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The next Zelda should take a page from Metroid: OM's book
Editorial by 
March 02, 2010, 20:29:05
I'm sure you've read about how M:OM did away with floating missiles and power pellets (oops, wrong game) left behind by enemies that you have to pick up. This IMO is a good thing. It eliminates the need for farming and steamlines the game. Instead of standing next to a pit that spawns enemies to fill up your missiles, you just have to clear out a room of enemies (a challenge in itself) to catch a break and gain enough time to automatically fill them up. I guess in a way it's like the shield in Halo, except here you're not running for cover in order to recharge, instead you overcome the challenge each room represents before being able to enter the next one fresh.

Anyway, I think Zelda could stand to reevaluate why it does things the way it does. It seems to me there are a lot of vestigial conceits that are unnecessary in modern Zelda games, and the games would just be better if those conceits were done away with completely.

Having to pick up seeds or arrows, for instance. Honestly, did you ever run out of arrows in Twilight Princess? I don’t think I ever came close. I was, however, extremely disappointed every time I opened a chest that contained a bundle of them. Plus, if I were to come close to running out of them, having to break pots or cut grass to find more wouldn’t have been very fun. But my point is, if they’re so plentiful and you never run the risk of running out of them, why not make arrows flat out unlimited? Then the player wouldn’t have to deal with the disappointment of opening a chest full of them. AND sometimes I find the mere possibility that I might run out of them, as improbable as it is, prevents me from experimenting with them.

Because you see, even though I know I won’t run out of arrows, I will still avoid using the bow until I have to. So basically, all the arrow limit does is prevent me from using a fun item. Wouldn’t it be better if the game ENCOURAGED you to use the bow whenever you want instead, while taking care or not making it overpowered? I think so.

This rant is running a little long already, so I’ll briefly mention how the rupees in Twilight Princess seemed like a formality and nothing more. The game « rewarded » you with them all the time, but you have nothing to spend them on, so why have rupees at all? There were perhaps one or two meaningful items you could buy, but tell me what is more rewarding : finding some rupees and buying an item from a store, or going through a cleverly hidden, challenging cave and finding a cool item at the bottom?

Let’s do away with the obligatory collectathon while we’re at it. I don’t know why with the shift to 3D, Nintendo decided collecting 100 doodads to gain a bigger wallet was a fun thing to do. It’s not. Especially when the reward is so underwhelming and so completely useless at the point you finally get it. What happened to throwing a boomerang in a sacred pond and gaining a super boomerang in return? The latter felt like a cool discovery, the former feels only like tedious work.

The ideas above, IMO, can only be improvements. Implementing them wouldn’t change in any way what fundamentally makes a Zelda game, unlike some of the ideas I read like « Zelda should copy Oblivion’s overworld! ». They’d just be getting rid of conceits that have no place in modern Zelda games. If having to replenish your supply of arrows isn’t difficult enough to be meaningful, if collecting rupees is so easy and so pointless it isn’t meaningful, if killing 100 spiders or catching bugs is tedious and unrewarding, then get rid of those elements. Focus on making combat meaningful again. Focus on rewarding gamers for finding truly hidden secrets and completing actually challenging tasks.

Make Zelda better while preserving what it’s about.

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Posted: 03/02/10, 20:29:05  - Edited by 
 on: 02/24/11, 23:06:29    
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Well, its the exact same thing that happens with the Gamecube as a whole. What once was kiddy and lacking in 3rd party support is now the paradigm of Nintendo hardcore gaming. The thing is, I'm sure Twilight Princess will gain more fans in time as well when people are complaining about Wii 2 and the Zelda du jour.

Personally, neither game is a particularly exciting chapter in the Zelda catalog for me, but I prefer Wind Waker because it has more of its own identity. Ocarina of Time is still the gold standard for 3D Zelda.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 01:12:42
You can actually get all the figurines on your first playthrough if you get the color camera early enough. But yeah, actually having them made is quite tedious (they take a day and you can only get one at a time). However, I'd really like for them to bring back the Pictobox and a more streamlined method, because I love the whole figures-with-bios thing in games. Can't get enough of it, and it's a reward more suitable for my tastes than a bunch of rupees.

