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Where does The Legend of Zelda go from here?

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Where does The Legend of Zelda go from here?

Post by Marilink » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:22 am

Breath of the Wild has obviously made a big splash in the video gaming community at large. It's selling consoles, bringing Zelda fans back from "retirement," it's reinventing the series, it's rekindling the love that some have lost for the franchise, and many are saying it is the quintessential Zelda game. So after such an amazing release such as this...what is next?

I'll be the first to say that Breath of the Wild is a breathtaking game. The systems blend together seamlessly, the sight-lines and vistas are impactful, the gameplay is tight, there's just a sense of wonder that flows throughout the whole game...the list could go on and on. I loved every minute that I played. When I was going through the honeymoon phase with the game, I honestly thought to myself, "I don't see how they can top this." But after my initial hype died down, the flaws of the game did start to poke through more and more. There is room to grow and improve. Now, mind you, I would still give this game a 10/10; it is truly brilliant. In fact, part of the reason I'm writing this thread is to force myself to look critically at this thing that I really do love. So while this thread is going to look at the shortcomings of the newest Zelda game, I hope to do it in a positive way that looks toward a bright future for my favorite gaming franchise.

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Production

To dispense with the easiest one first, there are obvious improvements to be made on the technical end. Anyone who has played Breath of the Wild will notice that there are significant frame rate drops at times, particularly in grassy or wooded areas. I had a recurring problem that the game would hitch, sometimes heavily, when I laid a heavy hit on a Moblin. (This only happened when hitting Moblins, oddly enough. Has anyone else experienced this?) Now that it's not the 90's anymore, Nintendo has stopped focusing on being the cutting edge of technology and instead focusing on quality gameplay experiences...but games are, by nature, technical, and the next Zelda game should definitely pay attention to consistent frame rate. Hopefully the next game can improve in that area while still providing us with some beautiful imagery.

Another common criticism for the game is the voice acting. I was personally skeptical of voice acting in Zelda in the first place, since I am somewhat of a traditionalist--but don't worry, this isn't an "I Told You So." I thought the voice acting was a welcome addition to Zelda. But Mipha's voice, in particular, is terrible. This is a shame because I liked Mipha as a character, but she was just hard to listen to. I'll personally defend Princess Zelda's VO, but that performance has room for improvement as well. In a world where Uncharted 5 (edit: 4, lol) and The Last of Us exist, any sub-par voice acting quality will be exposed in the gaming community. Should Nintendo choose to employ voice acting in the future, they may need some better talent scouts. (Note: I have only played the English version of the game, and I'm not aware of the quality of VO in other languages. Does anyone have any insight into this? Japanese, Spanish, French, German?)

Writing

For years, fans have been asking to have freedom and for Nintendo to stop holding their hands all the way through the game. Skyward Sword was the epitome of over-explained and over-guided narrative that dictated the game's progression. As a very clear reaction to that, Breath of the Wild offers freedom unparalleled in the 3D Zelda universe, becoming the truest sequel to the original Legend of Zelda to date. And yet, in spite of giving the player that freedom, Nintendo still managed to piece together a compelling narrative...ironically, perhaps the most compelling narrative that Zelda has had to offer since Majora's Mask.

In the end, though, the story fell pretty flat. The four main characters of each race (Sidon, Yunobo, Riju, and Teba) were built up well, and yet they went absolutely nowhere when you were done with their respective areas. I realize some sacrifices had to be made to keep the non-linearity of the game intact, but these four characters represent a pretty big area of missed potential. Honestly, if it weren't for the slide show during the staff roll, I might have forgotten about them completely. Heck, I had to go to Zelda Wiki to make sure I got their names right. This game handled the Hyrulian races better than any game in the past, but their main characters ended up amounting to very little. And while the Champions themselves were cool, it did get tiring to hear the exact same lines of dialogue in every dungeon. Again, I get it--they wrote the dungeons so you could go to any of them first. But all four dungeons were essentially the same in form, function, and progression. Next time around, I'd like to see stronger side characters and more interesting dialogue across the board.

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Holding out hope for DLC that involves these guys more. (Image source)

The end of the game was also not as fulfilling as it could have been. I understand that Calamity Ganon is now essentially the embodiment of evil and malice, but would it have killed them to add just a few lines of dialogue? On top of that, the final boss is completely neutered if you go complete all the main quests. Instead of just cutting the final encounter down to 1/5 of its content, I would have liked to see a different ending based on what you did and did not accomplish throughout the game. Perhaps an ending that involves the New Champions rising up to their rightful positions? I hope the next Zelda game has a stronger ending that better takes into account the actions of the player throughout the game.

