game franchise has a staple gameplay that more or less is the same in every entry, why Zelda should be different? Why should Zelda drastically change? Last time I checked they still sell a lot and are more or less loved (lol gamespot)

OOT like Mario 64 was loved by everyone because of the novelty of it, imo. I think every 3D Zelda since has been easily better than OOT (likewise for the Mario games) but if someone doesn't like the core gameplay of Zelda they should simply play other games. I don't see this cry for change for other big franchises. Mario somehow has managed to keep on being loved by everyone but that's impossible to expect.

For the record, despite being a huge Nintendo fan, I'm not in love with Zelda. I like Metroid, Kirby, FE, DK and other "secondary" Nintendo franchises over Zelda I still like Zelda but I've never considered them the "best games eevr" that's why no one will agree with what I said about OOT, lol.

ALSO.I strongly disagree with anyone who says Zelda needs more RPG elements, no thanks.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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Yet isn't that the kind of exhausted attitude you'll find, when so many people do say, effectively, "Zelda is uncool now that I like <insert different game>, Zelda should be like this game that isn't really Zelda."

The problem, as I see it, is that one of Nintendo's strengths once upon a time, was that they focused purely on creating extremely high quality games regardless of trends, fashion, or flavors of the week. They were, and by some people still are, lauded with remembering how to make good games, by not just making another grey-brown yearly first person shooter series, or generic sports games, or whatever else is often cited as demonstrations of the rest of the industry being creatively bankrupt.

I'm not saying all Zelda criticisms miss the point, but a lot do. It's no different from when people actually still say "Nintendo is kiddy and should make matoor games", ignoring the basic premise that Nintendo's bread and butter is making all-ages games that are neither "kiddy" nor "matoor".

I can't shake the feeling that a lot of gamers who try a Zelda game shiver and reel back from something that isn't unmistakably (and stereotypically) Big AAA Western game, then say "Zelda is old and uncool. Take this series behind the barn and shoot it! Who would want to play this?" They don't have a really objective criticism of the series' fundamentals, but it's not trendy with the targeted 20-30 year old male gamer crowd, so it's got to go.

So sure. A lot of people sigh and headdesk when a Zelda gripe session starts. I guess it doesn't foster great conversation, but I see where it's coming from.

The irony here is that I think the article that started this thread DOES actually make a sincere effort at critiquing Zelda as Zelda, not whining why-isn't-Zelda-like-Skyrim-god-I-hate-reading-text-is-so-N64.

I think the author is attacking it from somewhat the wrong angle and trying too hard to justify why he doesn't want to play 3D Zelda games. But at least he's not someone who just thinks "Nintendo is so lame, why can't they be cool like Bioware".
I do agree with you're saying in general. I understand quite a few critiques are completely unfounded and frankly simply stupid, but like you said this article in particular made several good points (though had some faults of its own as well) for judging Zelda as Zelda for the most part.

What I was responding to are the posts in this topic (like the one I originally quoted) who claim that every criticism at Zelda (like the article) is invalid because they want it to be something else, even if this article avoids doing that for the most part. There's no point in dismissing critiques like this.
 

rar

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Aug 12, 2009
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I'm not noone has incorrect views of the series, and the series certainly has several flaws. The issue is people moaning till the sun goes down for the series, to be perfectly in line with their tastes which is fine for any game, they just do it far too much as well as demanding it must become their perfect game in order to be truly successful.
where exactly are these people claiming it has to match all their expectations for it to be successful? i'm pretty sure everyone knows zelda games sell well. also i don't see how you interpret people making some posts about how they'd like zelda to change as people whining, bitching, or demanding. we're just disappointed in the direction (or lack of it) that the series is taking and expressing our views. it's a fucking forum, that's what people do. put some people on ignore if it bothers you that much, or better yet, don't read this thread
 
Jan 19, 2010
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Zelda should feel like a goddamn adventure. That feeling is mostly gone in the latest iterations of the series.

Nintendo needs to put a new director in charge of it.
 
Jun 12, 2005
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I like his criticisms. But most of it is just nostalgia. He says how great it was to have to burn every plant and bomb every rock in Zelda 1 to find hidden doors. And that Zeldas should be hard like the first two. And like the first two they should just plop you down in the world with a generic "Save Zelda" message and let you figure out the rest.

Unfortunately we live in a different era of games and 25 years+ of general game evolution will not be reversed. All those features were typical of most games of the time. He means well but the Zelda series and games in general have moved on and he'll just have to realize he is an old-school gamer and deal with it.
 
May 31, 2009
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Dark Souls does so much right because it has so little to do right - it's a very minimalist concept, the game only consists of exploration and combat. There also is no narrative so the game can be much more open from the start.
A Zelda game is a lot more complex and has many more aspects to combine in its design, and everyone has a different view of which aspects should be given priority over others (huge world vs small & dense; open vs linear; heavy on story vs no story; more action vs less action; dark & gritty vs bright & colorful; more difficulty vs less difficulty; focus on puzzles or exploration etc.), so making one everyone likes is impossible.
Thus, saying Zelda should be like Dark Souls is too easy IMO.
Yeah, Zelda is probably more complex when it comes to the sheer number of gameplay aspects involved. There is no way every Zelda fan is going to be happy. Ever. But I guess for me, those two aspects where Dark Souls shines (combat and exploration) really makes me wish Nintendo would take notes. I'm a huge Zelda II fan, so I suppose that makes sense.

