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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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