Posted by: seanmalstrom | February 26, 2017

Email: Thinking back to Fall 2011

This was Skyward Sword’s release date, which was then the most hyped Zelda ever. It was what we waited a whole console era (five years) for, and hopefully would be the best the Wii had to offer.

I didn’t keep up with the news or eagerly watched videos. All I knew about the game was that it heavily featured motion controls (not in a half-assed way like Twilight Princess) and that it was an origin story
set before every other Zelda game. That’s it. I went in about as blind as possible.

I played through it once, and then again right after on Hero Mode (no idea why I did that now, I can’t remember). But that’s it. I haven’t played through the game again since 2011 and I don’t think I’ll ever
have any desire to.

Right away, as soon as you start, you know you’re in for an Aonuma experience. A long, boring tutorial filled with creepy characters that you have to slog through before getting to the “real” game. It’s been the same since Majora’s Mask and has gotten even worse every time.

The main overworld (the sky) is extremely bland. And though you can pick where you want to land in each of the three “regions”, you still have to fly to and from Skyloft over and over and over again. It gets
tiresome very quickly.

And the regions and dungeons themselves feel empty. Anything that does exist to fight is often only used as a puzzle to collect things or open new areas. Fighting itself is a puzzle, with how and when you wave the Wiimote around determining if you win. And there are plenty of actual puzzles still. Despite what was said about this game breaking the formula of “area / dungeon has an item you need to solve
the dungeon’s puzzles and is the boss’s weakness”, it’s in fact in full force here.

It was far from the Zelda experience we were promised.

Ocarina of Time was the first 3D Zelda and arguably still the best one. It’s not perfect, but still fun to play. It did just about everything right. It’s something that I occasionally go back to via the Wii Virtual Console.

Every console Zelda since then has failed to live up to that. Just about everyone who is in their twenties now thinks that Zelda is all about puzzles because they either never played or didn’t grow up with any Zelda games before and including Ocarina of Time. They’ve played Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Wind Waker HD and the hundred sequels to it that nobody cares about.

I’m an odd case. I’m in my thirties and Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask were my first Zelda games I spent a lot of time with. Then I went back and played the original Zelda, Link to the Past and Link’s
Awakening, and Zelda II (which I’d played before but never got far). They were great, some of the best games of all time. Then I played Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Wind Waker HD, and every single one of those let me down in some way. It’s doubtful I’ll play them again.

So I fear for Breath of the Wild, because it looks like the same thing that happened in 2011 is happening again. This time I’m not getting the game right away (if at all) because I want to see what it’s like from real people playing it. Not people paid to play it who got it for free.

 

I bolded the last line of your email because you said it so eloquently of everything that needs to be said.

When buying a console, I buy only if there are three games out that I wish to buy and at least three games in the making (going to come out). Altogether, six games I want to buy in order for me to get a console with three having to be out. It can be tricky to get those three at launch, but it is launch.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Super Bomberman R

Puyo Puyo Tetris

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Disagea 5 Complete

Ultra Street Fighter 2

Those are my six. I may add in Binding of Isaac, Reddout, and Splatoon 2. But I just need *six*.

I think the most interesting reviews will be for Super Bomberman R. It is not AAA. How will the press review it? How do they determine its value? I’ll post my impressions for all of those.

I don’t think we’ll get any solid reviews about Zelda BoW until April when the hype wears off like a bad dream.

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