The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Squinty » Sun Jun 23, 2019 5:03 pm

OrangeRKN wrote:
Squinty wrote:It's pretty much the first Zelda game, in a modern template.


I'd say Skyward Sword is made as a modern linear action-adventure.

BOTW is the first trying modern open world.


Oh I meant Breath of the Wild is like the first Zelda game. I'd agree with you on Skyward Sword. It's much more linear.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by OrangeRKN » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:32 am

Ah, I misread!

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by deathofcows » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:57 am

I finished the Champions Ballad last night.

I started playing Breath of the Wild when it came out and I think I over-indulged. For the first half or so it seemed like the best game I'd every played. Then I went off it a bit (though I did find 115 shrines beforehand eek!) and ended up feeling a little cool towards it overall.

It was good to leave a big break between that and playing this DLC, inspired by some Zelda-y conversations over the weekend.

It's good!

My thoughts on the DLC 2:

1) It's nice that it forces you to revisit all 4 main quadrants again, and re-purposes some of the familiar things into new ways for the tasks. Some of the souped-up battles against foes are a nice advance from the vanilla game versions, and pinpointing the areas based on the map-shards was actually quite satisfying.

2) Lots of new shrines, which are frankly a little wearying after doing so many in the game proper. I think it's partly because the theme and aesthetic and music has worn thin by now (and I'm not sure the shrine Music was ever quite good enough to last so much exposure to it) and partly because most of the physics-based puzzles are remixing similar concepts to ones you've used throughout - there isn't the paradigmatic, step-up 'Ah-ha!' moments where you suddenly think of using things in a new profound way. It's the same kind of stuff just in different order and variations.

3) Re-fighting bosses with specific items/load-out was actually fun and sometimes benefited from the long hiatus as I'd forgotten most of their patterns and techniques.

4) The new divine beast is great and it's great rendition of the shrine theme throws into relief how grating the original was, and how welcome it is to have some more proper, persistent area-music instead of the fragmentary whisps of themes that the rest of the game has.

5) New boss is fun too, and fun in its flexibility of approach.

6) New cutscenes were by far the highlight for me. All of them were awesomely animated, punchy and short, with great writing. It also really added to the overall historic significance of the champions quest and the motley crew they are. MUST BE WATCHED IN JAPANESE though obviously, to not be gooseberry fool.

7) Bike is great!

Overall: A worthwhile addition and surprisingly extensive.

Last edited by deathofcows on Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by deathofcows » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:43 pm

In fact I might as well post some overall thoughts on BotW proper, now I've gone back for another swig.

1) Obviously it's great.

2) The shrines don't stay great. Often they're just challenges of execution and not conception. And once you've got familiar with magnesis and stasis and so on, their satisfaction plateaus.

3) The game as a whole plateaus, I think. Because it primes you from the start, without the piecemeal addition of new items and mechanics, most of the mechanical learning and experimentation and novelty is front-loaded. Then you mostly just apply similar gameplay loops and bubbles in different areas with different environmental skins.

4) The feel of the game is flattened in three other ways, by my reckoning. Firstly the go-anywhere-climb-anything homogenises everything a little. There is no great mechanical, traversal variety between areas, and whereas previous games had meaningful binaries of hook-shot-able (or whatever) bits with the other bits remaining, unknowable, unreachable 'otherlands' - here everything is reachable, continuous and similiar.

5) There is also a 'flattening' in how the continuity of traversal affects the discreetness of areas. Kokiri Forest in OoT is an enclave unto itself, separated by a loading screen from its surroundings. It has its own music and vibe. Making the areas more permeable between each other reduces their individual sense of place. It actually makes me wonder what the continuous scrolling of Link's Awakening remake might do to the feel of it compared to the original.

6) The music is often great but I think the new approach emphasises how much a physical part of Zelda games it used to be. Here it adorns and accents the experience. Previously each environment was walled off by a loading screen or whatever, but also its musical theme - as tied to the physicality of the place as anything else (think of OoT's Kakariko Village or - indeed - anywhere). Music was almost like an extra wall of difference between each place and the other. In BotW there is a physical, feel-able absence in the environmental character compared with before. I'm not sure it's worse, mind...

