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The Legend of Zelda:
Zelda Wii U
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Overview

Linear vs. Non-Linear

 

 

Recently, the Zelda series has lost something that was one of the most key and important points of its creation. Non-linearity. Linearity and non-linearity are two opposing methods of game design. A linear game is one in which the path and story you follow through-out the game are dictated to you, and there is no way of changing the sequence of events. As you might suspect, non-linearity is the opposite, in which you are encouraged to do your own thing and to actively break the sequence of events (handily coined sequence-breaking).

When Shigeru Miyamoto and his team initially began the first Zelda game, the Legend of Zelda, they were working on the first Super Mario game, Super Mario Bros., at the same time. Their process for creating the games was simple – each one was to be the opposite of the other. SMB was a sidescrolling platformer, tLoZ a bird’s eye action adventure. SMB focused on pure action and timing, tLoZ involved puzzles. SMB was linear – there is only really one path through the game, although you can skip bits. tLoZ was non-linear – you could do the dungeons in almost any order.

tLoZ was highly praised for this non-linearity, and I can see why. I can remember my first time playing it – it was completely immersive. You could wander around anywhere, just exploring. I didn’t mind if I couldn’t find the dungeons (for the first few hours, at least), I just had fun stumbling across new things. When I did find a dungeon, it usually wasn’t the one I was meant to do next, but that didn’t matter, as I’d just try anyway, to see how far I could get. A Link to the Past followed suit – while the first few dungeons of the game were linear, probably in order to set up aLttP’s basic storyline, and introduce you to the basic scheme of Zelda, the large majority of the game let you do it in any order you wanted. (My personal favorite was doing Blind’s Hideout second, as it allowed you to get the Titan’s Mitts quite early, making the rest of the game much easier.) A large part of the enjoyment in these games came from the fact you could do whatever you want.

Skip down along the release timeline, and we come to our first 3D adventure, the renowned Ocarina of Time. Yes, it was a truly amazing game. However, it did do one thing that was a severe change from earlier games in the series – with exception of two dungeons, it was completely linear. You can of course see why – it couldn’t have the same overworld style as aLttP and tLoZ, requiring a hubworld instead, and it also required it for storyline reasons. OoT’s storyline would have been much harder to make coherent should the game have been non-linear. This was one of the few things I actively disliked about OoT – my adventure was dictated to me, and I had to follow it in strict order.

Majora’s Mask fixed a few things in this department. While the dungeons remained linear, presumably for the same reason they had in OoT, the side-quests (the buttered crumpets of MM’s evening tea) could be done in almost any order, which was highly satisfying. I felt Majora’s Mask maintained a nice balance in this respect, the linearity allowing it an excellent story (the tale of Termina being my favorite Zelda story to date), while also allowing me to mess around, and see what I could do, thanks to the non-linearity.

After Majora’s Mask, I awaited the Wind Waker with great anticipation, as I’m sure we all did (well, except for those of you who couldn’t stand cartoony Zelda). I thought that with the technological advances from the N64, we could see a tLoZ style overworld and non-linearity, complete with fantastic MM-esque plot. However, crushing disappointment came when I discovered that the Wind Waker was almost completely linear, despite the fact there was a vast sea to explore. Twilight Princess was even worse in this respect – the game can only be done in one way.

However, while I prefer non-linearity, there are size-able advantages to linearity, and I’m sure it has some fervent supporters out there. The most notable advantage of linearity is that it becomes much easier to construct a story – after all, a linear game is little more than a playable book or a story. Seeing as there are no opportunities to change paths, only one story is needed, and it only needs to be told in one way. Another advantage, is difficulty. As much as I liked the original tLoZ, I got lost. I think we all did. Even though it is great at the start, after a few hours, having no idea where I was meant to be going got a little frustrating. In a linear game, your next objective is almost always clear.

