Discussion in 'Zelda: SERIOUS BUSINESS' started by talonmalon333, Sep 15, 2011.
Yeah. I don't know what all that talk of "dense" gameplay was. SS was barren.
It's denser than previous Zelda games strictly in terms of the amount of things to do in each region. They shifted the focus to making the regions almost dungeons in their own rights, but in many cases it sort of backfired and made them less "more active open regions" and more "lame mini-dungeons".
The way I see it, the 'Dense' gameplay of SS failed because of the need to re-do it all the time. Every time you entered one of the areas to do something, you had to traverse through the 'mini-dungeon' and redo all the 'puzzles' you'd already completed multiple times before to get to your destination, and after a few times this became laborious and frustrating... That was one of the main gameplay advantages of the 'Hyrule Field' hub of previous games like OoT, MM and TP - It allowed for quick navigation past content (be it completed caves, chests or owl puzzles etc.), while giving the sense of scale of a large expansive world. Even in the original LoZ you could walk through many over-world sections and completely ignore the enemies/ features of the square. SS lost that feature and forced you to repeat content regardless of your personal inclination to do so at the time, making it a chore and somewhat removing the fun from exploring the world.
From that point, I think they need to go back to having all the content interlinked via a hub more like they do in the OoT/TP games than the completely separated sky (although that doesn't mean you can't also include the sky, cause that place has HUGE potential if actually done well), but with far more attention to details like the terrain, and the way the areas interact via rivers, gorges, wind currents, mountain ranges etc. and a lot more 'side-content' readily accessible from within this hub; be it caves to explore, giant hollowed out trees to climb, guard-houses, fishing spots, interesting enemies etc.
I also think that they need to open the hub up a lot more and allow more areas to be accessible from the beginning. Don't block access to a new area until you've completed the previous dungeon and grabbed the next item, just have latter areas filled with enemies that are a lot stronger or even literally have early area boss/mini-boss enemies patrolling them in droves, so that if you head over there with 3-5 hearts you will just end up suffering major pain (unless you are trully skilled), this make the world seem more alive, less linear and immersive, and allow for people to play around with the different areas at their pleasure. As well as aiding to solve the difficulty problem that I feel has been plaguing the recent games.
Couldn't disagree more with your first paragraph. There were many shortcuts you could activate in faron, eldin and lanayru (logs, vines, blocks, minecarts etc) at multiple points so you didn't have to traverse through the longer, areas and you could easily just run past and avoid many of the enemies, especially if you had acquired some of the later items. If you didn't activate or spot these shortcuts, then that's your fault. I don't remember having to redo any puzzles.
As for your second and third paragraphs, i can see where you're coming from.
Oh yeah there are a few time savers there, but it was still more of a task to have to climb up vines and logs etc. than it is to simply gallop past everything on Epona. If I wanted to get to one specific spot to collect an item for an upgrade or something similar it was a lot more laborious to do this than it ever was to get to any particular point in TP. The wrap+horseback worked well in allowing for quick travel while still keeping the world alive and letting you experience it as you went about whatever it was you were doing, while in SS I found myself getting frustrated at having to fly to a portal, and then warp to a location within the province and then run, climb and jump around for 5min to get back to the bee-hive where I could collect honeycomb from (or whatever it was that I wanted to do)...
I can't quite figure out why it caused me so much frustration as I understand the mechanics behind having to work for a reward to get that emotional satisfaction of completion, but I just found it to get repetitive . That said, the mechanic of being able to bypass things once you've completed them by having rolled a log down the embankment etc. work very well with the actual dungeon design, as it lets you 'section off' the dungeon into manageable chunks if you don't have enough time to finish the entire dungeon in one sitting. So that component of design should definitely remain (it has been used in quite a few Zelda games now).
Let me put it this way;
To avoid the fight with the Bokoblin, you have to go this alternate route and fight this other Bokoblin to open up a path in which you fight a Bokoblin every time you go through it. It's a shortcut!
To be fair, shouldn't you "like" combat in an adventure game?
