Sunday, November 20, 2011

Speculation on Skyward Sword Recalibration Issues

Note the first word there: Speculation. I'm still waiting on Skyward Sword to arrive in the mail, and meanwhile, I hear these complaints about people having to recalibrate every thirty minutes or so. And on the other hand, I've heard from folks who played SS the whole way through and only had to calibrate the Remote at startup.

My totally uninformed theory is this: Some players.. well, a lot of folks, are playing SS incorrectly. I know that the standard Wii Remote games aren't immediately intuitive. For example, instead of wildly moving your arm around as your first instinct might have you do, you usually just need to move your wrist. I know that I had problems playing some games until I figured out how to use the Wii Remote right. For a "casual" console, the Wii can often be quite hard to play occasionally.

I find some evidence for my speculation in this video. Note how the player makes subtle wrist movements, which work just like standard Wii Remote usage, except with far more accuracy:

(video from Zelda Informer's Youtube Channel).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Skyward Sword: Robots?

The world is not exploding.

Ocarina of Time was an awesome game, and it still is an awesome game. I've moved on from Neutopia to playing a 3 heart run of OoT in my spare time. Ganon's Tower (on the N64 version) looks like total shit running up the stairway now, but aside from that, it's held up pretty well, you know. The remake helped us Zelda nerds solve the mystery of TP-Ganondorf's ears, but I don't think it was all that necessary, honestly.

I digressed from the subject on Ocarina of Time because of the influence Ocarina of Time had on the canon. Most of its storyline was present in A Link to the Past (albeit mistranslated in a few spots), but Ocarina of Time brought A Link to the Past's manual into the game. We were able to see the creation of Hyrule by the Goddesses pictured in that manual. We were able to see inside of the Temple of Light and observe a building Nintendo modeled with Sacred Geometry in mind. And the themes of Ocarina of Time were very mystical, as the game's text continually referred to the prophecies of Zelda, and the ancient legends regarding a Hero that would come. All of these things gave a very magical feel to Hyrule. One that A Link to the Past gave as well, but there's a difference.

A Link to the Past talked at length about the ancient civilization of the Hylia. Sahasralah talked about the "Great War Against Evil" that took place generations ago and how all of the knights of the Hylia were wiped out. Ocarina of Time, as best I can recall, doesn't mention that ancient civilization that often. This has caused some to think that maybe Ocarina of Time's civilization was that civilization, but the text of Old Woman causes me to disagree. She was clearly referring to a civilization along the lines of how Atlantis is depicted in the movies (as a great civilization with powerful technology). The point I'm trying to get at here is that Ocarina of Time's magic may well be supplanted by the technology implied in A Link to the Past. Time will tell.

Even though when I first played Alttp, I'd thought that the advanced civilzation she was talking about was pretty cool. But, having said that, I'm not 100% on wanting to see it, especially if it involves adding robots into Hyrule's PAST. I would have preferred A Link to the Future.

But the good news is that Skyward Sword looks like it's going to be a pretty decent game, and at least the robots don't look like robots. I guess I'll get the bundle since I need a Wii Remote Plus. Ack.. friggin' add ons these companies want you to buy. *grumbles*

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Neutopia Vs. Zelda (Or Much Ado About Nothing)

So, I finished up Neutopia a moment ago and wanted to ramble about it. First, I'll say that it's pretty friggin' sweet no matter how you look at it. Some negative things have been said about Neutopia and its relationship to Zelda. Well, as with most Zelda related topics, I'll rant an opinion about it here.

If we're comparing Neutopia to the original Legend of Zelda, Neutopia is a better game in a few ways. But it also loses a few steps here and there by virtue of its not being a complete clone.

Firstly, these bosses are more reminiscent of A Link to the Past than they are LoZ. And I'm sure there's an almost unanimous consensus of Zelda players would agree that LttP has better bosses than LoZ. You can't just manhandle a boss with a single bomb: You have to fight them all with your sword or with the rod. This is something they could have employed in the original Zelda game, but they simply opted not to.

Secondly, (and this is just through the merits of superior hardware): Neutopia has more and better music. Most of it's pretty fitting, although that dungeon theme gets tiresome after a while.

Of course the graphics are better, but 8-bit Hyrule has its charms. Finally, I would add that the text LoZ might have had if translation ability and game space allowed is in Neutopia. "BURN THE TREE AT THE DEAD END." has been replaced with something along the lines of "Your fire rod can burn down trees. Try it out in various places to find secrets." Since I played LoZ first.. I had to figure that shit out the hard way (and by the hard way, I mean look up the location of a dungeon, at which point I found out that candles burn trees. doh!).

One area that Neutopia sort of loses completely to LoZ in is the way the original Zelda game was conducted. It's a very unique game that hasn't been followed up on (at least by another Zelda game). There is no help in Zelda. They don't tell you what to do. They just say, "Hey! Ganon kidnapped Zelda. Go find some triangles!" And that's it. Who knows which way to go? In fact, there are numerous ways you could go. You could play Level-2 first if you were so inclined. You don't have to get all of the items. You don't even have to get the sword until it's time to fight Ganon.

Oh yeah, LoZ has a Second Quest. Can't forget that. But in fairness to Neutopia, I'd submit that the bad collision detection and infinitely more challenging bosses make some parts of Neutopia as hard as Quest 2 of Zelda. So it's almost equal, but LoZ wins by a nose for having more content.

A more interesting comparison would be Neutopia and A Link to the Past. A Link to the Past was made later, and they're very similar. One has to wonder if Neutopia had a little influence on Zelda too.

But anyway, I think that the flack that Neutopia gets for being a clone is mostly unmerited. Nintendo doesn't have a monopoly on a damsel in distress stories. Medieval Europe has that. Nor does it have a monopoly on collecting mystical items to save a given land. The hero myths that preceded Zelda have that. But Neutopia should have came up with some new items aside from the few that they did. You burn down trees and you bomb walls in the center of the room. Those mechanics are just blatant copying.