The mixture of ideas that make Zelda games feel like Zelda games

03.02.2023 0 By admin

The Legend of Zelda is a series built on traditions.

While each entry has introduced some unique aspect that makes it stand out from the rest, the franchise has long maintained a clear shared identity—one cultivated by the recurring themes, iconography, characters, locations, mechanics, and design philosophies that loosely make up what is referred to as the Zelda formula; the mixture of ideas that make Zelda games feel like Zelda games.

This formula isn’t definitive.

It evolves as new ideas make their way into the series and shifts from title to title to best meet the demands of each individual game, but for anyone who has played a handful of Zelda titles, the common ingredients of its formula are easy to point out.

Dungeons centered solving puzzles.

Musical instruments with mystical powers.

Bosses whose weak spot is a big glowing yellow eye.

Cuccos who will ruin your life if messed with, and, what I find to be the most compelling recurring element in the series: the partners who accompany Link on his adventures.

Companions were first introduced to the series when Zelda jumped from 2D to 3D with the release of Ocarina of Time, and since then they’ve made their way into the majority of entries, becoming one of the most prominent staples in the series.

They play a massive role in the games they’re in and are at the heart of many of the best moments in the franchise.

Also, a lot of people really hate them.

The addition of Navi as Link’s guide in Ocarina of Time was and, frankly, still is a contentious topic, and complaints about companions in Zelda have really only grown as the series has gone on.

Many find their interruptions annoying and their guidance overbearing.

Their inclusion led to a shift in how people perceived the games; what was once seen as a series that wasn’t afraid to let players get lost, started to be known as one that held their hand to make sure they never would.

In the past decade, Nintendo has released 2 single-player Zelda games: A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild, neither of which have proper companions.

The two titles take a much more hands off approach than the entries of the 2000s, presenting non-linear adventures with a strong emphasis on player freedom—a sort of return to the roots of the series.

They’ve been lauded as some of the best entries in the franchise, and it seems like Nintendo is doubling down in this direction, which has left me a bit conflicted.

On one hand, they played a major part in all the games that got me to first fall in love with the series in the first place, but on the other, A Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild are my two favorite Zelda titles, so I do think the shift has led to better games.

And this has gotten me to start wondering whether or not Zelda would be better off if they phased companions out of the series.

In some ways they feel too important to the DNA of the franchise to get rid of entirely, but also just because something has been a part of something for a long time, doesn’t mean it is worth keeping around.

So, in an effort to figure out where I fully stand on this, I want to examine how each of the games use companions and try to answer the big questions, like were they a useful addition to the series? Did they succeed in what they set out to do? Should they be in future Zelda titles? Really I want to know whether or not Zelda is better without companions.

To do that, the first question that needs to be answered is in what ways did they impact the series most? And this can be broken down into two categories: how they influenced gameplay and how they influenced narrative.

Starting with the gameplay side of things, the original idea behind adding a companion was simply to make things less confusing for players.

As Ocarina of Time and a grander scope than any of the games before it as well as a new axis to worry about, Navi was created to help players better navigate both.

They essentially turned a tutorial into a character.

Along with providing tips and reminding players where to go, she also highlights points of interest.

Whenever Link approaches an enemy or a chest or a sign or really anything he can interact with, Navi flies towards it, signaling that it is probably worth looking out for.

When comparing this to a title like A Link To The Past, it could be argued that this system is a bit too leading.

By directing the player’s attention to various aspects of an environment it runs the risk of trivializing discovering, but given that 3D games were so new at the time of its release, it makes sense that they’d want to make it clear what could and couldn’t be engaged with—also, when compared to the direction a lot of modern titles have gone, it feels exceptionally tame.

It’s a simple yet elegant system that helps prevent players from sprinting past important stuff.

Where it loses a lot of its shine though is with how “HEY LISTEN”, yeah that.

As iconic as the line has become, it is largely responsible for turning what could have been a subtle navigation tool into one that regularly bashed players over the head.

While the inclusion of a voiceline seems like such a minor thing, it undermines a lot of what the system tries to do by drawing too much attention to Navi.