I don't remember galloping into Kokiri Forest on Epona every time I wanted to go to the Lost Woods, or galloping into Kakariko Village on Epona when I wanted to go up Death Mountain, or even galloping on Epona into Zora's River every time I wanted to go past Zora's Domain and visit Jabu Jabu or the ice cave place thingy. There's not really much of a difference between Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time and the sky in Skyward Sword, except for the fact that you're on a bird instead of a horse. Both were pretty empty wastelands full of nothing interesting and a single area in the middle, with roots at each of the corners going to each of the other areas of the game.
Getting past anything in Skyward Sword is no problem at all. I don't understand what the deal is.
I think he just can't get over the fact that Bokoblin is the most common enemy. He seems to bring that point up every single chance he can get.
Of course we should like the combat, Skyward Sword's combat just happens to be really bad. 3D Zelda games have never had consistently great combat -- though, I'm not saying that the combat was always bad, just the normal encounters were usually pretty bland --. Windwaker began taking some steps toward environmental combat (breaking bridges and stealing enemy weapons come to mind), but it still stuck with the basic "target, strike strike strike, block/dodge, strike strike strike" those blocks and dodges often didn't even take place. In skyward Sword though, Zelda introduced directional sword combat, and they implemented it horribly. Now just about every enemy does the same stupid blocking mini game. They block in in a number of directions that makes sure to leave at least 1 open at all times. Then, in the case of the smaller enemies, they show obvious signs that they are going to strike in a few seconds. The fake 1:1 sword combat (it wasn't actually 1:1 until battle quest. In Skyward Sword all you do is choose the starting point and the direction) didn't add immersion by making the battles more realistic; it detracted from immersion by having enemies that were obviously scripted so motion sword combat wasn't difficult.
Also, combat shouldn't have to be the main draw of your adventure game, the adventure should be. The combat with enemies along the way is just one of many tools to add the sense of adventure. Combat isn't even strictly for one purpose. The enemies themselves can be a great world building tool. The difference between which enemies are hostile, cautious, indifferent, or friendly could indicate many different things about the back story of your game world, or even the main character. Having strong enemies can add a sense of danger and/or mystery to your world, and that's only 2 possibilities. I'm sure we could think of more, but the point is that enemies and combat can have more than one purpose, but in Skyward Sword they usually remove immersion (in a game that is already severely lacking in this aspect) and almost never take any actual thinking to fight. There are of course exceptions, the scorpion in the sea of sand segment before the fifth dungeon was the kind of enemy encounter that can add the sense of danger or mystery to the world. It's a pity that very little else reinforced these adventure aspects in Skyward Sword.
I think Skyward Swords combat is not only the best we have ever seen in Zelda, it's arguably the most innovative in any action adventure game.
"directional sword attacks".... that's what sword combat is, especially on a battle field. You are trying to hit them in their undefended area. The only way it could improve upon what it did was to either make the enemies attack more frequently or make the combat itself faster - with quicker decisions and movements to be made. The reason they didn't do that of course is to make sure more people could play and complete the game.
Still, the combat was brilliant. I never got bored with it, and I liked that the Bokoblin ADVANCED in difficulty throughout the game. The only regret is that the AI itself didn't get "smarter" to make that advancement, but rather the enemy got better weapons that punished me more for making mistakes.
Imagine if that advanced plus the AI's strategy? My gawd.
THe combat was fantastic. I understand motion controls and the way SS worked isn't for everyone (lol Tom McShea), but I disagree highly. If the combat was more popular I would wish it to always stay, but I realize it's too... dividing for hte fan base to keep it.
In real sword combat, your enemies wouldn't go out of their way to give you openings, nor would they hold their swords behind their heads for a few seconds before swinging them. Hostile plants wouldn't open their mouths when they weren't immediately planning to attack if they could just close them and be impervious to damage. It's like the normal enemies take turns with you, there's nothing realistic about that. Also important is that In real sword combat, swords clash; that's part of what makes it so cool to see or partake in. If realistic clashing were implemented into the game, it wouldn't really work though, since the player can still move their hand while the on-screen sword is stuck (not to mention how hard it would be to make a good enough collision effect to pull this off). Also, in real world combat the sword movements would be 1:1, in Skyward sword they are not. In Zelda Battle Quest we are a whole lot closer to 1:1 sword movement, but in Skyward Sword -- as I said before -- you only choose the starting point and the direction; the speed is constant, there's no curve to the swing, there's no feeling of the weight of the sword, and there's no element of realism in the collisions (except when you're striking some of the interactive environment objects). Zelda combat certainly needs to evolve, but Skyward Sword's combat was not the evolution it warrants.
