The last two console Zelda games have been met with many criticisms; one for changing too much and one for not changing enough. Since Twilight Princess, the series began to wain in its ability to excite me into embarking on another quest in Hyrule. While Wind Waker is seen as one of the most undesirable games of the series, I consider it one of the best. Twilight Princess, however, sits at a low point. So what makes one better than the other?
Zelda games have always held a special place in my heart as it has with many gamers. I was always entranced by the epic quest link underwent to rescue the Triforce and Princess Zelda from the clutches of the Evil Ganon. The Ocarina of Time holds the series highlight for me, but I almost equally enjoyed Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, and A Link to the Past just as much.
Wind Waker was a very original game for the series. The entire world of Hyrule was completely different than all of the other games (being completely flooded can do that to a country), the art style was unique and beautiful, and the gameplay introduced mechanics that Zelda players have never experienced before. There were characters that were completely new and familiar characters that brought nostalgia and the urge to revisit the classics. By the end of the game, you felt like Link had really become a hero, he was fully outfitted with all of the classic items, he powered up the sword of legend, and he ended up being a complete badass. Who could forget the final decisive blow he dealt to Gannondorf at the end? Wind Waker felt like a true Zelda game leaving you begging for more.
Twilight Princess on the other hand was basically the remake of The Ocarina of Time that the fans were begging for after the release of the cartoony Wind Waker. Fans wanted a darker style with realistic graphics and a compelling story. In many ways the fans got exactly what they asked for. Twilight princess was a critical success and a brilliant game, but something was lost. What was lost was the feeling the player gets when experiencing a new Zelda game. Zelda games are adventures in which players explore a mysterious world and see things they haven’t before. In Twilight Princess there was none of that. Everything that was in the game had been seen before; Gorons, Zora, Castle Town, and Death mountain are all creatures and locations that gamers saw in Ocarina, but this time they all just didn’t have the same impact they did from the first experience. Twilight Princess did not move the series forward. It was more like a step backward and ended up just being more of a tribute to the Ocarina of Time rather than a game with its own identity.
These two games represent the direction the series should lean. Does the Zelda team stick to the series staples or take chances. The Wind Waker took plenty of chances with the look, feel, and entire mission structure being completely different. Twilight uses what has been successful with the series and expands on them.
Personally, I would like to see the next Zelda, Skyward Sword, move the series forward like Wind Waker did and provide a completely new experience and introduce a world, characters, and dungeons that have not been seen in the Zelda series. It is time for something new.
What kind of Zelda do you want to play?
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