It makes her advice feel less like a suggestion and more like an order.

Between her somewhat frequently halting player’s in their tracks and her voice lines triggering whenever Link lock’s onto a target, players will hear a lot of her, and for some it will become grating quickly.

What’s worse is that a lot of what she has to say is either painfully obvious, making it so players don’t even want her assistance.

Now, personally, Navi has never bothered me all that much as I just naturally tune her out when playing, but given that she is remembered most for saying “Hey, Listen” and not for being helpful or all that interesting is a pretty good indicator that she missed the mark in a handful of ways.

Her addition to the series was a decent idea with flawed execution, and Nintendo seemingly noticed that as well as Majora’s Mask slightly retooled the companion system, most notably replacing dialogue with *fairy noises*.

For a lot of players, this tiny shift makes Tatl far more palatable than Navi as her chimes feel like a notification instead of a demand; pair that with her she interrupting gameplay far less often, and she has all of the good aspects of Navi without being nearly as intrusive.

She still suffers from some of the same issues as her predecessor like being too obvious, but she is a notable improvement nonetheless.

When it comes to both Navi and Tatl though, from a mechanical perspective, they feel outdated, mostly because they are.

As they were designed for a playerbase who was just being introduced to 3D titles, they aren’t nearly as helpful to those of us who have been playing games with a Z-axis for the past 25 years.

They served a function for the time, but looking back now there isn’t anything all that interesting about them.

The only notable exception to this, comes at the end of the Ocarina of Time in the fight against Ganondorf.

At the start he shoots out a blast of dark energy, making it impossible for Navi to target him.

This adds a layer of complexity to the fight as players can’t just have him at the center of their screen at all times.

Most people will rely on Z-targeting everytime they are in combat, so not being able to use it when the stakes are at their highest is anxiety provoking., Most players will utilize Z-Targeting every time they’re in combat, so not being able to use it when the stakes are higher than ever before is anxiety inducing.

It feels like something is missing, and that something is Navi.

Honestly, it’s easy to forget that the reason Link can lock-onto enemies in the first place is because of Navi, so this moment acts as a stark reminder of her importance.

To sell things further, everytime Ganondorf is stunned, her powers briefly come back, making it far easier to wail on him.

The more substantial payoff, however, comes in the following fight against ganon.

Navi’s abilities are no longer blocked, and she helps immensely with keeping track of his weak spot, showing how much better off Link is with her by his side.

Although this is a small moment, it’s still an effective one as it creates a bond between them through the use of game mechanics.

The companions in the titles following the N64 entries no longer act primarily as navigational tools; they don’t highlight every single thing the player comes across, and while they still provide information to the player, most of them have an expanded role in terms of actual gameplay.

For instance, in The Wind Waker, the primary companion is the King of Red Lions who not only gives Link guidance on his quest, but is also his main form of transportation.

Instead of mostly just operating in the background like Navi and Tatl, he is utilized as a core game mechanic, making him feel more important to everything that is going on.

Where the two fairies before him feel more like assistants, he feels like an actual partner to Link.

His function goes beyond just moving the story forward as he adds clear value to the gameplay.

Sailing feels good, and this creates a positive association towards The King of Red Lions.

READ  Some things you must know in the video game Modern Warfare

And giving companions important and interesting mechanical functions is a trend the series ran with.

In The Minish Cap, Ezlo has the ability to make Link really small which is a mechanic at the center of many puzzles in the game.

He also is used as a sort of parachute to float around certain areas.

Midna, in Twilight Princess rides on top of Link when he’s in his wolf form, occasionally showing him places he can jump to and also giving him access to a powerful attack that can hit multiple enemies in quick succession.

Furthermore, she is able to teleport objects, which allows for fast travel and is used to solve various puzzles throughout the adventure.

Phantom Hourglass changes things up a bit by having two primary companions: Ciela and Linebeck.

In an additional twist, Ciela is actually controlled by the player; wherever they point the stylus, she goes and Link follows, making her responsible for his movement.

