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Topic: What are the Essential characteristics of a Zelda game?

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Mountain_Man

Essential characteristics of a Zelda game? Well, it has to have Link in it, and of course Zelda, and a world for Link to explore and... well, that's pretty much it for the essentials.

Edited on by Mountain_Man

The Mountain Man

damien33ad

@gcunit anyone can have a say. You should have played more than one though I'd say. I think so far everyone has come up with some good stuff. I like the "folk" thing you brought up too. I think it's first time I heard someone say that and I agree is essential

damien33ad

damien33ad

Quest log is definitely something I feel BOTW got right. That was great addition

damien33ad

damien33ad

@Dezzy agreed. And Windwaker for me. I think people heard a YouTuber say "ZELDA stories are never good" and so they thought that's what they had to think too and repeat it. Zelda isn't on the level of Lord of the Rings but it's stories are always told in an epic way to where you WANT to know what happens next. Story is key.

damien33ad

Euler

Zelda isn't in Link's Awakening, Oracle of Seasons/Ages (whichever one you play first, that is), and only has a brief cameo in Majora's Mask.

Euler

damien33ad

@Euler yes it's the gameplay moreso than the normal cast tht make the game. Lino's Awakening was every bit a Zelda get as OOT.

damien33ad

StuTwo

They have to get you to commit to the ‘Zelda cycle’ (i.e the last one is the WORST GAME EVER, the one before is perfection that must be emulated exactly).

StuTwo

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Purgatorium

gcunit wrote:

How many Zelda games do you have to have played to get a say in this? I've only beaten 3 and am part way through another 3 or 4 currently.

If you're currently playing through them for the first time, I'd say you have a fresh perspective on what makes a Zelda game.

Too many people's perspectives have been calcified and they can't see past replaying the same experiences over again.

You can list the characteristics of a Zelda game that are common to the series but you wouldn't be seeing the forest for the trees. You could say a Zelda game needs dungeons but then if you have a Zelda game without dungeons and it still feels like a Zelda game, we're missing something.

Purgatorium

bpapa2020

gcunit wrote:

How many Zelda games do you have to have played to get a say in this? I've only beaten 3 and am part way through another 3 or 4 currently.

Probably depends on which ones you've played. It's pretty easy to bucket them into ones that are very similar...

Bucket 1: TLoZ, ALTTP, all of the handheld games (including Link's Awakening)
Bucket 2: Adventure of Link
Bucket 3: OOT, MM, WW, SS
Bucket 4: BOTW

I think you'd need one from each bucket - however, bucket 2 is easily the least important since it's one game from 30 years ago. Bucket 4 is also only one game, but it's also got a sequel coming, and could be the standard for Zelda going forward.

bpapa2020

boop23

items are a phenomenal way of evoking a feeling of genuine progression. besides the lack of dungeons, the lack of items is the next biggest loss from botw. shrines dont cut it, not by a longshot. dungeons and items go hand in hand. im incredibly biased here of course, but i believe skyward sword proved that nintendo can write a pretty great story. characters like groose and that games portrayal of zelda are very memorable and some of the best characters in the series. botw had nothing of the sort, along with the almost cringeworthy voice acting. its not that i really want to rag on botw, i just think it had the most potential in the entire series to be something even greater, and they kinda blew it.

boop23

Purgatorium

bpapa2020 wrote:

I think you'd need one from each bucket - however, bucket 2 is easily the least important since it's one game from 30 years ago. Bucket 4 is also only one game, but it's also got a sequel coming, and could be the standard for Zelda going forward.

I wonder, since Adventure of Link is almost universally considered the odd one out, is it because it does not have the essential characteristics of a Zelda game? I think if we do think it has these characteristics then its status as an outlier would make it useful for determining what makes a Zelda game.

Purgatorium

kkslider5552000

StuTwo wrote:

They have to get you to commit to the ‘Zelda cycle’ (i.e the last one is the WORST GAME EVER, the one before is perfection that must be emulated exactly).

I'd assume some of them can't do that for the previous 3D Zelda, since they'd have to stop pretending motion controls are bad. :V

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Slowdive

Backtracking is surely one of 'em?

Slowdive

Purgatorium

Zelda games have a lot in common with Metroidvanias.

Coining the new term Zeldoidvania.

Purgatorium

damien33ad

@StuTwo that's actually really good point. That can and does happen. Another thing that happens too is everyone will heap praise on an entry when it first releases..then the truth comes out how people feel. Though I think what you said above comes into play somewhat with people becoming over critical like with skyward sword.

damien33ad

damien33ad

@Purgatorium I always liked the item/progression of the metroidvania. But at the same time I know Nintendo always always ALWAYS is about innovation. It's I. Their dna and is why they are even making video games today instead of playing cards. So it's not surprising they tried an open world adventure with BOTW, motion controls with SS, timee mechanics in MM, wolf link in TP. every entry they introduce something new. Maybe that's another essential ingredient to Zelda. Ingenuity. There must ALWAYS be something new. I prefer tradition but tradition mixed with new and the uncharted

damien33ad

gcunit

gcunit wrote:

How many Zelda games do you have to have played to get a say in this? I've only beaten 3 and am part way through another 3 or 4 currently.

