Wind Waker is Still the Best Zelda, and You're Surprised?

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And thus, the Zelda story was finally updated!
Or you could play that full conversion for Total War?

I'd be perfectly content with the tried and true Zelda format if they could just mix it up a tad from time to time. Look at what Okami accomplished by taking very similar design and applying a new aesthetic. Or even if you didn't care for Darksiders, it still managed moderate success with the Zelda homage all but spelled out on the title screen. You could just as easily have called it Legend of Zelda: Apocalypse Error or somesuch. Just change War's robes from orange to green and you're already there.

Why not put it in a sci-fi setting? Or an Egyptian tomb setting where the dungeons are pyramid tombs to be raided... oh. Well still, the gameplay is fine for what it is. But I don't see why we can't, just once in a while, find the pieces of the Holo-Force to assemble the Master Lightsaber and fight Gannon-Darth. Licensing issues notwithstanding, obviously.

ZZoMBiE13:
You could just as easily have called it Legend of Zelda: Apocalypse Error or somesuch.

I think you mean The Legend of Zelda: Portal Edition.

P.S. Thanks

I thought this was a great article, Yahtzee. It has me feeling creatively inspired to start writing a piece of my own subverting the contrivances and pitfalls of "The Chosen One" stories. I happen to like the Zelda series as a whole a lot more than you, but you do get to the heart of some of its worst flaws, which only become more glaring with each complacent installment. I enjoy Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, but the amount of time that both games spend going through the motions of what they think a Zelda game has to be is extremely tiresome.

I do have one point of contention:
"What I think would make for an interesting Zelda game would be a plot in which Link is once again appointed by destiny to be the hero, but makes every attempt to resist it."
I see the appeal of such a story. There's lots of room for droll humor and "only sane person in an insane world" beats. But it should be noted that some stories that spend way too much time having the hero "refuse the call" can be extremely irritating and boring. I'm thinking of "The Green Lantern" or "The Dark Knight Rises" or something like that. I think your idea might avert that problem because those two movies were in fact bound by a traditional Hero's Journey narrative whereas yours is more about a rejection of the Hero's Journey narrative as a whole than about the "refusal of the call" stage. Just something to think about :)

Windwaker is objectivly not the best Zelda.

Doesn't have the best bosses, the ocean is more boring than hyrule field, doesn't have the best dungeons.
It might have the best artstyle (not for me), but that's it.

But I admit, it would be really cool if the next Zelda had a horse for hyrule field, a boat for sea parts and a Skyloft bird to fly :D And there should be lots of islands and floating islands to explore.

And refuse to the call by the hero is extremly annoying, never do it!
I'd rather they make the hero someone who just got caught in weird circunstances, just like in WW and MM.

Full Metal Bolshevik:
Windwaker is objectivly not the best Zelda.

Which one is "objectively" the best Zelda?

Lazule:

Full Metal Bolshevik:
Windwaker is objectivly not the best Zelda.

Which one is "objectively" the best Zelda?

Depends on what you give more value (story, gameplay, adventure factor), in terms of combat is Skyward Sword. Oot is still great nowadays, I don't see anything it did badly, except how annoying it was to change boots, but 3DS remake solved that. However I think the best is Majora's Mask. The only thing MM lacked was great temples like Skyward Sword or Twilight Princess which had the best ones. For some, back time traveling was annoying, but it was a necessary feature in order to have the deepness of the characters and to see what each one is living through during their last 3 days of life. Also it was the most dificult 3D Zelda, bonus points, considering everyone complains about easy games nowadays.

I still need to replay both MM and WW. My personal favourites are Oot and SS currently, I'm just waiting for MM remake and for money to buy WW HD and then I'll have a better opinion.

Majoras Mask is the best Zelda game

Link was just in the wrong place at the wrong time...he was looking for Navi when this skull kid jumps him, takes his stuff and rides his horse away. Link chases him to get his stuff back and gets turned into a Deku Scrub. Now his motivation is to fix himself and the Happy Mask Salesman just so happens to know a way to do this but you have to do something for him, get Majoras Mask back to him.

The 3-day cycle was perfect as you can see how all of the characters in clock town live their lives over the final 3 days. They all have their own stories, problems and motivations and Link helps them not because he is asked to but because he wants to. Also Stone Tower Temple is amazing.

