Sunday, October 15, 2017

What do you call this?

Is there a term for a game that is very much like a "Legend of Zelda" game, without actually being part of that franchise? There are whole separate franchises that are like this, "Okami" springs to mind.  There however seems to be no single term that describes this.

I hear the term "action role-playing" thrown around, but it not nearly enough of the games in that category are in fact "Zelda-like". For example Square Enix's "Seiken Densetsu" (Secret of Mana) series is very much an "action role-playing" game, while being nothing like a "Zelda" game. Often these kind of games are much closer to true "role-playing" games, simply using a more action oriented style of combat.

Games which are "Zelda-like" are, but are not limited to, "Darksiders", "Recore", "Okami", "Beyond: Good & Evil". These games all feel so very much like "Zelda". They all involve progression based around exploration and the attainment of items of one sort or another. In these games every thing found allows greater access to the world in some way, might let you pass a barrier, might allow you to damage a formerly invincible foe. Often reward are there to be found if you backtrack with what you have newly acquired. 

The lack of a term for this phenomenon just struck me the other day, and it seems odd for the amount of time this has been happening. The first "Zelda" game came out in 1986, the first game to be "Zelda" without the name was also 1986.  It just seems we could use a simple term for this in gaming.

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