Thursday, June 22, 2017

Metroid: Samus Returns - Legacy Edition Pictured

So, we're getting this in Europe:

Steelbook that looks like a GameBoy module of Metroid II - Return of Samus, a Virtual Console copy of said game, Morphball key-chain, Screw Attack pin, artbook and the soundtrack from the North American Special Edition. Looks nice, definitely getting this!

This also balances the fact that we didn't get the Master Edition of Breath of the Wild in Europe. But overall everyone would be happier, if the Special Editions were the same in all regions. Because as it is right now one region will always be jealous of the other.

But Nintendo seems to have lots and lots of problems these days with providing the fans with the goods. It's getting quite frustrating to be a Nintendo fan and collector.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ever Oasis: Random Dungeons

Grezzo's new game is going to be released this Friday and marks the return of Koichi Ishii to the Action RPG genre after the Mana series. There's a demo right now available in the Nintendo 3DS eShop and it was also showcased at the E3 Treehouse Live stream this week.

I think the game looks quite enjoyable, but I probably won't be getting it anytime soon. I still can't help but wonder, how this game would have been as The Legend of Zelda: Ever Oasis. The main character feels very similar to Toon Link with his behavior and attitude, while they could have used different races from the franchise as your party members, e.g. the weasel girl could have been a Gerudo. But having this as its own unique IP is probably for the better.

However, there was one thing that really had me intrigued: the randomized dungeons. Randomization in Zelda is something that I've been thinking about for some time now and that Grezzo now showed the skill to create randomized dungeon was a very welcome surprise. I wish that they'd already did that with Tri Force Heroes. If each area in the game had randomized levels, similar to how Four Swords did, the game could have offered a much longer replay value.

In the very least I think that random dungeons are the future of Multiplayer Zelda games. And it's good to know that Grezzo has the ability to provide them.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Breath of the Wild: The Master Trials @ Treehouse Live

In today's E3 2017 live stream Nintendo showed off the first DLC contents for Breath of the Wild. You can watch this here. It's somewhat painful to watch, but it gives away some new information...

They did showcase all the armor and it's quite underwhelming. Other than the Korok Mask, which signalizes nearby Koroks, and Majora's Mask, which makes it harder for enemies to spot you, they don't seem to offer any special functionality. Midna's Helmet has Guardian Resist and the Phantom Armor more Attack Damage, but those are no new abilities. The Tingle costume even doesn't seem to have any special attributes other than a "Night Speed Up" set bonus. Why not let it make you float longer? Or find more Rupees?

To make things worse, all of the DLC armor behaves like the Nintendo Switch Shirt. If you (accidentally) sell any of it, there's no way of re-obtaining the pieces. And that's just not acceptable, because everything in the game should either be locked or re-obtainable. They could have just easily added it all to some merchant, like Granté's collection, or make it so that you can't sell them. But instead they went through the trouble of inserting a "If sold, this rare item can't be replaced" sentence to the descriptions of all the new pieces...

This is all quite disappointing and seems to lack a certain level of refinement.

The "Trial of the Sword" works similar to the Den of Trials in Tri Force Heroes. You will be able to enter the Middle Trials and the Final Trials, once you've reached them, however this will be at a disadvantage, because you start with nothing at the respective floors, while starting from the beginning might net you with valuable items. In Tri Force Heroes it was similar, where collecting fairies in the easier zones will come in handy in the "Baneful Zone".

It also seems like you're not allowed to use your Champion abilities within the trial. So, the only thing that will be of help from the outside are upgraded Runes and any additional Heart Containers and Stamina Vessels.

Overall it looks like an interesting challenge, but it's just put together cheaply by recycling various assets in the game to create a new series of shrine-like levels. As with the new armor it almost feels like a different, less experienced team is developing the DLC...


Day 3 had a second segment for the "Master Trials" DLC, which you can watch here. It was pretty much the exact same showcase as the first one, but they did show the "Trial of the Sword" in Master Mode briefly. It confirmed that there really are no red enemies in this Mode, while in Normal Mode you probably won't find any golden ones.

It might even be that Hyrule Compendium in Normal Mode really is fully completed already and any new enemies only appear in Master Mode. Instead of introducing a new boss for the upcoming dungeon in the "Champions' Ballad" they probably could also just use all four Blights again... But let's wait and see, how the first DLC really behaves.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Metroid: Samus Returns Announced

Watch the trailer here and the Treehouse Live segment here.

This was a welcome surprise for Metroid fans next to the announcement of Metroid Prime 4. And this will already be available September 15th in Europe and get two nice amiibo and a Special Edition with a soundtrack (the European version even gets more extras).

I personally had envisioned a 2.5D Metroid game for Nintendo 3DS for the longest time now. Last August in my Future of Metroid article I also described, how Nintendo could remake Metroid II - Return of Samus in the style of Metroid: Other M. And now it looks like I'm getting all of this.

This also does explain, why Nintendo took measures against the fangame AM2R, because these projects are very similar. I can still advise every Metroid fan to try it out, if you can still find it on the internet, because it's really well done. But from what I've seen I'll probably like Metroid: Samus Returns even more.

It feels more like a real Nintendo product, despite it being developed by MercurySteam. But they are doing a good job here and even seems like they were reacting to some issues that have arisen with AM2R. One of the biggest problems of the fangame was how most damage is dealt by enemies running into you. And the melee counter attack is such a nice answer to this! The fights look a lot more dynamic and the different Metroid stages so much more threatening. The Gamma Metroid shows a lot of new tricks (it can even walk around), while the Zeta Metroid seems to be on a similar level to the Omega Metroids in AM2R.