7) It's lonelier and emptier in a more profound way. I wonder if this musicality also previously gave environments a sense of inhabitation, or at least personality, that has been removed in BotW in a way that sometimes makes it feel cold to me. A little lonely. (I think it's why the Deku-tree area is a favorite of mine, as it feels most like a classic Zelda environment permeated by an 'ever-mood' of music and walled off by the Lost Woods). And maybe it's because the game is more 'realisitc', in the sense of having an indifferent land-mass that isn't built in obviously game-ic shapes and form. Maybe its the more subtle relationship between player/gameplay and environment (compared with the almost Mario-like clockwork of Skyward Sword) that makes me feel a little decentered, and the world feel a little more barren.

8) Maybe the loneliness is also just from the lack of a companion.

9) Maybe it's also the lack of a strong-narrative spine, with much of the adventure being player-led and most of the story played back in randomly-ordered memory flashbacks.

8) There are almost no roofs nor ceilings in the world proper. You can't go underwater, either. This is in-sync with the open-air freedom the game espouses, but also takes away a whole dimension of variety in the landscape, and for all its peaks and troughs and undulations, I think they all occur within a single plane of interaction and exploration.

9) I rewatched all the memory cutscenes in order and they are fantastic (IN JAPANESE ONLY PLEASE CHANGE YOUR SETTINGS IN THE OPTIONS THE ENGLISH IS DIABOLICAL) - varied in mood and focus (from the epic to the playful) and when done in sequence they really add a rich feeling of narrative. Zelda's anxieties and inner struggle is also really well done. It makes me hope the story beats are spliced throughout the adventure proper next time.

10) The story beats also 'fix' and frame the world into iconic, singular moments instead of the continuous world you just run through and 'use' mechanically. Like when Link and Zelda are sheltering under a tree or the one about the Silent Princess flower and so on. Similarly the moment when you first encounter a Lynel and there's that short scene of linking hiding behind a rock. Even short interludes like this - where camera control and framing is taken away from the player - really add an extra layer of perspective and drama and significance to the world. I think a slight obsession with continuous play and player-presence can deprive this amazing world of some of the engagement and drama it could have with even a few more close-ups or cutaways or whatever.

11) I'd go so far as to say that a couple of areas of fixed-angles (think: Temple of Time in OoT/Kokiri Forest indoor sections and so on) would actually add a layer of framing and visual-interest which might actually punctuate the constant, third-person player-eyed-view in impactful meaningful ways.

11) Link is inexpressive, I get it. And it's a Link better suited to this less narrative-focused, more emergent Zelda game. But it's a step-down from Skyward Sword's laughing-joking link full of personality.

12) Whole aesthetic and color-scheme of game tends towards realism compared with SS's goofier pastel-tones and colors. I think this also added a slight magic and wonder to the world, too though?

Etc.

Anyway contrary to that sounds I do think the game is great - I've certainly seen most of all it has to offer and think it plays like a buttery-smooth dream - but points like the ones above I never looked for, I wasn't trying to undercut the game's many (many) brilliant achievements. But as a whole there is a slight absence I kept feeling in the latter part of my playing - and I was struggling to quite place it. The above is just some of my working out!

P.S. I also feel slightly unnerved and sad in the last level of Mario Odyssey due to its silence and sound-echo - so maybe it's just me!

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Mystical Ninja Starring Danmon » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:38 pm

It's great to read such in depth opinions on this even so long after release, please keep them coming! :wub:

75 hours in, realised there's a parry :lol: Gone from running away from Guardians to taking them out. Also defeated my first Lynel :datass:

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Robbo-92 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:49 pm

It took me forever to defeat my first Lynel, even now I still find it easier to just launch arrows at it than going sword to sword with them :dread: Of course it doesn’t help I’m laughably bad at parrying which seems to be a key skill for easily defeating Lynels.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Balladeer » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:00 pm

Oh I can't parry for toffee, and still rely on the Ancient Shield to take down Guardians. What I can do is time the dodge leaps decently enough these days. Not perfectly, but well enough to hold my own against a Lynel.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Errkal » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:19 pm

I used the blood moons to learn parry.