As a final note on the writing: Nintendo, you have played the Amnesia card. You cannot play it again. It was well-done, but the challenge is now to present a similarly compelling narrative without using that crutch. I believe in you. I adored the Memory cut-scenes and the fact that the player could find them in any order that they want...but next time has to be different.

Gameplay

Combat is a huge part of Breath of the Wild despite the game not being necessarily "combat-focused." Since it plays such a major role in Zelda games in general, I think there are aspects of the combat that could be made more interesting looking forward. Flurry Rush and Shield Parry are great techniques, but throughout the game I realized more and more that they were my only really interesting melee options. I don't think any game has quite replicated the combat progression that Twilight Princess had to offer, and I'd like to see another attempt at it.

This entry in the Zelda series puts game physics in a much more prominent role. Physics interactions were some of the most-highlighted features in the press cycle leading up to this game, and rightfully so. Overall, they nailed it. In fact, I don't really have a criticism here--I just want to point out that game physics have near limitless possibilities, and I hope that we see the catalog of crazy interactions increase more and more as the series progresses.

I'm a little concerned that Nintendo backed themselves into a corner with the climbing mechanic, because every Zelda from this point forward needs to have free climbing. To go back now would be crippling. This requires a ton of design work, because the climbing surfaces in this game are so amazingly hand-crafted and would need to be matched. For an example of the brilliance of the climbing, I'd recommend climbing the Dueling Peaks after you've finished the game. Remember climbing Dueling Peaks after leaving the Great Plateau and barely making it to the hand-holds to rest and get your stamina back up? Go back now, and it's a cakewalk. That mountain was intended to be an early-game climb, and it is designed as such. In the reverse, if you ventured into the Hebra Mountains early in the game, you might not have had the best of times. That kind of artistry is necessary for all future 3D releases, including the well-placed sight lines and the importance of vantage points. Breath of the Wild made climbing exciting and rewarding, and anything less in the future will be a step back.

A certain developer of the game told us that "You can go straight to Hyrule Castle and beat Ganon if you want to." And, by golly, you can! I think this is a fantastic feature that should also carry into future games in some fashion. I did this myself and found it to be a really great challenge. What could use refinement, though, is how the endgame is affected by when you choose to go to Ganon. I touched on this in the Writing segment--I don't think the reward for completing the dungeons should be a neutered final boss experience, but a different final boss experience. Games have had multiple endings for years--Chrono Trigger, for instance, has a similar mechanic to beat the final boss very early, and features a very different ending for doing so. Assuming the next Zelda game has a designed speedrun, it should flesh out multiple endings. The speedrun route should most definitely be harder and more challenging, and overcoming that challenge should be the reward in itself. On the flip side, the full-game route should reward you in a different way, either with a new final boss experience or a more fully satisfying postgame sequence.

Finally, I hope the next game has more interesting swimming. Not only is swimming pretty slow and laborious, causing me to basically avoid it at every opportunity, but you couldn't dive or explore the water at all. Maybe Skyward Sword's terrible underwater sequences scared them off from designing submerged areas, but I'd like to see those return if they're done well.

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Official art of the least interesting mechanic in the game.

Design

This game is a masterful open world, but it is still Nintendo's first real foray into that type of game design. There's room to grow, and that's exciting!

If I could change one single thing about Breath of the Wild, it would be its dungeons. I thought the Divine Beasts were fascinating--I loved how the maps controlled the dungeon layout, and all four of them had fun and unique mechanics to them. But just imagine a Zelda game with an open world as fantastical and sprawling as Breath of the Wild's...but then has equally fantastical and sprawling hidden dungeons to explore, with item rewards and awesome variety of bosses. In other words, I'd love to see the next game incorporate the more classic approach to Zelda dungeons. Now, classic Zelda did get pretty stale in this area, I'll admit. Items were rarely useful outside of the dungeon you found them in, and the dungeons themselves were not always the most interesting. But with some refinement and care, real dungeons could add so much to a game that is already bursting at the seams with great experiences. It would allow for more environments, more bosses, more enemies, more items, more gameplay, and just more great stuff.

Speaking of enemies, surely I wasn't the only one who got sick of Bokoblins and Lizalfos by the end of the game. You can change their color palettes all you want, but they're still just Bokoblins and Lizalfos in the end. I thought it was great to see the return of Lynels, but Zelda has so many enemies in its history that the sameness got really disappointing about halfway through the game. Like-Likes, Iron Knuckles, Beamos, Dodongos...hopefully we'll see some of these in DLC, but we need to see them it the next game at least.