I like the idea of Link having a learning curve when he gets new items and abilities instead of mastering everything instantly. Though like all games, you can't have the player character fumbling around with everything he/she is not used to, it would break the flow of the game.

Yatzee's idea for a Zelda game is...interesting to put it best. His weird ideas for games are always fun to read, but I'm not sure if they would be fun to play. XD

Full Metal Bolshevik:
Windwaker is objectivly not the best Zelda.

Doesn't have the best bosses, the ocean is more boring than hyrule field, doesn't have the best dungeons.
It might have the best artstyle (not for me), but that's it.

Wow, it's like you didn't read the article at all! Quite fascinating. Here we are discussing whether or not Zelda games should be judged on their adherence to the formula and you come in with "Wind Waker isn't the best because it doesn't have the best [Zelda element 1], or [Zelda element 2], or [Zelda element 3]."

Anyway, as others have said, Majora's Mask is the best Zelda game.

image

Always and forever...

NoeL:

Full Metal Bolshevik:
Windwaker is objectivly not the best Zelda.

Doesn't have the best bosses, the ocean is more boring than hyrule field, doesn't have the best dungeons.
It might have the best artstyle (not for me), but that's it.

Wow, it's like you didn't read the article at all! Quite fascinating. Here we are discussing whether or not Zelda games should be judged on their adherence to the formula and you come in with "Wind Waker isn't the best because it doesn't have the best [Zelda element 1], or [Zelda element 2], or [Zelda element 3]."

Anyway, as others have said, Majora's Mask is the best Zelda game.

To be fair, he's not judging the game by how many Traditional Zelda Elements™ the game has, but by how well it succeeds at them. I won't judge a Zelda game for breaking formula, but if it's going to do things other Zelda games do, it had damn well better be good at it.

I mean, I disagree with him anyway, especially regarding dungeons (how anyone can prefer OoT's block-pushing puzzles to WW is beyond me), but I don't think it's fair to say his reasoning was about adherence to the formula, but about attempting to adhere and making mistakes.

P.S. Thanks

Full Metal Bolshevik:

Depends on what you give more value (story, gameplay, adventure factor), in terms of combat is Skyward Sword. Oot is still great nowadays, I don't see anything it did badly, except how annoying it was to change boots, but 3DS remake solved that. However I think the best is Majora's Mask. The only thing MM lacked was great temples like Skyward Sword or Twilight Princess which had the best ones. For some, back time traveling was annoying, but it was a necessary feature in order to have the deepness of the characters and to see what each one is living through during their last 3 days of life. Also it was the most dificult 3D Zelda, bonus points, considering everyone complains about easy games nowadays.

I still need to replay both MM and WW. My personal favourites are Oot and SS currently, I'm just waiting for MM remake and for money to buy WW HD and then I'll have a better opinion.

Pretty much everything you said here is not objective. I thought the majority of Skyward Swords dungeons were mundane, and I thought the combat was awful. I'm not opposed to the concept of motion controls, but in my opinion it was very clunky. Having to fist pump to bring up your shield and having stabbing never worked in combat for me (out of combat I was able to do stabbing everytime, in combat when i did the exact same movement he would do something else) were two major problems. SS and Spirit tracks are my least favorite, but all of this is just opinions. There is no objectively best zelda just everyones subjective opinion of which one they like the best.

I gotta say Majoras Mask and Minish Cap are my favorite. Need to replay a few though, including Wind Waker.

I like both types of stories and I think both can definetaly work if done right. What I like about stories where the hero is just an ordinary person, is the idea of acquiring one's skills through hard work and determination. Not because it was foretold by some prophecy.

At the risk of being unhip, I'm one of those crusty old farts who will resort to the more-dungeons argument, frankly because I find all of the item-collecting and exploring elements in Wind Waker brain-deadening-ly boring and devoid of challenge. As I stated on the original video's thread, what sunk the experience of Wind Waker (as well as Twilight Princess) for me was the idea that Nintendo was, more recklessly than ever, just dumbing things down too much, to a point that the gaming experience drew ever closer to the dull, consequence-free, action-RPG territory of something like a Tales game (on normal difficulty, to be accurate). As much as I enjoy those kinds of games in and of themselves, I enjoyed Link's Awakening and both N64 titles more because they had solid base-line difficulties mixed in with the usual puzzle-solving and exploring. Wind Waker, by comparison, was too padded-out, leaving me with a mixed reaction. In ranking Zelda games, I would put Majora's Mask, Link's Awakening, Ocarina of Time, and Minish Cap above this game, begrudgingly so because the Wind Waker's graphic design and sound is remarkable.