Every time one happened I would go the plateau, central tower and a few other places and clear out all the guardians to hone in my parry.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Robbo-92 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:50 pm

I’m not bad at parrying a guardians laser but I find weapons almost impossible, just get the odd lucky one every now and then, thankfully I’m not bad at jumping to avoid damage but still find it very tricky against Lynels, hence why I try to avoid them if possible.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Squinty » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:37 am

I forgot about the Parry until I was fighting Calamity Ganon. It probably would've made my time with the game easier.

It was absolutely strawberry floating cool shooting his lasers back at him.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Jenuall » Thu Jun 27, 2019 9:31 am

I've played about 150hrs of this and completed the whole game.

I have never parried a single thing. :slol:

I don't think I've ever even really tried the parry option!

Don't think I ever found the Lynels that hard, their attacks are fairly easy to dodge if I recall right and then you can get on their backs and do some serious damage. I always took them on with the gear that boosts your attack power as well.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by OrangeRKN » Thu Jun 27, 2019 10:37 am

deathofcows wrote:Because it primes you from the start, without the piecemeal addition of new items and mechanics, most of the mechanical learning and experimentation and novelty is front-loaded. Then you mostly just apply similar gameplay loops and bubbles in different areas with different environmental skins.


Where I think the game really stands out is in it's complexity of systems leading to this /not/ happening - I was still discovering new mechanics and interactions after 100 hours in the game. Of course it becomes more familiar the more you play, but that novelty and experimentation pretty much never disappeared throughout my entire playtime. The game doesn't force this upon you though, once you have found a successful approach you are quite capable of just sticking to it. It's freedom at the expense of player guidance, so it risks people falling into the trap of stopping experimentation.

deathofcows wrote:previous games had ... other bits remaining, unknowable, unreachable 'otherlands' - here everything is reachable, continuous and similiar.


This is the fundamental difference, down to the core genre the games fit in to. BOTW is an open-world physics sandbox. It's all systems and emergent gameplay. That's completely different to every other Zelda game, and I think direct comparisons are just going to come down to personal preference in what games people like playing. I think the biggest criticism I could have of BOTW is that it doesn't deliver much at all of a classically Zelda experience, so if I want that I am left sorely lacking. That's an unfair criticism though in that if I want that, BOTW simply isn't the right game. It can't be "fixed" in that regard without fundamentally changing the experience.

deathofcows wrote:It actually makes me wonder what the continuous scrolling of Link's Awakening remake might do to the feel of it compared to the original.


I've thought about this a bit. Obviously I won't know until I play it, but I reckon Koholint Island is going to feel a lot smaller without it's distinct screens, and everywhere is going to feel closer together. Hopefully the visual style goes someway to mitigating this. The game always felt "pocket sized", but it was equally full of mystery and exploration. You could never know what was just on the next screen unless you got there, in the remake you'll be able to constantly peek ahead.

deathofcows wrote:6) The music is often great but I think the new approach emphasises how much a physical part of Zelda games it used to be. Here it adorns and accents the experience. Previously each environment was walled off by a loading screen or whatever, but also its musical theme - as tied to the physicality of the place as anything else (think of OoT's Kakariko Village or - indeed - anywhere). Music was almost like an extra wall of difference between each place and the other. In BotW there is a physical, feel-able absence in the environmental character compared with before. I'm not sure it's worse, mind...


I could probably sit and just listen to an OoT play-through, and follow it along - primarily from the music, but also from it's sound design in general. If I tried the same with BOTW, I would be nearly instantly lost. I think even if BOTW had prominent musical themes for each area, that would still somewhat be the case, because of it's lack of linearity. OoT is roughly like an album you listen to from start to finish, while BOTW is always played on shuffle.

deathofcows wrote:(I think it's why the Deku-tree area is a favorite of mine, as it feels most like a classic Zelda environment permeated by an 'ever-mood' of music and walled off by the Lost Woods)


It stands out to me as an unnatural location in BOTW. I like what they tried with it, but even with the significant area the woods take up on the map, it still feels too small to me and too connected to the outside world. It was a valiant effort at replicating in an open-world the isolated areas of past games, but to me it just can't compete.

deathofcows wrote:Maybe its the more subtle relationship between player/gameplay and environment (compared with the almost Mario-like clockwork of Skyward Sword) that makes me feel a little decentered, and the world feel a little more barren.


