Saving Zelda -an in depth critique of the LoZ series

Just thinking about it...

Keep:
-Bow & Arrow
-Bombs
-Clawshot
-Scarab
-Upgrade system
-"Non-usable" upgrades (new armors, wearable upgrades such as th earrings from SS or the Titans Mitt from ALttP)

Lose:
-All other "usable" items - they're unnecessary
-The stamina bar
-"Fairy" guides
-Heart containers when you beat a boss (if you want more hearts, you have to go look for them)

I'll add more as I think of them.
 
Nintendo should hire a bunch of third party studios to make a "tribute album" Zelda, a collection of smaller adventures all compiled into a single collection, and each game would represent what "Zelda" means to each team.

-Capcom
-SEGA
-Konami
-Square Enix
-Level 5
-From
-Ubisoft
-Epic
-Bethesda

etc
This collection would have a flavor for each fan, and serve to "cleanse the pallet" for the next Aonuma game.
 
I still don't get how the guy can put Zelda 1 and Zelda 2 in the same category. Zelda 2 is so completely unlike any other Zelda game that it just really doesn't make sense to put it with Zelda 1.
 
We can only hope that Retro is the one doing the next Zelda game in order to save the series. The sales for Skyward shows that the series is in need of serious revamping, to get people interested in the series again.
 
Zelda has several things that are out of place. Telephones and the camera in Links Awakening, for an example. It wasn't that out of place for me after all these things in the other Zeldas.
I just don't want it in the next Zelda! Stick to the traditional items... (Yes, that includes Bombchus...)
 

BGBW

Maturity, bitches.
We can only hope that Retro is the one doing the next Zelda game in order to save the series. The sales for Skyward shows that the series is in need of serious revamping, to get people interested in the series again.
Didn't Phantom Hourglass sell rather well? Guess that's the direction they should take from this day forth.
 
We can only hope that Retro is the one doing the next Zelda game in order to save the series. The sales for Skyward shows that the series is in need of serious revamping, to get people interested in the series again.
If it was based on sales only, they would've stopped at Majora's Mask. Seeing how Skyward Sword in under 3 months already outsold Majora's Mask and Wind Waker. And if it's related in comparison to hardware/install base ("but..bu..Wii is at 95 million!!); it's on it's way to outsell Spirit Tracks which was released on the 100+ million DS "family" and was the follow-up to Phantom Hourglass.

More than "getting people interested", if the sales show anything, is that they need to get other people interested, not just the fans of the series which seems to be the ones still buying the games. Or, maybe like Mario Kart and Smash Bros; maybe people just are happy with one Zelda game per hardware; seeing how it's always the second Zelda game the one that sells less than the predecessor and has people screaming "Zelda is dying"...every time. Even Super Mario Galaxy 2 sold less that Galaxy 1, and that was post-New Super Mario Bros. Wii. And I doubt that that shows that people are losing interest in Mario.
 
I just don't want it in the next Zelda! Stick to the traditional items... (Yes, that includes Bombchus...)
The last thing Zelda needs is to be conservative with the item selection.

Why do people so desperately want Zelda to become an RPG? Don't we have enough of those?
Zelda is being screwed by it's setting. Elves, swords, magic and prophecies and a considerable (read: stupid) lore. But it's really just an action puzzle game, that's the kicker. Those elements are the one's you find in epic adventures and RPG's. People think that it needs to take advantage of it's fantastical world by becoming one of those or both.
 
To anyone asking for a harder difficulty option:

it's already in every Zelda since OoT. Just don't pick up any heart containers, don't use any bottles (or only put quest items in it, no fairies etc.) and only hunt for heart pieces once enemies start doing 4 hearts per hit.

Regarding the difficulty of Demon's Souls/Dark Souls: Never played it myself, but a friend of mine told me it's not really hard. Enemies suprise you sometimes with unexpecting attacks that sometimes kill you in one hit, but once you know their pattern, they become relatively easy. Reminds me of Zelda combat ... (except the dying immediately part, which can be countered by what I said above)

And I could also write an article about how I played every Zelda since the first one when they were new and SS was the first one I wanted to (and actually did) play through a 2nd time immediately after beating it for the first time.
(Yes, unskippable text boxes need to go.)
 