I'm a huge Zelda fan, and even I have to admit there's great potential in a sequel where the gods are conspiring to keep the conflict going. If I remember correctly, each third of the Triforce comes from one of the goddesses, so what if they're deliberately allowing Ganondorf to have the Triforce of Power?

I mean, I get Yatzee's point but I always felt like the Zelda games did a good job of being pretty different.
Not bucking the status quo just doesnt fit the series for me. I feel like each 3D zelda game is designed around exploring different themes.
You have impending doom and the weight of time in Majora's Mask, represented with the literal moon on your shoulders.
You have exploration and the thrill of discovery in Wind Waker, brought home by being a care free child making many small discoveries as opposed to a few huge dungeons.
Then, somewhat problematically, you have loneliness and loss in Twilight Princess. The darker theme made the game seem up its own ass story wise, but the main villain Zant is a refreshing take, even if it does take the whole game to realize why, and the game reserves time for some fun interactions and weird characters.
In fact, by Yahtzee's logic, he should have Skyward Sword, it being a return to the more lighthearted freindship and shenanigans of Wind Waker. Well he would, if it werent for awful controls and restrictive environments.
I feel like Yahtzee got Link's personality confused with the personality of the whole game. In Wind Waker, Link is a character who emotes, making him likable but making him less of a blank slate. Maybe the other Links werent made to be characters but rather blank slates for the player. Just a thought.

My favorite is still A Link to the Past though I missed out on Wind Waker. I still regret my initial reaction to it's art style. At the time I remember a tech demo of an adult Link fighting Gannon and was hyped for that style of Zelda to be released.

... I wish I could kick my teen self for not seeing the beauty in Wind Waker.

Jezzy54:
I'm a huge Zelda fan, and even I have to admit there's great potential in a sequel where the gods are conspiring to keep the conflict going. If I remember correctly, each third of the Triforce comes from one of the goddesses, so what if they're deliberately allowing Ganondorf to have the Triforce of Power?

In some sense, then, Gannondorf is a victim, a dupe. He's never going to win, but is just being strung along. Maybe what's needed is a Link empathic enough to want to save Gannondorf rather than destroy him.

I don't think Din, Nayru, and Farore are doing aught to keep the cycle going. Far as I know from Ocarina and Skyward Sword, they just made the world, left the Triforce behind, and put a restriction on it so that gods can't use it.

If anyone is keeping the cycle going it is, or rather was, Demise. He cursed those with the "blood of [Zelda] and the spirit of the hero" to fight incarnations of his hatred for eternity with his dying breath, so that's why we keep getting our Ganondorfs and Vaatis and Maladuses. Or, more specifically, why the universe seems o always wrangle a Link into fighting them.

By the way, I agree that Link is the most expressive he's ever been in Wind Waker. I'd put Skyward Sword link as a rather distant second, and all he others tied for an even more distant third.

I still hold the opinion of Majora's Mask being the best Legend of Zelda game, but I will admit that Wind Waker is still very good.

ImBigBob:
When I heard about Link to the Past 2, my first thought was "This should have been about a middle-aged Link who's out of shape and jumping at the opportunity to reclaim his former glory."

I could actually really get behind something like this. Like, Link's washed up, and not nearly as endearing as when he was younger, and just before the fact that he saved the world is leaving the peoples' minds to be replaced by what a bland guy he is when there's no evil to slay, shit suddenly gets real again, and a man who's all but forgotten how to be a hero is now once again the world's only hope.

Even when he finally succeeds he's still a bit awkward and washed up, but darn it, you've learned to like him because he's actually a pretty decent guy. And that tired, stubble-ridden half-smile has grown on you.

Veylon:

Jezzy54:
I'm a huge Zelda fan, and even I have to admit there's great potential in a sequel where the gods are conspiring to keep the conflict going. If I remember correctly, each third of the Triforce comes from one of the goddesses, so what if they're deliberately allowing Ganondorf to have the Triforce of Power?

In some sense, then, Gannondorf is a victim, a dupe. He's never going to win, but is just being strung along. Maybe what's needed is a Link empathic enough to want to save Gannondorf rather than destroy him.

