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The Disappointments


Jan 31, 2008
Amherst, MA
Didn't I already answer this one?
Mr. Kybyrian coming back at you with another attempt at creating some intelligent discussion.

Now then, we are all aware that the Zelda games are some of the best games out there, and you can't really even compare them to some of the other games that we see. The Zelda games just blow everything else out of the water. It's best to compare the games to the others in the series, so let's do so.

Zelda has a very large reputation and some of the greatest games ever, but recently the fanbase of the Zelda series has been a little less than happy with some of the recent releases. There are also plenty of people that were unhappy with some of the aspects of the earlier games, too. I feel we should take some time to compile these various disappointments that we see in the Zelda series and try to come up with some sort of idea to make them better. Find out what was wrong with them and point that out to create some discussion amongst ourselves.

The first thing that I would like to point out is the lack of good characters in the series. I'm not saying that the characters are horrible or anything, but that the games could have more use for some of the "minor" characters, as in it could give them a slightly bigger role at their own point in time or perhaps put that person in a sidequest. I think it would be a great idea for them to shorten the amount of characters that they put in the games so it's easier to assign them better roles and to make full use of them. One thing that a good Zelda fan loves to see is excellent characters, whether they realize it or not.

Something else that I would like to mention is something that really displeases me. We all recall the dreaded Temple of the Ocean King and how hated it was most of the time. Whether it be because of the repetitiveness or the fact that you had to go back through each of the levels each time, almost everybody was displeased with it. The Tower of Spirits was slightly better in Spirit Tracks, but not by much. They actually had some big variation to the levels this time and made some clear improvements, but I feel that the Tower of Spirits added something completely different to the game but also crushed a big part of it. It, regardless of the changing levels, felt very repetitive as well. The basic playing of Spirit Tracks was just catch rabbits while traveling to do whatever boring thing involving the train, beating the dungeon, and then going back to the Tower of Spirits. It was this way through most of the game, and it got very boring to a lot of the players. The central dungeon idea was just pretty bad, in my opinion. There are a lot of better things that Nintendo can be doing rather than basing the games around one big dungeon that you have to go back to every single time. Just think about that for a second, and ask yourself, do I want a central dungeon or something a little more epic that doesn't feel quite as repetitive?

This is a very minor problem, but it is something that does make a difference, though we may not actually always realize what it does. The items in the games. There are some items, I'm sure you can name a few, that are only used throughout the game very few times, mostly in their dungeons that they are obtained in or obtained before and are required to beat the dungeon. After that, there are very few uses to these items, especially in other dungeons. When making a dungeon, I believe that instead of basing it mostly around that one item, they should throw in a mix. It would be nice to have three or more items heavily used in a dungeon instead of walking around and using the same thing most of the time. It can add a whole new level of challenge and open up all sorts of possibilities for puzzles with the combinations, and it also makes it seem a little less boring and you actually feel as if you are getting the full use out of your items. I think one problem we may be having is too many items being shoved into one game, and then it doesn't put enough use to them. By thinking through every one of the items and putting less of them into the game, you can make the items so much better and the game so much more enjoyable. This is something that Nintendo needs to do, in my opinion, and something that, whether you may notice it or not, will shape the games up. One thing I've always wanted to see is a great batch of items that are used often and effectively throughout the entire game.

I feel that this is already becoming quite a wall of text, so I will end it here. I'd love to leave something for you guys to discover for yourself. I'm sure you can do it, I sure did. Let's get some discussion going on.


Do the thing
Site Staff
Jan 9, 2008
Probably somewhere
I didn't find much wrong with Zelda up until Twilight Princess myself. To me, Twilight Princess was quite the disappointment overall, but I only blame myself for that. I got overhyped and excited for the release of the game, so it was a let down once I did actually play it. The items weren't as creative as some - the spinner was cool, but completely useless after the Arbiter's Grounds - and I think it could have been done a little better than it was.

Phantom Hourglass was also quite the let down. I didn't mind sailing so much in Wind Waker, but it was a little tedious. Phantom Hourglass brought this back, but did allow you to draw your own path on the water so it was less you had to worry about. I didn't mind the Temple of the Ocean King too much, but something about Phantom Hourglass just didn't entertain me very much and felt like a disappointment.

