...WHAT'S THAT? SPARE YOU THE PROLOGUE AND JUST CURSE YOU ALREADY?
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BREATH OF THE WILD IS LEGEND OF ZELDA
So, I’ve played through Breath of the Wild, and now that I’ve had time to digest the many aspects of this fantastic game, I can really write more about it. The first and best thing I can say is that it made me feel like a kid again. I haven’t felt that way since _Wind Waker_, and that is really, really saying something. The game designer in my head will often nitpick things as I play, and while he wasn’t entirely silent, he was mostly as enthralled as I was. _Majora’s Mask_ might still be my favorite Legend of Zelda, but it’s very, very close. Hell, maybe they’re tied. I can’t really say.
My opinion of _Twilight Princess_ is basically that it’s an extended, episodic Ocarina of Time ripoff that exceeds it in most aspects of control/graphics/music, etc., but ultimately fails to exceed it as a whole, and I really, really dislike _Skyward Sword_, which I’ll write about another time. But I haven’t had something take me back to Hyrule and keep me there in a very, very long time, and even though I invoke Wind Waker, even that didn’t bring me there like this game did.
What is perhaps most impressive to me is that while characters can enrich an experience, I feel like I’d enjoy this game with any face. The enchanting characterization and development of smaller parts of the world is just Zelda bonus to what was already a great game. I think one way it really succeeds is in that it lets you go in virtually any direction from the start, and you just sort of find your way. It does openness very, very well, and Link’s ability to climb and interact with the world around him exceeds that of any other Zelda to date.
However, it does have some minor drawbacks that I cannot help but address:
A big thing going through my head thinking this is comparing it to _Skyrim_. And while Skyrim ultimately feels more grounded — even for a “you’re the chosen one, epic dragon-slayer game — that isn’t what anyone’s looking for in Zelda. We want the ascendent chord, the come-up — our noble hero on a divine quest. And while we definitely get that, one aspect of its execution here is a world that remains largely unfilled. In Skyrim, you will find remnants of the lives of others, be it mini-quests to find some drunk’s ale, sidequests to rescue a kidnapped child, or even just an old letter detailing the death of the former occupant of a now-empty house. A lot of times in _Breath of the Wild_ there’s just a lot of land, colored with whatever biome you happen to be in. A great deal of care was put into creating this world, but I feel like they forgot to fill many parts of it, and once you’re used to the ebb and flow of the game, it can often create a sense of ennui that pulls you out of the world until you find the next “thing”. My inkling is much the same as with Skyward Sword — they created a beautiful world and tried to fill it after the fact, and stopped before they were finished. I think they might be better off filling small parts as they expand, to really give life to what they create, as opposed to it simply being the home to a shrine puzzle and a couple of Korok seeds. That is what made Skyloft feel so much more alive in Skyward Sword compared to, well, the rest of the game. Breath of the Wild has plenty of liveliness despite this, however, and this bit of emptiness only becomes apparent when you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in this most recent incarnation of Hyrule.
The story, while incredibly engaging, and telling us a tale that allows us to climb up after the fall, largely feels to be only half-complete. I’m reserving judgment on this aspect for now, as there’s apparently DLC coming out to flesh out the first half of the story, which, if done in a satisfying way, may make this game’s story feel more complete. Obviously, I’m not a fan of DLC being done this way, but, better than not existing.
Something I think the game does very well is its sense of scale. And an area I think it falls short on is when it takes itself a bit too seriously and tries to draw your attention to that scale. I like when the gameplay itself shows you the grandeur of the world before you, rather than a mini-cutscene or fixed camera angle that is basically “HEY LOOK AT THIS THING!”
For once, the music did not floor me. It was charming in many places, and I like how there wasn’t always music, but sometimes I felt it was too light a touch for when I really wanted a theme going in the background.
Ultimately, I don’t think any of these things really _takes away_ from the game enough to remove its status as a masterpiece. It’s one of my absolutely favorite games to date, and I can only hope this is the new starting point for future titles in the Legend of Zelda series. The beauty of this game’s scenery, atmosphere, the driving _feeling_ of playing this game, its satisfying difficulty, engaging puzzles… I could go on. I would rate this game 10/10, easy, and I don’t think its shortcomings come close to affecting my impression of it. I’ll flesh this out a bit more once all DLC has been released, and I’ve had time to complete it. This entry was posted in Web on November 14th, 2017 by Mopsy . Leave a reply
YOOKA-LAYLEE IS… INCONSISTENT.
