Welcome to my thread on Arin 'Egoraptor' Hanson's newest episode of Sequelitis, a series where he compares two games in a series in many different ways, each episode is a bit different. In this episode, he compares A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, and to a lesser extent, the original Legend of Zelda. He also expresses his (sometimes a bit harsh, yet agreeable) opinion on Skyward Sword. I'm gonna go by each major point he brings up and express my opinions on them, and sometimes defend what he's saying, because a lot of people disagree with him. I'm also going to borrow some quotes and base some of my opinions on this article from GenGAME:
Here's the video if you haven't seen it yet:
WARNING! EXPLICIT CONTENT!
What is Zelda?
"In Zelda, you were an adventurer and that much wasn’t even explained. You were just a green dude. Walk into a cave. Old dude goes “Hey, take this.” Okay, it’s a sword. You swing it at monsters that shoot rocks and **** at you and you have a great time killing them. You figure if there’s a cave I got a sword in, there must be other caves to get other **** in, right? Maybe other swords? I don’t know, this world’s neat. Well THAT’s Zelda."
I definitely agree with what he's saying, but, like the article on GenGAME says, that's really up to the player, to find their perfect balance of everything they want in a Zelda game. Maybe they prefer more puzzles? Maybe more of a story? Maybe they want both, with more combat? That's what makes Zelda what it is, this is just what Egoraptor likes in a Zelda game, and that's perfectly fine.
A Link to the Past
"And then, Adventure of Link came out, whateverIdon'tevencare...AND THEN! A Link to the Past! ...It was like the definitive Zelda, right? It felt like the first Zelda. But there was so much more. Bigger world, more things going on, it was NUTS! My eight-year-old mind couldn't take it. Was I eight? I don't remember.... But still! It changed a lot of things. This guy, Link, was given a name and a purpose. Rescue the princess, save Hyrule!...In Link to the Past, you start out in a house. You're forced to head up, sneak into a castle, fight some guards, rescue a princess, and bring her through an underground tunnel to some church or whatever, so you can finally go out, have your world to enjoy! Ok, cool. But ok, you want me to talk to some old lady? Ok. Then what? Oh, find some kid who knows about where some old dude is? Ok. So, ok. So here's the old dude. Ok. So go into this temple. Ok. Beat the temple. Ok. Listen? ...Not you're f*****' servant. Why do you give me this world to explore, and have a good time in, and they you tell me these super specific things? You don't throw a six-year-old into a sandbox and say, "Hey, you can only make poopy castles. You know when you take wet sand, and you just let it drip on top of a pile of sand? That's a poopy castle." I mean, exploration still exists in Link to the Past, and God knows it's required to beat it, but if a game is telling you to do specific things with marks on a map and a sequence of which things to do and specific instructions, you're not discovering the world. You're being taken on a tour. You're no longer a pioneer adventurer, you're a guest at Disneyland. "Here's your ticket, be sure to check out Space Mountain and Indiana Jones before you leave!" [more Disney jokes] The whole game feels a bit more processed, it feels a bit more planned. You have a mission, and the mission is laid out for you. And that kind of thing is fine. [Disney comparison] But Zelda, from its roots, it's not the kind of game that holds your hand. There's no explanation or even really like a goal. But there's adversity everywhere. And you can approach it any time you want. Whether you're prepared, or not. You run the real risk of facing off against something that will KILL YOU, in a f*****' second! IT'S F*****' AWESOME!!" -Egoraptor
That may have been long, but he brings up a lot of good points that I felt like I could just get through in one paragraph.
First, he's very right. It did feel like the first Zelda, just with so much more! And it did kind of take you on a tour, but that wasn't really a big problem, because there still was exploration in the game, and, like he said, you did need to explore to beat the game. He might have been a bit too harsh when he compared it to the sandbox, but, it is, in a way, a bit like that, and many people are fine with that. Zelda really wasn't a game that holds your hand, but that doesn't mean all of the games have to be that way. The way it's supposed to be is up to the individual.
Ocarina of Time
"The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It's a game considered by most to be a masterpiece. A 3D world with delicious sound andamazinggraphics (at the time...). Each dungeon and each town feels unique, and has its own energy to it. We were all f*****' floored! It was so epic! This is what felt like gaming was leading up to, it felt like a natural progression. It felt like... witnessing a fish grow legs. [...] So now, we have this 3D world. And it felt like that was what made the difference. -Egoraptor
There really isn't anything else to say, this is what most gamers felt at the time. But, moving on to the next point, this is where Egoraptor and most people's opinions differ.
