Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zelda: Skyward Sword

Amazon.com recently sent me an automatic email, saying they are going to send me a copy of Zelda: Skyward Sword on December 9th.

I am terrified by this game.

It's been five years since Link's last adventure. Does he still have what it takes to make a great game? Or will this be another large stumble into mediocrity? I'm not sure I'm ready to find out.

One of my frience once said something like, "I haven't played any Zelda games since Link to the Past, but it sounds like they're still exactly the same".

And he's right. Most Zelda games are exactly the same. The series doesn't like to deviate from its successful formula. There are small changes in each entry, to be sure--a new item here, a new villain there--but other than that, it's a Japanese series made in the United States of Generica.

I can live with generic challenges and generic dungeons. The Oracle games were rather generic, but still lots of fun. I'm slightly worried about Skyward Sword sticking to the Zelda formula, though, because Twilight Princess followed the formula religiously, and the game suffered as a result.

Here's an example that I can't remember if I've used before. The Zelda formula dictates that, in every game, Zelda is only allowed to be in these three scenes:
  1. The Link meets Zelda for the first time scene.
  2. The OMG Zelda just got kidnapped! scene
  3. The endgame sequence

This works for a short game. It's kind of stretching it in a game like Ocarina of Time, which is ten hours long. But Twilight Princess is twenty hours long, which is too long to only have three scenes with Zelda. You'll forget who she is and why she's important about halfway through. (She was important to the plot, right? All I remember is that she was locked in a tower and never left. Maybe I'm confusing her with Rapunzel.)

So, if Skyward Sword is even bigger than Twilight Princess, which it claims to be, I really hope they break the established Zelda formula, at least in that regard.  I don't want a super-long game with only a few characters that affect the plot.

I don't know why I'm making such a big deal about this.  I loved Twilight Princess, and it was a great game.  But the characters and plot in that game were so lacking that I kept forgetting them, while playing the actual game itself.  Even the simpler Zelda games like Link's Awakening outperform Twilight Princess in the characters department.

My favorite Twilight Princess characters are the Yeti, the bug girl and Midna.  None of the other characters made a big impression on me.  Link's girlfriend had a brief moment of interesting, before she got kidnapped (and got amnesia), which basically prevented her from doing much to affect the game.  But even if she got a lot of screentime, I think it'd be really hard for them to have a well-developed relationship between Link and his girlfriend, because Link rarely ever talks or shows emotion.  He's basically the worst boyfriend ever, you know?  Poor Ilia.

In conclusion, I guess I'm saying that I will be satisfied with this game, if all the dungeons and areas are generic.  However, I really hope that the characters and the plot aren't, because a bare bones plot is not what I want in a game which is longer than, say, the entire Harry Potter movie franchise.


Miriam said...

Wasn't "United States of Generica" something Nick Falcone said in The Final Scene? ;) Sneaking some ND references into Zelda posts, eh?

I always felt sorry for Ilia, too. :/ She seemed to be pretty close to Link, but then he got all important and forgot about her..

Anonymous said...

Can't wait 4 it to come out!!! :D I'll defiantly get it!!! I agree...they ARE mostly the same plot, but it's still pretty fun to play! :)

Diana said...

I'm currently playing Twilight Princess for the first time and am about 2/3 of the way through according to my friend who I borrowed it from. I'm relieved I'm not the only one who calls Ilia Link's girlfriend. I agree about the plot and all, but I still really like Twilight Princess. I like the graphics and the dungeons, although some are straightforward and very similar to OoT, still take me a good hour or two, because let's face it...I'm not exactly the BEST Zelda player... :)

Anonymous said...

I really like the pattern of most zelda games. It reminds me of past games.
I really hope this game is a success because I read that if it is not a success, they will stop making zelda franchises

Anonymous said...

I haven't played Skyward Sword yet, but DANG I want to! BTW, this game seems somewhat different from the others. I did a bit of sleuthing, and it's a prequel to all of the games, and supposedly explains how Ganondorf never dies, and where the Master Sword came from. Also, Zelda isn't a princess in this game: she's Link's childhood friend and it looks like she's going to be more involved in the game, and maybe FINALLY have a romantic relationship to Link. To me, this looks like an EPIC game, but we'll see what u think of it. ;)