Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hyrule Warriors Legends: My Fairy Still Incomplete

I'm on vacation right now and brought my Nintendo 3DS with me, where last week at a Zelda fan meeting I was able to get the "Circle of Friends" Medal in Hyrule Warriors - Legends. This brought me back into the game for now, where other than completing Legend Mode on "Hero" difficulty I mostly just have grinding left to do.

Part of that is the new "My Fairy" feature, where I wanted to get at least one fairy with all skills unlocked. My motivation is quite low, however, and to a certain degree that's because Nintendo / Koei Tecmo never bothered with fully offering everything there is. Or does anyone outside of Japan actually have the following costume...?

No? Me neither. And that's bugging me, because I would really like to use it on my developed fire fairy, since most fire outfits don't look as nice.

Together with Link's Classic Tunic, there were four sets of My Fairy Clothing only available as rewards in special offers, e.g. as a preorder bonus. This was over a year ago and today Nintendo could offer these as a reward on My Nintendo. There are hardly any worthwhile rewards available anyway and these gifts were originally received as download codes, so it would work pretty well.

Other than that Koei Tecmo started adding new fairy designs, including the following beauty:

They only did so for the elements Light, Darkness and Water. But they never bothered with adding new fairies for the elements Fire and Lightning... Those could have been retroactively placed on any Adventure Map, but we never saw any more updates. And at this point it's doubtful that Koei Tecmo would provide another update for the game. They are busy with Fire Emblem Warriors right now and probably are going to work on Hyrule Warriors 2 afterwards.

But in the very least Nintendo should offer the missing clothing via My Nintendo.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Update 1.3.1 Released

Nintendo released an update for Breath of the Wild today, which does fix the Medal of Honor Glitch caused by the first DLC. According to this, they also fixed a "world reset glitch" that was possibly thanks to the Trial of the Sword.

Additionally, the News channel of the Nintendo Switch will provide "Tips from the Wild" for the game, where you can receive items, if you launch the game from the channel. This is starting tomorrow, August 9th.

It's nice to see that Nintendo fixed the Kilton bug in Master Mode already, instead of waiting for the next big DLC update, but I'm afraid they only did this, because they wanted to get this news channel feature out now. I'm a little bit worried that this feature will include exclusive items, because I don't have a Switch yet, but I think it will probably just give you food items or certain weapons in the game, which you can obtain otherwise.

They didn't fix the issue with the Hyrule Compendium picture overwrite between Normal Mode and Master Mode and I somehow doubt that they will fix this, because this is probably intentional to save memory... In the very least they fixed the glitch, which was holding me back from starting Master Mode.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Super Metroid Revisited

In anticipation of Samus Returns, I'm currently (re)playing several Metroid games. After Zero Mission, I continued on the Wii U Virtual Console and played through Super Metroid again.

Super Metroid was my first Metroid game, when I discovered the franchise for myself in 2008. It's even the game that made me chose the nickname "TourianTourist", some time before opening this blog. And since then it always has been one of my favorite Metroid games next to the Metroid Prime Trilogy, where I've also beaten the game a couple of times now. But after replaying the game now, it doesn't feel like it can live up to all that.

It's still a very good game, don't get me wrong, but it feels a little dated now, where most of the issues lie in its controls, especially after playing Zero Mission and seeing Samus Returns. The input seems to be quite stiff. It starts with the Wall Jumps that behave somewhat differently than in other games. You have to press into the direction and then press the jump button like a split seconds afterwards. If you press both at the same time, it doesn't work. And every time I play this game, it takes some time to get used to this again.

But it's still not as bad as the Grapple Beam. This item has some really awkward handling and probably the "stiffest" input in the game. It's just not fun to use this item. This goes so far that one time I played through Super Metroid without using the Grapple Beam at all. I did the entirety of Maridia with Wall Jumps, because it worked much better for me than the Grapple Beam. And that's saying something.

In addition there are some things in Super Metroid that are simply inconvenient. One is the item select, where you have to go through a list of five items with some of them even being situational. Both Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission streamlined this more by using the R button to toggle between Beam and Missiles, as well as Bombs and Power Bombs in Morphball Mode. Much better! They also got rid of the Grapple Beam and the X-Ray Scope. And I'm a little worried, how well switching items and beams in Samus Returns will work. From the looks of it, you have to use the touchscreen quite a lot...

Another issue is the map, where you can only view your current area. When I arrived at the end, I was missing three Missile Expansions, so I wanted to compare my map with item location maps on in the internet. But for this I still had to travel through each area individually, where again I thought that Teleport Stations will be the best addition to the franchise since the ledge grab (which is also absent from Super Metroid, since it was introduced in Fusion).

