Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Legend of Zelda Love/Hate Cycle
Maybe it's because I've been with Zelda since the beginning that I see what I call the "Zelda Love/Hate cycle." What is this cycle and when did it start? Here's my theory:
The original game was like nothing we ever seen before. Exploring a non-linear world where you can go just about everywhere right from the start was amazing. Don't forget it was the first video game with a lithium battery, so we could easily save progress without worrying about complicated passwords.
The second one came out and I really enjoyed it, not knowing that one day it would be seen as the "black sheep" of the Zelda games. It was different. It was more difficult than the first one, but that didn't stop me from beating it over and over again.
Of course, Link to the Past was a phenomenal game that returned to the original's way of exploring without side scrolling. But then came:
Ocarina of Time. It blew everyone away. There's Hyrule field, Epona, the Water Temple, learning to play songs, time travel, and so many other things that made the game a masterpiece.
And ever since OoT, every Zelda game has been (unfairly) judged to be not as good. It started with Majora's Mask and is still going strong with Skyward Sword.
Once the hype of the newest release settles and we prepare for the next Zelda game, something starts to happen. The game that was bashed is now beloved. Once the new game released, the cycle goes into full swing. For example, when Wind Waker was released it got so much hate for its cel-shading. People complained that it "was for little kids" and "I hate sailing, it takes too long" blah blah blah. Now it seems WW is the second most requested Zelda game that people want to see remade for the 3DS. (MM is the first)
Again when Twilight Princess was first released, fans bitched and moaned about everything, but now everyone seems to love it.
Mark my words, when the next Legend of Zelda home console game is released, people will be fondly talking about Skyward Sword and how great is is, instead of criticizing it. And they'll complain that the new one is too different or too much of the same. Link's too young or too feminine. It's too linear or there's too much world to explore.
While all this is happening, I'll be happily playing as Link running around in the new game, fighting things, bombing stuff, maybe learning a new song or two. Because for me, I realized a long time ago that no game will ever compare to the original Zelda in my mind. But that's okay. I love each game for its differences and similarities. Every new Zelda game is like reuniting with my old friend Link, and I look forward to each new meeting.