Jump to content

Photo

What makes The Legend of Zelda series special?


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 NewJourneysFire

NewJourneysFire

    Deified

  • Contributors
  • Real Name:Grant
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 June 2018 - 03:09 PM

This is another one of those discussion topics I start every now and then as a means to learn more about the community and to help myself and other quest designers improve upon our quest designing skills. With the release of Breath of the Wild, it's come to a surprise to me just how divided the Zelda community is as far as what they feel should be a good Zelda. Some feel that Breath of the Wild is a good step forward with it's world design, while other people feel it's a huge step back as far as being a dungeon crawler goes, and this is where I feel the divide is.

Some people just love Hyrule and adore it, and are even reluctant to enter dungeons because it takes them out of the world they love exploring, while others feel that the overworld should only exist as a central hub for where the real gameplay is at, the dungeons. Zelda also has pretty good stories, however, I feel Zelda stories at best just does what it's set out to do and lacks any real true depth or true story. Heck, I've often argued that Zelda is technically retelling the same story over and over again with each new game, but with a different coat of paint. But I'm sure not everybody would agree. 

 

So  here's the thing. Zelda is not the only series that has great game worlds, nor is Zelda the only series that have fun and exciting dungeons to crawl. There's certainly a magic in the Zelda series which I want to grasp in a more clearer image. 

 

I'd like to hear everybody's thoughts on what they feel make Zelda stand out. 


  • Anthus likes this

#2 Jamian

Jamian

    ZC enthusiast

  • Members
  • Gender:Unspecified

Posted 02 June 2018 - 03:24 PM

1: Secrets. You are rewarded for exploring the game world and looking for hidden things. How exciting is it to slash or burn bushes, play your whistle, and try other random things? Pretty exciting IMO, when you know you can and will get a surprise and a reward for it eventually.

 

2: A wonderful balance between action and puzzles. It's never quite as repetitive as a pure action game, and never quite as abstract as a purely puzzled-based game. You get the best of both worlds.

 

There is more for sure, but those two points immediately came to my mind.


  • nicklegends likes this

#3 Avataro

Avataro

    Quest maker

  • Members
  • Real Name:Robin
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Germany

Posted 02 June 2018 - 03:36 PM

A different story would be nice, yeah. At least it's always told really well.

 

To answer the question, an immersive world, great balance between action and puzzles, the zelda-style dungeons and top-notch quality without exception.



#4 a30502355

a30502355

    Hi

  • Members
  • Real Name:Xavier
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 June 2018 - 04:19 PM

It's the memorable characters and themes that makes Zelda Special



#5 klop422

klop422

    Evil Crazy Mastermind

  • Members
  • Real Name:Not George
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Planet Earth

Posted 02 June 2018 - 05:55 PM

For me, honestly, it's the balance between the action and puzzle elements, combined with a memorable game world (full of characters and secrets) - pretty much what everyonr above said.
I think, Ideally, though, a Zelda game should have a huge overworld and good dungeons. I haven't played Breath of the Wild yet, but from what I understand, dungeons are little more than a few puzzles for an item or a little upgrade. Though I might be thinking of shrines rather than dungeons proper, and I don't kow if there are any proper 'dungeons' in BotW.

#6 Dimentio

Dimentio

    Procrastinator at heart

  • Members
  • Real Name:Joshua
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:America's Hat.

Posted 02 June 2018 - 06:35 PM

It's the atmosphere of exploring a dungeon that feels alien, wondering what cool new item you'll get and what the next boss will be. When you leave the dungeon it's exploring for secrets that will make you stronger in the long run and the general excitement of "omg, I found something cool on my own!". This is why I feel Wind Waker is the best Zelda; it has a huge open world, secrets to find, and the dungeon atmosphere is top notch. Puzzles are another thing; when done right, they can make you feel clever for figuring it out.

ZC can't really do atmosphere well; the only example I can think off the top of my head of dungeons with great atmosphere is Lost Isle. That means most ZC quests tend to focus on gameplay rather than atmosphere.


  • Avataro likes this

#7 Cukeman

Cukeman

    "Tra la la, look for Sahasrahla. ... ... ..."

  • Banned
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hyrule/USA

Posted 03 June 2018 - 05:16 AM

     Story is a tricky one. While I would agree with you that the *plots* are simplistic and repetitive, the depth comes in from seeing how all the little characters in the world are affected by what's going on and how they react to it.

     For example in OoT Ganondorf takes over the castle, kidnaps Zelda, and Link rescues her. Ho hum, same old. BUT, the way it affects the lives of Malon, Talon and Ingo and the whole dramatic shift their lives go through is compelling and we feel for them. The loveable bumbling slacker Talon and his cute daughter make a sweet pair, meanwhile you've got the ungrateful Ingo in the background feeling unappreciated, and he takes over the ranch when Ganon comes into power, and Talon is forced to leave, and Malon sadly and sweetly takes care of the horses and sings her mother's song to them, and a depressed Talon sleeps the day away in Kakariko. Then Link returns and teaches Ingo a lesson and there is a heartwarming reunion between father and daughter as he comes back to the ranch.

     Another example is LA where, yeah, Link collects the 8 doodads and tackles the end boss, but along the way he fosters a growing, believable relationship with Marin.

     I also like the characters of Zill's family on Outset Island and how they interact with each other, and the reveal of the pig named Link's fate.

     LttP has a related but separate focus, where the characters serve to introduce and flesh out the mythos, which is also nice.

     So while the *plots* may be nothing special, the storytelling *is*, because we get the cumulative sense through all the little characters of a rich, living breathing world. So when I say story, I don't mean plot, I mean storytelling, which might better be described as world-building, but that leaves out the important part of character explorations.