Along with that, there are optional gems the player can collect that unlock Ciela’s full power; this in turn gives Link the ability to shoot beams from his sword.

Furthermore, as the game goes on, two more fairies join the party named Leaf and Neri, and if the player collects their corresponding gems, the two also unlock their true power and Ciela can be swapped out for either, providing different buffs for Link.

The other main companion, Linebeck, is the captain of the ship Link uses to get from island to island, serving a similar function as the King of Red Lions.

Spirit Tracks marks the first and only time where Zelda adventures alongside Link for the entirety of a game, and in it she is turned into a ghost who has the ability to possess certain enemies.

When in her phantom form, the player is able to move her around and she becomes a key part of both puzzle solving and fighting.

Every iteration of the companion character has brought something new to the table, and while their levels of success certainly vary, it is clear that the series has strived to make companions a meaningful part of the game through their mechanics and not just the story.

They are all tied to useful, interesting and fun aspects of the gameplay, creating a positive connection between the player and each respective companion.

And then there’s Fi.

From a gameplay perspective, Fi feels like a pretty big step backwards.

While Skyward Sword HD toned down the frequency of her interruptions compared to the original, she is still closer mechanically to Navi than any other companion.

She gives far too much information about relatively basic things, and seems designed mostly so that the player doesn’t get lost, which is a little odd as Skyward Sword is easily the most linear Zelda title there is.

In terms of how she impacts gameplay, her two main features are tied to Link’s sword.

The first is the Skyward Strike which involves Link holding his sword in the air for a moment and then unleashing a blast of energy.

Despite it being a somewhat powerful attack, I pretty much only ever used it when I was required to as there really weren’t all the many situations where I felt it benefitted.

As it takes time to charge and leaves Link defenseless, I almost always felt better off just engaging in typical combat.

Its main use is to activate Goddess Crests and Cubes, which are tied to story progression and various secrets respectively.

There’s not much to it and for the most part, it is just an excuse to get players to use the motion controls, but at the very least it doesn’t really detract from the gameplay as its usage is infrequent and not all that intrusive.

The same cannot be said for her other main feature, dowsing, which involves choosing a thing to look for and then having Link point his sword around until there is a ping.

If this sounds like it isn’t fun at all, you’d be right.

Dowsing is a gimmicky way to utilize motion controls, and even though it can occasionally be useful for finding things like hearts when low on health, it always feels like an unnecessary disruption to actual gameplay.

It is a tedious navigation system and takes a lot of the wonder out of exploring.

It does get the player to associate the mechanic with Fi, but given that it is an irritating one, that is not a good thing.

Fi’s also has the ability to enlist the help of Scrapper, a robot who can carry big objects from one place to another.

The exchanges between the two are mildly humorous as Scrapper has big “I should be a mod in her Twitch chat” energy, but none of the instances of him helping are all that interesting mechanically as the game spells out exactly what he is supposed to do.

Where there was at least some mystery in Twilight Princess of how to find certain objects for Midna to teleport, here there is none.

Also, the one time that there is some mechanical depth to Scrapper’s appearance, it is an escort mission, which is kinda bad.

The ways in which Fi impacts gameplay don’t add anything of substance; previous companions certainly engaged in some handholding of the player, but Fi feels entirely designed around it.

I imagine for a lot of people, Fi has left a bad taste in their mouth about Zelda companions as a whole.

She represents a direction for the series that many fans aren’t all that interested in.

It is especially frustrating when considering that just a few years earlier, Nintendo seemed like they were figuring out how best to implement companions into gameplay, with Ghost Zelda in Spirit Tracks.

Fi wasn’t just a slight regression, she was less mechanically compelling than Navi, and considering that Skyward Sword came out 13 years after Ocarina of Time, that’s not great.

With that said, the series has proven that it can make companions who play an important, interesting, and engaging role in gameplay that strengthens the bond between player and character; None are perfect, in fact I’d go as far as to say that almost all of them are underdeveloped, but at the very least, most are able to endear themselves to the player by either being useful or making things more fun.

It is something Nintendo is capable of doing well, they just struck out the last time they tried.

