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    Dark Souls is the true spiritual successor to early Zelda titles
    • Amongst the Zelda fan-base, there are sharp divisions regarding what is the "best" or definitive entry in the series. This is due, in part, to the differing expectations people bring to their playthroughs, and to differing understandings of what the ideal Zelda formula is.

      However, one thing that the fanbase seems to agree on is that a clear line of demarcation exists between the 2D and 3D entries.

      In many ways, people claim that the advent of OoT marked a paradigm shift away from "classic" Zelda. Perhaps this is why the title (and ALttP, which preceded it) are still regarded by most as the epitome of the franchise.

      Regardless of personal feelings, it is indisputable that the transition to 3D left a lasting impression on the series. In retrospect, it's possible that the series could have developed very differently if it had not embraced 3D, had embraced it later, or even if OoT had been something other than a pseudo-remake of ALttP.

      When I first played Souls series games, I was overwhelmed by a sense of familiarity. The games, while "fresh", also felt similar to something that I had experienced before. After some reflection on the difficulty, the emphasis on exploration, the obtuse hints and advice, and the exciting and innovative battles I realized that Dark Souls reminded me of my earliest experiences with the Legend of Zelda on the NES.

      I eventually came to the conclusion that Dark Souls represents a distinct possibility of what classic Zelda could have diverged into.

      Early Zelda and Dark Souls both enjoy dropping cryptic hints and forcing the player to figure things out from there.

      Each series' bosses are hallmarks of their experiences, with clear telegraphs for the upcoming encounter. Moreover, both series require you to study and understand a boss in order to actually overcome it.

      Retro-Zelda, particularly the original title, is fond of sprinkling missable secrets, upgrades, and hidden paths all over the non-linear world. From Software's modern titles apply the decades old design philosophy as well.

      Moreover, both titles share deep and complex lore that the developers expect fans to piece together.

      Some might respond by claiming that Dark Souls is an altogether darker series than Zelda. However, this is not necessarily true. Dark Souls is generally presented with more 'realistic' graphics, and advocates a generally depressing deterministic philosophy.

      Although Zelda often employs brighter colors, one would be hard pressed to defy the series' darker tendencies: the entire decline timeline, Majora's Mask, and several brutal executions of Ganon. The series even has several morbidly charming prototypes of Dark Souls' iconic "You died" screen.

      In short, the primary "flavor" differences that characterize Zelda as more light-hearted are presentation and philosophy, as Zelda is ultimately about the triumph of good against evil.

      Ultimately, had Zelda embraced a different path, I think it's very probable that it would have developed into something remarkably similar to From Software's magnum opus.
    • 100% agreed. We are talking specifically about the atmosphere that Dark Souls brings with its exploration, mystical characters and cryptic sense of hints and lostness. Dark Souls is the true spiritual successor of Zelda without all the mysterious fairytale charm and subtle whimsicality that Zelda is really as much about. Dark Souls is a better and more accurate Zelda game than Twilight Princess. But without all the subtle whimsicality and mysterious fairytale charm, it is a game geared toward a more mature audience with a more combative focus. If Dark Souls was themed ethereally so however like A Link to the Past, or even more magically like Oracle of Seasons, and featured major key items like Zelda does, non-combative side quests games and scenarios, and less boss or fighting focus, then I would be witnessing something truly amazing and imaginative. Imo nonetheless the less boss and more side-game focus isn't as important as keeping to the true Zelda theme of subtle whimsicality and mysterious fairytale charm. Hopefully some company will make a better Zelda-like game than what is being produced these days, based on some of the key features of what its free exploration, subtle cryptic atmosphere, iconic item-finding, and mysterious fairytale charm really entails--and by this I am essentially speaking of all of the features in atmosphere that ALttP, LA, OoT and MM share in focus and common. These are the climax of, imo, Zelda's thematic atmosphere and emphasis.

      The post was edited 41 times, last by guest_15468 ().

    • Agreed as well.

      Although I haven't been able to play the Soul series yet (sadly I have a shitty outdated laptop and no console that is able to play), I'm no stranger to the series: I have seen a friend of mine play through some of it, and I did some research on the wiki and watched some videos, simply because there was something familiar to it and I reached the same conclusion as you.

      Dark Souls basically merges elements from both TLOZ and Ico/Shadow Of The Colossus (which reminds me of Zelda too) and the result is incredible. Besides the exploration elements, I also like how it presents the story through bits and pieces that you look for, and the style of the narrative makes me very happy as well.

      I really hope Nintendo brings some of Dark Souls into ZeldaU.
    • Yeah, I've heard this bullshit millions of times. This topic is getting old.