Then we have Spirit Tracks. I don't know what it is with this game, perhaps the lack of any sort of free roaming whatsoever, but I still haven't beaten this game because I don't enjoy it. Looking back at it, I can't even come up with something I found to be enjoyable in Spirit tracks. Hopefully Skyward Sword ends this streak of disappointments for me, I've been waiting a long time for a Zelda game that I've thoroughly enjoyed.


The Meat Shield
Mar 9, 2010
What is this place?!?!?
I found TP not to be a disappointment... rather I found WW and PH to be disappointing because they took the Zelda 'series' to a place that I found to be "too cartoony.."
TP was gritty, and many people who play Zelda did not like this. However, I think this was an evolution brought about by the "testing" of different types of games in order to keep the Zelda 'series' alive. First they went with a type that was more cartoony then before, then to the other side of the spectrum of realism to something that was very "gritty".

Gameplay was about the same for me throughout the games... with minor differences depending on what game it was and whether it was on the console or the handheld.


Mrs. Austin
Dec 6, 2009
The two games that a lot of people tend to complain about, PH and TP, were curiously enough the first two Zelda games I ever played, so I've got a bit of a different perspective on what was disappointing about them because I never had a standard to compare them to.

I can't call PH disappointing since it was the first Zelda game I played. I did find it...lackluster though. Now that I have more experience in the Zelda series, I look back on PH, and I think the thing I found the most disappointing about the game was the stealth factor. Not even the repetition of the TotOK, no, just the stealth factor and the fact that you couldn't kill the Phantoms. Zelda is an action-adventure with puzzle elements. Sneaking around avoiding the Phantoms was neither action nor adventure nor much of a puzzle in itself. It was boring, required way too much waiting for the right timing, and just a pain to execute half the time. The temple itself was pretty nice, and there were shortcuts that you could figure out as you went on, but there was nothing to really get me excited. You couldn't even get any adrenaline from fighting them, and avoiding them didn't have the same level of gratification as solving other puzzles.

With TP, when I first played it I loved it and saw little to be disappointed with. In and of itself, TP is excellent imo, but again, after getting more Zelda experience, I can see where any established Zelda fan would have found complaints. I agree wholeheartedly with the overdose of useless weaponry, as Zelda games can't thrive on gimmicks. If Nintendo wants to reach full potential in their games, they need to stop focusing on so many gimmicks, or at least not devote entire items to them.

There's also the general repetitive nature of much of the games. For example, TP's shadow insects. At first, I found it really fun to explore the whole twilight province, but it does take away from the exploration experience and became repetitive and boring. Also, in ST, the rabbit sidequest became more a chore than anything else, and the linearity of the tracks made traveling way more repetitive and boring than it should have been. The WW Triforce Shard collection too, mindless almost.

Which also brings up the point of lack of substance between dungeons. In ST, there was nothing to do between dungeons at all really. It was ToS, dungeon, ToS, dungeon, ToS, dungeon, ToS, a small segment of plot, dungeon, etc... Also, in TP, after Arbiter Grounds, the plot almost felt like it went on hold until the end of the game. I know Zelda isn't the most story oriented game out there, but it was really disappointing not to get any plot substance for so long.

Truth be told, TP and ST are some of my favorite games, but it's only for that reason that the disappointments are so pronounced.


Sep 20, 2008
The most dissapointing Zelda Game, to me at least was Phantom Hourglass. Although I loved the style and the gameplay, it seemed a little samey at parts, and the tedious temple really let the game down for me. Having to constantly travel through that temple, only to die and have to restart was a complete pain. The time aspect was also a huge letdown, especially if you forgot to pause and you left to do something. -.-

On several occasions, I found that the travelling accross the ocean could be rather tedious (before the aquiration of the Cyclone Slate). I often found myself watching TV or talking to people on ZD instead of sailing from one corner of the map to another. The cyclone slate, (when I finally aquired it) was one of the most useful items in the game, for me personally.

Moving along to Twilight Princess...

