Gaming The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

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[center][font="Microsoft Sans Serif"]E3 2010 - Wii
[size="5"]The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

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[left][font="Palatino Linotype"]I know we already have an E3 2010 topic, but I thought I'd start to create some topics around a few of the games announced. I'm hoping to include some variety, but I will really be focusing on the games I'm interested in myself. It'd be cool to see some new game-specific topics pop up. I was inspired by the Metal Gear Solid: Rising topic - it's already led to a pretty interesting discussion.

Anyway, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was unveiled at Nintendo's pre-E3 press conference. The trailer was shown right off the bat, but there was also a physical demonstration involving Shigeru Miyamoto and Bill Trinen. What's notable about this is that the demo was absolutely terrible - not, apparently, because the [i]game [/i]itself is terrible, but because they could not overcome the wireless interference in the room. If you actually watch the conference you'll see that there's enormous lag between Miyamoto's actions and Link's on-screen responses.

This is pretty unfortunate because if you've ever used a Wii Remote (and if you've ever used a Wii Remote with MotionPlus), you have a strong idea of the real responsiveness of the controller.

In any case, Skyward Sword seems to be a pretty radical departure from previous Zeldas, at least in terms of game control. Link moves his sword just as you move your arm - unlike Twilight Princess, where a simple waggle in any direction would suffice. This new mechanic is important because defeating enemies is now no longer simply about hitting them a certain number of times - instead, it is necessary to actually slash at them with the correct angle (and their designs give away the appropriate angle, more or less).

What I find interesting, though, is the fact that this new 1:1 sword control mechanic is obviously going to be used quite heavily in puzzle solving. In the video you can see that Link moves his sword around in a circle to confuse a large eye on a door, thereby unlocking it.

The new controls are also relevant in terms of item use, which seems to have changed quite significantly this time around. Now all of your items are controlled with gestures rather than button presses. The bomb is a great example - you can throw it over-arm or you can roll it under-arm.

You'll also notice that Skyward Sword changes the art style of Zelda again, in the sense that Nintendo have somewhat reverted back to Wind Waker-esque graphics. The key difference, though, is that the Link model is now "adult Link" rather than child Link. Still, it is only really true to say that Skyward Sword's visuals echo those of Wind Waker; it seems to me that this game is much less stylized and significantly more detailed than Wind Waker.

The E3 demo was incredibly short and only displayed a single small location in the game. So it's a bit hard to go on this, given that so much more has yet to be revealed. For one thing, we know that Link can now travel back and forth between his new sky world and the underworld below (by using his sword and apparently some sort of gesture). I'm really wondering what the visual contrast will be between these two worlds.

For me, though, the biggest question is how much (if at all) the game's basic structure has changed. I don't know about you guys, but I'm a little tired of the typical Zelda dungeon layout. Even a small mix-up to this formula would be most welcome. The video does show at least one dungeon, but beyond that it's anyone's guess really.


[/font][/left][/center] [/center]

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[color="#008000"]Hopefully this will be a renewal of sorts for the game. To me, the newer games like Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass, [Excluding Twilight Princess] Were okay, but were feeling old. This game seems to have promise. [/color]

[color=#4B0082]Removed the huge and unnecessary quote. - Desbreko[/color]

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[color="#9932CC"][font="Microsoft Sans Serif"]...dude, was it really necessary to quote the entire first post?

In any case, I'm definitely looking forward to this. The art style is [i]really[/i] awesome. They said that impressionist paintings were their inspiration, and it shows. I'm really digging the vibrancy of the environments.

I'm also really liking the idea of your direct movements controlling the sword. I was hoping Twilight Princess would utilize it, and was dissappointed when it didn't.

All in all, this should be a whole lot of fun.[/font][/color]

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I heard somewhere that Miyamoto said in certain parts of the game the art design/graphics would change... interesting.

TBQH I'm not really a fan of having to move my arm in a certain way to get a certain slash. I still prefer hand-held controllers even though the Wii remote is quite intuitive... just personal preference. I guess it's because I play games after long days of tiring work/workouts and I don't really want to concentrate on something like that.

Idk, for some reason I'm not incredibly excited by this, I'm more excited by the OOT remake and 3DS. The first demo was underwhelming, even though I understand why the lagging happened. I'll just look forward to future demonstrations.

[spoiler]I still don't like his new pants[/spoiler]

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[quote name='eleanor' date='23 June 2010 - 09:18 AM' timestamp='1277245131' post='695826']


TBQH I'm not really a fan of having to move my arm in a certain way to get a certain slash. I still prefer hand-held controllers even though the Wii remote is quite intuitive... just personal preference. I guess it's because I play games after long days of tiring work/workouts and I don't really want to concentrate on something like that.

[/quote]

[font="Palatino Linotype"]Yeah, this is something I was a bit concerned about originally. I'm not always in the mood for a WiiSports or Wii Fit session - especially when playing something like Zelda.

One thing Miyamoto did say was that there would be some sort of setting which would allow you to essentially "turn down" the effect. I think this means that you won't need to have these huge literal sword movements - you'll just be able to move your wrist and achieve the same effect. This sounds good in principle, but I'm not sure how well it'll work in practice. We'll see I guess.

For me it's just too early to be very excited about Skyward Sword, even though I am hoping I'll like it more than Twilight Princess (which I liked, but which is far from my favourite Zelda game).

I am actually [i]really [/i]keen to get the OoT remake on 3DS - I agree with you there. It looks gorgeous and I think the 3D will really look incredible. The only thing I'd want to see more is a remake of Majora's Mask on 3DS (MM being probably my favourite Zelda game of all).
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[quote name='James' date='22 June 2010 - 07:53 PM' timestamp='1277250834' post='695834']
[font="Palatino Linotype"]The only thing I'd want to see more is a remake of Majora's Mask on 3DS (MM being probably my favourite Zelda game of all).
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[/quote]

Yes. Definitely.

