Posted by: seanmalstrom | March 13, 2017

Emails on BoW “Wow!”

All my friends and I are talking about having different experiences with it. One of us mentioned finding a blue horse that’s really fast or figuring out a cool recipe or some trick they used to take down a hard foe.

Skyrim was the last game where I remember everyone having unique experiences. So many modern games try to emulate this with big empty sandbox worlds but too often this fails because these open worlds don’t have anything interesting. That’s what happened with No Man’s Sky.

Yes this is what Zelda needed: getting away from the “get a thing. Go to new area. Get new thing.”

 

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Greetings Master Malstrom!

Switch is region-free. Make sure to create a JPN account to access the eShop. You can download demos not available in the West like DQ Heroes I & II and Puyo Puyo Tetris. PPT totally fits your recent description of “addictive PC demos back in the day”. The demo supports up to 4p multiplayer! In a demo! It also has a Vs CPU mode and Swap. I’ve put at least 6 hours into it between my kids, my wife, and my friends. It is an amazing party game!

Anyway, breakable weapons in BoW is a feature that follows what you’ve described as the soul of Legend of Zelda: arcade values meets Western RPG. I don’t know if you’ve played any recent AAA open-world games, but a huge problem is bloat and garbage. You end up carrying around so much junk. Breakable weapons means you will never run out of reasons to pick up a weapon. There will always be value in gear, even at the end of BoW.

That’s a big departure from AAA “get this epic DLC weapon with a 3-paragraph lore description” mindset, which encourages the player to horde and covet and cling (unhealthy mental habits).

Breakable weapons in Zelda means the bad players will lean heavily on high-stat weapons, use them up, and overall progress through the game will be slower. I think “journalists” complaining about the weapons breaking too fast just suck at the game! Get better and then you won’t always have to use your best gear, obviously. Better players can save good weapons for harder fights while taking out mobs with common equipment, thus progressing through the game faster. A lot of durability is lost when you hit trees, rocks, and enemy shields. In other words, if you’re rushing into battle and blindly mashing the attack button, your weapons wear out faster. But instead if you are circling the foe, exploiting the environment, and using good timing, your weapons don’t wear out. Duh!

Thing is, temporary power ups and weapons were always a “thing” in the 80s and early 90s. You didn’t get to keep that awesome Dragon in Golden Axe. It was temporary. You don’t get to stay Star Mario forever. Many PC RPGs from that era had durability and weapon breakage. It was considered realism.

What happened later is hardcore gamers began tying their emotional wellbeing to video games. Can’t show off the best weapon in the game if it has durability, right? Can’t collect and equip all the best gear in the game if it breaks, right? Durability demands that the player lets go of obsessive min-maxing.

Personally, I think it was a brilliant design choice.

 

World of Warcraft Vanilla had weapon durability, but you didn’t destroy the weapon. It forced you to go back to town to repair it. This also happened with armor too.

I don’t see weapon durability as removing bloat but creating it. There are tons of ‘tree sticks’ I keep skipping. I hate how I can’t get excited over a new weapon because I know they are all temporary.

How strange it is that bombs are infinite but the sword is finite!

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I am way deeper into the game now (remember, I had a headstart, but I won’t spoil anything!), and I agree with the other emailer about the game making me feel like a child again. Your impressions on the first 10 hours of the game were also spot on with mine at that timeframe, especially the part about feeling like you are playing a classic.

This is not a perfect game, I can detail flaws with it, flaws that only really became evident after spending a lot of time with the game anyway, but I cannot criticize anything it is doing in terms of bringing Zelda BACK. This is the game the series needed, I didn’t really think it would happen.

My best guess for a best-case scenario when it comes to Zelda was Nintendo seeing the demand for Classic Zelda, and then thinking “we shall bring Zelda back to its roots!”, what they’d do then is they’d make a NSMB with it; taking the original game, making new maps and dungeons for it, and giving it an HD makeover, a New Legend of Zelda sort of thing. Now, I’d still buy the hell out of that and I’d enjoy it… but BotW is not a simple and straightforward retreading, it’s not just bringing Zelda back to its roots in terms of its spirit and premise, but also taking it forward into the future in such a massive way that it puts it straight ahead of the pack again in a LOT of what it’s doing, and I’m talking other games from other companies in the genre, this is golden cartridge material.

It’s not just a return to form or roots, it’s also looking at its place in 2017 and aware of what contemporaries entries into the Action Adventure/RPG genres are doing, so its goal to me doesn’t seem to simply deliver a retro Classic Zelda experience in 3D, it’s to actually take Zelda into the future and into where it should be.