Although TP was one of my all time favorite Zelda Games, the only problem I found with it was the usefulness of certain items and where and when they could be used. The ball and chain slowed you down and was awkward to aim with, the Dominion rod could only be used on certain statues for very simple puzzles. (This could have been utilised more, for more complex challanges and potential story elements)

Another dissapointing element was the usage of Link's alternate Wolf Form. The puzzles that followed with it and the rather horrible twilight segments in which you had to find all the bugs was both odd and rather pointless. I belive that it was only put in place as a filler between sections of the game to make it as long as possible.
Oct 20, 2008
My main complaint concerning Twilight Princess -- even aside from the stark lack of difficulty both in dungeon bosses, and enemies in general, be it over-world or dungeon-dwelling -- was the fact that it felt so, for lack of a better term, gutted. Comparing the alpha and beta screenshots to the final final retail release, the game felt almost empty. The only thing I can really compare it to is the original Alpha/Man Made Hell screenshots and trailers for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and then looking at the final release of Shadow of Chernobyl.

A lot of the areas shown in the early screenshots of Twilight Princess either weren't in game (from what I can tell, or were heavily modified), or were redone. The best example of this, besides some of the woods/forest screenshots, is the Twilight Realm. The final had an annoying bloom effect that nearly blinded me, whereas the original was just going to be a luminescent black and white.

As for Phantom Hourglass, it was mainly two things that ruined it for me.

a - The Centralised Dungeon. Not only did this reinforce the already glaring linearity of the game, it made it feel very redundant.

b - Sailing. I enjoyed sailing in The Wind Waker, I liked the freedom to sail to whatever island I wanted (with maybe a few exceptions early on, etc.) and in general, just explore. In Phantom Hourglass, sailing was atrocious. Not only was the 'path' system largely in-efficient and downright irritating at times, it, to a degree, took the fun out of exploring the Great Sea. For one, you're limited to quadrants, which wouldn't be so bad... if 75 % of the ocean was inaccessible for the first part of the game, and gaining access 25 % at a time.

Twilight Princess I still enjoyed playing, but not as much as other games. Phantom Hourglass, I couldn't enjoy at all. It felt ridiculously tedious and overall annoying.

Majora's Cat

How about that
Sep 3, 2010
I've moved what used to be my first post in the thread "Flaws" here, since this is essentially the same thread.

Here's what I think...

