The Twilight Princess Effect

#1lukeguy97Posted 1/18/2013 12:36:07 PM
On this website especially, Twilight Princess is held on a pedestal while Skyward Sword is considered sloppy. Usually, it comes down to people saying Skyward Sword is nothing but "fetch quests". However, I think I've found a deeper reason. That reason is the Twilight Princess Effect.

Twilight Princess Effect: A video game is considered well-structured because the gameplay follows a tight narrative, while the gameplay's individual structure is ignored.

See, Twilight Princess tried to make sure that everything that happened was part of one narrative. Each individual dungeon was fueled by an event that affected the overall story. This is why people say Twilight Princess had a good structure despite its overworld being empty, its provinces being tubelike, and the fact that much of the game is made up of the much-hated events people call "fetch quests".

Skyward Sword, however, seemed to revolve around taking detours from the overall story. In each area, exploration is fueled by either a character you've never seen before in need (ala Majora's Mask) or simply being told by Fi to find what you need to reach the dungeon. Because the game isn't fully held together by narrative, people see events in which you search an area for something as "fetch quests" rather than important progressions.

The thing is, while Twilight Princess hides its less exciting moments and unbalanced world under story developments (which ultimately create a nonsensical story), Skyward Sword uses "fetch quests" and backtracking to enforce a well-defined world. Good examples of this are Skyward Sword's Tears of Light sections. Many people consider them to be unnecessary retreads of areas that have already been explored. However, consider the fact that each Tears of Light section is challenging. You have to strategize with the stamina meter and the map in order to nab every tear without getting caught. This is because each area was built with challenges like this in mind, enforcing full and diverse layouts. Imagine doing one of these refined Tears of Light challenges in one of Twilight Princess's cramped areas that do not follow any sort of rhythm, or in a section of its unvaried overworld. It just wouldn't work. Twilight Princess has Tears of Light sections of its own, but they do not require any strategizing and don't do anything for the structure of each area.

Skyward Sword is often called lazy because there aren't a million different areas to explore, while Twilight Princess's story takes you to loads and loads of places. However, Twilight Princess's areas are just that: places. Levels, if you may. You only have to visit them once to get where you're going. Skyward Sword's world isn't built around an advancing story, rather, it is built around the philosophy that the more items you master, the more of each area you'll be able to access. See, everyone says that Skyward Sword has a horrible overworld while ignoring the fact that the provinces themselves double as separate overworlds. It's a unique structure that brings out the most in everything, inspiring balanced weapon usage, exploration, and seeing something new every time you visit an area.

Truth be told, Twilight Princess does not have good structure. The gameplay feels extremely loose because it isn't built around anything other than a frantic story. It has good balance between story and gameplay (that's not to say the story is good), but does that really help tighten the game? No, but the Twilight Princess Effect stands. The game makes players feel important and like they are always progressing. It's a faux-good structure.

What do you guys think of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword's structures?
#2CakeOfLiesPosted 1/18/2013 1:25:01 PM
lukeguy97 posted...
On this website especially, Twilight Princess is held on a pedestal.


Have you ever been here? People are CONSTANTLY bashing TP.
WW is held on a pedestal on this site (for some reason).
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#3SingingSoulPosted 1/18/2013 1:31:40 PM
WOA U NAILED IT (other than i think ure being too harsh towars TP but thats okay ^_^)
ur assessment is pretty much the same as mine

if u read the iwata interviews u can c the goal of the pro gamers was to make a "dense" game and thats precisely what they achieved. i kudos them for their grate work in experimenting in game design and succeeding.

to bring support to ure point of gamers disliking the fetch quest while also misusing this term i bring to yor attention this post http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/960633-the-legend-of-zelda-skyward-sword/65208733/731434145
(sory cathartic for singling u out nothing personal uwer just teh first exemplar)



U WIN A SINGING SOAL GOULD STAR!!!
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#4deathscythe257Posted 1/18/2013 1:38:01 PM
Honestly, I liked both of them...

My big complaint with TP was enemy AI, and how OP'd link felt against them. I liked the variety of combat abilities they gave him, but some parts also made little sense (bokoblins in the desert? how did they get there from Hyrule, Link himself was forced to be shot out of a freaking canon!).

The thing I loved most about TP was that it was grand in scope and I felt it lived up to the level of epicness they tried to portray with it. I won't deny some elements of that were stupid though... Ganon the final villain, comes out of nowhere?... What happened to the brutal intimidating stature of Zant?


Skyward Sword on the other hand, was different in many ways, and for the sake of its story (which was fine with me, I don't have too many real complaints on it, minor at best)... Enemy AI was nicely improved... The taser weapon things were a cop-out IMO (why are enemies so passive, they stand there for so long half the time, enemies need more aggro)... My real complaint is more that the controls had weird conflicts, and had issues registering commands (my guess is that my reaction time was badly syncing with the game). Sometimes a stab ended up a shield bash... wtf?

