Title: Zelda and Revolution
Posted: February 19, 2006 (07:12 PM)
Am I the only one upset about these ever increasing rumors of Twilight Princess being adapted to have bonus features on the Revolution?
Nintendo has stated that they want this game to surpass Ocarina of Time, an admirable goal. And their willingness to delay it a year is testament to that goal. However, Wind Waker had vast, systematic flaws in the game. Some of these are obvious (and Nintendo has acknowledged some of them), others are more subtle. These problems are also rather prevalent in the Oracle games, and even hidden within the mighty N64 giants. I haven't played Minish Cap, but I'm willing to bet they're there, too. Suffice to say, the problems are endemic to the series. Zelda has become formulaic and stale, relying solely on gimmicks and a few new features to hide the rest of it. Ocarina of Time was new, and so the gimmick of time travel was overshadowed by the wonderful design and attention to detail. MM's gimmick was so completely ingrained in the game that it felt sufficiently different. But Wind Waker? Oracles? They were cheap copies of OoT and LA, failing to provide enough to feel worthy of being a new Zelda game. They couldn't stand on their own merits, like all 6 games before them. They didn't feel like unique additions, like a reinventing of Zelda. They felt more like an update, no different than Capcom cranking out new Mega Man games each year.
In order for TP to beat OoT, it needs to feel different. Not just different graphics or turning into a wolf or whatever. Nintendo needs to be able to recapture that moment of stepping out of Kokiri forest for the first time and seeing Hyrule spread out in front of you, or going into a cave and seeing "It's dangerous to go alone, take this." It means we can't have dungeons where you go to a room, kill everyone, solve a basic puzzle, move on, repeat, repeat, repeat, get new item, use new item for the rest of the puzzles and the boss. We've done that three times in 3D already, time for something new. It means we can't go linearly from island of interest to island of interest (and no, islands don't necessarily have to be in water), solving one or two scenarios to unlock the next temple. It means pieces of heart can't be hidden in obvious places. It means we have to explore for the fun of it, not out of some obligation. We need to examine every nook and cranny because we're excited about what might be there, like a boy exploring the woods in his backyard. This is Zelda. This is why the first game and Ocarina of Time are the two best games I have ever played, with nothing else coming close. And if Nintendo is serious about TP being able to stand on a pedestal next to OoT, they need to capture this feeling again.
Yes, I'm only one person, and I'm well aware of the fact that there are some strange people out there that think WW was as good as OoT. But those people would be pleased with anything. Some people are happy with adequate games. Wind Waker was adequate. A nice facsimile of OoT's gameplay. And if you like that, whatever. But OoT was special, and that's what TP ought to strive for. Think about why you play Zelda. Think about what the series means for you. If it does hold a special meaning for you, if your memories of playing are fond, think hard about WW and OoT. Are you happy with Nintendo going down that direction? Are you happy with the same core gameplay with new gimmicks to hide it? Do you want Zelda with Boats, Zelda with Minish Caps, Zelda with Weather Changing Ability, Zelda with Wolves, or do you want a game that needs no subtitle? Would you be happy if Zelda became Nintendo's Mega Man, or would you rather each game be unique and special?
So what does this have to do with the Revolution? It's my fear that Nintendo is doing precisely the opposite of what I suggest. The revmote has the ability to fundamentally change how we play games, yes, but it's not a magical panacea. A game built from the ground up on the Revolution could easily be fantastic. But TP's a GC game. It was built with the standard interface in mind. Like it or not, that's the way the game is going to be played.
So what's the point of adding Rev features? If they refit the game to be completely playable with the Revmote, it's going to lose something. Either the Rev control will be limiting, or the GC control will, or both. If the game is still primarily a GC game, than the way the game is played will change with the Rev. Since it wasn't built for this control, it will most likely be inferior. Unless Nintendo tries to shoehorn situations where the Revmote is useful, in which case the GC game will suffer. The first situation is simply a waste of time, the second is disastrous. After all, OoT's niftyness comes not from any single element, but all of them combining together to give us something bigger than the sum of its parts. If one of those links (such as control) is broken, the whole will suffer.
More likely though is a minigame or two that uses the Revmote. Once again, this is a waste of time. It wasn't fishing or horseback archery that made OoT great, it was ALL of those things. This separates one segment of the game, making it feel different from the rest. Once again, a link is broken. Once again, the illusion of a complete, new experience is broken. Once again, it'll look like a gimmick: Zelda with Revmote Action.
And that's why I'm so worried about this. If it's something like a minigame, it's not going to completely destroy the entire game. But it speaks about Nintendo's attitude, and it makes it look like TP will be more of the same. They're trying to treat the symptoms rather than the disease, or rather simply trying to hide the symptoms. It's like WW: hide the fact that it's a carbon copy of OoT by putting in different graphics. Pretending that a boat and islands and some stealth parts and conducting make the game fundamentally different. This idea to use the Revmote makes one think that they aren't approaching this by reinvisioning Zelda from the ground up, but rather trying to slap on new ideas to justify making a new game. Needless to say, that's not going to satisfy me.
Now obviously, we don't know if that's what they're doing. Some of Nintendo's statements and released screenshots show that they're on the right track. Others show otherwise. We won't know until November or whenever this thing launches. But personally, I plan on playing this thing on my Gamecube, whether I have a Revolution or not. I like the GC's controller, and besides Metroid Prime I haven't had the experience of playing a great Zelda game with it yet. And if my experience is going to be limited because of that, I'm going to be upset. If I feel like I'm missing out on something, it's going to ruin the magical feeling of Zelda for me. And even it turns out better than Wind Waker (can't get much worse though...), I'll still wonder how much better it could have been if they had spent this extra year making the GC game even better rather than wondering how to add another diversion into the game.
Posted: February 19, 2006 (08:19 PM)
That was a good entry, and I think a lot of it is true. With that said, all I want is a slight evolution of something like Ocarina of Time, with a few of that game's flaws fixed and better graphics. I don't think that if Twilight Princess fits that description perfectly, I'll be 'settling' for anything. If, as you fear, Nintendo creates some mishmash of a GameCube game and a Revolution game, yeah... that'll be a problem. I just don't see it happening. I've been wrong before, though.
Posted: February 20, 2006 (10:39 AM)
I respect your optomisim. I hope you won't be too crushed when TP turns out to be Revolution based with the ability to half-play on the 'cube.
Posted: February 20, 2006 (12:15 PM)
All these delays have nearly made me lose interest entirely in Twilight Princess. Right now I'm more excited about new album releases than the new Zelda. I just want a GameCube adventure game and not any remote control shit-fest.
Posted: March 07, 2006 (02:05 AM)
You are one person... who speaks very strong. But I'm on your side. They need to recapture going into the cave and seeing that fatefull message, as well as emerging from the Kokiri Forest and seeing Hyrule spread out before you. If TP is like WW, I will be displeased. Zelda should be as you have said. What does it mean to me? The first game I played and liked. "Experiance the challenge of endless adventure..." The game says it all. Again, kudos to you, Mariner. Not saying that WW is the only game with flukes. You are correct in that as well.What would it be like if Zelda became as Megaman? Not so good, a lot worse. However, there is a likeness between them, both were a T.V. series. But all in all, no matter who calls it preaching, don't stop. If more of us were like you, the world would be a better place.