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49 comments

  • samfish - March 8, 2011 4:50 a.m.

    'eh. I'm just gonna repost what I wrote somewhere else. I disagree with the thrust of the article. While I definitely always enjoy the "Zelda Experience", it's gotten to the point where I can predict what's next. As such, I'm not really surprised any more. As the article and others here have said, it's not the gameplay that makes Zelda feel the same. It's that they all follow the same pacing and plotting. That's exactly the problem. 1) You go to the first 3 dungeons (usually forest, fire and water) and obtain 3 artifacts. 2) You have a huge boss fight; some sort of twist occurs and... 3) ...you go through 6-8 more dungeons 4) Fight Gannon The only game since A Link to the Past where this varied was Wind Waker, and that's only because they rushed the end and replaced it with that terrible fetch quest. Although I should note that in my opinion, even though it still would have followed the same general formula, had they not rushed Wind Waker, it would have gone down as the best Zelda of all time. That said, by the time Twilight Princess came out, it was just too predictable. Everybody knew the formula and there weren't really any surprises. "Gosh, I wonder if I'm going to get the boomerang in the forest dungeon? YEP!" The gameplay and setting in Zelda is fine. It's arguably as close to perfect as you can get, even. What needs to change is the pacing and plotting of the game. You can still have an epic, Zelda-like experience while changing the LTTP formula around. The article author needs to play Okami, I guess. Hence why Okami (and to a lesser extent, Darksiders) received so much praise. Darksiders in particular REALLY aped the Zelda formula but the story telling and plotting was different enough to give it a refreshed feel. Okami took the general gameplay and a few of the more famous elements and went to town with it's own thing. If the next Zelda kept Twilight Princess' gameplay (although the crappy character animation needs to be improved) but gave it a whole new, relatively straightforward story it would probably be very well praised. I'm HOPEFUL that they recognize this is the problem. They've kind of indicated that it is, what with the whole field/dungeon/field thing... but that doesn't really rule out their basically retelling A Link to the Past for the sixth time.
  • minimaxi - March 8, 2011 4:01 a.m.

    no. every zelda is the same. JOKING! I haven't played enough zelda to possibly judge that, but the stench of samey-ness is obviously apparent.
  • YoshiAteMyBaby - March 8, 2011 3:50 a.m.

    They did do something different with Majora's Mask, and lots of Zelda fans hate it. I hope Zelda stays the same because it's ZELDA. It has that specific style that makes it Zelda, and if you take that away then it loses its identity. Look what happened to Metroid when they started stripping away what made it Metroid. Even games that just pretend they're Zelda (Okami, Darksiders) are given praise because that's just how enjoyable that style of gameplay is, and because it's not done very often. Zelda could do with borrowing some aspects of those games, though, because Nintendo is a little too dedicated to keeping things the same even when it's a bad thing. Like how Darksiders has the ledge climbing and block pushing of Zelda but also has the bright idea of not making those things take 10 minutes to do, which is tedious as hell. One last note: Zelda fans who want "change" will cry now, but the second Skyward Sword (or any new Zelda) comes out, they'll be buying it alongside everyone else. Their complaints are meaningless.
  • lovinmyps3 - March 8, 2011 3:26 a.m.

    Interesting assessment, and I completely agree with you.
  • RebornKusabi - March 8, 2011 3:25 a.m.

    I love the Zelda series the way it is. True, there's room for experimentation but the same could be said of other industry giants like Mario and Halo. Besides, the series DOES experiment, it just comes in fazes like Jim kind of alluded to. Link to the Past was vastly different from the first 3 Zelda games, though Zelda 2 was different from the first Zelda. Ocarina of Time was different from Link to the Past (though themes and ideas are shared between the two). Majora's Mask was vastly different, yet familiar, from Ocarina of Time. Then there's Wind Waker that basically was "Zelda meets Waterworld". The only ones that felt "safe" is Twilight Princess but even then, Wolf Link (which was done kind of with Bunny Link in LttP) and the Twilight World were new to the series. Basically, in my opinion, every entry in the Zelda series is different to me.
  • KolbitosFruitJuice - March 8, 2011 3:12 a.m.

    Absolutely perfect article. Its the same for Mario (excluding the sports games and party games). You save the princess after many hours of utilizing different power ups and jumping techniques, stomping the shit out of a multitude of enemies along the way. Yet we love it all the same.
  • Crabhand - March 8, 2011 2:53 a.m.

    Well put Mr. Sterling. I've often wondered how people can lament a new Zelda release as if Nintendo is releasing the same game every year. All of the games are memorable for different reasons. This line in particular really mirrors my sentiments when it comes to a franchise like Legend of Zelda, "you need to open your eyes and learn to feel games, not just play them." I couldn't be more excited for Skyward Sword, I have little doubt that it will be a worthy entry into an iconic series.
  • FreedomPhantom - March 8, 2011 2:47 a.m.