No matter how highly we praise or even worship the well-received Zelda franchise, it's not without its flaws. Every game out there has problems - whether it be a game-destroying glitch or just a roughness in gameplay. Zelda is really no exception. We can all agree that Zelda games are probably the greatest games ever made and it does have a few places where it has fallen short and not satisfied its loyal followers. These are just a few examples:
Let's start with perhaps one of the most brilliant and flawed Zelda games: Twilight Princess. I know lots of people have complained, but I'll soon point something out that many might not have realized. I'll come out and admit it - I'm a humongous TP fanatic. It was my first Zelda and introduced me to the revolutionary franchise that changed the way I viewed gaming. As critics and gamers alike have pointed out, Twilight Princess can sometimes have rather poorly designed area graphically. It seems that Nintendo didn't concern itself with graphics in many places in the game - that's what I felt was insufficient much throughout my playthroughs. Granted, TP has gorgeous vistas that stretch far and wide. Many areas in the game feel like if pulled out of paradise - it's everything a gamer could ask for... it feels funny how some areas can have beautiful art direction and graphics... yet some places look a bit rough and feel as though lacking somehow. I find that the graphics were an upside and where TP fell flat on its bum.
Next I'd like to emphasize the linearity. In my first playthough (when I was still a Zelda n00b), it was perhaps the most diverse and large world I'd ever seen in a game. The amount of sidequests felt overwhelming... until I played Twilight Princess for the second time. The magic died a little - after playing OoT, MM, WW, LoZ and ALttP I felt like TP was not as good after playing the other fantastic installments in the legendary Zelda franchise. I felt disappointed, as I had always held TP to be my favorite game fo all time (perhaps it's because of me being so biased that I still praise TP so much?).
The second time around, I felt the game progress smoothly and quickly through the main story, battering dungeon after dungeon and simply moving on. When I was a beginner in the Zelda universe, I spent about 80% of my time on sidequests. That incredible 80% had been reduced to perhaps only 30-40% since I already knew what to do. Plus, many items were useless and underused. I felt like those items had unprecedented potential, but I was dismayed to learn that the beloved Spinner would mostly be for show. Finally, there was something more that kept me from loving the experience the second time through as much as the first - it wasn't the easy difficulty or the menacing-but-wimpy bosses... it was the cuccoos. They no longer stampeded and knocked you over, repeatedly pecking at you and draining your life. No, instead you could gain control of them. That seems impressive, but it really took away the danger in messing with one of those deranged chickens. :D Though TP has its flaws (and most will certainly agree), it was still a fantastic video game and a successful entry in the Zelda series.
Next I'd like to complain about one game none of you probably would've ever complained about - Ocarina of Time. Oh, yes... I've sugarcoated the game too much. I know we all worship OoT at a near holy level, but let me get something straight - there's a reason when I bought OoT and MM that I played through MM first. Don't get me wrong - in the end, I actually liked Ocarina of Time more than Majora's Mask, but there are many things wrong with the greatest game of all time that many neglect to acknowledge. First of all, Ocarina of Time started off incredibly weak. With barely any difficult parts in the first three dungeons, OoT was a staggering disappointment.
The Inside of the Deku Tree was a complete joke - don't even get me started with that garbage. Queen Gohma was even more of a joke - it only required about 45 seconds for me to finish off. Then there's Dodongo's Cavern... which was nearly as easy as the first dungeon. With almost no difficulty to speak of, even with four hearts the dungeon was unbelievably easy. And King Dodongo was perhaps one of the most pathetic bosses in the history of Zelda. I understand in the early stages of the game, Nintendo was still experimenting or felt that gamers really needed to have it a little bit easier in the beginning. Finally, one satisfying dungeon came along - Jabu-Jabu's Belly. Still not a big challenge, but I died quite a few times when inside Jabu-Jabu's disturbing body. When I reached Barinade, I was already completely exhausted from the dungeon - then Nintendo drops a bombshell of a dungeon boss. Without a doubt the most difficult boss so far, Jabu-Jabu's heart proved to be a foe worth fighting.
Finally, I got to the good part. The Forest Temple, Fire Temple and Water Temple were the most cleverly designed and atmospheric dungeons in the game. I have fond memories of all three, and each had a high difficulty level (especially the Water Temple) and had great music. Though the tracks were MIDI, it didn't take away from the magic of Koji Kondo's timeless melodies. I felt the game slip just a bit when I reached the Shadow Temple - it was simply too easy. I never felt that it was creepy, but that's just me. But OoT's miss was followed by a raging hit, introducing gamers to the complicated and atmospheric Spirit Temple. I was wowed by the music, wowed by the design and last but not least, wowed by the boss. The fact that it was located in a lost section of the desert made it seem even more ominous. Sweet, sweet memories.
Anyway, OoT really shined and showed incredible level design, feeling and overall epicness when Link attacked Ganon's Tower, the final dungeon in the game. Not the most difficult, but certainly the most evil feeling dungeon, Ganon's Tower gave us all a glimpse into the already beaten dungeons. Once the barrier guarding the real tower was disintegrated, Link scaled the tower and squared off against the greatest video game final boss of all time - Ganon/Ganondorf. After defeating Ganondorf in a grueling tennis match, you had to escape the castle and go one-on-one with the most epic final boss ever: Ganon. Ganon was massive, powerful and took an incredibly long time to defeat. That, the ending and the credits made OoT the greatest game of all time - one of the reasons why people overlook OoT's flaws.
Let me get down to some pretty minor problems in OoT. I felt like the game was only centered around the dungeons. Not that there were no sidequests - there were plenty, but the main quests felt so forced upon you and you always felt that the meat of the game was in the main quest. That and the fact that OoT's plot is so typical makes it rather bland... bland but epic. :)
Next on the chopping block, Majora's Mask. I really don't have much to complain about for MM. Honestly, I enjoyed every single second of the game and had no problems with it. The characters depth, graphics, darker tone and crazed antagonist were all amazing and certainly made MM a game for the history books. The only real complaint I would have is that there were only four dungeons and that most of the game felt centered around sidequests, the exact opposite of OoT's premise. Although there was shortage in dungeons, they were difficult and the best designed in any 3D Zelda game.
Of all the Zelda 3D Zeldas so far, I felt Wind Waker had the most flaws. First off, the dungeons and bosses were laughably easy. I really thought that WW was amazing, but the difficulty was far too low. My second complaint would be for the sailing. For me, it really wasn't that bad... but for others, that's a different story. The sea was so vast, yet the ocean was wasted. Of the 49 islands, the majority are ridiculously small, barely big enough to run on. The sailing took too long, and the sea really felt empty - but that in itself is not a bad thing. The Wind Waker just makes the land of Hyrule too empty. There are barely any characters on islands to speak of, and most of them aren't memorable anyway. I really wish that WW could've take a page out of TP and MM's book regarding the character depth. I felt no connection to any of them except for Makar, Medli and Tetra. Other than that, WW was a fine game and a great Zelda game as well.
I didn't cover the 2D Zeldas in this thread, but they're basically perfect 2D games - no kidding.


