Let’s talk Zelda

The GameFAQS best game ever contest has recently come to a close. This was the biggest one they’ve ever done, plus they separated the games into tiers based on the time period they were released. I’m always somewhat annoyed and disgusted at how universally well all the Final Fantasy games do, as if there’s some type of Squaresoft party line. If you remember one of my posts a while back, I mentioned I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and dig into the FF universe.

I was all set up to do a complete noob’s FF7 review, but Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time won it all. I’ve chosen to delay the FF7 post and instead talk a bit about Zelda, since it’s more topical this way. Expect the FF7 post on monday though!

Ocarina of Time is one of those games where if someone were to point to it as the best game ever, I wouldn’t argue. Yet, I probably wouldn’t point to it as my absolute favorite. It’s like the Shawshank Redemption that way (NOT the Godfather. This blog has strong opinions!).

Zelda’s in a weird situation when it comes to sequels because they’ve more or less made the perfect game twice already (Link to the Past, and the aforementioned Ocarina of Time). The gameplay and construction of the Zelda games is so good that there’s almost nothing to attack critically. Critics of the series usually go after the fact that “they’ve made the same game over and over” ever since both of their landmark titles. The thing is, these same critics also tear down EVERY attempt the Zelda series makes to innovate or change the formula set up by their two hall of fame entries.

I’m talking about Wind Waker, Majora’s Mask, and to a certain extent, Twilight Princess. All of these would be very good games, even if they weren’t in the Zelda franchise, but critics complained about every one of them and they complained about the very ways in which they were trying to be different and innovative. People complained about the cute graphics and sailing portions of Wind Waker. They bitched about the time limit and time travelling of Majora’s Mask. I don’t know what there is to complain about with Twilight Princess, but dammit they found a way to ignore the innovation put forth by that game as well.

It’s like when an insanely popular band is accused of being too samey with every album, so they mix up their new album just a little, and everyone freaks out because it isn’t like their old stuff. Nintendo is in that trap with the Zelda series. I suggest they continue to make small little innovations and changes to their winning formula… and maybe get even more ballsy with the changes they make.

The Zelda series is one of the only franchises where you can literally take ANY title (okay, okay… not the CD-I games) and have a truly excellent time with it.  Ocarina of Time should absolutely beat out FF7 for the best game ever… and I’m so glad it did.

That being said, my FFVII post (posts? who knows…) will be on Monday.


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