With all of this in mind, I wouldn't be surprised, if this game follows Samus Returns and receives a proper remake in the future, maybe even on the Switch. With that Nintendo would be remaking the Metroid classics in order, which makes a lot of sense. It probably wouldn't be necessary for Metroid Fusion, though, and at some point Nintendo should make a proper Metroid 5, instead of doing remakes.

Anyway, I still enjoy this game quite a lot. The music and atmosphere are absolutely great, all areas have a distinct feel to them and offer maze-like exploration. I usually enjoy the Brinstar area the most and the Wrecked Ship the least, where I kind of lost motivation around this part. Even though Super Metroid only takes around 3 to 5 ingame hours to beat, where you could do it in one evening, it took me several weekends to fully beat this game... It wasn't as exciting as it used to be.

At least the game keeps it simple, because you don't have to beat it six times under different conditions to unlock all endings. Overall the game is much easier than Zero Mission, which is especially noticeable with the bosses. I guess, in case of Ridley the Super Metroid version actually is a little more difficult, but the Kraid and Mother Brain fights are much, much easier, when compared to the GBA game. On the other hand Super Metroid doesn't hold your hand as much, where you have to find out on your own, where you can progress, while Zero Mission keeps giving you directions all the time.

Collecting all the items isn't as insane as it was in Zero Mission as well. There are no ridiculous Shine Spark stunts required and it's mostly about finding all the hidden secrets. Still, to get 100% under 3 hours certainly takes some practice and planning, because it's easy to miss a Missile Expansion here and there.

I would try this as well, but currently my time is somewhat limited. Before Samus Returns gets released, I also want to play through Metroid Fusion on the Wii U Virtual Console. And I'm also currently playing through Metroid Prime: Federation Force with some friends, where we're having a blast. But more about this later on.

The next two months certainly will be Metroid-heavy!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Metroid: Samus Returns - amiibo Functionality Revealed

The four different Metroid amiibo will have two different functions in Metroid: Samus Returns. Ingame they will offer you Reserve Tanks and other cheats:

  • Samus (Smash Bros.): Missile Reserve Tank
  • Zero Suit Samus (Smash Bros.): Energy Reserve Tank
  • Samus: Aeion Reserve Tank
  • Metroid: reveals nearest Metroid location

It's not known, if there are any limitations to this, e.g. if you can keep replenishing the Reserve Tanks or if this only works once per day like almost all amiibo in Breath of the Wild. But considering that those are supposed to be Reserve Tanks, where you most likely won't be able to scan the amiibo in the middle of a fight, you can probably just keep filling the Reserve Tanks, whenever you're out of danger.

In addition the amiibo unlock new features within the main menu, after you've completed the game once:

  • Samus amiibo (Smash Bros.): Concept Art Gallery
  • Zero Suit Samus (Smash Bros.): Sound Test
  • Samus: Metroid II Art Gallery
  • Metroid: Fusion Mode

Fusion Mode is a higher difficulty like Hard Mode or Hype Mode, but you're wearing the Fusion Suit from Metroid Fusion, which also used to be a feature in Metroid Prime, if you linked the game with Metroid Fusion (or purchased it in the Extras Gallery of the Metroid Prime Trilogy).

However, all of this leaves a sour taste. The cheats are fine and seem like typical amiibo behavior these days, but unlocking galleries and higher difficulties always used to be something that you did by beating a Metroid game, which is still a requirement here. But now you will also have to track down and scan figurines to do this, which feels like a rip-off. Both amiibo and DLC shouldn't lock existing content in a game, they should add to the experience in another way...


Twilight Princess Manga, Parts 1 & 2

I got these last weekend and it's been a while, since I've read the other Zelda manga. It was in 2011, where I bought all ten previous books from the German publisher Tokyopop and it wasn't even on my radar that the first two Twilight Princess volumes were released in Germany already. But Tokyopop did a solid job at keeping it consistent with what I bought six years ago. Only the red unicorn icon (which stood for "fantasy") on the spine is now gone, which placed the author name and Triforce icon lower. The "Zelda" logo on the cover also doesn't have such a strong relief anymore, but otherwise it's quite uniform. I suppose that if you would buy reprints of the other Zelda manga today, they all would be completely consistent.

The content features the typical Akira Himekawa filigreed interpretation of a Zelda game, but it feels closer to the actual game than usual. The very beginning reminded me somewhat of A Link to the Past with an evil figure that resembled Agahnim and a story about the Light World and the Shadow World. Afterwards you are immediately introduced to the true Midna and you get a panel like this:

Shamed be he who thinks evil of it.