Lots of TWW issues in this here thread. Personally, I'm on the side that quite enjoyed the sailing for its mood and atmosphere. I think some of the problems with it are being overblown. For starters, there's lots to see on the Great Sea in TWW--besides the 49 island spots, you've got Moblin watchtowers (some have pieces of heart or other treasures), Man-fish to feed, the tornado (before you get the song), water spouts, swarms of Seahats, sharks or Octoroks, Beedle's ship shops, the Ghost Ship, the occasional enormous, 4/8/12-eyed Octorok (stumbling upon one of these can be pretty jarring), and plenty of treasures to dig up, plus cool effects like the weather affecting the intensity of the waves, random storms and the seagulls following your boat. You can get the warping song halfway through and at that point, you don't have to sail more than a square away to get anywhere on the map.

And personally, I just got a great feel from sailing being woven throughout the game. Hitting the sea and heading to uncharted territory was always exciting, and finding a fairy fountain or minigame tucked away in the corner of the world is what Zelda is all about. TWW, overworld-wise, is the least linear, most open, and encourages the most exploration of any game in the series beyond the original title. And a great deal of this is due to the sea/island structure.

I will agree that Nintendo seriously needs to streamline its little animations. For all the effort they go through to mask/eliminate load times, they still make us wait an awful amount. Imagine how many times you've seen that Animal Crossing villager dig in his pockets to put away or take out a shovel.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 10:24:18  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/10, 20:27:17
I enjoyed Wind Waker overall. It's got flaws, for sure, and I can see where some people are coming from, but I'm more in line with TriforceBun. I enjoyed sailing a lot. I felt like Nintendo did a great job at translating that feeling into the game and I always felt like there was something to do, certainly never felt like I could go to the bathroom or walk away for 15 minutes. There were birds flying overhead, monsters attacking you, giant Octoroks, cyclones, moblin towers, etc. A lot of stuff in the Ocean to either admire (seeing a new island in the distance was always a good feeling) or something to fear (seeing the fin of a shark circling your boat). I also enjoyed how Wind Waker didn't take itself all that seriously throughout the game. The art style was kind of childish (not a slight against it) and the characters all felt pretty quirky. Everything just kind of messed well. Even when you saw Hyrule Castle frozen in time it had Moblins and such frozen in funny positions and once they were unfrozen they just went back into what they were doing like nothing happened.

Twilight Princess is my least favorite 3D Zelda game because I found the flaws of that game not so forgiving. Where I could find fun in Wind Waker, I found dull, life-less, "going through the motions" in Twilight Princess. The beginning of the game is incredibly dull and so very slow and it prevents me from ever beating the game a second time because I hate having to force myself through that section. Then the horse, I don't really see what people see in the horse but it's like the ONLY way Link can travel. The carrot system needs to die, period. I won't knock Ocarina of Time (because it was first!!!!) but Majora's Mask at least escaped the problem I have with the horse by having a very small and densely populated overworld. Twilight Princess goes the opposite route. There is nothing in Hyrule Field. Nothing to find, nothing to attack 90% of the time, and hardly anything to see but dull land that stretches on and on until you finally reach your goal. The smaller areas in Twilight Princess are very well done, Zora's Domain (for example) is very nice. Hyrule Field is not nice. I hated venturing into it before I could warp because I'd have to go in a giant circle just to reach my next destination, which included random loading segments, and nothing to do.

I also didn't like how Twilight Princess took itself so seriously, but then tried to have "funny" moments. The history of Hyrule cutscene, where Midna (?) is explaining the magic users of old with the Triforce cutscene. Where "Link" runs towards it, IN SLO MO!, and then we get like 3 dopplegangers and probably the worst facial expression ever put into a game. It was jarring to see that cutscene. Something that was supposed to be "big" that just turned into a "what...the fuck..." It cycles back to my overall dislike for the story and its pacing, which I've stated a few times and in better ways when it hasn't been 3AM, but I just do not find Twilight Princess funny.

