Is The Legend of Zelda running stale? It certainly seems so.
One of Nintendo’s flagship titles that brought gaming back from the crash of the 80s and helped make the Nintendo 64 profitable was The Legend of Zelda, and it opened our hearts and imaginations to a more family friendly role playing game. The series was known for being inventive without ever losing the feel of wonder and discovery that gave the game its own distinct feel.
It seems the glory days of Zelda are long past, though. All we seem to be getting now are HD remakes and slight changes to older games. Everything is getting recycled and nothing new even looks exciting. The biggest change to A Link Between Worlds was to give us the ability to make the hero paper thin so he could travel through walls and somehow travel time that way. I remember back when Link discovered new territories using the hookshot, an item so popular that Zelda stole it from its (enjoyable) clone, Final Fantasy Adventure.
The Legend of Zelda may not have always been innovative, but it definitely kept everything fun by never resorting to an experience system. In that way, the game retained a degree of momentum even in spite of Ocarina of Time‘s open world, and even increased the feeling of a time factor by giving the world a pending apocalypse in Majora’s Mask.
So what happened? Is Nintendo just out of fresh ideas to put into a brand new Zelda game? It looks like everything they have in the works and such is either a remake or an addition to an older idea. Even some of the rumored weapons hidden in the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds are really just stuff we’ve seen in other games.
Super Mario 3D World actually looks innovative enough to make me reconsider the fate of the Wii U because it’s unleashing several new ideas among the recycled and actually making an entirely new game out of it. The boomerang may have come from Zelda initially, but at least it was something Mario hasn’t done before. Also, the cat suit actually has a purpose that helps make the game more accessible beyond Link’s ability to turn flat and travel through cracks in walls like the upcoming Zelda title.
Is Nintendo out of fresh ideas for The Legend of Zelda, or could they be stalling for the time being to come up with something new?