Shrines are awesome. Dedicated, Portal-like puzzle rooms with multiple solutions and multiple challenges, all for a nice, tangible reward. Shrines are one of the things that make Breath of the Wild as special as it is. But if Nintendo decided to use the same Shrine structure in the next game, I might be a little disappointed. I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with the traditional Piece of Heart model from previous Zelda games, and while a break from it was nice, it could be done again and done very well. There could even be shrine-like mini-dungeons all over the next game, and that would be awesome. But if that design effort is also split into more thorough dungeon design, I think it would be a worthy trade-off. Keep the idea of Shrines, but don't just go directly back to that well.

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Changing up the Shrine structure would also allow for more variety in aesthetics.

In the end, Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece, and there are so many awesome lessons learned that Nintendo can carry forward into future games. I hope to see the DNA of this game throughout the rest of this series' lifespan. But if the next game is simply Breath of the Wild 2, I'll be disappointed. There are places to go from here, and I'm excited to see Nintendo go to them. I'll gladly go right along.

Where do you think the series can go from here? What were some shortcomings that you saw in BotW? What did I get wrong in this write-up? Let's get talkin'.
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Post by I am nobody » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:50 am

[QUOTE="Marilink, post: 1628266, member: 23215"]In a world where Uncharted 5 and The Last of Us exist, [/QUOTE]

ML confirmed time traveler.

You can probably guess what I think the series needs to do moving forward from what I said in the other thread: cooking and stamina meters have to die for me to be able to enjoy this series. It would be nice if equipment durability and tedious climbing also went the way of the dinosaurs, but I could probably put up with them if I had to. Equipment durability could also be fixed with a more convenient repair system a la Morrowind. Climbing can stay if it either becomes more challenging or less time-consuming.

As for the open world, I like the lack of restrictions on movement, but too many of the quests are MMO-tier and giving so many powers right off the bat just sets every future chest up for disappointment. Weapons and shields that'll break in 20 minutes don't make interesting rewards for quests or exploration.

The writing needs to make up its mind on whether it wants to go the TP/OoT route or the LoZ/Dark Souls/Team Ico route. As it stands, it has too much writing to be a good example of the latter, and too much to be a good example of the former. It isn't sparse enough to be mysterious or dense enough to be engaging. Considering that a lot of it isn't very good and that the VO is questionable at best, they're probably best off going for more passive or nonexistent storytelling if they're going to make a similar game.

I like Shrines, but I think they were held back somewhat by being so reliant on the powers you were given almost immediately. I'd like to see some that I can't immediately solve or have puzzles that don't depend on my equipment at all. (it's possible these were in BotW and I just didn't find any)


Seriously, though: I'm okay with anything as long as cooking and stamina go away or become optional.

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Post by Random User » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:12 pm

I skimmed the review to avoid spoilers, but as for where the series is going to go from here, I can basically guarantee they're sticking with the open world model from this point forward. It is honestly shocking how well this game did at launch.

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Post by Marilink » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:19 pm

^^Do you think Cooking could stay if its interface were better?

I agree with you on the powers. Getting all of them so early makes the progression feel a little empty, especially when Rupees are the best reward (which you usually just spend on Arrows, anyway).
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Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:21 pm

[Quote=I am nobody]ML confirmed time traveler.[/quote]

Well, he's technically correct. Uncharted: Golden Abyss makes the total games in the main series five.

Anyway, I want a legitimate Wind Waker 2. It would be pretty great with technology today, maybe it could be a BotW-type game using the same engine and similar structure but with water instead of land and leaning more traditional overall.

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Post by I am nobody » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:33 pm

^Uncharted 4 is the 5th Uncharted game, but it isn't Uncharted 5. :p

I'm not going to say it's impossible to do cooking well, because it's entirely possible some genius will eventually come along and make a system that isn't awful, but I've yet to play a single game that wasn't worse off for its inclusion. Cooked food almost never does anything that potions don't, and I never looked at potions and thought "these are easy to use and convenient to obtain, but what I really want is to be told I can't have any until I've spent a half hour hunting for RNG plants or scouring specialty stores for all the component parts of every recipe that I had to memorize." Zelda's interface is just salt in a head wound.

Cooking is to me what 30 FPS is to some people, basically. It's entirely capable of ruining a game by itself if you force it on me.

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Post by X-3 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:52 pm

Next Zelda should be a large dungeon crawler...with extra cooking.

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Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:12 pm

^^ Cooking is almost fun in Muramasa Rebirth. The graphics are nice and the food looks good, it's non-intrusive. I had fun seeing what there was but not enough to actually get the Trophy tied to the system. I'd say it added something to the game but only very slightly.

For the record, I hate crafting in games too.

