The Evolution of Link

With the Pokémon hype around here there’s likely to be only one thing that the world ‘evolve’ makes us think of. Experience points, levels, trading, happiness in the daytime, and ultimately, changing from looking one way to another. In regards to Zelda, there has also been a steady involvement of evolution from the start of the series. Not the single celled organisms crawling out of a pond and becoming apes that would eventually become you type of evolution, but the type that is continuously changing. The type that adapts to its surroundings and becomes better and more efficient the longer it survives. No doubt people have been saying that Zelda Wii must do this and mustn’t do that, but really, if nothing else, what Zelda Wii needs to do is evolve the Zelda series.

This idea is nothing new, as Zelda has been adapting and changing all along the way, in so many aspects. The original got the series out there; it got it out of the pond, beyond the single-celled organism. The Adventure of Link changed the landscape to incorporate abilities and magic. Then A Link to the Past evolved to the well-known Zelda formula. It set how the stories are, how the items and dungeons work, even the style of music had to this day. A Link to the Past was a big step in the Zelda series’ development. Next came Link’s Awakening which introduced the trend of dream-like qualities and an element of simply being insane.

Ocarina of Time took the series: its characters, its locations, its items, everything really, to the third dimension, and then Majora’s Mask grew that same engine into something completely unexpected, with time limits amongst other insanity. Then the Oracles introduced different endings for linked game play, and altered aspects, characters and stories. They introduced two separate games that interacted with each other. Then Four Swords and later Four Swords Adventures introduced four Links and up to four players. The Wind Waker evolved perhaps the most of the more recent games, with the new graphic style and its decision to give out major quest items without dungeons. Then along came the Minish Cap and the ever changing series began to change less. Twilight Princess introduced some new items, an improved graphics system and everything else was pretty much the same. Phantom Hourglass took the series to the DS with touch controls, and Spirit Tracks spurned on an improvement to that.

So where now? The series has changed and adapted for consoles. It has even changed in the minds of many to cater to different gamers. The series has been ever changing, and yet all along it has been so similar. If only one thing, what does Zelda Wii need to be? It needs to change more so than any other entry to the ever-changing series. We’ve pretty much seen the same dungeon formula since A Link to the Past. Change it. Decide not to use keys this time, it won’t hurt anybody. Upgrade the graphics, change the items, and introduce new characters. Zelda Wii, make the changes that every other game in the series has, but please take it further.

Change the story enough so that it isn’t an A Link to the Past-Ocarina of Time-Wind Waker-Twilight Princess remake. Don’t start off in the small village all calm, and toss the land into turmoil. Don’t start us off with a forest, fire and water temple. Don’t try and makes us believe any longer that the game will end after those first three or four dungeons. We all knew that there’d be a Dark World to follow, or an adult portion of the story, or that The Master Sword wouldn’t be quite right, or that the mirror was going to be broken. Am I the only one over mid-way climaxes where they try to make you think the story is over, but then drag it on into collecting mirror pieces for three more dungeons? Come on Zelda, we know you can do better than that this time around. You’re not that desperate for story and dungeon ideas are you?

The key point that it comes down to is this: evolution doesn’t mean change, it means growth. Whether apes growing into humans, Pichus growing into Pikachus and eventually Raichus. Zelda doesn’t need to change so much that it isn’t what we’ve come to love, it just needs to grow so that it isn’t old and stale. It needs to be new. It simply needs to be. Never for once think that the growth and development of something stops after a quarter of a century. It doesn’t. It shouldn’t. If it does, well then, that something is dead.

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