Saturday, December 3, 2016

Breath of the Wild: Ruins of the Past

Ever since the E3 I've been a huge advocate of the timeline merge theory for Breath of the Wild and the new "Life in the Ruins" Trailer just breathed new life into this theory.

We've entered a world, where the old Hyrules lie in ruin. We've already seen, what's the the remnants of the Temple of Time and Hyrule Castle from Ocarina of Time at the Great Plateau. We've also already seen the pedestal of the (now rusted) Master Sword from A Link to the Past and what appears to be the Great Bridge of Hylia. There's also talk of an "ancient ocean" in the game and we have the Koroks living in Hyrule. And now, in the new trailer, we can spot the ruined fountain place of Hyrule Castle Town from Twilight Princess:


It even still has one of the red banners at the side. Of course fan theories are shifting left and right again, with many of them now placing the game after Twilight Princess. But how does all of this really add up? How can there be the ruined Castle Town from Twilight Princess, while the Temple of Time looks still a lot more in shape than it was in the game?

Well, it doesn't add up, unless you add it all together into one new timeline, where all the universes somehow got merged, probably by the power of the Triforce. This created a massive, new Hyrule, where everything of the past Zelda games is coming together. But it also all fell to ruins, probably because of the dark powers of Calamity Ganon that might also have risen with the unification of the timelines.

With such a story, Nintendo can create a fresh start for the Zelda series, while still building on what they had created with all the games from the past 30 years. It's very symbolic in a way, we're entering this new era for Zelda by living in the ruins of the past.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Breath of the Wild: Game Awards 2016 Trailer and Footage

Good Morning,

like two years ago Nintendo is using the Game Awards as a platform to showcase the new big Zelda game a little bit. Just this time they had to resort to some Treehouse guys, instead of having Miyamoto and Aonuma play the game themselves. Anyway, there is a new trailer and new gameplay video.

Trailer
Gameplay

If you don't want to get "spoiled" any further and just dive into the game with the knowledge from E3 or even less, don't watch the trailer.

The gameplay video on the other hand is basically spoiler-free. They just run around in some forest / ruins area and fight against some new monsters like Lizalfos. The focus is on diverse fighting tactics, e.g. using stealth instead of charging in, using projectiles and the like. Well, I never really care for the fake attitude of the Treehouse people (it all feels so acted with these guys), but it does bring across a good point with the whole fighting. Going back to the NES games this year, it made me realize, how much tough enemies can make a difference in a Zelda game. It has been neglected a lot in later Zelda games and it's nice to know that it's not all just cannon fodder anymore. I'm especially interested to see some real tough enemies in dungeons, e.g. Darknuts.

Well, the trailer does show new things and at beforehand I expected two things that could be showcased. One was villages and the other was gameplay of actual dungeons (not shrines), because those are essentially the two big misunderstandings of E3. People thought that this game doesn't have any villages or many NPCs. And it should be no surprise that the trailer is basically plastered with village footage, though nothing of it strikes me as particularly interesting yet.


The biggest challenge will be making these villages not generic, which is a big issue with games like Skyrim. What good are lots villages and people, if they don't have a story to tell and if they are not relevant to the overall picture? It gives you something to explore, right, but it might also feel meaningless. We'll have to see, how well Nintendo will handle this.

You can also spot a dog following Link around. It might be just that this is just like in Twilight Princess, where you can play with him, or it might be that Wolf Link is just a special dog, while you can have others.

What got me excited the most was probably a glimpse at seasons or the possibility of it. They do show trees transitioning to fall colors. And with a Zelda game of this size I always imagined that seasons should become a thing again. It doesn't have to be an active gameplay element like in Oracle of Seasons, but in the very least it should keep the world more dynamic. Something like in the Fishing Pond of Twilight Princess is good enough, as long as it works worldwide.

There is also a new bird race, who are traveling through Hyrule, and the one in the trailer looks suspiciously similar to Link in his gear:


He even has the Skyward Sword air pants, as well as a bow and potentially other gear. He boards that flying ship that we've seen before in the E3 footage. It's interesting and he seems to be of importance to the story, at least the trailer makes it look so.

At the end Link also bows down to someone, who might by Zelda or Hylia. Teaser. Well, right now I'm getting some Skyward Sword vibes from all this and that's not positive, because I'm not a fan of the story in that game. Update: You can also spot another woman, who looks a lot like a female Link. It might be that this is just Zelda in a different outfit, but she seems to be holding the Sheikah Slate.

I will talk about all the aspects of the new footage in individual posts later on, when I have more time!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Nintendo: Zelda 30th Anniversary 3DS Theme

Just a couple of days ago I made some reward suggestions for My Nintendo and suddenly Nintendo puts up stuff for Zelda fans, which is nice.

