ALBW, is the most disappointing game I've played this year

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#1 Edited by MasterChiefYolo (35 posts) -

Having finished ALBW 100% earlier tonight, I really can't help but feel pretty disappointed in the whole experience. It's still a fantastic game, a 9/10 and easy to recommend to people, but as a Zelda I feel like it was lacking in what I enjoy most about the series.

Zelda for me has always been about exploring a world, entering dungeons to find more gear to help you further explore that world. This has been the basic concept from the original LoZ all the way to the most recent game Skyward Sword. ALBW throws this concept on it's head by instead allowing players to rent/buy items from a shop very early in the game to give players a non linear experience to explore the world at their discretion. This for me created three major problems

1- Just by exploring the world, I was able to have enough money to rent every item in the shop after clearing the first dungeon. The game is supposed to have a risk/reward system where dying removes all your rented items, but combat is too easy and you'll never even come close to dying removing the risk. Even if combat was difficult you could always quit and reload your save before you died completely killing any semblance of risk.

Giving the player access to almost every item at the start eliminates the joy of exploring the world. A great deal of the joy I got from Zelda was finding a strange place and wondering what kind of crazy item I'd need to access it then remembering about said place when I found that item. ALBW I already have everything, when I go to a new area I just suck up all the collectibles and puzzles and never come back. I never had a reason to rexplore any locations because I was able to get 100% of items in that area the first time I visited minus the few things you needed Titan gloves for. Maybe some people prefer to not have to back track after finding a new item, but for me personally that was one of the most enjoyable parts of Zelda.

2- Giving you every item also limits the usefulness of your items. After the first dungeon the bow and arrow is almost completely useless and is outclassed by the fire rod as a damage dealing ranged weapon. The boomerang is outclassed by the tornado rod as a stun weapon and by the hookshot as a ranged grabbing item. The hammer is completely useless outside of the few token pegs you have to hit and the 1 dungeon it's required for. The hookshot is useless as a movement device when wall merging completely dominates it.

Other Zelda games would eventually have your items become outclassed yes, but generally these better items were accessed later, or had certain restrictions like magic meters. Arrows and bombs had a limited use so free items like a hammer or boomerang could still see use. In this game all your items share one meter that's also shared with your wall merging ability. With all items gotten at the same time and all sharing from the same pool it really limits most of their usefulness the moment you get them.

3- Dungeons are almost completely pointless now. First off you already know what item you'll need to clear the dungeon before you even enter it, second there is no dungeon reward item in the first few dungeons, and the later just give you gear/stat upgrades to make an already easy game even easier. Because the designers can't assume the player has any inventory items besides the one required item, all puzzles in each dungeon require only that one item and wall merge. First dungeon is bow and wall merge, next two are hammer and wall merge or tornado rod and wall merge. All that's there are puzzles that all have one of two solutions, you either need to wall merge, or you need to use the required item. I found it hilarious when the game introduced enemies that acted like bombs just in case the player didn't have bombs to blow open cracks in dungeons.

By giving the player the ability to tackle the dungeons in any order, any semblance of a difficulty curve is out the window. Dungeons can't grow in difficulty or length because every dungeon has to be beatable as the "first" dungeon a player explores. This creates a game where every dungeon is no more difficult then the Deku Tree from OoT. Previous Zelda games in the later dungeons could throw puzzles at the player that required multiple items to complete and was able to throw stronger enemies in later dungeons as the player would for sure have more life and more weapons, something LBW can't do due to it's non linear style. The only areas that LBW challenges you to use multiple items are the optional treasure puzzles that net you rupees which I've seen a lot of people say are there favorite parts of the game. I agree they're my favorite too, as they're the closest the puzzles ever get to resembling the more challenging puzzles from later dungeons in previous Zelda games.

In the end, I feel like ALBW's lack of difficulty scale and loss of excitement really ruined my enjoyment of what is otherwise a fantastic game. Accepting it for what it did and what it's trying to do it nails it and excels, but that isn't what I look forward to in each Zelda. I did really love the wall merge ability, I loved the toned down tutorials and hand holding, I loved being able to access most of the world from the beginning of the game. I hope that a future Zelda figures out a way to keep the more open world but put items back in the dungeons and return dungeons to being linear so that they can get more difficult. Or make it so that dungeons get harder and change depending upon what order you do them in. There are a lot of ways they could fix this games issues, and hopefully this game is the ground work for something truly special in Zelda WiiU. As a stand alone game however I have to put this game in the middle of the pile, not as good as the truly special Zeldas like LttP or MM, but better then some of my least enjoyed titles like AoL and PH.