I also find the "Aeion Abilities" intriguing and I like, how they improved the SR388 world design with teleport chambers and alike. It really feels like a proper remake by Nintendo standards. AM2R was still great and I enjoyed it a lot, but this is the real deal.

My only gripe I have with the game is that the graphics could probably be better. But since it's developed for the years old Nintendo 3DS this is to be expected.

It's still nice, how the Nintendo 3DS is still getting new games and finally a proper Metroid title after all these years. MercurySteam even has experience Metroidvania-like games thanks to their Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series, so this was probably a good choice. At the same time Sakamoto doesn't seem to insist on any narration this time, so that we don't get another Other M story here. So, this looks overall very promising.

Metroid is back, Baby! And the title couldn't be any more fitting, since it has been exactly seven years since Samus' last game.

Metroid Prime 4 Announced

All Nintendo had to do was display a big "4" in space to win E3 2017. Metroid Prime 4. That's all we wanted from this E3 and that's all we needed to hear to be happy.

After the debacle with both Federation Force and the shutdown of Another Metroid 2 Remake last year, it's nice to finally get some real Metroid from Nintendo again with both this and a new 2D Metroid for the Nintendo 3DS.

That they're willing to tease a game this early in development already shows, how Nintendo wanted to make it up to the Metroid fans after last year. It's still a shame that we didn't get to see any actual gameplay yet and we might have to be patient until E3 next year.

The shocking news was that Metroid Prime 4 actually isn't developed by Retro Studios. What can happen, if some other team under the direction of Kensuke Tanabe takes over Metroid Prime, has been effectively demonstrated with Federation Force, which had very low sales. I don't want to bash the game all that much, because I still have to play it and it didn't feel that bad from when I tried it, but it's still not what people wanted from Metroid.

On the other hand the Retro Studios that we know and love isn't the same anymore after several key members have left the company. So, even if it still was developed by Retro Studios you would have to be cautiously optimistic. But let's hope for the best, because this is certainly a game that Nintendo doesn't want to screw up. The Metroid Prime Trilogy contains three absolute master pieces and we wouldn't want the sequel to face any drop in quality. Quite the opposite.

Breath of the Wild: Champion amiibo Announced

Called it!

They haven't announced a release date yet, but I take it that it they might get released alongside the "The Champions' Ballad" DLC Pack later this year, because this ties in perfectly. The German press release also states that they are going to be released "end of 2017".

The game also needs an update to support them and it's doubtful that the June 30th update will provide this so soon. But maybe it will, since the three upcoming Link amiibo were already supported by the base game months ahead.

I'm not particularly excited about the quality of the amiibo, because they all ended up with poles. But it's certainly hilarious and somewhat fitting, how they put a large pole right between Urbosa's legs. Gotta get that one, before they alter it like the Dildo Edition Zelda amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. line for obvious reasons.

They also didn't say a word about functionality, but they probably just give weapons and items similar to most other Zelda amiibo. It's just a question of whether the Champion weapons will be a part of it or not, but since they are seen in the actual figurines, it would be a shame, if they aren't.

Breath of the Wild: Expansion Pass - First DLC Trailer

Watch the trailer here. It gave us the first moving pictures of the first DLC Pack called "The Master Trials", as well as a teaser for the second DLC Pack called "The Champions' Ballad". The first pack will already be released in two weeks on June 30th, so we can return to the game with new content pretty soon.

It does confirm the existence of Golden Enemies, as you can see with the impressive illustration above. It almost makes me wish for a Golden Lynel amiibo to be released alongside the pack.

The "Trial of the Sword" seems to offer some good variety, especially with the designs of the individual rooms and challenges. And it seems like you will be able to grab some armor pieces along your way, because Link is wearing the Flamebreaker Boots in the last bit.

It's nice to see the new armor in motion, but other than the Korok Mask we still don't know what they will do.

Nintendo also released a fact sheet and the best news here is that the new "Master Mode" will offer a separate save slot. This takes away one of my concerns in my wishlist for the game. I wouldn't want to delete my current savegame or create a new profile on my Wii U or Nintendo Switch just so I can start playing Master Mode...

The mode itself still looks kind of underwhelming, despite the golden foes and the floating platforms. They should have done a little bit more with it, e.g. adding more Guardians to the world, switching some stuff around and so on. But I'm still looking forward to replay the game in this mode and I also like the name "Master Mode" much better than "Hard Mode".

They also teased the 2nd DLC and gave it a theme, where it revolves around the four Champions. You can see Kass standing in a new location offering to play the "Champions' Ballad":

This is above Zora's Domain and I always felt like there should have been a shrine or something else up there... But it might be that Kass can be found in view of all four Divine Beasts and his additional encounters trigger some new memories about the Champions, for example how they got into their positions in the first place. So, the DLC could fill some more gaps in Link's memories.

But it doesn't seem to be an epilogue story, like I originally hoped it would be in my predictions. You can clearly see Vah Ruta in it's firing position with the beam going at Hyrule Castle, which only happens during the game and not before or after.

It's also unclear, how all of this will tie up with a new dungeon or whether the dungeon might even be entirely separate from the "story".