Saving Zelda -an in depth critique of the LoZ series

He doesn't like how everything fits together? The fuck? Isn't that a mark of excellent game design?
He doesn't like how everything fits together for an adventure game. When a game's "dungeons" are so completely sterile and rigidly designed there's zero sense of adventure. Zelda started off as a game heavy on the exploration and sense of discovery but has now been distilled to fitting perfect little pegs to perfect little holes.
 
They definitely don't need to listen to the fans because Zelda fans spout off some of the dumbest shit in the gaming community.
very true. just keep doing their thing. I have a feeling the overworld in SS was an experiment tbh. they had a weak system to work on, and i really think they will expand on the concepts for the Wii U with a more open field a la TP, but with things to explore and brighter colors.

For the record, imo: Zelda N64 > SS > Zelda GCN
 
It sounds like this guy got off the Zelda train a long time ago. If you only like two or three games in a dozen-game series, can you really call yourself a fan?

I doubt gamers would accept something like Zelda 1 today. Even "open world" games now have copious hand-holding to make sure no one spends too long going the wrong direction or just feels lost. Dark Souls uses impassable obstacles to funnel you along, while Skyrim places beacons on your minimap so you never need explore at all unless the mood takes you. Contrast that to the original Zelda, which literally plopped you down outside a cave with a wooden sword in it and said, "have at it." Even most of us who played/loved that game don't really want another one, though we may want something "like" it. Maybe modern Zelda games have gone too far towards being cinematic puzzle games. Someone mentioned Portal earlier in the thread, and that seems like a surprisingly apt comparison to me. Zelda hasn't gone quite that far down the "solve a puzzle, enjoy a story element" route just yet, but that's definitely the direction it's headed.

The only 3D Zelda with any appreciable exploration or sense of scale to the overworld is Wind Waker (coincidentally, my favorite 3D Zelda), but those exploration elements are also its most controversial features. People complain that it takes forever to get around, and that the Tri Forks hunt--the part when the game stops telling you exactly where to go--is insufferable. I would love to see another Zelda game that emphasizes exploration again, and we'll probably get one some day. In the meantime, Skyward Sword is pretty great, too.

I appreciate that Zelda games do change over time and try different things. It's okay to opine that Zelda has gone too far in one direction or another, or even that it should learn from other, similar games. However, arguing that Zelda should abandon much of the identity it's built for itself since Link to the Past seems fruitless. Your best bet for another Zelda 2 at this point is just to play Dark Souls.
 
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.
No Z targeting? That's going to be tough from a camera perspective.

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.
So... non threatening and feeling like you're at home? Really, Dark Souls reminded me of the Zelda I overworld and Dark World in LTTP. That's a good thing. Everything is in ruins thanks to Ganon. It really makes you feel like the hero. I never got that vibe from Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword.

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.
I wouldn't call them perfect, but dungeons 3,4 and 5 were definitely some of my favorite Zelda dungeons of all time. I'm not worried about dungeons when it comes to Zelda. They've almost always been fantastic, and even with all the things Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword did wrong, I always thought the dungeons were some of the best. It's everything else that I've had a problem with... pacing, overworld, story, characters, sidequests, difficulty. All down hill since Wind Waker.
 
It sounds like this guy got off the Zelda train a long time ago. If you only like two or three games in a dozen-game series, can you really call yourself a fan?
I'm gonna stop you right there. What is this weird logic that you can't criticize things you love? I have enjoyed every Zelda since WW, when I got on the train, but that does not mean I can't be critical of the series. If I didn't care about it, I would just pick another series and get on with it.
 
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.
I'm with you here.

I want to see EAD 3 taking a break from Zelda with either Retro Studios or EAD Tokyo 2 (or both) making the next entry in the series.
 
dark souls and demon's souls are great templates for a more mature zelda oriented game.

I never understood why there wasn't a separate team making a more grown up version of zelda to satisfy that audience.
 
dark souls and demon's souls are great templates for a more mature zelda oriented game.

I never understood why there wasn't a team making a more grown up version of zelda to satisfy that audience.
Because Zelda games are for the same 7-15 year old children audience they've always been aimed at.
 
So 7-15 year olds have become much worse at videogames over the past 25 years?

Some Nintendo-developed NES and SNES games still kick my ass.
I was pretty obviously talking about aesthetics (i.e. "mature" Zelda), not difficulty. (And LttP is pretty easy, and the difficulty in Zelda 1 is mostly artificial)
 
dark souls and demon's souls are great templates for a more mature zelda oriented game.

