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Old 04-18-2012, 02:18 PM   #26
Soapy
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Default Re: Nintendo's Modern Reputation

I can already hear people rushing in here to defend the honor of the Zelda series, but it's absolutely true, it has gotten stale. Every single Zelda game up to and including Majora's Mask offered something completely unique. I mean, Ocarina of Time was in many ways a retread of A Link to the Past, but it was in 3D and it was really, really exceptionally good, so it gets a pass. But starting with Wind Waker, as much as I adore that game, I feel was when Nintendo started to rest on the laurels too much with the series, and that was a decade ago.

With Mario on the other hand, for the most part, Nintendo still delivers a fresh experience with every new game.

Same thing with Kirby. I would even go so far as to say that Kirby is Nintendo's secret best franchise because that's where they get really crazy and do a lot of cool experimental stuff.

Anyway, my point is that I think Nintendo should stop being afraid to break out of Zelda's established structure and do something really different with it.

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Old 04-18-2012, 02:32 PM   #27
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That's the thing though, you may not like them, but Mario games have very broad appeal. Skyward Sword has rather limited appeal. And it was a subpar Zelda title. Emphasis on Zelda title (still pretty good by most standards).

I'd certainly agree that Zelda has become stagnant. The fact that Nintendo is still debating voice acting is a good example. The plot has also become incredibly repetitive.
I'm a game critic for a living. From my experience I have to sift through hundreds and thousands of titles that are "been there done that" Mario isn't one of them. I love them. The spin-offs leave a lot to be desired on the other hand. Mario Party 9 is pretty much a step in the right direction for a franchise that was dead at the third, but, really, I still stand by that being a grave injustice for the industry when 8 (the worst game I think I've handled in the last 15 years) sells more than Skyward Sword.

Skyward Sword is arguably one of the best games I have ever played, and is one of the only games I've given a perfect score--so I could go on for days about how much I love it and how it beats the crap out of the hum-drum Zelda formula that has been copy-pasta since Ocarina of time. The story, mechanics, motion controls and puzzle/field separation had all been overhauled to a magnificent extent. And it all worked wonderfully. The only thing that even resembled the games of old were the "collect three things" mechanic, Link and Zelda, and a master sword. Otherwise, you have something far better than Ocarina of Time or ALttP ever was.

The reason Skyward Sword sold only one million less than Uncharted 3 was because of Wii MotionPlus. While a great control scheme for it, making a title mandatory for a selective peripheral means that no one can pick it up for their child without investing extra money. No one in their right mind is going to do that unless it has the name "Wii Sports" on it. Couple that with the fact that Nintendo never marketed the title, and left it up to the game to sell on name alone... to a fanbase that had long abandoned the console and despises motion controls (core gamers) it was dead in the water.

Well, as "dead in the water" a multi-million seller exclusive is.

There were a lot of things working against that game. Had it been released earlier without added motion controls, it'd probably have done much better. But hey, there's no turning back the clock. That's their own fault if they think it "wasn't good enough". My guess lays in Nintendo's arrogance similar to early PS3-Sony. Where they are on top of the world and overestimate sales for everything no matter how much they charge/what they do.

Something tells me the 3DS' early blunder was a wake up call to that one.


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Originally Posted by Soapy View Post
I can already hear people rushing in here to defend the honor of the Zelda series, but it's absolutely true, it has gotten stale. Every single Zelda game up to and including Majora's Mask offered something completely unique. I mean, Ocarina of Time was in many ways a retread of A Link to the Past, but it was in 3D and it was really, really exceptionally good, so it gets a pass. But starting with Wind Waker, as much as I adore that game, I feel was when Nintendo started to rest on the laurels too much with the series, and that was a decade ago.
Oh, I completely agree. Just not on the topic of Skyward Sword. I think TP was one of the most bland, copy-and-paste formulaic pieces of dribble ever made. That's not to say it isn't good, sure it is. It's just... not... original, at all. Ditto for Wind Waker which only added minor updates.

And I'd never defend the series at large. Everything (yeah, I am going to go here) up until ALttP is kind of trash by today's standards. Edit: Yes I get that they were made over 20 years ago, but for a company like Nintendo known for making "lasting" products that stand the test of time, the original Zelda's might have been groundbreaking, but they sure show their age.

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Old 04-18-2012, 02:51 PM   #28
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While I will concede that Twilight Princess was a very bland Zelda game, I don't see Skyward Sword as being much better. The plot? Stopping an evil demon king from coming back to power. How many times have we done that now? Though, they did make some improvements since Twilight Princess, with gameplay and dungeons.

