The Return of Talking Time

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  #61  
Old 07-24-2012, 09:22 AM
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You could probably get the social effect better in Japan. Back in '84 I tried to get hints from my friends for Apple ][ games but only a couple of other students had them and we didn't have the same games. Which is weird in retrospect. Surely some of them had Commodores with the same games on them!

But back in the old days, we had to play one game all summer and find everything ourselves (if we lacked gaming peers) and it made the games seem deeper and full of secrets. You can't really get that effect anymore (see also my reminiscing in the alchemy thread). I don't know if it was intentional in the Zelda games, but in the Ultima games the spells and crafting were designed to be discovered through experimentation and exploration (NPCs would give you hints, or the name of another NPC who would give you a hint, etc). I had reams of notes for those games of who to talk to in each city and what hollow trees to check when the moon was full.

The problem is that after you play one game in the series, you catch on to the kind of things you can expect to find. So even if you don't have an ad hoc hint support group at school, once you learn what Yellow Potions do in Ultima IV, they do the exact same thing in V. Similarly, you learn about burning bushes or bombing walls in one Zelda and now you're expecting it in subsequent games.
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  #62  
Old 07-24-2012, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
In the modern games you'd never find the Cane of Somaria before doing dungeon 5, because dungeon 6 wouldn't even be open to you until watching the appropriate cutscene that's only available after dungeon 5, etc.
This is true, and the worst thin about modern Zeldas. Let me explore, dammit!
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  #63  
Old 07-24-2012, 10:43 AM
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Basically I want a new Zelda that looks like Wind Waker and plays like Zelda 1 and has NPCs and hamlets like Link's Awakening. Go!
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  #64  
Old 07-24-2012, 11:04 AM
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Zelda, Zelda' great.
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  #65  
Old 07-24-2012, 11:26 AM
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I updated the first post with a link hub. Good idea/bad idea/suggestions?
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  #66  
Old 07-24-2012, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Rosencrantz View Post
I totally agree -- I love that there are multiple ways to play LttP. When you take into account how quick the game's pace is, it has such great replay value.
Definitely. The bloat is why I love it. You don't need the Ice Rod until the seventh Dark World dungeon, but you can get it before you ever set foot in the first pendant dungeon, and frozen enemies make the best projectile weapons. The Magic Powder's completely optional, but its claim to fame* is turning those invincible flaming skulls into fairies. The Cane of Byrna's great for the sixth dungeon if you remember to go back to Death Moutain's Ball & Beast area to get it.

The most world-changing moments in regards to both maps are when you get the glove upgrades. The Power Glove lets you go buy the flippers, which make the bodies of water cease being an obstacle and gives you access to the magic boomerang, large shield, a supply of free magic potion, a new bottle, and a means of increasing your max bomb and arrow counts.

In the Dark World, getting the Titan's Mitt lets you get a sword upgrade, another bottle, the magic cape, gives you access to the other hidden warp points in the Light World, and generally makes the Dark World way easier to navigate.

* In Link to the Past, anyway. In Link's Awakening it's best known for burninating your neighbor's pets and poultry.
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  #67  
Old 07-24-2012, 11:38 AM
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I read an article recently which claimed the tools in Zelda gradually stopped being useful as tools. They just became keys. You use the hookshot here, and that's how you progress. You can't even use the hookshot anywhere else!

The most fun I had in OoT was grappling to rooftops in Kakariko and flying around like Batman. The fact that newer games don't let you do this saddens me.

