Monday, May 23, 2016

Zelda Game Buttons Extended

Another small improvement on the this blog following the label expansion. Since the sidebar with the game buttons is one of the few visual highlights on this site, I decided to extend it into full glory.

Now each Zelda game has its own button. Before today certain games were combined into one (the NES Classics, the Oracle games and the Four Swords games). Those got split and Link's Crossbow Training now also got its own button, which got put between Twilight Princess and the Tingle spin-off(s). That one might not seem all that important, but it arranges an even row, because I tried to group games that are connected somehow. For example the Four Swords saga is on its own row, as well are the games from the Nintendo DS and Wii era. It all turned out pretty well.

I also redesigned some existing buttons including A Link to the Past, Skyward Sword, Tri Force Heroes, Hyrule Warriors and Tingle's button. Press F5, if you don't see the new graphics yet.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: DLC Character Material Drops

DLC characters in Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors: Legends don't seem to get materials on their own. Instead they will drop materials of similar or related characters. Twili Midna and Young Link used to drop Midna's and Link's materials on the Wii U DLC Adventure Maps, before they got their own materials in Legends. Medli now drops Ruto's materials on the Master Wind Waker Map, which is a nice reference to how she is a descendant of Laruto and how the Rito evolved from the Zora.

Tingle on the other hand originally got completely left out. While he has his own materials in Legends and can be fought in Adventure Mode on the 3DS, he was not to be found on the Wii U Termina Map, probably because they didn't know what material they should give him and him dropping useless new materials didn't make much sense. And hopefully characters like Marin won't follow this pattern, so let's think about what material replacements they could get...

In case of the Lorule trio it's pretty obvious: they could just drop the materials of their Hyrule counterparts. It's not even a bad fit, for example Ravio also has a blue scarf, Hilda has a diadem and Yuga has a crystal on his forehead. So, there's that.

Technically the characters in the A Link Between Worlds Pack could even get their own materials, where they would need each other's. Characters won't be sold separately anymore in Japan, so there's no reason to keep them completely autonomous. Like Medli they can have their Heart Containers, Heart Pieces and Weapon Upgrades on the new map. And they could be fought as enemies, where they drop new materials, which are also used for their badges. This would be fairly limited, but the same argument could be made against all Wind Waker materials in Legends. But either way should work fine.

The same doesn't apply to Marin and the new character from the Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks Pack (probably Linebeck), because they are on their own in their DLC packs, which are still sold separately. So, you can't have Marin require the next DLC character's materials and vice versa. As for Marin, she also could simply drop Zelda's materials, because Link confuses her with Zelda in the beginning of the game and she supposedly resembled the Zelda from A Link to the Past. Another nice reference would be Lana's materials, because both like to sing and both have a crush on Link.

As for Linebeck, he could get King Daphnes' materials, because boats. That's a stretch, but there isn't really any other character, who would make a better reference. Toon Link and Tetra might also be a possibility, because they both used to be on Linebeck's boat for a while and I like the idea of how he stockpiled Toon Link's stuff in his treasure chamber over the course of their adventure. That is, if Linebeck is going to be the new character. He has the best chance, but we can't be a 100% sure right now. But unlike the other candidates from the Nintendo DS Zelda games, he could actually have some meaningful material replacements.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Exclusive My Fairy Costumes

Not only the characters can have costumes in Hyrule Warriors: Legends, but also the fairies. These are even gameplay relevant, because the costumes can increase the damage and decrease the cost of the Fairy Magic. Each outfit only supports a certain element, which is why you want as many of them as possible to create a fairy to your liking. They are a really good reward on the Adventure Maps, but there were also four sets of costumes that only are available via DLC codes and not part of the Adventure Maps.

They were handed out as pre-order bonuses in Europe and Japan, as well as for some promotions in Japan. Here is what they look like and how they were gotten.

Classic Set:

I got this one as a pre-order bonus from Amazon Germany. I don't like it that much, but it was bundled with the Classic Costume for Link that originally was introduced in version 1.7.0 of the Wii U game last June. It's the only character costume that you can't unlock in Adventure Mode in Legends.