BTW have you seen the hardcore Zelda fans message boards? Now I won’t say this is everyone of them, but there are a lot of fans of Aonuma style Zeldas who are kicking and screaming about this game. “This isn’t a real Zelda”, they say, haha! Now isn’t that a good sign if there ever was one? Zelda is definitely back on track. I don’t even know how it happened, I wish I was inside Nintendo to hear the talks that went on between SS and this, it’s like going from water to wine, a complete 180 that feels like a miracle. This game is the antithesis of Skyward Sword, anyone who legitimately enjoyed Skyward Sword (if they exist) will most likely hate this game.

I’m cautiously excited for the future of Nintendo as the old influences like Aonuma and Sakamoto start to die off inside the company and give way to the young generation of developers.

There are only SIX Zelda games.

Zelda 1:

Legend of zelda cover (with cartridge) gold.png

Zelda II:

Zelda II The Adventure of Link box.jpg

Zelda III:

The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past SNES Game Cover.jpg

Zelda IV:

A sword stands over a shield, and goes through the letter "Z" in the title "The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening".

Zelda V:

A sword and shield—the latter bearing both the three triangles of the Triforce and the bird-like Hyrule crest—are positioned behind the game's title.

Zelda VI:

BreathoftheWildFinalCover.jpg

Everything else is a spin-off… i.e. not a REAL Zelda game.

 

 

Breath of the Wild is NOT an Aonuma game…or at least not totally (in response to another emailer of yours who said Aonuma surprised him with this game).

BOTW is Hidemaro Fujabayashi’s baby.

Who is Fujabayashi your Malstromites (readers) might wonder?

He’s the guy who directed Minish Cap, Skyward Sword and now BOTW.

So if BOTW does well enough to spark a cultural videogame revolution as the original Zelda’s did then he’s the man who deserves all the credit for that and not the hack non talent that is Aonuma.

BOTW in a sense would be Hidemaro Fujabayashi’s “third times a charm” game in that his other two games were decent (Minish Cap) to Meh (Skyward Sword) whereas BOTW if it is shown to of been a wild success in the upcoming sales charts and via cultural shift demanding more open world Zelda games and possible themed breakfast cereals + cartoons will then quite obviously be his “Amazing” game ie his legend maker game that turns him into a “game god” as you put it though you rightly tack on derision to the term since gamers should be focused on the quality of the game they are playing at the time and not encouraging developers to worship themselves via gamers missplaced worship of them.

Personally I think BOTW is a tiny step in the right direction via it’s vast open world but other things I have problems with are what has caused it’s user score on Metacritic to plummet to a Skyward Swordian 7.5.

The game makes the same exact mistake as Skyrim did which is to have a barely there nature based soundtrack rather than strike the sweet spot of Elder Scrolls Oblivion and have a vast compelling and enthrallingly rich musical background soundtrack that conveys beauty and deep loss along with a whimsical nature.

People often remark whether Star Wars or various other movies would be as successful as they were/are without said famous soundtrack/s behind them and I think said people have a point that soundtracks really add to certain entertainment products be they movies or videogames.

A real opportunity was missed here in BOTW on the soundtrack score.

Nintendo should’ve just ponied up the cash and hired Jeremy Seoule and had him collaborate with Kondo and hit that same sweet spot as Jeremy did in Oblivion but with a decidedly Zelda esque Hyrulian theme that played on all of our memories via it’s familiarity remixing old tracks as well creating new one’s with a memorable Zelda sound to set whatever mood the game was going for at the time.

Other than that criticism BOTW’s combat is severely dumbed down Skyrim (seriously if you’re going to rip off the game do it’s weapon breaking combat right)

Also the enemies are pathetically easy to the point I could believe Aonuma had directed the game himself if I didn’t know otherwise.

Anyway I’ll save off on saying anymore for now until I beat the game and properly review it on Amazon.com in full.

 

I feel BoW “Wow!” is a shift toward the right direction. It still has one foot stuck in the past. Once we place both feet where it needs to be, we will have something truly awesome.

I like the term for shrines to be ‘puzzle bunkers’. They feel like a different game.

 

Don’t know if you’ve figured this out yet or not, but it’ll probably be useful to either you or some of your other readers.

Do NOT hold down the sprint button! Tap it. By tapping it you can run at about the same speed as sprinting, and by practicing the timing and keeping a beat you can make the stamina meter last way, way, waaaaaay longer. The game got ten times better for me once I realized this, so I thought I’d give you a heads up in case you weren’t already aware of it.

As much as I hate tutorials and the like in games, I kind of wish the game had just told me I could do this earlier. Would’ve saved me lots of time.

Interesting.

More emails await to be posted, but I am tired, and I need to sleep.

 

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