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Post by DarkZero » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:25 pm

Nintendo actually said in a Famitsu article recently that open-air games like BotW would become the standard for Zelda. So I guess that answers your question.

What I really wanna know is: Where's the Zelda II revival? (CDi games don't count)

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Post by Marilink » Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:42 pm

^Actually, I wrote this whole thing with those "open-air is the standard now" comments in mind.
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Post by I am nobody » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:43 pm

I REALLY HATE POKEMON!, post: 1628290, member: 18119 wrote:^^ Cooking is almost fun in Muramasa Rebirth. The graphics are nice and the food looks good, it's non-intrusive. I had fun seeing what there was but not enough to actually get the Trophy tied to the system. I'd say it added something to the game but only very slightly.
I remember the restaurants where you could eat, but I've completely forgotten there being any kind of cooking system. Guess that means you're right about it being non-intrusive.
For the record, I hate crafting in games too.
I actually don't hate crafting in games. The problem is mindless crafting - the sort that's just a binary between "you don't have 10 goblin buttocks, so it is literally impossible for you to make this sword" and "you have at least 10 goblin buttocks, so you will be granted exactly the same sword as all the other buttocks collectors."

I've played a handful that put thought into their crafting systems and made it so that player creativity/skill actually mattered, and some of those were actually quite enjoyable. I think it would be hard for a cooking system to exactly follow in those game's footsteps just because cooked items are, by their nature, short-term consumables, but that's the direction a good cooking system would need to go.

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Post by I REALLY HATE POKEMON! » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:57 pm

I can't think of one game where forced crafting was a benefit of any kind to the gameplay, really. What's your favorite example of it done well? I can think if plenty I didn't like, such as TLoU.

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Post by I am nobody » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:12 pm

The Atelier games would be unbearable if not for the crafting, which is a minigame unto itself. That said, those games are very anime and some of them are still unbearable as a result. Summon Night: Swordcraft Story also did a good job of justifying its crafting system narratively and had frequent enough drops that you didn't really need to think about it. Farming games (Rune Factory, Stardew Valley) are usually decent at having craft items add to gameplay, having logical requirements, and making the components reliably obtainable. Usually. Skyrim is also acceptable because I can hit ~ and cheat. :p

Getting back on topic, another thing I'd like to see in a follow up is less awkward archery controls in handheld mode. The sticks just didn't feel right, so I did most of my shooting using the gyroscope, which makes quick turning difficult and would be unusable on a plane. I'm guessing this is less of an issue with other controllers.

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Post by X-3 » Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:54 pm

If they keep going the "open-air" route they need to take the series somewhere other than Hyrule.

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Post by The Missing Link » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:37 am

I'll address cooking completely separately since it tends to be the point of contention already. The cooking system in Breath of the Wild is flawed for a number of reasons, but that's frankly because cooking a single Hearty item (a radish, a truffle, a fish -- all of which common enough) on its own restores more hearts than cooking five gourmet prime meat (which are not super common). This is because the whole temporary system they use (which is a great addition, don't get me wrong) automatically restores all your hearts and then adds hearts on top of that. It means that, when it comes to healing at least, the whole novelty of discovering unique recipes and making a sidequest out of it is essentially useless.

My mind goes back to Tales of Symphonia which also had a cooking system, and it functioned by making the recipes first-class citizens. You selected a recipe that you had the components for, you cooked it, and voila you were healed. No faffing around by selecting all the right items or remembering how it is you make a Lasagna from components; you just do it.

What makes the cooking system in Breath of the Wild slightly more difficult to simply implement is that, not only is it organic, but there are so many variations. It functions off of their chemistry engine. To make recipe X, you need Goat Butter, Hylian Rice, any vegetable, and any fruit. If one or both of the vegetable and fruit have the same buff characteristic, the recipe will be a modification of itself. If you use an extra vegetable, it will be worth more, restore more hearts, and potentially have its benefit last longer. This isn't a strict recipe; this is difficult to configure into a simple, "Sudo make me a sandwich" command.

I've not minded cooking in Breath of the Wild per se because I'm ABCing -- Always Be Collecting. I collect everything I see, and therefore crafting is a necessary part of a hero's balanced breakfast. My issue with the cooking system as is is that it's slightly cumbersome to initiate (there's no default cooking mode), you have to watch a cutscene every time (just give me the results instantaneously), and it's broken. It also practically lets you bring in an infinite number of hearts against Calamity Ganon. I love the logic of it, but I dislike some of the sillier results.

