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The Zelda Sequelitis Video


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#1 Raien

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 10:33 AM

So I'm looking through the forum and I'm shocked to find that the Sequelitis Video on ALttP and OoT does not have its own thread. I will now correct this grevious error because I think it's one of the definitive critical videos of these games. I especially like the point about the constant waiting in OoT.

 



#2 JRPomazon

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 10:38 PM

Well, this forum has been in a bit of a slowdown for a while. It's totally understandable. Did see this one a while back and I agree with some of Egoraptor's main points like on the waiting aspect in OoT but I feel his bias is totally tinting his arguments for and against these games. Still, very enjoyable rant.



#3 Elvenlord

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 11:06 PM

I don't really have to time to watch it right now, but from what I remember I disagree with a large part of it, especially the waiting in combat, specifically with the stalfos. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have done combat with sword and shield (and in armor), and I'll tell you right now, it largely revolves around waiting for an opening. Either that, tricking them into one, or trying to bash one open, but that's pretty risky.

 

And yeah, his bias is pretty annoying.



#4 Egann

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 11:36 PM

The definitive Ocarina critical video is probably Matthewmatosis's video on it. As much as I like EgoRaptor and think he has fair points, he doesn't do as much deep analysis of the subject.

 

 

Very few of the original 3D games have aged gracefully. Back in the day it took a ton of effort for devs to adjust their processes, and padding games out or falling into a pattern was the norm. And part of the problem is that Zelda is a mature game series now, with established tropes. They still are all really good games, though. I just picked up Phantom Hourglass and while it's far from perfect I really get the sense people loved working on it and they want me the player to love playing it just as much.


Edited by Egann, 02 November 2014 - 11:36 PM.


#5 Raien

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 05:08 AM

I don't really have to time to watch it right now, but from what I remember I disagree with a large part of it, especially the waiting in combat, specifically with the stalfos. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have done combat with sword and shield (and in armor), and I'll tell you right now, it largely revolves around waiting for an opening. Either that, tricking them into one, or trying to bash one open, but that's pretty risky.

 
That may be true for real life but that doesn't mean it is fun for a video game. As someone who is relatively skilled at games, the OoT fights offer no joy for me anymore because they don't test my reflexes like the older games used to do. I have beaten NES Zelda many times and I can still enjoy fighting the enemies because they are difficult to fight. I have beaten OoT many times and with each playthrough the game got less fun to play because of the excessive waiting. If you're selling exciting combat, you have to deliver exciting combat.

 

PS: Actually, I wouldn't mind OoT's combat so much if there was more strategy involved. Wii Sports Resort had a sword combat system where the direction you held the sword would simultaneously allow you to do damage but also open yourself up to harm. There's an element of waiting for an opening in that system but the fact that you can dictate the pace of the battle makes it much more enjoyable.

 

As for Egoraptor's bias, I feel you guys are missing a very important point. It's not about the Zelda sequels as defined by good or bad mechanics, it's about the Zelda sequels being so horribly predictable. The original Legend of Zelda is one of the few great action-adventure games in existence that offers near total non-linearity. Everything that you encountered was the result of the player exploring and experimenting with the game world. There were no tutorials and very little leading by the developers. As such, it was entirely unpredictable what you would find there. You could burn a bush and maybe find a random cave or one of the game's dungeons. You could pick up an item and then discover uses for it by experimenting, rather than have the game lead you to its intended uses.
 
There's a popular school of game design theory that says a great game leads the player to discover the mechanics and story through special set pieces. And for a lot of games this is true, especially linear games. Heck, the Sequelitis video for Mega Man X goes into great detail on how the first stage establishes the game mechanics and story through set pieces. The problem is that when every single game in the world follows this formula, they all start feeling samey and predictable. If you find a set piece or an item and immediately know what to do with it, that sucks out a lot of the fun from the game. Metroidvania games in particular suffer from this badly. I can't remember the last time an open-ended platformer was legitimately exciting to explore because at every turn I would see a cracked wall or a locked door or a ledge too high and I would immediately know what half the upcoming items would be. And that is why I've been bitching about the Zelda puzzles all these years. After playing 14+ Zelda games, every Zelda puzzle feels the same to me. Whether you get a boomerang or a fire rod or a flying scarab, it's all just minor variations of breaking a cracked wall or hitting a switch. There's no surprise or challenge to them. They don't test your wits or make you think outside the box. It's just a time-consuming routine.
 
I think unpredictability is the main reason why games like Minecraft and Skyrim have become so much more successful than Zelda in recent years. The "adventure" does not come from the story or the mechanics but the sense of discovery. Minecraft doesn't even tell you anything about the game world or the mechanics. Players learned to play the game by experimenting and socialising with other players, which is exactly how Miyamoto described the way people played the original Legend of Zelda back in the 80s. This should indicate that players don't always want to be led to their decisions, especially in open-ended games.


Edited by Raien, 03 November 2014 - 09:14 AM.


#6 Egann

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 12:23 PM

Well, you *can* go faster in Ocarina's combat if you are high skill. Wolfos, for example, will attack twice if it misses with the first attack, and after the second swipe they swing around and face away from you. If you BLOCKED the attack, it only attacks once and doesn't spin around, and if you dodged the attack you are just out of range for a B attack and have to wait longer for a real opening. HOWEVER, the timing and distance after a dodged double-attack is just right for a skillful player to land an A attack and one-hit kill the monster.

 

Many of the more common enemies have openings like that, but finding them is almost as hard as exploiting them. And there are notable exceptions.