Now Majora's Mask was a Zelda game with some original ideas.

For its time, Ocarina of Time was an incredible game. I'd say the best game made up to that point. A huge technological leap, with a new story, new characters, great gameplay and the best soundtrack by far. It set the standard for the franchise.

Mario games are hit and miss. Some series seem to get more "care" than others. I don't think anyone would argue that the main games aren't good or great (Galaxy, Galaxy 2, etc).

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Old 04-18-2012, 04:32 PM   #29
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While I will concede that Twilight Princess was a very bland Zelda game, I don't see Skyward Sword as being much better. The plot? Stopping an evil demon king from coming back to power. How many times have we done that now? Though, they did make some improvements since Twilight Princess, with gameplay and dungeons.

Now Majora's Mask was a Zelda game with some original ideas.

For its time, Ocarina of Time was an incredible game. I'd say the best game made up to that point. A huge technological leap, with a new story, new characters, great gameplay and the best soundtrack by far. It set the standard for the franchise.

Mario games are hit and miss. Some series seem to get more "care" than others. I don't think anyone would argue that the main games aren't good or great (Galaxy, Galaxy 2, etc).
Yeah, yeah, collect 3 things and stopping an evil force hardly makes something bland. Look at Halo 1, 2, 3, ODST, Reach. Covenant, covenant, flood, flood. Look at Assassin's Creed "I'm Desmond, I'm perpetually stuck in this dang Animus so long that my legs have atrophied from lack of use. Wouldn't you like to go back in time and stab people for hours?" "Why yes Desmond, I would." Didn't stop them from being awesome. Stale comes from overexposure, and wearing yourself out.

I played every 3D Zelda back to back on moving toward to Skyward Sword.

Skyward Sword is vastly different. It's not your regular "go to the mountain, go to the water place, go to the grasslands. Got it? Cool. On to the major plot. Ganondorf, har har, mastersword, kill, done." Instead of that wasted introductory space, the three elemental lands are strung throughout the game where your actions translate to a progressively transforming world. What you do directly influences and changes the landscape and the objectives within it. Side-quests, like Majora's Mask are fueled less by collecting (except the bugs) and more on exchanging words with one another. Your interpersonal relationships change and evolve, again--direct cause and effect. If you take your friend's mom's cash for cleaning her house, you can go back and he'll be screaming at her because that money was meant for food. Simple, but nice.

On a narrative side, instead of Zelda being a tool to progress you through your journey and Link a vessel for yourself, both were integral characters. There was a drive to rescue her, but from something she didn't need rescuing from--herself. She uses you as a guardian, but you never asked for it. You aren't a clever little kid thrust into an adventure where you are like "Sure, I'll kill this!" Instead you're a slacker who jumps into adventure because there is something of personal value that is at stake (ala Wind Waker). Characters could have been thrown away for one specific purpose (Majora's Mask, Ocarina, TP) but instead they had their own narratives, and powerful ones at that--specifically Groose. Not only that, but they had taken several epics all completely separated and had found a way to weave them into an intricate and cohesive plot. Great googa-mooga that's hard.

On the gameplay side, to say it had gone stale when we're finally given 1:1 control is absurd. (Whether you like that or whether that ruins your experience completely is another thing entirely, but it's not stale.) Who cares about the order you do things in, or the over-arching plot when finally the biggest promise had been delivered--motion gaming that worked. Really, really, well. Sure most stopped caring at this point, including me. But onto the next point, it significantly changed the way puzzles are integrated. No longer were we regulated to pushing crates around for 10 hrs, because the items we used were evolved (for once).

Battles became strategic, and traversing the region was changed from never ending sea or dull land to brisk quick swoops into uncharted territories where you could launch yourself off of your loftwing, and quickly swoop back on if you so desired. Added to that the run function was something absent that created a monumental difference, at least, for me as I didn't have to hear him yell every two seconds as I rolled. It had a much needed flexibility to the generally stiff atmosphere that Zelda has.

The blending of over-world/dungeons was significant as it had finally fixed the sterile flow of "LOL HERE'S A BOX GO SOLVE THE PUZZLES IN IT". Instead, much like everything else in SS (except that tedious intro), the flow had been corrected giving us a vast playground that unlocked naturally as we explored. Much of the time it wasn't a boring "Here's your puzzle, now solve it" scenario staring you dead in the eyes.