"Mario-like clockwork of Skyward Sword" is such a good way of describing that game!

deathofcows wrote:Maybe the loneliness is also just from the lack of a companion.


I felt like Zelda was the companion in BOTW. Disembodied, but ever present in spirit. She repeatedly talks to Link, calling out from the ether, and combined with the repeated memories that impressed her presence alongside Link upon me.

In fact you can draw direct comparisons to her and other companions, especially in how it is Zelda's voice that wakes Link up at the start of the game. That's like how Navi wakes Link up in OoT, or how Marin wakes Link up in Link's Awakening. Marin is perhaps a great comparison - she only once briefly travels with Link in Link's Awakening, but through her reoccurring appearances she is definitely a companion.

deathofcows wrote:You can't go underwater, either.


Water is where I think the edges of the game's open-world become most apparent. It feels very artificially limited, and the sea feels mostly un-sea-like. It's where the game world feels most homogeneous too, with the same single raft used in all locations. I would have loved there to be some variety in boats, especially in Lurelin village which, while very cool, lacks an actual purpose in the game.

deathofcows wrote:(IN JAPANESE ONLY PLEASE CHANGE YOUR SETTINGS IN THE OPTIONS THE ENGLISH IS DIABOLICAL)


:lol: I've only played in English :shifty:

deathofcows wrote:I'd go so far as to say that a couple of areas of fixed-angles (think: Temple of Time in OoT/Kokiri Forest indoor sections and so on) would actually add a layer of framing and visual-interest which might actually punctuate the constant, third-person player-eyed-view in impactful meaningful ways.


I generally really like fixed-camera environments, they can add a lot with their framing and let the game designer's "direct" a lot more. I can't see how that could work in BOTW though, the complete freedom of approach would be at odds with it in principle I feel.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by deathofcows » Fri Jun 28, 2019 10:28 am

Balladeer wrote:Oh I can't parry for toffee, and still rely on the Ancient Shield to take down Guardians.


I found it was like street fighter in terms of playing a spacing game.

Once I'd found the rough distance from a Guardian that worked I could reliably press Parry as soon as the blue-laser appears after the charge-up - it parries basically every time and can then be applied to other types of guardian using the same spacing.

It's like... 30 Hyrule metres or something? :shifty:

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by deathofcows » Fri Jun 28, 2019 12:39 pm

OrangeRKN thanks for the brilliant and forensic reply!

I hope you don't mind me bouncing back again - but this difference in Zelda feel I find really interesting. I hate sounding like a churlish, ungrateful player (BotW IS good, I know!) but the Zelda series is probably one of my main gaming/pop-cultural influences growing up and the subtle changes to the feel I find interesting to pin down.

OrangeRKN wrote:
deathofcows wrote:Because it primes you from the start, without the piecemeal addition of new items and mechanics, most of the mechanical learning and experimentation and novelty is front-loaded. Then you mostly just apply similar gameplay loops and bubbles in different areas with different environmental skins.


Where I think the game really stands out is in it's complexity of systems leading to this /not/ happening - I was still discovering new mechanics and interactions after 100 hours in the game. Of course it becomes more familiar the more you play, but that novelty and experimentation pretty much never disappeared throughout my entire playtime. The game doesn't force this upon you though, once you have found a successful approach you are quite capable of just sticking to it. It's freedom at the expense of player guidance, so it risks people falling into the trap of stopping experimentation.


Agreed! But the new things are quirks and detail, like being able to upturn Guardians or throwing metallic weapons towards enemies in a storm or whatever. They're not quite as continuously transformative as - say - a Hookshot. But I do appreciate the density of detail and even now enjoy messing about with new things. Perhaps the game is just a victim of its own more-ishness and size. I hammered through hours and hours of stuff before hitting its (mechanical/novelty) plateau, but without the item beats and story beats and sense of closure that comes with a typical Zelda perhaps I just exhausted the novelty of the sand from the sandbox. In Zelda there is usually more box, to give edges and form and progression and variety to the journey.