Eh, problem is that Gannondorf has always has been a power hungry man bent on world domination. Even if he was just an unwitting pawn in some grand scheme his ambitions and choices are still all his own, and all the goddess did was provide him the means/tools. He may be a victim, but not exactly a sympathetic one. Sure he and Link may team up to defeat the higher power in charge, but once that's finished they'll just go back to fighting each other, and the only difference is that it'll be for the last time since there is no one around to start the cycle anew.

Hmm, I like the fate plotline. Maybe Link runs away from Kakariko village to escape his fate, and on the way to Hyrule Castle he gets into an altercation with an old man and kills him. Then it turns out it was the king, and the people make him the ruler, forcing him to marry the kings daughter, Zelda. Then Link discovers that he isn't really a kakariko child, the king was his father, and he's married to his own sister! Then everyone dies.

Or, conversely, Link and Ganon storm the gates of video game heaven only to find a kind elderly Japanese man tending his garden...

Look, it doesn't have to be a rerun of OoT for it to be great. Not at all. The thing with that game is that it's really turning into a period piece of sorts. A lot of people say the game doesn't play well nowadays. Well, of COURSE it doesn't. It was made like, what, 10+ years ago? Yeah. Kinda old, guys. So before you start dissing the game, remember the time in which it was made: when Perfect Dark was once thought of as the high point of console graphics.

-Dragmire-:
My favorite is still A Link to the Past though I missed out on Wind Waker. I still regret my initial reaction to it's art style. At the time I remember a tech demo of an adult Link fighting Gannon and was hyped for that style of Zelda to be released.

... I wish I could kick my teen self for not seeing the beauty in Wind Waker.

I was the same way back then(I was about 14). I remember how hyped I was about that tech demo, so when they announced Wind Waker I(like many others) responded with a collective "what the hell, this is horrible!". Wind Waker was kind of the black sheep of the series when it first came out.

Fast forward a decade and that tech demo looks hideous, while Wind Waker(especially the HD version) looks absolutely gorgeous. Time makes fools of us all.

You know, people can like whatever it is they like, and it's pretty cool everyone's favorite Zelda is usually so varied. But I got to say, I really hate the "we must re-invent the pizza every time we eat one" attitude. I always thought it was a dumb argument to make in defense of Wind Waker, or anything else formulaic that people happen to like. Something being different or breaking formula doesn't automatically make it better. Probably explains why I personally wasn't impressed at all with Wind Waker. I was one of the few people actually excited for it, originally. I liked the art style, and gave it a fair shot. I thought it was ok, but aside from the saving grace of simply being different, it was just pretty boring to me. The whole game seemed like nothing but a bunch of fetch quests. I just wanted to explore, go in dungeons, find secrets... all with interacting with as few people as possible. Thank god for Twilight Princess, aside from laughably easy combat, that game was a step up in every way. Only the Gannon fight at the end of Wind Waker sparked any kind of fulfillment in me after the experience was over.

If removing all the particular things about Zelda is now the only way to make "a good Zelda" to you, then chances are you just didn't like Zelda to begin with. That last statement isn't directed at Yahtzee, either, but everyone i usually discuss this with.

Mario Galaxy 2 running out of ideas? A game which every level is an innovative, and incredibly fun breakthrough can hardly be like that. If only Yahtzee didn't put down games after half an hour when he's in a bad mood.

xPixelatedx:
You know, people can like whatever it is they like, and it's pretty cool everyone's favorite Zelda is usually so varied. But I got to say, I really hate the "we must re-invent the pizza every time we eat one" attitude. I always thought it was a dumb argument to make in defense of Wind Waker, or anything else formulaic that people happen to like. Something being different or breaking formula doesn't automatically make it better. Probably explains why I personally wasn't impressed at all with Wind Waker. I was one of the few people actually excited for it, originally. I liked the art style, and gave it a fair shot. I thought it was ok, but aside from the saving grace of simply being different, it was just pretty boring to me. The whole game seemed like nothing but a bunch of fetch quests. I just wanted to explore, go in dungeons, find secrets... all with interacting with as few people as possible. Thank god for Twilight Princess, aside from laughably easy combat, that game was a step up in every way. Only the Gannon fight at the end of Wind Waker sparked any kind of fulfillment in me after the experience was over.

