M2honey wrote:You put it all out like it's some objective fact
Because in my view, it is.
“What I mean is, how can you say that SS's puzzles or ST's puzzles are better than the ones found in any other Zelda?”
Allow me to explain, then: The goal of a well-designed puzzle is to encourage what is known as lateral thinking
. Simpler, more easily-solved puzzles are inherently worse than more complex, less-conventional puzzles that cause one to pause in thought and consider the situation before finally having that 'ah ha
' moment where it all clicks together.
If I walk into a room and know immediately exactly what I have to do and the only roadblock to my progress is the time it takes me to do some painfully obvious action, then it is not a good puzzle; it is a quite bad puzzle. In fact, it is more accurately termed 'busy work', mindless busy work at that, and the only question is how much of it the game is going to subject me to before I can continue.
Speaking generally, while nothing really stumped
me per se, most of Skyward Sword's puzzles were still quite creative, and there were a number of them that took me a few moments and even experimentation to figure out the proper course of action (the room switching mechanism involved with navigating Sky Keep, or getting around the time-shifting Sandship, or the dig-tunnel puzzles in the sixth temple, and so on). That is far more than I can say for a game like Twilight Princess, where literally the only
comparable puzzle that I can recall was that bit with the two statues before the Temple of Time.
"I was under the impression that people like you consider "personality" a meaningless term."
Oh, it is absolutely 100% a meaningless term in regards to when people too-often use it to describe entire games. There are two issues at play there. First, people who say a game has personality
use it in the same way that they say a game broadly (and vaguely) has charm
. They are all interchangeable synonyms that mean the same thing, which is to say they all mean *nothing*. When I say 'personality', I am using it within a very specific context and with a very specific meaning in mind.
Second, a game
cannot have personality (at least not in the sense that I am using the word) because it is an inanimate object. Characters
within a game -- whether they be main characters, NPCs, bosses, or even stock enemies -- can and should have personality.
A good character has identifiable and memorable traits and behaviors -- how they act, how they look, how they move, the emotions they express, the words they say or sounds they make, the place they inhabit, the history behind them, the tactics and attacks they employ, the way they progress as time goes on, et cetera. That is their personality. And that is in fact largely what makes them characters in the first place, as opposed to inanimate objects.
In regards to Skyward Sword: Ghirahim has personality. Zelda and Groose have personality. The last boss has personality. Batreaux and Scrapper have personality. Scervo has personality. Koloktos has personality. The Moblins have personality. The Stalfos have personality. Fi has personality, albeit an extremely crappy one. Even Link
has personality. All the characters in the game have personality of varying quality and to various extents.
The over-arching game does not. Cannot.
"And aren't narratives and presentation secondary elements?"
Of course. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that 'secondary' is the same thing as 'irrelevant', though.
"If I said PH had good puzzles, how would you prove me wrong?"
Well, to start with, your hypothetical infers a desire to 'prove' you wrong on the matter that I would not actually have in practice (partly because PH's puzzles are not a very interesting subject of discussion, partly because PH has about a hundred other things seriously wrong with it, and partly because this is not the Phantom Hourglass thread and I would rather not be smote from the heavens).
Broadly speaking in brief, though, the case would be relatively simple to make. First, I would provide examples of puzzles from Phantom Hourglass (e.g., rat with item you need keeps running into hole that is next to a block). Second, I would assert that their respective solutions are so easy to determine that even most children could probably figure them out with little more than a glance (e.g., push block into hole to prevent rat from going in it). Third and finally, I would iterate on those with additional examples (e.g. pushing obviously-placed switches in increasing numbers, pulling easily-found levers in increasing numbers, staying out of clearly-marked areas that damage you, following safe paths that are plainly spelled-out for you in advance, etc).
I do not think one can make the same case for Skyward Sword. Even its earlier, crummier puzzles, like the bit in the first temple where you have to dizzy the three eyes at once, require a more thoughtful approach to problem-solving than Phantom Hourglass's brainless drek.