#2 Edited by Crazyguy105 (9511 posts) -

So, you're a long time Zelda fan who hates change.

#3 Edited by PonchoTaco (1976 posts) -

TL;DR

Blog it.

#4 Edited by outworld222 (2411 posts) -

Just wanted to know one thing, are the dungeons just as challenging as in Link's Awakening at the very least??

#5 Posted by kemar7856 (11506 posts) -

I was never a fan of handheld zeldas I never played this yet but spirt tracks and PH I just could'nt get into

#6 Edited by Xaero_Gravity (8709 posts) -

I personally love the game but I definitely agree with a lot of your points. It's a shame most sheep will be too upset by the title and not read that despite all your issues with the game, you would still rate it a 9/10.

#7 Edited by babycakin (1400 posts) -

Now now, everyone relax. I agree with a few statements. Some of the items lose it's usefulness that I agree with, but I do like this approach they went with. I mean some of the items in the game you still have to find which is nice but I really liked my choices of choosing a dungeon to go too later on. My money went down the drain pretty quickly with purchasing the items f I needed (I wouldn't rent or buy anything until I needed it for the dungeon except the boomerang) , and playing the mini games multiple times. But I understand your criticism.

@Xaero_Gravity: definitely not upset with fair criticism like this.

@kemar7856: I also couldn't get into the ones you mentioned.

#8 Posted by Shinobishyguy (22424 posts) -

So is this the part of the Zelda cycle where people start praising Skyward Sword?

#9 Posted by charizard1605 (56021 posts) -

There is absolutely zero gravity in this thread

#10 Edited by Xaero_Gravity (8709 posts) -

@charizard1605 said:

There is absolutely zero gravity in this thread

Almost as many drops of Jupiter.

#11 Posted by charizard1605 (56021 posts) -

@charizard1605 said:

There is absolutely zero gravity in this thread

Almost as any drops of Jupiter.

Scientifically speaking, your sentence was wrong

#12 Posted by Xaero_Gravity (8709 posts) -
#13 Posted by p3anut (5872 posts) -

So, you're a long time Zelda fan who hates change.

That's what I was thinking also. Link Between Worlds is the best Handheld Zelda game for me. Before this game is was Link's Awakening.

#14 Posted by Zoso813 (310 posts) -

He copied and pasted this from a post on NeoGAF, by the way.

#15 Posted by Spam_Pics (222 posts) -

Nice NeoGaf copying. You forgot to include that he said it was the best game he played all year.

#16 Edited by foxhound_fox (87679 posts) -

I hear it's very similar to ALTTP, a game I loved and a game a lot of Zelda critics loved. I'm not sure why you would be disappointed by more of the greatest Zelda of all time.

#17 Posted by Vaasman (11260 posts) -

I hear it's very similar to ALTTP, a game I loved and a game a lot of Zelda critics loved. I'm not sure why you would be disappointed by more of the greatest Zelda of all time.

So it's more Ocarina of Time?! Sign me up!

#18 Posted by charizard1605 (56021 posts) -

@Vaasman said:

@foxhound_fox said:

I hear it's very similar to ALTTP, a game I loved and a game a lot of Zelda critics loved. I'm not sure why you would be disappointed by more of the greatest Zelda of all time.

So it's more Link to the Past in polygonal 3D?! Sign me up!

Fixed that for you :-3

#19 Edited by GunSmith1_basic (9763 posts) -

You just had crazy expectations. From the early descriptions of the premise I knew that this would be a pseudo-non-linear experience. It was destined to be filled with positives and negatives. I haven't finished the game yet but so far it's exactly what you describe it as.

I highly recommend the game however, just because of how odd of a Zelda it is. That painting ability at first reminded me of the Minish cap shrinking ability but it really is so much better. The weird item rental setup is clunky but liberating. The whole setup just feels new.