OrangeRKN wrote:
deathofcows wrote:previous games had ... other bits remaining, unknowable, unreachable 'otherlands' - here everything is reachable, continuous and similiar.


This is the fundamental difference, down to the core genre the games fit in to. BOTW is an open-world physics sandbox. It's all systems and emergent gameplay. That's completely different to every other Zelda game, and I think direct comparisons are just going to come down to personal preference in what games people like playing. I think the biggest criticism I could have of BOTW is that it doesn't deliver much at all of a classically Zelda experience, so if I want that I am left sorely lacking. That's an unfair criticism though in that if I want that, BOTW simply isn't the right game. It can't be "fixed" in that regard without fundamentally changing the experience.


deathofcows wrote:It actually makes me wonder what the continuous scrolling of Link's Awakening remake might do to the feel of it compared to the original.


OrangeRKN wrote:I've thought about this a bit. Obviously I won't know until I play it, but I reckon Koholint Island is going to feel a lot smaller without it's distinct screens, and everywhere is going to feel closer together. Hopefully the visual style goes someway to mitigating this. The game always felt "pocket sized", but it was equally full of mystery and exploration. You could never know what was just on the next screen unless you got there, in the remake you'll be able to constantly peek ahead.


OrangeRKN wrote:
deathofcows wrote:6) The music is often great but I think the new approach emphasises how much a physical part of Zelda games it used to be. Here it adorns and accents the experience. Previously each environment was walled off by a loading screen or whatever, but also its musical theme - as tied to the physicality of the place as anything else (think of OoT's Kakariko Village or - indeed - anywhere). Music was almost like an extra wall of difference between each place and the other. In BotW there is a physical, feel-able absence in the environmental character compared with before. I'm not sure it's worse, mind...


I could probably sit and just listen to an OoT play-through, and follow it along - primarily from the music, but also from it's sound design in general. If I tried the same with BOTW, I would be nearly instantly lost. I think even if BOTW had prominent musical themes for each area, that would still somewhat be the case, because of it's lack of linearity. OoT is roughly like an album you listen to from start to finish, while BOTW is always played on shuffle.


OrangeRKN wrote:
deathofcows wrote:(I think it's why the Deku-tree area is a favorite of mine, as it feels most like a classic Zelda environment permeated by an 'ever-mood' of music and walled off by the Lost Woods)


It stands out to me as an unnatural location in BOTW. I like what they tried with it, but even with the significant area the woods take up on the map, it still feels too small to me and too connected to the outside world. It was a valiant effort at replicating in an open-world the isolated areas of past games, but to me it just can't compete.


OrangeRKN wrote:
deathofcows wrote:I'd go so far as to say that a couple of areas of fixed-angles (think: Temple of Time in OoT/Kokiri Forest indoor sections and so on) would actually add a layer of framing and visual-interest which might actually punctuate the constant, third-person player-eyed-view in impactful meaningful ways.


I generally really like fixed-camera environments, they can add a lot with their framing and let the game designer's "direct" a lot more. I can't see how that could work in BOTW though, the complete freedom of approach would be at odds with it in principle I feel.


Now here's the thing, I've grouped these quotes together as I think they all touch upon a related phenomenon.

I have thought way too much a lot about BotW's engagement with movement and environment and space, and how it radically differs to prior games.

I wrote that Eurogamer article about it, about how the cordoned-off enclaves and lack of free-form climbing gave previous games a different, compartmentalized feeling of adventure and possibility and exploration.

And I also once wrote a Eurogamer article about the unique way that magazine screenshots framed a game compared with videos in the streaming era - how singular images had a weight and impact and a type of framing of the player within the environment not always felt in the continuity of actual play.