===
Marilink, post: 1628266, member: 23215 wrote:sometimes heavily, when I laid a heavy hit on a Moblin. (This only happened when hitting Moblins, oddly enough. Has anyone else experienced this?)
omg me. This happens like every time I knock a Moblin off its feet and into a wall. I also noticed it gets really bad in the Coliseum when I do a perfect dodge against the Lynel holding a flame sword. Man is the slow down bad.

Otherwise, the minor hitches I didn't care about too much. It only happens in TV mode on Switch, and it wasn't too far off of a general 30fps, and I think the update to 1.0.1 helped a bit. It still isn't a silky smooth 30 everywhere, but no game is. :tongue:
Another common criticism for the game is the voice acting. I was personally skeptical of voice acting in Zelda in the first place, since I am somewhat of a traditionalist--but don't worry, this isn't an "I Told You So." I thought the voice acting was a welcome addition to Zelda. But Mipha's voice, in particular, is terrible. This is a shame because I liked Mipha as a character, but she was just hard to listen to. I'll personally defend Princess Zelda's VO, but that performance has room for improvement as well.
I think Zelda was fine, but this is one of those times when Nintendo didn't pay attention to detail. Zelda is the only one with a British accent. Not even her father has a British accent. It fits her personality (if you think British accents are super stuffy), but it doesn't mesh with the rest of the cast.

Mipha had bad lines. Period. I realised after I was done that the memories involving the four Champions were there to introduce their respective powers -- Grace, Protection, Gale, and Fury. Mipha had to introduce Grace during the scene, and therefore the scene came off entirely awkward. Hell, the fact that Link doesn't speak during most of the memories paints some of those as awkward. Link needs VO (I will fight all of you who disagree) if they're going to do VO. He doesn't need much, but they've already got a dang VA to do the HYAHs and AUGHs and HEHs, so they need someone to fill in a few brief moments. They don't need much dialogue for him, but there needs to be some.
In the end, though, the story fell pretty flat. The four main characters of each race (Sidon, Yunobo, Riju, and Teba) were built up well, and yet they went absolutely nowhere when you were done with their respective areas. I realize some sacrifices had to be made to keep the non-linearity of the game intact, but these four characters represent a pretty big area of missed potential.
Concur. Riju I got to know a bit better as you interact with her for the Thunder Helm sidequest after the fact, but the others are just dropped the moment you've defeated each Divine Beast, which is kind of a let down. Even those four don't get a mention in the bloody ending sequence, and that's practically criminal. :tongue:

I actually had a thought earlier today regarding linearity and what it means to the Zelda franchise, and I remember back to A Link to the Past when I discovered that the Dark World dungeons can be done outside of their prescribed order.

#1 (Dark Palace) must be done first. After that, you unlock all of #2 (Watergate), #3 (Skull Woods), and #4 (Thieves' Town). You need #2 and #4 to beat #6 (Misery Mire), you need #3 and #6 to beat #7 (Turtle Rock), and #5 (Ice Palace) needs #2-4. This gives a lot of possible orderings. Similarly, Ocarina of Time has a lot of orderings for the Adult dungeons. Either Forest or Fire can take place first, and Shadow and Spirit can be done in any order after getting Fire and Water. There's a lot of leeway for order, and there's a consistent story there as well.

I think personally BotW2 needs to have some greater, more long-lasting importance ascribed to NPCs across the world. Almost every NPC in the game has one, maybe two (if you're lucky) roles in the game. Only Sidon, Riju, and Hudson really have multiple hats that they wear.
The end of the game was also not as fulfilling as it could have been.
Agreed. Not just because the Calamity Ganon was a voiceless antagonist, but also the extent of the "everything is happy now" ending didn't (for me) match the intensity of the build up for and the resolution of the final fight.
I don't think the reward for completing the dungeons should be a neutered final boss experience, but a different final boss experience.
Yeaaaaaah, I'm kind of there. But I'm also kind of there because Dark Beast Ganon was cakewalk. Like... I know there will be people who die during that segment, but there are so few attacks, and they all take place only in front of the big thing that you can just hide under. It's kind of ridiculous in retrospect even if it feels epic enough when you play it. But then again, I am also slightly disappointed that the Calamity Ganon was just an amalgamation of the four Blight Ganons. Literally, it's just all four pieces smashed together into one. But there's little explanation as to why Ganon shows up in this form. The bloody Hyrule Compendium entry (which you get by snapshotting him in the final fight) gives way more information about it than the rest of the story combined. >_>
Finally, I hope the next game has more interesting swimming.
Yeah. That Zora's Armor minimises this, but not enough. Also falling from a cliff into water and resetting sucks.
But just imagine a Zelda game with an open world as fantastical and sprawling as Breath of the Wild's...but then has equally fantastical and sprawling hidden dungeons to explore, with item rewards and awesome variety of bosses.
YAS
Speaking of enemies, surely I wasn't the only one who got sick of Bokoblins and Lizalfos by the end of the game. You can change their color palettes all you want, but they're still just Bokoblins and Lizalfos in the end. I thought it was great to see the return of Lynels, but Zelda has so many enemies in its history that the sameness got really disappointing about halfway through the game. Like-Likes, Iron Knuckles, Beamos, Dodongos...hopefully we'll see some of these in DLC, but we need to see them it the next game at least.
Also this. This is something I noticed a few days back, and I'm shocked how few real enemies there are in the game (palette swaps not withstanding).
But if Nintendo decided to use the same Shrine structure in the next game, I might be a little disappointed. I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with the traditional Piece of Heart model from previous Zelda games, and while a break from it was nice, it could be done again and done very well.
I personally don't think there's anything right about the traditional Piece of Heart model.