I will say though I wish the dungeons were a little bigger and motion controls weren't always forced. but thats about it, I had a happy experience with the game, I look forward to doing a hero mode run in the future... once my muscle memory wears thin
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#5Juxtaposition7Posted 1/18/2013 1:44:05 PM
lukeguy97 posted...
Twilight Princess tried to make sure that everything that happened was part of one narrative. [...] This is why people say Twilight Princess had a good structure despite its overworld being empty, its provinces being tubelike, and the fact that much of the game is made up of the much-hated events people call "fetch quests."

Skyward Sword, however, seemed to revolve around taking detours from the overall story. In each area, exploration is fueled by either a character you've never seen before in need (ala Majora's Mask) or simply being told by Fi to find what you need to reach the dungeon. Because the game isn't fully held together by narrative, people see events in which you search an area for something as "fetch quests" rather than important progressions."


Justification for quests is important, something you seem to push aside...yes, the tears of light quests were lacking (I only enjoyed them because of the Twilight scenery), but they were necessary to rid an area of twilight. Recharging the Dominion Rod is probably the worst example in TP, but aside from that there aren't that many fetch quests in the game. Yes, you collect pieces of the Mirror of Twilight to pursue Zant, while you forge the Master Sword in SS to...open a time gate. Really? The blade of evil's bane?. SS has you "prove your worth" for tadtones after you've already saved the Water Dragon, escort Scrapper because he forgot where to land, and go to the sea captain's house only to find nothing.

This point you did not stress, but there is no way in hell that TP is more linear than SS.

Imagine doing one of these refined Tears of Light challenges in one of Twilight Princess's cramped areas that do not follow any sort of rhythm, or in a section of its unvaried overworld. [...] Skyward Sword is often called lazy because there aren't a million different areas to explore, while Twilight Princess's story takes you to loads and loads of places. However, Twilight Princess's areas are just that: places. Levels, if you may.


Give me a break. SS fits that description much more than TP. SS is cramped because it doesn't have exploration, it's unvaried because there's a forest/lake, a volcano, and a desert with an eventless sandsea...and nothing else, and it's overworld could have been substituted for a level select.

You only have to visit them once to get where you're going. Skyward Sword's world isn't built around an advancing story, rather, it is built around the philosophy that the more items you master, the more of each area you'll be able to access.


First sentence is a nail in the coffin, and regarding the second sentence how is that any different from any other Zelda?

See, everyone says that Skyward Sword has a horrible overworld while ignoring the fact that the provinces themselves double as separate overworlds. It's a unique structure that brings out the most in everything, inspiring balanced weapon usage, exploration, and seeing something new every time you visit an area.


Unique structure = level select? At least WW was similar but hid that observation better. Balanced item usage I can agree with, but for SS that's more contingent upon its linearity than overworld structure.

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#6lukeguy97(Topic Creator)Posted 1/18/2013 1:44:15 PM
deathscythe257 posted...
Honestly, I liked both of them...

My big complaint with TP was enemy AI, and how OP'd link felt against them. I liked the variety of combat abilities they gave him, but some parts also made little sense (bokoblins in the desert? how did they get there from Hyrule, Link himself was forced to be shot out of a freaking canon!).

The thing I loved most about TP was that it was grand in scope and I felt it lived up to the level of epicness they tried to portray with it. I won't deny some elements of that were stupid though... Ganon the final villain, comes out of nowhere?... What happened to the brutal intimidating stature of Zant?


Skyward Sword on the other hand, was different in many ways, and for the sake of its story (which was fine with me, I don't have too many real complaints on it, minor at best)... Enemy AI was nicely improved... The taser weapon things were a cop-out IMO (why are enemies so passive, they stand there for so long half the time, enemies need more aggro)... My real complaint is more that the controls had weird conflicts, and had issues registering commands (my guess is that my reaction time was badly syncing with the game). Sometimes a stab ended up a shield bash... wtf?

I will say though I wish the dungeons were a little bigger and motion controls weren't always forced. but thats about it, I had a happy experience with the game, I look forward to doing a hero mode run in the future... once my muscle memory wears thin


I agree about the combat in Twilight Princess. Link's ability to roll behind almost any enemy and attack them from behind without any sort of compensation broke a lot of fights, and enemies overall just couldn't stand a chance to Link's arensal of sword attacks.

It seems everyone had a different experience with Skyward Sword's motion controls, so I can't really defend them or argue against them very well. They always worked for me though, so I was able to get the most out of the enemy AI, which were much better.
#7Juxtaposition7Posted 1/18/2013 1:44:17 PM
Truth be told, Twilight Princess does not have good structure. The gameplay feels extremely loose because it isn't built around anything other than a frantic story.


