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Games Entertainment

Does Zelda Need an Overhaul? 286

CVG has up a piece noting the fact that not much about Zelda games have changed since the move to 3D. Chalk that up to the greatness of Ocarina of Time if you will, but the same mirror moving, fire-arrow switch activating puzzles have been in the last several titles. Is it time for some kind of radical change to the equation? "People generally don't like to accept change. But change doesn't always spell disaster. Final Fantasy introduces a totally new cast, setting and theme with each sequel and continues to please fans. Resident Evil 4 completely revolutionised Capcom's horror series and is now viewed as one of the best games ever made ... We still totally adore Zelda but eventually the appeal will tire and the series risks bombing. Nintendo needs to take the bold step and inject something totally new into Zelda. We're not talking about a couple of new items, or a new location - that's been done. We mean a significant change that affects the whole structure and gameplay."
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Does Zelda Need an Overhaul?

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  • No way. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omaha_boy ( 512639 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:53PM (#19166721)
    The Zelda style of gameplay is what the fans keep coming back for. Perhaps a spinoff from the series would be best suited for this idea.
  • Re:No way. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:55PM (#19166773) Journal
    The Zelda style of gameplay is what the fans keep coming back for

    Aww young naive kids. Zelda has had several styles of gameplay from RPG to platformer to 3D platformer RPG mess thing. You can't say Zelda has a type of gameplay if you know the series.
  • In a word... no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @02:59PM (#19166849) Homepage Journal
    Twilight Princess was, IMO, the best game in the series, because instead of concentrating souly on new gameplay elements, they actually gave the game a SOUL. In fact sometimes it felt like they transplanted it directly from the Final Fantasy series, which could explain the lack of soul in FF12 (as good as that game was). Every game is evolutionary, and they try expanding on a new area... this one was in story telling and character portrayal, and they get an A+ on this one. Wind Waker tried to experiment with a number of new gameplay elements, and while I applaud them on that, their new efforts were more like a B-.

    To me, this sounds like an artical written by a disgruntled gamer who wasn't able to see TP for what it truly was, and while I respect his opinion, its hardly a reason for a call to arms. Does the series need an overhaul? After how good TP was... absolutely not.

    TP was an evolutionary step in terms of gameplay, for the series. It added a few new elements (of which it did very well, I might add), but its main concentration layed elsewhere. The gameplay fanatics can probably look forward to Phantom Hourglass and the next Wii Zelda title for a boost in gameplay elements.
  • YES! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aichpvee ( 631243 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:00PM (#19166879) Journal
    I've been saying this for years! Zelda's formula has gotten old in 3D. Especially the combat. Despite enjoying Twilight Princess a lot (a huge surprise to me) they really need to do a full refresh of the formula.

    The Wii controls helped keep the combat feeling fresh, where the GameCube falls flat. But the advancements other games have made in dynamic since the release of Ocarina just leave the series feeling like something of a dinosaur.

    With their vast resources (even before DS and Wii started printing money) and huge talent pool I except more from Nintendo. I seem to remember Miyamoto saying that TP would be the last Zelda game "as we know it." So hopefully that's a sign of big things to come.
  • by spocksbrain ( 1097145 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:04PM (#19166969)
    To be honest, not much changed even with OoT. It was the same "mirror moving, fire-arrow switch activating" puzzles even in the earlier 2D Zeldas. OoT translated the gameplay so well into 3D that the series continued to be extremely popular.

    There shouldn't be any reason to change the style of game Zalda has always been, in fact Zelda-type games have, in a way, become a kind of genre all of it's own. As long as people keep enjoying the gameplay and Nintendo keeps the character's, stories and enviroments fresh it will sell.
  • by div_2n ( 525075 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:05PM (#19166997)
    Zelda 2 was radically different and radically sucked. It had side-scrolling action and RPG-like features that were totally alien for Zelda.

    Change isn't necessarily bad, but Zelda 2 is the poster child for what can happen if you deviate too far from what makes your series fun.
  • Re:Voice Acting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:08PM (#19167063) Journal
    I completely disagree. If you add voices it changes the characters.

    Take for example Link, he got a new voice actor for Twilight princess. The new guy is mostly known for playing Dearka elsman from Gundam SEED Destiny, the old ne was mostly known for Guy from Gaogaigar. The two characters are complete opposites and I personaly felt Link was diffeent in feel because of his voice more than the way he acted.

