Will the Real Zelda Please Stand Up?

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#51 Posted by Brenderous (1107 posts) -

Great post.

#52 Posted by MajorMitch (544 posts) -

@DelroyLindo said:

Dark Souls consistently reminded me of the way I felt playing Ocarina of Time for the first time many many years ago. I agree with what you said.

I also think the reviews to Dark Souls were a detriment. Many people (myself included) were likely put off by the reported difficulty. The game is challenging, sure, but it is no where near as difficult as it is made out to be, not even slightly.

Thanks! I also get a little annoyed by the way Dark Souls tends to misrepresented by its difficulty. Sure, it's challenging, but no where near as hard as reviews claim (I read some that said it was the hardest game this entire generation, which is completely ridiculous. Those reviewers must not play hard games). To be fair though, it's not just reviewers; the game's own tagline is "Prepare to die" after all.

@Slag said:

You know if the question has become whether Dark Souls is more like oldschool Zelda or oldschool Metroid/Castlevania, the real answer is that Dark Souls is awesome.

I really need to get a copy of that game.

It is interesting that that's more or less become the topic at this point. I tend to go with the way I feel playing the game rather than the mechanics or tropes, and in that sense it feels more like Zelda to me (I say this as someone who really loves all these series, and perhaps Metroid most of all). Either way you are correct in that you need to get Dark Souls, It's pretty awesome :P

@King9999 said:

Interesting that you would make a comparison between Dark Souls and Zelda. Most people view Dark Souls as what a 3D Castlevania should have been.

I don't think I agree with your argument completely, though. There are things that make Zelda what it is. The sense of adventure is a big part of it, but exploring dungeons and solving puzzles define Zelda as well. Dark Souls has neither of these. By the way, you should definitely play the original Zelda. There are numerous ways to do it, but I recommend playing the Zelda Classic version (google it). In addition to the original quests, you have access to user-created quests.

Not to beat a dead horse, but that was kind of the point, that even without those tropes (the dungeons and items and puzzles) Dark Souls still felt like the embodiment of the Zelda spirit to me. But that goes back to what it means to be a Zelda game, which can vary from person to person. I don't define Zelda much by the dungeons and puzzles, but I also think it's perfectly valid to do so. In which case the Dark Souls-Zelda comparison doesn't hold up very well.

I actually have a copy of the GBA "Classic NES Series" version of Zelda sitting on my shelf (staring at it right now!). Just need to find time to play it, but it's going to happen! I swear it! :P

#53 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4869 posts) -

I got waaaay more old school Castlevania vibes from Dark Souls than Zelda. There is adventure to be had, sure, but "diseased half-rotten monsters around every corner that will kill you in terrible, unfair ways" belongs in the Castlevania end of that particular venn diagram. I'm just not seeing this "intangible" comparison between Zelda and Dark Souls.

#54 Posted by TheHT (11687 posts) -

Darksiders is the adolescent Zelda game you always wanted, when you said wanted a mature Zelda game.

Dark Souls is the mature Zelda game you never even thought of, and had your mind blown when someone called it a mature Zelda game.

#55 Posted by DoctorWelch (2774 posts) -

You started listening to the 8-4 Play podcast, didn't you? Can't sneak it by me ;)

#56 Posted by MajorMitch (544 posts) -

@DoctorWelch said:

You started listening to the 8-4 Play podcast, didn't you? Can't sneak it by me ;)

Haha, I have listened to some of their podcasts, and I very well could have heard that comparison there. I freely admit that I had heard the comparison made elsewhere well before I wrote any of this, and 8-4 certainly could have been a source :P

#57 Posted by Little_Socrates (5694 posts) -

I'd always argue that Dark Souls carries on the tradition of 2D Zelda while Darksiders carries on the tradition of 3D Zelda. I guess that's because I never felt that 3D Zelda was that epic adventure we're describing; Ocarina of Time is pretty damned small, pretty barren, and excessively linear/hand-holding. Majora's Mask and Wind Waker do a better job of letting you roam on your own (especially with the much-maligned Triforce collection sequence in WW), but 2D Zelda is a much deeper, more difficult, and more imposing experience than 3D Zelda or Darksiders. I'd be remiss not to mention how amazing the mythos in MM and WW are, as they really lend to that epic sensation. Majora's Mask is just terrifying, and Wind Waker sets such a proper legendary course from the start that it gives me chills to think about.

It's worth noting that I'm probably one of the least enthusiastic OoT players out there, and I drastically prefer the original Legend of Zelda to the game. I also preferred Oracle of Ages/Seasons at the time I played OoT.

...there's a lot more to write on this subject, of course. But I feel like I read a blog about this just as the year was starting, and I can't place who wrote it. It was definitely in the community spotlight, though.

#58 Posted by TekZero (2686 posts) -

I disagree with you.

Darksiders is more like a Soul Reaver game to me than a legend of Zelda game. And Dark Souls is a modern 3d castlevania game.

#59 Posted by CheapPoison (743 posts) -

To me , darksiders have taken over the value tha zelda games stood for. And in a way zelda games aren't bad just not amazing anymore.