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[color=#4B0082]I am extremely excited about the potential for enemy designs and combat in general with the new sword control. In past games, enemies with shields or other ways of blocking just had an on/off switch for it; you could either hit them or you couldn't. Take the Darknuts in TP, for example. Even if your sword slashes hit them completely on their other side from their sword, they still automatically block if they're not in a vulnerable state. The only decent way to land hits is counter-attacking while the enemies leave themselves vulnerable, which turns combat into a stale and predictable game of "push the button at the right time." (TWW even gave you an on-screen display showing you when to push the button!) Contrast this with fighting Iron Knuckles in Zelda II, where both you and them are constantly trying to attack and defend at the same time and combat is much more dynamic. So I have great hopes that the new sword control and the way enemies can only block in areas actually covered by their weapons will break 3D Zelda combat out of the rut it's been stuck in ever since OoT.

And for the love of God, stop making us stun bosses before we can damage them![/color]

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[quote name='Desbreko' date='22 June 2010 - 05:58 PM' timestamp='1277254681' post='695839'][color=#4B0082]And for the love of God, stop making us stun bosses before we can damage them![/color]
[/quote]
[font="Comic Sans MS"]Still better than the games where they just kinda stun themselves after a while.[/font] Edited by gallowsCalibrator

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I might be giving them a little too much slack, but i have liked almost every zelda game i have ever played... and thats a lot of zelda games...
I guess its blind faith, but i trust nintendo with this one.

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[quote name='CaNz' date='23 June 2010 - 02:00 PM' timestamp='1277262020' post='695847']
I might be giving them a little too much slack, but i have liked almost every zelda game i have ever played... and thats a lot of zelda games...
I guess its blind faith, but i trust nintendo with this one.
[/quote]

[font="Palatino Linotype"]I trust them too, but as much as I've been a big Zelda fan for a long time, it's also true that I'm starting to get a little bored of the series. The Wind Waker, for example, had a visual style that I really loved - but the game itself had moments where it felt incredibly bland. This is especially true toward the end, with the shard-hunting stuff.

In some ways, for me, Twilight Princess felt even [i]more [/i]bland. I really enjoyed the wolf segments and I did like a lot of the dungeons, but the whole thing felt like it was trying too hard to be the "ultimate Zelda" - and in doing so, it seemed afraid to strike out and do something completely different.

You could call this nitpicking in a sense, because despite these complaints, Zelda games still tend to be incredibly high quality and they're always a lot of fun. But after the breath of fresh air that was Ocarina of Time and then Majora's Mask, I feel like the series stagnated a little.

I almost wonder if this isn't because the same team works on the games year after year. I'm tempted to see what would happen if EAD Tokyo or Retro Studios got their hands on a big mainstream Zelda game. That'd be very interesting, I'm sure.
[/font]

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For Skyward Sword to succeed, it really just needs to avoid everything Twilight Princess did. You hear this time and time again, but repetition doesn't make it any less true. TP fell victim to a strict adherence to a rigid formula where getting the player from Dungeon A to Dungeon B was the only thing that mattered. And the game suffered for it. Between dungeons, you were given next to nothing to do. Hyrule Field was gigantic, sure, but it was also gigantically empty. At best, you found a heart piece or a rupee slightly off the beaten path. But even those were colossal disappointments, because you rarely needed extra hearts, and you most certainly rarely needed extra rupees. Didn't help matters that the game had a ridiculous "You got a ____ rupee!" cut-scene every single time. It's almost as if the game didn't trust the player to realize they picked up some cash.

Now, to be fair, it's not as if the heart piece/rupee placement is anything new. Even the original game had its fair share of useless caves and pointless dead-ends. But it was nowhere near as bad as TP. There were long stretches of cave that gave you nothing. Where NES Zelda may have had one or two screens when you went down into a freshly bombed hole, TP had a winding cave structure with ups and downs, candles, enemies...but for what? A purple rupee you couldn't even carry because you were maxed out. Yay.

I suppose that's one of the things that needs to change. Zelda games need some sort of an economy again.

The original was perfect in that regard; you bombed a rock and maybe found a merchant selling arrows. It gave you incentive to try exploring your environment. It gave you a reason to actually keep cash on hand. It gave you an incentive to gear up. Sure, the game gave you mission-critical gear in dungeons (ladder, raft, red candle, etc) but being able to grab the blue candle or magic shield or bombs right at the start of the game added an immense depth (for lack of a better word) to the game. Hell, if you look online, there have been people doing no-sword runs in NES Zelda...and by "no sword" I don't mean they simply just don't use the sword. I mean they don't even grab the sword at the start of the game. There was incentive to experiment and explore and the freedom to do so.

Later Zelda games lost that incentive when they started giving you [i]all[/i] of your necessary gear. I think OoT was the last Zelda game to really engage merchant shops on a substantial level. You had civilized shops in Kokiri Village, Goron Village, Castle Town, Kakariko, etc, but then you had hidden shops around Hyrule Field, Death Mountain Pass, etc. After that, it all kind of sputtered out. Rupees have become so useless that they should just be removed all together. I mean, think about it. What did you ever really need rupees for in the past couple of Zelda games? You always knew you'd get the right armor and shield by going through ABC dungeons. You always knew you'd get the Hookshot in Dungeon X. You always knew the game would give you bombs when you needed them in Dungeon Z. There were no real surprises. There were no true "OMG Blue Ring" moments.

Again, I think OoT was probably the last Zelda game to really embrace those "OMG Blue Ring" moments. First time I got a Bomb Bag, I know I went around, blowing up rocks, stumbled across one or two fairy fountains. It was a great experience, and I'd venture it's because of those kinds of experiences why people regard OoT so fondly and pan TP in the same breath. The closest thing to Blue Ring moments I saw in TP was the sword skill acquisitions but eventually they got repetitive and ultimately became an annoyance because I seem to recall the howling stones being marked on your map, which kind of took the fun out of the exploration and discovery. Beyond sword skills, what, realistically, did you really have in the ways of Blue Ring moments in TP?