I never understood why there wasn't a team making a more grown up version of zelda to satisfy that audience.
Nintendo generally makes games that have an all ages appeal and tend to stand tests of time. Making a "mature" and "grown up" Zelda (in the way that people that use terms like "mature" and "grown up" when describing video games would want) will only create a very narrow audience for the game and the game will probably make that very narrow audience cringe with douche chills a few years down the line when they look back at what they thought was "mature" and "grown up" at the time.
 
Nintendo generally makes games that have an all ages appeal and tend to stand tests of time. Making a "mature" and "grown up" Zelda (in the way that people that use terms like "mature" and "grown up" when describing video games would want) will only create a very narrow audience for the game and the game will probably make that very narrow audience cringe with douche chills a few years down the line when they look back at what they thought was "mature" and "grown up" at the time.
maybe we're not on the same page when discussing what "mature" and "grown up" means then

If I'm going to fight a huge powerful boss, as an adult, I don't want it to give me a goofy smile when I hit it until it's dazed with stars hovering around it's head. And I don't want a fairy jumping out telling me where the weak spot is and what to do.

I want bosses that strike fear into the player, doesn't hold your hand, and doesn't have cute sense of humor when you are trying to stab it until it dies

blood and gore are optional
 
the biggest thing this article articulated to me is how much of a terrible a writer i am. Dang some people just have a cohesive flow.
If you don't write like this tool, you're probably a fine writer. Running every word through a thesaurus is not the mark of a great writer, or even a good writer. The excerpt in the first post reads like something the writer reads back and masturbates to.
 
Nintendo generally makes games that have an all ages appeal and tend to stand tests of time. Making a "mature" and "grown up" Zelda (in the way that people that use terms like "mature" and "grown up" when describing video games would want) will only create a very narrow audience for the game and the game will probably make that very narrow audience cringe with douche chills a few years down the line when they look back at what they thought was "mature" and "grown up" at the time.
This is such a weird stance, considering how Ocarina of Time was pretty morbid and terrifying at times. Wallmasters, Dead Hand, Redeads, the happy little Castle Market being savagely destroyed, blood on the walls, otherworldy chanting, skeleton hands reaching out serving as platforms, rotting skeletons ripping off the ground in the middle of the night, people dying right in front of your eyes, the list goes on. And what do you know, it didn't create any "narrow audiences" at all.

Nobody wants a gory dudebro experience. We just don't want a happy, whimsical little adventure. Actually, we might if it's like the first half of Ocarina of time as young Link, only for the game to turn completely dark like what happened when you turn into adult Link. That's a perfectly mature Zelda that's nothing like what you're complaining about.

And let's not even get into Majora's Mask. Half that game was pure nightmare fuel.
 
dark souls and demon's souls are great templates for a more mature zelda oriented game.

I never understood why there wasn't a separate team making a more grown up version of zelda to satisfy that audience.
They're not at all great templates for Zelda. They're completely different kinds of games with different kinds of audiences and goals. This idea that Zelda needs to "grow up" is unneeded and contrary to the spirit of Zelda.


So 7-15 year olds have become much worse at videogames over the past 25 years?

Some Nintendo-developed NES and SNES games still kick my ass.
I hate this mentality that games have gotten "easier". Games from back in the day are mostly difficult due to artificial reasons, to prevent you from completing the game in 25 minutes, or poor tech.
 
Probably because it blew me away as a kid.

See: Star Wars fans
In general I stopped liking square games after the ps1 era. But I'm not going to start going mad and say that final fantasy needs to be more like *insert game name here* and pout about it


This whole article reeks of *i was blown away by this sense of wonder when I was young but now it's gone*
 
They're not at all great templates for Zelda. They're completely different kinds of games with different kinds of audiences and goals. This idea that Zelda needs to "grow up" is unneeded and contrary to the spirit of Zelda.
right, but maybe if nintendo is trying to gain a "new" older audience with the wii-u, they'll branch out and create a grown up zelda-esc game IN ADDITION to the regular kiddie zeldas we already have



This whole article reeks of *i was blown away by this sense of wonder when I was young but now it's gone*
no it reeks of *other modern games capture that sense of wonder and exploration zelda used to have, but now it rejects it*
 
I hate this mentality that games have gotten "easier". Games from back in the day are mostly difficult due to artificial reasons, to prevent you from completing the game in 25 minutes, or poor tech.
The sheer amount of hand holding in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword make them light years easier than the 2D Zeldas, and even the N64 Zeldas.

