Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Legitimate Step Backwards

When looking at the 3DS and the Wii U one thing immediatly striked me: for Zelda they will abandon their previous innovations in favor of new ones. Their praised touchscreen and Wiimote controls will have to go for 3D visuals and the... you know... this GamePad thing. And I wasn't sure how they were going to pull it off. After all they praised their new innovative controls so many times and one of the reasons, why Nintendo DS and Wii became so successful, was the easy to use interface.

You can't do touchscreen controls on the 3D screen. So, there was simply no way to mix the Phantom Hourglass style gameplay with the 3D gimmicks they had planned for Zelda. So, they had to abandon them.

However, the touchscreen controls received many negative waves from the fanbase anyway. I personally liked them a lot, but there are many who refused to play the games for the controls alone. So, Nintendo could have used this as an argument already. But they found an even better way: making a new A Link to the Past style game - the retro style demands classic controls!

It also looks like the Nintendo 3DS' Slide-Pad offers the same amount of precision as the Stylus did. The touchscreen controls on the Nintendo DS couldn't have been replaced with regular button controls. The D-Pad didn't offer the same amount of precision and control. Especially in bow play. But if you take a look at the A Link to the Past 2 trailer, you can clearly see how Link can fire in 360° without the use of a Stylus.

And you can still use the touchscreen for drawing on maps and similar features! So, yeah, I guess a lot of fans might be happy with that development. If you despised Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks for their controls: there might be hope for you! I could imagine that at some point Nintendo offers graphical enhanced remakes of the Nintendo DS Zeldas using traditional controls.

While I'm fine with the development of the Nintendo 3DS Zelda style, the Wii U still worries me. When advertising Skyward Sword, they even came up with this little story, where Aonuma wanted them to keep the Wiimote for the Wii U, so he could use the controls in future Zelda games. But we all know that's not going to happen. They just HAVE to use the GamePad for Zelda and all their new main games to show the world how "awesome" the Wii U GamePad is. If one of their main games abandoned the GamePad idea for classic Wii controls, it would be like saying that the GamePad is not better at all. (Which it is, but Nintendo put themselves in a bad situation here. They make you buy this expansive thing, so they have to make good use of it or otherwise the customers will feel "betrayed".)

But I liked the Skyward Sword controls. A lot. They felt great, powerful. It was they way how they used the controls that make it all feel awkward and less enjoyable. All those "slice in the right direction" enemies. Put the controls in a game like Twilight Princess or Ocarina of Time, or simply have more natural sword fights and the controls would be great. And I would like to see that.

I hope that they fully utilize the GamePad in The Wind Waker HD, which makes sense here, and then return to explore the Wii controls in the new Zelda game for Wii U... But if they abandon the Wii controls, they better come up with a good way to make this step backwards look legitimate.

1 comment:

K2L said...

Don't worry, gentleman: You'll see how Zelda fans will complain endlessly about these games just like they have done with every single game past Ocarina of Time, so the "gimmicky" 3D and tablet thing won't last for too long either. I'm already used to the idea that this cycle will never end.

Then again, I've just learned these days that the cycle of heated debates never ends in anything, sadly. =(