I agree with you that the Shrines were brilliant, and it was a great novel and modern approach to solving the Heart problem. If we had to do Shrines again, I'd scream just because these things effectively "became" the traditional dungeons, meaning that the Divine Beasts didn't have to be traditional dungeons, and I'd like to not see that happen the same way next time. I want larger experiences, and the Shrines are really there for bite-sized content.
Marilink, post: 1628277, member: 23215 wrote:I agree with you on the powers. Getting all of them so early makes the progression feel a little empty, especially when Rupees are the best reward (which you usually just spend on Arrows, anyway).
I disagree actually. I feel that the game is best expressed through simple verbs with the physics and chemistry being intuited to find creative gameplay. The progression of the game for me wasn't about increasing the number of verbs at my disposal; the progression for me was about increasing my ability to survive in an overly hostile world. I instinctively knew when I was good and ready to take on the Calamity. I instinctively knew when certain enemies were going to be less tear-me-a-new-butthole. I'm happy with the powers that were there, and I thought the real power of the game was discovering the interactions between Link's verbs and the environment around him.
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Post by X-3 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:40 am

You can do the Spirit Temple before the Fire Temple as well

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Post by Cravdraa » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:05 pm

I had a lot of problems with this game. A LOT.
At the end of the day, I have to admit it just probably isn't a game for me, which is an extremely disappointing idea. Because I wanted to like it. I wanted to like it sooo badly.
But I don't.
I still got some enjoyment out of it, and it's got some aspects that I like, but ugh. If the series is based off this from now on, it'll probably be my last zelda game, and that kinda breaks my heart.

I've been avoiding talking about it for the most part because I didn't wanna be that person who just complains about something other people are enthusiastically enjoying.
So even now, I'm actually gonna spoiler this. Don't look if you're not expecting some potent negativity. Rant time.

[spoiler= Weapons]
Okay, so first and foremost, I hate the weapon system. HATE it.
Weapon durability is most obnoxious thing, and they force it on you in the worst possible way.
The the entire game is literally based around it, so we're off to a good start.
I don't enjoy mechanics with ammo to begin with. Really loath them. In Link to the Past, I'll upgrade my bombs and arrows to maximum the first chance I get, and then still avoid using them unless the moment strikes me.

It's not the risk of running out, it's the fact that because it's the only real option, it's a constant cost of playing the game that you're not in control of, and a constant erasure of any progress you make in growing stronger. It's all temporary. Why should I care about finding a new weapon if it's just gonna be gone after one fight? It's infuriating to run into a strong enemy, break all your weapons on it's face, and it's still not even dead. (the game puts waaay too much emphasis on tanky enemy HP to keep you from beating stuff, to begin with. The deciding factor on beating an enemy or not should NEVER be "will all my weapons break trying to fight this thing?" Don't care if I've got weak weapons, if I wanna beat a hinox to death with a stick by bludgeoning it 3000 times and I can do it without dying, I should be able to do it. )
Far too often, especially early on, I'd burn most of my weapons, get one or two back, and even if they were slightly stronger than they ones I'd used, it'd still be a net negative. So now I'm avoiding enemies just to spare my weapons, even though I'd much rather take them head on. And later on, half the time it's STILL not worth fighting enemies because even though your weapons last a little longer (still not long enough) there's a good chance you're still not getting back something of equal value out of the fight.

The fact that everything is ridiculously fragile just exasperates the matter, but really, my complainr is that they force it on you. There ARE no alternatives. No good ones at, any rate. No escape from it. In a game that tries to be about freedom, they force you to play the game this way and absolutely refuse to give you a way around it.