This certainly set the mood... And the manga even has a few brutal scenes, like Ilya being shot by an arrow and Link losing an arm, after it got cut off by King Bulblin. I don't remember the other Zelda manga being this dark and bloody. But the rating of the game was even, why the manga wasn't originally published in 2006, because the magazine containing the Zelda stories was aimed at grade schoolers (source). Now, ten years later Akira Himekawa returned to the task and apparently had more freedom with it.

What's also unusual is the length. All other Zelda manga by Akira Himekawa were concluded after one or two volumes. Volume 2 of Twilight Princess brings Link to the point, where he finds the first Fused Shadow. Volume 1 mostly focuses on Ordon Village, while Volume 2 is about Wolf Link meeting Midna and Zelda. At this rate it might take a couple more volumes to tell the story, where apparently four volumes are planned in total. But as already said, they are staying a little closer to the source material, save for the more graphic content.

Of course they don't have Link exploring dungeons (the Forest Temple mostly revolves around the cursed Ook and the monkey tribe) and Link talks like usual, where I found his character not as likeable in the beginning, because he only seemed to care about food and Rupees, while he then blames himself for all the misfortunes around him. They even gave him some weird backstory, where he originally came from a desert town that seemingly got destroyed, because he removed some sword from a rock, which wasn't the Master Sword, but connected to the Hero's Spirit...

There was a nice detail, where they had many souls of the soldiers in the canals below Hyrule Castle (Town). The GDC 2005 Trailer of the game did feature them there in high numbers also, but they weren't as present in the actual game.

Anyway, I'm curious to see, where this will be going. However, this might take a while, because Volume 3 so far is only available in Japan and Volume 4 isn't available yet at all.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Medal of Honor Glitch in Master Mode

Looks like Master Mode has caused yet another significant glitch in the game. After overwriting your pictures in Normal Mode, it seems that now you won't even be able to complete the game in Master Mode at all, because you can't get all three Medals of Honor.

Getting these won't be possible in Master Mode right now!

It appears that in Master Mode, Kilton still checks for the enemies that used to be in Normal Mode. All the upgraded Taluses and Hinoxes won't count, so you can only get up to 19 Hinoxes and 18 Taluses respectively. The others are ignored and won't have a star next to their name, after they've reappeared on a Blood Moon.

This glitch will probably be fixed with the next update, but I doubt that Nintendo will release an update just for this. They only do this for critical stuff and new amiibo, so as long as there's a second DLC incoming, they might wait with patching any smaller issues in the update for the "Champions' Ballad" DLC Pack. Or they might never get fixed at all, since the first update also didn't fix any existing glitches like the unobtainable chests...

For me it makes me even more hesitant to start Master Mode any time soon. I'm currently quite busy with (re)playing various Metroid games and in Breath of the Wild I'm still collecting the rest of the Koroks in Normal Mode, which will take its time, because I don't have much motivation for that either.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Breath of the Wild: The Traveler's Gear (Free DLC Proposal)

At Japan Expo this month, Eiji Aonuma told the fans that they want to fix some complaints about the game with the upcoming DLC for Breath of the Wild, "the Champion's Ballad". But why wait so long? Why not fix some things in some free update and DLC? Why should the fans even pay for DLC just so that issues with the game are fixed?

I put some thoughts into what could become a free DLC Pack and update, which adds a few items and fixes some problems. I call it "The Traveler's Gear" and it has a specific theme: armor. Some of these ideas coincide with points in my list of improvements.

Funnily enough, the first DLC even amplified two of the issues with the game, instead of fixing them. But all of this will be addressed in this proposal.

New Armor Item: Pegasus Boots

This is THE classic boot item in the Zelda series, which has first appeared in A Link to the Past, but also made its return in Link's Awakening, Ancient Stone Tablets, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, the Minish Cap and A Link Between Worlds. It's a staple in the 2D Zelda games, but so far it never made its way into the world of 3D Zelda games, unless you count Linkle's weapon type in Hyrule Warriors.

Like most armor items in Breath of the Wild, this iteration will be somewhat simpler. It makes you walk faster without the need of any speed boosting food effects. If you actually dash with these boots, it will create a gust that pushes enemies aside for some minor damage. It's ideal to take care of weak foes like Keese.

New Armor Item: Spiked Boots

This item will help you fight the worst enemy in the game: rain. Whenever it's raining, you can equip these boots to keep climbing without sliding. It's a simple addition that will make this game so much more enjoyable for all the players.

