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

Posts 61 to 80 of 197

damien33ad

@Slowdive I've never played thru whole game of LTTP. I know how revolutionary it was and all but I stopped after first dungeon hoping to experience it for the first time fully remade like Links Awakening as you said. It is possible. Some people say will never happen. I'm more convinced it will though. I feel LA was a test study to see if it would make money or not.

But from what you said preferring LTTP and LA, what was it about those games that you found are essential to the Zelda series?

damien33ad

Shadowthrone

@damien33ad I don't think we should mimic the first Zelda, as it is heavily flawed by todays standards, but rather the idea behind it - an open world to explore. It was made as an open world concept, as Miyamoto has said Zeldas inspiration came from exploring hillsides, forests, and caves surrounding his childhood home. This is the idea that birthed Zelda, which I think makes it essential.
The exploration and discovery is the big takeaway from Zelda 1, which BotW really got back to (and ultimately was the entire focus, leaving out other key essentials). Breaking down the main points of the first Zelda - large, open world to explore; no direction and you're free to go wherever; many large and hidden dungeons; light linearity (dungeons numbered and increasing difficulty, but you can do many in whatever order you want); secrets to find; many different and useful items.
Zelda doesn't have to be open world now, but it did start out that way and slowly got away from it. BotW is just coming full circle back to what the first game did with modern tech (but admittedly also leaving out other essential traits). Not even fully open world, but the freedom to explore and discover on your own, without some Owl or whoever telling you exactly what to do and where to go and how to do it.
Even taking ALttP. They'd mark something on your map as your next objective, but on the way you could roam and find caves, items, whatever along the way. You can traverse almost the entirety of the map on the way if you wanted, with a few areas blocked off. Fast forward a bit and you get to OoT. Same thing happens, someone tells you somewhere you should go and you head off. Only this time before you can even explore, the Owl appears and tells you again where you need to go. Areas are blocked off to you, funneling you to where you need to be. You can only explore the predetermined route. I found Zelda to become more and more restrictive to staying on the predetermined path as the games went on (probably with a couple exceptions).
BotW was a breath of fresh air for me. Freedom to actually explore without being interrupted or pushed into a narrow path for the narrative. That doesn't mean I don't want those other essentials people are also wanting, dungeons, unique items, and so on.
ALttP is also one of my favourite Zelda games. It covers the bases of most essentials for me, as I said above. OoT is also up there, but I my interest started to wane after that due to the hand-holding and excessive guiding you on the set path. It felt more and more that they assumed players were morons that couldn't figure anything out on their own (like why do I need a pop up guide for an item the 500th time I pick it up? First time is good enough).
I guess it's less "open world" I feel is essential, but the freedom to explore and figure out that world, without hand holding, Owls, or a narrow path of point A to point B.

Shadowthrone

damien33ad

@Cotillion no I definitely get what you're saying and put that way I think I'm about 80% in agreement with you. I would like to see and I'm sure Nintendo will, incorporate the other essentials such as dungeons and story along with the more open terrain. I think we did get to partitioned in our journeys since OOT. I know it helps the story but there should be a balance. The story for me is essential and one that takes place in the past instead of playing thru isn't enough for me, but they should be able to do a real time story and a world that is more open than say, SS. I think we can both agree that we should be free to explore without having 75% of the world closed off to us. I don't mind some areas being closed off in order to help the story but if that is to be then we need to have enough open area to adventure into PRIOR to middle of game. Because to be honest, and now thinking more about your point, playing thru WW when I love that game, by the time you have enough gear to actually be freed up to explore the world around you you're already well over halfway thru the game and at that point you are more focused on beating Ganon(essential btw lol).

damien33ad

Shadowthrone

@damien33ad Yeah, I think we pretty much agree here. Going forward my ultimate combination of those essentials would be something like...
The open world of BotW. Shrines cut down, only puzzle ones left, no freebies or just battles. The Zelda trope of needing x amount of story items (pendants, crystals, whatever) that are in, say, 8 dungeons. Dungeons are spread out in the world and all you have to go by is 'one is in the desert', 'one is in Death Mountain', etc and these are classic, extensive dungeons. Going a step further, within the dungeon there is an item you need to complete the puzzles. So you do like 20% of the dungeon sans item until you find it and then complete with the mechanics of the item. This allows dungeons to be done nonlinear, whichever one you find, you can attempt to do. Maybe even have shortcuts or alternate puzzle solutions if you do indeed have items from other dungeons, but not required.
A mainline story that continues when you choose it to be. mark it on the map and thats it. Player chooses to either go straight for it or explore around first. Story advancement needn't be dependent on specific dungeons, finish one and story continues.
I kind of got off the point of this thread a bit with that...