Gameplay is just one half of the picture; It doesn’t really matter how mechanically engaging a character is if the player doesn’t care about them at all, so the way companions influence the story is just as if not more important.

And as a heads up I will be discussing various plot points and characters relating to the companions so beware.

One of the primary narrative functions of his various partners is making it clear to the player what the hell is going on.

As Link is a silent protagonist, they are often the ones to state his objectives and piece information together in a cohesive way as Link himself can’t do that.

This is pretty much the extent of Navi’s role in Ocarina of Time.

She is sent to Link by the Great Deku Tree, and while some personality shines through immediately as she expresses doubt that Link could actually be the one destined to save Hyrule, that quickly fades and after cleansing Tree Dad, she becomes resolute in carrying out his final request of helping Link.

Navi is an emissary of a higher power, and that is her primary motivation.

There isn’t much of a character arc for her.

For the most part, she is just there, and this leads to her feeling disconnected from everything happening.

Her dedication to saving Hyrule is admirable, but she never expresses any reason for wanting to help outside of it being something she was told to do.

This isn’t inherently a bad set up for a character, it’s just that they didn’t do anything all that compelling with it.

Luckily, every companion since has been implemented into the story in meaningful ways—even the ones who have motivations similar to Navi’s.

In The Wind Waker, before Link ever meets him, The King of Red Lions was tasked by the Goddesses to seek a hero who would be able to defeat Ganondorf, and so he has been sailing the Great Sea in search of one ever since.

At first, this seems basic, but it is later revealed that The King of Red Lions is actually the King of Hyrule; a king whose reign ended with the return of Ganon.

As there was no hero to stop the spreading of Ganon’s corruption, the Goddesses flooded the kingdom in order to seal the evil once again.

The King of Red Lions was unable to protect Hyrule, and he carries that guilt with him.

Finding and helping Link is a way of trying to correct the failures of his past.

He is intrinsically tied to the core conflict of the story as he shoulders some of the blame for the state the world is in, and it leads to an intriguing character arc about learning to leave the past behind.

Ciela is another example of this.

After finding Link washed up on the beach, she is instructed by her grandfather, Oshus, to help Link rescue Tetra.

For an unknown amount of time, she has been suffering from amnesia and Oshus believes that the adventure may help restore her memories.

As the game goes on and Ciela eventually gets her memories back, she and Link learn that Oshus is actually a god named the Ocean King and that Ciela herself is the Spirit of Courage and Time.

READ  This computer game has got us WHISTLING

Everything revolves around her discovering her true identity and then learning to harness her long-dormant powers; it is just as much a story about Ciela as it is a story about Link.

The character who most closely resembles Navi in terms of having a singular purpose is Fi.

She is the spirit of the Goddess Sword, a weapon made by the deity Hylia in order to defeat Demise.

The reason for her existence is to serve the chosen hero, and that’s what she does.

The help she provides goes beyond just tips to the player; her powers are the key to progression whether it by recalling and translating messages from centuries past that uncover the next step of the journey, singing melodies to mysterious songs that unlock long hidden secrets, or harnessing the sacred flames of the three golden goddesses in order to create the Master Sword.

Without her Link would not be able to complete his quest, giving her value within the actual narrative.

Skyward Sword also makes her single-mindedness a clear character trait.

She has a robotic quality to her, always speaking in percentages and searching for the most direct solution to problems.

Her purpose is clear through her characterization and makes sense within the story in a way that Navi’s never really did.

Her transformation, while a small one, is effective because after an dozens of hours of hearing her distinct cold analysis of the world she was made to protect but never be a part of, she finally understands a small bit of what it means to be human.

Although these three companions are partially acting on the desires of others, they still have an identity of their own.

They also can’t be separated from the stories they are in; they are actual characters who impact what is going on, whereas Navi could have been taken out, and not all that much would change.

Of course, the more compelling companions in terms of how they fit into the narrative all have motivations of their own that are tied in some way to the central conflict, whether it be to save a brother or find fame and fortune or reverse a curse that turned them into a hat, a ghost, or an imp.

