What Nintendon’t

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.

 

Yours truly,

Joel

26 Responses to “What Nintendon’t”

Altough not loved, I am fine with the ds stylus controls, and the fact that in both the games for ds, there iare only two pages of text saying what the rupee is worth, that are easily skipped through with rapid tapping

radiocativekitty
2011-07-30

The post in short: “Zelda has become more casual and I wish it became hardcore again”.

reallyjoel: “You certainly do get a text window in Wind Waker when you pick up a rupee that is worth more than 1. Including mob drops. Try it out!”

I suggest you do the same :p WW only told you about each item and nonstandard rupee once per playthrough unless you found it in a chest. Mob drops also only gave a message when found in a chest. TP invented the concept of forgetting about pickup rupee counts whenever you stopped playing (which is not an improvement).

TP also put money back into the chest if your wallet was full, which lead to the problem of the chest still being marked on your map. Some players used the rupee-destroying Magic Armor just to loot these chests and get rid of them. Who would seriously go back into the depths of a dungeon for those 20 rupees?

LA told you about heavy rocks and fragile crystals when you touched one in every single room, but at least you could quickly skip it with B. Except in Link’s Awakening DX, where they _removed_ the ability to skip it for no reason, along with skipping through many other texts. IMO this alone makes the original better despite the lack of color and new content. The Oracle games fixed this by re-implementing the text skip and only triggering the heavy boulder message when pushing up against it for a second.

In contrast, in Zelda 1 and 2, you had absolutely no idea what you picked up in the dungeons or where you were supposed to go. “Look up the manual for details”, said the intro. Play these games for the first time today, and you won’t look back so favorably on them.

reallyjoel: “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there’s just no end to all the annoying “help” you get in that game.”

An option to turn all this off would help – options like these, and difficulty setting, could easily be put in the Zelda games and enrich them by catering to more peoples’ tastes. I don’t think it would scare away “more casual” players at all, just mark them as “settings for advanced players” or something.

It never hurts giving the player the option. I know I wanted one for skipping OoT’s obnoxiously long cutscenes since I’ve played it through maybe 30 times, and an option for skipping the owl speeches.

reallyjoel: “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.”

It could’ve been shorter, but if you play OoT like you’re in a great hurry everywhere you’re not going to enjoy it. When I played it, I explored everything and took in the sights. I approached it with imagination and was rewarded by the stupifying amount of hidden stuff and easter eggs. When I rode the horse, Link patted its neck, I looked at the sunset… it wasn’t a transparent mechanic for faster transportation, everything leading up to getting your own horse was meaningful beyond that. But then I had the spare time to do all of this.

reallyjoel: “Hey, Nintendo. Ever heard of ‘floating text’?”

Exactly the kind of options needed.

PicX: “Another important thing Olami did that Then entire Zelda series needs to do again is reusable techniques throughout the game.”

The first Zeldas were a lot better at this. Items were usually useful in combat, and some were completely optional. Then it gradually got worse.

My complaints about TP are also directly related to Zelda becoming more linear, overly helpful and stagnated. But that’s not all the reasons I play Zelda. Places like OoT Karariko, MM Clocktown and WW Windfall have an atmosphere, heart and soul, and there’s always the sense that adventure is waiting, and you’re free to just go explore and experiment. I’ve yet to see an imitator surpass the entirety of ALttP, only bits and pieces.

Daniel
2011-07-28

I haven’t played darkSiders yet, but another Zelda-like game that, in my opinion, does it better is Okami. They sort of messed it up in the DS sequel, but the original PS2 (later ported to Wii) was one of the lost gems of a dieting console. It too had pots you could smash for health, but only displayed the text for it once per playthrough. Only more important things like rare items had the text pop up more than once.

Another important thing Olami did that Then entire Zelda series needs to do again is reusable techniques throughout the game. After you finished the desert area in Twilight Princess, the spinning top is absolutely, completely useless. In Okami some of the first moves you learn you use in every area in the game. Learning to use it in new ways is what makes the game stay interesting.

PicX
2011-07-20

You don’t get a message when you pick up rupees larger than 1 in Wind Waker… I would know because I just played through the game recently. You’re thinking Twilight Princess, and you only get the message once, unless you quit the game and then start playing again.

