The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is being released right around the corner and with the upcoming release there is naturally a lot of excitement. Some people think this may be the best Zelda title since The Wind Waker, while others feel it’s just another Phantom Hourglass clone and isn’t going to bring anything truly great to the series. Whatever stance you take, there is always something we want to happen in each Zelda title. Earlier this year, our own Phil Stetson gave his thoughts on what he feels Zelda Wii needs to be awesome. This time around I give you 10 things that Spirit Tracks needs to take that next step.
10. Engaging Sound Track
We haven’t had a truly inspiring sound track since The Wind Waker. So far, the music has been solid in the trailers, but so was the magical orchestrated piece used in the Twilight Princesss trailer. In game, Twilight Princess had poor quality and really lacked originality. Has it all been fools gold so far, or is Spirit Tracks really set up for an epic sound track? Who knows, but the sound track can really help make this game, and adventure, be that much more entertaining. Nintendo has some amazing composers, so lets take advantage of them again. Just glance at Super Mario galaxy. The music is just awesome, please Nintendo, bring that to Spirit Tracks. (Note, I am not asking for Orchestrated music, that’s a bit too much to ask for a hand held release)
9. More Active Role For Zelda
Princess Zelda obviously plays an important role in this title, possibly the most important role she has played in the 23 years of this franchises existence. However, if she is going to be this important finally then she needs to actually be important. What I mean to say is, don’t just take over phantoms and otherwise be a Navi product. She has already done that before for me in The Wind Waker by talking to me through a stone. I don’t need that again. Her spirit accompanies me, so make her actually do stuff that matters. Minimally, at least give her some personality. You did it with Midna, why not with Zelda?
8. Higher Difficulty
It’s no secret that Zelda has been really easy for awhile now. Phantom Hourglass was so easy that some people don’t like the game for that reason alone. That mistake should not be repeated again. It made the game seem more like a quickly tossed together game to pass the time, then a true Zelda adventure. Of course, this isn’t just based on PH. Twilight Princess struggled in this department too. Miyamoto already confirmed the game is harder then Phantom Hourglass, so we may get what we all want in this regard.
7. Side Quests
Zelda has been lacking in this department ever since Majora’s Mask, and it is possible that game set the bar a bit to surrealistically high for future titles. However, it would be nice to side track off the quest a bit to do some meaningful side questing. Dragon Age: Origins, as an example, has amazingly epic side questing options, and I would love to see at least a few side quests of that quality thrown into the game. Adds some nice re-playability to the game.
6. Ganon Not Just A Final Boss
Ganon’s involvement simply needs to not be in the game at all (as I suggested earlier this year), or if he is involved he needs to not be the “plot twist”. It’s old, they’ve done it before, and it didn’t feel righ the last time they did. Either give me a new evil, or tell me it’s Ganon straight away. Playing around with him is no longer fun.
5. New Twists For The Train
The train has people worried. The main concern I really have isn’t the use of the train as a traveling device, it’s making the train a fun and unique experience. In Phantom Hourglass and The Wind Waker, the boat eventually became really boring and repetitive. I don’t want that to happen to the train. Having a train opens a whole new world of possibilities, and I want that world explored. I want the train essentially be a fun experience throughout the entire game.
4. Link Actually Having A Personality
This is something fans tend to be split on. Some like Link being bland. It lets you think of him as you will, and some argue it makes the character feel like it really is you doing the questing. I think that illusion of “Link is you” has been overplayed too much. Link is a character in a game world, he should have his own thoughts and his own personality. Is it so much to ask that I actually care about what happens to Link? I almost care about what happens to Neil in The Legend of Neil more then I do Link.
3. More Characters with Backstories
Link and Zelda are not the only ones that I want more for. I want to know about Alfonzo, and why he looks like one of Tetra’s old crew. I want to know how Niko survived this long, and I definitely want to know a lot more about Chancellor Cole. I want the characters to all have an interesting, none generic, background. I think it’s easily attainable, but is it beyond Nintendo? To do this requires excellent story telling, and Miyamoto does not specialize in that regard.
2. Items Useful In More Than One Dungeon
There are six item slots, and we already know what most of them are. So far we have the snake whip, whirlwind, boomerang, whistle, and Spirit Pipes. What I want is to see these items useful for more then the dungeon they are in. Zelda has fallen into this habit a lot lately, and I think the “smaller” inventory in Spirit Tracks may actually solve that. The less items there are, the more Nintendo has to find new ways to use them.
1. Open World
Really, this is something we seem to ask for with every Zelda title. However, I am not expecting this giant, expansive world to explore. What I am merely asking is the ability to get off the train and run around on foot. I want to see what is between the tracks, or what is in the lands the tracks do not traverse. In essence, I don’t want to be restricted by the train in this regard. I get that later we can lay our own tracks, but if I want to get off the train and look behind some bush, I should be able to do so.
That’s that folks. Are we likely to see everything on this list? Doubtful, but it would be nice to see some of it. It’s no secret I am really excited for this game and as always, I just want it to be the best it can. If you feel like talking about Spirit Tracks, head over to our Community and chat with the rest of our fans. Props goes out to The Zelda Master for helping me form this list and engaging in conversations about the game.