So that's another thing I'd like to see in Skyward Sword. The return of true Blue Ring moments.

Now, do I believe that Skyward Sword is really going to improve upon the trouble areas? Not really. For as much talk as I hear about changing the formula, I remain cynical. They haven't changed the current formula in over a decade and in many ways, it's just gotten worse. So I'm not entirely convinced they'll be able to pull off something akin to Zelda 1 or 2.

And Des is absolutely right about mentioning Zelda 2, because it's a phenomenal game, and I'd say it's my favorite Zelda game ever. Sure, it's filled with cheap hits and cheap deaths, with enemies that steal xp from you, and areas designed to just beat you into a bloody pulpy mess on the ground, and by the first quarter of the game, Ganon's laughter will have been burned into your (and your fiancee's) memory...but it does click with you eventually. And once it clicks, it becomes one of the single most rewarding gaming experiences you'll ever have.

In a lot of ways, it really was the predecessor to Demon's Souls on PS3. If you're hurting for classic Zelda in a current gen system, Demon's Souls will certainly tickle your fancy. The games aren't exactly alike, but there are enough similarities to where DS feels like a spiritual successor to where 2D Zelda left off back in the 1990s. Come to think of it, with Demon's Souls basically working as a next-gen Zelda game should, it almost makes me wonder why bother with Zelda-proper. Probably the Nintendo polish, I guess. Demon's Souls is horribly unpolished.

Or at least, it's horribly depressing. You occasionally see ghosts of other players running around in real-time as they play the same levels you are. You'll see bloodstains that show how other players died just moments or steps before you. Most of the NPCs you'll interact with are actually dead. Hell, you're actually dead throughout the entire game, I suppose. You spend most of your homebase time in the Nexus, which is basically the afterlife. And everything is bound to the Nexus, even when you have a body. Plus, when you "die," it's not really death, per se...just losing your physical form. You resurrect in your spirit form and have to touch your bloodstain to get your souls (xp) back...but you never get your body back (unless you use these soul stone things).

Great game, just horribly depressing. So Zelda is probably a much needed variation. lol

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Hmm... I'm split on the game. On one hand it certainly looks a lot more colorful. I felt that Twilight Princess was a little on the bland side when it came to the visuals. It just felt like a boring world or something. Anyway, yeah that's the one thing I'm digging with Skyward Sword at the moment. I'm like James in a sense. I feel that these Zelda games are becoming too stale at the moment. I couldn't get into Wind Waker and Twilight Princess pretty much wore me out with the OoT formula. I'm getting to a point where I'm getting a little fed up with the series, but I am interested in seeing where SS goes, but I'm not thrilled about the game at all.

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For me it's this general feeling that I've done this all before already. It's not just the Zelda series either, but most games these days with expected sequels.

Despite that I do like the more vibrant look, and I think the new motion mechanics will be a refreshing change to the combat system. Gametrailers has a nice clip of someone demoing the game and at one point he had to slice an enemy vertically instead of horizontally to kill an enemy. So there seems to be room there for more in-depth combat. Controls also look a lot of better in that video than the presentation on stage. Hopefully there will be more surprises to be revealed within the upcoming months.

[center][media]http://www.gametrailers.com/video/e3-2010-zelda-skyward/700267[/media][/center] Edited by Treble

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Yes another installment in the amazing series. I have a lot of Zelda games and I still play them on my Wii. This installment is going on my list of new games to get for my collection.

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It seems like everyone has had bad experiences with the last to large console games. playing windwaker i did feel like they let the story lack. Ganon was randomly thrown in, and though i did like the references to a past Link being hero of time (though it was all a lie i_i) and saving Hyrule like in Oot. I think the collection aspect of that game was a little too stressed, but the game had its good parts. I loved sailing around at night time and in a seemingly random occasion seeing a ghost ship... i wasnt sure if i could fight it or if i had to run... i ended up going after it and shooting at it just to see my bombs go through it.
might not sound exciting but i was interested.

i also agree that the money system is messed up, but i was always looking for money since i had to donate to that Goron so that the store opens up. then the magic armor which was powered by cash. i would wear it because it looked so cool. and it was really helpful in the great fairy cave (zelda horde)

I agree fith the lack of cool optional iteams (as much as i liked magic armor and the owl eye its no Dins Fire) but the real reason why i play zelda is the journey and twilight gave it to me.
i didnt love every aspect of the game, but I dont want a entirly different game when i pick up a zelda game. small changes like the wolf aspect is fine but if your gonna have a giant series of games a whole remolding is going to be rare (and is sometimes unwanted, though obviously not here) I'd be upset if i didnt find a cool temple in the next game. I really enjoyed some of the temples in tp. i liked the sky temple an bringing back the [spoiler]Temple of Time[/spoiler] as a playable dungeon... awesome.

as you can see i liked all those games, they were all worth paying money for... which i dont usually do.

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[quote name='Brasil' date='25 June 2010 - 12:22 PM' timestamp='1277428941' post='695957']
Great game, just horribly depressing. So Zelda is probably a much needed variation. lol
[/quote]

[font="Palatino Linotype"]I agree with much of what you said. I think Zelda needs a fundamental re-think - and I actually think this can be done without compromising its "Zeldaness".

I'm wondering, though, how much would you be prepared for it to change? I've mentioned it before, but I almost think Nintendo needs to do with Zelda what they did with Mario; think about how much Super Mario Galaxy revolutionised the Mario franchise. I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that Super Mario Galaxy is almost as important for Mario as was Super Mario 64, in that it fundamentally re-imagined the franchise without compromising the core mechanics.