I never played NES Zeldas and the article really made me want to play them. I'll buy them once they available on 3DS. It's true that modern day Zeldas give you solutions to their puzzles on the plate, but modern day Zelda ripoffs (Okami, Darksiders) are a lot more in your face than Zelda itself in that regard.
 
IMO Wind Waker was the last true great Zelda game. After that, they just couldn't keep up with the rest of the competition in terms of attention to detail, exposure, plot and so on.


The Zeldas I loved were always immersive, and I loved everything about them. I just don't see how I can get "grabbed" by TP or SS, as they feel like that they are stuck out of time from ten years ago.

Nintendo has been doing the Gamecube level of graphics, detail, gameplay for so long, that I am not sure that even if they had the hardware, that their designers and artists and programmers would be able to keep up and make a high fidelity visual groundbreaking game, like Ocarina of Time was. That game was larger than life (it felt like) at the time.


So I don't freaking see the problem with saying that Zelda fell of the wagon, when comparing it to it's legacy. Nothing wrong with what it is now, but it can't keep up to what landmark games they used to be.
 
Zelda games are one of many topics I'm incapable of looking at objectively but all I know is that I loved every minute of Skyward Sword as much as I did Wind Waker and even Ocarina. I've long since left my fanboy tendencies in the dust (thank you Wii for finally snapping me out of it) but there's a special space carved out in my heart that will never get tired of the franchise as long as they keep crafting experiences with the level of care and attention that they always have.

TL;DR I don't care what this guy thinks. I'm happy with the franchise.
 
Skyward Sword just had too much filler to make it worth the player's time. None of the side quests are all that great, and there are too many mundane sections in between dungeons to make up for the major lack of content throughout the game. (Edit: This is kind of redundant, haha) As well, the sky is just a load of wasted potential; why can't I go out at night, for example? Why are there hardly any islands to visit? Why can't I just us the control stick? And if I'm flying out there all the time for the sole purpose of getting to where you need to go, why in the hell isn't there any fast travel?
 
To anyone asking for a harder difficulty option:
it's already in every Zelda since OoT. Just don't pick up any heart containers, don't use any bottles (or only put quest items in it, no fairies etc.) and only hunt for heart pieces once enemies start doing 4 hearts per hit.
There is a big diffrents between difficulty by design and difficulty by parameters.

Lose:
-The stamina bar
Why do people hate the Stamina-bar? It gives Zelda a much more tactical element in every aspekt and its alomst the same as the Magic-Bar with the only diffrence that it fits Links Skills much better. He is fighter, not a wizard. Nintendo should keep it and even extend it.
 
I too dislike motion controls in modern Zelda games. I really like what i have played so far in Skyward Sword. But i'd be very happy if there was a version of that game without motion controls. I was also happy about the Game Cube version of Twilight Princess.
 
The reason Zelda I & II were open was not because of some grand design decision made by Miyamoto and Co from the beginning, like it would have been with Dark Souls. It was due to inexperience as this was not only their first attempts at creating action adventure games but they were also some the first action adventure games in general. Most adventure games of this period were exactly the same, as modern accessibility techniques were not yet discovered or were not in wide spread usage. Also making games artificially difficult because of arcades was still ingrained it a lot of developers and games of that era. Games became more accessible as developers became more competent and experienced, realising that guiding the player through a well structured linear game allowed for tighter design and more balanced difficulty. Sure some games like Skyward Sword take their accessibility too far but to say the same about LTTP and OOT, I don't think so.

The idea of getting lost in game for hours not knowing where to go because I missed a vital piece of information and having to find dungeons by random chance when exploring a huge game world doesn't sound appealing to me. I'm not saying that all games that are non-linear or not accessible are badly designed, I loved Dark Souls because of these very reasons and the first 2/3 of the game were impeccably designed. I just think it's an especially crazy statement to make about a series that hasn't been that way for 20 years. If he wants a truly open non linear game he needs to look elsewhere because there is no chance that Zelda is ever going back to that.

And anyway if you strip away all these elements I believe you'd still be left with basically the same core game anyway. For example if OOT had most of the story and accessibility removed but had all the same gameplay, locations and dungeons but you go do it all in any order. Aren't you still basically playing the same game as you experience the exact same gameplay elements?

