Zero Punctuation: Zelda Phantom Hourglass

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Xander_VJ:

And as they have said before, the complain about Nintendo not releasing new franchises is just not true. "Animal Crossing", "Nintendogs", "Brain Training", "Excite Trucks", "Trauma Center"... you may like or dislike those titles, but they ARE new franchises. I think that the proper complain would be that Nintendo should spend the same money in those new franchises as they do with Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Pokémon (as in being big budget games).

Fair enough on the possible change in complaint, but fact of the matter is Nintendo may want to think of themselves as the most innovative, but they're just not. With exception to "Starfox Adventures", "LOZ: Link's Awakening", "Mario 2" (US), "Zelda 2" and "F-Zero GP Legend", all of their games are identical. NONE of their newer IPs have even come close to dethroning any of them. Pikmin and Animal Crossing are prime examples of two games that showed up, peaked, fizzled and faded to black.

Meantime, you get the latest Zelda and you already know the plot. Get the latest proper Mario game (as opposed to games that throw Mario in to try to get more sales from the mascot) and you know the plot. Ditto for Metroid. Other IPs that used to be big: Pilotwings died with the N64, F-Zero has been declining (even though GX was one of the best, IMO, but limited because the Cube played 3rd string behind the PS2 and Xbox), Pokemon is the same repetitive RPG or fighter.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If it hadn't been for Pokemon keeping the Nintendo brand fresh to younger gamers and Super Smash Bros. bringing a quality exclusive fighter to the Nintendo consoles, Nintendo's console efforts would have been driven down the same road as Sega.

Captiosus:
Meantime, you get the latest Zelda and you already know the plot. Get the latest proper Mario game (as opposed to games that throw Mario in to try to get more sales from the mascot) and you know the plot. Ditto for Metroid. Other IPs that used to be big: Pilotwings died with the N64, F-Zero has been declining (even though GX was one of the best, IMO, but limited because the Cube played 3rd string behind the PS2 and Xbox), Pokemon is the same repetitive RPG or fighter.

This is only relevant if you claim that plot is the only driving force behind a game, but that's clearly not the case. Plot, and you can expand that to encompass the setting as well, is only one possible aspect of a game that can drive players to continue with the game experience.

It's not even necessarily the strongest driving force in games. Sports games don't have them, racing games don't have them, puzzle games usually don't, management games don't, MMOs don't... And those categories can contain some ludicrously successful games. The Sims doesn't have a story at all, bar the one made up in the players' head, but that hasn't stopped it selling approximately fourteen squillion copies to everyone and their mum. Hell, in some cases, you can be playing a game simply for the satisfaction of overcoming a difficult yet entirely arbitrary challenge.

So yes, you "know the plot" of most Zelda games as soon as you pick them up, but that's not really important, because the point isn't the plot, the point is exploring the world, gradually picking up abilities and figuring out how you can use them to get to that place you saw but couldn't quite reach, and in that respect even saving the same damn princess for the umpteenth time can remain fresh and interesting, as new abilities come in, like the spinner, or water bombs, and open up new types of challenge that the game can throw at players.

It's not just know the plot. Play Ocarina of Time and then play Twilight Princess. They play exactly the same, except in the Wolf Link sections where the only difference is that you cannot use items as Wolf Link.

Captiosus:
With exception to "Starfox Adventures", "LOZ: Link's Awakening", "Mario 2" (US), "Zelda 2" and "F-Zero GP Legend", all of their games are identical. NONE of their newer IPs have even come close to dethroning any of them. Pikmin and Animal Crossing are prime examples of two games that showed up, peaked, fizzled and faded to black.

To be fair with Nintendo though, the truth is these games, particlarly Starfox Adventures, were just not popular with franchise fans and unfortunately those are the people who make up the majority market for each game. They practically ask for repetetiveness with just new settings and graphics. The result being the latest Starfox game was almost a carbon-copy of the first one with the exception of some multiple endings palaver and some mapping to take advantage of the DS stylus, just like phourglass i should point out.

Oh please. Everyone says, "They all have the same plot! Suckage!"
Using similar plot DEVICES and having the same story are two entirely different things.
Sure, you are saving Zelda in most of them, sure Link is the hero of legend, sure there's the Triforce Ganon is trying to get his piggy mitts on, but after that the individual stories diverge. In terms of brief summary all the Zelda games are quite similar, but going through and saying that everything is the same is flat out wrong.
And in terms of gameplay, don't think that Zelda is the only one to play the same as predecessors: the standard FPS and thrid person action games always play the same way (i.e.- push left analog stick forward, press button to fire gun/slash/garrote/punch/kick/blah blah blah, right analog stick to look for the next target. RPG is always select an option, press okay, watch as something happens.
I could go on, but I doubt that anyone believes me.