They made a special Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu theme for the 30th Anniversary of Zelda for 300 Platinum Points:


There are also three Zelda Orchestra videos available for 100 Platinum Points each. Together that's 600 Points well spent. Since these rewards aren't listed in Europe yet, I have yet to try them. I will update this post, as soon as they became available.

Hyrule Blog Historia II


This is the 1000th post on Hyrule Blog.

(Disclaimer: This number might not be accurate in the future due to retroactive changes to this blog, e.g. adding some translated reviews or deleting silly posts. But as of now, this is exactly the 1000th post.)

This year in June I was already celebrating the 8th Anniversary of Hyrule Blog, because I felt like doing so right before E3 and there was also a nice total of exactly 888 posts at the time. But both Breath of the Wild and all the Hyrule Warriors - Legends DLC gave us a lot to talk about, so we already accumulated 112 more posts in the meantime.

Seriously? That's a lot!
A lot! A lot!!!


With 1000 posts in total there really is a lot to read on this site, if you ever get bored. But with this post I want to give an overview of the different article series that happened over the course of these 1000 posts. Most of them will be game journals, where I shared my impressions while playing a new Zelda game or replaying old ones. But there were other interesting series as well.

Feature Article Series

  • The Future of Zelda
    This was the name of the first post on Hyrule Blog, which spawned a series of posts about what could be next for Zelda in the upcoming years. This was running until 2012, at times where you couldn't really do anything else but speculate, because nothing much was known about Nintendo's future plans for the Zelda. The years after always gave the Zelda fan community something to look forward to, so the "Future of Zelda" series was put to sleep. But I might return to it after Breath of the Wild...

  • Zelda Year Reviews
    At the end of each year I look at all that's happened for the Zelda franchise and sum it up with a nice graphic. These posts may vary in quality, but right now I'm preparing a good one for 2016.

  • Zelda and Multiplayer
    Long before Tri Force Heroes was a thing, in early 2010 to be exact, I've written a series about the various multiplayer outings of the Zelda games and the frustrations that came with them. It's essentially a cry for Tri Force Heroes, which in the end also didn't do everything right and probably deserves another "Zelda and Multiplayer" entry.

  • Zelda Manga Journey
    I do like Manga & Anime (mostly One Piece, but also some other stuff like Akame ga Kill!), so it was inevitable that I would review the entire Zelda Manga series by Akira Himekawa at some point. This was during the 25th Anniversary in 2011 and nothing much has happened since then, except for the new Twilight Princess manga, which was just released in Germany two weeks ago.

  • Excuse me, Episodes
    Believe it or not, I do enjoy watching the cheesy Animated Series for The Legend of Zelda. And this year, as a countdown to E3 2016, I was having a little fun with each individual episode.

  • Let's Update
    This is a newer series, where I think about, how the newest Zelda games could potentially benefit from getting updates and DLC. This includes improvements over some issues, as well as new features and content.

You might also find some additional highlight posts in my Zelda Articles section, but this has been very loosely labeled and it might be missing a few...


Game Journals
  • Mystic Quest
    This was quite the weird entry to this blog back in 2008, but Mystic Quest (a.k.a. Final Fantasy Adventure or Seiken Densetsu) was one of my favorite Action RPGs and thus one of my favorite games on the GameBoy next to Link's Awakening. I never did beat it back in the day, though, which is why in this series I'm returning to this gem to finally conquer it. That's the only game that hasn't to do with Zelda, which has gotten a journal series on this blog, but I've also occasionally talked about other games that I like in individual postings.

  • BS Zelda Tour
    The Zelda games for the BS-X Super Nintendo add-on are wildly unknown, which is why I made it my mission to bring more attention to them here on Hyrule Blog. I gave detailed insights into all the different episodes with my original "BS Zelda Tour" back in 2009, while also replaying the games with newer and improved versions over the past years, including the dubbed versions of 2016.

  • Spirit Tracks Rail Diary
    Spirit Tracks was the first Zelda game to be released during the run of this blog and it was also the first time, where I blogged about my progress and my impressions while playing the newest Zelda game on a daily basis. It's one of my least favorite Zelda games, but I still had some fun with it back in the day.

  • Replaying the Zelda Games
    In this long-running and probably never-ending series, which essentially started with the 25th Anniversary in 2011, I go through all the Zelda games again and again and share my impressions. Sometimes I try to achieve something new that I have never done before. Sometimes it's just been a while and feels good to return to the games.

  • Four Swords Rounds
    Four Swords was for the longest time the one Zelda game that I couldn't finish, until I managed to finally find someone to play it with me in 2011. Afterwards the Anniversary Edition was also released, which gave me additional access to the game thanks to the new singleplayer mode.

  • Ocarina of Time 3D Quest Log
    The first of many 3D Zelda Remasters was welcomed by me with a series of eight posts, where I go through both the normal game and Master Quest.