If removing all the particular things about Zelda is now the only way to make "a good Zelda" to you, then chances are you just didn't like Zelda to begin with. That last statement isn't directed at Yahtzee, either, but everyone i usually discuss this with.

xdiesp:
Mario Galaxy 2 running out of ideas? A game which every level is an innovative, and incredibly fun breakthrough can hardly be like that. If only Yahtzee didn't put down games after half an hour when he's in a bad mood.

Quotes for the win.

It's exactly this.
And they exaplained why they made Mario Galaxy 2. They had tons of ideas with Mario Galaxy but couldn't fit them all into one game, so later (3 years later, not one!) they made a sequel.
How many sequels get perfect scores as the first one did?

Zetatrain:

Veylon:

Jezzy54:
I'm a huge Zelda fan, and even I have to admit there's great potential in a sequel where the gods are conspiring to keep the conflict going. If I remember correctly, each third of the Triforce comes from one of the goddesses, so what if they're deliberately allowing Ganondorf to have the Triforce of Power?

In some sense, then, Gannondorf is a victim, a dupe. He's never going to win, but is just being strung along. Maybe what's needed is a Link empathic enough to want to save Gannondorf rather than destroy him.

Eh, problem is that Gannondorf has always has been a power hungry man bent on world domination. Even if he was just an unwitting pawn in some grand scheme his ambitions and choices are still all his own, and all the goddess did was provide him the means/tools. He may be a victim, but not exactly a sympathetic one. Sure he and Link may team up to defeat the higher power in charge, but once that's finished they'll just go back to fighting each other, and the only difference is that it'll be for the last time since there is no one around to start the cycle anew.

I was thinking more along those lines, that Ganondorf is still the character we know but the goddesses are complicit in his crimes. But you could compromise and reveal that the harsh environment the Gerudos endured, that made Ganondorf want to conquer the more stable Hyrule, was planned by the goddesses to make Ganondorf a threat.

Did someone mention okami?? That was truly one of the greatest surprises that graced my wii. The passion for zelda was oozing out of every corner of that game, but more authentic with the Japanese print style and lore. Thankfully you never needed to really dodge in any specific direction though, considering the numchuck like to decide what direction you were really flailing in. Part of me wants a sequel, but the other part disbelieves that any attempt could beat the original...so another remake maybe? Ugh, i dunno.

Both the mario galaxies were incredibly addictive...Im one hell of a cynical bastard but those games just show how little story needs to be told when you're flying around everywhere enjoying every seemingly pointless activity in lands that work best when they make no sense whatsoever. Makes you feel like a platforming god when you get those really challenging levels and coins.
Though, digressing, I remember not liking Majoras mask as much as OOT due to it undoing all my hard work to make areas of the map all nice and flowery when i had to go back in time before the world ends. Looking back though, that seems like a good compromise and system. Damn my impatient child-brain! And am i the only person that didn't have any trouble with the skyward sword motion detection? My flat mate was a completely incompetent ballsack at it and only blamed the controller then gave up and never played it again. However, i got through game with no trouble. Apart a certain boss that refused to give any hint as to whether i was doing anything at all to hinder him.

Lastly, i for one do like big boss battles. Something where use of intelligence and bravery can help you take down some mammoth creations. It would be sad to have no more of those from zelda titles. Was playing mass effect 3 recently, not sure if anyone remembers a mission inside a geth computer program...but all through that stage i was expecting some nasty boss to rearrange your anatomy and mental state at any point through there. There was tension in my mind, but then as i left the level i came to the slow realisation that there will be no scary alien virus boss battle to brown the trousers. Havent had an anti-climax like that since the last visit to the clinic :(

Xsjadoblayde:
Did someone mention okami?? That was truly one of the greatest surprises that graced my wii.

the original PS2 version was better tho... they somehow totally fucked up the drawing controls on the Wii... but its still amazing ^_^

kevboard:

Xsjadoblayde:
Did someone mention okami?? That was truly one of the greatest surprises that graced my wii.

the original PS2 version was better tho... they somehow totally fucked up the drawing controls on the Wii... but its still amazing ^_^

I never had problems with the brush controls on the Wii.

Unless of course your talking about slashing. Which in that case you have to hold down the "B" (or was it L it's been a while) to automatically make it straight.

I second the usability if the Wii drawing controls.

Yeah, it's got its share of problems, but it really does work soundly most of the time.

But you know what we need? Okami HD U. What better way to do the celestial brush than with a drawing tablet?

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