Perhaps you're the one who enjoys doing the same thing over and over, which for SS can be deduced to fetch quests and brain dead puzzles, but I do not. Also, debate 101 would teach you that opinions are not facts. As for a frantic story, TP may not be as narrative driven during the latter half of the game, but at least it has narrative, while SS can be summed up as "chase Zelda, forge the Master Sword to open a time gate, come back with the Triforce, kill Demise in the past because time travel plot." Unlike TP, there are no subplots in SS.

No, but the Twilight Princess Effect stands.


Reification!
#8lukeguy97(Topic Creator)Posted 1/18/2013 2:08:56 PM
Don't feel like quoting Juxtaposition's whole post, so I'll just say what I need to say.

Justification for quests is definitely important, but my point was that people focus on the narrative and ignore the actual game. Skyward Sword is flawed in that it often avoids following a narrative, as is Majora's Mask. However, gameplay and narrative balance does not equal an overall good game structure.

Skyward Sword is cramped because it doesn't have exploration, huh? The thing is, in Skyward Sword, exploration is mostly required and enforced. I already explained why the layouts are fuller and more innovative than in Twilight Princess in my orignal post. In Twilight Princess, once the Tears of Light quests are over, you don't have to search every nook and cranny. Does that make the other provinces worth exploring? Not really, seeing as the layouts don't really call for much of anything other than moving forward. Twilight Princess's provinces and dungeons have varied themes, but I wasn't referring to either of those when I said the overworld was unvaried. I was talking about, well, the overwold. You know, the one you have to run across for ten minutes in between areas.

Twilight Princess doesn't enforce going back to areas to explore once you're stronger because there is nothing to find. The areas are like levels because the game doesn't expand on them further once you've visited them once.

I wasn't talking about the sky when I was talking about a unique structure. I was talking about the provinces themselves. Also, why are you throwing around the term "linearity" so much? If a game balances its item usage, who cares if that makes it more linear if its making everything in the game useful and mixing up gameplay?

I disagree that there are no subplots in Skyward Sword, seeing as the Lanayru Province has a very well-developed story about the robot race, while Groose has his own thing going on too.

I never said my opinions were fact, which is why I asked for your opinions.
#9Juxtaposition7Posted 1/18/2013 2:43:32 PM
lukeguy97 posted...
Justification for quests is definitely important, but my point was that people focus on the narrative and ignore the actual game. Skyward Sword is flawed in that it often avoids following a narrative, as is Majora's Mask. However, gameplay and narrative balance does not equal an overall good game structure.


Well, I'm just going to agree to disagree here. I value justification for quests (something that narrative may provide) almost as much as gameplay, two things SS lacked.

Skyward Sword is cramped because it doesn't have exploration, huh? The thing is, in Skyward Sword, exploration is mostly required and enforced.


That's linearity. The player explores because he wants to, not because the game makes him.

In Twilight Princess, once the Tears of Light quests are over, you don't have to search every nook and cranny. Does that make the other provinces worth exploring? Not really, seeing as the layouts don't really call for much of anything other than moving forward.


Right, you don't have to search every nook and cranny. That's left to exploration. And how does the experience in one area affect the exploration in another? It also doesn't sound like you've explored Hyrule Field much...

Twilight Princess's provinces and dungeons have varied themes, but I wasn't referring to either of those when I said the overworld was unvaried. I was talking about, well, the overwold. You know, the one you have to run across for ten minutes in between areas.


You're going to complain about transportation time in TP but not SS? As far as unvaried, you can't include SS's provinces while excluding TP's provinces (which are more varied than SS's) according to your definition of overworld.

Twilight Princess doesn't enforce going back to areas to explore once you're stronger because there is nothing to find. The areas are like levels because the game doesn't expand on them further once you've visited them once.


Backtracking is good...okay...it once again seems like you're confusing exploration with linearity. Returning to areas in TP is not forced, unlike SS, but it does open up some new places.

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#10Juxtaposition7Posted 1/18/2013 2:43:46 PM
I wasn't talking about the sky when I was talking about a unique structure. I was talking about the provinces themselves. Also, why are you throwing around the term "linearity" so much? If a game balances its item usage, who cares if that makes it more linear if its making everything in the game useful and mixing up gameplay?


Anybody else prefer linearity over exploration?

I disagree that there are no subplots in Skyward Sword, seeing as the Lanayru Province has a very well-developed story about the robot race, while Groose has his own thing going on too.


Groose I'll give you (though his change of character is a bit abrupt). But please, do explain the "well-developed story about the robot race." I'm intrigued. Regarding subplots in TP, a couple would be helping the Goron leader in Goron Mines who then later helps you reach the Hidden Village, and Link inspiring Colin to go on his own journey (end credits scene).

I never said my opinions were fact, which is why I asked for your opinions.


I thought I had made it clear enough in my first post, but to cite your own words...

Truth be told, Twilight Princess does not have good structure.


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