Or if Dark Souls had the exact same world design, enemy placements, difficultly and everything else. Only they added some form of clearer narrative that pushed the gameplay forward, like cut-scenes and NPC interactions that made it explicitly clear where to go and it in what order. Wouldn't it all boil down to almost the exact same gameplay experience just with minor interruptions?
 
Skyward Sword is an awful, awful game. Poor controls, extremely long time before it ramps up to being even slightly enjoyable, and it feels incredibly linear, which is NOT what a Zelda game should be.

I really like the analysis presented here (though I like LTTP as my personal favorite in the series). I love Zelda 1 too but I can see aspects of it that are dated. It ultimately is too "directionless" and spending hours wandering not knowing where to go isn't fun. But wandering around levels and finding cool new things is fun and the game designers on the newer games need to do a better job of capturing that experience while at the same time leading the player down the correct path (ideally without them realizing it). There are ways you can make the correct path obvious while at the same time adding areas for gamers to explore if they so choose to.

I think if you took the Zelda 1 / 3 formula, added some more up to date gaming aspects (better map, save conversations, a little more guidance), you could make a really excellent game. The best Zelda really lies between the past and present... but I'd lean far more on the past Zeldas that got it right than the current generation that continues to screw it up.
 
I don't agree with most of what he said, but I would kill for a more open, mysterious Zelda game. Zelda's need real secrets again and respect the player a bit more. The last few Zelda's are very controlled experiences with very little player input. I happen to think they're wonderfully designed controlled experiences, but I sure would love a Zelda, that allows for players to unravel eveything (rules, secrets etc.).

I love it when I stumble upon something out of the ordinary, having no idea what the heck it is and figuring it out myself. That aspect is pretty much gone in modern Zelda's, but other than that Zelda is fine as it is and Skyward Sword is a wonderful, wonderful game even if it was the easiest they've ever made (combat excluded).
 
I don't agree with most of what he said, but I would kill for a more open, mysterious Zelda game. Zelda's need real secrets again and respect the player a bit more. The last few Zelda's are very controlled experiences with very little player input. I happen to think they're wonderfully designed controlled experiences, but I sure would love a Zelda, that allows for players to unravel eveything (rules, secrets etc.).

I love it when I stumble upon something out of the ordinary, having no idea what the heck it is and figuring it out myself. That aspect is pretty much gone in modern Zelda's, but other than that Zelda is fine as it is and Skyward Sword is a wonderful, wonderful game even if it was the easiest they've ever made (combat excluded).
I thought LttP would never end when I first played it. It felt so big and grand and full of stuff to do and explore.

Well now when I replay it, I can see where most of that magic came from. Me being a little kids, not understanding english that well and just being a lot less logical being :)
 
I thought LttP would never end when I first played it. It felt so big and grand and full of stuff to do and explore.
It felt like this because, back in 1991, this is what LttP was.

There were few (if any) console games at the time with quite the same sense of adventure and exploring. I can't say the same for today's Zelda games.
 
I think if you took the Zelda 1 / 3 formula, added some more up to date gaming aspects (better map, save conversations, a little more guidance), you could make a really excellent game. The best Zelda really lies between the past and present... but I'd lean far more on the past Zeldas that got it right than the current generation that continues to screw it up.
This is pretty much exactly how I feel. They've gotten it right in the past! Now it's just a matter of bringing that magic from the SNES and N64 days into the modern era of games, something I think they've failed at with Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. Wind Waker could have been something special if it wasn't rushed.

I'm not saying Nintendo should emulate Dark Souls entirely. I'm not saying they should make a modern day Zelda I. I just think Dark Souls has a few elements, that with Nintendo's magical, timeless polish, would be great additions to the Zelda games.

I like this quote:

Yup. I've said it before, this game features both some of Nintendo's highest highs and their absolute lowest lows (not counting Animal Crossing or Wii Music, of course), and it really does feel like there are mistakes that not even a first time XBLA developer would have made. They're astonishingly incompetent mistakes at times.