By giving them a clear stake in the story it makes them stronger characters because they have something personal to lose.

And by having the companions start off as being self-interested in one way or another, it sets the groundwork for compelling and organic character growth.

Tatl goes from an antagonist to a reluctant partner as Link seems to be the only way for her to be reunited with her Tael, and as the game goes on she begins to both care for Link and the well being of Termina as a whole; With that said, her progression isn’t a straight line though; when the power of Majora’s Mask fuses with the moon and all seems lost, she tries to run away from the problem, and it is only because of the bravery of her brother, who incidentally reminds her of Link, that she agrees to go and face Majora’s Mask head on.

She isn’t perfect, and sometimes needs to be reminded of the importance of doing the right thing, and that gives her a ton of depth.

Admittedly the pacing of her arc is a bit quick and uneven, but when compared to the complete lack of an arc with Navi, Tatl’s was a significant step forward.

As for Linebeck he only agrees to help because he views Link as a convenient way to explore dungeons that he is too cowardly to venture deep into himself, all in the hopes that it will lead to treasure.

And as soon as learns that their quest will end in a battle against ultimate evil instead of gold, he refuses to continue on until Oshus offers to grant him a wish.

When they do reach that battle and all seems to be lost, instead of running away and letting Link deal with the danger on his own, Linebeck picks up the Master Sword and saves him.

Once the battle ends and it’s time for him to make his wish, all he asks is for his old ship to be repaired.

The true treasure he discovers on his adventure with Link and Ciela is courage, and with that he no longer needs to find treasure in order to make himself feel whole.

Ezlo joins Link as a means to be transformed back to normal.

Without his own powers, Link is the best chance he has to stop Vaati and break the curse that has been placed on him.

However, as he sees the ways in which Vaati has manipulated and hurt the people of Hyrule, he feels a sense of responsibility for all of it as Vaati was once his apprentice and he even created the magical hat that allowed the now sorcerer to rise to power.

His failure to guide his old student down the right path is something he holds onto, and in many ways his mentorship of Link feels like him doing what he can to make up for his past mistakes.

When he first meets Link, he is grumpy and condescending, but by the end, he learns to respect Link not as a subordinate but as an equal.

Zelda, at the beginning of Spirit Tracks, is naive and sheltered; she has spent her life receiving help but rarely ever giving it, and when confronted by an actual threat, her first response is to call on others to save her, powerless to do anything herself.

As the game goes on though, she takes on the role of helper, guiding, protecting and assisting Link at every turn, and when the two them face off again against the evil threatening Hyrule, without missing a beat, she comes up with a plan, one that calls for them to do what they’ve learned to do best: rely on each other.

Her arc is about learning the value of teamwork, and in that way, it leads to her feeling like a true companion.

Lastly, there’s Midna.

After being overthrown by Zant and fleeing the Twilight Realm, her only desire is to return herself and her world back to normal, and she is willing to do this by any means necessary.

Her partnership with Link is one she makes solely for self-gain.

He is just a pawn for her to manipulate, and there is no level she won’t stoop to in order to get him to do what she wants.

On top of all of that, she refuses to take any responsibility for the state of Hyrule, instead placing the blame on Zelda.

However, after witnessing many selfless acts from Link, a handful of which involve protecting her even though she’s given him every reason not to, she starts to change.

When Link is cursed by Zant, her worries are for him even though she herself is on death’s door, and then after Zelda sacrifices herself in order to save Midna, she realizes that Link and Zelda’s lives are just as important as her’s, and for things to be done right, they must save both.

She stops treating Link like a servant and starts treating him like a friend.

By the end, Midna doesn’t care about reclaiming her position of power; she just wants to protect everyone she can, especially the ones she cares most about.

She experiences significant change over the course of her adventure with Link, and it leads to one of my favorite redemption arcs in all of media.

Regardless of the source of their motivation, at the very least, every companion in the series with the exception of maybe Navi has an interesting frame for a character arc.

Some are fleshed out exceptionally well while others leave much to be desired, but by and large they have enough there to be dynamic characters.