It didn't fix many of the flaws from Wind Waker that people complain about, but many of the people that found those flaws don't see them in Twilight Princess. Oh, the wolf, almost forgot. The wolf is terrible. It strips away your freedom, forces you into a box, and has the balls to give you a golden line leading you out of it. I don't mind linear experiences, but it was total crap being forced into that "box" three times doing the same thing over and over again. Also, doing it for no explainable reason. Fat-ass-on-a-pig summons the Twilight via a horn, and here we have random bugs (only seen by a wolf!) that keep a zone "locked down" and only by killing them and their giant bug leader would you free a zone. Three. Fucking. Times. The one at Lake Hylia felt like Nintendo knew it would suck and just decided to say "Hey, fuck you buddy". Bleh. That also keeps me from replaying the game.

As for the figurines, I think whoever designed it was working under the impression that the player would snap a picture of someone, give the figurine maker the picture, and then continue on with their journey. I don't think they designed the entire game around a completionist sitting outside the hatch changing the time over and over again to complete it as fast as possible. Wasn't designed that well, you should have been able to give more pictures at one time, but I'm not sure it's fair to level the complaint against an obviously large side-quest for being time-consuming. They did the same thing in Majora's Mask where certain events only happened on the third day, it's just something to kill time.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 11:02:59
Yeah, the figurine thing... after the first one, I didn't even try. I don't want to grind in a Zelda game. Or any game, for that matter.

I could continue to gripe about unskippable cutscenes and rampant recycling of Ocarina puzzles and useless trinkets and collectibles, but I think this is returning to the same debate as usual: Wind Waker's charm, aesthetics, and sense of wonder vs. Twilight Princess's smooth, (relatively) streamlined, meaty gameplay. Each of us might be nitpicking the game in the other camp, but, at the end of the day, do I like the world of Wind Waker better? The style and atmosphere? Yes, absolutely. Would any of you Wind Waker guys say that the dungeon design or combat or puzzle ingenuity or amount of actual content or even the base movement mechanics are actually better in Wind Waker? Priorities...

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 15:55:20  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/10, 15:58:58
I wouldn't consider myself a "Wind Waker guy" but since I do prefer it over to Twilight Princess, I'll bite...

I think the dungeon design, combat, and base movement mechanics are pretty much equal. Maybe if I sat down and took notes while playing each, my tally sheet would favor TP slightly, but in terms of just experiencing the game, Twilight Princess didn't do anything to separate itself from standard 3D Zelda for me. As for amount of content, I rarely consider length of a game unless its extremely short or extremely long. Artificially lengthening the game with the stupid Triforce piece collection was a shame though.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 16:04:32
I agree, but it did separate itself stylistically which is why I prefer it. Again, I'm not huge fan of either.

I liked the items in TP but their minimal use after the dungeon they were found in really disappointed me. Like the spinning top item was really cool, but outside of that dungeon it was just a matter of looking for random tracks in the overworld so you could use it to reach a heart container or something.

I didn't find the fighting anymore challenging or interesting than WW, but I'm also one of the world's biggest 3D Zelda fighting haters. That is my biggest hope for Zelda Wii, a departure from the OOT combat style.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 16:29:23
I also hope that Nintendo moves on from Ocarina-style combat. Like Prime's lock-on blasting, it has never really satisfied me.

If they keep Z-Targeting in Zelda Wii, I hope they at least make each encounter demand the skillful use of MotionPlus and the shield. It would be cool to have straight-up motion-controlled duels.

Actually, they moved away from Z-Targeting in TP a bit, with the ability to slash while running and on horseback.

