That is what many of us seek when they buy and play certain games. My favorite example of a game that succeeded and creating something that could be called adventure, is Skies of Arcadia Legends. But being a JRPG, it is quite limited in terms of gameplay, and as for an adventurous game, interactivity plays a big role. First of all, though, what is an adventure?
Basically, and i´m not looking up some professional definition, an adventure is a dangerous experience with a happy end. Said danger can vary, be it physical danger in form of enemies or psychological danger, when you´re exploring a cave and don´t know where to go. What is not part of a pure definition of adventure is a story or an epic background. It helps if done well, but it´s not like a good adventure-experience needs nations that are in war with each other or such.
Very, very few games achieve to be a true adventure. And most of those that do are not very interactive, but passive, like JRPGs, where all you do is go around and press the same button for any and every action. So i thought about that, about which game can be truly called an adventure. And even though they´re far from being my favorite games (oh well, not that far, to be honest), the conclusion i came to were the Metroid Prime-games.
The Metroid Prime-series has it all: Large, unknown areas to explore, highly interactive gameplay that turns the player into and adventurer and many dangers of varying kind. In the end, though, there three things that annoy me personally too much to enjoy this adventure to the fullest: Playing as a girl just doesn´t cut it, when i myself want to be on an adventure. Even if she´s hardly visible. Also, exploring scifi-hightech-worlds, oh well. And last, all areas are very small, even the larger ones. While that may make sense when you´re inside a sunk spaceship, it´s just stupid when you´re on a planet.
So i remember my favorite adventure-game, and it is my favorite because of being an adventure-game, The Legend of Zelda. To say it all, these days i´m always thinking about replaying a Zelda-game, but whenever i think about it, i come to the conclusion that i know all those titles so well that playing them again isn´t that much fun. Still, i thought about Zelda as an adventure-game (oh, and so some don´t get me wrong, with “adventure-game” i don´t mean point and click-adventures. I´m using the term “adventure” litteraly) and ended it concluding, that the Zelda-series has lost a lot of its adventure-character. When i look at Twilight Princess, all i remember is running from one destination to another. And for those that might say “well, then don´t instantly follow and explore a bit” i can honestly answer, that there isn´t that much, if anything, to explore. One of the few real explorations was a smalll fire-cave, but even that had only some redundant item at its end. Zelda has become a more interactive JRPG and lost its roots. Compare Zelda NES and Twilight Princess and the difference couldn´t be much bigger. The first is about adventure in all its content, the latter offers a few non-mattering sidequests and focuses on story.
That brings me back to the Metroid Prime-series and the question of what it does to be a better adventure-game than modern Zelda-titles. There´s many answers, like too heavy focus on story, too predictable dungeons, useless rupees and so on and so on. The biggest difference between both series, though is the camera view. Yeah, ´m talking about Metroid Prime´s first person view.
Looking back how outraged Zelda-fans got when i talked about getting rid of Link´s outfit (especially the silly hat), i think i should ready myself for even worse reactions this time. Then again, this is not a new idea. Which idea? To make The Legend of Zelda into a first person-adventure. The idea stems from Shigeru Miyamoto himself, who once tested said view with Ocarina of Time. He cancelled this idea, though, because he wanted the player to see the visual difference between young and older Link. Very reasonable back then, but we don´t have a changing heroe anymore. If you also remember that it was Miyamoto, who came up with the first person view for the Metroid Prime-series, it should be clear that the idea of a first person-Zelda isn´t that far fetched.
I really think that the first person view is essential for the ultimate adventure-game. Metroid Prime does it, western RPGs, that generelly try to create an individual adventure, do it. And it is Metroid Prime´s combination of first person view and information scanning that, after all, creates this highly immersive adventure, where you yourself get information out of the world surrounding you. The Zelda-series has become stale, and thinking of a Zelda-game, where i look at Hyrule from Link´s perspective, wield my sword with MotionPlus and read ancient texts on walls within old ruins, i can but say that this would be the ultimate adventure-game. It is, unfortunately, questionable if Nintendo´d ever do such a game changer.