And the highs are just so much higher than most any other game, but they're far more infrequent by comparison. Still, it is worth playing through to experience them. Just a shame all this plod and fat and bloat is here.
From the N64 era and prior, there didn't seem to be any of these "XBLA developer mistakes". The games were masterpieces. Now... I just don't know what goes through the team's mind when they put some of this shit into the game.

and the reason Zelda fans get so passionate about the subject is because those highs are so high. So much potential, dragged down by crap.
 
I don't agree with most of what he said, but I would kill for a more open, mysterious Zelda game. Zelda's need real secrets again and respect the player a bit more. The last few Zelda's are very controlled experiences with very little player input. I happen to think they're wonderfully designed controlled experiences, but I sure would love a Zelda, that allows for players to unravel eveything (rules, secrets etc.).
Well then you do agree with a lot of what he's saying, because the bolded were his two biggest points. :p

Honestly, I think a lot of people just want to hate this article because it's critical of Zelda. Judging by some of the reactions here I was expecting some poorly composed troll rant filled with l33t speak and COD praise, but that was a pretty well-written opinion piece. I don't agree with all of his points, and it was a little long, but he establishes his argument early and supports it well.

I personally think the Zelda series has been stale for a while now. They're all competent games to be sure, but Nintendo has become so beholden to the "Zelda formula" and the idea that a Zelda game has to be this, and it has to be that, and it has to reference all of these different things, that the series has been held back from really evolving. Zelda games used to lead the pack when it came to innovative and epic action-adventure gaming, but now the series seems to be stuck paying tribute to itself. The idea that items in Zelda have devolved into being glorified keys with only very specific uses was the most spot-on point he made.

I do disagree with his idea that Zelda should have less story. I disagree whenever that point is made. People need to remember that there's a reason stories became more prevalent in gaming. As technology advanced, and devs were able to create increasingly more interesting worlds, gamers starting wanting stronger narrative to flesh out these imaginative worlds. It was a natural progression. To demand that Zelda return to age of telling little-to-no story is asking for regression in the series.

I don't think it's the existence of a story itself that's bogging down Zelda. A good story will always make a world more immersive. For me, it's over-reliance on story that's the culprit. No matter how good your narrative is, you still need the world you're building to communicate it, and that's where Zelda's been failing, especially in Skyward Sword. The entire time I was playing that game I couldn't shake just how peaceful everything seemed to be, and most of what few NPCs there were seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that
there was a demon lord out there on a mission to resurrect his master and plunge the world back into an age of hellfire
. Add to that the return of "the completely random abandoned temple that seemed to only ever exist to house item x" and you had a game where the story it was trying to tell was completely disconnected from the world and how it was presented to the player.
 
I like the fact that he was essentially harping on NPC side quests and minigames. That shit has to go, like now.

EDIT: I also just realized his description of what he wants in a zelda game almost exactly describes Dark Souls.
 
IMO Wind Waker was the last true great Zelda game. After that, they just couldn't keep up with the rest of the competition in terms of attention to detail, exposure, plot and so on.
What "competition" does Zelda have? I don't know any games that are very similar to Zelda.

The Zeldas I loved were always immersive, and I loved everything about them. I just don't see how I can get "grabbed" by TP or SS, as they feel like that they are stuck out of time from ten years ago.

Nintendo has been doing the Gamecube level of graphics, detail, gameplay for so long, that I am not sure that even if they had the hardware, that their designers and artists and programmers would be able to keep up and make a high fidelity visual groundbreaking game, like Ocarina of Time was. That game was larger than life (it felt like) at the time.

So I don't freaking see the problem with saying that Zelda fell of the wagon, when comparing it to it's legacy. Nothing wrong with what it is now, but it can't keep up to what landmark games they used to be.
What you consider a landmark in Ocarina is not going to happen again, the circumstances are no longer there, there will not be another transformation as groundbreaking as the one from 2D to 3D, nothing is going to change games in such a big way again. Motion controls were the best and biggest change they could have done IMO, no Zelda has felt as fresh to me since OOT as Skyward Sword.
Also, what is "Gamecube level gameplay"?