However, I think that non-linear, in terms of the Zelda series, is superior. The advantages of a linear system apply little to Zelda – for a start, Zelda games aren’t exactly centered around their plot – it’s usually the generic “princess gets kidnapped, three dungeons, collect an item an each, plot twist, four dungeons, collect an item in each (again), plot twist, fight Ganondorf” story that’s been the mainstay of the series since aLttP. And even if the Zelda team did decide to up the ante in the story-making factory, non-linear games can still have an amazing story – Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an example of this. I’m sure the Zelda team could work around it. Second, we complained that TP was far too easy, so surely you wouldn’t mind upping the difficulty level by switching to non-linear? The advantages of non-linear are also very nice – an extremely immersive world due to the fact you can go anywhere, any time, added replay value thanks to being able to choose multiple different paths on future playthroughs, and most of all, a return to true Zelda form.

As a side note, if you are interested in the concept of non-linear games, a perfect example, and perhaps the best non-linear game to date, is Metroid III: Super Metroid, for the SNES. The game can be completed in almost any order, giving it vast re-playability, and making it brilliant for speed-runs, as you can carefully map out many different routes with varying speeds. Zelda would do well to take a leaf out of Super Metroid’s book.

Related Topics
  • Triforce of the Gods

    That was beautiful. I miss the difficulty of ALttP so much. Even though I don’t let it ruin the current games and say they suck just because of difficulty like some people, the series could have a nice refresher from going back to its roots.

  • Clive

    ALttP wasn’t difficult. It wasn’t even that non-linear.

    Seems like another load of dribble from a person believing the world’s biggest lie: nostalgia.

    • cloverplayer

      well yeah, its not that difficult with a cheat book! how long did it take you to figure out that you were supposed to play the ocarina in front of the statue to turn it into a flying goose?

  • Crab Helmet

    I never said aLttP was particularly difficult, I just said it was more difficult than the more recent games such as Twilight Princess. Also, being able to do 7/12 of a game in any order is reasonably non-linear, no?

  • Sam

    No, sorry. Whilst I appriciate the new articles, I can’t agree. Zelda always had a specific order you were supposed to go in; even if in some of the earlier games it was possible to do dungeons in differant orders, you certainly couldn’t do anything you liked.

    Besides, whilst that small dungeon freedom has been lost in the recent games (not somthing I’m complaining about), there is far more non-linearity in the rest of the game. You say you enojyed just wondering about? Well I could do that for hours in TP, doing everything but tackling the next dungeon, then being rewarded for it.

    Zelda has always been a Sandbox game of sorts, but as time has gone on the sandbox has been made far more open, not more closed. Level order is somthing needed for the story to progress, and that hasn’t changed for years.

    • Ænglån

      You were supposed to do something in a linear sequence, but you were not forced to. That is what should return- the option to do things your way. I mean, if Link is supposed to be "A Link to the Player", then how about giving us the option to complete the game in the way we like?

      • narutomoon

        Link isnt supposed to BE you, YOU are supposed to be link.
        you have it backwards. and there is a big difference between the 2.

    • KingOfHeart

      When it came to the console games, Twilight Princess were the only two games that you had to beat the dungeons in a specific order. You had to play them in order up until you got the special item. Then you could move on.
      In TP you could use some special glitching but otherwise no.
      WW you were completely screwed.

      I hope they bring back free exploring.
      They could still have story cut scenes, just maybe have them in different areas of the game.

  • Nagrom

    While I can agree somewhat, I am more of a linear supporter. I’ve never been a huge gamer, but I love Zelda and I think the plot is very important (I wouldn’t play it otherwise) and I like knowing where to go. If the games were more difficult and had more side quests though, that would be great.

  • HomeSlice

    I love Super Metroid as much as the next guy–heck, maybe more–but I don’t think Zelda should turn in that direction. The supposed freedom in that game came at the cost of a story. There is simply a premise and a resolution, with absolutely no development in between. Let Metroid be Metroid and Zelda be Zelda. If we start blending our games together, regardless of how good they are separately, I’m afraid we’ll lose a lot of character and fun in the mix.