As a downside, these boots will make you go slower, so they are really only meant for climbing and nothing else. You also won't have the "Climbing Jump Stamina Up" set bonus anymore, if you've been using the full Climber's Armor.

Five New Sets of Horse Gear

While you're able to customize your horses in the game, the options are fairly limited with only five sets of horse gear. This DLC should at least double the amount and here are some ideas for new horse stylings:

  • Ancient Bridle & Saddle
  • Dragon Bridle & Saddle
  • Red Lion Bridle & Saddle
  • Loftwing Bridle & Saddle
  • Lynel Bridle & Saddle

Those will be either added to existing shops in Hyrule or to minigames that don't have an exclusive reward yet. For example the Ancient Armor should be sold in the Akkala Ancient Laboratory, while Kilton could sell you the Dragon and Lynel sets. And the gliding minigame could be the spot, where you get the Loftwing armor for your horses (it wouldn't make them fly, though, it's just for the looks).

With all of that it would make sense, if all the horse gear gets its own tab within the inventory, instead of being stuffed into the "Key Items". This would use the horse icon from Hyrule Compendium.

More Armor Enhancements

Especially after the release of the Master Trials DLC, there are quite some pieces of armor in the game that cannot be enhanced. This makes most of them rather useless in the later game, where having good armor values is key to survival. So, let's just give those Great Fairies more to do, they certainly would be happy about it.

This would include the Dark Armor, the Nintendo Switch Shirt, the Tingle Armor and the Korok Mask. The enemy masks from Kilton's Shop probably also should receive upgrades, while Majora's Mask shouldn't for balancing reasons. After all this mask combines all the effects of the other enemy masks.

With the Phantom Armor this also would be questionable, because you can get this armor very early in the game, while it's as powerful as the Soldier's Armor and the Barbarian Armor combined. And the latter requires you to explore all three Labyrinths! Maybe instead of the attack boost, it has a Critical Hit set bonus. Then it would still be special, but not as overpowered in an enhanced form.

Re-Purchasable DLC Armor

A simple issue with a very simple solution. Right now, if you (accidentally) sell any of the DLC armor pieces, you can't get it back. Especially if you often use amiibo and want to sell the duplicate pieces, this is an issue, if you notice it too late.

There's even no good reason, why Nintendo handled the DLC armor this way. They probably wanted to keep them as "special" items, where it doesn't make sense to have any duplicates, since there is a small story tied to most of them. But the solution is still simple: as soon as you sell them, they should just re-appear in Granté's Collection. He will only offer the one piece that you sold and it will go away from his collection, as soon as you buy it there.

This makes sense in the game's world, because Granté is a collector of rare armor. So, whenever you sell a piece to someone, it makes sense that it would end up in Granté's hands eventually. There he will be happy to sell it to you again for a big profit. Also, it already works in a similar way with the Hylian Shield. You can get a new one from Granté, but only one at a time.

Set Bonus for Alternate Head Pieces

Certain sets of armor offer a "Set Bonus" with a special ability. However, many of these sets also offer alternative head gear in the form of jewelry or some special DLC and amiibo items, where you will lose this set bonus for no good reason. This update should fix this:

As an example, whenever you wear the Ancient Greaves and the Ancient Cuirass, you can still get the "Ancient Proficiency" set bonus from the Diamond Circlet or Midna's Helmet, so you don't have to wear the dorky Ancient Helm. Especially if you consider, how much more effort goes into upgrading the Diamond Circlet, which requires Star Fragments, this only makes sense as a reward. This should apply to every head pieces that offers a similar bonus to the rest of the set. Often these are already placed right next to each other in the inventory.

Here's a full list:

  • Ruby Circlet: Unfreezable with the Snowquill Armor
  • Sapphire Circlet: Shock Damage Resist with the Desert Voe Armor
  • Topaz Earrings: Unshockable with the Rubber Armor
  • Opal Earrings: Swim Dash Stamina Up with the Zora Armor
  • Diamond Circlet: Ancient Proficiency with the Ancient Armor
  • Midna's Helmet: Ancient Proficiency with the Ancient Armor
  • Sheik's Mask: Night Speed Up with the Stealth Armor

Quick Equip

Last, but not least, this hypothetical update would let you quickly equip one entire set of armor by pressing X in the Armor Inventory. So, for example, if you select the Climber's Gear and press the X button, it will automatically equip the Climber's Bandanna and the Climber's Boots along with it.

Ideally there also would be a shortcut of getting to your current armor in the inventory (e.g. by pressing the left stick), because the armor tab is placed right in the middle of it all and it often takes quite some time to change armor, which you will do very often in the game, since every situation profits from a different outfit.

Make it happen, Nintendo!