    I agree with you my friend; Zelda is like coming across an old friend, only to find all of the wonderful ways he has changed and see new tricks he has learned.
  • dcbernman - March 8, 2011 2:42 a.m.

    I really love the series (though I have yet to play through Wind Waker and Twilight Princess) but I too wished to see the world of the Legend of Zelda progress. I always liked to envision that Zelda, Link, and Ganondorf were actually the incarnations of the three pieces of the tri force, and that they were always being reborn together and conflicting with each other, like in some epic poem. I can understand that by avoiding the (really) big picture, Nintendo could continue to pump out new adventures for Link and company, and that would still be great, but nothing would really compare to seeing the beginning of it all, the very first time Link and Zelda interacted with Gannondorf, or seeing the adventure continue but when Hyrule has reached a new age in technology. I know the concept of a steam punk Legend of Zelda game or a Link! In SPACE! game would be blasphemous to some, and I could totally understand why... but sometimes, I really DO wish Nintendo took a "holy crap major directional shift" with the series. They have what it takes to keep it good, and if they only change the world every time, then wouldn't it still be great?
  • Triplzer0 - March 8, 2011 2:37 a.m.

    I love the Zelda series no matter how "same-y" each iteration happens to be to the last one. It's true that you always fight Ganon at the end, but how you get there changes every time. I'm looking forward to Skyward Sword because it's a Zelda game.
  • strey - March 8, 2011 2:31 a.m.

    Instead of innovating with the game's mandatory gimmick, I'd rather they innovate with things like temples and weapons. It's difficult to play another Zelda game, not because you know the formula, but because you're just waiting for ANOTHER fire temple, ANOTHER boomerang, and a bunch of puzzles that would only stump you if this was your first Zelda game. Throw some more themes in, not just a random gimmick.
  • Gillespee - March 8, 2011 2:06 a.m.

    I don't know too many people who really think that all the Zelda's are the same - however I do know a lot of people, including myself who think that Twilight Princess is way too much like two of the main console games proceeding it (Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time.) The recent DS games are similar, but very different from the rest of the franchise. Also, the dual world aspect has been done to death by the franchise. We've traversed the first light/dark worlds, then we saw the same place in different time periods, then we saw it from different sizes, and then we got to do the light/dark world again only this time as a canine! I really hope Skyward Sword drops the dual world aspect completely. It's time to face the fact that it's no longer ground breaking but is just a cheap(er than creating brand new areas) way to extend the life of a game.
  • Katlu - March 8, 2011 2:03 a.m.

    i don't know how I should feel about the fact that the first thing that I noticed about all the skyward sword screen shots I've seen, is that Link is wearing pants now instead of tights.
  • IVIunky - March 8, 2011 2:03 a.m.

    Don't fix what ain't broken
  • bobbybroccoli - March 8, 2011 1:17 a.m.

    Iv'e only played Oot and Twlight princess but I love the series. And that one time I played Link's Adventure... Until I played Oot, I thought the series was horrible!
  • FauxFurry - March 8, 2011 1:03 a.m.

    There is but one thing that I have to add to the points stated so effectively in this article: People who say that all Legend of Zelda games are the same ignore one of the most important innovations that The Skyward Sword is bringing to the series. It's not the Wii motion-plus enhanced control scheme. It isn't the gliding about a world above the clouds. It isn't even the fully adult version of Link. This Link...wears pants! I wonder how long it will be before someone claims that the series is ruined forever now there's no chance to attempt to position the camera in such a way that one can produce upskirt shots of the Hylian hero.
  • garnsr - March 8, 2011 12:56 a.m.

    Like Pokemon, Zelda games can just hit you at the right time, when you're looking for more of the Zelda you haven't played for a while, or it can just seem like it's the same game you played before. Big changes hurt Castlevanias, usually, I can play Symphony and that style game over and over, but Lords of Shadow, which is similar to other games I've enjoyed, like God of War, hasn't gripped me, as a Castlevania game or an action game. Zelda seems similar, a little change is good, but too much would take it too far from the Zelda we know, so it doesn't feel like Zelda anymore. It also seems like Nintendo is good at innovating once in a while, but once they start a new genre they don't really improve it that much over time. Sort of the opposite of the usual Japanese/American dynamic, where American companies come up with the innovations and Japanese companies keep making them better.
  • Aletheon - March 8, 2011 12:50 a.m.

    Why do we listen to the idiots of society that complain about everything? Just start ignoring them. They will continue to whine about everything, regardless if they have a case for it or not.
  • Fuzunga - March 8, 2011 12:23 a.m.

    This wasn't obvious to people? It's what I've always loved about the series.
  • AuthorityFigure - March 8, 2011 12:08 a.m.

    @ssjMrFord I'm not that crazy about it, but I don't hate it. Many games have accomplished the variety/unity balance well. But none of the examples I can think of are on any platform except a Nintendo platform.

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