Mother Hyrule
May 17, 2009
on a crumbling throne
When I was younger, I don't think I ever experienced disappointment with Zelda games. But lately, with the newer ones, I feel that disappointment in certain areas, and it makes me very sad because it feels (to me) like the series is in danger of becoming something other than "Zelda".

Like mentioned before, the character issue. I don't necessarily think there aren't good characters. If you read deep enough into them, they will surprise you. But this is a problem because with today's technology we shouldn't have to go on treasure hunts to know the characters better. For example is Twilight Princess with a very large cast that was almost useless. How awesome would it have been to see more involvement from Shad, Ashei, and Rusl? They were supposedly doing stuff on their own because the knights were incompetent, but we see hardly anything! I think it is a waste of time to introduce characters that only go halfway. The whole issue with Ilia and the kids was hardly necessary. It was a way to give Link a reason to start his journey (like in TWW, Link goes after Aryll), but the plot would have not changed if that was removed. I think it was there to develop character relationships with Link, but that's already a difficult issue.

I think one big flaw right now is not so much the lack of or presence of personality for Link, but Nintendo's indecisiveness on that. Before, Link=Player, but they have been developing him more and more... if they are going to develop him, they don't give him half of a personality. Personally, I would rather see no personality from him, but.... well, I don't think that will be around for much longer. In TP, they focused so much on character emotion and even made Link really close to Ilia. He looked so heartbroken when she didn't know him. But, at other points, he seemed to be..... an empty shell? This really bugged me because it felt like they made him.... unbalanced. I couldn't relate to him, either, like in other games. It was a strange feeling for me.

Additionally, they keep revisiting trash ideas. For example is the Temple of the Ocean King and the Tower of Spirits. Sure, ToS changed a little bit, but slightly modifying somewhat of a failing idea stills makes it bad, just not as bad. And too many useless items more and more often. Either that, or items that SEEM cool but you hardly have chances to be using them.

I think a big problem with recent games is "emptiness". In TWW, they relied on a big and somewhat empty sea to make the world seem big. But, that was boring for many people. There should have been interaction with other ships or something. Something to make you WANT to sail. Or how about TP? They actually made a big overworld, but it was a shell of a land. It was dead. It was boring and bland and only useful for running around aimlessly on horseback. Instead of remedying this with a fun field like in OoT or MM, they practically got rid of travel in PH and ST. I liked the speed options on the train, but I wanted to run around! I wanted to go CHASE the bunnies or explore the tunnels.

And of course, difficulty is a big issue. They want to make it fun for casuals and new gamers. Fine, that's great. I want everyone to be able to enjoy Zelda. But not all of us are soccer moms or 1st graders. If they really want to make it easy, for the love of Din implement a difficulty setting!

I think to sum it up is what I mean.... Nintendo is only focusing on "extremes". Older games often too hard. Newer ones too easy. No inbetween. Boring travel or no travel. Lots of characters with no emotion or hardly any characters at all. WHY? This was never a problem in older years. Nintendo is so innovative... I refuse to believe they can't keep up with the times. I think it's a lot of laziness on their part.

But, Skyward Sword gives me hopes. Its art style is already a mix of two extremes to find a great middleground. The battle seems to be the same from what I can tell, but of course I will not know until playing the game. I think that instead of constantly trying something EXTREME, they should review what has failed and find ways to fix those problems and find a good medium.

