Posted by: TWILT | July 10, 2013

Things To Do And Not To Do In New Zelda Wii U

Sup guys, this is TWILT. I kinda rushed this article together in 2 hours or so, and it’s 1:30AM over here, and trust me when I say I am freaking tired. If this post isn’t up to snuff for your liking and while I didn’t notice any with spellcheck on, full of spelling errors…well that’s why lel. I’m going to be like tirk posting new game reviews and more lists like these, with hopefully higher quality to them. Anyway, I made this in roughly 2 hours, so enjoy.

Every new console, we get a brand spanking new 3D Zelda. With the Wii U Zelda currently in development, who knows what it’s going to be like. Recently, Eiji Aonuma (the director/producer of the Zelda series) said that he’s curious to what fans feel about the Skyrim experience and that the Wii U Zelda is going to the most “ambitious” Zelda yet.  Whether it’ll result in one of the best or worst Zeldas ever, who knows.

I’m actually one of the very few people that probably likes ALL the 3D Zelda games. Ocarina of Time is a classic of course. Wind Waker was actually my first 3D Zelda, and while it may be my least favorite overall, I still greatly enjoyed it. Majora’s Mask was awesome, and was the kind of game that if a Zelda game was “different” from normal, it should be similar to that. Twilight Princess is probably my favorite 3D Zelda, even if it had some flaws to it. Now, Skyward Sword was certainly an ambitious Zelda. While I certainly still enjoyed it, I do have numerous amounts of problems with the game, which I may get to later. Every 3D Zelda has their strengths and flaws, and I’m hoping for the next 3D Zelda, focus on the strengths, and fixing the weaknesses.

Here are a couple things on what I feel what they should do and what they should NOT do for the new 3D Zelda. They may or may not be things you already agree with, but hey, here goes. I WAS going to do a Smash Bros 4 version of this, but the trailer’s already out for the game, so meh.

DO: Give Link more of a character

The_Wind_Waker_Link_waves_goodbye

For whatever reason, I always felt that Link isn’t enough of his own character. He’s always that  one guy in a green tunic who tries to save the world from insert evil villain here without question. Now, Wind Waker and Skyward Sword did try and give Link more expressions to show how he acts/feels during a situation. While I thought they did a pretty good job at that, I never felt he was truly fleshed out.

After playing Kid Icarus Uprising, Pit, who was a silent angel before who can’t fly, is much improved in that game. He has a voice, has a unique type of character to him, and feels really genuine as a character, without it really being forced. That’s the type of character I feel Link should strive to improve on.

Does this mean Link should finally break tradition and learn how to talk? Eh, maybe, maybe not. I’m kind of hoping in the next Zelda game, he’s more like Yu Narukami from Persona 4, where the player determines how he acts and talks, albeit more fleshed out. Overall, I do feel that Link should be a more fleshed out character. Just y’know, don’t try toooo hard to improve his character (I’m looking at you, DmC).

DO NOT: For the love of god, NO MORE HANDHOLDING

FiComicJ_5511

I know how you feel Link, I know how you feel…

Yeah, you knew this was coming.

Now if you’ve played Skyward Sword, I predict a 90% chance you’d be annoyed with a very certain character. Fi constantly pops up to tell you obvious stuff you already know, especially after the game itself already just told you how to freaking use it. This especially gets worse when your Wii batteries go low, and Fi HAS to pop up to tell you about them (and I had to change my batteries A LOT thanks to the Wii Motion Plus using extra battery). I mean, are you fucking serious Nintendo? I mean, Navi was bad in Ocarina of Time, but Fi is somehow even worse.