  • goronlove7

    Super metroid is a great game I got it off VC and i am now a metroid fanatic. And it made me realise something if metroid and zelda JUST mixed than yes like homeslice said it could hurt zelda but if you remvove some small things from zelda and replace them with better alternatives we could be looking at a master piece. And if your one of those kids that preech how change will kill the series remember twilight princess and wind waker hurt zelda more than it helped it and they were the same old thing as the las zelda and the zelda before that.

    • italiangenius91

      Goronlove7, how exactly did WW and TP “hurt” Zelda? Maybe they weren’t the best in the series, maybe they didn’t live up to (rather lofty) expectations, but that’s not to say they’re bad in any way, shape or form. Those two are great games, just like the others, and the series has benefitted from them existing by having more content, story, and fun. Just because the lofty expectations of past games make new ones shine a little less doesn’t mean they’re bad games, and they did not hurt anything.

      • goronlove7

        Maybe I worded it wrong what I should of said was that WW and TP took some of the better things about zelda out. I was a little dissapointed espeicially in the WW where the actual gameplay was a mess. And your taking in the wrong thing from what I said what I was trying to say was zelda needs change

      • italiangenius91

        Okay, makes more sense now. Sorry if I was being a bit offensive or something there :)

  • Axiomist

    Having large blindspots is fine for your typical poster, but Article writers could at least read about how the dungeons in Phantom Hourglass can be played in multiple orders. As that was the most recent LoZ title, not Twilight Princess. Maybe it’s not as nonlinear as LttP but it still shows that the series hasn’t abandoned that concept completely.

    Moreover, OoT has more of a degree of nonlinearity that MM does, as there are more dungeons and the only necessary order is beating the Water Temple before the Shadow Temple. Everything else is open game if you ignore the plot pointing you down the scripted path.

    • asjhskdfhsukdf

      Actually Spirit Tracks was the most recent Zelda game.

      • Ezluke

        Look at how long it's been since he posted that: 113 weeks ago. Phantom Hourglass was the most recent game at that time.

      • asjhskdfhsukdf

        So? I'm still right.

  • GiriOni

    i agree. the truth exactly why is that gamers want more story (it seems) and it seems that is what nintendo is giving us, but what they don’t realize is that could be done without so much control on what the gamer does next. they should mix these ideas into one and we’ll have a great game on our hands that would be timeless.

  • GiriOni

    girioni again. sorry i forgot this but this is important hope for fans non-linear, remember the patent held by nintendo? the one that gave video hint and clues. this suggests that nintendo is in the makes of such a zelda game and plans to give such less hardcore gamers to (in a way) hint their way to the next dungeon, just think about it, it makes sense, i personally will not be surprised by this and i say this will make one of the best zelda games of all time…. GiriOni out…..

  • Umi

    Good article, CH. This pretty much hit the nail on the head, and though linear Zelda games are pretty good ones, I think non-linear is the way to go with this series.

  • Hammer Bro. Mike

    OoT is linear but the some dungeons can be beaten before others. I beat the Fire Temple without arrows even though they are only useful for one eye switch but it’s possible.

    In Majora’s Mask, the dungeons can be beat in any order. You would mainly need to get into dungeons just to get their items and leave. I ended up beating the Woodfall Temple, Stone Tower Temple, Great Bay Temple, and Snowhead Temple in that order. If you try this method for Majora’s Mask, you can see that it’s not linear and it’s pretty fun doing dungeons in whatever order.

    Meh, in a sense, some things in Zelda are linear and somethings are non-linear and you just gotta live with that.

    • asjhskdfhsukdf

      That's stupid. With you're method you have to start a dungeon and get through a large portion of it to get the item before quitting. Why? How does that make any sense? You aren't doing dungeons in "whatever order" you want. You're doing them in the order required by the game and then quitting half way through. That's not accomplishing anything.