I can guarantee that it wasn't stale so much as that people want it to change into something it's not. Which would completely destroy the franchise.

Bad timing + Wii MotionPlus + lack of a userbase that cares + no marketing = under-perform. Especially when the most bland entry (TP) sold more than previous titles. Games sell/give an impression off of image, marketing is very important. SS's problem was it marketed only to the people who would have bought it anyway and not to those who didn't even know it was coming.

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Old 04-18-2012, 04:47 PM   #30
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I have to say I really don't see that much change. There's some, but not a significant amount. The villain is extremely reminiscent of Ganondorf (but with less personal story). You need the Master Sword to kill him. To get there, you need to collect the McGuffins, etcetera.

They had a few interesting ideas, but they were underused. The setting is underused as well. What exactly was Link doing at Skyloft? Something about knights and an academy. Notice how the bird we flew never even got a name? Link didn't get a backstory. Like they just didn't care.

I would assume part of the reason that Twilight Princess did so well is because it was a launch title for the Wii.

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Old 04-18-2012, 05:02 PM   #31
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I have to say I really don't see that much change. There's some, but not a significant amount. The villain is extremely reminiscent of Ganondorf (but with less personal story). You need the Master Sword to kill him. To get there, you need to collect the McGuffins, etcetera.

They had a few interesting ideas, but they were underused. The setting is underused as well. What exactly was Link doing at Skyloft? Something about knights and an academy. Notice how the bird we flew never even got a name? Link didn't get a backstory. Like they just didn't care.

I would assume part of the reason that Twilight Princess did so well is because it was a launch title for the Wii.
Link was a night in training, and they had a gigantic backstory about his loft-wing being a rare case as there are no red loft-wings. How they bonded etc. etc. lol

It's okay that you didn't see much change though, I'm not like, trying to force you to like it. I can see where you are coming from. I'm just explaining why I don't see it as stale in-depth to make my argument. In fact, besides dowsing (oh God) there was very little repetitious elements in the title. To me, most of our games we play are filled with repetitive drudgery. Perhaps because I am forced to play them all of the time.

I mean, really, can you tell me how many profile games are changing the way you are expecting this one too? Gears of War, Halo, Modern Warfare, Uncharted, God of War (holy balls I love God of War), DK, etc.

Expecting a Zelda game to not contain reminiscent themes or to change it's structure completely is like expecting a Metal Gear Solid game (starring Snake) to not feature some slack-jawed soliloquy about the repercussions of war or expecting Kratos to hand out chocolate to children, or having an Elder Scrolls game where I am not sent to a freaking cave for every quest to fight the exact same zombies. Games are my business. They are also repetitive. They are good because of that. Chess doesn't turn into... not chess. Metal Gear stays Metal Gear. Zelda stays Zelda. Keeping the formula means they can refine the game.

Now whether people are getting tired of playing Zelda games is an entirely different issue. If you are, that's cool, why not? I stopped playing plenty of high-profile games for the same issue.

And yes, being a launch title, really, really, really helped as opposed to this one being on a dying console. I wish they would have prolonged it's released, bumped it up to HD, and released it on the Wii U, personally.

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Old 04-18-2012, 05:29 PM   #32
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I have been playing this franchise for 20 years. Now, I have been making these complaints since Twilight Princess. Now granted, the formula more or less stayed the same, but each game up until that point had major technological advancements.

I actually had far more complaints about Twilight Princess than Skyward Sword. Still no voice acting, no orchestral music, very repetitive goals (collecting those damn mirror shards), ridiculously easy bosses, and very flimsy characters. Link and Zelda had virtually no backstory, no family (shouldn't she be queen Zelda then?), Ganondorf was a glorified cameo, etc. Really, Midna was the game's main redeeming feature.

Keep in mind, I'm listing the negatives here, so, this isn't meant to be an evenhanded review.

Zelda needs some damn writers.

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Old 04-24-2012, 04:47 AM   #33
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Default Re: Nintendo's Modern Reputation

I think the Wii U, if handled correctly can bring Nintendo back in a big way. Third party support is looking good so far, and I can picture E3 revealing game after game of big first party titles.
My only concern is power compared to next generations consoles. Sure there are rumours of it being only as powerful as the 360 and PS3, but then there are rumours of each developer build getting more and more powerful from the initial rumour of it being two times more powerful then the 360 (whatever that means). Either way I don't think its possible for the gap to be as big as the current generation, so maybe the third parties won't care?

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