Shadowthrone

damien33ad

@Cotillion I agree with most again. And you're making me think more about some things I haven't before. But first, the dungeons I am ok with nonlinear, LBW did it well I thought so it's possible to do it and still have a story.
The shrines I agree, should be cut down or disappear. I don't find them essential or fun in any way
Back to the story starting up when u choose it again I think can be done in a way that doesn't make it the skippable way that most people did with the last entry, but also doesn't go all the way back to how it was before the last title. Andaybe that is the consensus. Good inroads from the last entry though perhaps a bit too far and should be dialed back but not all the way back to how things were before. Because, once again I'll cite WW, sorry poor WW, but I really wanted to explore what was out in the sea but I was prevented from doing so for a good portion of the game by the Red Lion for the sale of the story. And in truth, the story could have paused and picked back up when I was done exploring just like you said. But, instead they went with ,"this is urgent and you must go to this dungeon now!" and frankly I didn't like that. I had to beat like 3 dungeons before I could finally be allowed to sail my shop where I wanted to. And that restrictive level of linearity should NOT return. I want a solid story and am all for linear design but, BOTW, though I dislike im capable of understanding that I'm one of the few who didn't like it and most loved it. And it's success should cause a moment of pause and reflection from Nintendo and others who did not like it that if so many people LOVED the open world there must be a reason for it. And it's because of the reasons laid out in these talks that I really haven't thought of before. So yes, the freedom to explore IS essential I agree. That does come from the heart of what made Zelda in the first place and it is a must now for all future titles though perhaps a more measured amount for the sake of some of the rest of the Zelda recipe too

Edited on by damien33ad

damien33ad

damien33ad

U think kikwi are essential too. They are way too awesome not to be. Must bring back!

damien33ad

BlueOcean

damien33ad wrote:

For myself, and I know we will have convergence the most of us, they are:
-Dungeons
-a story
-a central and ever present antagonist that you meet throughout the game
-creative bosses/battles

I agree and I would add good music!

For me, Breath of the Wild is not even a The Legend of Zelda game.

BlueOcean

damien33ad

Ya BOTW was not my favorite
But I'm trying to not bash that game here. Ultimately of course discussing essentials means it will highlight whats missing in that game but I can say I have learned from fans of BOTW that some things needed to change or be tried out in order to move beyond some old conventions. I'm not signing on to BOTW wholesale but what someone else said to me last nite that I agree with is BOTW has made open world-ish Zelda essential in that we should no longer be barred from exploration until midgame.

Yes music needs to he essential

damien33ad

SomeBitTripFan

I'd argue that Zelda is most defined by its world. While the series certainly has strong iconography and well defined but varied gameplay/structure, the nature and character of the worlds in Zelda games remains consistent across all entries.

Scale/A Sense of Grandiose Adventure: A Zelda game is never small. In scale and/or presentation, a Zelda game takes place in a large and diverse environment. Whether gated or open, the main goal is to convey the idea of a grand quest and adventure.

Discovery and Awe: The world is full of mysteries, hidden secrets, and new sights. The world of a Zelda game is a strange, whimsical, wondrous place. Things aren't always what they appear to be at first glance. Grand secrets exist just out of sight in all places, grand or mundane.

Folksy Hope Under Threat of Evil: The world is explicitly threatened by some evil/malevolent force. Despite this, the people living there continue to persevere although still acknowledging losses. Humanity and human spirit thrive even in the struggle. There are real stakes and things worth saving.

I'd like to add one more half related bullet point:

Tools and Ingenuity: The world and environment are overcome and navigated using tools and ingenuity. The hero's power is not innate, but derived from the tools acquired and it's the application of the tools scenarios is the hero's most noticeable talent.

Just Someloggery
You have the right to disagree with me and the ability to consider anything valid that I say; Please exercise both.

Nintendo Network ID: SomeBitTripFan

damien33ad

@SomeBitTripFan that's one of the best summations yet. Yes like OOT was a "locked" i.e. non-open world game but I never knew that. It felt open to me. There was this massive Hyrule field and the various routes I could take to explore from there. Without that feeling of open world, even if it's not, it misses theark for a Zelda title.

damien33ad

Magitek_Knight

So, since my thread got locked: can anyone help elaborate to me, a non-Nintendo guy that hasn't been super impressed by the Zelda series what makes it so loved?

For clarity, I've played enough of LoZ, AoL, LA DX, and Phantom Hourglass to have completed a few dungeons, and in LttP I reached Turtle Rock dungeon and in Ocarina I completed the Spirit Temple. But I haven't finished any of the games.