  • DarkMajora

    While nonlinear games can have a good story linearity makes for a better story. Metroid Prime 3 was nonlinear and it had a great story. But it was nowhere near as good as Twilight Princess. Also I agree with the people who say blending linearity with nonlinearity can be dangerous. Sonic the Hedgehog is a very linear series. But recently nonlinearity has been added to some games. For some like Shadow the Hedgehog it was good, some like Sonic Unleashed it was okay, and Sonic and the Secret Rings it was annoying. Maybe a nonlinear Zelda game could be good(and better reviewed since the media doesn’t write bullcrap reviews about Zelda). We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • http://legendsabyss.ipbfree.com Zidini

    While I still love all the Zelda game (Exluding II >.>) Im going to have to say that if they changed it then it would be different. Alot of people don’t like diiferent. I do and you do but alot don’t. You saw the reactions when they showed The Wind Waker preveiw at E3, people freaked out.

    While I played through the first one recently, I started getting really frustraited, because It hadn’t played it for like four years and I forgot pretty much everything, so I found the first dungeon because I always find that one first. But after that I had no idea where to go. I was lost for hours on end. I kept one finding dungeons four and five and the graveyard but never the second or third. I almost gave up but the my friend said something and reminded me of the area.

    This happend to me the first time I played the game but way worse.

    Once ALttP came out I was gratful that they put lables on the dungeons. I found where I was suposed to go unstead of just aimlessly wandering.

    Then when Wind Waker came out I just sailed around for hours finding new stuff. While you couldn’t effect the main story you could always go find new quests and there was plenty of little side quests.

    I agree with you about Twilight Princess being compleaty linar. The only side quest was the bugs and mini-games.

    But in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you can’t effect the story at all really. The quests are always the same whether you are go or evil it always is the same.

    A true example of the game you would want is Fallout 3. You can change that story quite a bit.

    But end the end I don’t think Nintendo will change there formula any time soon.

    And if they did it is going to be way different. I quote “This will be the last Zelda game of its kind”

    ~Zidini

    • Triforce of the Gods

      Linearism is the change, and your right, it sucks.

      We’re not suggesting a change, we’re suggesting they undo a horrible change.

      The original ALttP (SNES) didn’t have labels, it’s the retarded GBA remake that does.

      • asjhskdfhsukdf

        Linearism is awesome.

    • ARA

      I agree with Zidini. I liked WindWaker and I didn't feel "trapped" by the story line. I felt like I didn't have to worry about solving the main objectives all the time, and I had all the time in the world to explore; I didn't feel "rushed" to beat the game.

      In Twilight Princess, on the other hand, there was pretty much nothing it would even let you do other than follow the main story.

      BTW, I didn't find Ocarina of Time linear at all. While you had to do most of the temples in a certain general order, there was still a lot of side quests (Din's Fire, Farore's wind, the blue one, Fishing, Dampe, a lot of the songs that weren't required but still useful)

  • brayden

    thats funny about what you said about oot being completly liniar, because after beating the game afew times, i maneged to beat the game by completing the water temple BEFORE the fire temple. i was like 10 or 11 at the time. :P

  • http://www.myspace.com/johnquentinharper/ Qman

    I think he is right about most of it. But, OoT you could do some of it non-linear.I went and screwed up the story line and did kokiri forest,got the H. Shield & went to the Graveyato get bombs,did the Zora place(As a kid),went back and beet the shit out of Dodongo’s Cavern,got the Master Sword,got the Hookshot,went thru some of the Fost Temple to get the Bow,same thing for Fire Temple,beet the Water Temple,then the other 2,went back and schooled the last 2 ,and finally kiked Gannondork’s ass! Take that for being non-linear!