Reflecting on it, I realized that if they'd taken taken the BoTW weapon system and put it in, say, Wind Waker, to handle the enemy weapons you could steal in that game, I would have been ecstatic! I would have been amazed that they actually let you keep the enemy weapons, even if only temporarily, and gleefully broken them over the monsters' heads. Because you've still got a full arsenal of other weapons and tools that AREN'T going to break, breaking the one you can just give you more options because it's fun, and it lets you feel a little powerful and badass.

They could have at least softened it. Let you repair weapons you like, or craft them? It still would have been a bit tedious but it would have been something that made is bearable, if not preferable. But they didn't.

Instead, it's forced on us, and any joy I would get out of it is sucked right out of it. I can not even begin to describe how disappointed I was when I finally got the Master Sword, only discover it had the same problem. It was supposed to be the thing that saved the game for me. I was sooo desperate to escape this stupid system.
Disappointment. That's what I felt about every interaction I had with this system. By the time I made it off the great plateau I already didn't care about getting new weapons cause they just take them from you. Who cares about getting a crappy weapon that's gonna be gone after one fight? That's not even going to last a fight? That I probably don't even have space to carry anyway?
And there in, we have a very serious problem, because you've just made every chest in the game uninteresting.
Because there's nothing else. Money, arrows, or weapons. (okay I just remembered in very rare cases you can also get a new piece of clothing. That was legitimately exciting cause they're the closest thing to an actual upgrade in this game. Something that won't be taken away from you, that often provides a notable improvement to one of your abilities. More of this please.)


Finally, for having them basically replace the dungeon items, there isn't nearly enough variety. All weapons from the same class handle exactly the same. Classes tend to be too similar to eachother. Come on, if you're gonna force this on us, at least give us some variety. How about a ball and chain weapon? Why are boomerangs basically just short swords? The throwing on them is bad. it doesn't stun enemies, like half the time the enemy blocks them, catches them, hit them away with their own weapon, or they just bounce off part of the terrain and you have to chase after them. How about a hookshot or grappling hook weapon?You can already go anywhere, it's not like they'd mess up progression. Maybe they could stun enemies or steal their weapons? And assist with climbing? Come on! A little variety and utility here! Where's the fantasy? Get a little more whimsical and interesting![/spoiler]

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Post by Cravdraa » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:49 pm

[spoiler= Shrines]
So this leads me to my next complaint.
In theory, the idea of shrines isn't a bad one, but they managed to screw up the execution.
The hunt to find them, and the puzzles to get into them? Good.
Using them as fast travel points? also good. In many cases the travel point is better reward than the shrine, itself.
But there are some real problems too.

First off, they're all very samey.
Aesthetically, I got pretty sick of them. They're all the same blue, whatever, moving on.

The puzzles are pretty samey too. Eh, I'll give them a pass here cause there's so many of them and they do a decent job of mixing it up. (Though the combat trial could have used more variety and shrines in general could have used more combat in general)

For the most part, they're very simple. Overly simple. to the point of even being boring at times. Some of these could have REALLY have used a mini-boss or something. not 2-3 puzzles on the same theme.

A few of the variants were real stinkers. Anything that used the gyro control can go to hell, and the precision stasis puzzles were more frustrating than interesting with the added bonus of using weapon durability.

All and all they're okay, but a pretty weak replacement for the dungeons and caves of older games.

The biggest crime here is that they managed to take one of the most exciting collectibles boring.
In previous games, pieces of heart were one of the best little rewards the game could throw at you. Never disappointed to get one. Problem is, they put them all in the shrines and they're the only real reward there.
In previous games, they'd be a reward for finishing a mini-game, or helping somebody, or something to hang enticingly out of reach. Sometimes you'd expect them, sometimes you'd see one and wonder how to get it and work towards it.
In breath of the wild, you lose all that. Every last one of them is in a shrine. No unexpected discoveries. No rewards for quests or puzzles or exploring. You know that you won't get them outside of a shrine, you know you won't get them by accident. You know exactly when and how you'll get them IN the shrine. Predictable. Boring. and it's such a shame because they've always been utilized so much better.
[/spoiler]

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Post by Cravdraa » Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:02 pm

[spoiler= Time wasting]
To make it seem like there's more content in the game, they went out of the way to make basic, previously easy aspects of earlier games difficult. Pointlessly so. Add two more steps to everything. Make the player grind.

Instead of rupees from enemies, now you have to go collect monster parts and ores and then you have to sell them. And it's still not gonna be enough to buy that cool outfit in the store. The last zelda game I had to grind in was AoL, and it didn't have a freaking weapon durability system. Why are they making me grind? This is not enjoyable. In past games, reasources were plentiful. I didn't have to spend 80 rupees on 5 arrows. Maybe 20 rupees on 50 arrows? Also arrows were everywhere so I didn't have to pay for them to begin with. That was only if I was feeling lazy. (And I still didn't like using them, because they'd run out)

The reason they make us grind is because there's nothing else to the game. It's also the reason there's a weapon durability system. If they didn't make resources scarce and take away what we already have then they'd have nothing left to give the player. Literally everything has a cost in this game.