A Link to the Past Vs. Ocarina of Time
"But what exactly was different? Well, in order to examine that, we have to examine, THE DREADED TRANSITION FROM THE SECOND DIMENSION TO THE THIRD DIMENSION! If we've learned anything from Sanic the Hedgehorg over here, it's that turning a 2D game into a 3D game, it ain't easy! It ain't even f*****' quantifiable. How do you take the simplicity of form that 2D allows, give it a z-axis. Everything changes! And it seems to turn a really good game design, into a completely f*****' broken one! [...] I mean, but Zelda, that one's not too hard. It already technically has three dimensions. You've got the y-axis, the x-axis, but, you know, you can go up stairs, enemies could jump over you, all that stuff. But that's where the differences start. See, Link to the Past had a selective z-axis. For example, you couldn't be on the second floor and attack a dude on the first floor, but if the sand worm boss soared over your head and you weren't harmed by it, you could still swing at it, and it would register a hit. Bats fly through the air, but they're always conveniently at sword's-height. That s***'s asinine in 3D! Which ironically, in this situation, is a limitation of the medium. The more specific you get about situations analogous to reality, the more you have to stipulate on. You can't hit a bat from any z-axis position distance." -Egoraptor
I... sort of agree with this? the z-axis on both games make sense. It's not selective, it just makes sense. You can't hit an enemy on a different floor in either game, because that just makes sense. Sure, it's not fully 3D, and the bat situation is a limitation, but the z-axis isn't as "selective" as he says it is.
"Now, it's really clear where the bats are in 3D space, they're up, down, every-f*****'-where. -Egoraptor
He then goes on to explain something brand new to the Zelda series, something no one had seen before....
"And aiming your sword would be f*****' ********. ...Hey! I see you there loomin'... [Skyward Sword:] Gee man, I'm sorry, I'm just curious." [Egoraptor:] So what do we gotta do to remedy this z-axis problem? Ladies and gents, I present you z-targeting! Pesky bats flying from every which a-way? Trying to circle around a Stalfos without losing track of where it is relative to you? Have I got a treat for you! Just press the z-button and you'll lock on to the nearest baddie and have a go with your mighty sword device! Check it out. 'Z-Targeting,' made combat... complicated. And that's not a bad thing. No more simple point and swing stuff here, folks. You gotta lock on, focus on the fight. This is a gigantic difference. And it makes combat complex. And I don't say this a lot, but let's see how this is a good thing. A new method of combat means new ways to go about designing enemies and combat situations. You used to just point and hit, hit and run. [...] But now, there's rolling, dodging, stabbing, swinging, leaping, holy S***! SO complex. SO many possibilities. It's so deep they can make an entire game based on the combat system but GUESS WHAT, THEY DIDN'T. HERE'S HOW THIS IS A POOPY BAD THING. Z-Targeting creates a strange disconnect form the world around you. It changes the camera angle from what you're used to exploring the world in, and that shifts your entire focus and outlook. It segments the game into two pieces. This is the combat piece, this is the world exploring piece, they don't mix! Put 'em in a room together, they get in an argument. [...] ...in the old Zelda games, those two pieces were linked. They were segments where you had to fight off enemies and explore the room simultaneously. It was much easier to manage it all, and now it's complicated and puts you in unfair situations [...] Z-Targeting also puts a damper on throw-away enemies like bats, who were fun to kill in previous Zelda's, but are now a pain in the god d*** a** since you have to individually focus on each one and precisely hit them. It'd be like if you wanted to kill a bunch of ants in your house by stompin' on 'em, but instead of doin' that, you pointed a slingshot at each one individually. -Egoraptor
I honestly disagree with most of this. I love z-targeting, just because it makes it a bit easier on me, but that's just my opinion, because he seems to hate it because of the immersion factor... and bats (which I completely sympathize and agree with).
Alright, folks, we're barely 8 minutes in. I've spent a good hour on this, simply because of the quotes, and I'm d*** tired. So, I'm going to split this up into parts. Hopefully the next few won't be so quote-heavy. I'm very open to comments and suggestions, and I'll post the next one as a comment soon. I hope you enjoyed, and I promise it'll most likely get about ten times more opinionated as it goes on.