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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD (16th July 2021)

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11 hours ago, Glen-i said:

Is it because the Koopa Troopas suddenly start walking upright?

I had a similar reaction when I first played Mario Galaxy and the Koopa Troopas suddenly went back to being quadrupedal again. But it was the first time we ever saw that in 3D and it felt weird.

Nah, it was more the weird Goomba design for me.

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10 hours ago, Dcubed said:

SMW is far too easy.  You have too much air control and the cape basically trivialises most of the game.

I love Super Mario World.. but you're absolutely right :hmm:

It definitely didn't seem too easy when I played it as a child, mind you!

 

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4 hours ago, Ike said:

Nah, it was more the weird Goomba design for me.

Not anymore, they're Galoombas now.

I quite like that retcon.

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19 hours ago, LazyBoy said:

I really appreciate @Dcubed's defense of this game, and I glad someone loved it, but I do not relate to so much of what you've said. Maybe I have just forgotten loads of the game, quite frankly it left little impression on me and maybe that's why I don't remember it, but your talk about great level design just does not resonate with me. I recall one mechanic - the time phasing - that was interesting and was probably the highlight of the game, but that's it. Otherwise it was the same Zelda game I had been playing since OoT, but with less overworld, less content, less atmosphere, and a criminally underused gliding function. The wiimote thing didn't really work, but I can't fault them for trying. 

Remind me (and I have a genuinely open mind) - what were the great examples of level design in the game?

I don’t really have the time to go into a deep dive on Skyward Sword’s level design myself; but Mark Brown gives a decent overview of Skyward Sword’s dungeons in an episode of Boss Keys...


The overworld design though is remarkable as well; in how they blur the lines between dungeon & overworld, in how they eschew the need for obvious landmarking & player funnelling yet you never end up feeling completely lost, in how the various puzzles & challenges you need to accomplish within can be tackled in multiple ways, in how the same environments can be rejigged & repurposed for a variety of different gameplay types, and in how there are just SO MANY different gameplay mechanics/puzzles/challenges packed into every corner of every map!

The best word I can use to describe Skyward Sword’s level design is dense.  There is a ridiculous amount of gameplay & gameplay variety packed into every single map! It’s basically like a 3D Minish Cap (which has a similar approach to its level design; especially with its shortcuts - and what a surprise! Was also directed by the same person!); which too, traded breadth for depth.

It’s brilliant, the micro level of detail in its level design is staggering! Nothing is placed or designed without purpose in this game.  And it is the exact polar opposite of BOTW in terms of design philosophy.

Edited by Dcubed
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I must have missed the vast majority of the game. Most of what @Dcubed said is a great description of the overworld in Breath of the Wild, loads of detail, lots of stuff to find and discover.

While Skyward Sword felt like the emptiest Zelda overworld I've played.

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There's some dissonance here. I feel Dcubed is talking levels and dumgeon design (which is pretty dang good in SS), while Cube is thinking strictly of the overworld (and that sky is pretty bland, to be fair).

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18 minutes ago, Jonnas said:

There's some dissonance here. I feel Dcubed is talking levels and dumgeon design (which is pretty dang good in SS), while Cube is thinking strictly of the overworld (and that sky is pretty bland, to be fair).

I'm talking about the Sky, and the ground bits up to the entrance to the dungeons. The actual dungeons were great.

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From what I remember I thought the bits outside the dungeon were great, the game kept getting referred to as having 'overworld dungeons', or more like no real barrier between the outside and the dungeon proper, in terms of puzzles. My main issue with the game was the disconnected overworld, having to level select each area from the sky. It seemed like a real step backwards for the series, but it did plenty of other things great obv.

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The dungeons were excellent, as were some of the overworld segments in each area.

As Zell points out, the main issue with the game is the ridiculous amounts of padding. I can only assume they wanted to make the game as long as possible in line with other console RPG's / open world titles but they went ridiculously overboard. If you get rid of the fetch quests and take about ten hours out of the game, it would be significantly better to replay. Twilight Princess got criticised for the really long tutorial segment, but SS does that constantly throughout.

There's a segment near the end where the fate of the world is in Links hands and he gets made to collect tad tones because *checks note* he needs to prove he is the hero again. I remember just laughing when that happened - it's such poor game design and I'm not surprised they moved away from it.