 

     Sense of wonder exploring ancient ruins. A lot of dungeons in games feel like levels, but when you can make a dungeon actually feel old, and give it a strong atmosphere and music track, when you make it feel authentic, that's special.

 

     Lush, rich environments. Hyrule is a gorgeous place, and combining that with the beautiful music, creates a relaxing immersive atmosphere that really feels great. Those time where you actually get the sensation of exploring a forest or field, with wind in the trees, and the water rippling, and the cut grass flying. It's special. It's invogorating, like fresh air.

 

     Messing about in Hyrule is really important. Having all these random fun little things you can do like smash pots in houses, play with Cuccos, hunt gold skulltulas, fun little side things to distract you make the game feel rich because you can do it now or later and prioritize things differently on later playthroughs and decide if you want to putter around or get right to saving the world.

 

Little gift box surprises. Finding chests and secrets throughout the game is a bunch of fun, little rewards and has a child-like appeal to it.

 

Fun, wit, and humor. Zelda has a special fun-loving charm to much of its dialogue and characters. It's hard not to just grin because of how light-hearted and whimsical things can be.


  • Anthus and Dark Ice Dragon like this

#8 Shoshon the Elegant

Shoshon the Elegant

    White Tiger King!

  • Database Staff
  • Real Name:Michael
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Florida

Posted 03 June 2018 - 08:52 AM

I think it's about the liveliness of the world, and the sense of progression you get. You always want to see what the next thing you're going to get is. And things seemed to be placed about in a fair manner. Even if usually on the simpler side. And the game design tends to be top notch regardless of what experiment Nintendo tries.

#9 nicklegends

nicklegends

    Trofessional Pransposer

  • Contributors
  • Real Name:Ed
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:California

Posted 04 June 2018 - 01:48 AM

Some excellent arguments in this thread. I agree that the presence of secrets is vital to a Zelda game, as is the mix of action and puzzles. I would go on to say that the pacing in Zelda games is unique: you can follow the main quest, sure, but you're often incentivized to branch off and explore things, even old regions. The presence of secrets obviously works well here: they build a feeling that you don't know the true limits of the world you're in.

Some other open-world games I've played fall short in some areas. Assassin's Creed: Black Flag certainly had a large world, but the secrets were repetitive and felt like they were sprinkled about without purpose. To a lesser extent, I felt the same way about The Witcher III. Darksiders II had awesome puzzles and a few worthy rewards, though I believe the strength of acquired weapons was based on your level, so they didn't feel quite as deliberate or special as a Zelda equivalent. That game was also much more linear than Zelda fare.

I'm just rambling now. But to summarize what makes a Zelda game: 1) A feeling of boundlessness built by a detailed world with abundant but meaningful secrets 2) Mix of action and puzzles 3) Pacing
  • Rambly likes this

#10 Cukeman

Cukeman

    "Tra la la, look for Sahasrahla. ... ... ..."

  • Banned
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hyrule/USA

Posted 04 June 2018 - 02:01 AM

...they build a feeling that you don't know the true limits of the world you're in.

 

YES!



#11 NoeL

NoeL

    Remilia looks better with grey/green hair.

  • Members
  • Real Name:Jerram
  • Gender:Male

Posted 04 June 2018 - 03:05 AM

ZC can't really do atmosphere well;

I gotta disagree with that. If Super Metroid can do atmosphere well, so can ZC. You could argue that quest creators haven't really presented a strong sense of atmosphere, but that would be due to either not trying, or trying and failing. ZC is a more than capable program in the hands of a talented artist. But I digress.

Back on topic, I believe the things that make the Zelda series special are: 1) innovation, and 2) brand recognition.

Regarding innovation, Nintendo have typically been the pioneers of the genre, with other companies releasing "Zelda clones" that, while adequate, rarely do anything spectacularly new. Whether it be the gameplay structure of LTTP or the Z-targeting of OoT, Nintendo are masters of game design and seem to get it right more than others.

Regarding brand recognition, people just love the Zelda brand. It's familiar, it's nostalgic, and while that's not to say the games aren't good on their own merits (they are) a lot of "Zelda clones" that are just as good - if not better - get overlooked simply for either being an unestablished IP or just too derivative. For example, Golden Axe Warrior is a better game than Zelda 1 but no one cares that much because it's so derivative.

Zelda games (and Nintendo games in general) are VERY good games, both in design and construction. But I don't think "being very good" is what makes Zelda special.
  • Rambly likes this

#12 Sheik

Sheik

    Deified

  • Members
  • Gender:Unspecified

Posted 04 June 2018 - 01:42 PM

Repitition - it's attractive to obsessive minds.



#13 Cukeman

Cukeman

    "Tra la la, look for Sahasrahla. ... ... ..."

  • Banned
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hyrule/USA

Posted 04 June 2018 - 03:52 PM

I gotta disagree with that. If Super Metroid can do atmosphere well, so can ZC. You could argue that quest creators haven't really presented a strong sense of atmosphere, but that would be due to either not trying, or trying and failing. ZC is a more than capable program in the hands of a talented artist...


Totally agree
 

Back on topic, I believe the things that make the Zelda series special are: 1) innovation, and 2) brand recognition.

Regarding innovation, Nintendo have typically been the pioneers of the genre, with other companies releasing "Zelda clones" that, while adequate, rarely do anything spectacularly new. Whether it be the gameplay structure of LTTP or the Z-targeting of OoT, Nintendo are masters of game design and seem to get it right more than others.


Sometimes Zelda is innovative. The original certainly was. More often though it's about Nintendo fluidly combining a whole bunch of existing elements into a cohesive whole much better than other companies do it when they try. Oh, and Tomb Raider had a system just like Z-Targeting 2 years before OoT. Why don't people know their history?

Edited by Cukeman, 04 June 2018 - 03:53 PM.



1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users