#60 Posted by frontman12 (26 posts) -

IMHO, Darksiders Zelda Dark Souls, Metroidvania Zelda Castlevania. Demon-vania Metroid-zelda, way more than Darksiders II original Legend of Zelda. Dark Souls dungeon item-gate, water-gate temple shoe polish turkey sandwich.

#61 Posted by MajorMitch (544 posts) -

@frontman12 said:

IMHO, Darksiders Zelda Dark Souls, Metroidvania Zelda Castlevania. Demon-vania Metroid-zelda, way more than Darksiders II original Legend of Zelda. Dark Souls dungeon item-gate, water-gate temple shoe polish turkey sandwich.

Mmmm, turkey sandwich...

#62 Edited by Tru3_Blu3 (3239 posts) -

This article points out the primary problem on our consensus from gaming criticism and journalism. We take the surface of games as an entire body and use it as a core for our judgements, and this totally fucks up franchises as they usually take the wrong turn after hearkening such renowned crowds. Is Diablo all about killing monsters, leveling up, and loot? Diablo3 sure answered that question with a confident "yes", but Diablo1 and 2 would look at their cousin and immediately say "no". It was the brooding atmosphere and psychological numbness that we got from the gore-trailed hallways and the dour notes stringed by Diablo1/2's musical score. If it were to always be about loot and progression, there would be no soul and it seems that my once favored franchise, Zelda, has truly lost that after my leaving from it.

Indie games are our only hope it seems.

#63 Posted by Hailinel (25203 posts) -

I've always felt that while Zelda has its basic tropes and tenants, the series has always evolved in ways that, while basic mechanics may be the same, the experience isn't. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. I feel that Skyward Sword is just as much a Zelda game as Ocarina of Time or Link to the Past. It just does things that are out of the ordinary for what the series represents. I haven't played Dark Souls, so I can't say whether or not I agree with your assessment, but I can say that as much as Darksiders borrows from Zelda, it's the look and feel of Darksiders, that so-called "Dark Zelda", that I find so off-putting and hokey.

If I want Dark Zelda, there are plenty of options to choose from, with Majora's Mask siting at the top.

#64 Posted by cooljammer00 (2016 posts) -

I always found Darksiders to be like Zelda but more intolerable. Why not set a game in a place where there aren't any NPCs or personality cause everyone is dead?

#65 Posted by MajorMitch (544 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

I'd always argue that Dark Souls carries on the tradition of 2D Zelda while Darksiders carries on the tradition of 3D Zelda. I guess that's because I never felt that 3D Zelda was that epic adventure we're describing; Ocarina of Time is pretty damned small, pretty barren, and excessively linear/hand-holding. Majora's Mask and Wind Waker do a better job of letting you roam on your own (especially with the much-maligned Triforce collection sequence in WW), but 2D Zelda is a much deeper, more difficult, and more imposing experience than 3D Zelda or Darksiders. I'd be remiss not to mention how amazing the mythos in MM and WW are, as they really lend to that epic sensation. Majora's Mask is just terrifying, and Wind Waker sets such a proper legendary course from the start that it gives me chills to think about.

I can get behind that distinction, and I agree that Zelda has gotten to be less of that adventure over time, even more once it switched to 3D (though I think Wind Waker doesn't get enough credit for being as epic as it is, but maybe that's just nostalgia speaking). Skyward Sword I think finally drilled that fact home for me.

@Tru3_Blu3 said:

This article points out the primary problem on our consensus from gaming criticism and journalism. We take the surface of games as an entire body and use it as a core for our judgements, and this totally fucks up franchises as they usually take the wrong turn after hearkening such renowned crowds. Is Diablo all about killing monsters, leveling up, and loot? Diablo3 sure answered that question with a confident "yes", but Diablo1 and 2 would look at their cousin and immediately say "no". It was the brooding atmosphere and psychological numbness that we got from the gore-trailed hallways and the dour notes stringed by Diablo1/2's musical score. If it were to always be about loot and progression, there would be no soul and it seems that my once favored franchise, Zelda, has truly lost that after my leaving from it.

Indie games are our only hope it seems.

It is a really weird thing that I've been noticing more and more over time, games often get described in a derivative way based on their surface level mechanics, but I think there's a lot more that goes into making almost every game what it is past basic gameplay tropes. Take your Diablo II example, that game often gets described as simply this compulsive loot hunting game, but there were a lot of other little touches such as the atmosphere and soundtrack that made it special to a lot of people. You can duplicate mechanics pretty easily, but it's a different proposition to duplicate how it feels to play a game, once you take all the details and intangibles into account. I think games are generally more diverse than we often give them credit for being, it's just easier to be overly reductive about it all (which I'm guilty of at times too).

And that might be a little dramatic about indie games, but I get what you're saying :P There have been a lot of great indie games recently, ones that have a unique identifiable soul in addition to playing great.

#66 Posted by MormonWarrior (2643 posts) -

I love this. Very well-written blog. And I agree totally as well. Dark Souls captures the feel and essence of Zelda better than Zelda, Darksiders, or many other series have been able to for a long while. I'd love to see a take on the Souls experience from a Zelda point of view. I imagine that could be a really neat game.

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