  • Linker009

    One problem I noticed with non-linear games is that different story lines coincide with each other, and prevent one or the other from being completed, which is harder to work around. Although I strongly agree that being able to do whatever I want when I feel like it is kinda nice, rather then doing everything one after the other sequentially.

  • Double A

    I'm sure that OoT wasn't TOO linear.

    First three dungeons were linear, however, the next three weren't, and the last two (before the final one) could be done in either order.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Shadowlink Shadowlink

    I find it rather distubing to hear that you compare the non-linear plot of zelda with games like oblivion and metroid. It is way out of place. You make up for it to say that the LOZ did it a bit better. And Alttp was getting a bit more worse.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Shadowlink Shadowlink

    To me the story must be a bit linear, or there must be fixed points in the storyline, that when you get to those places the whole story changes. So depending on how you play through the game, the story changes too. But nintendo doesnt like to do anything like this.
    Since that would mean a really overcomplicated story like. By letting things get changed in a linear way, they ensure that the story goes right, and not that people get to places to keep influence the story and allow a new side from the story. Like it would mean that it would never stop, since every action has a result, it would mean dozen of storyline changes just to reply to the earlier one.
    Its not really what would be a great idea. Sure oblivion, just to come back on that, is doing it way better, but zelda is very different from that game. Its also based on a legend and the atmosphere cant be said to be similar as oblivion too.
    Its never the idea to make zelda full non-linear since they want control over the story, just to tell us it the right way. With too much intereferance it would require more indepth in the story where actions get a reply.

  • Lucien

    skyward sword looks awsome! Cant wait until it comes to stores.I want to play it!

  • Robert

    I would enjoy the game whether its linear or not. I liked the linearity of TP the first time through, and enjoyed coming back to play the story again as a pick-me-up after playing some really bad titles like Baroque. However, it also left me wanting something more. The only way to challenge myself in the game was to place a restriction on how many heart containers i could pick up. Non-linearity can be effectively implemented into the story with a little effort. Ever play Assassin's Creed? There are several points in the game where the Master tells you that there are 2 or 3 really bad guys and they must be put to death. He then says that he doesn't care which order they die in, only that they are stopped. This led to me going and investigating the events in Damascus, Acre, and Jerusalem, and seeing which guy i thought was worst. Often I'd find something that made me think, "Okay, just for that, you go first." You could do something similar in Zelda, and it wouldn't be that hard either. Say Zelda(or Navi, or Saria, or whoever else) tells Link of these strange events occurring at Lake Hylia, deep in the Gerudo Valley, and up on Death Mountain. Now she says, "I'll leave it to you to decide which to check out first." or some such. Upon visiting each of these areas, Link gets caught up in a series of events that eventually lead him to a dungeon. An added bonus would be that without having a static storyline, the puzzles would be more challenging in that you wouldn't have a full arsenal at your disposal. You'd have to come up with innovative ways to get around a room as opposed to looking for the hookshot target. You could also add secret areas and hidden rooms that could be accessed later with the items from other dungeons, making it worth your while to take a second look around later after you've gotten more gear.

  • Mow

    that would be quite awesome, but I doubt they will make something that hard. Kids of today won’t know what to do and give up and that’s no way to twin customers. I guess it’s just where the games of today are going…

  • kaepora21

    While this article is solid, why is it being re-posted? Why aren't the writers coming up with new topics to discuss?

    • CodyDavies

      A compeltely new article was posted just three days ago and there are more on the way, but we're also reposting some old 3+ year old articles for the benefit of newer people. :3

      • kaepora21

        I realize that and I very much enjoyed the article. I suppose if they are for the new people, then it's a good idea. I suppose I am saying that I really like the articles and am looking forward to more new ones!