Am I the only one on the planet who has never played a Zelda game and does not feel at a loss?

Fun review. Love the reference to that PS2 game at the end.

I left Zelda alone at the N64 right where I left Nintendo and as some dude said once they can fuck right off they are making fun of us on a regular base.

Also Flak towers my ass it was a doom fortress.

RIP Clover Studios.

Wheeeee!!! Next week Review Trauma Center: New Blood! Cause I don't respect anyone, especially myself!

Num43:
I left Zelda alone at the N64 right where I left Nintendo and as some dude said once they can fuck right off they are making fun of us on a regular base.

Also Flak towers my ass it was a doom fortress.

I don't care what anyone says, Wind Waker was great, the sailing made it more like a journey or epic, like Gullivers Travels or something. I loved that game.

Vitalix:
Am I the only one on the planet who has never played a Zelda game and does not feel at a loss?.

The only time I came vaguely in contact with anything that had the name Zelda in it, was when everybody was playing StarCraft, there was a small little fun map for multiplayer with the name Zelda64. But from what I've read here Zelda isn't the sort of game I would usually play...

Captiosus:
Fair enough on the possible change in complaint, but fact of the matter is Nintendo may want to think of themselves as the most innovative, but they're just not. With exception to "Starfox Adventures", "LOZ: Link's Awakening", "Mario 2" (US), "Zelda 2" and "F-Zero GP Legend", all of their games are identical. NONE of their newer IPs have even come close to dethroning any of them. Pikmin and Animal Crossing are prime examples of two games that showed up, peaked, fizzled and faded to black.

Right first off Nintendo is innovative. There is no beating around the bush here Nintendo still puts out some innovative and original titles and ideas. Nintendo has set multiple standards in the industry (such as D-Pad and analogue stick etc) however this is about the games. Franchises that sell well won't die, if the fans like them they'll continue to make them. Games like Zelda 2 and Starfox Adventures were poorly recieved merely because they weren't what people expected. With Zelda you want an overhead view if you're in 2D, and in Starfox you want to fly through space not wander around on a planet. These games would have sold better with different name on the box (e.g if Starfox Adventures had stayed as Dinosaur Planet)
Also Pikmin and Animal Crossing haven't 'faded to black' it's common knowledge that theres a new Animal Crossing in development for Wii and Miyamoto has been looking into Pikmin for Wii.

Captiosus:
Meantime, you get the latest Zelda and you already know the plot. Get the latest proper Mario game (as opposed to games that throw Mario in to try to get more sales from the mascot) and you know the plot. Ditto for Metroid. Other IPs that used to be big: Pilotwings died with the N64, F-Zero has been declining (even though GX was one of the best, IMO, but limited because the Cube played 3rd string behind the PS2 and Xbox), Pokemon is the same repetitive RPG or fighter.

What on earth has plot got to do with Zelda and Mario? I haven't met anyone come away from either and say 'my good that game was awful, there was no plot' however people do come away from these games with giant smiles because they're fun, something the majority of the industry has forgotten. Nintendo does reuse concepts, a lot admittedly but they are still able to make the experience enjoyable.

Captiosus:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: If it hadn't been for Pokemon keeping the Nintendo brand fresh to younger gamers and Super Smash Bros. bringing a quality exclusive fighter to the Nintendo consoles, Nintendo's console efforts would have been driven down the same road as Sega.

Now that is rubbish. Nintendo was kept alive during that era by it's devoted fanbase. Yes Pokemon was extremely popular with the kids but only for handhelds which would have kept the Nintendo brand running no matter what. Yes Gamecube didn't sell that well but it only sold a few million under xbox, then theres the fact that Nintendo was the only company recieving a profit from every console sold for a few years.
I could say that any console would have died if it hadn't been for one game. Without Sonic, Sega would have died with the Genesis. If Sony hadn't got Final Fantasy the PlayStation might not have taken off. Same for the xbox and Halo and the NES with Mario.