You know, they tried to make shield surfing such a big thing but then they made it take up durability on your shield. So I never do it, because what the crap, I need that shield. It's one of many cases where they get too greedy and take too much from the player to make it enjoyable. Their arbitrary mechanics get in the way of the game play, and that's never a good thing.
I'd rather just skip it and play the damn game, but I can't because they're stretching it out to seem like there's more than there actually is.

The spirit orbs too. Why do I have to go out of my way to a village to cash them in?

This is one of the things IAN complained about with the Food system. They took a simple concept like healling in the the other games and made it difficult and grindy. In the past you'd just find health or get it from enemies. Maybe find a fairy fountain (They were kinda all over the place; oh hey another good reward for exploring that's not really in BotW) or, buy a potion if you've got the money to burn. (bottles were another good reward in past games. They removed all these excellent rewards to motivate the player and replaced it with grinding, what the hell.)
Instead you have to go out and grind ingrediants for food. Then you have to cook the food, and it really takes WAAAY too long. Why is there even a "Skip" button for the animation if it's just gonna black out the screen for the same length of time the animation would have taken anyway. I have timed it, it's not actually any faster.

And the food system is flawed on top of that, as TML pointed out. Like, you'd think they would have ironed out the kinks before hand?
Now to their credit, they did try to make this a little more than it used to be by adding special effects to the different foods. That's a step in the right direction to at least make it worth my time. However, that leads into another set of problems...[/spoiler]

[spoiler= Lack of progression]

The only time you actually get stronger in this game is getting new pieces of clothing and upgrading them at the fairy fountain. The only time. And even then, food lets you fake most of the effects just the same. In fact, food effects don't even stack on top of the clothing effects. So you're basically just replacing one for the other. So aside from stuff like special effects like climbing faster or zora armor there's not actually much of a reward.
There's nothing stopping you from just running into a more difficult area and stealing some of the better weapons right at the start and then you're basically endgame.

That's not a good thing. They don't even take advantage of it properly because there's not THAT much of a difference in difficulty between areas. So you run into an area with lionals? Just go around. they don't actually block anything.
Even the origianl LoZ that they claim they kept in mind had way more progression.
Yeah, you had access to most of the map at the start, but there were dungeon items that would make things easier, weapons and tools, and stuff you could buy. there were dungeons you couldn't enter or couldn't complete without the right item.
And the dungeons actually got harder!
Yeah, you could mix them up and do some out of order, but you knew it was a risk because it'd be much tougher. if you managed to snag a late game item it was a huge reward that you'd earned.
In breath of the wild, instead you just cook a dish and suddenly you've got endgame hearts. and who cares about stamina? just eat a stamina dish if you're about to run out. the spirit orb upgreades are ultimately pretty useless, because, again they just replace something you can already do. And all the divine beasts are more or less the same difficulty.
Just because the player CAN do things in any order doesn't mean they need to keep it at a constant difficulty. It'd be perfectly fine with me if I got to the Rito city and discovered I'd be better off attempting the Gorons first. That's not a bad thing. Instead the difficulty is weird and patchy. Anything required is made at a low, early game difficulty and then the harder areas are just little splotches on top of mountains and stuff that are easily avoidable for the most part. Again with little reward for actually going to most of them, because if you're at all clever, you can get weapons and gear that are just as good elsewhere. I never felt like I was accomplishing anything, aside from completing the divine beasts themselves, which are, again, all the same difficulty (And also really samey, and small) [/spoiler]

Also, rain and thunderstorms suck and add absolutely nothing of value to the game. :tongue:

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Post by X-3 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 2:23 pm

[QUOTE="The Missing Link, post: 1628353, member: 19860"]
I disagree actually. I feel that the game is best expressed through simple verbs with the physics and chemistry being intuited to find creative gameplay. The progression of the game for me wasn't about increasing the number of verbs at my disposal; the progression for me was about increasing my ability to survive in an overly hostile world. I instinctively knew when I was good and ready to take on the Calamity. I instinctively knew when certain enemies were going to be less tear-me-a-new-butthole. I'm happy with the powers that were there, and I thought the real power of the game was discovering the interactions between Link's verbs and the environment around him.[/QUOTE]

Have to second this. Runes are less like dungeon items and more like LBW's ability to turn into a painting.

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