Personally, I'd love to see something similar with Zelda. What I remember most about my favourite Zelda experiences is actually not the general format of the game (i.e. overworld/dungeon setup), but rather, the overall atmosphere of Zelda; the characters, the sounds, the battles, the art style. I really do think it'd be valuable for another team to have a go at a mainstream Zelda release - perhaps the Zelda team could work on a different type of game as well. Maybe they'd appreciate the break!
[/font]

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[quote name='James' date='27 June 2010 - 07:29 PM' timestamp='1277681375' post='696063']
[font="Palatino Linotype"]I'm wondering, though, how much would you be prepared for it to change?[/font][/quote]

How would I be prepared for it to change? Hm.

Well, the biggest change I'm aching for is for Aonuma to step down. Or at the very least, for him to stop trying to make/top OoT, because OoT is never going to be matched. It's the kind of game that works on nearly all fronts, that challenges you without breaking you, that gives you freedom with direction, that realizes a 3D overworld without it feeling sparse/underpopulated or completely stuffed. OoT is really almost the perfect realization of traditional Zelda in 3D. Not bad for right out of the gate, but very bad for anyone trying to make the next OoT. Hell, I think it's extraordinarily telling that the two most highly-praised, well-regarded 3D Zelda games since then have been Majora's Mask and Wind Waker. And they both did something radically different from their predecessor(s). Neither game tried to be OoT and they were better off for it. MM and TWW kind of followed in Zelda 2's footsteps. Had Zelda 2 simply been a retread of Zelda 1, it wouldn't have found this fanbase. It wouldn't have become a sort of under-appreciated gaming treasure. It certainly wouldn't have been as brilliant as it is...and I doubt it'd be as playable as it is today. If Aonuma would just forget about OoT, the games would improve.

It's like EA or Activision's quest to make "the next GoldenEye." It just isn't going to happen. The best Bond game EA cranked out was Everything or Nothing. It was an amazing title for two reasons.

One, it was just a damn fine game. The Bond moments were amazing. The action sequences [i]worked[/i]. The game ran smoothly, and the level design was actually impeccably well done.

Two, EoN didn't try to be GoldenEye.

Now, in EA's defense, Rogue Agent was actually pretty fun at times. The dual wielding system allowed for a surprising amount of freedom...it was actually better than Halo's, believe it or not. There weren't too many limits on which weapons you could dual wield, which means remote mine thrower in one hand with an assault rifle in the other. Made for some immensely satisfying gunfights. On top of that, the story was bizarre and wacky to where it was actually entertaining in a sort of "so bad it's good" way. Really, Rogue Agent had just the right amount of mean-spirited campy fun. Come to think of it, Rogue Agent actually fit perfectly within the old-school James Bond era it used. And that mean-spirited camp could have really made the game stand out...if there wasn't "GoldenEye" in the title. That alone torpedoed the entire game. The "GoldenEye" in-game was horridly implemented. Totally clumsy and was never fun to use. Had EA let Rogue Agent do its own thing, went full-steam ahead with that mean-spirited concept, and really polished the game up...it would have been incredible.

Lastly, it's idiotic that Activision didn't learn from EA's countless mistakes. Here they had what, over a decade, of clear what-not-to-do examples and instead go full-on and remake GoldenEye. Anyone who remains optimistic or cautiously optimistic about Activision's GoldenEye is a fool. The game is going to suck so much ass that people won't know what the hell is going on. Mark my words, it'll feel like an empty Call of Duty reskin long before it resembles anything Bond-related. And it's going to look like crap, to boot. GE64 still looks good to this day because it had a very simple and clean style to it. Yeah, GE64 doesn't look great, but it's going to age far better than Activision's...thing.

Asides, uh, aside, that's one of the big things I'm looking for: for them to stop trying to remake a classic and start doing their own thing again.

Additionally, they've gotta do something about equipment. Go Oblivion and have tons of armor or go Demon's Souls and let you upgrade stuff.

I'd like to see the Demon's Souls route, because then they could actually make rupees useful again. Have a few classes of swords, a few axes, etc., and just let us upgrade to our heart's delight. Later on in the game, give us the Master Sword. But make it late in the game. Make it feel like the Master Sword is actually a master of something and not just the weapon you're always going to use. Past few games (TWW included) have fallen into this dungeons1-3>Master Sword>dungeons 4-8 rut and desperately need to break out of it. An upgrade system could go a long way in mitigating that fatigue. Plus our wallets wouldn't be stupidly full all the time!

As for Mario Galaxy, it should be noted that I loathe almost the entirety of SMG1. For every moment of brilliance, there are five places where I hit my "**** this ****" threshold. SMG1 was as much a revival/revolution as it was an exercise in frustration. At times I was in love with the level design. Other times, I cursed the camera's first-born. It was such a strange, uneven game. The movement/camera relationship was what really did the game in, because Mario games have always been about an innate, intuitive relationship between Mario and the player. In NES Mario, there was never any question how you would move. Left was always left. Right was always right. Jump was always jump. There was a consistency there. It was that consistency that allowed Mario to become an extension of the player, rather than some vague, remotely controlled avatar. In NES Mario, your brain easily made the connections between button presses and on-screen responses almost immediately.

That was not the case in SMG1. When the camera changed, your joystick directions changed, which means any little wave of the camera forces your brain to re-acquire spatial information and it [i]completely[/i] removed me from the experience. Scripted fall off of a large pillar, only to have the camera land upside-down and my movement became reversed? I'm sorry, but spontaneous reversal of direction should be left to poison powerdowns in Bomberman, NOT platforming segments depending on ultra-precise jumps.

Furthermore, SMG1 lacked the holy crap game-breaker moments in NES Mario. I mean, take, for example, the first time in SMB1 where you broke through the ceiling and were running in front of the score display. It was frigging mind-blowing. And suddenly, within that one second, the entire game changed forever. And really, gaming itself changed forever. NES Mario rewarded experimentation. It encouraged you to break the game. And it rewarded you when you thought outside the box...or in the case of SMB1...thought outside the level. Big reason [b]why I love, love, love SMG2[/b] is because it brought back the experimentation and game-breaking. There have been a dozen times in my 80-star game where I've found some mind-blowing shortcuts...stuff that rivaled the score display stuff in SMB1.