Compare the difficulty of LTTP to Twilight Princess. LTTP is way harder, and you can not attach "artificial reasons, to prevent you from completing the game in 25 minutes, or poor tech" to that game.
 

crazy monkey

holds a masters in liberal arts
Probably because it blew me away as a kid.

See: Star Wars fans
Nothing can take place of LOZ OOT for me it is something special however I do not compare any of the new zelda to it. Neither I think they will ever be like that. Some games are one of. Re4 was the next classic.
 
We need to bitch about some of the problems in recent Zelda games. Because Nintendo won't fix them or they make it worse.
Item descriptions in SS from the rupee descriptions in TP
 
"Zelda needs saving because it doesn't capture my imagination anymore. 2D Zelda and Demon's Souls are dark, hard, nonlinear, have passive storytelling, etc. and 3D Zelda should be like them because that's what Zelda and Adventure games mean to me."

That's what I'm getting from skimming this article. It's probably inaccurate but it's so unnecessarily wordy and long that I can't be blamed for that.
 
I hate this mentality that games have gotten "easier". Games from back in the day are mostly difficult due to artificial reasons, to prevent you from completing the game in 25 minutes, or poor tech.
the original zelda challenged me more mentally than any modern zelda game. In the new ones, every time you go to a new area or fight a new enemy, you get someone jumping out telling you what's going on, what you should do, and how to win.

screw the modern zelda "puzzles" that give you the answer and then wait for you to carry out the requested task.
Those aren't puzzles. Those are jobs.


The older games, you used to learn by doing.
Now you learn by being told
 
I kinda don't like when people who only enjoyed the first 10% of the Zelda series tell me that the franchise's time-tested mechanics are fundamentally broken and are in need of saving. Especially when this supposed "broken" design is behind some of the most critically-acclaimed and enjoyed titles of all time.

If this series isn't for you, that's fine. If you think it's lost that childlike magic that your grown-ass couldn't possibly enjoy anyway because you're a jaded internet gamer, that's fine too. But these grievances are almost 20 years too late. Zelda hasn't been what you wanted it to be for ages, and it might be time to find another series that already has what you do want (Darksiders, Batman AA/AC, Skyrim, etc.)

(And for the record, I think SS is probably my least favorite 3D Zelda along with Wind Waker, but I still appreciated its experimentation and believe it was an excellent game. Or, y'know, a moderate opinion. Something that doesn't seem to exist on the internet.)
 
The sheer amount of hand holding in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword make them light years easier than the 2D Zeldas, and even the N64 Zeldas.

Compare the difficulty of LTTP to Twilight Princess. LTTP is way harder, and you can not attach "artificial reasons, to prevent you from completing the game in 25 minutes, or poor tech" to that game.
I'll give you Twilight Princess as being easy, mainly due to lack of damage you receive, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that it and Skyward Sword are "light years" easier than the older games, even if they do have a little too much hand holding. Zelda games have always been cake. If anything, I found SS to be more challenging than I ever did LttP.
 
the original zelda challenged me more mentally than any modern zelda game. In the new ones, every time you go to a new area or fight a new enemy, you get someone jumping out telling you what's going on, what you should do, and how to win.
I don't remember being told how to beat enemies in 3D Zeldas. I don't remember Zelda 1 having any sort of puzzle to fighting enemies either though.
 
I'll give you Twilight Princess as being easy, mainly due to lack of damage you receive, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that it and Skyward Sword are "light years" easier than the older games, even if they do have a little too much hand holding. Zelda games have always been cake. If anything, I found SS to be more challenging than I ever did LttP.
I played Link to the Past for the first time last year and it kicked my fucking ass. It wasn't Zelda I or II difficulty, but far harder than any 3D Zelda. Especially some of those boss battles. Damn.

I never died playing Skyward Sword, until the final boss. I realized I needed a shield (I didn't have one for the entire game). When I learned the pattern I beat him in 30 seconds.
 
I played LttP right before SS came out and it's super easy, especially the bosses - half of which are just battles to see how fast you can swipe at them in 1-3 minutes before they go down.
 