There are difficulty issues with the game, just as you describe. This is an experimental game for Nintendo, perhaps as preparation for making the Zelda WiiU game. The main issue is with the puzzle difficulty. It is easy to make enemies gradually tougher despite dungeon order, but puzzle difficulty does not increase. Maybe it is impossible. WRPGs like the type Bethesda makes hardly have any puzzles at all. A possible solution is to have puzzles in the overworld, ones that perhaps lead to the dungeons. If they require a lot of expensive items and are filled with enemies with huge health bars then that would keep players out until they built up money, health, and abilities. Ultimately however, I believe that for a truly non-linear experience those puzzles have to be technically possible to do early on (just like how killing those wasps in new vegas are nearly undefeatable at the outset,... and yet players get a kick out of defying those barriers and going to where they aren't supposed to go).

In other words, I think that puzzles and dungeons should have different difficulties, and if the player does them out of order then so be it. They might finish the game at the easiest dungeon. I like how Zelda 1 did it, where each dungeon had a number. If you entered dungeon 7 right after finishing dungeon 2 then you knew you were in for a challenge. Many players accepted that challenge. If you really want a smooth progression, then just stick to the order.

#20 Posted by foxhound_fox (87679 posts) -

@Vaasman said:

So it's more Ocarina of Time?! Sign me up!

Majora's Mask is better than Ocarina. Wind Waker is better than Ocarina. Twilight Princess is better than Ocarina.

I haven't played Skyward Sword, but I bet it probably is better than Ocarina.

A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game. Most of Ocarina's content is just A Link to the Past in 3D. Much like how Metroid Prime was mostly just Super Metroid in 3D.

#21 Posted by Basinboy (11056 posts) -

9/10 and it was disappointing?

Either the Zelda IP is f*cked or OP doesn't get how to score games

#22 Posted by foxhound_fox (87679 posts) -
@Basinboy said:

9/10 and it was disappointing?

Either the Zelda IP is f*cked or OP doesn't get how to score games

Nah, it's just Zelda fans.

#23 Posted by Blabadon (25934 posts) -

I can see what you mean by every dungeon being as easy as the Deku Tree (or what the NeoGAF poster means), but I say good, they finally got rid of the bullshit idiosyncrasies of other Zeldas.

#24 Edited by GunSmith1_basic (9763 posts) -

@foxhound_fox said:

I hear it's very similar to ALTTP, a game I loved and a game a lot of Zelda critics loved. I'm not sure why you would be disappointed by more of the greatest Zelda of all time.

it really is nothing like ALTTP

  • ALBW has a recycled world. ALTTP was a new world. I'm not saying this makes ALBW worse, but it is definitely a different feeling.
  • In terms of characters and plot, ALBW is closer to Skyward Sword.
  • As I eluded to, the special ability Link has makes the game feel like Minish Cap (even if the abilities are quite different). ALBW has a similar casual tone to it, unlike ALTTP which is longer and more intense
#25 Edited by Vaasman (11260 posts) -

@foxhound_fox said:

@Vaasman said:

So it's more Ocarina of Time?! Sign me up!

Majora's Mask is better than Ocarina. Wind Waker is better than Ocarina. Twilight Princess is better than Ocarina.

I haven't played Skyward Sword, but I bet it probably is better than Ocarina.

A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game. Most of Ocarina's content is just A Link to the Past in 3D. Much like how Metroid Prime was mostly just Super Metroid in 3D.

Strongly disagree with all. OoT is just LttP in 3d? Are you high? You might as well say LttP is just zelda 1 with shiny graphics.

#26 Posted by jg4xchamp (47338 posts) -

>I'm disappointed
>I would only give it a 9

What?

#27 Posted by Seabas989 (10106 posts) -

Too soon for me to judge the game since I only just beat the first dungeon but I love merging into the walls. It's an awesome new mechanic.

#28 Posted by foxhound_fox (87679 posts) -
@Vaasman said:

Strongly disagree with all. OoT is just LttP in 3d? Are you high? You might as well say LttP is just zelda 1 with shiny graphics.

Have you played ALTTP?

#29 Edited by Vaasman (11260 posts) -

@foxhound_fox said:
@Vaasman said:

Strongly disagree with all. OoT is just LttP in 3d? Are you high? You might as well say LttP is just zelda 1 with shiny graphics.

Have you played ALTTP?

Yes, beaten it twice. Beaten all those games at least twice, except Skyward Sword because lol Skyward Sword. OoT is best.

#30 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8366 posts) -

Bioshock Infinite is mine and no contest.