  • Skyward Sword Blade Journal
    After Four Swords and Ocarina of Time 3D it was finally time for the big new game, the game of the 25th Anniversary, filled with amazing moments, but also quite some disappointments. My 12 day journey, as well as two Hero Mode entries, can be read in this series.

  • The Wind Waker HD Logbook
    Two years after Skyward Sword we arrived on the Wii U system and are playing the next remaster with The Wind Waker HD. Besides the lack of any new content, it was quite enjoyable. Lots of fun with Miiverse posts and Tingle Bottles!

  • Majora's Mask 3D Daybook
    After skipping both A Link Between Worlds and Hyrule Warriors, because I got review copies for these games roughly one month ahead of release and couldn't talk about them while playing, I finally returned to my journals with yet another remaster. This one is mostly about the changes and sidequests, with a focus on the new fishing feature, where I even made a separate Majora's Mask 3D Fishing Journal.

  • Twilight Princess HD Diaries
    Sadly, after also skipping Tri Force Heroes, because I was too busy playing it with other people, my next journal was again about - you guessed it - a Zelda remaster. In a total of six days I take a look at all the smaller changes that the Wii U version has encountered this year in March. I even plan to return to this series, when I play the new Hero Mode.

  • Hyrule Warriors Impressions
    After Hyrule Warriors was released in 2014, this blog essentially changed from "Hyrule Blog - The Zelda Blog" into "Hyrule Blog - The Hyrule Warriors Blog". There are tons of posts about Hyrule Warriors on this site, where otherwise we wouldn't even be close to the 1000 yet. The above series highlights some of the finer posts, where for the most part I take a look at the various additions that came with Legends and all the DLC this year.

I especially regret not having journals for both A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes, because I really like these games and would love to read my initial thoughts about them. But it can't be helped. I can only try to keep doing this with upcoming games, where Breath of the Wild would be the next target.

Anyway, I hope that with this overview you may find something to browse in the history of 1000 Hyrule Blog Posts. Or feel free to use the archive on the right side to look around. You might discover something interesting.

Off to 1000 more posts!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Replaying A Link to the Past on the Wii U


999

After skipping over Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, which I just beat in August, my journey through the Wii U Virtual Console continued with A Link to the Past. I've already beaten the game on Nintendo 3DS earlier this year and directly compared it to A Link Between Worlds, so you should read that instead, because the playthrough was a little bit more interesting.

This time it felt more like a chore to be honest. I'm going through my backlog of Wii U games now and the redundancy towards the 3DS library really shows here, where the motivation for some of the stuff is quite low. At least with the NES and N64 Classics I have certain goals for my replay sessions, but A Link to the Past was just there, waiting to be completed yet another time.

I don't feel as strongly about A Link to the Past as the other classic Zelda games, most likely because I never owned a Super Nintendo as a kid and I wasn't able to play it before the GameBoy Advance times. I still see it as a great game, it has one of the best overworlds in the series, which Nintendo has reused twice over the years (in Ancient Stone Tablets and A Link Between Worlds), the visuals are nice, the music is great and it invented so many things for the Zelda series. Treasure chests, cutting grass, dashing into trees, lighting torches, Cucco Revenge Squads and so much more... A Link to the Past certainly defined the series.

But after a strong beginning, the second half of the game really is just dungeon crawling and most of the Dark World dungeons aren't as enjoyable. Of course they aren't supposed to be nice places, but they also didn't have to be as annoying, especially with letting you run in circles.

This time I played Misery Mire early (after Thieves' Town and the Swamp Palace), so that I wouldn't have to take to do the complicated backtracking in the Ice Palace. However, when I reached the end, where I could have just placed the block, I realized that I missed a key and since I always do 100% runs with the dungeons fully explored and cleared, I had to go through the entire Ice Palace again looking for said key. I also tend to always miss a key somewhere in Misery Mire, but it's not as terrible there.

Another troll moment is in Ganon's Tower, where you defeat the Armos after that long and complicated room with the invisible bridge. You now have the choice to go either up or left. The way up brings you to the Big Key, while the way left locks you out and then you have to do it all over again, both the puzzle and the Armos fight. Not nice, Nintendo!

At least I've learned something new this time. You can actually turn the "Rabbit Beams" (the rotating stars that follow you around and turn you into a rabbit) into a fairy by sprinkling Magic Powder on them, exactly like with a Anti Fairy. That was news to me and sadly I only learned this in Ganon's Tower. I'll try to use this to my advantage the next time, whenever I decide to play A Link to the Past again, probably on the Switch.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Postbox: Bipin & Blossom's Son

Hello Tourist and congratulations for all the good work, especially about the Oracles!

I would like to ask you something about Bipin and Blossom's son, whom I called Link. I play the games with a New 3DS XL and the bought and downloaded versions (PAL I think).