And most recently I posted in another thread about how control schemes can drastically alter the sensibility of a game - how the ability to control the third-person camera and jump at the same time could make a game feel like you were rotating the environment around the constantly advancing character - as opposed to maneuvering the character like a marionette through the 'sets' of the environment. I suppose its the spectrum of fixed-angles on one side and a completely free-form camera and how that affects the sense of movement and traversal and place within the environment.

In that thread you mentioned MGS3's choice between the 'classic', fixed, almost isometric-like viewpoint and the the free 3rd-person camera, and how it changed the experience. And that to me sounds fundamental.

I am pretty sure the huge difference in feel in BotW is so much more (to me, clearly I have my own sensitivities and biases when playing games compared with others!) than just about the fact that the game is open or that there's climbing - I think it's more specific than that. To do with the visual framing and camera control and binaries of navigable environment. So I actually experimented a little yesterday with BotW and Mario Odyssey, and returned to older 3D Zelda games with a few Let's Play Youtube videos.

And here are my updated and important and paradigm-destroying ideas for anyone (/no-one) to read!:

1) Traversing space is the stuff of a lot of video games. How this is framed visually (they're 'video' games after all!) affects everything, and also affects how you play and how you perceive the character's relationship to the environment. It thus is a physical, mechanical component of play and not just a depiction thing.

2) Case-Study - Ocarina of Time: This had some areas where you could free roam and freely look around, and some areas which were pre-rendered. If I ask you to think of OoT's Temple of Time or Hyrule Market Back Alley or inside a Kokiri House - we would all have a similar image. These moments added visual, dramatic framing to a scene. They also meant that Link on-screen could be both small and distant, or close up to the screen - it varied his position from the screen. Finally they were snapped into-and-out-of when you go into these areas (or even within them, think of the birds-eye compared with side-on camera options within Kokiri houses).

All of these effects were like punctuation in the 'visual-space-story', giving it variety and rhythm and with it - a sense of journey overall.

Even in Link's Awakening there are the side-on sections which (and that boss battle!) which are few in number, but enough to act like a visual 'volta' - a temporary change that enhances the whole.

OoT cannot be solely played or remembered from the same vantage point and we did not just drive Link through environments, but controlled him around them too.

3) Case-Study - Skyward Sword: Like Ocarina of Time this did not have a controllable third-person camera due to lack of a right-stick. This means that the rhythm of play was to constantly reset the camera with the L-Trigger like the Z-trigger/targeting in OoT. This has (at least) two main effects.

The first is that it constantly resets the visual field to a Link-height, immersed view unto everything going on - you have to break into the first-person peer-around to see the extremes of up and down. So you feel immersed in Faron Woods, say - without constantly looking around in a way that explores and highlights its limits and extremities. Compare this with BoTW where you are constantly roving the camera around up and down for potential, for flights up or surfs down, in a way that disrupts your interest and absorption and sense of enclosure in the immediate surroundings.

The second is that you just do it less frequently - you reset the camera to something roughly convenient, then get on with navigating around it. On the spectrum of fixed-camera angles to a fully free-roaming one, this is more towards the former than BotW's in which you can accelerate Link constantly whilst roving around with your gaze, instead of controlling him in a temporarily-positioned shot. It's the difference between a fixed-camera in an old movie and a CG-enhanced one-shot that follows characters through their movement. But I think the latter feels a little less rooted, a little less like you are controlling Link, and a little less involved in the environment.

Zelda is a series that feels weighty, stolid, earthy - compared with the high-flying acrobatics of Mario, say. And I think the more considered rhythms of previous camera control may have suited it better. Think of the slow first-person looking-speed of Metroid Prime and how much gravity and weight it added to the feel of Samus.

The camera isn't just for seeing the character move - it is the character and their gamefeel.

4) Case-Study - Super Mario Odyssey: But hang on mate! Wind Waker had a third-person camera, and so did great games like Mario and that feels super tactile and rewarding to play!

Hey that's true! So I loaded up Mario Odyssey yesterday to revisit it. What I noticed is that even though you can control the camera freely, you still end up doing it in intermittent bursts due to the constant busy-ness of moving around. Even just going from A-B is punctuated by endless hyperactive scribbles of jumps and dive-jumps and rolling and hat-bouncing. And you cannot move the camera if you're busy jumping because they both need your thumb!