But all things considered, SMG1 did it right by refocusing on platforming, even though there wasn't too much of a stagnation going on within the Mario platforming franchise, proper, to begin with.

Thankfully, Zelda has a lot more room to improve. So...yeah. I guess to answer your question? I'm ready for an almost complete overhaul. I no longer want to be spoon-fed gear in each dungeon. I'm ready to have next to no tutorials. All that fat that's accumulated on the series over the years? I want it gone. Give me a shitty wooden sword, an empty sack on my shoulder, and a Moblin ready to gore me through the face with a gnarly spear...and I'll be gloriously well-fed. Edited by Brasil

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Posted (edited)

[quote name='Brasil' date='28 June 2010 - 08:38 PM' timestamp='1277771886' post='696121']
I'd like to see the Demon's Souls route, because then they could actually make rupees useful again. Have a few classes of swords, a few axes, etc., and just let us upgrade to our heart's delight. Later on in the game, give us the Master Sword. But make it late in the game. Make it feel like the Master Sword is actually a master of something and not just the weapon you're always going to use. Past few games (TWW included) have fallen into this dungeons1-3>Master Sword>dungeons 4-8 rut and desperately need to break out of it. An upgrade system could go a long way in mitigating that fatigue. Plus our wallets wouldn't be stupidly full all the time!

Thankfully, Zelda has a lot more room to improve. So...yeah. I guess to answer your question? I'm ready for an almost complete overhaul. I no longer want to be spoon-fed gear in each dungeon. I'm ready to have next to no tutorials. All that fat that's accumulated on the series over the years? I want it gone. Give me a shitty wooden sword, an empty sack on my shoulder, and a Moblin ready to gore me through the face with a gnarly spear...and I'll be gloriously well-fed.
[/quote]
These two points really do sum up on what I'd like to see from a Zelda game as well. (I just didn't word it right the last time lol) While I'm not familiar with Demon Souls, I do like the idea of upgrading weapons very much. I think this is why I hold games like Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry and God of War (although, GoW still whiffs on the weapons compared to the other 2 imo, but that's for an entirely different reason) on a higher pedestal than the Zelda series. But then again, I'm a combo type of person so I may be bias here. I only enjoyed finding items in dungeons in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. After those 2 I was pretty much done. I've practically stopped playing Twilight Princess altogether now because it felt like it was a "been-their-done-that" type of thing. The beginning of TP, I didn't really find myself enjoying the game until I found the item to go with said dungeon, but that wore off by the time you start finding those mirror pieces (and by that time I was completely bored of it), at least for me that is. So an overhaul is much needed to get me back into this series, at least from a weapon perspective. Edited by Magus

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[color=#4B0082]I think the equipment thing basically comes down to what Brasil said in his first post about the Blue Ring moments. In the original Zelda and LttP, there were plenty of useful items and upgrades to be found just from exploring the overworld. I personally wouldn't want that aspect of the game to become like an RPG where you get new weapons and armor after pretty much every dungeon, but I agree that more optional equipment would be a welcome return to the classic Zelda style instead of having every single item handed to you as part of the storyline.

By the way, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who rages at SMG1's camera.[/color]

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[quote name='Desbreko' date='02 July 2010 - 05:18 AM' timestamp='1278062295' post='696336']I think the equipment thing basically comes down to what Brasil said in his first post about the Blue Ring moments. In the original Zelda and LttP, there were plenty of useful items and upgrades to be found just from exploring the overworld. I personally wouldn't want that aspect of the game to become like an RPG where you get new weapons and armor after pretty much every dungeon, but I agree that more optional equipment would be a welcome return to the classic Zelda style instead of having every single item handed to you as part of the storyline.[/quote]

One of my favorite moments from LttP is the waterfall upgrade surprise. Completely normal looking waterfall yet you can receive some fantastic upgrades by doing something completely random. Er, not random in the sense that there'd be no way to know to do it without a guide. Random more in the "wow I did not expect to be able to do that" way. And the fact that you can throw just about any item into there and be met with a different reaction depending on the item really emphasized and developed that classic Nintendo game experimentation. Throw in a candle, the Zora (I think it was a Zora) asked if you dropped it. Throw in a shield, though, and the result is far more exciting. I don't know if it ever rivaled the score display discovery in SMB1, or the white block trick in SMB3, or having the white sword before you entered the first dungeon in Zelda 1, but it was a great gameplay experience nonetheless, and an experience that's been missing in Zelda games of the past decade.

Speaking of the white sword, actually, the relationship between equipment and movesets desperately needs to change. As it stands now, our equipment stays the same and we "learn" new ways to use it. Even though OoT and TWW are pretty guilty of that, Twilight Princess especially sucked in that regard. It forced you to hunt down stones just to learn basic combat techniques. Didn't matter if you the player knew how to do them from the very start; the game wasn't going to let you the character perform them until you jumped through ridiculous spoonfeeding hoops first. To add insult to injury, most of the moves weren't all that fun or engaging. Ending Blow was the highlight of them all and that's really only because of the Smash Bros influence (Link's d-air became Ending Blow). Everything else looked and felt sloppy. For a lot of it, I much preferred TWW's button-prompt system; it was snappier, more reliable, looked better, animated more smoothly, and the sound/music effect was much more exciting. And that's coming from someone who is completely in love with Demon's Souls' ultra-manual parry system, even though I still kind of suck at it 15 hours into the game.