Tyler
2011-07-20

I disagree everything you mentioned is what has made Zelda games what they are

the pauses for text and the sound effects while you hold up an item you just got, priceless if you are a zelda fan you’d LIKE that stop comparing zelda to a game that isn’t zelda and go play that game if you like it so much

FlyingAce
2011-07-20

I had the same feelings about Darkiders, after playing it for a while: It’s like Zelda, but so much better.
I’m looking forward for every other release of Vigil Games, especially the new Warhammer 40k Online – I love Warhammer 40k.

BenniD
2011-07-19

You like Zelda? This guy does, but seems to have problems with the future of Zelda http://t.co/FlnDLIY I somewhat agree…

Nateboy57
2011-07-19

RT @Kappische: You like Zelda? This guy does, but seems to have problems with the future of Zelda http://t.co/FlnDLIY I somewhat agree…

Andrew Airmet
2011-07-19

And no, 30 seconds to be able to go faster doesn’t cut it. I’m sorry. Compare it to the mounting in Darksiders here (0:37): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykPE8YFt1Fg

reallyjoel
2011-07-19

You certainly do get a text window in Wind Waker when you pick up a rupee that is worth more than 1. Including mob drops. Try it out!

reallyjoel
2011-07-19

Joshy: well, the music is nice, I’ll give you that 🙂

GF
2011-07-19

@GF

I do. Especially since it isn’t a loading screen, and for most of that time we’re treated to a nice little song 😛

Joshy206
2011-07-19

Joshy: Do you really think half a minute is a short time? 🙂

robhc: I think he only means rupees as an example. I hate it when you just happen to walk into a boulder before you can lift one and Link just has to try and lift it for a couple of seconds and then there comes a message about Link not beeing strong enough eeeeveeeeryyy singe time! Just let him pass it after the first time already…

GF
2011-07-19

While I agree with a lot of what your saying, I don’t know what your talking about with the rupees in Wind Waker. The only time I ever got a message in Wind Waker about rupees is when I got them out of chest, which has been done since the very first game in the series.

robhc
2011-07-19

While I agree in parts, take issue with some points:

Epona doesn’t take that long to summon. Once you know her song, it takes about half a minute to summon her, and it can save quite a few more minutes.

Additionally, while the ‘help’ messages are certainly annoying, they’re hardly game-ruining.

Also, I prefer that in Zelda the drops don’t fly to you. I love that in a lot of games, but it doesn’t seem to fit Zelda.

Joshy206
2011-07-19

Can you please also tell them that GF doesn’t like DS-games where you have to drag lines with the stylus, i just want to play with the buttons! And i dont want to wave my arms while playing on the Wii, I just want to play with the buttons!

Thank you, see you at home later.

Love
GF

GF
2011-07-19

You like Zelda? This guy does, but seems to have problems with the future of Zelda http://t.co/FlnDLIY I somewhat agree…

Samuel Hockham
2011-07-19

You like Zelda? This guy does, but seems to have problems with the future of Zelda http://t.co/FlnDLIY I somewhat agree…

Oliver Winzen
2011-07-19

RT @Ludosity: What Nintendon't http://t.co/nccvB45

Metta Karlsson
2011-07-19

RT @Ludosity: What Nintendon't http://t.co/MCpGKvD

Felipe
2011-07-19

RT @Ludosity: What Nintendon't http://t.co/OoSgNTi

Samppa
2011-07-19

You like Zelda? This guy does, but seems to have problems with the future of Zelda http://t.co/FlnDLIY I somewhat agree…

Perran Wallace
2011-07-19

You like Zelda? This guy does, but seems to have problems with the future of Zelda http://t.co/FlnDLIY I somewhat agree…

Petrus Ahola
2011-07-19

What Nintendon't – http://bit.ly/nittqy

Anthony Pigeot
2011-07-19

You like Zelda? This guy does, but seems to have problems with the future of Zelda http://t.co/FlnDLIY I somewhat agree…

Estoppel Foxdale
2011-07-19

You like Zelda? This guy does, but seems to have problems with the future of Zelda http://t.co/FlnDLIY I somewhat agree…

Daniel Kaplan
2011-07-19

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