In the next Zelda, I want none of this bullshit. No more of the game telling you stuff you already know. No more annoying ass partners (unless it’s someone like Midna). Basically, stop treating the player like a dumbass. It’s 2013, Nintendo. Gamers aren’t THAT dumb. At the very least, it should be completely optional. It should really be similar to a critically acclaimed game, which I will get to later…

DO: Make the intro engaging, but not too long

I’ve pretty given up hope that the next Zelda is going to have no intro and bring you straight to the action, so I’m just going to do the next best thing. Every 3D Zelda after Majora’s Mask had a rather long intro before you could get to the real meat of the game. In Skyward Sword, I actually felt like they did a decent job at making the intro interesting and engaging (as you’re introduced to characters like Groose, and grow fond of Zelda). Yeah, basically I want the intro to be more like that, but not as long. Twilight Princess I’ll admit did a horrible job with it’s intro (because herding goats are so much fun, amirite?) Wind Waker was a bit better, but you still have to go a long way before you get to the game’s true first dungeon (I’m not talking about the stupid stealth section of the Forsaken Fortress.) None of that please, and bring me straight to the action as quickly as possible.

DO NOT: Include unnecessary padding/filler 

468px-SSword_2037

Trust me when I say he’s far more annoying than challenging.

Now, here is where most of my complaints of Skyward Sword come from. There are tons of things in the game that were put in just to make the game artificially longer. Having to go back to the first dungeon to get some special water? Having to protect Scrapper because he somehow couldn’t deliver the water dragon’s basin? Having to face the same terrible boss battle three times? Unacceptable. Skyward Sword would have been fine as a 20 hour game, but instead chooses to drag on for another 20 hours just for the sake of being longer. Yeeaaahhh, no. Less fluff, more substance, please.

DO: Make full use of the Wii U’s graphical capabilities 

When I saw the Wii U Zelda tech demo, I came a thousand times…well not really, but yeah, it got me really excited at the potential of a true HD Zelda. I really hope they don’t go the Super Mario 3D World route, where the game felt like kind of a waste of the Wii U’s potential and I’m pretty no one asked for another version Mario 3D Land for the Wii U. And believe me, I know that thing is as strong if not stronger than the PS360.

As for the artstyle, I actually don’t mind what direction they take as long as it looks fantastic. I really hope they use the Wii U tech demo artstyle personally, though I wouldn’t mind if they use Link’s model from the new Smash Bros for Wii U.

Yes.

Yes.

DO NOT: Make the world empty again

An obvious one, but…

Both Twilight Princess’ and Wind Waker’s worlds, while huge, didn’t have a lot to explore. Sure, it’s nice to get some heart pieces here and there, but most of the time, you’re getting more rupees, and sometimes, you can’t even take it with you because your wallet is freaking full. Skyward Sword tried to fix that problem, but had to sacrifice an open world for it, and the end result wasn’t that good. I’m really hoping the world is more fleshed out, and more similar to…

DO: Learn from the best to beat the rest

Shoutouts to tirkaro, by the way.

Shoutouts to tirkaro, by the way.

The rest of you can kill me later, but I feel like Zelda should be more like mother effing Dark Souls. There’s no silly hand-holding in the game, no characters popping out of nowhere when your controller’s running out of battery, there’s stuff like hidden weapons and armors you can get by exploring, no silly fetch-quests just to make the game feel longer, and while the game is challenging, it feels like it was genuinely your fault on why you died. And you know what? People really loved the game. It’s considered one of the best games this gen for a reason.

Now I don’t obviously want Zelda to be a 100% Dark Souls clone, but I can’t, but feel that the Zelda franchise is missing some potential. And when I mean the best, I’m sure as hell not talking about Skyrim by the way. There are some elements from the game I feel they should borrow, but I hope they don’t take too much from it.

DO NOT: Make it too much of a cinematic experience

Now, you’re probably wondering what I mean by cinematic experience. You could argue Twilight Princess was like this, in how it tried to be an epic grand adventure for Link. I actually wouldn’t mind if they take the “Ocarina of Time” structure again.

No, by cinematic experience, I mean stuff like QTEs (quick time events, which Zelda thankfully doesn’t have…yet) and stuff like, well…*raises flame shield* Uncharted. Now see, I’m honestly not that big of an Uncharted fan. I always felt like it had shallow game mechanics and never felt like the 3rd person shooting was anything impressive. Hell, I’d argue it’s a series that will not age well at all. After seeing the new Tomb Raider game…well, I just hope it doesn’t follow in that direction. Hell, not too many future games in general to take that direction. NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE UNCHARTED.

