Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...? - http://www.mmcafe.com/ Forums


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Maese
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"Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...?" , posted Fri 11 Dec 15:34post reply

I know this place is not a very ripe territory for Zelda lovers, but let's give it a try anyway. Has anybody played the new Spirit Tracks for DS yet? If so, care to share your opinions?

I myself am thorn about this one. Should I venture into it? I've heard nothing but praises about the game almost everywhere, but I have my concerns. I don't think railway systems belong to Zelda universe and, what's more important, the last Zelda I played (TP) left me with a bittersweet taste. More bitter than sweet, to tell the truth.

In such state of things, I don't know what to habeeb anymore. I can only depend on the wise advice of a bunch of cultured, highbrow tasted internet dwellers such as you. Help me, MMCafers, you are my last hope!





tl;dr: let's discuss the new Zelda.






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Grave
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"Re(1):Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...?" , posted Fri 11 Dec 16:28:post reply

I just can't get excited about Zelda games these days. I'd like to! I haven't really loved one of these games since LttP. I hate Ocarina of Time, loved Majora Mask's ideas but hated the shit engine. Came close to loving Wind Waker but the sailing got so damn tiring. Twilight Princess started out okay and I really loved the monster designs, but the fact that it's still based around the garbage OoT gameplay pissed me off. Waggle pissed me off, liked the world, liked Midna, still got bored in under ten hours and quit. Never bothered with any of the more recent portable ones. Stylus control in the last one scared me off.

That said! Is there any reason I should give this game a chance? Is it going to change any of how I feel about Zelda?

edit: I really hope someone here has actually played it or otherwise this thread will be lots and lots of questions and concerns with no answers and that will be depressing and painful





[this message was edited by Grave on Fri 11 Dec 16:30]

Spoon
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"Re(2):Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...?" , posted Fri 11 Dec 17:03post reply

I'm all for the Legend of Manifest Destiny.

Hopefully there is a memorial image taken when you hammer in the last spike.





sfried
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"Re(1):Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...?" , posted Fri 11 Dec 18:54post reply

Planning on getting it sometime this holiday.

Playing Phantom Hourglass and I don't see where the hate is coming from. The Central Dungeon? Bah!





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"Re(2):Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...?" , posted Sat 12 Dec 05:07post reply

quote:
Planning on getting it sometime this holiday.

Playing Phantom Hourglass and I don't see where the hate is coming from. The Central Dungeon? Bah!

Sadly, that Central Dungeon killed PH for me. There were all sorts of clever uses of the stylus and the duel screens that I loved in PH but then the game would periodically grind to a halt so I could plod through the same time sink of a dungeon again and again. The whole thing felt like a cost-cutting way of extending the game's play time. It would have been workable if the dungeon had been an optional side quest but the stupid thing was central to getting through the game. If ST manages to have the imaginative parts of PH without the repetitive malarkey I will happily pick it up.

Actually, how long is ST? Almost all my complaints about the more recent Zeldas is that they are, in one way or another, too long for their own good.





sfried
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"Re(3):Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...?" , posted Sat 12 Dec 05:29post reply

quote:
Sadly, that Central Dungeon killed PH for me. There were all sorts of clever uses of the stylus and the duel screens that I loved in PH but then the game would periodically grind to a halt so I could plod through the same time sink of a dungeon again and again. The whole thing felt like a cost-cutting way of extending the game's play time. It would have been workable if the dungeon had been an optional side quest but the stupid thing was central to getting through the game. If ST manages to have the imaginative parts of PH without the repetitive malarkey I will happily pick it up.

I feel the complaints laid towards the Central Dungeon are coming from the same people who had trouble with the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time and just didn't like Majora's Mask: What's up with them?

The Central Dungeon actually has depth since the item you've aquired enabled you to skip parts, if not just outright take shortcuts that you probably wouldn't have figured in the second run. Also, there is supposedly

Spoiler (Highlight to view) -
an item later that will let you defeat the Phantoms

End of Spoiler

.

From what I hear, ST solves the Central Dungeon problem by not making you repeat any of the segments.





Maese
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"Re(2):Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...?" , posted Mon 14 Dec 16:35post reply

quote:

edit: I really hope someone here has actually played it or otherwise this thread will be lots and lots of questions and concerns with no answers and that will be depressing and painful



Somehow, I had the feeling this thread was going to end in such fashion anyway...