I didn't use a shield for the entirety of Skyward Sword. I think that is a problem that is easily fixed. Make it so parrying is actually important. Make it so using a shield during combat is actually required, or you're going to have one hell of a time dealing with the enemies in the game. Make it so enemies don't just run up to you and start circling around you, waiting for you to wail on them. I don't think that's too much to ask for.

That final boss in SS could have been a mini boss in the third dungeon. It's seriously one of the easiest final bosses in Zelda history once you figure out what you have to do.

Zelda should feel like a goddamn adventure. That feeling is mostly gone in the latest iterations of the series.

Nintendo needs to put a new director in charge of it.
They need to bring back Yoshiaki Koizumi.
 
Apr 27, 2011
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Unfortunately we live in a different era of games and 25 years+ of general game evolution will not be reversed. All those features were typical of most games of the time. He means well but the Zelda series and games in general have moved on and he'll just have to realize he is an old-school gamer and deal with it.
Just because the games are old does not mean the ideas are outdated. This 'it's just nostalgia' crap isn't going to fly. I played Wind Waker before I ever touched the first game. I don't even care for it that much, but I can say it has something that is sorely missing today. You don't have to have childhood love for a game to know it's strengths.
 
May 3, 2006
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Just because the games are old does not mean the ideas are outdated. This 'it's just nostalgia' crap isn't going to fly. I played Wind Waker before I ever touched the first game. I don't even care for it that much, but I can say it has something that is sorely missing today. You don't have to have childhood love for a game to know it's strengths.
Agreed.

I'd like the oldies with a little more contemporary mechanics/play balance (not to be confused with hand holding).
 
Jan 19, 2010
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The guy talks about that one battle in Wind Waker where the enemies surround you and you just have to wail on everything around you until they're all dead.

That was fucking amazing.

There should be about 10 battles like that in every dungeon.
 
Nov 14, 2008
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The Zelda setting and repeated story arc has gotten beyond stale to me. Give me Wind Waker over every other Zelda sans aLttP. Actually Nintendo, I'd buy a 3DS just for a true sequel to Wind Waker with non touch controls
Now, while I love Wind Waker and think its an excellent game, I fail to see how the story arc in Wind Waker is different from that of other Zeldas

In Wind Waker you're still collecting three items, you get the master sword and you fight Ganondorf at the end. Seems similar to quite a few other Zelda titles.
 
Feb 2, 2005
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I totally agree with just about everything in that article.
Same here, he hit the nail squarely on the head.

There are a few very minor details with which I disagree, but his main points are absolutely spot-on. The first Zelda will remain one of my all-time favorite games, but I can't ever see myself replaying Skyward Sword.

I still think Retro needs a shot at a Zelda game. I know most people respond to that suggestion with "lol no" in their minds, but they have proven they know how to keep the spirit of older Nintendo franchises intact, even while altering something as fundamental as the perspective (Metroid Prime). In my view, it's almost impossible for them to make a Zelda worse than (or even remotely as bad as) Skyward Sword.
 
Jan 19, 2012
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The guy talks about that one battle in Wind Waker where the enemies surround you and you just have to wail on everything around you until they're all dead.

That was fucking amazing.

There should be about 10 battles like that in every dungeon.

Truth spoken.


The Zelda setting and repeated story arc has gotten beyond stale to me. Give me Wind Waker over every other Zelda sans aLttP. Actually Nintendo, I'd buy a 3DS just for a true sequel to Wind Waker with non touch controls
Also this.
 

Nemo

Will Eat Your Children
Sep 10, 2007
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I'm playing OoT for the first time to completion (3DS version, just got lens of truth) and I definitely feel it has some faults and design choices I don't like, part of it comes from having this big open and free world (which in turn makes it possible to explore tons of things). Also some of the time travel stuff makes it fall apart actually...
 
Feb 2, 2012
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I don't see why anyone want the next Zelda to be more like Dark Souls.
Combat? No. In fact I think the biggest change I want to see is a new system that replaces lock on.
Atmosphere? No. I agree Dark Souls has great atmosphere, but not the atmosphere Zelda should have. Zelda needs more of a Kokiri Village vibe next time around.
Level design? No thank you. Skyward Sword's dungeons were perfect. As for the overworld I love the puzzle elements, there just needs to be more geography in between, with things to discover placed accordingly.
 
Jan 3, 2008
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Just because the games are old does not mean the ideas are outdated. This 'it's just nostalgia' crap isn't going to fly. I played Wind Waker before I ever touched the first game. I don't even care for it that much, but I can say it has something that is sorely missing today. You don't have to have childhood love for a game to know it's strengths.

Starting out with an open world is the only thing I like about Zelda 1. LTTP was more fun to play through to me and the current Zelda games hold their own pretty good.

I wouldn't mind a new Zelda with a world that starts out open and has less story like Zelda 1 ,but it doesn't mean the game is broken by not taking that path.
 
Aug 10, 2010
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I don't understand this trend of every action/RPG-like game needing to be like Demon's/Dark Souls, especially Zelda. They're completely different kinds of games.

I think the only thing Nintendo needs to do with the Zelda franchise at most is switch up some key people working on it. They definitely don't need to listen to the fans because Zelda fans spout off some of the dumbest shit in the gaming community.