  • SilverSkulltula

    Mixing nonlinear and linear can be dangerous, but if perfected it will turn out great. Alttp is a great example of both… sure you need the item from a previous temple, yet at the same time you can move on to the last dungeons in the game with just getting the right items.
    Twilight princess is a great game giving the "Pick me up, I'm ZELDA!" feeling Yet combining greatness of all the great playable games but, using linear techniques does take from Zelda's awesomeness making it hard for me to free roam. I got the game a week ago and i just want to explore hyrule field, but I'm at the forest temple, and apparently, you can't go to hyrule field yet.
    Ocarina of time was a good game using the free roam from the start you can explore the lost woods as a kid (yes i know Faron woods was the same idea) and even use a glitch to get to hyrule field without a sword! This gives Ocarina of time a good, nonlinear start, as soon as you beat the young link dungeons, you get Epona and just get items and you will end up going to Dungeons in a random order, beating them with fun not out of strait out hope that the next dungeon is more fun.

  • AXBHikaru

    I hate non-linear games because it's usually too difficult to figure out where the hell I should go next. I just wanna play the game and beat it without wandering around aimlessly for 5 hours.

  • Loaf

    I am pro-non-Linearity, but I think it can be too non-linear. If the dungeons can be dine in any order, then the game loses the element of “this item is needed to beat this dungeon”. They could make it very non-linear and require certain items, but in turn that would make it a little more linear because you’re in a dungeon and find you have to explore a different dungeon to get past a point.

    OoT was perfectly non-linear. The dungeons must be done in a specific order, yet it’s very RPG-like in that you can explore and go multiple ways once you reach Hyrule field. TP is much too linear – you can only go down one path lots of the time and you have to be a wolf for a good amount before becoming Link.

    I fear that SS will be TP, but replace twilight with sky. Then again, the new dungeon format will surely make it quite different and maybe open up some field-dungeons that can he done in any order.

  • Peter

    A non linear Zelda would be cool, but I think it would be best if they could combine the two in a good way. Jak and Daxter is an example of a non linear game.

  • Scrivs

    I think the non-linearity that was in OoT was essential because of the plot and storyline, and there was still enough exploring to be done in the game.

  • A dro

    As most of these comments have said already oot was not linear… I personaly loved ww with the vast ocean and many islands encouraged me to explore more now and dungen later. Also i agree with you in how non-linear mm, lttp, and the original loz was and i liked that in games but they had been too difficult to some people (according to some of my friends) and that may lead to frustration in some people and then quit. Even though to me its a bit of an overreation, it may happen and then only the hardcore zelda fans will play the games (even though them alone will can easily make nintendo a profit) possibly they are just attempting to convert the “casual gamer” to a more evolved hardcore gamer and then they up the difficulty level on a future release… Besides i had many memories of me playing loz and geting lost to the point i ask people at school to trade information on where everything was (thus some friends were made). In the end hopefully ss is that non-linear zelda title that everyone enjoys if possible

  • yanoit15

    although i havent played ALL the loz games, i have played most of them.at least once.i dont really care about the linearality because im always too focused on the game itself.im more of a "its a great game no matter what" dude.i dont really look at the bad things. only the good things.and linear and non-linear are what make zelda zelda. let nintendo decide. have they wronged us before?i dont think so.

  • Ike

    Ocarina of Time is nonlinear, unless you just suck at Zelda games.

    Majora's Mask contrary to the beliefs of its internet following is actually the game that introduced linearity into the series.

  • Zelda777

    I won’t say much but OoT is non-liner. I did like how I was able to explore the world at leisure. And I could do some of the dungeons out of order. Second ALttP is liner but only as much as OoT.

  • sprocket07

    I think I like linear more because I hate not having an objective to follow. I liked Wind Waker because you could access all of the Great Sea from the start, unlike Phantom Hourglass where you can only access quarters.

  • http://twitter.com/BlizzagaLantean @BlizzagaLantean

    I stopped reading after noticing the obvious bias in the VERY FIRST SENTENCE. Thank you for sparing me the long read.

  • falconfetus8

    Old article :(
    Can we get something new?