No Z targeting? That's going to be tough from a camera perspective.



So... non threatening and feeling like you're at home? Really, Dark Souls reminded me of the Zelda I overworld and Dark World in LTTP. That's a good thing. Everything is in ruins thanks to Ganon. It really makes you feel like the hero. I never got that vibe from Twilight Princess or Skyward Sword.
Here's the thing I find odd about that, though. The most tragic, emotional, and even terrifying moments in Wind Waker took place in what is undoubtedly the brightest, cheeriest looking version of Hyrule I've ever seen. Is there a term for that, like dissonant atmosphere or something?

I feel like TP and Wind Waker were great in the "size" of Hyrule department, but the problem I always had with those games, especially Wind Waker, is that there wasn't much to do or look at as you traversed that massive overworld.

So again, I feel that yeah, Zelda could step it up in the whole "exploration" and "worth your while exploration" factors. I say this because, despite having more or less memorized where to go in the first few Zeldas, it is still a chore having to wander aimlessly across LoZ's map if you get lost, as things tend to look the same after awhile, and then there's the whole "Hey you found this cool tunnel in TP! Too bad it's only got rupees in it!"

I don't mind exploring. Shadow of the Colossus was nice and pretty, but I feel like there's more incentive for me to do it if there's something to look at or find. Like SotC's secret Garden. That's awesome. If they'd gone and hidden all the power ups around the map in places like that instead of encouraging me to ignore the entire world they'd built so I can kill Colossi faster, maybe I'd stumble naturally into stuff like that.

So for me, ideally, there has to be something cool to see/do/get when I go adventuring. Like, put a place where Link takes his hat off that's really out of the way, or hide a rod that turns enemies into cuccoos or put a formation of rocks that, when viewed at the right time of day from the right angle looks like a giant goomba or something.

Otherwise I'm still just gonna think "oh, hey, this is neat and I enjoy it but uh, I think I'll just go kill Ganon and have done."
 
The only 3D Zelda with any appreciable exploration or sense of scale to the overworld is Wind Waker (coincidentally, my favorite 3D Zelda), but those exploration elements are also its most controversial features. People complain that it takes forever to get around, and that the Tri Forks hunt--the part when the game stops telling you exactly where to go--is insufferable. I would love to see another Zelda game that emphasizes exploration again, and we'll probably get one some day. In the meantime, Skyward Sword is pretty great, too.
The problem with Wind Waker was that the exploration mostly involved sailing around the empty, featureless ocean using an annoying travel mechanic. That is almost a parody of "exploration".
 
I played Link to the Past for the first time last year and it kicked my fucking ass. It wasn't Zelda I or II difficulty, but far harder than any 3D Zelda. Especially some of those boss battles. Damn.

I never died playing Skyward Sword, until the final boss. I realized I needed a shield (I didn't have one for the entire game). When I learned the pattern I beat him in 30 seconds.
Difficulty can be somewhat a subjective thing; I originally played LttP when I was about 4-5 years old and ran through that game multiple times no problem. Certain puzzles and sections in SS, while not super difficult, did give me a fair share of challenge compared to other entries in the series.

I do agree that the newer games do feature too much mandatory handholding, but I still don't find them to be any easier.
 
The funny thing about the "easy" argument is, that if you shove a Zelda game in the hands of someone who's never played one before - which is a realistic possibility since a whole new crop of gamers emerges with every generation - I doubt they'd even get beyond the first couple temples without dying, getting stuck, or consulting a FAQ. It's easy to forget how simple some of the Zelda logic becomes for us, but how hard it is to pick up initially. And that's not bad game design, it's just that it's the one of the few series that works with its puzzles in the way it does and structures the design in the way it does.

It makes sense, both financially and creatively, to treat each game as if it's in a vacuum. They are not iterated frequently enough (like COD) nor is there a large enough stable of copy-cats for Nintendo to treat the series as anything less than a reboot each time, difficultly-wise.

That doesn't excuse the handholding excesses of SS, which went too far (the battery indicator, heart beeping, Fi warning you about your shield and hearts, Fi repeating things just said), but these games aren't as easy as a forum dweller who's played 14 of them thinks.
 
Skipping Skyward Sword, one of the only 'big' games this last year that I passed up. I just know I would force myself through some of it and give up. The pacing is a deal breaker, period. My time is valuable.