But the most egregious offender was OoT's boomerang. You get it in one dungeon, where you will use it three times, only in that dungeon, on specific enemies that can only be hurt by the boomerang so you'd have something to use the boomerang on. It was completely wasted as an item. Considering the boomerang has always been Link's bread-and-butter item, it was an absolute crime for it to be mistreated so.
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  #68  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
I read an article recently which claimed the tools in Zelda gradually stopped being useful as tools. They just became keys. You use the hookshot here, and that's how you progress. You can't even use the hookshot anywhere else!
The original Zelda's raft, almost every non-spell tool in Zelda II's moveset, and LttP's Book of Mudora are also funny shaped keys for funny shaped doors. But the difference with them is that at least they were designed that way. The Spinner and Dominion Rod are dungeon gimmicks, tools that have exactly one fun place to go wild with them and then cease to have any kind of useful function.

Especially the Dominion Rod, which all too fittingly turns into a rusted piece of crap in the present. At least you could do feeble attempts at travel and attacking with the Spinner, though it's still useless because you drive at Grandpa speeds and hit like a foam sword.

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The most fun I had in OoT was grappling to rooftops in Kakariko and flying around like Batman. The fact that newer games don't let you do this saddens me.
That right there is the thing I love most about Just Cause 2, and a big part of why I recommend it.

Imagine if you had a hookshot, but it could hook into any surface. And it came with infinite parachutes for parasailing across the land complimenting it. And you could leap from thousands of feet in the air, diving to the earth like Skyward Sword Link, and break your fall by hookshotting into the ground. That's Just Cause 2.

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But the most egregious offender was OoT's boomerang. You get it in one dungeon, where you will use it three times, only in that dungeon, on specific enemies that can only be hurt by the boomerang so you'd have something to use the boomerang on. It was completely wasted as an item. Considering the boomerang has always been Link's bread-and-butter item, it was an absolute crime for it to be mistreated so.
Yeah, Ocarina's boomerang was a disappointment. You get it for exactly one pre-time travel dungeon unless you 180º out of the Dodongo's Cavern and hightail it to Zora's Domain after getting the bombs...holding bag, and after that, the only real utility it sees is for Gold Skulltula hunting and smacking bats and Skulltulas if you don't want to use the slingshot.

Worst of all, it's a Young Link exclusive right before you move on to Adult Link. That's almost as bad as getting Aerith's ultimate limit break only to get to use it for one dungeon before she runs off and gets shanked by Sephiroth.
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  #69  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Kfroog View Post
Well if to the Japanese trains mean how you get from one place to another, then what exactly do they mean to us?
Japanese trains are public transportation, established infrastructure, convenience and ubiquty; the Japanese concept of the train is a 20th-century one. The American concept of the train crystallized in the 19th century, when the locomotive was a new thing, a freshly-blazed trail that civilization itself traveled along.

Zelda games echo the Western genre in many ways; it contains that basic idea of traveling further into a deceptively dangerous wilderness and acquiring the tools that make it livable. Frontier ethos resonates with its gameplay mechanics, and, in some cases, its aesthetics.

Spirit Tracks had you rediscovering already-complex train routes and planning a trip along them, as if they had always existed and you just needed a ticket to access them; twisty little urban light rail systems spring forth fully-formed from the brow of Zeus. It'd have been thematically stronger with fewer, straighter tracks, a stronger sense of the sheer power of the machine, and the train itself being a system of fast-travel to destinations reached on foot at great difficulty rather than the only means of travel. That's what I think, anyway.

Can't argue with that music, though. I mean, damn.
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  #70  
Old 07-24-2012, 12:52 PM
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Zelda's problem is that it does a lot of things in combination that not many games do, but many of its fans are only really interested in a few of those things, so its fanbase can basically never be happy with a new entry. Regardless of where the emphasis ends up, somebody's expectations got shafted. If there was any way for a given game in the franchise to be approached on its merits it would simultaneously sell fewer copies and be vastly more eloved because they almost always execute their intentions well, but the people buying it don't always care about what those intentions were.
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  #71  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
I read an article recently which claimed the tools in Zelda gradually stopped being useful as tools. They just became keys. You use the hookshot here, and that's how you progress. You can't even use the hookshot anywhere else!