I think you've gotta play through both again, man. Twilight Princess has to have at least twice the actual content (along with one-eighth of the filler), in addition to fresher dungeon themes and puzzles throughout (Wind Waker's puzzles are almost all Ocarina-derived, something that Nintendo has been working to improve ever since). Plus the movement in Wind Waker was almost as clunky as in Ocarina, while Twilight Link felt much, much smoother and faster (maybe it's a weird thing to care about, but that's a really important issue to me). Combat was fun in both titles, but Twilight Princess's's was at least a little challenging, and more flexible.

Ugh, that put me in mind of the Wind Waker dungeon that was kind of unique, but it made the player change the direction of the wind ALL THE TIME. Blech. Couldn't they have just mapped the wind direction to the C-Stick while the item was equipped? That could have actually made for some cool... Sorry, I'll stop.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 16:30:50  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/10, 16:37:40
If I get a TV, I'll play Wind Waker again. As for Twilight Princess, I watched my girlfriend play through it last year and it did not make me want another playthrough.

I think Z-Targeting is here to stay, it makes too much sense for Motion Plus battles, which is a shame because the best Zelda fights in 2D are always when you have to keep track of lots of enemies at once and kill or be killed:

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 16:47:23
@TriforceBun @missypissy

Thank you, Matthew and Sean. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who enjoyed the sailing in Wind Waker. The mechanics weren't perfect, I admit, but it was just calming to be able to go out and sail, and enjoy the seagulls and finding new locations and stuff. Things like moblin watchtowers and pirate ships and the like weren't marked on your map, so finding things like that was awesome. Like Matthew said, I love the non-linearity of it. I love the ability to go and explore. I do wish there was a bit more land in the game -- I seem to remember them saying prior to Wind Waker's release that there would be different sized islands and that Outset Island would be a medium-sized one, and yet it was one of the biggest.

I do admit, I think they improved it a bit in Phantom Hourglass, with not having to play a song every time you want to sail. But that's not to say that I think the sailing in TWW is as broken as everyone else thinks.


Simba, while you're right about the cutscene every time you use the Wind Waker being annoying, it's pretty much the same as in any other Zelda game. In Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, anytime you play the Ocarina you're then treated to a scene of Link playing the same song you just played. Anytime you warp you have to see it, and anytime you do anything with the Ocarina you have to see it. I realize that it doesn't occur as... frequently as in Wind Waker, but to say that showing the scene every time you do it is not a problem of Wind Waker, it's a problem of the series as a whole -- it's just more obvious in Wind Waker, since you need to use the baton more frequently.

You're right that aside from the style and sailing it's similar to the other games, and you're right, but in my opinion those things make the game. I mean, as I said before, sailing is pretty similar to riding Epona across Hyrule, but for me, it's just so calming to sail and take in the sights. The humor in the game makes it feel a little different. I mean, the gameplay may be similar, but Wind Waker and Twilight Princess have a vastly different look and feel.

And Wind Waker had some new items too -- the Deku Leaf for instance, which you could use to float or to blow wind. Or the grappling hook, which, while similar to the hookshot, was an interesting new twist on that. But you're right, Twilight Princess definitely has the edge on new items and dungeon themes. I'm getting really tired of dungeons having themes. Twilight Princess was a step in the right direction, with things like the City in the Sky, and even some of the themed dungeons being interesting (like Snowpeak Mansion), but I think we need to move past the whole "fire/water/forest/sand/ice dungeon" thing, which ALL of the 3D Zelda games have had.


I vastly prefer Wind Waker's controls to Twilight Princess's. I think the free camera control in Wind Waker made a huge impression on me, and I was so disappointed that it wasn't there in Twilight Princess -- even in the GameCube version it's not quite as "free". I didn't notice any differences between the way Link moves, but I'll keep it in mind the next time I play either of them.

I would love to see the combat change though, because as Jargon says, fighting a lot of enemies at once is awesome, and not having Z-targeting would make that much better. But I doubt we'll see that happen.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 17:28:38
anandxxx said:
I also hope that Nintendo moves on from Ocarina-style combat. Like Prime's lock-on blasting, it has never really satisfied me.