    Apply this to the entire game but removing Japanese voices to English, it'll completely change the world from the original. So until American companies grasp that we don#t want crappy American voice actors replacing the Japanese voices I, for one, am glad for text only games.
  • Re:No way. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Purity Of Essence ( 1007601 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:10PM (#19167107)
    What? Talk about naive. Zelda has NEVER been an RPG and has ALWAYS been an action adventure. Each Zelda brings a new gameplay element to the table, usually in the form of a new item, than allows the creation of new kinds of puzzles. This new item or gameplay enhancement is almost always is in the title of the game, or is at least alluded to in the title. That said, I have not played Twilight Princess, so I can't speak to its innovations, if any. Perhaps the series is (momentarily) stuck in a rut of nostalgia.
  • Re:Voice Acting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 7Prime ( 871679 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:11PM (#19167133) Homepage Journal
    Bullshit. People seem to approach voice-acting as if it's simply the next step in gaming... as if it is inherently superior, and those who fail to do so are akin to developers who failed to move to creating 16-bit games after the SNES was released.

    No. Voice acting is an aesthetic decision, and greatly alters the feel of the game. Some games definitely benefit from voice acting, but others call for a little more abstraction, and thus voice-acting can chip away at their charm, no matter the quality. Zelda definitely falls into that catagory.

    Notice that Zelda already has plenty of voice actin. But in this case, "voice acting" isn't about content but expression of emotion. Instead of actually speaking content, the characters make noises that reflect their current state of mind. This splits up the emotion of the voice from the dry content. It is part of Zelda's greater abstraction, which I feel is key to its overall charm. Traditional voice acting would completely distroy that.

    IE: Voice acting is an aesthetic decision on the part of the creators. It is not "missing", it was not included because the creators feel (as I feel) that it would partially destroy the games' charm, moving it toward the realm of cinema rather than the animated storybook quality they wish to portray.
  • FF are not sequels (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ncmusic ( 31531 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:14PM (#19167183)
    Final Fantasy introduces a totally new cast, setting and theme with each sequel and continues to please fans.

    I'm pretty sure that's not a sequel as much as just reusing a trade mark for new games. There have been a couple of sequels notibly, X2 but for the most part each new FF game is just that and Not a sequel.

    Sequel - a literary work, movie, etc., that is complete in itself but continues the narrative of a preceding work. []
  • by Kelbear ( 870538 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:20PM (#19167283)
    I am having a blast with the game, and yet, I still agree with you.

    The beginning of Twilight Princess was slow and boring. The start of a game should be carefully paced to avoid this.
  • Re:No way. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by seaturnip ( 1068078 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:24PM (#19167349)
    Could you invent a genre that is a little less specific please? How about "action"? Oh oh, how about "graphical"?
  • Re:Voice Acting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fred Or Alive ( 738779 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:32PM (#19167543)
    I personally agree, with Twilight Princess, even though Midna talked random nonesense, I found the nonesense made her a much more endearing character than the others where at most you got some random sound. It doesn't mean that Link has to stop being silent or anything, that probably would be a holy cow too much for the fans, although I do somethimes find the whole "blank slate" bit a little annoying as well.

    I also sortof agree with the article, recycling the same themes gets annoying, some more variety would be nice (although I haven't played Majora's Mask much, which does seem to be a bit more experimental).
  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:33PM (#19167581) Journal
    Isn't it time Master Chief's helmet came off? Or Gordon Freeman talked (or we saw his face in-game)?

    Either of those would completely change the character, and depending on how pedantic a fan you are, could kill the series for you.
  • Re:No way. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edwdig ( 47888 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @03:39PM (#19167699)
    And no, Zelda was always called an action RPG, like secret of mana was. It was never an "adventure" game ever.

    Zelda was only ever considered an RPG by the kind of gamer that usually only plays RPGs, but needs an excuse to justify liking Zelda.

    If you check the old guides from when Nintendo used to publish large strategy guides that covered multiple games, Zelda was always in the Adventure section.