So I went to the Sand Kingdom, with its big swathe of undulating hills, and ran around BotW style - not jumping but just gazing round and moving round with the camera-stick.

AND MAYBE IT'S JUST ME but there is an immediate difference in feel. Not just because you're not bouncing around like you have jump-tourettes, but because suddenly you are less controlling Mario around his surroundings compared to steering him through it. And I reckon there's an immediate change. It's shifts the focus between Mario and his next, immediate concern, and Mario and the more macro concerns of what's allthewayoverthere. Or something!

5) Case-Study - Similarly I watched a couple videos of Wind Waker, and the environments are (obviously) much more compact than BotW, but also are denser with the sort of micro-concerns that engage you to it. Every little run of cliffs requires careful navigation without the buffer of climbing/gliding. And even a basic run up to an area (say to the entrance to the Deku Tree place) requires you align the jumps properly and use your rope-swing and so on - all just to traverse about 20-meters.

It's akin to what Simon Parkin said of Mario Kart 8 in his 10/10 EG review:

Start not with the screen - a window into the Mario multiverse that has never before loomed so large and vivid - but with the hands. Here, at the physical level, you begin to understand the connection this game establishes with its player... This pitter-patter of interactions, of jabs and squeezes, connects you intimately to the game. You are needed here, more so than in most other racing games.


In BotW I think a lot of the time is spent in airborne or on-foot treks across the ripples and waves of its landscape, without the meaningful micro-concerns of traversal that root you within it. It feels like a landscape painting of wonderful shapes and form, but with less emphasis on the detailed gameplay and concerns that connect you.

To get around you just glide and climb, no other tools required. So exploration and progress becomes a visual thing - where you go to new areas to see new things, new colour palettes and skins for Hyrule - and not the mechanical one where you have to do different obstacles with different tools just to get anywhere.

6) Punctuation - Can you make a game too smooth? Too playable? Too many edges shaved off literally and thus in gamefeel, too?

BotW feels so silken and fluid that I wonder if its a little like a gaming stream-of-consciousness, without the usual gaming grammar that gives it depiction of space and traversal more weight.

Everything leads to everything. Everything is a camber or a slope or an up-ramp to something else. It's amazing and soothing and freeform, but it also diminishes the significance of verticality in general, of height and of drops and of walls. It loses the sense of enclosure - by its commitment to the freedom of climbing and gliding from anywhere to anywhere. There is no crawling through cubby-holes and into caves.

It disrupts the inside-outside over-and-under world-grammar of previous, more limited 3D Zelda games, as with it their 'gravity' and solidity and variety.

In the new Link's Awakening there is continuous scrolling it seems - but not for the dungeons proper which remain structured in screen-chunks. That is because game grammar necessitates that mysterious dungeons must feel mysterious and enclosed and discreet whilst playing.

In BotW - everything is scrolling and continuous, reducing the felt borders of play that came with entering and exiting new areas, but also reducing their character as areas.

7) I DO ACTUALLY LIKE BoTW! Honest! And it certainly 'worked' on me (more than 150 hours and counting). I am not trying to sound ungrateful for such a brilliant experience.

But I couldn't place what the felt differences were in play, and thought they might be more than just the changes to the overworld structure or to the weapon durability or whatever. There was far more going on which I became quite interested in unfolding and unpacking.

Anyway I have to finish now (don't even get me started on the musical differentiation of environments being altered etc!) but there we are!

EDIT P.S. I actually tried BotW using only L-Trigger camera and I swear it changed things, and my focus and the feel!

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by OrangeRKN » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:51 pm

Lots of interesting points but just to respond to this one:

deathofcows wrote:I actually tried BotW using only L-Trigger camera and I swear it changed things, and my focus and the feel!


It might be interesting for you to try out the VR mode. I didn't read particularly great things about it, but as a study of changing the experience I reckon it would be interesting!

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Curls » Fri Jun 28, 2019 8:53 pm

Robbo-92 wrote:It took me forever to defeat my first Lynel, even now I still find it easier to just launch arrows at it than going sword to sword with them :dread: Of course it doesn’t help I’m laughably bad at parrying which seems to be a key skill for easily defeating Lynels.


