For many, there is simply nothing that is more fun than beginning a new Legend of Zelda ® game. My first encounter with the series was in 1993, when I had the flu, and my office manager brought me over a copy of “A Link to the Past ®.” The cool thing was that since I had a serious fever while playing the game; when I recovered, I remembered almost none of the game, and got to play it all over again anew. And of course once one played this one, an insatiable appetite for more was created—no matter which “console” was required.
Many were waiting for the next one after “Skyward Sword ®.” There was of course that brief (2 hour) encounter with “Hyrule Warriors ®,”—but really now. Then after almost 6 years, the new one arrived—hyped to be simply beyond belief.
It does not take one long to realize that Breath of the Wild ® represents a very serious deviation from the usual format. One can essentially go anywhere at any time, unlike the usual progressive (not in the political sense) journey. The problem is that one finds themselves in an area unable to do anything, or even stay alive; as certain things from then unknown certain places are required.
To be both truthful and fair, Breath of the Wild ® is an incredible game. The world size is huge, and it is obvious that incredible amounts of effort (skull sweat) went into the games creation. Sales have been reported to be incredible, and for good reason. Nintendo has reportedly experienced a huge success with this game, and they deserve tremendous credit for this production.
The problem is not that this is not an incredible game—it is.
The problem is that it is not a Zelda game in any significant way. It seems much more like say Final Fantasy X ®; which is also an incredible game; but here merely starring Link, along with some brief “cameo appearances” by Zelda. There are the Final Fantasy X ® temples and the spheres and so on, which are cool; but there is much that is missing. When the rumors about this game were flourishing, it was reported that the creation of this game was being “outsourced,” and it does seem that these rumors were correct.
The incredible musical scores present in the earlier games, have been largely been replaced by what one might hear in a piano store late at night with mice loose on the piano keyboards. The villages are largely utilized for procurement, with little resemblance to the villages in previous games. The caves that permit one to be a child once again, are essentially gone.
There is much more that is also gone, but the worst thing; is that it simply is not particularly cute. That magic for which so many love these particular games; is simply not present in any significant amount. It might be unrealistic to expect the level of player rapport created in “Ocarina,” as perhaps this may permitted only once in the universe. Nevertheless, any inability to recapture this level should not have precluded trying.
Perhaps it is a “sign of the times.” But it must be remembered that these are games of fictional times and places, which are utilized for entertainment. It is unclear if the transformation of the series from that which was essentially unique; to that which is largely commonplace; will be a permanent one. It must be asked if the reported incredible sales figures are in any way the result of faithful Zelda fans; or the result of fans of other games choosing this one instead. If the former; it seems the series as we know it is gone. If the latter; then this niche remains unfilled.
As a video game it unquestionably represents an incredible success. But for those like myself who want a true Zelda game, it is an abysmal failure.
Am I the only one?
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