I like Wind Waker, but it has that problem too...it's so slow. Tried to finish Twilight Princess but couldn't; though some of the dungeon level design is definitely impressive. It does feel like My First Adventure Game...every time out. And I don't have the patience to snore through all that again.
 
The problem with Wind Waker was that the exploration mostly involved sailing around the empty, featureless ocean using an annoying travel mechanic. That is almost a parody of "exploration".
There is actually quite a lot to do on the oceans of Wind Waker.

If you are simply going from Point A to Point B to advance the cut-scene segments, then sure, it may seem empty. But if you collect the special sea charts and go hunting for all of the heart pieces, secret caves, pirate towers and such, there's plenty to do. The primary failing with all of that is that there's no real incentive to do much of the optional treasure hunting. But, uh. It is there.
 
Skipping Skyward Sword, one of the only 'big' games this last year that I passed up. I just know I would force myself through some of it and give up. The pacing is a deal breaker, period. My time is valuable.

I like Wind Waker, but it has that problem too...it's so slow. Tried to finish Twilight Princess but couldn't; though some of the dungeon level design is definitely impressive. It does feel like My First Adventure Game...every time out. And I don't have the patience to snore through all that again.
I never could finish TP, SS was a breeze though. There are a few rough patches, but when you get through some of these dungeons...they really are beyond compare IMO, amazing level design.
 
Skipping Skyward Sword, one of the only 'big' games this last year that I passed up. I just know I would force myself through some of it and give up. The pacing is a deal breaker, period. My time is valuable.

I like Wind Waker, but it has that problem too...it's so slow. Tried to finish Twilight Princess but couldn't; though some of the dungeon level design is definitely impressive. It does feel like My First Adventure Game...every time out. And I don't have the patience to snore through all that again.
I was really invested in Wind Waker, so the bad pacing didn't kill me too badly. TP and SS, on the other hand... damn.

To be fair, Skyward Sword picks up after the slow opening. But the "Collect 15 of x" quests really hurt.

I guess I'm the only one that thinks LTTP is hard... Stupid darkworld
It is, brah.
 
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.
I remember that. So good. I really enjoyed playing around with my items and the weapons the enemies would drop, trying new strategies every time I played just for fun. What ever happened to equipping enemy weapons? Nothing like beating a Bokoblin to death with its own stick. Wielding Phantom Ganon's sword was pretty badass too, even if it was just for a minute or so. The one battle in SS where you do something similar was really satisfying. I think being able to use enemy weapons again could add flexibility to the combat.

I think that since nobody in TP or SS really understood what was at stake except for Link, his companion and the Princess, it caused your role as the "hero" to feel unrewarding plotwise. What I liked about OOT is that when you return to Castle Town as an adult, you found it abandoned with dark clouds around the castle. And in MM, over the course of 3 days you got to see how the impending apocalypse affected the townspeople. I know WW's towns were pretty relaxed, but you still got moments like the storm affecting the whole ocean and your grandma getting depressed and all that. TP's Twilight problem effectively disappears by the 3rd dungeon and in SS, not even all the town's people know Zelda's gone missing! With a town as small as that? Give me a break.

The 2D games had unsuspecting townspeople also, but flashy narrative and cutscenes were never a big deal in those. Now that there's more of a focus on storytelling and narrative, it becomes more apparent that the people in charge of modern Zelda's plot tend to make a lot of amateurish mistakes. Sometimes we get a rare treat like Midna, Linebeck and Groose, but in comparison to these guys, practically everyone else falls flat and it hardly ever feels like anyone's in danger.
 
who ever came up with the time shift crystal needs to be in charge of zelda. I wish that the Time shift crystal had a bigger role in the game.
Nah. I think it was in the game just the right amount of time.

BUT, I would definitely subscribe to more new ideas of that nature in future games.
 
What I really liked about the time shift stones was watching the desert come to life. Part of me wishes there was a way to restore Lanaryu, but I guess by TP most of it ends up pretty hunky dory? The dungeon puzzles were pretty clever, too. I liked how they would resurrect/kill enemies depending on the type of enemy.
 
I'm gonna stop you right there. What is this weird logic that you can't criticize things you love? I have enjoyed every Zelda since WW, when I got on the train, but that does not mean I can't be critical of the series. If I didn't care about it, I would just pick another series and get on with it.
I didn't say fans can't criticize. I said that if you don't like 90% of the series, you might not actually be a fan.