If they keep Z-Targeting in Zelda Wii, I hope they at least make each encounter demand the skillful use of MotionPlus and the shield. It would be cool to have straight-up motion-controlled duels.

Yeah, I feel like the series can't really evolve to the next level until they ditch the OoT gameplay style. I don't think it's hyperbolic to say that the MotionPlus provides the greatest potential for a revolutionary Zelda experience since the advent of 3D gaming. I hope they go all the way... make extensive use of it with a rewarding combat system and lots of new crazy items.


I, too, love having free control of the camera. I really missed it in Twilight Princess... but still prefer to make the sacrifice and play the Wii version for all of the IR aiming and such.

I didn't miss it at all with Mario Galaxy, though. Perhaps the Zelda team has rethought camera perspective as well.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 17:38:21  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/10, 17:42:26
@Hinph Oh yeah, I totally still play the Wii version (although I own both GC and Wii versions). I still miss the awesome free camera control that Wind Waker had, but TP's IR aiming is awesome in its own right.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 17:49:06
I really hope that combat in Zelda demands the skillful use of MotionPlus, but I'm keeping my expectations in check. I think Nintendo is talented enough to do it, but I don't think they want to risk alienating the... less-abled members of their audience.

Super Guide will allow them to spike the puzzle difficulty, but unless they want to go as far as optionally automating the battles, it probably won't change combat much.

Yeah, I liked the camera control in Wind Waker (it gave me something to do on the endless, endless sea), as well. I was talking about the actual movement in both games. Wind Waker is quite stiff, almost as stiff as Ocarina. Twilight Princess is much faster and more fluid and more refined. Little things like directional control over rolling added a lot for me. Plus, the faster the character moves in any single-player game, the better. Don't waste my time, devs.

Posted by 
 on: 03/04/10, 18:40:17  - Edited by 
 on: 03/04/10, 18:45:19

Yeah, combat that requires a bit more skill would be very welcome.

What is most important to me is that the game uses the MotionPlus in a way where it feels necessary, and not just as a sort of cool gimmick. I want enemies and bosses that require combat strategy... it should matter where and how you hit them. If they pull that off, then they have succeeded in my eyes.

... also, I want to cut the shit out of grass and signposts. Oh god, how satisfying that will feel!

Posted by 
 on: 03/05/10, 20:48:38

I wish there was like a free slice mode in WSR. The speed slice mode is so cool but I'd rather just mess around cutting stuff up than go head to head with someone, you can only get a couple slices in.

Posted by 
 on: 03/05/10, 22:28:30
Jargon said:

I wish there was like a free slice mode in WSR. The speed slice mode is so cool but I'd rather just mess around cutting stuff up than go head to head with someone, you can only get a couple slices in.

Could you imagine using an ice arrow on a Moblin, and then shaving him down any way you'd like? Not gonna happen, but it would be cool as hell.

Posted by 
 on: 03/05/10, 22:36:52

Haha! Zelda Ice Scupture contest!!!

Posted by 
 on: 03/06/10, 04:40:47
I wonder what a Like-like-flavored ice cone tastes like, now.

The roles have been reversed, bitch.

Posted by 
 on: 03/06/10, 04:59:19
I hate those sons of bitches.

I'd eat one just to spite it.

Posted by 
 on: 03/06/10, 08:40:51
Shadowlink said:

Haha! Zelda Ice Scupture contest!!!

I'd just like to see half of their head/body falling to the left, and their other half falling to the right. There would be something VERY satisfying walking down the middle of a fallen enemy. Come on, after Link shoves his sword down Gannondorf's head in Wind Waker, anything is possible, right?

Edit: Is it really a spoiler after this many years?

Posted by 
 on: 03/06/10, 10:25:29  - Edited by 
 on: 03/06/10, 10:32:48
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