Posted on January 03 2015 by Jon Lett
For a long time, Zelda fans have waited for a Zelda game that perfectly balances the two elements that seem to predominantly make up the series: story and gameplay. This is quite the tall order to give the developers, as putting too much work into one can easily lessen the other, as can be seen in a few of the series’ installments. That being said, should there be a perfect balance, or should the games’ creators put one element first?
Join the discussion after the jump!
In terms of story, the series has pumped out some extremely powerful plot lines, if the timeline is any indicator. Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess are good examples of this, keeping you on a generally linear, plot-based path, sacrificing a bit more exploratory elements in favor of the overhanging story. Likely the best example in the series is Skyward Sword. In leaning more towards the very detailed story, and the now deeper characters, it dropped a lot of the series’ previous open-ended gameplay. A lot of fans were angered by this, and I get why. I suspect the angry ones are bigger fans of more gameplay-driven installments like A Link to the Past. But others appreciated the emotion and depth of the story, thus the endless debate.
Again, more gameplay-driven games like A Link to the Past have settled for simpler stories. That is not at all a bad thing. Recent titles, including Hyrule Warriors and A Link Between Worlds, have had simple, not-so-detailed stories, but the plot that was there was quite good. The respective tales of Lana and Cia, and of Lorule, were engaging enough to keep the player interested, and to make a real impact by the games’ endings. This, likely, is my personal preference, as great combat and puzzles come first in my mind, and I am certain not alone in thinking so.
Hopefully with future titles, we do not get something like Skyward Sword again, with plenty of satisphied fans, but also a lot of annoyed ones. Games like Bioshock: Infinite, with phenomenal stories, but simply satisfactory gameplay, are often more than enough to earn great reviews. The same is true with the opposite, like Destiny, with astounding gameplay and combat, but terrible plots. What many hope for, though, is the balance between these rather important elements, especialy in Zelda’s case. Hopefully, Zelda Wii U pulls off this great feat.
What do you think is most important? Story or gameplay? What Zelda game best exemplified the balance future titles should have? Leave a comment!