And from a narrative perspective, this is pretty important because Link, the protagonist of the series, doesn’t really change all that much on any of his adventures.

He sees more of the world, gains some heart containers, and makes many friends, but at the start and end of each game, he is still the same kind-hearted brave kid willing to face danger to protect others.

Maybe someday Nintendo will experiment a bit more with Link’s characterization, but that idea feels kind of weird.

Each iteration of his character has been the embodiment of courage.

The form that takes looks a bit different every time, but no matter what, he is always ready to be a hero.

Giving him a substantial dynamic character arc could be an interesting departure from tradition, but it also would make Link not really feel like Link.

Personally, I think Link’s best role in any given story he’s in is to be a catalyst of the change in a different character.

By giving him a partner, it allows for him to stay true to the roots of his archetype while also still being able to have meaningful character arcs.

As I’ve been thinking about the ways in which Link’s partners influence the games they’re in, I have found myself coming back over and over again to the same question: would Breath of the Wild have been better with a companion? From the gameplay side of things, Breath of the Wild essentially already has a companion in the form of the Sheikah slate.

It does pretty much everything that Link’s various partners have done for him in the past: it tracks his objectives, gives him access to unique abilities that can be used for both combat and puzzle solving, allows him to fast travel, and it even lets him use Breath of the Wild’s far superior version of dowsing.

It is an extremely useful and integral part of the game, but it’s implementation is a bit strange.

READ  10 playing skills in video games

Very clearly it is modeled after the Wii U gamepad and to a lesser extent, the Switch, and it just doesn’t feel like it makes all that much sense in the world of the game.

I’m all for the advanced ancient technology trope, but hear it feels phoned in—like Nintendo needed a way to contextualize Link being able to utilize all of these abilities, so they went with a tablet.

Frankly, they could have done a lot of things to make the implementation of the Sheikah Slate feel more organic, and a companion definitely could have been one of them.

Given the frequency players use these tools, it could have created a strong mechanical connection to the character that would be reinforced by gameplay.

For a companion to have worked in Breath of the Wild, they would have had to be more hands off than any of the ones before it as a major part of what makes the game stand out is that it gives space for players to figure things out for themselves.

If integrated well, there wouldn’t be that massive of a difference mechanically from how it is in its current state, but at the very least, having the powers tied to an actual character would feel a bit more engaging and organic than it being tied to an iPad.

Breath of the Wild’s story is one that kind of has to be opted into.

While the majority of players will end up learning about Link’s relationship with his former companions through completing each of the divine beasts, large chunks of the story can be easily missed.

I do think the narrative that can be uncovered if players choose to look for it is a good one, but it is all about things that happened a hundred years in the past.

From a story perspective, Link’s adventure is inconsequential—it’s the end of a different tale.

And the lack of a traditional narrative has been a common criticism of the game.

Many folks have fallen in love with the way the series tells stories, so to get one that felt disjointed because it could be consumed in so many different ways, was a let down.

A companion could have been a way to create a cohesive story about the events that take place during Link’s journey, although it is hard to imagine how they would have done this without the identity of Breath of the Wild being dramatically different than it is.

One of the most refreshing aspects of the title is how lonely it feels.

Link explores a world that all but ended a century before, and every aspect from the visuals to the sound design and music to the layout of the world add to that sense of loneliness.

It is a core part of the game’s vibe, and a companion, even if they weren’t all that intrusive, would counteract everything that is done to create that sense.

Also, for the companion to have a satisfying arc, certain parts of the game most likely would have to be mandatory in order for there to be enough story beats to create a compelling narrative, which would have taken away a fair bit of player freedom.

I suppose it would theoretically have been possible for Nintendo to have a variety of resolutions, each tied to the amount of things the player did in the world, but pulling that off seems immensely difficult.

While I understand why some players who didn’t vibe with Breath of the Wilds style would want a companion to tie everything together, I definitely think it benefits from not having one.

Many of the aspects that make it so special would be near impossible to pull off with a more typical story structure.

Breath of the Wild isn’t focused on providing an engaging story—it’s focused on providing an engaging world.