The most fun I had in OoT was grappling to rooftops in Kakariko and flying around like Batman. The fact that newer games don't let you do this saddens me.

But the most egregious offender was OoT's boomerang. You get it in one dungeon, where you will use it three times, only in that dungeon, on specific enemies that can only be hurt by the boomerang so you'd have something to use the boomerang on. It was completely wasted as an item. Considering the boomerang has always been Link's bread-and-butter item, it was an absolute crime for it to be mistreated so.
The Arkham Batman games do a good job of giving you neat tools that have various uses throughout the game. I think Nintendo should look closely at Rocksteady's games, not just for Zelda, but also for Metroid.

Random Zelda thought: I want a Zelda overworld in the mold of Skyrim or Xenoblade. Seeing the amazing wide-open vistas of Xenoblade's world made Skyward Sword's three tiny areas and empty sky look even more pathetic.
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  #72  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:35 PM
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I miss the non-linearity of the old Zelda games as well. I had a fantastic time going nuts in Zelda 1, 2 (despite the difficulty being absolute hell), and 3 due to the way they worked. The world felt like it was in genuine peril. The games didn't hold your hand through every dungeon. The fights were fun and the bosses, rather than feeling like gimmicky battles involving the dungeon items, put your sword to the mettle. You really felt like a lone warrior up against unstoppable forces, and it was up to you how you wanted to play the game.

Now, while the games are still enjoyable, it seems that you no longer feel that way. In the really recent games, the world actually looks happy, most players will probably be able to clear a modern game without a single death, and the game seems to go out of its way to tell you what to do or where to go next (in the more recent games, in the form of a companion of some sort). It no longer feels like you're adventuring. It feels like the game is doing the adventuring for you.
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  #73  
Old 07-24-2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by R.R. Bigman View Post
Random Zelda thought: I want a Zelda overworld in the mold of Skyrim or Xenoblade. Seeing the amazing wide-open vistas of Xenoblade's world made Skyward Sword's three tiny areas and empty sky look even more pathetic.
Once again, Just Cause 2 comes to mind. While it is a sandbox game and more modern day (Hispanic secret agent working for US military goes to fictional Asian country and wrecks shit), your grappling hook that shoots into almost anything is everything I've dreamed a 3D hookshot would be, and diving from a helicopter or jet gives that same sense of wonder from diving from your bird in Skyward Sword but with places worth diving to, an actual day/night/weather system and no "designated landing spots" like those predetermined sections of Skyloft or the save statues on the lands below in sight.

I'm not saying Zelda games should be sandbox games, but they could stand to take a little more inspiration from them. Or at least look back at Wind Waker. When I replayed it, I actually had quite a bit of fun just messing around with the Deku Leaf and collecting treasures from charts, and that's despite most of the treasure being worthless Rupees. The islands and reefs could've used some more substance, but they were still way better than the pile of floating rocks in Skyward Sword's sky.
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  #74  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
I like LttP's toolset! I appreciated that there were a lot of items in there that were essentially just fun toys rather than "this is the item you use to solve this dungeon and beat its boss." The magic powder can turn some enemies into silly things, the ice rod can freeze things and the magic cape makes you invisible. The bombos spell has no purpose other than to just kill everything on screen. These things have no practical application, they're just there to be cool.
Yeah, the massive tool-box in LttP and LA never really feels too big because everything's so multi-role, and most situations can be addressed by more than one tool.

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Yeah! Like when they made Zelda II!
Mmm. I think Zelda II's problem is more that it killed the wrong sacred cows while being overly ambitious. Its game design is inherently a product of its time, but that also cripples it. It needs the overworld rather than a seamless open world because it wants to create a larger space and you just couldn't do that in 1987 without an overworld. But 1987 technology also wasn't up to properly managing side-scrolling action with the kind of sprite size and technical combat they were aiming for. The narrow screen-size results in enemies tending to pop out of "nowhere" and land cheap hits, for example.
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  #75  
Old 07-24-2012, 02:45 PM
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Definitely. The bloat is why I love it.
I'm not sure "bloat" is the word I'd use, but yeah.