To me, a Zelda game needs:

  • Link and Zelda, and a touching bond between them, portrayed with a minimalist style
  • Sound design consistency (consistent sound design is almost as important in Zelda games as it is in Star Wars)
  • 'Folk' culture, mythology and themes - woodland, water, music
  • Sense of adventure
  • Puzzles

And yes, @WoomyNNYes, a quest log should be retrofitted to all existing Zelda games that don't have one.

What I don't think the games need (necessarily):

  • mini games - I really don't care for them in Zelda games and rarely put any time into them.

I would just like to clarify something that I couldn't be bothered to articulate when I made my earlier post.

The points I've made are more what defines the Zelda games I've played. I'm fresh enough to the Zelda scene whereby I don't think I'd be insisting that a new Zelda game must have anything in particular. I like to be open-minded and am so glad I can just appreciate Breath of the Wild for what it is, rather than grumble about any features it may be lacking.

Edited on by gcunit

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Euler

I think items and progression are very much a part of Breath of the Wild, they’re just presented differently from usual. There are gates, but this time you have many options for getting through (defeating the enemies for the magic key, picking the lock, brute forcing it open, climbing or paragliding over the fence, going the long way around, finding the secret passageway, among others). There are items and tools (the Sheikah Slate and its modules, which you unlock and upgrade gradually, the paraglider, single-shot bows, multi-shot bows, long-range bows, many types of armour each with useful properties, sledgehammers, torches, swords that can start fires easily, weapons for electrocuting or freezing enemies, elemental rods, elemental arrows, explosive arrows, axes, korok leaf, champion abilities, octoballoons, among others) that you gradually acquire over the course of the adventure to help solve puzzles, explore the world, and defeat enemies but there is always more than one way to accomplish the same goal.

For example Hyrule Castle is accessible early on, but you’ll need a way to get past all the guardians (which most people can’t do until mid-end game). Once inside you must get to the top. Revali’s gale, swimming up the waterfalls with the Zora armour, following the main path (featuring more guardians and a couple Lynels) and sneaking in through the docks are all viable means. Still some people find a rock they can cling to and launch it with Cinetis and a sledgehammer in a perfect trajectory that takes them directly to Ganon’s Lair a la Pinky and the Brain. Guardians will give you trouble early on, but you will gradually discover and exploit their weaknesses (guardian weapons, master sword, ancient arrow, and shield parries are all effective against them). Weapon durability is a subtle way to ensure that you can’t ravage a camp full of silver enemies right off the bat but as you go, you’ll get better and better weapons to destroy them easily. More interesting than just having a peg that you must pound with the hammer from level 5 in order to access the route to level 6.

Edited on by Euler

Euler

damien33ad

@gcunit in this context I don't see it as grumbling though that does happen. But we have to acknowledge that there are certain core gameplay elements that must exist in a Zelda game in order to be recognizable as a Zelda game-barring the title. If the next entry came out titled Tingle's Tennis and we were told "thid is Zelda now" I would say it would make absolutely no sense to claim "open-minded, mindedness to the new direction of the franchise". Plus, discussing this stuff for me, and I'd say probably everyone be in here comes from a place of major fans of the series who want to see it succeed for many years to come. Just another reason these talks are helpful

damien33ad

damien33ad

@Euler ya not really trying to bash BOTW in this thread I'm sorry if some comments maybe did that. I'm not a fan of the game but that isn't what I'm trying to focus on here.
Someone I was talking with last nite made me think that perhaps one of the MOST essential elements of a Zelda game that we ALL have been missing is that it must try something new. The more I thought about it it does seem that rule applies to every title. Nintendo always finds some new creative thing to put into Zelda for us, some work, some don't. Skyward sword motion controls, though I've only played that game for a few hours due to controls I have to say the idea itself was genius. I remember when I was a kid hoping one day you could swing a sword and have it show that in a game. Nintendo do made it happen. Though the tech wasn't there for perfection yet. LTTP had tons of innovation that led to the conventions we had until BOTW. TP had wolf link, not major problem for me, as I really y loved that game but I could have done without it. Windwaker I would say the visuals(which I am playing thru on my GameCube and it looks great TODAY which is impressive) and the sailing. OOT where do we begin? And so on. Then we get to BOTW while I personally dislike the game it carried that principle of trying something new with it and tried the open world and most people loved it. BOTW has spurred this debate though because now Zelda seems to linger in the air on what is and is not a Zelda game. And I think Nintendo will have to bring back the ESSENTIAL elements of the franchise in the future. Those essentials are what's up for debate

damien33ad

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