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What MOST Affects Your Enjoyment of a Zelda Game?

Sep 10, 2011
When given the three choices of graphics/art style, gameplay, and story, which would you say most affect your enjoyment of any given Zelda game?
I'm not talking about the quality of the game. As Zelda fans, we're one of the few communities that realize art-style have little effect on how good a game can be, and how important gameplay is. Game quality is another subject than the one I'd like to focus on.

When playing a Zelda game, do you prefer a beautiful, in your opinion perfect artstyle yet shaky gameplay and a boring story? Do you mind ugly, funny-looking graphics yet exciting and fun gameplay and an in-depth story? Do you prefer great gameplay, an underdeveloped story, and ok graphics?

I'm rambling, but what I'm asking is what element would you sacrifice for the other if you truly had to do so? What's most important for your personal enjoyment?


Jan 10, 2011
On the midnight Spirit Train going anywhere
My enjoyment comes from the balance of all the different core aspects the series boasts. Controls, combat, atmosphere, level design, and music -- it's all gotta be there to make a good Zelda game, and these all have to be at their max to make an elite Zelda game. A good story helps, too.
I've played games that were god awful to control with motion control as fickle as i've ever seen it (Fragile Dreams on the wii for example) but i ended up loving that game so much because the art style was beautiful and made the world believable, i believed that the world world was dead for the starring characters, i believed that the characters were ultimately alone and cursed to live out their lives before dying alone, i believed the menace of the wonderfully designed enemies and the heartache that the characters went through. the story was wonderful, simple yet deep and emotional in the best way and these aspects; the artstyle/graphics and the story made it feel real and poignant to such a degree that i forgave the controls for killing me so often (truthfully, it wasn't me, it was the controls, this game should have had buttons).

But with Zelda, the story has never been too impressive, the characters have never really brought out an emotional response in me and this goes for most Zelda games regardless of their art style. In fact the only character i have come close to caring for is Malon in OoT because i worried and wondered what the hell Ingo had been doing to her in those seven years alone on that ranch, i really didn't trust him, but that was my mind playing with elements that weren't there, though i guess it was testament to good character design that i felt that way.
Really with Zelda (a franchise i'm enjoying less and less with each installment) i just want good gameplay and an artstyle that excites me. Zelda is the only game where the graphics/art style means anything to me. Sometimes it just doesn't excite me. I saw SS and something about its aesthetic just didn't do it for me, i wasn't excited about playing it or anything and i think the art style had something to do with that, i'm not against cel-shading either since WW is my favourite Zelda game its just SS didn't excite me, but then i still don't think Link looks right, there is something off about the way he looks that i can't put my finger on. the game played fine but like most Zelda games since ALttP the story wasn't that great and the plot was worse...
I'd like Zelda to have a decent story in the next installment but i wont hold my breath, Zelda is the franchise that nintendo experiment with HOW to play rather than what you're playing. I know the next Zelda will play well motion controlled or not i just hope the art style compels me this time.

So, what i want from Zelda- Good gameplay and an art style that agrees with me, i've given up on wanting anything else from it.
Gameplay has always been at the center of what defines a great Zelda experience. The NES originals made due with two buttons and a D-pad, ALttP added bumper compatibility as well as two more standard buttons, OoT turned the world of gaming upside down with analog control and lock-on in the 3D plane, TWW built off of those advancements with dual analog play, the DS pioneered touch control, and SS fully realized motion control for the first time, surpassing any products offers on the Kinect or PS Move.

That said I don't believe any title can be assessed solely on the merit of any of these three factors individually. Ocarina of Time is my favorite game in the series because of said control advacements but also because it had a touching albeit cliche story, and hitherto the most realistic art style the franchise had seen.

That said if I had to prioritize I'd say gameplay>story>graphics. SS was an embodiment of that ideal. While Wii Motion+ was its primary allure, the narrative was more fleshed more than ever before with an added emotional layer added since Link's childhood friend was kidnapped-a throwback to TWW-and increased realism via superb cinematics; the art style, a mix between that of TWW and TP, proved that impressionism and a vibrant color palette can transcend the limits of underpowered hardware.
Dec 21, 2011
Like JuiceJ said, the perfect balance of all these aspects is what makes Zelda such a superb series; it's what makes The Wind Waker my favorite game (as I think this title did the best job of blending these elements in harmony).