Speaking of Demon's Souls again...that's got a really great equipment/moveset relationship: you have the same moveset through the entire game but certain equipment is better for certain situations. If you want to do quick armor-piercing damage, go with a rapier. If your target isn't heavily armored, use a sword. Fighting in tight corridors? Shield and a long spear are your best bet. Skeletons are far more susceptible to blunt weaponry. Those are simple examples and conditions, but they work really, really well in-game...and there's a lot more complexity in weapon management the further you get in the game.

But the real kicker in all of that is your moveset is generally the same with a spear as it is with a warhammer. There's a different range, sure. There's a different swing, sure. There's a different way you hold/use the shield, sure. But it's all built upon a few core principles: block, parry, timing, spacing. Everything flows from those principles. And it's all manual. Nothing is automated. If a Red Eye Knight is bearing down on you with a gigantic two-handed broadsword, you'd better know just how far he can reach with it, how long it'll take him to recover from his blade striking you or the ground, if your fatigue level is going to absorb the shock (or if your block will break, leaving you dazed and helpless), etc. Plus, anything you can do to the enemy, the enemy can do to you. So they'll punish you for being too aggressive just like you would for them. Hell, they'll punish you for being too passive. The game constantly forces you to strike that healthy balance between offense and defense.

Your armor plays a large part in finding that balance, as well. Each armor piece has its own encumbrance rating. Sure, encumbrance will affect how much you can carry, but it also affects how much you can equip, which affects your overall movement speed, which means a heavily-armored warrior isn't going to dodge as easily as say, someone clad in leather armor. It's actually kind of comical, seeing a warrior try to roll, only to CLANG-SHOULDERPLANT on the ground next to the foe. When you aren't some brutish knight, however, and do actually have some speed and agility to you, it makes the roll-backstab that much more satisfying, because it's an instant-kill, usually against a tough enemy (because throwing yourself out of position with your back toward a group of regular enemies is a bad, bad idea).

It's a great system and one that Zelda needs to learn, because some of the dynamics in Demon's Souls could go a long way in making the combat in Zelda feel fresh and dynamic...like TWW's, only with Motion+.

[quote]By the way, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who rages at SMG1's camera.[/quote]

The next step forward for SMG needs to be getting rid of the stars all together. They've started structuring it to where you have just about the 60 stars necessary to beat the game by the end of the game. So it really becomes no different from early SMB games, which means I want to see them do away with window dressings completely. SMG2 was a huge step in the right direction. There wasn't a bullshit tutorial. Training videos were optional little billboards in-game. The story was kept to a minimum. Starship Mario was a fantastic change, as was the galaxy map screen.

However, the stars have become pointless, so once they get rid of them, they need to start doing classic Mario gaming styles in 3D, which is what I've been wanting for a very long time. Every time I saw traditional pipes, bricks, Goombas, etc, in SMG2, I couldn't help but think how wonderful it would be if they could adapt NES Mario into the 3D quasi-planetoid format: keep some of the spherical design but use it within the Mushroom Kingdom. I really do miss unique worlds. As great as SMG2 is, and as much variety they were able to crank in with each new world, I really, really missed Fire World, Plant World, etc. Edited by Brasil

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[quote name='Brasil' date='06 July 2010 - 09:47 PM' timestamp='1278478060' post='696691']

Speaking of the white sword, actually, the relationship between equipment and movesets desperately needs to change. As it stands now, our equipment stays the same and we "learn" new ways to use it. Even though OoT and TWW are pretty guilty of that, Twilight Princess especially sucked in that regard. It forced you to hunt down stones just to learn basic combat techniques. Didn't matter if you the player knew how to do them from the very start; the game wasn't going to let you the character perform them until you jumped through ridiculous spoonfeeding hoops first. To add insult to injury, most of the moves weren't all that fun or engaging. Ending Blow was the highlight of them all and that's really only because of the Smash Bros influence (Link's d-air became Ending Blow). Everything else looked and felt sloppy. For a lot of it, I much preferred TWW's button-prompt system; it was snappier, more reliable, looked better, animated more smoothly, and the sound/music effect was much more exciting. And that's coming from someone who is completely in love with Demon's Souls' ultra-manual parry system, even though I still kind of suck at it 15 hours into the game.

[/quote]
it wouldnt make sence if you knew how to do all the special moves at start... and since most of them were not even necessary (though very helpful) to have... and the hoops were spoon fed, but you still had to do it. and that means take time off the main quest. usually just doing one thing is an excuse to do a bunch of other sidequests so i think it was fine. plus... tell me you didnt like drawing on people. that was so cool it made my heart jump. i loved running up to a lizard killing it in one hit, doing the cool sheath as another one runs up, then doing it again. also the helm splitter and shield bash was fun. it made the normal projectile return more challenging. the major ones were very unnecessary but at the same time fun to try and pull off. and the last one works well in combination with the magic armor and a ton of money.

plus i know you like demon souls but that game was not perfect. there was barely a storyline. the customization was nice, except you never see your characters face in the dark setting let alone the armor. plus a major difference is the feel of the game. I loved exploring around in zelda, going at my own pace... smelling a flower on the way... demon souls was like an infinite struggle... till it was over... fun, but scary... dying was just to dang easy to die. it was a slight panic during every fight. the bosses were bad too but in zelda a challenging boss meant something. in DS every fight was tough so even though bosses were extra tough i never looked forward to them like i do in zelda. Id also like to reiterate on just how dark that game was. It had very nice graphics and scenery if you could see them. the game can be really good and yet still have things people dont like.