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"Re(4):Zelda Spirit Tracks, anyone...?" , posted Wed 23 Dec 00:05post reply

quote:
From what I hear, ST solves the Central Dungeon problem by not making you repeat any of the segments.



That appears to be the case. There's a stairway that leads to each of the central dungeon's levels, so you just go up another level on the stairs to get to the next part. Oddly, though, you need to collect the anti-phantom sword powerups in each level.

I'm not terribly far into the game, but I'm enjoying it so far. The use of the microphone is particularly compelling and the Forest dungeon is pretty much classic Zelda fare. Princess Zelda's not as crazy a companion as Linebeck in the previous game, but her dialog is humorous.

That said, the train travel isn't as nice as PH's boat, IMO, and moving Zelda/Phantom around really sucks (when you're in Phantom "mode" and positioning the Phantom to carry Link across a fiery pit or whatnot and you touch the screen anywhere but the little dot under the Phantom's feet, control switches to Link and he jumps into the fire/pit/enemy).





Maese
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"Rise from your grave" , posted Sat 13 Feb 01:25post reply

I resurrect this topic because I've finally had the chance to try the game and, what the heck, I have to do something to kill time till I can escape from the office. So I thought, why not sharing my opinions about it? Not that anybody would care, I know.

I am well past the middle of the game, and I must say I've found it kind of disappointing overall. I'll force myself to finish it anyway, but probably won't enjoy as much as I wished.

It's a Zelda allright, sure, and as such is a relatively interesting gaming experience... But it feels plain and boring. And way too kiddy. That's my main beef about the game, actually. I usually don't mind a childish vibe in my games and, in fact, I tend to like it. I realize as well that Zelda games, specially portable ones, *are* supposed to be somewhat kiddy. But this time they've gone a bit too far. Such a dull, uninspiring universe is not engaging at all. The localized version I'm playing does not help very much, neither.

And gameplay mechanics are irritating more often than not. Having to use the stylus to do EVERYTHING, from walking to dropping bombs, is really exhausting. Sometimes it's nice, for example when you draw the boomerang trajectory as you like. But they should have limited the stylus use only to certain items and puzzles. Otherwise, controls get frustrating and imprecise... just like they turned out to be.

It has its share of good ideas, tough. Interacting with Phantom-Zelda is fun. And I kind of enjoy the train rides; almost want to yell まもなく、電車がまいります。黄色い線までお下がりください。 in a nasal voice whenever I approach any station.... which makes me realize I should actually switch to Densha de Go! and forget about Zelda forever.

Hum, maybe I'm just getting old.





Variable Savior
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"Rise from your grave and rescue my Zelda" , posted Sat 13 Feb 02:02:post reply

I usually love Zelda games (questionable entries like PH and WW included) but I really don't care for ST. Why? It's that damn train. Since you have to follow it's tracks you can't explore the overworld at all and driving it is equal parts annoying and boring. Even the game's warp system is lacking since you have to drive to and from each.

Additionally the game seems to be seriously devoid of worthwhile side content - all it really offers is a seemingly never ending series of stupid fetch quests (i.e. take me there or bring that item here). Adding stupid rules of the rails and annoying enemy/bird attacks doesn't make these chores any more enjoyable.

Playing musical duets and drawing symbols on doors is also terrible since the game is so picky about what it excepts as a valid entry. I kept getting denied on one of the door because I was starting the pattern from the bottom instead of the top - it was the same symbol but it wouldn't take it because I didn't enter it just like it wanted. Frustrating.

The main dungeons are still fun although I've really grown tired of Zelda's boss formula (i.e. use new item to knock boss down, hit with sword, repeat three times). At least in Majora's Mask you could kill the bosses with different tactics - I never understood why they didn't continue along those lines.

And for the love of God I already know what that stupid acorn/skull/treasure item is - I've picked up like thirty of them for heaven's sake...

I guess I'll finish this eventually but I can't say I'll do so with any real interest. Quite the disappointment.





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[this message was edited by Variable Savior on Sat 13 Feb 02:12]

Maese
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"Re(1):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Sat 13 Feb 22:17post reply

I've managed to remember another handful of nice things about this Zelda, like some boss fights that vaguely remind of Shadow of the Colossus. Most of the soundtrack, albeit nothing great, is pretty passable as well.

