Posted on May 29 2011 by Mases Hagopian
The folks over at Destructoid have recently posed the question of whether or not the Legend of Zelda series needs an overhaul… and my answer is no. Looking at the series, we’ve seen so many drastically different games, yet they all seem very Zelda-like. I think many Zelda fans thought in late 2006 after Twilight Princess released that the series needed an overhaul. Twilight Princess was so similar to previous 3D console Zelda titles that some believed the series was becoming a bit stale. However, Twilight Princess collected some of the highest critical ratings from the series to date, and the number of sales made it one of the highest selling Zelda game of all time.
After the huge critical and commercial success of Twilight Princess, Nintendo then released Phantom Hourglass. A game that in my opinion was a big change for the series, but not an entire overhaul. The game controlled much differently than any previous Zelda title as it utilized the touch screen. Weapons and dungeons were now built around the touch controls and it allowed for quite a variety of puzzles. Rather than completely overhauling the series, it took what the series had already done great, and fit it to the new play style of the Nintendo DS. What we ended up getting is Phantom Hourglass, and then two years later Spirit Tracks, two high quality Zelda titles that played differently, but felt very familiar.
The control changes allowed for Zelda to feel fresh, but it still stayed true to what the series was all about. With Skyward Sword set to release later this year on the Nintendo Wii, I foresee a very similar change. The game will play much differently as it is built around the use of the motion plus control, but it will still feel like classic Zelda. We’ll get new ways to use items and notable parts of the game will be focused around motion controls, but I think we’ll still feel that Zelda familiarity, just like we did with Phantom Hourglass. The end result is that I fully expect Skyward Sword to be just like Twilight Princess in that I think it will get critical and commercial praise, with high review scores and high sales numbers.
The series needs to keep changing, but does not need an entire overhaul. I don’t think making a full fledged Zelda game that is radically different from the core franchise is a good idea at all. I mean, just imagine if there was a Zelda game that was in first person mode… or if it revolved around multi-player… or if it became a MMORPG. Other overhaul options that aren’t as radical would be if Link wasn’t the only primary playable character or if the game was pushed into a more 1800’s environment. I don’t think any of these changes are great ideas since the series isn’t broken. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? There are so many options that Nintendo has without requiring a complete overhaul. New ways to play and new creative puzzles is what I want from my Zelda games, and this is accomplished without overhauling the entire series.
What do you think about Destructiod’s question? Do you think the Zelda series needs an overhaul? If so, what type of overhaul? Any of the options I listed above, or something completely different? Let us know by posting in the comments below.