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[quote name='Brasil' date='06 July 2010 - 09:47 PM' timestamp='1278478060' post='696691']Speaking of the white sword, actually, the relationship between equipment and movesets desperately needs to change. As it stands now, our equipment stays the same and we "learn" new ways to use it. Even though OoT and TWW are pretty guilty of that, Twilight Princess especially sucked in that regard. It forced you to hunt down stones just to learn basic combat techniques. Didn't matter if you the player knew how to do them from the very start; the game wasn't going to let you the character perform them until you jumped through ridiculous spoonfeeding hoops first. To add insult to injury, most of the moves weren't all that fun or engaging. Ending Blow was the highlight of them all and that's really only because of the Smash Bros influence (Link's d-air became Ending Blow). Everything else looked and felt sloppy. For a lot of it, I much preferred TWW's button-prompt system; it was snappier, more reliable, looked better, animated more smoothly, and the sound/music effect was much more exciting. And that's coming from someone who is completely in love with Demon's Souls' ultra-manual parry system, even though I still kind of suck at it 15 hours into the game.[/quote]
[color=#4B0082]To be fair, this actually has its roots in Zelda II. You can't perform the down thrust or up thrust until learning them from people. And the down thrust is hella useful.

You're right about TP being particularly bad about it, though. (And on the 2D side of things, The Minish Cap also suffers the same fate.) I prefer TP's manual system to TWW's automated one because it lets you actually chain moves together and it's just more fun for me than simply tapping the A button. But because you don't learn a lot of the moves until late in the game, you don't get nearly as much opportunity to use them as you do in TWW.[/color]

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[quote name='CaNz' date='07 July 2010 - 02:54 AM' timestamp='1278485661' post='696696']
it wouldnt make sence if you knew how to do all the special moves at start... and since most of them were not even necessary (though very helpful) to have... and the hoops were spoon fed, but you still had to do it. and that means take time off the main quest. usually just doing one thing is an excuse to do a bunch of other sidequests so i think it was fine. plus... tell me you didnt like drawing on people. that was so cool it made my heart jump. i loved running up to a lizard killing it in one hit, doing the cool sheath as another one runs up, then doing it again. also the helm splitter and shield bash was fun. it made the normal projectile return more challenging. the major ones were very unnecessary but at the same time fun to try and pull off. and the last one works well in combination with the magic armor and a ton of money.[/quote]

How would it not make sense to know the special moves at the start of the game? Zelda's never been a traditional, skill tree-based RPG, where abilities are locked until you reach X area/level. Apart from two very rare examples in Zelda 2, the series has always focused on giving the player full, unfettered access to any combat skills Link would use. This is especially true in the original game. From the wooden sword to magical sword, your techniques remained the same and the game was better for it. Darknuts were susceptible to the same strategy no matter if you used the wooden sword or white sword. Tektites were just as vulnerable to a boomerang-sword combo regardless of the kind of sword you used. The combat timing was always yours to learn and manipulate at your own speed. Learning to counter an attack didn't rely on you reaching X Point in the game. All that mattered there was learning how the enemy moved and attacked.

That's why it doesn't make sense to NOT know all the special moves at the start of the game. Because the player never really learns anything when they can't do anything and at that point, the game becomes a sluggish, aging, dated behemoth that ends up being far outclassed by other far more competent game properties. Seriously. We shouldn't have hour-long tutorials at this point in this franchise. We shouldn't be forced to slog through tutorial dungeons just to learn a few basic combat tactics. And we sure as **** shouldn't have to engage in trivial sidequests to learn special moves that aren't all that special in the first place. If you want skill tree development that actually means something, play Crackdown. To this day, Crackdown 1 still has some of the best stat development I've played in a very long time...because it feels like a natural evolution of your character and not just some hamfisted attempt at "depth."

[quote]plus i know you like demon souls but that game was not perfect. there was barely a storyline. the customization was nice, except you never see your characters face in the dark setting let alone the armor. plus a major difference is the feel of the game. I loved exploring around in zelda, going at my own pace... smelling a flower on the way... demon souls was like an infinite struggle... till it was over... fun, but scary... dying was just to dang easy to die. it was a slight panic during every fight. the bosses were bad too but in zelda a challenging boss meant something. in DS every fight was tough so even though bosses were extra tough i never looked forward to them like i do in zelda. Id also like to reiterate on just how dark that game was. It had very nice graphics and scenery if you could see them. the game can be really good and yet still have things people dont like.[/quote]

Eh, I haven't been talking about Demon's Souls like it's perfection, and I've discussed how brutally unpolished the game is. There are collision issues; I've gotten stuck on tiny little bits of wood so many times it's become a joke. There are camera issues; trying to position the camera for a decent view of the narrow walkway in front of you, only to have your vision obscured by a piece of ceiling because the environment and camera never work together is infuriating. Your character has a weight and momentum that doesn't always cooperate with all the tight, narrow pathways. Make no mistake. I operate under no pretense that Demon's Souls is perfect. But it excels where it matters the most: the gameplay. Everything else is pointless window-dressing.

Like story. The story is typical Diablo-inspired fantasy lore fare. King unleashed evil. You come to try to save the kingdom. By the end of the game I'll be expecting to save the king's son.

But let's be perfectly fair here. Zelda has no story, either. It's just overwrought gibberish that's been taking itself too seriously for a decade. There was a brief moment where I thought TWW was going to turn it all around. The core story was the same, but they actually created fun characters. They gave Ganon some depth beyond just wanting to destroy Hyrule. The dynamic between Link and Tetra felt like classic Saturday morning cartoons. TWW's story and characters were some of the best things to happen to the series, and yet what happens? TWW gets shoved into some bullshit alt timeline and we return to overbearing dreck in Twilight Princess. Even Midna couldn't save it, and that's saying a lot, because Midna was a fantastic character.

If you want to talk storyline, there's no difference between the two properties. The only real difference between Demon's Souls and Zelda is that Zelda has recognizable characters.

Speaking of recognizable characters, if Demon's Souls is too dark to where you can't see your character's face or the differences in armor, you need to adjust your TV settings. lol

And I'd hardly agree that Zelda has challenging boss fights these days. Maybe compared to the rest of the game they're mildly challenging, but they're still a total cakewalk and hardly mean anything largely due to the stagnation that's gripped the series: in Dungeon A, you know you'll use Item A to defeat Boss A, and you know that Boss A's weakpoint will be made completely obvious to you. The bosses mean nothing because everything is telegraphed for you beforehand.