    Zelda really doesn't count as an RPG unless you use such a broad definition of RPG that almost any game counts as an RPG. Collecting items to progress doesn't make something an RPG...
  • Short-term memory? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by muel ( 132794 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @04:11PM (#19168369)
    Isn't this pretty much what Nintendo attempted w/ The Wind Waker? Not just the graphics--though those did seek to create a new level of emotional expression unseen in the previous games--but also the obsession w/ the sea and expansion of the world? That wasn't a massive overhaul, sure, but everyone cried foul and begged for another Ocarina-style game. Just a few years later, they got it. Make up your minds, critics.
  • Re:No way. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Purity Of Essence ( 1007601 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @04:20PM (#19168535)
    Beyond marketing hype, what exactly makes a Zelda game an RPG? I honestly don't get it. Maybe I'm just old fashioned having grown up on pen-and-paper RPGs, and CRPGs like Wizardry and Ultima. Every game in the Zelda series are almost completely linear, there is usually only one way to solve any problem, there is almost no way to customize the game or make your experience any different than another player's. There is only one player character, a character who is virtually identical across all games, with no customization, no leveling, no classes, no tactics, no way to influence the story, no characters that react meaningfully to the different ways you play, and not really any other RPG trappings except a Tolkien-esque universe. Yes, Zelda II had some leveling, making it the most RPG-like, but that represents one small feature in one aberration of a game out of something like fifteen in the series. I'm sorry, a handful of hearts does not an RPG make. Zelda is no more an RPG than the three lives of Pac-Man are a statement on reincarnation and corporate capitalism. As far as I can tell the Zelda series is a classic action adventure in almost every possible way, completely in the vein of the grand-daddy of them all "Adventure" for the Atari VCS. You collect specific objects, or perform specific tasks, to overcome a specific series of obstacles, while the game funnels you toward the end. Your options are extremely limited, and almost everything that can be done in the game is utterly compulsory in order to finish it. In other words, Zelda is a particularly inflexible adventure game with many exciting and varied real-time action elements -- and I love Zelda for it. Don't ever change, Zelda!
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:32PM (#19170015)
    In the original Legend of Zelda, the only thing that kept you from moving around freely in the world (I'm simplifying things a bit), is that fact that you just didn't go to some regions because the enemies were too dangerous over there given your current skills.

    Broadly true, although later dungeons had rooms that were impossible to get through unless you had the Ladder, which IIRC was found in a dungeon you needed the Raft to get to. You could play most of the dungeons a bit out of sequence, but it was rarely a good idea (except that I always left dungeon 6 till last - Bubble, Like Like and Wizzrobe in the same room equal pain.)

    My main complaint along these lines is that you get to know the game design, and think 'Right, I picked up this item in the last dungeon, it must be what I use to get into the next one, and it must be essential to solve the puzzles inside it and then probably will never be used again.' Which got me in trouble at the end of Twilight Princess - I'd completely forgotten I had the boomerang and got slaughtered repeatedly by Zant until I finally caught on.

    Sidequest nonsense: Newer Zelda titles have too many sidequest. In the original Legend of Zelda, I actually cared for finding all heart containers, but with the inflation of fractions of pieces of hearts in current games, it's just a pain. Things get worse when you have to find 100+ spiders or ghosts. It doesn't add to the game and the reward that you get out of these quests is never worth the effort. My recommendation: Integrate sidequest into the storyline and have one single meaningful artifact as reward.

    Sidequests I like, but keep the rewards coming at regular intervals. I'll hunt Skulltulas because every so often I get something cool. Bugs and Poes don't seem to work quite the same way.

    Difficulty: Zelda has gotten too easy. Without even going through the pain of getting all bottles, I only died once before completing the game for the first time. Especially the dungeon bosses were too easy.

    Dungeon bosses, yes, trivially easy. I never was once threatened by them until (as I mentioned above) I forgot I had the boomerang :-) Those bloody Ironknuckle-descended beasties, though, they were a bit of fun all right. Especially once you'd got the armour off them and they suddenly got very, very quick and good at blocking.

    To be fair, though: how hard were the old games? Really? The puzzles were obscure because the graphics were too basic to give subtle hints, and the old crones whose job it was to deal out the hints had to be translated from a language where one character can be a whole word, but with no extra space. The combat, though - how hard is it to beat the two Dodongos in the second dungeon in Legend of Zelda? How hard was it to beat them in Ocarina? Go back and play the old games today - they're on Virtual Console if your NES doesn't work anymore. Are they really as hard as you remember, or have twenty years of experience made you really, really good at Zelda games?

    Don't reinvent the wheel: It's true that fans of the Zelda series don't want to see everything changed. So new items are always fine, but not too many. Instead, how about bringing back some items from the previous games: sword throwing, magic wand, rings, etc.

    Wasn't the dual hookshot great, though? I loved that in the sky city. Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can...