I've liked similar games but I feel like there's a lot of hype and nostalgia involved in talking about the games (especially Ocarina, which I thought had aged poorly even when I first played it in 2004.)

Still, I'd love to have my mind changed. I envy the passion Zelda fans have for their series and I'd like to be that enthusiastic about it too.

If anyone has a suggestion of where to start with the series I'd be willing to hear it. Just not handheld and not Ocarina. Emulation is fine. The Switch one I'm tentatively interested in but I'm not big on open world games and I don't have a Switch yet.

Edited on by Magitek_Knight

Sorry if I got your thread locked.

damien33ad

Not really what this is for but I'd suggest finishing Ocarina of Time. From there, I'd just start knocking them off the list from the 3d Zelda's. Then hit the 2d. I'd hold off on Breath of the Wild for now though since it's so different from other Zelda games that you might he kind of confused. Maybe do that one last.

But maybe this thread can still help after all. Yes it's about what is ESSENTIAL to a Zelda game, and thereve been a ton of people who have come up with a ton of different ideas though a lot of convergence. The series spans over 30 years so a lot of us grew up with Zelda. And going beyond nostaglia I'd say if you read thru some of the comments on this thread you'd get a fair understanding of why we love the series so much. The actual qualites the game has.

The common essentials people listed were dungeons. Which are sprawling, giant labyrinths of creative design that include tunnels and mazes, mini bosses, big bosses, cool new items that help you progress thru the lair and in the overworld.

The sense of adventure. Most Zelda games have been linear with the exception of BOTW but the adventure has always been there. When Zelda is at its best you never realize that you are actually being funneled thru a very linesr progression. It just feels natural, and the adventure of exploring the world around you, the NPCs with side stories etc was really invented by Zelda.
Story. No matter how deep or thin the story has always been told in a cinematic and epic way. YOU are the hero. Without you all is lost. The princess, the kingdom depends on you. It's cliche but it's always worked.
Trying something new. It seems to be a Hallmark of the greatest series of all time to always try something new which is of course risky. Whether motion controls or cell shaded graphics, trsverei g the sea or the sky, or ditching everything Zelda for the open world format like BOTW, Zelda series has always took risks and most times have succeeded .

My personal favorites btw are Ocariba of Tine, Windwaker, and Twilight Princess. But you really don't have to do anything game in order I'd just recommend doing a 3d one to start and finishing it and saving BOTW until last. That's just my suggestion though others may disagree. And once again I'd read over what we all have been saying about the essential characteristics of Zelda to kind of inform you even more as some people really had some awesome comments here

damien33ad

Magitek_Knight

@damien33ad I wanted to keep my separate thread on the subject and am sorry to hijack it, but the mods locked it and told me to come to this thread. I'd have loved to have kept the topics split. Take it up with them if I'm in the wrong thread, this is their Frankenstein.

Anyway- I no longer have my N64 or 3DS or the copies of Ocarina and I disliked the experience enough that I don't want to restart it. If I could start back up from Ganon's castle I might do it, but my copies are long gone and I haven't had my N64 since 2014. I tried when I had the 3DS and gave up after accidentally quitting on the mountain 2-3 hours in and having to start over from the elf village. I hate crossing that stupid field so much and you have to do it so many times. I also remembwr having a lot of trouble with a boss you have to hit shots back at and the timing feeling "off". Conversely I don't see what people hate about the water temple, I thought the forest temple was way worse.

I was thinking if I tried again I'd go for LttP since it's the one I enjoyed most (even as a Sega kid, the 16-bit era was great on both the major consoles). But barring that I'd consider Wind Waker or Twilight Princess, I do still have a Wii and a GC memory card. Unfortunately both games are also prohibitively expensive now.

Edited on by Magitek_Knight

Sorry if I got your thread locked.

StuTwo

@Magitek_Knight LttP is a great game. It's basically the structure mapping that almost all of the subsequent games (and almost all Metroidvanias - they are the same just from a different perspective) have used ever since. Whether in 2d or 3d it doesn't really make much difference - lttp is a touchstone videogame that you should play regardless of whether or not you want to get into this particular series.

The other 2d game I would perhaps recommend as an entry point is the GBA game "The Minish Cap". It's under-rated, very easy but very vibrant. It has more concessions to "modernity" than lttp and while it's not a better game it covers a similar mixture of game concepts and patterns and is generally more approachable.

Of the 3d Zelda games I'd recommend steering clear of Twilight Princess. It goes on. And on. And on. And on. And that's just the tutorial at the start. That game and Skyward Sword - whilst both having things to recommend them for - are just too long and padded out. Those two games also lean into fan servicing and call backs for fans. Majora's Mask is a great game but many people find it quite stressful and few would call it a good entry point.