I too dislike motion controls in modern Zelda games. I really like what i have played so far in Skyward Sword. But i'd be very happy if there was a version of that game without motion controls. I was also happy about the Game Cube version of Twilight Princess.
So, which one is it? ;P
Sounds like you're biased and against the idea of motion controls in general. I would give the game a chance. I too, was very sceptical about Skyward Sword, I had already given up on the series after Twilight Princess and the DS titles, but SS absolutely blew me away.
It improved greatly on many complaints I had - no more of the same puzzles we've seen in every game (pushing blocks, lighting torches etc.), no more pressing b to auto-win, no more bosses doing only 1/4 heart damage, no more geography that was basically copy-pasted from OOT, no more huge, but dead and lifeless overworld, no more areas with nothing to do than just to run through them, no more items that only get used in one dungeon and are then forgotten, no more bags full of rupees but nothing to spend them on, no hero that sets out to save some random princess he doesn't even know... I just don't understand when people say SS is just as stale as TP and more of the same, when is changes so much and introduces a completely new control system that makes the gameplay feel more fresh than any game in the series since OOT has.

Also, Twilight Princess could be played with traditional controls because that was the way it was developed, they just tacked on motion controls on as an afterthought so they could sell the game on the Wii. Skyward Sword, oth, was designed around motion controls from the start, I don't understand how you could say that there could be a traditional controller option without fundamentally changing the game if you played it.
 
I don't agree with most of what he said, but I would kill for a more open, mysterious Zelda game. Zelda's need real secrets again and respect the player a bit more. The last few Zelda's are very controlled experiences with very little player input. I happen to think they're wonderfully designed controlled experiences, but I sure would love a Zelda, that allows for players to unravel eveything (rules, secrets etc.).

I love it when I stumble upon something out of the ordinary, having no idea what the heck it is and figuring it out myself. That aspect is pretty much gone in modern Zelda's, but other than that Zelda is fine as it is and Skyward Sword is a wonderful, wonderful game even if it was the easiest they've ever made (combat excluded).
Have you ever seen all 4 big caves hidden in Twilight Princess? I just saw two of them on my first playthrough. On my second playthrough, I noticed the other two and was completely amazed that there were these big caves that are just purely optional and quite hidden. And then the 21 regular caves...I didn't notice most of them on my first two playthroughs. I think every 3D Zelda except Skyward Sword did a good job.
 
The problem I have with most critics of Zelda games is that they usually come off as whiny crybabies and the vast majority of their complaints and arguments make very little, if any sense at all.
 
One thing I think a lot of people here seem to be misunderstanding (based on the replies) is the argument presented that everything is a key. It's not so much the fact that you need a certain item to progress to the next area that is wrong but that those items serve only for that purpose. Weapons and items used to be useful in combat, while searching for secrets, etc. More and more, they might as well just be keys to unlock doors because they aren't useful outside of that purpose. The grappling hook is the biggest example... why am I limited to hooking to vines? There is a whole world to explore, getting places I never thought I could go is a huge part of the fun of this style of game (or at least it should be).

They really need to look at weapon / item usage and make them useful and fun to use in combat and creatively in other ways too.
 
One thing I think a lot of people here seem to be misunderstanding (based on the replies) is the argument presented that everything is a key. It's not so much the fact that you need a certain item to progress to the next area that is wrong but that those items serve only for that purpose. Weapons and items used to be useful in combat, while searching for secrets, etc. More and more, they might as well just be keys to unlock doors because they aren't useful outside of that purpose. The grappling hook is the biggest example... why am I limited to hooking to vines? There is a whole world to explore, getting places I never thought I could go is a huge part of the fun of this style of game (or at least it should be).

They really need to look at weapon / item usage and make them useful and fun to use in combat and creatively in other ways too.
So this should be a real part of the game.

Can't say I disagree!
 
What do adventurers do with tools? They use them to overcome obstacles, that's what you do with items in the game, you use them to overcome obstacles and to solve puzzles.
You can still use bombs to blow up enemies, stun them with the hook shot and so on, I can't remember items ever being used more substantially in combat in the older games.
I don't get it, items should be used "more creatively", what is "more creatively" supposed to mean?
Maybe i'm not imaginative enough, but I really don't understand the point of this criticism, it's like complaining about guns only being useful for shooting.
 