LordOmnit:
Oh please. Everyone says, "They all have the same plot! Suckage!"
Using similar plot DEVICES and having the same story are two entirely different things.
Sure, you are saving Zelda in most of them, sure Link is the hero of legend, sure there's the Triforce Ganon is trying to get his piggy mitts on, but after that the individual stories diverge. In terms of brief summary all the Zelda games are quite similar, but going through and saying that everything is the same is flat out wrong.
And in terms of gameplay, don't think that Zelda is the only one to play the same as predecessors: the standard FPS and thrid person action games always play the same way (i.e.- push left analog stick forward, press button to fire gun/slash/garrote/punch/kick/blah blah blah, right analog stick to look for the next target. RPG is always select an option, press okay, watch as something happens.
I could go on, but I doubt that anyone believes me.

Ohhh....you know what? Yeah, you're right. I'm vaguely sure that in one of the games, Zelda said "Link, it's surely your destiny." instead of "Link, it must be your destiny." Yeah, different plot.

I realize many FPSes are starting to play the same way. News flash: Not many people like those FPSes. Things like the gravity gun and Unreal Tournament's completely bizarre weaponry (not exactly always best to just point-and-shoot...each gun has its own uses) make an attempt to keep it fresh.
But there is a problem here. Unreal Tournament 2004 is not very different from Unreal Tournament 3. It's just better graphics. So you know what? Epic decided "Let's do something DIFFERENT." And they made Gears of War. Sure its plot was sickening, but everyone raved over the cover system and methods of control. The fact that they were inventing an entirely new franchise meant EVERYTHING was new. The lancer's chainsaw was not "nice to bring back from the first game." The cover system was not "A nice way to renew the series." While you can certainly argue that it possesses a similar-looking array of weapons to many other games, there's still quite a lot that's different from most things seen before: Chainsaw gun, cover system, art style (however bad), etc.

I'm not in any way trying to say GoW is better than Zelda. I would argue quite the opposite in fact. But if Epic making a new franchise was this refreshing for everyone, you can see how awesome it would be if Nintendo did it. Invent something new! Make a potential new SSB character!

One thing I'd like to point out is that Nintendo wasn't always this way. Before the Gamecube, Nintendo would use the previous games in a franchise as a backbone for the sequel instead of a cookie cutter formula for it. Super Mario Bros. 3 borrowed the basics from Super Mario Bros., but it was hardly a rehash. The levels really did something new with Mario. There were levels that went vertically instead of horizontally. There was a level where you had to survive a fleet of koopa tanks. There were water levels that actually had some design to them! Then there were the crazy new power ups like the tanooki suit, that let you turn to stone. It was a lot different from Super Mario Bros., but still had that Mario feel. Another example is Super Metroid. It followed the Metroid formula to the letter, but it never felt like the same old Metroid on the NES. The repetitive areas were gone, Samus controlled better, and the atmospheric music/graphics really gave you a sense of being lost in an underground labyrinth.

Now, Nintendo plays it way too safe with their franchises, and Zelda is the worst culprit. Ocarina of Time came out in 1998, and Nintendo has been using the Ocarina cookie cutter for every Zelda game since. Don't get me wrong, it was an awesome game...9 years ago. Now, I should be directly controlling Link's sword with the Wiimote to kill bad guys who have more A.I. than "Go toward player character. Attack," and bosses that aren't entirely locked into patterns. I should be hearing voices instead of reading text. I should be following an intricate plot rather than collecting 8 macguffins. I should be aquiring items that are brand new instead of variations on items from past games. And the dungeon puzzles need to be harder.

People are mentioning games like Trauma Center and Elite Beat Agents (Phoenix Wright anybody?). They've got innovation up the hoo ha. Problem is, you can beat those games the day you buy them, easily. After that, you're left with Nintendo riffing on their golden oldies. And if Nintendo's not going do anything new with their meatier games, I'm not gonna buy Wii for Warioware. I'll buy an Xbox 360 or a PC, platforms that have innovative big games for gamers locked in their basements.

"Who cares?" says Nintendo. "We only care about casual gamers now! Wii want to play!" I think it's foolish for Nintendo to give up on hardcore gamers. Make a Zelda game that is as good as Ocarina was in its time, and I'll fork over the cash for a Wii. I'll put it right next to my big ugly murder simulators.

Xbox 360 or PC? PC. Definitely. Independent games (and even Flash games when they're good) FTW.
Stack up the innovation behind Narbacular Drop and all the innovative new unheard-of ideas (like Armadillo Run) on the PC...the Wii pretty much gets its ass kicked for new ideas. I am dead serious.

