Nintendo Should Let Players “Do It Themselves” in Zelda Wii
Guest Article By MYK1217
The upcoming Legend of Zelda title for Wii is expected to be the result of a significant makeover to one of Nintendo’s signature franchises. We have already heard director Eiji Aonuma make it clear that Zelda Wii will be drastically different from previous titles. Specifically, Aonuma has stated that the pace of the game will be different and that the “field to dungeon to field” layout will be altered. I think this is the perfect opportunity for Aonuma to bring back the high emphasis on exploration that the earlier games before the 3D era had.
I don’t mean to bash the beloved Ocarina of Time. It will always be a classic and is very deserving of the “best game of all time” title. But ever since Ocarina of Time, the Zelda games have nearly dropped the emphasis on pure exploration. Progression through those games includes what I call “hand holding,” where the game tells you exactly what to do and where to go, and all you have to do is follow through. I’m not saying this has made the games bad; I’m simply pointing out that Nintendo has seemed to forget about what made their classic adventure series so great to begin with: the adventure part of it.
Aonuma has even said he wants Zelda Wii to make the gamer feel like “they’ve really been on an adventure.” If that’s true, allow the player more freedom to explore Hyrule (or as rumor has it, somewhere other than Hyrule) and make their own discoveries. Allow the player to make their own decisions based off what they discover and what little information they are given. Don’t tell the player that the next dungeon is in Death Mountain; let the player discover it for his or her self.
Here’s an example of what I’m looking for:
All you’re told by the game is something like, “You’re looking for Dungeon X.” You’re not told where it is or how you access it- you just know you have to get there. You eventually find out that the dungeon is located along the river, but you cannot travel by simply swimming in it. (Yes, I am suggesting the return of Wind Waker’s swimming system.) You figure out that you need a canoe, either by catching sight of an NPC fishing in one or just by the use of pure logic. You assume that the town nearest to the river can help you find a canoe. You find a carpenter who can build you one, but he needs a specific kind of wood to build it with. You explore in search of the specific type of wood, bring it to the carpenter, and he builds the canoe for you, charging you x amount of rupees. Finally, you are able to take the canoe to the river and set out in search of the dungeon.
The topic of NPCs will probably come up in this conversation because they often give you clues or straight up tell you what to do. I am not suggesting that they should be removed from the game or that they shouldn’t have anything useful to say. Just don’t make their clues (if they have any to share) so blatantly obvious. The NPC’s clues should be more vague and less straightforward, and the highlighting of key words and phrases has to go. Everybody knows that words highlighted in a different color are clues. They’re just dead give-aways and make exploring less fun.
Bottom line: Zelda Wii needs to give more control to the player. Allow the player to make their own discoveries and use their own logic while piecing together their journey. Allow us to embark on a true adventure, Nintendo!