Everything from the past is better than everything in the present. Fact.
Yeah, the Dark Ages were awesome man. Everything was all gritty and mature, and there was all that mystery around what books said because nobody knew how to read and there was the whole "what is the Church really up to?" and people had swords and you had to explore everywhere because maps sucked and you might try to get to India and accidentally discover America instead.

The past was so much better than the present.

I guess I'm just easy to please, though. I really liked Twilight Princess. I seriously believe I will like Skyward Sword. Heck, I freaking loved Spirit Tracks, and that WAS a Zelda game with serious issues.

As to "harder" Zeldas, there's always the Four Swords Anniversary. The Hero's Trial is some pretty tough stuff, at least for me. Which is another thing that really bugs me. Everybody whines about how "easy" Zelda is these days, but I still have a hard time getting through dungeons and fighting bosses and all that. If all these "make it harder!" types got there way, I'd never finish another Zelda, I suppose. Is there no compromise? Does my gaming experience have to suffer at the behest of a more vocal group in the fanbase?

I'm all for increased exploration, and I'd love for them to up the number of items and include them as rewards for exploring (because I do agree that only getting a new toy in a dungeon is lame.), but I still can't see Zelda as something "in need of saving."
 

Shikamaru Ninja

任天堂 の 忍者
I will chime in with my two cents.

I loved The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The game did have several flaws for my tastes and one of them was the horrible tacked-on controls of the Wii remote. You can say that the pointer segments for reticular aiming were good, but the arbitrary motion swinging and zero adjustment of graphics surely tainted the game for many including myself. But I still have to say; for all the harping on the ancient production, uninteresting towns, and dreadfully slow beginning. The dungeon designs are still magnificent and unmatched in any other game. There is no developer that I have seen design a Zelda dungeon. Some references come up to Darksiders, which baffles me because the dungeon design is like comparing a Saturn to a Mercedez Bens. Stop. Just stop.

Now that we can all agree that Zelda dungeons are brilliant. And that EAD is brilliant when it comes to that. There are some fundamental problems revolving the evolution of other aspects of the game. One major problem Nintendo is having is trying to make their development team "make the game accessible" to a Japanese audience who has not been receptive to complex 3D games. Usually the answer they come up with is a hand holding and very slow guided starts to the game. Obviously Japan has not responded well and for the most part shy away from dealing with 3D Zelda while the Western players complain that the series is being held back. Double edged sword.
 
Zelda needs to be harder. Much harder. Not harder to solve, like Ocarina’s Water Temple, but harder to survive. The first two Zeldas were exquisitely difficult (the second excruciatingly so), and they were all the more wonderful for it.
ill never understand why some gamers think that extreme difficulty (and the frustration that likely comes with it) equals fun.
 
ill never understand why some gamers think that extreme difficulty (and the frustration that likely comes with it) equals fun.
Seriously. Zelda II's final segment isn't fun. Having to walk a long ass way from the start of the game, to get cheap shotted by an eyeball over a pit of lava and then do it all again is not fun. Maybe some people enjoy that, but I really would be angry if Zelda were to return to Zelda II's difficulty level.

As to Zelda I's difficulty level, I refer again to Four Swords Anniversary's Hero's Challenge. Every bit as hard as the first game's dungeons.
 
ill never understand why some gamers think that extreme difficulty (and the frustration that likely comes with it) equals fun.
Because they (difficult games) require skill, challenge you, and encourage you to improve how you play the game. I'd take that over mind-numbing puzzle after mind-numbing puzzle...
 
So, which one is it? ;P
Well,... i do like the game in general and i am having a lot of fun playing it. But everytime i have to fight something i cringe. You know, it is really obvious to see which move pattern is needed to kill the enemies. and i could probably easily do it, if you had to push a few buttons for it or use a stylus. but these kind of motion controls have never quite clicked with me.
i must also be one of those very few people who dislike Metroid Prime 3 besides loving the other 2 entries in the series, just because of the motion controls.
Good thing that up to know the game is quite easy and doesn't require lots of fighting.

It is not that i have anything against motion controls in general. I like them in games like Trauma Center, Trauma Team, etc.
Concerning Skyward Sword i don't mind the motion controls for flying, balancing or using the Beetle, for example.
But fighting,... eh... -_-