Don't get me wrong though, I'm not entirely against the implementation of motion controls, even in Zelda. I'd be very excited if a 3D Four Swords game for the Wii U was made using Battle Quest's motion controls for the sword (which, as I staid before, is not identical to Skyward Sword's, but better), the Nunchuk's joystick for movement, Skyward Sword's controls for ranged items like the slingshot, and either a button or a better designed version of Skyward Sword's controls for the shield. However, I do not want to see motion controlled sword combat in a mainline Zelda game with our current technology (or maybe ever, who knows what we'll get down the line). . The inconsistencies in our motion controls can be mostly forgotten in a more silly and comical game like Four Swords, but in a single player Zelda adventure these out-of-place moments break the immersion that Zelda can be masterful at producing.
Also worth noting: I did think that using motion controls for the precise aiming of long ranged weapons, as well as for real-time menus, was a great idea; one that I hope is utilized if future Zelda games allow for Wii remote controls.
No instead I'd just used a combination of song warps, the warp tunnels between the Lost Woods, the Goron Villiage and Zoras Domain, or dive off the Gerudo Gorge bridge and take a ride down the river to Lake Hyrule, maybe catch a ride with Keapora Geobora... Or if I was allready in Hyrule field I'd make use of the Magic Beans near the start of an area to get to places like Zora's domain and then take the 15 second walk up to lord Jabu Jabu. While the warp tunnel things weren't exactly the best from an immersion standpoint. It was things like the river comming out at Lake Hylia and those sort of things that made the world feel alive, even if by todays standards it was very barren in content.
To me, it was the interconnectedness / multiple routes to get anywhere that helped make the world feel alive in OoT/TP and even the original game and ALttP that made the place seem more vibrant and imerssive to me, but it was the in-built helping hands to make traversing the place easier and much quicker when you were only focused on your destination and not actually travelling the middle ground that allowed for non-frustrating gameplay. To be a really enjoyable experience, it is that combination that needs to be met, and while there were elements of it in SS, it fell flat compared to its predecessors (in my opinion at least).
Ideally the new game needs to expand the content within the game to the depth that everyone wants, but you still need the gameplay mechanics to traverse everywhere quickly. in OoT/MM/TP, once an area had been travelled through once or twice, and the shortcuts set out, it was a trivial matter to get from any place within the world to anywhere else in a very short period of time. However it SS it took longer and often resulted in you haveing to do a certain amount of platforming to get there, and while this is ok to an extent, to be forced to do it every time you wanted to head to a certain location just made things frustrating. Of course there are exceptions to this rule (from emory getting to areas in the gerudo desert in TP could be a pain unless you grabbed a warthog), it was much easier than navigating the land to the nearest save statue, returning to the sky, flying across the sky to the different province entry point, entering, landing at the nearest location marker to where you wanted to go, then running around and platforming across everything between yourself and where you wanted to go... When I was in the mood for it it was fine and I'd happily play Zelda Parkhor, and run up hills with boboklins throwing boulders at me all day, but when I just wanted to get to somehwere for something that was otherwise trivial, the work/time required did not equal the reward and made for frustrating gameplay...
I doubt you're the expert on the attack patterns of hostile plants.
No, not when it's as slow and tedious as it was in Skyward Sword.
Skyward Sword's motion plus sword combat had potential, but I felt like it wasn't ambitous enough to reach that. Aside from the slow pace, the sword play has two major flaws that prevented it from being as good as it should have been:
1. Poor AI variety, and I'm not just refering to the lack of enemy creature variety. Most enemies fight with the same general tactic - turtling. Everything wanted to have one-on-one duels. The more drawn out, tactical combat should have been much less frequent than it was and there should have been a lot more horde mentality among more common enemies.
