I’d say both sides of the argument have points to make, so which side of the fence do you fall on? Are you happy with Zelda retreading familiar ground, or do you wish things would be different? Are you more extreme than that? Do you think the series doesn’t retread old ground, or conversely, that it deserves to be executed?
Naturally this is a hot topic of debate among both Zelda fans, Zelda haters, and those who just aren’t sure what the best course of action is. The author who asks the question (one of my favorite journalists), Jim Sterling, falls on the side that Zelda is fine the way it is. He states simply that the flavor of the experience changes in each game, and that is what makes Zelda special instead of constantly trying to reinvent the wheel with every release.
However, everyone has their own thoughts and almost every angle has a valid argument, so the truth is there is no right or wrong answer to this question. For me, I think it needs an overhaul in the sense that it needs to break the mold and put it back together in a new fashion that sets the standards for the series for the next decade.
Too often is every release compared to Ocarina of Time or A Link to the Past, because those two games are what set the modern standards for “what” a Zelda game is. This isn’t altogether bad – it’s a great testament to what those two games were able to accomplish. However, it also means that things are rarely mixed up with the formula, making for the same repetitive experience. Sure, it may change it’s flavor, but that flavor can sometimes still come out tasting exactly the same (Twilight Princess, I’m looking at you).
This doesn’t mean I hate Zelda or disliked Twilight Princess, but it does mean that I would love for Skyward Sword to set a new standard for the series to live up to. It may have already accomplished this just in the motion controls, but more than that I want it to set a new standard in story telling, and naturally the flow of dungeons and the world around them. This may be happening in Skyward Sword, but until I see it first hand it’s hard to convince me it’s happening.
On the flip side, I think Zelda will be alright just sticking to it’s guns – clearly the formula works. It’s not just going to magically stop working. I think, however, the goal with any Zelda shouldn’t just be to invite new players to the game, but to try and bring all the veterans of the series back into the fold, and the only way to do that IS to, unfortunately for some, change a little bit of what we know Zelda to be. With Nintendo leading the way, it’s doubtful anyone will have a serious complaint no matter what way Zelda goes.
That is, of course, unless Link was given a machine gun. Fuck it, that would be awesome. Your thoughts my dear readers?