Wind Waker is a wonderful 3d adventure game with the most character of any in the series (or of any Nintendo game full stop). That would be my best recommendation for the 3d games - with the proviso that you play the Wii U version that allows for faster travel and changes the late game experience significantly for the better (the original Gamecube version slowed things down to a crawl). If you don't have a Wii U then I'd strongly advise just waiting. It'll be ported to Switch. One day. Eventually.

All that said - just play Breath of the Wild. It's probably the crowning achievement of video games over the past 10 years. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and there are likely to be a few things that niggle you with it over time (like lack of enemy variety) but it's just so enjoyable from moment to moment.

StuTwo

Switch Friend Code: SW-6338-4534-2507

Magitek_Knight

@StuTwo Not to nitpick but I've taken a look at BOTW gameplay videos and it looks dull even by open world standards. Metal Gear Solid V bored me to tears and I say that as a longtime MGS fan. The only open world games I've enjoyed are on a smaller scale like Arkham City. What I've seen brings back bad memories of Ocarina- endlessly, slowly crossing open empty land and I dislike games with survival mechanics. Open world is second only to lootboxes in gaming fads I won't be sorry to see go.

In any case I don't have a Switch and probably won't until there's a significant drop in price. I can't really justify paying a premium for a secondary console, games that don't drop much in price, and a control pad because the default controller's buttons are too small for my hands.

Will definitely avoid Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. If they're mostly padding and fanservice it sounds like they have nothing to offer me.

Wind Waker is probably my first choice but I don't have a Wii U (I wasn't even aware it existed until last year, I thought it went straight from Wii to the Switch).

Edited on by Magitek_Knight

Sorry if I got your thread locked.

Cynas

@StuTwo The tutorial in Twilight Princess is often the only thing that people complain about that drags on for too long, what else drags on besides that? Skyward Sword definitely does have a bit of padding, but personally I enjoyed it all so I didn't mind much. Also, what fanservice moments are you talking about? I've replayed them fairly recently and don't remember anything like that in either game. I don't think I've heard anyone else complain about that either. If anything BotW has the most callbacks to previous entries.

@Magitek_Knight If you're not a fan of large open areas, then I think most 3D Zelda games will disappoint you. Skyward Sword has the big open sky (although most of the game is pretty linear besides that), Wind Waker has the ocean, Twilight Princess has similar fields to Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time. Majora's mask would probably be your best bet if you dislike that sort of thing, but even that has Termina Field. Personally the only open field I have complains with are in Twilight Princess, since there's usually not much going on in them. I think a lot of people like these parts of the games because it sparks a sense of adventure, discovering what's around the corner. This is especially true in BoTW since there's so many things to discover around every corner.

If you want to try 2D Zelda games I'd recommend A Link Between Worlds, Manish Cap, or the Oracle games. While A Link to the Past is still a fun game and holds up fairly well, A Link Between Worlds generally just has more going for it if you don't have your nostaglia goggles on.

Edited on by Cynas

Cynas

Switch Friend Code: SW-5466-6715-6498

Magitek_Knight

@Cynas The main problem is large open areas that don't have anything going on and having to cross the same open area a billion times. I was sick of Hyrule field by the 5th or 6th time I had to run across it; was some form of fast travel that hard to fathom in 1997? It's like a really lengthy loading screen basically.

I've spent more time learning to navigate and traverse woods and driving cross country in real life than I would care to. I don't want to sit down and do either virtually.

I've also ruled out those 2D entries just due to not liking handhelds.

Edited on by Magitek_Knight

Sorry if I got your thread locked.

Cynas

@Magitek_Knight All 3D Zelda games do have fast travel. In Ocarina of Time you only unlock it after traveling to the future for the first time I think, but there's a fast travel song to each of the game's adult dungeons and one to Castle Town. There's still a fair amount of traveling in Hyrule Field you have to do, especially at the beginning of the game, but you also unlock the Epona in the adult timeline which makes getting around Hyrule Field much easier.

Edited on by Cynas

Cynas

Switch Friend Code: SW-5466-6715-6498

Magitek_Knight

@Cynas I just didn't remember those, though I do now. It's been about 15 years since I played it. Definitely don't remember an Epona though.

Edited on by Magitek_Knight

Sorry if I got your thread locked.

Eel

Even as child link, you have shortcuts in the Lost Woods, which take you directly from there to either Goron City or Zoras Domain.

Which by the way don't make the perishable items expire, unlike the travel songs. So the Lost Woods are good for delivering those during the trading sequence.

Edited on by Eel

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