February Eve

ZD District Attorney
Mar 21, 2010
I'm not sure if my definition of emptiness is similar to or different than others. For the most part, I don't mind Hyrule Field in Twilight Princess. But I am open to improvement and would enjoy if it were more explorable - more dig caverns, more lantern caverns, and introduce the idea of climbable areas. I've said it before, but I think lantern caverns would have been the perfect place to have utilized items more. How cool would it have been to have had a maze that could only be navigated with the spinner? But back to the overworld, the field in Twilight Princess had some variation in level, but it was surrounded by other areas we couldn't access. This was the game's version of a barrier, as was the chasm in part of the field, but one of the areas I liked most was in Northern Hyrule field, where I had to climb up the mountain to find the chest. (Also on my personal wish list: the ability to climb trees.) Throwing in more secrets and giving us more of a reason to explore would take away a lot of the feeling of emptiness and make us feel more like there's a huge vast world out there that is crying to be explored.

However, what I really feel makes the game feel "empty" to me - where are all the inhabitants of Hyrule? Does Zelda rule over a kingdom of approximately 50 - 100 citizens? Twilight Princess's Castle Town was one of the first places that felt like there were a substantial amount of people involved. Ordon Village was supposed to be small, but I still find myself pondering where the rest of the farmland is, or if the children will have to leave to find husbands or wives. Kakariko Village - it was attacked by shadow monsters and its populace diminished, of course, but it still looks like the town originally consisted solely of main street. The Zoras, the Gorons - are they a depleted race or is it that most of them hidden away out of sight? I would love to see a Goron City or Zora's Domain that at least matched Castle Town in size and scope. Not only would they be fun to explore, but it would provide more opportunity for mini-games and sidequests as well as make them more diverse. Skyward Sword has a shot somewhere of Link balancing on a rolling stone. That would be an awesome mini-game in Goron City, where Link has to race against another Goron.

I would love to see more characters, even if they just have random comments because it adds depth to the world. I also think it would be possible to have this while limiting the minor characters in order to give them bigger roles, because a more diverse cast of characters would help the ones who have a more substantial role stand out more in comparison. It could even make finding the next part of the game more difficult. In Twilight Princess we knew we had to go to Telma's bar because we were led there. But with more people to talk to, and more places to explore, it would be harder to pinpoint the exact person that we needed to find in order to continue with our quest. I wouldn't want it to be overused, but I don't think adding in that twist occasionally would necessarily be a bad thing.

Referring back to the mini-games, Zelda has also gotten in the habit of only giving out upgrades or heart pieces with mini-games. While everything in the game should have a purpose, it doesn't give you a reason to go back and replay them. How about having a prize such as a - completely optional - potion, that you could only get from that game? Such as the Minish Cap's Picolyte, or Din's, Farore's, and Nayru's charms in the same game. I think it would be important for the prize to optional, however, considering it could fall into the problem of being "too repetitive" if you had to keep playing the game to get the potion for various tasks.

As for items, I already mentioned using them in more secrets in the overworld, but one way of having more of a diversity of items while keeping the number of main items low would be to restrict them to one part of the game only. For example, the fishing hole in Ocarina of Time only allowed you to use the fishing pole while you were in that area. (Well, that was just an example of being restricted to area, but not a good example of an item, as personally I liked using the fishing pole in various places like in Twilight Princess.) Another example is that Link's Awakening only had you use the Chain Chomp for one area of the game. I also loved being able to pick up the enemies' various weapons in Wind Waker, though you couldn't carry them off screen. Change that so that you could carry them off screen, but not out of a dungeon, and suddenly you've got a wider variety of items to fight with, a way to make the dungeons more unique if it's a dungeon-specific enemy and item, while at the same time, Link's not carrying around everything including the kitchen sink in his mysteriously roomy backpack. (Hyrulian magic apparently includes the undetectable extension charm.)

Like Majora's Cat, Twilight Princess is actually one of my favorite games, and I love playing all the games I mentioned. And it's not like I play the game and think, "An underwater hidden cavern would be awesome right about here." However, I wouldn't want an exact repeat of any game, and innovations of this sort would be the kind of thing I would welcome in a future game.
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Gone (Wind) Fishin'
Jul 16, 2010
Montreal, QC, Canada
Well, I'll start by restating my previous statements on PH. I may bring my TP arguments to the table at a later date, but they are generally more spread out, so it could take some time to relocate all of them. Here was my PH post:

Warning: Wall of angry text.