But other than that, Variable Saviour speaks the truth. Specially when it comes to stylus controls: imprecise, frustrating and irritating.

Saving princess Zelda seems an almost impossible task nowadays... not to speak about her franchise ;_;





karasu99
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"Re(2):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Tue 16 Feb 04:21post reply

quote:
But other than that, Variable Saviour speaks the truth. Specially when it comes to stylus controls: imprecise, frustrating and irritating.

Saving princess Zelda seems an almost impossible task nowadays... not to speak about her franchise ;_;



I'm glad I didn't bother getting this, given the feedback everyone's had.

With Zelda being one of the big iconic series of the 1980's, I think it's just that there's only so much desire on the part of Nintendo to actually take a chance and make a major change to the formula, so we get these kinds of games that have a semi-experimental 'hook' that forms much of the plot but otherwise keeps gameplay almost identical. The you have the whole question of input device as innovation, which only takes a game so far, at least after the first 100 games are released that manically implement that input device irrespective of the game's actual need for its use.

Perhaps it's my dark mood this morning but I'm really wishing that someone would bring some true innovation to gameplay, even if it means no more Zeldas and no more Marios, at least not in their current form. And yes, I'll say it: the same goes for fighting games, 2D and 3D both! The problem is, coming up with an honestly innovative game is costly, both in terms of development needed and potential for financial failure.





Ishmael
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"Re(3):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Tue 16 Feb 05:26post reply

quote:
I'm glad I didn't bother getting this, given the feedback everyone's had.

With Zelda being one of the big iconic series of the 1980's, I think it's just that there's only so much desire on the part of Nintendo to actually take a chance and make a major change to the formula, so we get these kinds of games that have a semi-experimental 'hook' that forms much of the plot but otherwise keeps gameplay almost identical. The you have the whole question of input device as innovation, which only takes a game so far, at least after the first 100 games are released that manically implement that input device irrespective of the game's actual need for its use.

Perhaps it's my dark mood this morning but I'm really wishing that someone would bring some true innovation to gameplay, even if it means no more Zeldas and no more Marios, at least not in their current form. And yes, I'll say it: the same goes for fighting games, 2D and 3D both! The problem is, coming up with an honestly innovative game is costly, both in terms of development needed and potential for financial failure.


How would you makeover these games? For the sake of discussion let's limit the conversation to just Mario and Zelda. What is the difference between a gameplay innovation and something that will be dismissed as a gimmick? Where is the line that seperates traditional elements from tired retreads? How far can you push a game until it no longer resembles the franchise it comes from?





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"Re(4):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Tue 16 Feb 05:43:post reply

quote:
How far can you push a game until it no longer resembles the franchise it comes from?

I'd say about this far.





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[this message was edited by Maou on Tue 16 Feb 05:53]

karasu99
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"Re(4):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Tue 16 Feb 06:37post reply

quote:
How would you makeover these games? For the sake of discussion let's limit the conversation to just Mario and Zelda. What is the difference between a gameplay innovation and something that will be dismissed as a gimmick? Where is the line that seperates traditional elements from tired retreads? How far can you push a game until it no longer resembles the franchise it comes from?



You raise a really good point-- it's a fine line. And I don't claim to have all the answers either, I just get this sort of 'nothing's new' malaise sometimes. And I should also note (full disclosure) that I do often enjoy retreads, like Castlevania for instance, so I'm not panning them wholesale.

Mario at least has Yoshi's Island, which I think of as the very pinnacle of Mario games, although I've heard plenty of folks claim that it's NOT a Mario game, and I can see the point somewhat. What it does do is try and push the Mario-platforming genre genre, at least a little bit, not by removing elements really, but by adding elements that have gameplay implications other than 'hey look, now you have to shake the Wiimote to do a spin-jump!".

Don't take that as an indictment of Super Mario Wii-- it's a great game, and it distills a lot of the best elements of earlier games without adding truly stupid things. But it's hardly innovative. Mario games, unfortunately, have suffered from the syndrome of being branded into every conceivable genre, so I think the franchise is stretched pretty thin to start with.

