Despite the rumors that Nintendo’s next home console, codenamed NX, is to be released by the end of this year, the Wii U still has some life left in it. Blessed little machine, keeping on keeping on with great games despite its disappointing sales numbers.
Star Fox Zero is almost here, and Yooka-Laylee is a game that feels right at home on Nintendo’s console. But it’s the new, as-yet-unnamed Legend of Zelda title that has most gamers the most excited when it comes to these last days of the Wii U.
Series producer Eiji Aonuma has promised this latest entry will bring some drastic changes to the series, but what that means for sure is still a mystery. I can’t say what’s in store for Zelda Wii U, but I can say some of the things I’d like to see out of it. As much as I love the Zelda series, there are some conventions that could do with some change.
Here are five such things I’d like to see Zelda Wii U do to change up the series.
5: Dark Souls-style online features
Okay, so I’m not asking for a full-fledged multiplayer addition to the game. But something I think Zelda could borrow from Dark Souls are the minimalistic online features, like how players can write messages to one another even when they can’t interact, or how you can see where some players fell in battle through ghosts. Super Mario Maker already had a message system not unlike that of Dark Souls, as did Wind Waker HD with player messages. It would be great if Zelda Wii U could utilize a similar system, and expand on it in some way. Zelda is better suited for single player, but giving players a small means to help each other out would fit right in the Zelda experience.
Maybe players can leave fairies behind to leave messages to each other (complete with some “Hey!” and “Listen!”). Or maybe they can go further with the online features and be able to summon other players. Perhaps not in the same way as Dark Souls, but perhaps a second player could join up in a smaller capacity, sort of like how the Tingle Tuner worked in Wind Waker.
4: More unique items
With all due respect to the lanterns, hookshots, boomerangs and bows of the series, I think it’s time Link’s arsenal changed it up a bit. Now, those classic items don’t need to go away entirely, but maybe we could see a stronger emphasis on new and more unique items. Most Zelda games add a new item or two (like the Spinner in Twilight Princess or the Beetle in Skyward Sword), but how cool would it be if a large chunk of Link’s equipment consisted of such items? It would give Nintendo an opportunity to get really creative with Link’s items and the puzzle and exploration elements that require them.
3: Some form of New Game+
So technically, the original Legend of Zelda and The WInd Waker were both precursors with the concept of New Game+, with more difficult modes available with slight tweaks after the original adventure had been completed (or by naming yourself “Zelda” at the beginning).
But in the thirteen years since Wind Waker’s original release, the concept of New Game+ has become a popular element in gaming. It would be great to see the Zelda Wii U capitalize on this and expand on what players can see and do in a second playthrough. Maybe it could have special weapons and items, or particular story elements that can only be discovered after having already beaten the game once.
If anything, a more extravagant New Game+, along with my next two entries, could add some longevity to the game while avoiding the needless padding of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.
2: More rewarding sidequests
Look, I love collecting the Heart Pieces in every Zelda game as much as the next guy, but I kind of wish the series would add more unique rewards for completing some of its sidequests. Sure, Heart Piece collecting can still be part of the package, but just imagine if there were sidequests that rewarded players with secret items and weapons. Ocarina of Time had the Big Goron Sword, but that was about it. Imagine having multiple secret goodies to be uncovered. It would add so much more depth to the already deep Zelda formula.
Why stop there? We could even have sidequests that simply delve deeper into lore, story and character development. The Zelda timeline is kind of confusing, why not sprinkle in a sidequest or two that sheds some light on some of the finer details of Hyrule’s history? It could only add to the experience.
1: Optional dungeons
So you could say this is an extension of the last entry, but if there’s something I really want to see added to the Zelda formula, it’s entirely optional dungeons outside of those found in the main quest.
After playing Bloodborne, I fell in love with how extravagant and detailed the game dealt with its optional content. Its hidden areas rewarded players for wanting to see the whole game, and not just what the main adventure had in store.
I know, some people will point out that Zelda games have secret caves and the like. But I’m talking about full-on dungeons, as expansive as those found in the storyline, complete with an epic boss battle at the end. Perhaps this could be a way to squeeze in those aforementioned secret items and weapons, or a means to uncover series conventions like bigger wallets and more Heart Pieces. It could also be a way to delve deeper into the game’s world outside of the main story.
As stated previously, this would also be a fantastic way to extend the game without needlessly dragging out the story. They could trim the fat of the main adventure, while still giving those who want more content something worthwhile to uncover.
Plus, who doesn’t love super bosses? Adding in optional and secret dungeons could be a means to introduce a boss who’s more difficult than the final boss of the story. Maybe even more than one!
These are just some of the things I’d like to see from Zelda Wii U. Here’s hoping the changes it does end up bringing to the series are for the better.