One of the things that really irked me about Phantom Hourglass was its difficulty (or lack thereof). The puzzles were simple, but they reinforced their simplicity with an increased ability for you to find information in your surroundings, to a level that I personally found unnecessary and resulting in an overall transparency in the puzzles. It felt like I knew what I was supposed to do and when the entire game. I feel this detracts from the in-game atmosphere's immersion; in a real adventure, (or life, for that matter) you often have very little idea what you're doing and how you're going to do it. This is why when you succeed over these challenges, in real life or in-game, you feel a sense of accomplishment. I felt there was little of this in Phantom Hourglass.

I was initially brought in by the fact that they resurrected the exploration aspect from WW, but they defeated the purpose of it by blocking off certain areas. The whole point of WW was exploration and discovery, being given a boat and then the whole world becoming your oyster; in Phantom Hourglass, you're given a boat with the same expectation of exploration, but you're restricted by quadrants that aren't unlocked until later in the game. They removed the entire aspect of non-linearity that made me enjoy WW's overworld. On the notion of overworlds in general, Phantom Hourglass had little to none of an overworld. All of the overworld was the same enemies, over and over again, except without the possibility of discovery that was apparent in WW. What's worse is that they reduced the number of things to find in the game by having almost no weapon or item upgrades, and cutting the number of heart pieces by 75%. Not only was the overworld bland and repetitive, it was also empty. Even the non-quest based areas that taunted you with the possibility of containing something were also empty; it was just putting salt in the wound.

One problem that I felt was a plague on PH was the motion controls. For the items, they worked great; but for the swordplay? The controls were set up such that your dodge and attack buttons were the same thing, making it impossible to be ready to dodge whenever the need arose. This could have been easily fixed by controlling Link's movement with the D-pad and making swordplay and weapons controlled by the stylus, which would have optimized both routes, yet this route was never taken.
I didn't exactly have any difficulty using these controls, it's just that I think they could have been designed to be more complex. And with more complex design, they could have made bosses more complex because the player has more complex movement options. It felt to me in the DS games that you couldn't really dodge and attack, and you could only do one or the other. You could sit there and wave your sword around in a spastic fashion, or you could run. As a result, I felt this really limited the game play. There was no bobbing and weaving fluidly in and out of combat like the kind present in any of the other 2D Zelda games, which limited almost every boss fight in PH to the exact same formula.
Because of the limiting controls, I thought the dungeons in PH were ultimately far too similar and repetitive. The lack of variety and fluidity in actions has a direct and blatant effect on the dungeons themselves. There is also an absence of "large" puzzles which are felt throughout the whole dungeon, for which the Zelda series has become famous. Let's take, for example, the water-based puzzles in Jabu-Jabu's Belly in OoA, or the whole thing with breaking the pillars in Eagle's Tower in LA. There aren't many of these puzzles in Phantom Hourglass, and each dungeon only seems to have one, maybe two things that separate them from other dungeons in the game, aside from enemies. One of the dungeons in PH separated itself by having rolling spiky poles, and the ice dungeon, had -- well, ice. But there are more or less the same puzzles in every dungeon, even with new items.

And drawing the shapes? What started out as an interesting novelty became the developer's crutch to rest on to cover up every other shoddily-designed game play aspect and subsequent lack of difficulty. Rather than use what I've learned from the rest of the game, use new items, skills, or knowledge, you'd rather I draw an eight? That's just downright frustrating and gimmicky; the final boss would have been obnoxiously easy if it weren't for drawing the hourglass. It really frustrates me that they would rather utilize a gimmicky mechanism to create the illusion of difficulty en lieu of actual game play mechanics that have been tried and true for nigh 20 years. Unfortunately, they decided to jettison half of those game play mechanics upon conceiving PH. :mad:

To make another successful hand-held Zelda (in my eyes) they really need to look at the formulas of their past hand-held successes --the Oracle games, Link's Awakening --that is the sort of progress that needs to be expanded on, not tossed away and started from scratch just because new technology is available.


Stardust Crusaders
Feb 15, 2010
Seasons in the Abyss [Minnesota]
I also agree that Twilight Princess was the biggest let down for me. I thought it was going to be great and I thought that until I played the lakebed temple, and I realized how much of a dissapointment it was. It's still a great game but not my favorite.

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