1UP.com described Mega Man as "Capcom's ill-treated mascot", and "one of the most incongruous characters of all time", saying "it wouldn't be completely incorrect to assume that the popularity of the series has almost nothing to do with Mega Man himself", but with "his rivals, his enemies, and their abilities." IGN agreed with his dependency on support characters, saying Zero is "cooler than Mega Man". Den of Geek listed Mega Man's incarnation from Street Fighter X Tekken as the 15th best cameo in fighting game history due to how it represented Capcom's lack of interest in featuring other games as of 2012, as well as the apparent self-mockery of it due to Mega Man's poor characterization. Destructoid described this Mega Man as "legit" stating it was "an unexpected and interesting creative decision by [Capcom] using this version of Mega Man to represent them in what may be one of their biggest games of 2012".
The next Legend of Zelda for the DS, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, was released December 7, 2009, in North America and December 11, 2009, in the UK. In this game, the 'spirit tracks', railroads which chain an ancient evil, are disappearing from Hyrule. Zelda and Link go to the 'Spirit Tower' (the ethereal point of convergence for the tracks) to find out why. But villains steal Zelda's body for the resurrection of the Demon King. Rendered disembodied, Zelda is left a spirit, and only Link (and a certain few sages) can see her. Together they go on a quest to restore the spirit tracks, defeat the Demon King, and return Zelda to her body. Using a modified engine of that used in Phantom Hourglass, the notably new feature in this game is that the Phantom Guardians seen in Phantom Hourglass are, through a series of events, periodically controllable. It was the first time in the series that both Link & Zelda work together on the quest.
The series centers on Link, the playable character and chief protagonist. Link is often given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule from Ganon, who is the principal antagonist of the series; however, other settings and antagonists have appeared in several games. The plots commonly involve a relic known as the Triforce, a set of three omnipotent golden triangles. The protagonist in each game is usually not the same incarnation of Link, but a few exceptions exist.
Princess is also featured in other media, including comics based on the games, animated shows, and the Super Smash Bros. series. In some of her appearances, she is depicted as a brave, proud, and self-reliant fighter who is proficient in archery and horseback riding, such as in the The Legend of Zelda comics by Valiant Comics and The Legend of Zelda TV series. As with the games, she is the protector of the Triforce of Wisdom.
After regaining her Triforce of Wisdom from Cia, Zelda decides to go to the Temple of the Sacred Sword in order to have Link retrieve the Master Sword in order to defeat the Dark Forces and Cia. Impa reminds Zelda that the sword is required to remain in its pedestal to keep the evil one's soul under seal, but Lana reveals that the temple's barrier should keep it contained without the sword. Link manages to obtain the Master Sword and the Hyrulean Forces then confront Cia at the Temple of Souls, however the partially revived Ganondorf appears and after Cia flees, targets Princess Zelda though fortunately he is defeated by Link wielding the Master Sword. Following Cia's defeat, Link does not return the Master Sword to its pedestal and as a result the barrier containing the final piece of Ganondorf's soul breaks, fully restoring the Demon King who revives Zant and Ghirahim to serve as generals in his army, in order to claim the complete Triforce. After Ganondorf obtains the complete Triforce, Zelda leads the remaining Hyrulean Forces into Gerudo Desert to take out Ganondorf's generals. They successfully defeat the pair and after learning from Impa that Ganondorf has taken Hyrule Castle and transformed it into his tower, Zelda leads the Hyrulean Forces to the final showdown with Ganondorf and his army.
Three main installments, as well as one online game, were published for the PlayStation 2 (PS2). Final Fantasy X (2001) introduced full 3D areas and voice acting to the series, and was the first to spawn a direct video game sequel (Final Fantasy X-2, published in 2003). The first massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) in the series, Final Fantasy XI, was released on the PS2 and PC in 2002, and later on the Xbox 360. It introduced real-time battles instead of random encounters. Final Fantasy XII, published in 2006, also includes real-time battles in large, interconnected playfields. The game is also the first in the main series to utilize a world used in a previous game, namely the land of Ivalice, which had previously featured in Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story.