IN CONCLUSION… Basically, Zelda needs to fix a lot of basic stuff before they can try something truly new. Nintendo has made a quality of great games I really enjoyed like Kid Icarus Uprising, Mario Galaxy 2, Fire Emblem Awakening, and stuff like Pokemon XY and the new Smash Bros. look surprisingly pretty promising. Such a shame that I’m not really that interested in the upcoming 3DS Zelda, and I didn’t enjoy Skyward Sword THAT much. Hey, there’s always the future though, right?

205241-master_sword

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Responses

  1. I agree on all of your points.

    Personally, I thought OoT Link was a well crafted character, and not just a vacuous player expy like many people assume. It’s an instance where the game and the gameworld inform you about the character. And it does it subtly, without cutscenes of THIS IS HOW LINK FEELS ABOUT DAT.
    For example, almost all of the NPCs who age over the course of the game, are the women. That’s not just a coincidence, or Nintendo being lazy, they WANT the player, as Link, to notice these young women.
    I’d certainly like a Link with more personality, but I want that personality to be expressed through the gameplay, and not through cutscenes or the like.

    Navi was annoying solely because of her forced tutorialising in the first dungeon. Beyond that, she stays tucked in the C Up button like a good little partner

    Handholding is indicative of an insecure development team, unsure of what players will be thinking as they play. You can certainly guide the player with invisible cues, to get them to learn by their own agency. But it’s hard to pull off correctly, and it can be disastrous if misjudged. Phantom Hourglass’ “Press the Map” puzzle was pretty painful, I’ll tell you that.

    Pretty sure everyone would prefer a small dense map, over a sprawling yet empty overworld. A place can definitely feel big without having to BE big.

  2. I concur what Junahu said. Great article TWILT. I’ve always thought Link should be a “hand and a Master Sword” like Gordon Freeman is a “hand and a crowbar”, but it’s possible for Link to have some character.

    Also Nintendo games are more friendly to the casual or younger player, so there will be thorough help. Don’t expect it to be too much like Dark Souls any time soon. and that’s okay. As much as I love Dark Souls, it has its own appeal and style, and Zelda does too. I really just want a Skyward Sword with a better overworld and more sidequests, and replayability. Also, New Game +

  3. @Junahu: That’s actually a pretty interesting way to look at it at Link’s character. I’d certainly be more open if they went with that path again though I’m not going to get my hopes up.

    As for handholding, I really like what Majora’s Mask did. Probably not the best example since it’s probably the least friendly 3D Zelda, but I thought it pulled off the minimal handholding and letting the player figure it out on their own really well.

    Probably one of the best examples that pulled off teaching players without handholding really well is probably Megaman X if we want to move away from Zelda games for a sec. I don’t always agree with him, but Egoraptor did a great vid about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FpigqfcvlM

    @Khold: You do have a point with Nintendo being supposed to be more friendly with the younger audience, but Fi in Skyward Sword was simply going a bit too far. Even Twilight Princess nor Wind Waker didn’t go that far, and both are really easy games.

  4. These are the things usually suggested by Zelda fans. I get the feeling the message is somehow lost on Nintendo, though. Just look at Hyrule Field’s return in Twilight Princess. It’s more-or-less a big empty field, much like the Great Sea in Wind Waker. Skyward Sword had the Great Sky.

    I don’t blame them for misunderstanding what it is that made Ocarina of Time great, because it’s something fairly nebulous. Everything felt interconnected and made sense in the context of its environment. The storytelling had so much depth that you could implicitly understand the significance of an object in the game world simply by its placement and scale. After Majora’s Mask, every game has become more action and less adventure, in the process regressing the series.

    A good example is always the bosses. All Ocarina of Time bosses have importance in the story, even if it’s fleeting importance. In Skyward Sword, bosses are tangentially related to the dungeon, like a big sea monster or yet another Ghirahim fight because fuck it. Those were fun, but ruined the climax of those dungeons.

    All I can hope for is what we’ve already heard, that there’s a focus on open-world elements and a larger scope for dungeons. Also, I hate Fi.

    • I totally agree with you here, you bring up points I can’t put into words.


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