Banjo Tooie remains one of my favorite games of all time. Some people seem to prefer Kazooie, but I have no idea what they’re seeing. To me, Banjo Tooie perfected the recipe, and it made collection fun and rewarding without ever feeling dull or tedious. I have replayed that game over 15 times over the years — I love it so much.
I realize getting the ol’ gang back together might leave a bit of rust to be shaken off, but my understanding here is that they’re missing the original game designer, and it _really_ shows.
The greatest thing I would call this game so far is inconsistent. I almost want to say unfinished, but there is polish in certain areas that doesn’t let me really give it that. The music so far is mostly brilliant, but at times it feels obnoxious, and I wonder how it got through quality control. Controls sometimes don’t make sense, and the camera is mostly fine, but sometimes fixes itself to specific spots like it knows better than I do. Some of the character designs are outright brilliant, while some are downright uninspired. And then it just reuses the characters everywhere, so that gets old fast. It feels a lot different than Banjo games where you’d feel like “Hey, I know that camel!” Instead it’s “Great, here’s the fridge. Again.”
I feel like maybe they underestimated how long it would take, or how much money it would take, or something. A lot of things just feel like stand-ins without refreshing the ideas in their own right. Ghost writers — but why? Jinjos felt so inspired, what the hell is a ghost writer? “Pagies”!? Are you kidding me? Jiggies worked because “jigsaw” is not a frequently used term, and so it felt imaginative. “Pagie” just sounds patronizing. Banjo wanted to save his sister, and stop the witch who tried to kidnap her, respectively. Yooka and Laylee want to stop some bee from controlling reality with a book, but mostly, it was their book. They don’t even know what they’re doing.
Banjo was goofy, but his character was lent a lot from his being a bear. He was strong and intimidating, but was mostly just a friendly, bumpkin-ey bear. The juxtaposition of that was delightful. Kazooie, on the other hand, was a piss-and-vingear bird of some species no one’s every heard of with everything to prove. I’m not even sure Yooka has a personality, and Laylee just seems to want to sort of be Kazooie, but isn’t trying very hard, and isn’t funny.
And don’t get me started on the villain. Gruntilda was almost playful, like a dragon who wants to toy with her food. She had the important part down, the girl was kidnapped, but she almost wanted to _mess_ with Banjo and Kazooie in the meantime. Her rhymes, her puzzles, the quiz show, it was great. This bee is like, driven by profit margins or something. We just elected a reality show star as our president, we don’t want to play that in a game!
Through all of that, I can tell this is a labor of love. I’m going to keep playing this game, but it’s really just making me yearn for another Banjo Tooie playthrough. I’d skip it if you’re not super interested in playing for yourself. I’m really looking forward to Yooka-Laylee 2, though. I think they could really polish these things out and make a fantastic game if they learn from their mistakes here. This entry was posted in Gaming on May 15th, 2017 by Mopsy . Leave a reply
HOLY SHIT I LOVE UNDERTALE SO MUCH
I seriously fucking love this game. I’ve done three playthroughs of it already (multiple endings), and it’s just so amazing. And you should all go out and buy it and play it yourself because it’s amazing.
In all seriousness, Undertale is an absolutely stellar game. It invokes the charm of Earthbound alongside the atmosphere of Cave Story, while still having plenty of its own style to offer. Undertale is one of those games where you want to talk about to get people to play it, but a good deal of what people will enjoy will come from having no preconceptions about the game. I _will_ say that Undertale will bring a certain brand of morality into the game, intersecting with the way you would traditionally play RPGs, and will condition you to expect consequences for your actions… like, all of them. And that’s really all I want to say about the actual content of the game, and some people may even say that was too much. But honestly, it’s a fantastic game, and if you’ve got the extra $10, I recommend grabbing it. And if not, I hear it might be in a Humble Bundle in the near future. ;D
Continue reading → This entry was posted in Gaming on October 19th, 2015 by Mopsy . Leave a reply