I knew you could parry. I just never ever did. Couldn't figure it out.

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Mystical Ninja Starring Danmon » Sat Jun 29, 2019 8:22 am

Some great posts in here recently. Cheers OR & DoC

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Ad7 » Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:53 am

Did someone say parrying? :datass:





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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by deathofcows » Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:02 pm

THE ONLY TRUE GAMER wrote:Some great posts in here recently. Cheers OR & DoC


Glad they're not too too anal and pedantic in detail!

Here's my final Case-Study for now (BotW)!:

Was still musing and experimenting this morning whilst playing, and wondered whether it was partly the climbing mechanic that a had altered the gamefeel. So I tried playing without allowing myself to climb and - once again, as with L-Targetting and so on - I felt it drastically and immediately reframed the environment psychologically as well as visually.

Suddenly the mountains and rock-crops felt big and I felt much smaller and immersed in the world's Terra Firma, as opposed to seeing it slightly detached remove (aloft and aloof) from the usual 'Terra Flight-er' rhythms of climbing high and gliding down.

I wonder how much the climbing is fun, free-form and liberating (it is!), but also how much it alters the feel of our world connection by rendering everything traversable and encouraging us into the look down, drop-down rhythms that dull the landscape's scale and sense of verticality.

I once read a great article with different writers arguing for different types of transport and movement - and one described walking as the natural pace of the world, at which we can appreciate and see and feel a part of things.

I think the climbing changes not just the possibility space of the 3D-Zelda formula, but also the meaning/significance of the land in relation to Link and the player, too.

But now I'm worried it may just me! My personal taste and my hard-shorn old associations.

But just as the constant gaze-roam of the third-person camera stick makes the visual surroundings feel flimsier, disrupting the visual field constantly and never fully settling into more settled framings and a stasis through which we move. I also wonder if the climbing similarly makes things a little more weightless, reducing a key binary in gaming grammar (ground and walls/height) in a way that makes Zelda feels less grounded literally and metaphorically. It also changes how you see the world proper - often staring directly up the side of a cliff face or down into a valley, instead of at the path-height of ground-level. It changes the 'walking pace' of 3D-Zelda!

Anyway with L-Targeting and no climbing the game felt immediately more 'Zelda' in a way that I don't think is just nostalgia and association, but a distinct mechanical and experiential difference.

Edit TL:DR - Could I Imagine a world where BotW 2 didn't have climbing, but still retained a lot of the open flexibility that made it special? Would we lose that much, and might we gain something back? Just a thought experiment! (that won't happen)

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PostRe: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild GOTG v2
by Captain Kinopio » Sat Jun 29, 2019 3:33 pm

Interesting view on it.

However climbing and the freedom that enabled was the single best thing implemented in BOTW. That’s about as near enough an objective fact you will get when it comes to opinions on gaming, countless reviews and commentators have called it out as such. I cannot imagine what a staggering step backwards it would be to take it out of the game.

I think there’s potentially an argument for obstacles geographic, environmental and physical becoming ultimately more or less meaningless as you progress through the game and a sequel needing to improve on that. How you do that with the go anywhere do anything design of the game that was so brilliant, I’ll leave to the genius design team. I’ve seen it said a few times that the plateau is the best part of the game because it’s where the environment is it’s most puzzle like in how you have to adapt to it. From the chopping trees to cross chasms, using girders to create bridges, natural obstacles for stealth approaches and the myriad of ways to tackle the mountain. It’s utterly superb. In the broader world it’s still there but on a diminishing returns basis. I’d love to see late game stuff like it, maybe building boats to cross lakes or oceans and some hardcore environments like Hebra where you can’t just pop on a warm coat and nullify any effect.

Climbing has to stay almost as is though, potentially tweaked so it’s less easily cheesed. Would love to see some proper hardcore climbing challenges too. Like the far south east cliff face, but where you had to scale it in some hardcore fashion to progress in the game. Camping half way up, killing birds to boost energy, surviving the elements as you scaled it. That would be strawberry floating brilliant.


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