So, Zelda. Often accompanied with “ZOMFG!” style comments up and down gaming forums over the internet. As many people appreciate – I’m very critical of Nintendo. In fact, my level of critque towards nearly any of their actions can be scientifically measured. That is to say that my level of criticism of Nintendo matches the same level of unthinking adulation they receive in by other parties. I am the yin to the fanboy yang.
So, leaving the latest Revolution gossip (ok, vacuous hyperbole) to one side for the moment, let us focus on Nintendo’s Gamecube swansong: another Zelda game. I’m not going to criticise the game on what I’ve played of it because that’d be dumb. I’ve not played any of it. Oh sure, I’ve played the other Zeldas and am confident that Nintendo won’t change too much in terms of gameplay mechanics (check those videos – I’ve already spotted good ‘ol block-pushing puzzles – meh).
Instead, allow me to tackle the most notable feature that everyone first went on about when the game was announced: the graphics. Or, to put it in gamer terms “ZOMFG! Hav U seen teh gfx on teh new Zleda game???”.
For the moment, we’ll forget about how Nintendo are going to juxtapose the Revolution stance of ‘fixing a lacklustre industry’ by tackling new directions in gameplay whilst simultaneously making another Zelda game with familiar gameplay but with a graphical upgrade. As we know, it’s never about the graphics when it comes to Nintendo, right? Right.
So perhaps that’s why I say “Yes, those graphics in The Twilight Princess are great – for a Zelda game”
I can hear Retroid having spasms as he reads that. But before you go wild and get ready to hit that ADD COMMENT button why not stop and think about what I’m saying? Firstly, there’s no denying that this next Zelda game looks heaps better than the previous installments. But let’s not add a +10 to our mental scoring just because it’s Nintendo and let’s not add another +10 because it’s Zelda. Let’s keep our feet on the ground and remain objective.
A shiny game is a shiny game – just because it’s Nintendo or Zelda doesn’t make it any shinier.
Now, do me a favour, re-read that last sentence and if you find yourself having difficulty coming to terms with that then kindly fuck off. You’re not the sort of person I’m interested in talking to.
Back to Zelda then. Let’s take this title on it’s superficial merits – how pretty it looks. Does it look prettier than all those other games that came before it? Hmmm.. I bet many are inclined to say that it is. I, of course, approached that question from the opposite point of view, did ten minutes worth of savvy Googling and found some game comparisons. The only modifications made to each picture was to resize each image to 400 pixels wide. The rest speaks for itself:
And there you have it. The most telling thing here is that, these comparisons to Zelda are being made on hardware that is universally regarded as inferior to Gamecube and, of the three different alternative games shown, two of them are over three years old. Note also that the alternative games feature gameplay elements very likely to be featured in *any* new Zelda game – dungeon crawling, third person combat, horse riding, interior and exterior environments.
In all cases, Zelda included, the people behind the games are regarded to be the leaders in their field – visionaries. These alternative games are already with us and running on weaker hardware and have been around for a ages. So, rather than holding out for Nintendo to show everyone the way it appears, to me, that we expected to wait until Nintendo can catch up with older games on inferior hardware.
I question Nintendo’s hype and actions a great deal – but I do so from a position where I want to see FACTUAL responses or refer to HISTORICAL events. Increasingly, I find myself remaining unconvinced by the answers the facts present to me. I am not interested in hearing promises made by Nintendo’s VP of Marketing. I am not interested in hearing from some kid who’ll gleefully quote “A rushed game is bad, a delayed game will eventually become good” because Miyamoto said it. Miyamoto may have said it but I bet he wasn’t thinking about Starfox Adventures when he did so.
If you feel like responding to this post please do so. But please ensure that you remove the romance, ignore the hype, forget the speculation and just look objectively at the known facts of the situation.