      And yet, I do agree. But you forgot to mention one thing.

      DARK SOULS HAS BARELY ANY POINTLESS PUZZLES. Seriously, we play Zelda in spite of puzzles, not because of them, but does Aonuma, in all his blindness and deafness, know this?

      Steadily focusing on puzzles more and more was the biggest mistake of the Zelda series. I hope than Aonuma saying that "The new Zelda won't have the puzzles you expect", he's actually learning this time.
    • Blue Quills wrote:

      Yeah, I've heard this bullshit millions of times. This topic is getting old.

      And yet, I do agree. But you forgot to mention one thing.

      DARK SOULS HAS BARELY ANY POINTLESS PUZZLES. Seriously, we play Zelda in spite of puzzles, not because of them, but does Aonuma, in all his blindness and deafness, know this?

      Steadily focusing on puzzles more and more was the biggest mistake of the Zelda series. I hope than Aonuma saying that "The new Zelda won't have the puzzles you expect", he's actually learning this time.


      Speak for yourself, I personally love all the puzzles in the games, especially since they aren't hard enough to be frustrating (save for some very few exceptions here and there).
    • I'm just now going through Dark Souls and to be honest... Just a couple of days ago I was wondering "why are people even comparing this to Zelda?"

      The atmosphere is completely different, and the overall structure couldn't be any further away from Zelda (and yes, I mean the first game) unless it was a linear game. Pretty much the only similarities is in the huge focus on exploration.

      Level design is completely different. Instead of a big world with several different "levels" to be found like in Zelda, every single area in Dark Souls is part of a whole, with interconnected areas and multiple paths rather than just plain open places. Zelda has a clear division between its overworld and its dungeons, while in Dark Souls there's nothing you can really classify as either dungeon or overworld; they're one and the same.

      A big, huge mechanic in Zelda is finding new items with specific uses, which let you uncover secrets in the overworld, and in some cases progress inside dungeons. This doesn't exist in Dark Souls. The "items" you find there are weapons and armors that help you in the fights. All fights in Dark Souls are directly tied to understanding and using the combat system correctly, while a lot of fights in Zelda are simply tied to using the right item (Like using bombs on Dodongo, the arrows on Gohma, or the recorder on Digdogger).

      If anything, Dark Souls is closer to an evolution of Castlevania than Zelda.

      If there's one thing I want Zelda to learn from Dark Souls is with the combat system. They're far from identical, but they have plenty of parallels that would translate amazingly well to most 3D Zelda fights.

      But atmosphere? Level design? The general focus of the game? They have nothing to do with eachother.

      The post was edited 8 times, last by Khao ().

      Post by Octorocker ().

      This post was deleted by the author themselves: Duplicates ().
    • The atmosphere of Dark Souls reminds me a ton of Ocarina and Majora's Mask. All the silent little touches of charming characters and mystery, their subtle whisper-like lending of cryptic hints and lore, their hiddenness and overworld blendedness, and the silent trickle and rustle of immersion all around. It's not very over-the-top like a lot of open world games are or how Zelda is nowadays, but about closely listening in and feeling the lore, and wandering with it.

      Khao wrote:

      Level design is completely different. Instead of a big world with several different "levels" to be found like in Zelda, every single area in Dark Souls is part of a whole, with interconnected areas and multiple paths rather than just plain open places. Zelda has a clear division between its overworld and its dungeons, while in Dark Souls there's nothing you can really classify as either dungeon or overworld; they're one and the same.
      That's kind of how Zelda is too though. It's always been expected of Zelda to simply evolve from being so segmented and cut-and-dried, to continually evolve its specifics into the greater adventure concept desired, and to evolve that lost exploration fantasy its known for of mysterious characters and areas. Not stay traditionally literal every step of the way with segmented areas called dungeons known to be for specific purposes. That's repetitive and traditional and we don't expect these specifics to always remain the same for Zelda even though they unfortunately have, but expect wholeheartedly the same fundamental concept out of evolving these specific traditions into something different, greater, and more diverse. That's not what Dark Souls has done, but it's certainly similar. Therefore, when you look at Dark Souls and Zelda in more of the big picture, we start to see how they're very conceptually alike. I think they're the most alike atmospherically, because atmosphere is about the style of immersion, sound and pacing, and in this specific case of Zelda and Dark Souls, it is about the windingly free lostness and rustle of exploration, the quiet characters and their sense of hiddenness, mystery, and cryptic personality and storytelling. Story has done a 180 from this in Zelda nowadays, no wonder it doesn't actually remind me of Zelda anymore.

      The post was edited 53 times, last by guest_15468 ().