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Nerds Without Pants   

Nerds Without Pants Special: E3 2014: The Nintendoing

Yeah, Zelda's cool and all, but dat Splatoon, tho!

Hello again! It's the second Nerds Without Pants E3 special, and we're joined by our resident Rockstar (tm), JD to talk about...well, pretty much just Nintendo.

Even Julian has to admit that Nintendo did a lot of things right, and their E3 lineup is pretty killer. Angelo couldn't make it to this recording but he's with the Pantsless Ones in spirit (via email). We run down basically the entire digital event game by game, and spend waaaay too much time talking Smash Bros. Enjoy!




06/13/2014 at 10:36 PM

I thought they said all the right things about the new Zelda, but the only thing that really matters to me is what kind of open world they're going for in practice and if they're trying to design for emergent gameplay. I play open world games, some of them end up being some of my favorite games of all time despite their flaws, like Fallout 3, then some of them I end up hating despite how much people say I'm suppose to like them, like Arkham City (most annoying open world game I've ever played. Arkham City makes me want to hang myself).

Open world action games need at least three main things to be pretty great. Skyrim has two out these three, Far Cry 3 has all of them, Arkham City has the first one down perfectly but everything else is so obnoxious in that game that I can't stand it. I'm hoping Zelda has all of them. You can almost guarantee it'll have the first one.

1) Satisfying combat at the core - Zelda can certainly do this, so I'm just assuming this will be a given. I'm really agreeing with Julian on the hopes that you will be able to choose from a wider stable of weapons and focus on certain styles of combat instead being forced into the standard sword/shield/occasionally bow scheme. I want to use a shield and a lance when I'm on horseback in this new Zelda. I want to be able to aggro enemies from afar with my bow like I do in Dark Souls, and only use melee when it's necessary and things get up in my face.

2) Plenty of systems to interact with when you're not in combat. I put 200 hours into Skyrim and I don't like the combat very much. Combat only takes up short bursts of time every now and then, so where did most of that 200 hours come from? I hunted, crafted armor, weapons, leveled, did alchemy, talked to people to learn their stories, read lore books, searched around for good deals from merchants, and engaged with an incredibly robust and polished collection of systems that were interesting to use. - Zelda doesn't need to be as robust, but it absolutely needs to give me more than tunics to wear, stuff to craft and upgrade, and a little bit of personalization to make me feel like my character is mine. Put some lore books in there, tell me about the kingdom and the people in it. Let me find hidden poems, tell me about the gods and beliefs of the people, show me paintings in caves that give you clues to the world you're in and times long past. Give me interesting things to do during downtime between dungeons and combat. Not just mini-games to earn heart pieces.

3) Emergent gameplay out in the wilds. Action stuff that can happen during exploration, when you're not in a dungeon or town. Even if the combat is great it's not going to be enough if you just run into some static enemies occasionally out in the wilds like you do in every Zelda game. I want there to be monsters with actual behavior and scripting outside of standing around waiting to be aggroed by Link. Monsters attack each other, villagers, weird shit needs to happen and be interesting to look at, engage with, or even run away from. Since they're being like most other games right now and trying out the "be more like Skyrim" thing, they need to adopt the good parts and not the crappy parts.

When you play Skryim or even moreso Far Cry 3, the wilds truly feel wild, at any moment some crazy shit can happen whether it's directed at the player or not. Sometimes you're just a bystander. If this Zelda is really going open-world in the way I think that term means, they really need to make that open world worth exploring and exciting to run around in. It won't do any good to make a gorgeous world that's just there for show. If the world is too barren you'll realize that pretty quickly and the whole thing will feel without personality. You'll dread the downtime between dungeons, and you'll only be left with pretty vistas, even as beautiful as they are. I'm hoping there will be more than vistas and the occasional bat, skeleton, or goblin.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

06/16/2014 at 12:30 AM

I think you're missing what I feel is the most important thing: excellent mission/quest design. If most of your missions involve travelling from point A to point B, I think you've failed immensely to create something interesting. Another problem I've been having lately (especially with GTA V and Watch Dogs) are missions that need to be played "just so". Open world games should reward thinking outside the box. If you want me to play exactly the way you've scripted things then you may as well make a chapter-based third person shooter.

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