    • CodyDavies

      A new article was posted three days ago :] http://www.zeldauniverse.net/articles/rumor-round

      • Punnutty

        I know it's a very slow news year; pardon me month; sorry! I mean week because Nintendo is working on the new console and Skyward Sword. Yes Skyward Sword, the Zelda game that will never be finished because Nintendo are making us wait till the end of time to get the game.

  • UltimaHedgie

    I wouldn't mind some non-linearity… but I would still like a great plot, and I still want to know WHERE I'm supposed to go. The early games can get tedious because they just don't tell you where you need to go. A Link to the Past is probably my favorite.

    In that game, too, its fairly easy to clear future dungeons if you want… you typically only require getting the item out of earlier dungeons before continuing. In fact, its very possible to clear Turtle Rock before any other Dark World dungeon so long as you get certain items from past dungeons… primarily the Cane of Somaria and I think the Titan Mitt… you may also need the Hookshot; not sure on that one.

  • Ktulu333

    I agree with the article here. Hyrule gets bigger with each new Zelda, which simply serves as an illusion, shading the linearity of the main quest. I will say that I would settle for a toss up between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess as to which one mastered the linear form, but I just finished Wind Waker and have to say that that takes the cake in that regard. Nevertheless, with either game, despite their linearity, they are undeniable fun.

    • GorCoronSumo

      Why does everyone say WW is more linear than TP.
      All of TP's dungeons are in one order, whereas the Earth and Wind temples can be played in any order.

      • Ktulu333

        Can they be played in any order? They appear to give you that option, but I've always had to follow the same pattern. But I'm mostly referring to the beginning; the King of Red Lions dictates your path for a good third of the game.

  • guest

    *item (very end)
    p.s sorry for any other spelling mistakes

  • Lucas

    I disagree. Sure this does have some advantages, but then the story line would not be as powerful. And I highly disagree that you said the storyline is not that big it has sooooo much symbolism and themes which could not be nearly as grand with out linear.

  • TheMaverickk

    We need more non-linear Zelda titles. Where exploration gameplay is at the fore front and the "quest to save the princess" takes the back seat. Since at the end of the day we will reach that point regardless.

    You can still have scripted events and moments that carry emotion and progress story elements, but just have them at systemic points.

    Personally I'd like to see a game broken down into this formula.

    Intro:

    Introduce the basic story and tutorial game play area. Small mini dungeon introduces elements of Zelda. Once completed move onto next segment.

    Part 1:

    First 3 dungeons
    – Can be completed in any order, and all three can be accessed through the areas of the field that are available.
    -Each has their own puzzles that don't require items from other dungeons. Further enabling non-linear gameplay options. Although each dungeon could have secret areas which hold treasures… only accessible after getting items from other dungeons.

    Part 2:

    Another cinematic event occurs and progresses the story. Opens up more of Hyrule, and gives access to the next set of dungeons.

    Gives another 3 dungeons that need to be completed.
    – dungeons can have puzzles that involve the use of items found in part one of the game. Puzzles won't make use of any items found in part 2 (except for the item found in the dungeon).

    After all 3 Part 2 dungeons are complete then you move onto the 3rd final part of the game… which would basically follow the same principle. Another 3 dungeons that can be completed in any order.

    The 10th and final dungeon would be an elaborate labyrinth though would be a very demanding dungeon which makes you use every item you've collected at one point or another. Having you put together all your skills in a culminating test.

    • GorCoronSumo

      That would be epic…

      10 dungeons…

  • HylianGlaceon

    I haven't read through everything, but am I the only people who thinks this is pointless? It may be just my opinion, but I believe that every Zelda game is linear, including the first. An actual non-linear Zelda game would include no equipment items, as if there's a bombable rock and you don't have bombs, you have to get bombs which means you HAVE to go to a certain place and that makes it linear. Next there'd be next to no story, as how would the developers know where the player will go? What order what the events take place in? Not to mention, that fact is in most games, especially Zelda, there is a start and an end, meaning you must get to the end no matter what you do, again resulting in a linear game. See what I mean? What everyone seems to want is more exploration, not this mythical non-linear zelda game. All I'm hoping for is a Zelda game with good exploration, good story and cool items and hopefully SS will be that.