Now Zelda is another story. I've already said my piece about its newer games, especially on the DS. I think there is even more room for a Zelda game to innovate without becoming something else altogether. I'd say the only thing you really need are the extremely iconic character and tool elements for it to be a Zelda game. Even in the action RPG genre as it exists there is a lot of room for it to grow. It's already been established that the Link and Zelda characters is archetypes of a sort that are different people across the different games, so that should provide a huge opportunity to change the game up. The problem is, often when Nintendo has tried to do something different, even if it's just graphically, like in Wind Waker, the game gets panned.

Although I don't even really know if innovation should come from these kinds of games even. The budget of a Mario game is huge compared to a brand new property, and as such while it has room and budget to try something new, it has little traction to move outside what's already been tried. Then you've got series like Castlevania where they have neither the budget nor the room to innovate, or even to create new assets for gameplay elements, especially. Even then they've managed it somewhat in Aria of Sorrow and (a little) in Order of Ecclesia.

I'll shut up and let someone else talk.





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"Re(5):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Tue 16 Feb 15:14post reply

quote:
What is a Zelda? A miserable pile of secrets!



Asking what any game "is" often gets answers that are roundly unfulfilling, because you wind up with sound-bite/caption responses that barely allow you to distinguish it from anything even remotely similar to it. There's a devil in the details, but rattling off feature lists is equally unsatisfying, because a plain list of features doesn't capture the essence of the game.

If there's one word which encapsulates changes to games with RPG elements in them over the past few years, though, I think it'd be "streamlining". For good or bad, there's been a real focus on making the whole RPG experience not merely accessible, but immediate. Zelda 1 gave you almost no direction, and a major part of the game was simply wandering around. One of the joys of LttP for me when it was new was how the world seemed to be full of STUFF. There was grass! It could be cut! It might have rupees in it! Wow! The world seemed to be full of secrets just waiting for me to uncover, nevermind that in truth most of them are found in clearly marked pit holes and or behind inconspicuously cracked walls.

Having a big world where aimless wandering is a major, core part of the experience is somewhat unfashionable because it flys against that streamlined, steady and immediate progress. It's unfashionable for developers, too, because making a world that's really big and really full of meaningful stuff is increasingly hard. In LttP days, finding rupees in grass and bombs in random pots you could throw at chickens was mindblowingly engaging. Nowadays, if all you had lying around was some random spare change and some ammo for your weapons, you'd be miffed at how "pointless" searching the "dead" environment would be.

I had a point here with the rails and Spirit Tracks, but now I'm too tired to write it out. I just want to know: at any point does the train become the Galaxy Express?





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"Re(6):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Tue 16 Feb 19:53post reply

I didn't like Zelda since the good old SFC one, so I can't talk about it (and 3D dot game Heroes was truly pathetic), but I think Mario managed to get fresh and new [AND GOOD] at least twice during his long history, which is something most series never do even once.

Back in the days, I liked Mario games, without being really found of them (the inertia is my enemy, I was more of a Rockman boy)(Rockman4 on VC, by the way!). Then Mario 64 re-created everything, and almost created 3D platform, or even action games. Where would modern brawler such as Bayonetta be without Mario 64?
Then something half-assed happened, and finally, Mario Galaxy arrived. It's not as huge of a revolution as 64 was, but it's still completely different from any game before, and we'll soon be getting more of the same (and I can't wait for it)(seriously)(even more than Rockman 10).
I'm sure New SMB is a great deal for people who didn't like Galaxy, on the other hand (I can't stand playing it more than 10 minutes).

Let's pretend Aonuma Zelda games were as huge as Mario 64... It would be nice if they somehow managed to get two series flowing in parallel, like Mario: One for experiments Majora/boat/train/whatever, and another with good ol'stuff. And it would probably allow experimental and "modern" games to stand out more than just "a gimmick after the other".





Maese
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"Re(6):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Tue 16 Feb 23:24post reply

Many sensible, judicious things have been said in this thread, and I agree with most of them. But probably the quid of the question is this:

quote:
In LttP days, finding rupees in grass and bombs in random pots you could throw at chickens was mindblowingly engaging. Nowadays, if all you had lying around was some random spare change and some ammo for your weapons, you'd be miffed at how "pointless" searching the "dead" environment would be.