#7 Raien

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 01:39 PM

That's interesting to know but not really in the spirit of what I'm talking about with the combat. There's an old saying about games, "Easy to learn, difficult to master", that I feel the early Zeldas got but OoT doesn't. In the NES games, there's no confusion about how to beat the enemies but it's difficult to accomplish nonetheless. If those exploits in OoT you mentioned were intended by the developers, it doesn't sound like they actually encourage the player to engage them.



#8 TheAvengerLever

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 01:05 AM

I largely agree with Egoraptor's points about the waiting periods in the newer 3D games, but I will also say that it is interesting that the focus of the Zelda series from Exploration to Puzzle-Solving happened because of observable variables in retrospect. It WAS a major shift in development from a 2D console to a 3D one, and it was a shift that not a whole lot of franchises could feasibly make.

 

I mean, Star Fox was a given. It's simple structuring allowed for the devs to make a fantastic, re-playable game that still holds up to this day because of its arcade-like game play. Zelda, on the other hand, seemed to actually be limited by its new epic scope rather than set free. The 3D camera and the combat virtually changed everything else, and so the focus HAD to shift from one type of game play to another, and in my opinion it was a shift that has made the newer Zelda games a bit more awkward. Ocarina of Time was okay, it did what it did well, and Majora's Mask as well. Wind Waker brought back elements of exploration but the Zelda series was still trying to chain the player to certain conditions rather than letting the player go free. Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword (despite my undying love for the latter) were the worst in this regard, making whole sections of the map unreachable due to the player not having met the proper conditions to enter, and that is fucking awful for this series to do. It is a Zelda crime to cut the exploration out of the game.

 

The reason that I can forgive Skyward Sword for its segregated overworld is that however much it got wrong as a Zelda game, however much it stepped in the wrong direction with one foot, it stepped in the right direction with the other. Yeah, the map was segregated much like the map in Twilight Princess, but the individual areas had a lot to do and were really fun to explore, and you could actually affect the environment. Plus, they made the unreachable places tantalizing to the player to motivate them enough to try and unlock them. The combat was also really fun because it provided the player more options. You could wait and let the enemy do its scripted attack, then block and strike back, or you could do a forward stab and hurt him another way. And the dungeons were equally awesome, providing just the right creepy atmosphere a dungeon in Zelda needs. My favorite dungeon of all time is the Ancient Cistern, and its because of its otherworldly, morbidly beautiful atmosphere. It wasn't just another temple with some sort of element in it as much as it actually told a story in its design. That's the kind of shit newer 3D Zelda games need.

 

The most criminal part is that other video games were able to make the transition to 3D that were very similar to Zelda, such as the Elder Scrolls games, and yet despite several releases the developers seemed to ignore what actually made Zelda a big deal game when it first graced consoles back in the day.

 

I didn't really think much about this kind of stuff until I watched Egoraptor's video, and I'm glad I did. Its about time the original aesthetics of the series were brought back to the forefront so we can have a proper Zelda experience again.



#9 Raien

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 04:42 AM

I largely agree with Egoraptor's points about the waiting periods in the newer 3D games, but I will also say that it is interesting that the focus of the Zelda series from Exploration to Puzzle-Solving happened because of observable variables in retrospect. It WAS a major shift in development from a 2D console to a 3D one, and it was a shift that not a whole lot of franchises could feasibly make.

 

I mean, Star Fox was a given. It's simple structuring allowed for the devs to make a fantastic, re-playable game that still holds up to this day because of its arcade-like game play. Zelda, on the other hand, seemed to actually be limited by its new epic scope rather than set free. The 3D camera and the combat virtually changed everything else, and so the focus HAD to shift from one type of game play to another, and in my opinion it was a shift that has made the newer Zelda games a bit more awkward. Ocarina of Time was okay, it did what it did well, and Majora's Mask as well. Wind Waker brought back elements of exploration but the Zelda series was still trying to chain the player to certain conditions rather than letting the player go free. Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword (despite my undying love for the latter) were the worst in this regard, making whole sections of the map unreachable due to the player not having met the proper conditions to enter, and that is fucking awful for this series to do. It is a Zelda crime to cut the exploration out of the game.

 

I'm not seeing how the switch to 3D necessitated a focus on puzzle-solving. Sure, you lost the simplicity of the 2D combat in the transition to 3D but I think most other developers would have focused on making the new combat work rather than try to go in a completely different direction. No, I think the problem lies with the fact that Miyamoto hired a man, who was not only a puzzle game developer but also openly hated the NES Zelda's arcade-style gameplay, to design the dungeons for OoT and then spearhead the design of every Zelda game afterwards. Miyamoto and Aonuma have both said they consider Zelda to be a puzzle series and that is why the games emphasise puzzle-solving.



#10 Wolf O'Donnell

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 04:53 PM

Meh. I remember watching that video and wondered how the Hell Egoraptor failed to spot the inconsistency in his argument. You can't argue that there's too much waiting and complain about not being able to see the moving spikes, then suggest that the game should have a bit in it that essentially boils down to you waiting for that moving spike (the one you couldn't see in the first place) to get out of the way.

I mean, sure, there's some very good arguments in there. But why then undermine your own arguments?

#11 Raien

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 04:58 PM

Meh. I remember watching that video and wondered how the Hell Egoraptor failed to spot the inconsistency in his argument. You can't argue that there's too much waiting and complain about not being able to see the moving spikes, then suggest that the game should have a bit in it that essentially boils down to you waiting for that moving spike (the one you couldn't see in the first place) to get out of the way.

 

Yeah, I wasn't exactly sure he was talking about that segment. I get that fast-moving spikes don't work so well in 3D when visibility is potentially limited, but I wasn't sure how his diagram examples improved on the design. Then again, I remember thinking something similar during his Super Castlevania IV video. I think it's just a lot easier to spot a problem than it is to create a good solution.






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