    • TheMaverickk

      Non-linear simply means you aren't stuck simply going from point A-B, from B-C.. and so on. We aren't talking about a Sand-Box Zelda game where you just freely go everywhere and anywhere and can access everything from the start.

      Non-linear simply means you actually get multiple paths and opportunities to choose a different route towards the end. That is what it means to be non-linear.

      It's really not that complex to understand… and it certainly isn't mythical.

      • GorCoronSumo

        I agree. "Linear", not "Free Floating".

  • Big =D

    Games can be good either way; each game is designed for a different experience. Not everybody is going to agree a certian type of game is better. If you don't like one type of game, there are plenty of others to choose from.

    • GorCoronSumo

      Very wise…

      • GorCoronSumo

        Listen to Big =D.

  • Epicdc

    I kind of have to agree with this as "A link to the Past" was my favorite zelda to date, even towering over console games, and that is because of the exploration. I loved the fact that the storyline (and I'm definately going to get trolled for this) actaully supported the gameplay, and the only console zelda with an incredebly influencial storyline in the sense that it changes gameplay was "ocarina of time", my second favorite. The only problem wiht that was it lost SOME (very little) exploration of the 2D zeldas.

    • TheMaverickk

      Majora's Mask had one of the most intricate and well articulated stories to date in a Zelda game.

      The question is whether or not people unearth every detail in the story. You get bits and pieces of the story by helping everyone in the game and talking with them through out the 3 Day cycle. Making it a completely option story tie in… I mean you have the bare bones of the story with Skull Kid and Tatl and the Giants, which you get simply by completing each dungeon, but if you want more of the story and find out the history of Termina, and all the people who are affected by the Skull Kid and the Giants, then you take the time to do every mini dungeon and quest.

      It's probably still the most rewarding Zelda to play.

  • GorCoronSumo

    I really don't give a crap about linear vs. non-linear. It's Zelda, that's what I care about.

  • http://twitter.com/megamanfan3 @megamanfan3

    Another good example of non-linear gameplay is Kirby and the Amazing Mirror. In that game, you don't get to point-A to point-B. The different names of each location mirrors Super Metroid.

  • http://hope4media.blogspot.com Rifall

    I would like to point out that in Ocarina of Time, the Water Temple and Fire temple can be completed in either order. That means there were 4 ways to beat the last 5 temples. As well, Dodongo's cavern and Jabu's Belly can be switched. That's now 7 ways to beat all the temples. And the story is the same every way.

    This is quite a misinformed article, and I am surprised to see it here on Zelda Universe. You see, to the degree that Zelda is non-linear, it has never required any alternate stories in the game. The stories for each individual area stays the same, but can be switched, which means the overall story doesn't need to be changed because of non-linearity.

    It's the change in mood going from temple to temple (area to area) with the different stories each area has that makes Zelda fun and exciting. Most Zelda games have a fair balance between linearity and non-linearity. As well, Super Metroid has a definite way it was meant to be beat. But it's been sequence broken so much that the certain way has been forgotten.

    Zelda has always tried to have a balance between straight forward and free roaming. Although, I will admit that Twilight Princess was painfully linear. But don't freekin tell me that it was too painfully easy. We all know it's not true.

    Zelda has been a series where clues are left in the text and the textures that lead us to what we should do next, or what we will need to do later on. But it's not always painfully obvious as you mislead people to believe. Each Zelda has always been incredible, and non-linearity isn't going to dictate whether a Zelda game will be good or bad.

    I personally don't like either linearity and non-linearity in either extreme, but anywhere in the middle is always satisfying.

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