#31 Edited by Gargus (2147 posts) -

So, you're a long time Zelda fan who hates change.

So, youre someone who thinks anytime anything has ever changed at all it is always for the best?

#32 Edited by Gargus (2147 posts) -

@Basinboy said:

9/10 and it was disappointing?

Either the Zelda IP is f*cked or OP doesn't get how to score games

No you just didn't bother to actually read all of what he said. Or you have no concept of what context means.

#33 Posted by Basinboy (11056 posts) -

@Gargus: you're right on at least one of those counts

#34 Posted by Sweenix (5398 posts) -

every zelda game ever made sucks

#35 Edited by joel_c17 (2828 posts) -
#36 Posted by Whiteblade999 (5536 posts) -

Nice copy paste from GAF.

#37 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (24895 posts) -

I thought the concept of it was pretty neat! Something they really haven't done since the First Zelda game where most of the items can be obtained rather easily and Dungeons can be done in a non specific pattern.

There are also times where I try to play it like a conventional Zelda game and then get my mind blown that I could just use the "Wall Hacking" Ability to go around obstacles.

This game is a game changer for sure.

#39 Posted by 93BlackHawk93 (5310 posts) -

@Sweenix said:

every zelda game ever made sucks

#40 Posted by TheGuardian03 (21538 posts) -

you give it a 9.0 and still disappointed, what pleases you then?

#41 Posted by bbkkristian (14944 posts) -

I actually read it and I'm still skeptical on whether or not I will like the many differences they made in place for ALBW. I hope the take on dungeons in any order, and rent and preview all the items from the beginning,stays in this Zelda game. I don't want to see that in the console experience.

#42 Posted by Sagem28 (10498 posts) -

Cool.
Try blogging it next time.

#43 Posted by speedfreak48t5p (6937 posts) -

@Sweenix said:

every zelda game ever made sucks

Call of Duty >>>>>>> Zelda

#45 Posted by Jag85 (4377 posts) -

The original LoZ was also a non-linear experience though.

#46 Edited by KungfuKitten (20854 posts) -

No other company can make a sequel to one of the most praised games ever and do such a good job as Nintendo.
The item shop changes many things and I can understand that not everyone likes it.
I'm looking forward to your elaborate negative threads about Sony and MS exclusives.

Though I do have to say that I wouldn't call cheesing the game by quitting and reloading a fault of the game.

#47 Edited by Pikminmaniac (8764 posts) -

I disagree on your point about exploration. Giving you all those items at the get go has made exploration the best it's been in the series in a long time. They just give you a bunch of tools and let you free in a world that forces you to have to explore on your own terms. They don't hold your hand and most of the world is open to you.

A Link Between Worlds has been the most pleasant surprise this year. I expected a decent handheld Zelda, but what I got was a game that gives any of the best in the series a run for its money.

#48 Posted by ZombieKiller7 (6248 posts) -

Obviously you haven't tried X-Rebirth

Now THAT's disappointment.

Personally I'd rather stab myself than play Zelda, how long has Nintendo been milking that cow?

I have to stand up and applaud at the way Nintendo has taken old stagnant IP's and kept them marketable for almost 3 decades.

#49 Posted by mexicangordo (8632 posts) -

@Vaasman said:

So it's more Ocarina of Time?! Sign me up!

Majora's Mask is better than Ocarina. Wind Waker is better than Ocarina. Twilight Princess is better than Ocarina.

I haven't played Skyward Sword, but I bet it probably is better than Ocarina.

A Link to the Past is the best Zelda game. Most of Ocarina's content is just A Link to the Past in 3D. Much like how Metroid Prime was mostly just Super Metroid in 3D.

Lol say what?

Anyway, I think ALBW is the best Zelda game I have played in a very very long time. It feels fresh somehow. Organic would be a better word...The biggest criticism Zelda has gotten from just about everyone is how stale the games have become. Even when they try to do something different, i.e; Twilight Princess, SS, they seem forced on rather than an organic extension of the core game itself.

ALBW wen't back to its roots. Finally Nintendo has taken a page from the Super Mario Galaxy/3d games and realized that, "hey, we don't need a lot of this extra crap. Lets just make a really good game."

#50 Edited by seanmcloughlin (38214 posts) -

Would be interesting if these were YOUR points, not someone on GAF