It's not easy to *successfully* reinvent yourself. Putting everything upside down while keeping certain keypoints to give the player a warm, familiar feeling of being playing the same good ol' stuff, yet in a new, refreshing, up to date fashion. Somehow Zelda managed to do that many times: with LttP, OoT, Majora and, arguably, even with Wind Waker. As somebody has already told, Zelda has this handful of strongly iconic features and characters that should make things easier. But there's a limit to all this, and Aonuma's team seems to have reached it long ago.

A new Zelda every two or three years is a bit too much. They should leave Hyrule fields fallow for some time and, meanwhile, perhaps what Iggy pointed out (splitting the franchise in a back-to-the-basics line and a more gimmicky, experimental line) would be a profitable idea.

Personally I'd love to see a new "old school" Zelda, but I somehow can't help having my doubts... Since classic 8-bit times, Mario has always been bigger than Zelda, so while I can see potential success for a classic, old style Mario game (as NewSMB sales has shown), Zelda is another story. Like it or not, when Zelda began to gain *real* notoriety was precisely from OoT onwards. Not much room to go back to the basics there...





karasu99
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"Re(7):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Wed 17 Feb 01:26post reply

quote:
Many sensible, judicious things have been said in this thread, and I agree with most of them.



Yes, and it's reinvigorated me to discuss the subject without so much of yesterday's shortness of temper.

Let's forget about Mario for a second-- Iggy is 100% correct that it is largely a success story, both in terms of innovation and in terms of defining many pieces of gaming, both in 2D and 3D.

Zelda on the other hand... I'm not sure where to start. I think it's best to look at LttP, which has been coming up in the above discussion quite often, not surprisingly, since it's an incredible game that successfully connected the straight exploration aspects of the first game with the more action-rpg oriented part of the second game. And yes, I agree that being able to interact with the environment was incredibly mindblowing for me when I first played it. Plus it explored the whole notion of a parallel yet slightly different world alongside the 'real' one, which to my 20-some year old mind doubled the amount of exploration I could do. Rupees and arrows under the grass, or buried in the ground, or up in a tree to be crashed into? SURE, why not! Interaction with the environment of the game was something new after the NES, where the backgrounds were mostly just static tilesets. But once this all came to the 3d world, it wasn't convincing to me anymore that I could just dig anywhere and find bombs. Just like random battles have become harder for me to stomach as RPG's have become more realistic, the holdover item recovery and endless going from point A to point B of Zelda have gotten pretty tired for me. Which is all surprising to me since I'd say the game itself transitioned really well from 2D to 3D with OoT. But then it just stopped and we've gotten that same LttP style play each and every time since then, with a special gimmick thrown in just for kicks.

Which leads to a big question-- do I keep caring about Zelda despite all this? It's been a big deal for me that I haven't bothered to buy this latest game. The series itself will undoubtedly keep going-- for big name titles like Zelda, they will sell and sell and sell, as long as they're not actually BAD games, which they aren't. Boring still sells, especially in a market that has been saturated with nostalgia for so long that I'm not sure most people know what they're being made nostalgic for. And it's catering to a desire for the familiar. Why buy a game with a no-name character or an IP you've never heard of when you can buy Zelda and know exactly what you're getting?

So no, I think I probably shouldn't care. But! I'm still open to the possibility that someone may make a great Zelda game again, someday.





Spoon
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"Re(7):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Wed 17 Feb 09:12post reply

quote:
Let's pretend Aonuma Zelda games were as huge as Mario 64... It would be nice if they somehow managed to get two series flowing in parallel, like Mario: One for experiments Majora/boat/train/whatever, and another with good ol'stuff. And it would probably allow experimental and "modern" games to stand out more than just "a gimmick after the other".



It's kind of sad/telling that this is more or less the very same thing we've discussed before with respect to KOF (e.g. KOF UMs to keep bringing in money while they experiment with other avenues/styles/whatevers in other games).





Iggy
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"Re(8):Rise from your grave and rescue my Zeld" , posted Wed 17 Feb 19:51post reply

quote:
It's kind of sad/telling that this is more or less the very same thing we've discussed before with respect to KOF (e.g. KOF UMs to keep bringing in money while they experiment with other avenues/styles/whatevers in other games).


And then I cried.