Yes, it might as well be called The Legend of Backtrack and the Phantom Motivation.

They said two years ago that they were working on new franchises, with new characters.

Where are they? And by new characters, I mean something else than Mario's millions of friends or enemies.

Arbre:
They said two years ago that they were working on new franchises, with new characters.

Where are they? And by new characters, I mean something else than Mario's millions of friends or enemies.

I think you misunderstood. When they said new franchises, they meant grabbing up Sonic. I also think they consider the Mii's a franchise.

Lance Icarus:
I also think they consider the Mii's a franchise.

:D
Now who's got to clean his screen, huh?

Legend of Zelda is a great franchise, although I do agree that the plot concept (which appears to be the same from mario games aswell) has got a bit dry. The okami reference made me laugh.

SanitysRequiem:

Num43:
I left Zelda alone at the N64 right where I left Nintendo and as some dude said once they can fuck right off they are making fun of us on a regular base.

Also Flak towers my ass it was a doom fortress.

I don't care what anyone says, Wind Waker was great, the sailing made it more like a journey or epic, like Gullivers Travels or something. I loved that game.

I never got to Wind waker also I am pretty sure I would have hated it, why? well why not if I wanted to sail around I'd buy microsoft sailing around simulator X or some shit like that:)

Im a synical person, like Yahtzee, but, i am also a nintendo fan, as such i am completely agreeing with Yahtzee, as i kept clinging onto them in the hope that they would actually do anything revolutionary with their consoles, but because they REALLY didnt, thats why they changed the name from the nintendo revolution, to the nintendo wii, because overall, it isnt a revolution, its a TV remote with less buttons, they just about pulled out some spanktacular new things for the gamecube, but then they ruined the greatness by remaking, sequeling, and cross platforming over and over again, but will nintendo listen? NO! its not even hard to come up with a new idea, yahtzee proved that himself with his "Tomb Raider: Anniversary" ending, which rocked, here's one, a rock-climbing fishmongler from france takes on evil vegetable patches to become a world renowned chef. ITS EASY, why cant nintendo do it!

Lance Icarus:
Yes, it might as well be called The Legend of Backtrack and the Phantom Motivation.

now that is genius, instead of doing sequels, they should do parodies to their own games

Kronopticon:

Lance Icarus:
Yes, it might as well be called The Legend of Backtrack and the Phantom Motivation.

now that is genius, instead of doing sequels, they should do parodies to their own games

Almost done. :P

Is it bad form to bring up something from last week in this week's comments? Because at one point in the MOH review you had one of the sidekick soldiers saying "I'm a hero", which was funny, but "I'm an hero" would have been filled with even more win. I just had to say that.

I agree with SanitysRequiem, the sailing was awesome, but I've loved game sailing ever since Ultima: Exodus for the NES.

Good review as usual, best reason to get up on wednesday morning.

On the point of the debate, Nintendo are kind of in a bind as far as Zelda goes, any time that they've tried to mix up the formula either they've been criticised for it or the game has underperformed. Personally I loved Wind Waker and could forgive the sailing and poor final third to a degree because it has so much going for it. The characters are portrayed far better than in just about any game I've ever played, every one of the NPC's has individuality and personality, even the totally insignificant ones, and the game has so much charm I found it wasy to forgive the mis-steps that it took.

Twilight Princess was an example of Nintendo giving in to the publics demands rather than doing what they want. The public demanded a Zelda game that was more like Ocarina of Time, and Nintendo oblige, then the public turns around and complains that its too similar to Ocarina of Time, well duh!

More on topic, Zelda games aren't plot driven RPG's like Final Fantasy, the plot really is just there to give an excuse to leave the starting area and to give you an enemy to fight so complaining about the plot, or lack thereof, is kind of missing the point of the games. The point of Zelda games has always been about exploration and discovering secrets, this was laid out in the first Zelda which really gave you almost no hints as to where you had to go and what you had to do (didn't even give you a map) but threw you into a world with only a sword and shield and expected you to discover everything yourself.

My big problem with Nintendo games now is that they do a bit too much 'hand-holding' in how they give you hints and tell you where to go. First example of this I think is in Mario 64 level 4 (Cool, Cool Mountain) where on the first time you enter it tells you to jump down the chimney of the hut and there's a sign next to it talking about Santa not being the only one who can go down chimneys', this is despite the fact that there is a trail of coins leading down the chimney meaning that only a blind chimp couldn't work out that you can jump down it.