I have chosen to take the Ages-Seasons-Seasons-Ages route and right now I'm at the first Seasons' Linked playthrough (with Ages' Secret to Holodrum), with 6 of 8 Essences of Nature at the moment.

At the initial Ages' completion I think that I have reached Link's childhood by 150 Rupees and Sing decisions, if I recall correctly. The result was the Shy one.

The problem is that at the Seasons' continuation, things seem to have stuck at this point. Link's parents refuse to ask me any questions and just keep telling me the initial hello stuff. It is as if the game thinks I haven't got any Essences yet. If I speed-catch Link, he says "You're Chris? I'm Link! No way!", or something like that.

If game mechanics correlate this situation with time somehow, besides story progression, neither changing seasons with the Rod, nor planting Gasha Seeds and harvesting them seem to have an effect so far. Even though I must confess that only after Level 6 completion I started to plant Gasha Seeds, because some Level 4 & 5 randomness rings are left for the collection, so it wasn't very urgent. I have harvested about 20 Seeds so far.

Could all this be a glitch?

Could I miss something that as long as I don't do it, the growth from childhood to adulthood effects aren't triggered?

Is there really an option for a forever Shy child? I certainly hope not, just for completion's sake.

The funny thing is that there are some opinions and discussions around the Web that comment about too much pampering! Well, I admit that according to this way of thinking, yes, I have pampered the child a little bit, but I didn't mean to freeze things forever!

Any clues or ideas?

Thank you very much and keep the devoted work!

Chris from Greece
Hey Chris,

thanks for the message!

The child's growth is indeed triggered by planting Gasha Seeds. However, 20 should be plenty, so it's weird that you haven't made any progress yet and neither the child nor the mother give you any choices.

As far as I know, there is no glitch or bug or bad choice that might prevent you from evolving the child. Even a baby can be fully grown in a Linked Game. So, that's the good news, we just have to find out what's blocking your progress. Try keep planting Gasha Seeds and visiting the family regularly in between. Also, try some of the lower class Gasha Spots as well, it might be that you also have to use some of them.

Let me know in the comments, whether this worked or not. If not, I'll do some more research. If anyone has any ideas, also please post them in the comments.

PS: Good choice with the Ages → Seasons → Seasons → Ages route!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Nintendo Reward Suggestions


Well, My Nintendo still hasn't seen any improvements... In order to not lose any of my "hard earned" Platinum Points, I had to buy the Mario, Donkey Kong and Isabelle Nintendo 3DS Themes, which I'm never going to use. But it's better than nothing or any of the useless discounts. And I'm still at around 3000 points, where I will face a loss of points every month from now on.

And this doesn't have to be. They could make the whole service so much more interesting and exciting by putting some actual content on it, mainly DLC. Here are some suggestions:

  • Another My Nintendo Picross game. The Wind Waker Picross, Skyward Sword Picross, something... I suppose that it might be already in the works, but naturally it will take some time.

  • Four Swords Anniversary Edition. Many people haven't gotten this back in 2011/2012 and it was supposed to be a free game. No harm is done by re-releasing it via My Nintendo, except for maybe the fact that the singleplayer mode works much better than the one in Tri Force Heroes.

  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii / Nintendo 3DS DLC. It's needlessly overpriced. And we're probably getting it all anyway with Super Smash Bros. for Switch, which is why you shouldn't buy any of the DLC as of now. But having some of the content available as goodies on My Nintendo would be nice. However, they probably would make it cost Gold Points...

  • Swapdoodle add-on packs. Swapdoodle is the successor of Swapnote with the key difference that you have to pay for new features like additional colors this time, which is quite the bold move by Nintendo. I wouldn't invest any money in it, but I certainly would put some Platinum Points into the add-on packs, before the app will be taken down again because of dick pics.

  • Nintendo Badge Arcade Free Plays. This is a similar situation. I rarely ever put actual money into this thing, only of it was a 0.50€ sale game and if there were some Zelda badges that I really wanted to get. And even that made me feel bad. But buying tickets with Platinum Points every now and then would be sweet. They are already offering something similar for Miitomo, so why not this as well?

Anything would be better than what Nintendo currently offers. It feels like Nintendo doesn't know what to do with the service. They wanted to shift from the Club Nintendo to digital goods, but they are not willing to hand out anything worthwhile. And the different currencies are also problematic, because most of the better rewards will be locked behind Gold Points.

For example the The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack costs 60 Gold Points. Now, all the people, who don't like to invest into the eShop (for good reasons), will be excluded from rewards like this, while their retail games don't yield any bonus (unlike before with Club Nintendo). Ideally the retail games would contain Gold Point cards. You can even redeem point codes, but Nintendo doesn't seem to use this feature...

My Nintendo could be good, but right now it's just a giant turd, but Nintendo isn't really trying.