Nintendo Needs to Revive The Legend of Zelda or Let It Die

There isn’t a gamer in the world that hasn’t heard of The Legend of Zelda. Easily Nintendo’s most recognizable franchise this side of Mario, the series will always be remembered for the way it revolutionized action/adventure games. NES owners had never before experienced such an enthralling quest, full of monsters, puzzles, and the constant threat of the ever-mysterious Ganon. The early years were good to Link, with an amazing Gameboy game (Link’s Awakening), an even better Super Nintendo game (A Link to the Past), and an industry changing Nintendo 64 title (Ocarina of Time). As Link’s never-ending quest to save his beloved princess grew and took the silent hero to new heights, we began to see Hylian history repeat itself.

Today, new entries in The Legend of Zelda franchise seem be lacking that “wow” factor that the series once had. Nintendo has settled for giving players the same experience time and time again, only adding a new gimmick here and there and calling it “fresh.” Unfortunately, these gimmicks are not enough to propel the series forward, let alone break new ground. By now, everyone knows that a new Zelda game is coming to the Wii U, and here are a few things that Nintendo needs to do to keep the series alive.

Let the World Have a Voice

The Legend of Zelda has always been full of unique and memorable characters, but they are starting to lose their charm due to a lack of voice acting. Sure, we still have plenty of games where the main character never speaks, but the rest of the world needs to have a voice. Keep Link as a silent protagonist, but allow gamers to finally hear what the Gorons sound like when they speak. We’ve spent far too long reading way too much text, and it would be nice to see a truly cinematic Zelda experience.

Mature the Story, Forget About the Princess

Okay, so you can’t really forget about the princess considering the title of the game is centered around her. However, it’s time that Link faces a new threat other than Ganon/Ganondorf. With the extensive history of the land of Hyrule, there has to be some other evil forces at work. Perhaps Ganondorf was simply a powerful pawn being controlled by a much bigger threat. Perhaps, for once, Link shouldn’t be the main character. After all, it is called The Legend of ZeldaPlaying as the princess we’ve spent 25 years saving would be a welcome change of pace, presenting players with a whole new set of abilities and weapons. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see Link and Zelda working together to bring down the forces of evil in a co-op mode. However Nintendo approaches it, it needs to be vastly different.

Location, Location, Location

Let’s be serious for a moment. We’ve seen the same temples and dungeons too much. Water Temple, Fire Temple, and so on. It’s about time we see some new locations, something drastically different from past games. Does Hyrule have tropical islands? A castle made of obsidian? Maybe the next game can take us back to the cloud world of The Minish Cap. These new location should feature brand new puzzles as well, and this time they need to be challenging. Most of the games in the series have puzzles with far too simple solutions and it often feels like the game is holding your hand the entire time. New puzzles, different enemies, and unique scenery will help put the series back on track.

Hopefully the next entry in the Legend of Zelda series will finally address some of these issues that have plagued recent entries. We still have a couple of years to wait, however.

Sound off in the comments below, Explosion readers. Do you think anything needs to be changed?

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  1. I am a long-time fan of all of the Zelda games, and I largely agree with your suggestions to make the games fresher. However, one of the reasons why Zelda fans love the franchise is because they love to see the variations on design and plot that Nintendo can come up with while still revolving around the same characters.

    Your suggestion to give the world a voice in future Zelda games is excellent–I have often thought how cool it would be to hear Ganondorf yelling at Link, giving his dramatic speech about world domination to our silent hero at the climax of the game. I am a major text fan, though, for one main reason: I like that Zelda games are almost like playing through a novel. There are so many characters and sub-plots and side-quests, all presented in a written narrative form. If a kid is going to play a video game, I think it’s good to make her read while she does. If they could come up with a balance of interesting vocalizations and text, that would be ideal in my book.

    I also agree with your suggestion about changing the hero–I love Link, but it would be neat to play from Zelda’s perspective once in a while. I actually have thought for a while that it’d be AWESOME to have a game where you could choose to play the quest with different characters that reconvene at the end of the story to defeat the main boss (which would likely be Ganondorf). For example, in Skyward Sword, you could play as Link, who is constantly trying to find Zelda, OR you could play as Zelda, who is trying to learn the skills it takes to be a goddess incarnate–at then end, you both fight to bring down Demise.

    In terms of the bad guy, Ganondorf is usually the main villain in Zelda games, but Nintendo has done a good job at shaking things up with their Zelda villains. Since Ocarina of Time, there has only been one big console game where Ganondorf was the main, sole villain. Majora’s Mask featured the evil entity sealed within Majora’s Mask (Ganondorf makes no appearance). Twilight Princess features Zant, who is believed to be the game’s main villain throughout the game until the near-end. And the latest installment, Skyward Sword, features Ghirahim, an evil servant of the larger demon, Demise, who is not Ganondorf, but the malevolent spirit that is reincarnated in Ganondorf throughout the Zelda series.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading this article, and I can’t wait to see what Nintendo has in store for Zelda with the Wii-U!

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