If you look at the world map for the Dark World, it is clear that there is a loose 3x3 grid. The 8 dungeons are on the perimeter, and after clearing them the confrontation with Ganon unlocks in the middle; it is almost like a Mega Man stage-select screen. There is something critical in each segment.

In contrast, the Light World has only a handful of dungeons (three pendants and two Hyrule Castle visits) to spread across the same total map area. To avoid the world feeling empty, they had to come up with optional secrets and things to do that could flesh out the rest of the map.
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Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
I read an article recently which claimed the tools in Zelda gradually stopped being useful as tools.
You say "recently," so I guess you don't mean this?
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But the most egregious offender was OoT's boomerang.
I agree that OoT kind of bungles the ranged weapons by having too many and then using the age restriction to try and have their cake and eat it too.

That said, they do give you a few more chances to use the Boomerang in the last two "pre-dungeons": Under the Well and the Young Link part of the Spirit Temple.

Maybe if they hadn't cut the Light Temple (yep, OoT has a "missing" dungeon too), they would have given us another pre-dungeon where we could use Young Link.
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  #76  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:04 PM
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Mmm. I think Zelda II's problem is more that it killed the wrong sacred cows while being overly ambitious.
You can't kill sacred cows in the second game. They aren't sacred yet.
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  #77  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Solitayre View Post
But the most egregious offender was OoT's boomerang. You get it in one dungeon, where you will use it three times, only in that dungeon, on specific enemies that can only be hurt by the boomerang so you'd have something to use the boomerang on. It was completely wasted as an item. Considering the boomerang has always been Link's bread-and-butter item, it was an absolute crime for it to be mistreated so.
"Three times"? I'm guessing you mean the tentacle monsters, but it is also useful for taking out the electrified jellyfish, the glowing worms, hitting switches, and for the boss. It is also used for collecting hard-to-reach Gold Skulltula token as a kid and for the Spirit Temple. Not being able to use it as an adult still sucked, though!
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  #78  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:17 PM
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The world felt like it was in genuine peril.
I love Zeldas 1 and 2, but there's no way they communicate a world in peril.
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  #79  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:22 PM
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You can't kill sacred cows in the second game. They aren't sacred yet.
Right, but it basically threw away everything from the first game.
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  #80  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:27 PM
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I love Zeldas 1 and 2, but there's no way they communicate a world in peril.
At least in the case of Zelda 1, the game gave you unlimited bombs and fire; how much more can they communicate the world in peril than giving you all the resources to do it yourself?
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  #81  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:28 PM
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Right, but it basically threw away everything from the first game.
It murdered the crap out of those completely normal cows.

Also, that image is awesome.
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  #82  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:30 PM
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But it basically threw away everything from the first game.
Right, because "Zelda" hadn't been codified yet and wouldn't be until... Ocarina? Link's Awakening?

What I'm saying is that the series has to have an identity before you can start taking down the institution. That's why using Zelda II as an example of "look what happens when Zelda throws out tradition" is ridiculous.
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  #83  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:37 PM
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I just want to plant my flag in the Twilight Princess is excellent camp. I wasn't really won over until the midpoint, but the game brought me a real joy that I wasn't expecting or realized I wanted. I'm not going to rank TP as my number one favorite, but it gets a 5/5.

I'm actually very critical of Zelda games... honest! But each console entry works for me on some level enough to consider them great. Approaching them on different terms is really the only way to describe this.

Speaking of the Dominion Rod and Spinner, I'm going to repeat myself and say that I agree with the principle of versatilty, but I adored these items as is. I'd never remove those "my personal giant robot" and "hoverboard" moments. (Kuribo's shoe was a one off and ya'll loved it!) These items in particular had tightly crafted places designed around them, so I approached them in those terms. Let them be the exceptions to the rule.