Skyward Sword has amazing dungeons, decent music and great characters. Unfortunately the structure of the game just doesn't work. The one positive thing I would say is that it says a lot of the Zelda team that they made three Zelda games on similar hardware specs and they all turned out completely different.

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I can't really comment on whether SS is a good game or not - I have played it, but I don't really like Zelda games, so never finished it.

 

However, the price of this (we can just say 'price', no need for anything else) is what concerns me. When they released the 3D Mario trilogy, it already seemed a bit pricey at £50 for 3 re-released games. Now they release a single remastered game for the same price? It was £60 at release in 2011, and it came with a free controller!

 

I was looking forward to the potential announcement of the Metroid trilogy on the Switch, as I've never played 2 and 3, and would quite like the opportunity. How much are they going to charge though? 

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Reading comments here is making me more open to giving the game a second try. My main issues first time around were the controls and the ridiculously blurry graphics, both of which seem to be getting addressed in the HD version. Maybe I'll treat myself at the end of the year, Zelda games are always best at Christmas.

 

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@Dcubed yes I have seen that one a while back. But to you, @Jonnas and @Cube, again, where exactly were the dungeons great? I don't remember them being bad, but just standard OoT template fare. Apart from the timeshift bit there was nothing outstanding that comes to mind, and certainly nothing that makes up for the rest of the game which was...well there really wasn't anything else to the game. As mentioned the dungeon progression template was expanded across dungeon build-up as well, so why is it in a game that is pretty much all dungeon I can remember so little of it?

The reason I am stressing this point was that my overall takeaway from the game was that the formula was tired (more dungeon is not a new idea). One new, well executed idea in a 30(?) hour game, and a Nintendo game no less, was rather deflating to me at the time, and until BotW it caused me to write-off Zelda altogether. I would go so far as to say that part of the reason I loved BotW so much is because SS was such a disappointment.  

Maybe I am being harsh, but that was my honest impression for a game I wanted to love.

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They had a spectacle about them, like you were altering them as you made your way through them - the whole dungeon was the puzzle, rather than individual rooms.

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7 hours ago, bob said:

However, the price of this (we can just say 'price', no need for anything else)

Is this a price point?

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13 minutes ago, Ashley said:

Is this a price point?

No, it’s a point about price :p 

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12 hours ago, Dcubed said:

No, it’s a point about price :p 

Is that the same thing as a Vincent Price Point?

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On 23/02/2021 at 12:12 PM, LazyBoy said:

 where exactly were the dungeons great? I don't remember them being bad, but just standard OoT template fare. Apart from the timeshift bit there was nothing outstanding that comes to mind, and certainly nothing that makes up for the rest of the game which was...well there really wasn't anything else to the game. As mentioned the dungeon progression template was expanded across dungeon build-up as well, so why is it in a game that is pretty much all dungeon I can remember so little of it?

The reason I am stressing this point was that my overall takeaway from the game was that the formula was tired (more dungeon is not a new idea). One new, well executed idea in a 30(?) hour game, and a Nintendo game no less, was rather deflating to me at the time, and until BotW it caused me to write-off Zelda altogether. I would go so far as to say that part of the reason I loved BotW so much is because SS was such a disappointment.  

Maybe I am being harsh, but that was my honest impression for a game I wanted to love.

Skyward Sword had very organic dungeons and levels (that is, the area around the dungeons). By that I mean that each place felt like an actual interconnected place, rather than a series of individual rooms strung together. For example, the Ancient Cistern tells a story with its ambiance, but in order to navigate it, you need to change floors constantly and have a good understanding of which parts of the dungeon are being changed and manipulated. Something very similar happens with the Timestone dungeons: as interesting as it is, the timeshift a mechanic, but using one to redesign the dungeon you've seen so far, and having to navigate a ship layout from both the inside and outside to even get to that point, that's the level design part. And then there's the entire concept behind the Sky Keep, which is one of the most fascinating ideas in this game.

The areas surrounding the dungeons are designed differently though, as they're meant to be replayed and toyed with. Sure, the first time you visit Eldin, you're going up and down the mountain to find the collectibles, but later on, that entire area gets turned into a stealth segment, and now you need to use your acquired knowledge of the layout to get around. It's a design philosophy that's reminiscent of 32/64 bit platformers.

I will say that I think the dungeon&level design in OoT and MM are both better than SS on the whole. If you're measuring SS's worth in comparison to Ocarina, I think it's fair to be underwhelmed.

Edited by Jonnas
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