2. Lack of depth. When you first get a sword, you have all the possible with it available to you, and nothing really changes, except the strength of the sword and charging up the sword. Even the sword combat itself doesn't require you to do anything different. Unlockable sword moves would have gone a long way in making it better.
As far as Skyward Sword's combat goes, it leaves much to be desired. Red Steel 2, which was released a whole 18 months earlier, already had better swordplay.
In the end, I'd prefer combat in Zelda II or ALttP over how it was implemented in Skyward Sword. Even Wind Waker's combat looked more fun, depite being real easy.
There's plenty of similar games with more enjoyable swordplay.
Sure, but if a game of "Simon says" is your idea of combat, then I disagree.
I bring it up because Nintendo thought "gameplay=spam the fuck out of Bokoblins". And that the shortcut isn't really a shortcut because you have to fight the same enemy that you're trying to avoid.
I wouldn't harp on it if we saw more than five of any other enemy. Hell, I think there were more boss battles than Stalfos fights.
On the subject of actual ideas for the new game,
- I'd like Link to become less expressive than in recent games. Perhaps a bit more expressive than Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, but definitely not a lot more. I'm one for the "Link is an extension of self" group.
- An aesthetic similar to Ocarina of Time, but with certain areas that are more fantastical would be great. Obviously it wouldn't look the same because of modern HD technology, but I like the color scheme OOT and the mostly realistic, but mixed with a bit of cartoon, character design.
- The game needs a pretty large open world, but proper scale desperately needs to be taken into account. Lean more towards Shadow of the Colossus rather than Skyrim in how densely packed together the areas are. Skyrim tried to put an entire country in a game world that was less than 5 square miles. That worked out alright for the kind of game it was, but for Zelda the world needs to feel real. Nintendo would be better off making a few, very large traversable mountains than making a dozen+ mountains that are small and unimpressive. The world should also try to be beautiful in the way that a real landscape can be beautiful, and save the highly fantastical art for specific mystical places (EX: a certain grotto or clearing in a forest would look much more spectacular than the rest of the forest which would look much more normal).
- Combat should be redesigned with the environments in mind to add depth to the combat while keeping a relatively simple list of commands for Link. The combat should be button based, though it is still a possibility that minor control over sword attack trajectories be added, most likely via the right analog stick.
- The game should feature control options for both the Pro Controller and the Gamepad. The screen would be non essential, only displaying things such as a map and maybe having options for parts of the HUD.
- The system of find-key, unlock-door, repeat needs to be done away with in favor of logical environments. This also entails the design of world objects, like treasure chests, being logical based upon the area they're in.
- Have a small group of auxiliary equipment for Link rather than the overly large arsenals he's been getting. Don't include any one-time-use or ridiculous items (EX: the beetle, the spinner, the ball and chain).
My list goes on, but most of it is about giving us an interesting, mysterious, and logical world in Zelda Wii U. With the technology of the console, this kind of world is certainly doable.
PS: Give us a better jumping animation. It's getting ridiculous how bad they've been, and they're not even getting better with each game...
I like the idea of keeping the item number down, but think that the game needs to be designed to make greater use of the items that are collected and have them need to be combined/used in tandem more. The bomb arrow concept of twilight princess springs to mind. I think the gamepad touchscreen could be used to rapidly do this sort of combinations on the fly, by quick swipe actions or something similar. That could allow for some interesting puzzles or combat with enemies... Maybe be able to use your whip/hookshot combined with a bomb to sling bombs on specific arcs, or mix a boomerang with the whip to latch onto swingpoints that are around corners/obstacles and then tarzan swing around them...
It was possible on the Wii...
I agree with most of what you said, although I'd probably go a bit further with Link depending on the overall direction of the game.
More cinematic = characterised link
More player controlled = Customizable player character, with a default Link appearance.
And I would like to see the end of items that exist purely for puzzles. Context sensitive quest items are fine, but if it's something you can equip, it ought to be more useful.
that's a great idea. I was writing a response, but it was huge and I realized it might be worth editing it and trying to submit it as an article. Would you mind if I used you idea of combining weapons as long as I credit you for bringing up the idea to me in the first place?
That's fine mate! No worries at all.
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