And really the complaint here about versatility - which I share! - was not something that I was suddenly dissappointed with at the end of the game. These items come so late in the game that they don't illustrate the point very well.
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  #84  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:42 PM
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(Kuribo's shoe was a one off and ya'll loved it!)
Completely different thing.
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  #85  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:52 PM
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Kuribo's shoe didn't stay in your inventory for the rest of the game.
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  #86  
Old 07-24-2012, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tangent Vector View Post
If you look at the world map for the Dark World, it is clear that there is a loose 3x3 grid. The 8 dungeons are on the perimeter, and after clearing them the confrontation with Ganon unlocks in the middle; it is almost like a Mega Man stage-select screen. There is something critical in each segment.
I've never thought about it like that, but you're right, and that's awesome. Now I want a mock Mega Man stage-select screen with the various bosses and Link in the center (a la MM3).
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  #87  
Old 07-24-2012, 04:11 PM
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I actually made that comment in the vain hope that a more competent Tyrant than myself would make the image. :P
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  #88  
Old 07-24-2012, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by manicmailman View Post
At least in the case of Zelda 1, the game gave you unlimited bombs and fire; how much more can they communicate the world in peril than giving you all the resources to do it yourself?
I'll give you the fire since the magic candle kicks the blue candle's stupid "one flame per screen" limit to the curb, but your bombs are never unlimited. The starting cap's 8 and you can upgrade to 12 then 16 if you find the old men who offer the service.

However, the guidelines for bomb use are pretty easy. In the field. only bomb stone tiles that are flat and can be approached from their southern side (like a door), and don't waste bombs if there's already another entrance on that screen. In dungeons, always bomb in the center of walls; bombable doors appear in the same spots as regular ones. And of course, check and compare the menu screen map with the mini map, and don't count out rooms just because they're not on the map.

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Originally Posted by dosboot View Post
Speaking of the Dominion Rod and Spinner, I'm going to repeat myself and say that I agree with the principle of versatilty, but I adored these items as is. I'd never remove those "my personal giant robot" and "hoverboard" moments. (Kuribo's shoe was a one off and ya'll loved it!) These items in particular had tightly crafted places designed around them, so I approached them in those terms. Let them be the exceptions to the rule.
They were good in their intended dungeons, but even so, why should they be dead weight? They're both easy enough to fix.

With the Spinner, it's as simple as letting Link move as fast as he would when on a track when he's off one, maybe toss in a bonus combo with the Ball & Chain or even the sword for going all hurricane spin attack.

The Dominion Rod...Well, why should it just control certain statues? Give it the utility to control most regular mooks and animals and maybe even some NPCs and it goes from inventory clutter to fun mind screw toy.
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  #89  
Old 07-24-2012, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by manicmailman View Post
Ha-ha! I am a fan of observational Nintendo humor.

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With the Spinner, it's as simple as letting Link move as fast as he would when on a track when he's off one, maybe toss in a bonus combo with the Ball & Chain or even the sword for going all hurricane spin attack.

The Dominion Rod...Well, why should it just control certain statues? Give it the utility to control most regular mooks and animal and maybe even some NPCs and it goes from inventory clutter to fun mind screw toy.
These are both wonderful ideas!
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  #90  
Old 07-24-2012, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by R.R. Bigman View Post
Random Zelda thought: I want a Zelda overworld in the mold of Skyrim or Xenoblade. Seeing the amazing wide-open vistas of Xenoblade's world made Skyward Sword's three tiny areas and empty sky look even more pathetic.
I don't know. From what I've played I felt that the Skyward Sword overworld, while pretty small, went very much for a sort of "the entire world is a puzzle" approach, which in my mind is much preferable to "vast empty space filled with enemies" especially in a game that isn't really about walking around killing dudes. It does sort of ruin the cohesiveness of the world design though, I'll give you that.
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