[quote=Desbreko]To be fair, this actually has its roots in Zelda II. You can't perform the down thrust or up thrust until learning them from people. And the down thrust is hella useful.

You're right about TP being particularly bad about it, though. (And on the 2D side of things, The Minish Cap also suffers the same fate.) I prefer TP's manual system to TWW's automated one because it lets you actually chain moves together and it's just more fun for me than simply tapping the A button. But because you don't learn a lot of the moves until late in the game, you don't get nearly as much opportunity to use them as you do in TWW.[/quote]

Well, I tend to give Zelda 2 a pass on that, because it's two abilities in a game where you get far more mileage out of learning and perfecting the jump jab. Darknuts only occasionally give me problems after getting that fakeout jump down pat. Not to mention figuring out the timing of the neutral block/counter is absolutely essential in killing most regular enemies. And as much as Stalfos die much faster with the u-air and d-air, knowing how to kill them quickly using your "standard" moveset is monumentally beneficial.

As for TP, the game really dooms itself by forcing the player on that long tutorial treadmill grind. The game starts ungodly slowly and really never speeds up until the back third of it. Until that point, it feels like one huge training session. We're never really able to go at our own pace...just being funneled to where the developer wants us to go next. Any little activities off the beaten path are so insignificant that TP feels like Mass Effect 2 with swords, which is not a good feeling. haha

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your right, the skill tree still isnt that big in zelda, so it naturally is not that big of a deal in TP. on my first playthrough i looked for the wolfs... but on the second time i just went through the story till they were close by. also sword improvements are in a lot of zelda games... especially OoT where you get two spin move upgrades. a link to the past had the magical blast later on. its always small things though.

as for hour long tutorial dungeons... thats still a dungeon. and if there was no progression in difficulty with dungeons it wouldnt be fun to go to ganon's castle...do you need it... no, but i love the journey... you character doesnt improve much... but you feel like you have been through a lot,
i enjoy them for the trial, not the difficulty. its not that hard, but you gotta do it.

i know you arnt saying demon souls isnt perfect and your scoping out the best features, but all that your saying is the bad parts of zelda, all of its problems. there are so many fun things about the game that it overshadows all the problems in my opinion.

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[quote name='CaNz' date='08 July 2010 - 02:19 AM' timestamp='1278569983' post='696848']your right, the skill tree still isnt that big in zelda, so it naturally is not that big of a deal in TP. on my first playthrough i looked for the wolfs... but on the second time i just went through the story till they were close by. also sword improvements are in a lot of zelda games... especially OoT where you get two spin move upgrades. a link to the past had the magical blast later on. its always small things though.[/quote]

The size is of the skill tree doesn't really matter. What matters is that [i]basic abilities[/i] are locked out until you reach X point in the game. And by X point in the game, I don't mean getting a beefed up sword spin by blowing up a boulder after you get bombs like in OoT. The one or two upgrades there required some basic level of ingenuity and exploration. They rewarded experimentation. They rewarded the "hey I wonder what happens if/when I do this" kind of mindset. And it's that kind of mindset that's completely lacking in TP's sword skills acquisition. Acquiring the sword skills amount to little more than a game of Pacman: follow the corridor to get your power pellet. You know exactly where to go. You know exactly what to do. In Mario games, that approach works. But Zelda's always been a weird hybrid between Mario and Metroid; it straddles the line between Mario-esque strict linearity in dungeons and Metroid-style exploration and discovery in the overworld. Twilight Princess missed that Metroid-style exploration and discovery and it shows in something as simple as learning a new sword skill. The skill tree is a huge deal in TP because it goes against every design philosophy that made Zelda unique. For as much ridicule as OoT received early on in its dev cycle ("lolz it's Mario with a sword"), Twilight Princess has come even closer to "lolz Mario with a sword."

[quote]as for hour long tutorial dungeons... thats still a dungeon. and if there was no progression in difficulty with dungeons it wouldnt be fun to go to ganon's castle...do you need it... no, but i love the journey... you character doesnt improve much... but you feel like you have been through a lot, i enjoy them for the trial, not the difficulty. its not that hard, but you gotta do it.[/quote]

You don't need hour long tutorial dungeons to establish a progression in difficulty. The clearest example of that is NES Zelda. Where were the tutorials there? The only real tutorial was "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this." The first dungeon was short, sweet and challenging. It introduced you to some enemy/movement/attack concepts and the game built from there. For all intents and purposes, that first dungeon [i]was[/i] the tutorial dungeon. And yet you saw no shortage of difficulty progression in the next 7 dungeons. Furthermore, I'd argue that it made the journey to Death Mountain even that much more satisfying, having had a consistent challenge all the way through that tested every single skill I'd developed from dungeon 1 all the way up through dungeon 8, where I didn't have to waste time at the start of the game being taught how to herd goats or how to hold a damn sword or throw a frigging boomerang. And I sure as hell appreciated the original games not forcing me to watch a giant baboon slap its ass at me (Jesus, that entire bossfight made me feel like I was watching Zelda as envisioned by David Fincher). Make no mistake: hour long tutorial dungeons are completely unnecessary.

[quote]i know you arnt saying demon souls isnt perfect and your scoping out the best features, but all that your saying is the bad parts of zelda, all of its problems. there are so many fun things about the game that it overshadows all the problems in my opinion.[/quote]

No, I'm talking about the fun things in Zelda...and how Twilight Princess seemed to miss what those fun parts in Zelda were...and why Skyward Sword needs to avoid TP. Come on, to sit there and say I'm ripping on Zelda, when I've spent huge chunks of my posts praising OoT and TWW, is highly disingenuous. I'm not focusing on the bad parts of Zelda. Quite the contrary, actually. I'm focusing on the good parts and illustrating why Twilight Princess was a tremendous step backward for the series.

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