This article is a fan submission and does not represent our views here at The Hidden Triforce. With that in mind, please enjoy.
With The Legend of Zelda series being one of the most successful gaming franchises to date, what I am about to say will probably come as a shock, but none the less, it is all true. In its current state, The Legend of Zelda franchise will not ever be, and is not currently respected by the average hardcore gamer. It is my intention to state what elements of the game that needs changed to bring the series up to par and make it more worthy of respect. While stating all of this however, I will not deny the success the series has had thus far, nor will the fan be belittled. With all disclaimers out of the way, here is why the Zelda franchise just can not be respected.
Let’s face it, since the Gamecube onwards, Nintendo has not given us much to look forward to as a Zelda gamer. The Windwaker was an interesting adventure, anyone can admit that, but it definitely did not win the series more fans with its graphical style. Regardless though, since then we have had what? Toon link, toon link, toon link and again toon link. The only moment we had to actually get excited about was Twilight Princess. In these amazing trailers we saw the graphical genius that Nintendo’s systems could actually produce and we saw action beyond anything Nintendo had every provided us before.
When we played the game though, it was all an illusion. In the videos Nintendo gave the impression that Hyrule field would be filled with enemies, there would be organized assualts against Link, and epic battles. What we got instead was a rare gathering of 3 or 4 enemies who do not know how to aim arrows at you and have the combat skills of that Pidgey outside of Pallet Town. Yeah… I said it, those level 2 Pidgey’s have more combat experience.
Whether it is Nintendo’s desire to make their games easy for the “casual” aka the old people seconds away from death we see in their commercials and the 5 year olds who do not realize the toy in their mother’s drawer is not the 2nd Wii mote, or whether it is Nintendo’s just plain laziness or uncaring attitude, the series suffers from how easy they have made the games.
Respectable games do not have vast open field of nothing, aka E.T. on the Atari. If the series was actually respectable, the landscape would have been filled with more enemies, more random or surprise attacks and actual action. We are suppose to believe that Ganon, who knows Link is coming, sat down with 8 huge bosses and told them to sit and wait inside of one room, and that is to be his line of defense? Hell no! If serious about plot development, Nintendo would have had Ganon sending out forces to stop Link, and the open Hyrule field would have been the place to be. Why should Link be allowed to just walk right into his castle and last line of defense?
As stated before, Twilight Princess did have some well developed graphics, but again, the series will never be respected until it maintains that standard. Everyone was talking about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s graphics as being some of the best out there, but no one in their right mind has said that about a Zelda game in a long time. Yes, graphics are not everything, but in the age where game memory and space can be pushed to new levels and almost anything can go on a small disk, why isn’t Nintendo delivering? Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks… not impressive in the graphics department. They did not even do toon link too well in those games. Nintendo has even gone on record saying they made Zelda into a spirit so they would not have to design a lower body for her. That is called lazy, and Nintendo’s refusal to give gamers the graphics that most modern day games are being made at, is why The Legend of Zelda can not be respected.
Finally, the series is getting a little stale. How many times can Link kill Ghoma? How many times does he go into a forest, then fire, then water… dungeon? Why does he even have to enter dungeons? We are suppose to believe that all the bad guy can do is hide keys inside of a huge cave? The formula may work, and it may keep selling and making Nintendo money, but it is making the games repetitive and hardly worth buying (kind of like the new Halo’s). You have a magical realm of Hyrule, with parallel lands, so many people to talk to and “interact” with, weapon possibilities are unlimited, story lines can be anything, but Nintendo keeps with the exact same stale story. *Sorry, making the boss a demon train is not a huge leap forward. What happened to the day of Link’s Awakening? 100% unique. What happened to Majora’s Mask type stories? Because of the refusal to do ACTUAL innovation, the series will undergo the Halo effect, where people may keep on buying the games, but we all know there is no real difference between Halo 1,2,3 or any of the recent spin offs.
Nintendo is sitting on top of a gold mine and is treating the beloved Zelda franchise like it can be a sub-par series such as Donkey Kong. A new game may come out every once in a while, but each time less hype exists and each time the exact same disappointments are delivered. Until Nintendo addresses very simple concepts like the ones mentioned above, it will not get the same type of respect from the gaming community. It will just have the negative connotation that Nintendo has in most hardcore gamer’s eyes. Appealing to seniors and kids, and old schoolers, but never achieving a higher respect status.