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It's easy to see that the Legend of Zelda is a source for
inspiration for many video game series. Darksiders borrows many elements of the
combat and puzzle solving. Many action games borrowed the lock on mechanics
that Zelda helped originate. Hundreds of games have used expansive open worlds
filled with unique characters and side quests similar to those in Zelda games.
Therefore, it was no surprise when Ubisoft claimed that a big inspiration for
Assassin's Creed IV was one of Legend of Zelda's most controversial games, The
Assassin's creed's entire gameplay, setting, and even idea
can be traced back to Zelda. The idea of exploring a vast world filled with
characters to interact with and fighting enemies with swords as well as other
various tools is certainly not a new idea. Zelda was one of the first series to
make this a staple in video games. Assassin's Creed IV takes one more key
element from Zelda... Water.
Water has a troubled history for both of these franchises.
In the first Assassin's Creed you could not swim at all. The second Altair hit
the water he would drown and you would need to restart. The games afterwards
had little to do with water, but handling boats in Assassin's Creed II through
Revelations was fairly boring. Assassin's Creed III had sailing and ship combat
for the first time, but it felt sluggish and really boring to me. The Legend of
Zelda has never gotten a water dungeon right before Wind Waker. The water
temple in Ocarina of Time was troublesome at best; more like downright
infuriating. The Great Bay Temple is just as bad, if not worst. There is
constant changing of water levels and currents. Assassin's Creed and Wind Waker
have a lot in common if we look at these respective series.
These games are the games that finally nailed the element of
Water. I received both of these games for the first time at Christmas. I have
been diving into the worlds of both of these games on Wii U and Xbox 360, and
the comparison is quite obvious.
Wind Waker was really one of the first games to really base
its entire world on water. The entire world is littered with small islands that
you can sail to and explore. There are treasures, secrets and interesting
characters on all. Merchant ships circle the islands, pirates roam the sea
attacking you, and sword play takes precedence over all other weapons and items.
There is a grand sense of adventure and scale to this world. It's bigger than
any Zelda game before and there is so much to find.
If you haven't noticed yet, almost every single element of
Wind Waker is located in Assassin's Creed IV. This is the first Assassin's
Creed game to fully utilize water in any way. The entire game takes place in
the vast Caribbean Sea, which is populated with many locations, both important
and not so important. There are interesting characters that inhabit these
islands, most of which you will interact with throughout the game. There are
merchant ships, enemies, pirates, and numerous distractions throughout the
game. Sword play is much more of a focus since you can now dual wield blades. If
you can't tell where I'm going yet... These games are remarkably similar.
The question is, which do I like better? More to the point,
which game uses the element of the ocean and the sea best? That's where this gets complicated. I
much prefer the charm and gameplay of Wind Waker. Assassin's Creed is a game
that is certainly mature and has a dark tone to it. There are mature situations
and violent kills. Wind Waker, while having some dark moments and eerie things,
it is certainly a lot more cheery. The music, the atmosphere makes you feel
like you're on the ocean. The dungeon design is clever and the use of items is
fantastic. The story is simple, yet very heartfelt. It is a truly fantastic
game, but the sea is not as much of a focus as Assassin's Creed.
Wind Waker is all about saving Zelda from Ganondorf, much
like nearly every Zelda game before it. The Sea, while a great tool for
traveling and exploring takes a back seat to the overall story of the game. It
also isn't a huge focus in gameplay. The dungeons and land areas make up a
majority of the gameplay. Assassin's Creed makes great use of the sea, in both
gameplay and story. Edward Kenway is a pirate. He is a rough, tough, sea loving
person. Throughout most of the opening hours you are on your ship. Your sailing
the seas, hunting creatures on islands, taking down the British, and doing many
other things. Much of the early story revolves around learning how to pilot
your own ship.
It is certainly clear that Assassin's Creed's development
team admired Wind Waker and all of the ambitious ideas that game brought forth.
Playing both of these games at the same time, I can definitely see the
inspiration, and Assassin's Creed IV arguably does the ocean thing better than
Wind Waker. Piloting your ship, fighting enemy ships, exploring and hunting on
these islands and exploring the ocean is all a little bit more polished and
advanced. Wind Waker is not entirely devoted to the ocean though; it has so
much more going for it. This is why, ultimately, I enjoy Wind Waker more than
Assassin's Creed. Still, there is a
common thread here. The use of the ocean in a game, the ability to explore the
high seas and embark on a grand adventure, can create one of the greatest gaming
experiences of all time.