But, if forced to choose, I would say the gameplay (dungeons specifically) and story matter most to me.

Random Person

Just Some Random Person
Feb 6, 2010
All three have heavy effects on me, but if I had to choose one, I'd probably say story. Its nothing scientific, I recognize that game play is the most important aspect to a game, I simply enjoy a good story. Generally, I'm playing the game to see how the story progresses. (I'll even get upset if a cutscene appears and I'm wearing the wrong outfit because it does not flow well with the story) Now this does not mean that all games need stories, or even good stories to be good. The story of the game, however, needs to be relatively good. The original LoZ had a fine story for a game that came out in the eighties, so I can easily enjoy the game. Zelda is a modern day adventure game meaning it NEEDS a good story or it won't be reaching its full potential. This is one of the reason why I highly enjoyed TP but don't like SS. TP had a great story both in regards to its own and its sequelness (not a word). The way it was told was also interesting as it brought about a more cinematic feel than any other Zelda game. SS also had a decent story, but that was only in regards to itself. Relating to other Zelda games, its story was severely lacking.

Even though I enjoy a good story, I rarely enjoy a game that is lacking in the gameplay department, even if it has a good story. (I am not a fan of FF XIII) But, as stated earlier, the opposite is true as well. A game with fantastic gameplay but bad story will get even worse criticism from me. And I do believe that graphics are important to a game moreso than the stereotypical Zelda fan, but not as much as the stereotypical CoD fan.


Sep 21, 2011
Under a freeway.
Exploration by a long shot. I love games that have exploration. There is no feeling like the feeling you get when you find a secret hole in the ground to find 200 rupees. I also love game play. That is why I loved Skyward Sword so much. Its exploration, and Game play with how you could swing your sword in all these different ways is why I loved it.
Sep 20, 2011
My two would have to be the gameplay and story. I always like it when the game can suck me into the story and complament it with great game play.


Flamey-o, Hotman!
Aug 29, 2011
Halfway There
Of the three, I think the graphics affect my enjoyment the least. The environment (as in forest as opposed to desert or a populated city) and how locations look (as in like how Castle Town looks different in TP from OoT, not the graphics) probably has more effect on me than the graphics. I love TP's graphics, WW graphics are great, 2D is always awesome, and SS looked beautiful. I don't really have preferences of graphics, so that doesn't really have any effect whatsoever.

Next is gameplay, which doesn't affect as much as story. The gameoplay is obviously extremely important, but if a game had an amazing story and just ok-ish gameplay, I would still play it. But of course if the gameplay SUCKS (coughCDicough) I definitely won't play it even if the story is good.

Most important for me is the story. The story of a game can completely change how I think of a game, and for me at least it can affect the gameplay as well. So say if I was playing some game that doesn't really exist, and this game completely consists of going to get stuff so that you can achieve your life long dream of . . . I don't know . . . say, making desks for a living. Now, I don't care how fun getting the actual stuff is, it could be Zelda-level fun for all I care. Because the story sucks so much, just because I know why I'm getting this stuff, playing the game wouldn't be as fun. I would never play it.


Jun 22, 2011
For me it's gameplay by a wide margin. Graphics are practically meaningless to me, and the story is rarely a motivation for me to play a particular game. My favorite stories in Zelda games would probably be Wind Waker, Majora's Mask, and Link's Awakening, but when talking about why I love the games story might not even be mentioned. To put my feelings on graphics in perspective when I first saw Wind Waker's graphics, my reaction was "Oh the game must be closer to release now, I wonder when I can pre-order it."

To narrow it down further within gameplay I'd say dungeons are the main appeal of Zelda games for me. I also like the free exploration while working with restraints found in many of the games because this allows the games' progressions to be analyzed which is a hobby of mine. I also love puzzles, and honestly I'd like it if all Zelda games had the puzzle focus of Oracle of Ages because combat doesn't do much for me.

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