Not having a prominent narrative was the right choice as it allowed for other aspects to shine.

With that said, I don’t necessarily feel the same way about Breath of the Wild’s upcoming sequel.

Honestly, I hope it feels markedly different from Breath of the Wild, and I say that as someone whose favorite game is Breath of the Wild.

I have always appreciated the way the Zelda series constantly experiments with different concepts while still maintaining a strong identity.

They are able to find ways to make each of their titles, even ones that share a lot of the same ideas, feel unique.

If they just make Breath of the Wild but More, it wouldn’t be memorable because it’d be treading too much of the same ground.

I’m not saying that I think this next game needs a companion; at the moment, we all know next to nothing about it, so I have no clue whether or not adding one would have a positive impact.

With that said, I’m interested to see them try.

When looking at the two major ways companions have influenced the series, I find myself torn.

There is a lot to love about the various ways they have been integrated into both gameplay and narrative, but also it feels like they’ve always fallen a bit short of their full potential.

Some titles have certainly gotten close, but none have had a perfect balance of both elements.

I could see some people looking at that as a failure; proof that even at their best, the companions still miss the mark.

And that’s not entirely unfair, but personally, the fact that the companions have never reached their full potential doesn’t make me want Nintendo to stop trying to implement them; it just makes me want them to try even harder.

So, my answer to the question of is Zelda better without companions is no.

That’s not to say the games that don’t have them are inherently worse—as I said before, many of those are actually my favorites—but if it was something the series did away with completely, I think it would suffer for it.

While the gameplay in titles that have companions is not necessarily better, the stories almost always are.

Having a character with Link who can carry the narrative weight makes it possible to tell all types of engaging tales.

Not every entry needs this, but I think they series benefit from continuing to have some that do.

They can create a unique bond with both Link and the player that is reinforced through story and gameplay.

They can have engaging arcs where they grow as a result of witnessing Link’s courage and loyalty.

And of course, they can even help out a bit when you’ve forgotten where to go.

They have so much potential, and I think if Nintendo is able to mix the best qualities of their most effective companions, they could make something truly incredible.

The Legend of Zelda means a lot of things to me.

Really, my favorite thing about it is that it isn’t just one thing.

The Zelda Formula creates many different shades of Zelda, and yeah, I have my preferences, but I honestly love every game in the franchise.

It has been present in every stage of my life, and together they make something far greater than any single title ever could.

Depending on what I need, it has something to offer me whether that be an unparalleled sense of discovery, freedom, and solitude or a challenge that test every aspect of my skills or a story where I get to play as a character who helps others figure out who they are meant to be.

Companions are an important part of Zelda, and while I don’t think they should be in every entry, I do hope we see them again soon, as they are tied to one of the best themes of the series: friendship and all the places it can take.

And with all this talk about finding proper guidance to become a better version of yourself, let’s talk about this video’s sponsor, Brilliant.

Brilliant is a problem-solving website that provides interactive courses made to teach you new ideas and hone your understanding of topics primarily relating to math and science.

It’s great for people trying to learn something for the first time and also for those who want a refresher about stuff they learned in school but forgot.

There are a lot of things I wish I would have learned over the years in regards to math and science, but it is hard to teach yourself complicated ideas and that’s why Brilliant is great as it gives a frame to work within with courses that are actually fun to do, making it much easier to stick to.

Over this past month, I’ve been taking a course on Quantum Mechanics, and now I not only know what Quantum Mechanics actually means, but I understand a handful of concepts about it in a way I never did from just searching for information online.

There are so many different topics to choose from, and they are really effective at teaching you complicated concepts.

So, to get started go to and sign up for free.

And also, the first 200 people that go to that link, which by the way is also in the description, will get 20% off the annual Premium subscription.

It’s a great service that honestly everyone could benefit from, so check it out.

Anyway, thanks to Brilliant for sponsoring this video.

For those still here, yo.

Thank you to my patrons for making this channel possible, and a special shout out to WilliamGlenn8 for being an honorary bagbuten.

That is all.

Have a great and or night, and I will see you in the next one.