    Sword throwing really works better in 2D, I think. It's still there in the Gameboy games. The Blue and Red Ring roughly correspond to the different tunics you get nowadays. A magic wand would be nice, and could work well on Wii, but it would probably end up being a re-heated Ocarina. Learn spell gestures as you travel around Hyrule. SHIELD, JUMP, LIFE, FAIRY, FIRE, REFLECT, SPELL, THUNDER...

  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <> on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:48PM (#19170357) Journal
    Collecting items doesn't make for an RPG, but getting getting experience and gaining levels some people might call an RPG. Not in the same way Final Fantasy is, but in the way that Diablo is.

    (Is it just me, or does Zelda II just like the newer Castlevanias?)
  • Re:No way. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:49PM (#19170371)
    I remember as a young lad LOATHING the second zelda game, and for the longest time it was the only one I hadn't beaten. But when i got the disc for the GC with the first two games on it, I decided that it was time i beat it just so i could say i had beat them all. It quickly became one of my favorites.

    People hated Zelda 2 because it wasn't top-down like the original. Nintendo went back to top-down with the SNES and Gameboy versions and the fanboys were happy. Then they went 3D. Your beloved top-down format is dead, fanboy! And just to rub it in, what names are these for characters? Rauru, Ruto, Saria, Mido, Nabooru, Darunia...

    But Ocarina was so very, very good that everyone forgot it wasn't top-down. Now you play Zelda 2 and you don't see a departure from Zelda 1, you see a precursor to Ocarina, and you don't get the hate on any more.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @05:58PM (#19170531)
    Nope, fans will happily rescue the same fucking princess over and over again

    Not always the same princess. Zelda's just a traditional name in the royal family of Hyrule. I make it at least four Zeldas through history. Ocarina Zelda, Twilight Princess Zelda, Link to the Past Zelda (who may or may not be the same Zelda as Sleeping Zelda), and Original Zelda.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17, 2007 @06:05PM (#19170649)
    This article, if it were a post on /. would be modded down to -2 Troll. It has everything any troll article has: a popular subject, whining about how things "should" be, and total avoidance of anything that could counterpoint what he's writing.

    I RTFA, but I didn't see anything about Minish Cap in there at all. That's a post-OoT Zelda game that broke out some nice twists that didn't play like every other Zelda. What of Four Swords with its rupee-collecting fun? This "article" does nothing but take up space.

    This is the worst kind of navel-gazing. The un-entertaining kind.
  • Re:No way. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oktober Sunset ( 838224 ) < minus poet> on Thursday May 17, 2007 @06:50PM (#19171485)
    And I suppose choosing to use the nail gun or the shotgun in quake is customisation too?
  • Re:No way. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by diamondmagic ( 877411 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @09:44PM (#19173437) Homepage
    A "true" RPG features leveling up, often experience, and (though theoretically possible to do without) battles. The name by itself though, role-playing game, implies an epic adventure. Consider the name of the hero, Link. Link was named that because he is your "link" to the game (one of Miyamoto's brilliant but simple concepts). You name Link, and you control Link, though every action and movment. Unlike Final Fantasy, Link will never do anything that you don't tell him to (at least nothing that would affect the plot, the bridge scene in the start of Wind Waker for example). With the same philosophy, Link never says anything, with the exception of a shout in the Wind Waker, but even that is triggered by a button press. "Role play", by dictionary definition, is much closer to that then, say, "adventure". Zelda also features many elements not often found in games besides RPG's: item collection, exploration, puzzles, NPC's, and princesses that need saving (with the exception of Mario).

    I personally don't see "Leveling Up" or "XP" to mean "RPG", I just see it as one way of a few to control a character inside a game. I do not believe is it that system that directly appeals to most gamers. It is the gameplay style that a level system creates (usually), and Zelda does an absolutely wonderful job creating that style without the need for it. That is how I classify games, it really just comes down to which element found in (true) RPG's means "Role-playing game", and separates it from an action-adventure (or a plain, old adventure).

    Many other people have noted Zelda 2 as an exception, with gameplay styled like an action-adventure with RPG-style leveling (the other way around compared to other titles in the series).
  • by NonSequor ( 230139 ) on Thursday May 17, 2007 @09:47PM (#19173469) Journal
    It's slow to start. That's Twilight Princess's biggest flaw.

    But the first horseback battle was probably the most intense experience I've ever had playing a video game. There are some absolutely amazing moments in this game.

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!