On the topic of new IP's, I can't really see the point in a lot of ways. If the new IP's do something different (like what Animal Crossing and Pikmin do) then fine but if its just to dress what could be a Mario, Zelda or Metroid game (and a lot of people do say this is a route Nintendo should take) up in a different image then why bother? These series consistently spawn good or great games and how many other game series can say that? Not many. However I will say that the Mario spin-offs like Mario party etc need to be put down for the good of all, Mario Kart and Paper Mario are fine but others take it a bit too far.

As always Yahtzee, all of your video game reviews are hilarious. I don't care what anybody says. In every Legend of Zelda game, Princess Zelda always gets kidnapped and Link has to rescue risk his life to rescue her. Same old plot, different name title. People should just admit it. As long as Nintendo keeps releasing Legend of Zelda games, the same plot will be in it.

Okay, so after playing further into the Phantom Hourglass I can say this much.

In Windwaker, the graphics were excellent, because it was a smooth game. The people look ass hideous in this game, and the dialouge sometimes makes me pissed. I should not be pissed off at dialouge unless it's the haughty badguy calling my mother a whore, or something.

Another thing, I have to agree with Yahtzee on his "fuck right off" point. Going back to the same dungeon, that's TIMED, and having to sneak by the same fuck-tards again and again gets so god damned frustrating it's ridiculous. I've already gone past them, i'm bored, perhaps I can speed it up? NOPE! Because if I do I get hit, and lose 30 seconds, and can not complete the dungeon! Then i'm done pooping, turn off the game, and leave the toilet.

Finally, in the Windwaker, I loved the sailing. For some reason I found it so much run to ride in my boat, board other ships, do some kickass combat (ass opposed to *TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP*) and not even finding the triforce shards bothered me. Sailing in the windwaker is like poking your penis when you really need to cut your nails.

Dude, your my favorite game reviewer! YOU ROCK!

I love these reviews. It's a shame that I require them to expose the effect these flaws have on these games that I can't get out of other reviews (even though I should, I like to pretend they aren't there :( ). Despite this, in the end, I'm a huge fan of the Zelda series and because I like these games so much, I can withstand the flaws and still enjoy the games as much as I enjoyed the first Zelda game I ever picked up. Oh damn, I think that makes me an idiot. Oh well, at least I'm happy.

Anyways...

Keep up the good work, it is greatly appreciated.

Redfeather:

Only annoying factor is the use of "fag" every episode lately it seems. Perhaps it's not quite the slur in merry old england that it is here in the states. Or perhaps he's been listening to too many console 'tards via voice chat.

... But doesn't he use it mainly in reference to himself? Is it not the same way that I could call myself a bitch or (insert racial slur here) because I'm a woman of color?

PS: Ookami rocked my socks (except the garbled speech in the background of every dialogue).

Katana314:
Ohhh....you know what? Yeah, you're right. I'm vaguely sure that in one of the games, Zelda said "Link, it's surely your destiny." instead of "Link, it must be your destiny." Yeah, different plot.

I wasn't going to comment on this because of the sheer IDIOCY of this comment, especially considering what I said in the comment you QUOTED. Sure, in Zelda games you are:

Yahtzee:
The same bloody guy saving the same bloody girl with the same bloody boomerang.

but the point is is that these are plot DEVICES rather than the whole story. What you said about the differing sentence structure is just the reasoning for him going off and doing whatever, but, as you quoted me, the stories diverge from there, unless you are going to make a big generalization again.
Here, let me make one too-
Fantasy stories with male leads are always the same: male lead is destined for greatness whether he likes it or not, goes off to save the kingdom/world, probably has to save a girl along the way and likely hooks up with her, he wins and everyone is happy, the end.

Do any of you realize how amazingly good Nutella is? Judging by this thread, I don't think that you do. Wow. How uncultured and uncivilized can you get? Here's what you need to do.

Go buy Nutella and bread. Put a piece of the bread in the toaster. When it's done, spread Nutella on it. Eat the amazing gift from God that you hold in your grubby little hand. After that, you may come back and post. Until then, do your best to come to terms with the fact that you're missing out on one of the greatest things in life and try to avoid committing suicide.

*sniff* He made an Okami reference.

Bless his little pessimistic soul.

Nutella.
?????

LordOmnit:
Nutella.
?????

French Hazelnut Chocolate spread. But i'm damned if i know what its relevance is to a game review, regardless of its Mana-from-heaven-itude

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