Look, I love Nintendo. And I love the Zelda series. But I fear the princess is in another castle.
I’ve been playing Darksiders quite a bit lately, and I really dig it. The exploration might be a bit too hub-ified and tube-ified for my taste, most other elements of the game are top notch. Controls are on the “advanced” side of the scale, but I’m pretty hardcore myself so I don’t mind.
In all parts except combat and presentation, Darksiders is a Zelda-game. You find new items which acts as keys to new pathways, fight bosses, find heart pieces, open chests, get annoying help from Navi, ride your horse on open areas, etc etc. It’s Zelda, just with different names for stuff. But what’s really interesting is that Darksiders pretty much nails every single elements they have borrowed from Nintendo, and does it better.
Today I feel the mainline Zelda series is heading in the wrong direction. While I adore Wind Waker, it was also the entry that started to introduce mind-numbingly annoying stuff like displaying a two page long text window each time you pickup a rupee! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there’s just no end to all the annoying “help” you get in that game. This runs rampant in many Nintendo games such as Animal Crossing (5 pages of text every time you buy something even if you’ve bought it before) and Mario Party.
In Darksiders you run up to a chest, PUNCH it in the face (if it had had one), and then run away before the contents have even started to fly to you automatically. No text, just a 1 second animation. You can do it mid-fight to replenish health without even losing focus on your enemy. When you want to go faster you press two buttons to summon the horse and you’re automatically mounted and in full steam ahead in less than a second. Compare that to Ocarina, where you take out your instrument, play a tune, call the horse, find it, mount it, and then start to ride. All this because you wanted to go faster.
Twilight Princess introduced an innovation that I, in my fanboy-tastic naive and gullable hope, interpret as a sign of things getting better. You see, in Twilight Princess, you only get the two-page text window once per session and rupee type! So if you have run over a blue rupee during the same session before, you no longer get the message. But of course, when you play the game again the next day, you have obviously forgotten how much “blue” means, so you need to see it again.
Hey, Nintendo. Ever heard of ‘floating text’?
Mess up the next installment and I’ll leave you forever.