Twilight Set (Light):

This also came as a pre-order bonus in certain regions, I got it from Amazon Germany as well. And it's one of my favorites, currently decorating my Light Fairy. The game does offer Darkness and Lightning variants of this outfit, both found on the Twilight Map.

Demon Lord Set (Black):

You could only get this in Japan. There was a code in the Famitsu magazine that would give you this costume. It's just a black version of the already available Ghirahim outfit.

Royal Set (Red):

You had to visit a 7-Eleven outlet in Japan until February 29th to get this. It's a red version of the Zelda and Hilda dresses that are already available in the game. It's for the Fire Element and it could be an amazing fit for the blonde Fire Fairy on the Termina Map.

As far as I know, none of them were available in North America so far. But like the Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Demon King pre-order costume sets that were available on the Wii U, I suppose that all of these costumes also will be purchasable for a small price at a later time.

Cia's Master Wind Waker Costume

Glorious! Color me a fan. Not only does Cia now have one costume for each of Link's typical colors, with the blonde hair it's also a reference to Pirate Aryll, which goes hand in hand with Lana's new recolor costume, which is based on Outset Aryll. That's very fitting, both cosplaying as Link's sister.

The Master Wind Waker Map offers a total of 16 recolor costumes. That's the same number of costumes that the DLC Adventure Maps on the Wii U had and I suppose that Koei Tecmo is simply keeping the same value up. It's still a shame that certain characters got left out. The ones, who apparently didn't get a new costume are Impa, Ganondorf, Agitha, Zant, Wizzro, Young Link, Linkle, Skull Kid and Medli.

Especially the last four seem disappointing, because the DLC and Legends characters only have gotten one costume so far, on the Great Sea Map. Medli doesn't even have a single costume yet and at least the adorable bird girl should have gotten one costume here, though it still might be that the Rewards Map has one for her.

They might have dodged a bullet, though. Those recolor costumes can be a mixed bag. Some of them look great, others are just absolutely hideous. Especially Twili Midna got blemished twice now. There's no value in these costumes, if they look bad. (You can find pictures of all new costumes in Koei Wiki, if you want to take a look.)

But I'm quite happy with Cia's collection so far. The only one that I don't like is her Master Quest costume in Link's colors. I get the idea, but it doesn't look good. But I really liked the blue Lana and the green Manhandla recolors. And in Legends I finally got my red recolor costume for her, as well as the nice blonde / purple Aryll one. The only other Cia recolor that I would like to see is some white Fierce Deity costume. And with the Link's Awakening Pack a Marin recolor for both Lana and Cia would be lovely, since she's basically one of Link's oldest love interests. And now that I think about it, they should also get a Zelda recolor at some point...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hyrule Warriors: Medli Impressions

Fun fact: "Medli" is actually spelled "Medoly" in other languages as a spin on "Melody".

Medli means a lot to me, since she's the center of my favorite part in the Wind Waker: the Earth Temple. She's just so adorable and I enjoy the team-up action between her and Link. I'm always sad to let her go at the end of the temple and of all the controllable characters other than Link throughout the Zelda series, she's certainly my favorite.

Therefore I was quite happy about the announcement that she's finally going to be playable again, as part of the Hyrule Warriors roster. But the outcome doesn't make me as happy. Like the other Wind Waker characters she's somewhat underwhelming and she sounds more squeaky than she used to, even though they apparently got her old voice actress back (Chiaki Takahashi). It's not as bad as Tetra, but it could have been better.

Anyway, her moveset is alright, but certainly not outstanding. I'm not a fan of tornado moves and she has two of them, her C5 and near the end of the attack string. The latter gets followed by a beam of light and while it seems like a good combination (the enemies inside the tornado get illuminated), I wish that the beam move was somewhat more accessible, because I enjoy using them with characters like Skull Kid and Wizzro. The Lyra was used like a Mirror Shield most of the time in The Wind Waker, so that functionality should have been a little bit more prominent. Her C3 seems quite useless to me and I would trade that without a second thought for more light beam action.

She also got a unique mechanic, where you can fill a bar with her Strong Attack or her C6 and then attack in the air with dodging during certain combos. It's somewhat similar to Tingle's Strong Attack mechanic, but different in execution, because you actually attack using the dodge button. However, to my experience this only seems to work with her C2 and C4.

Quite some of her attacks end with getting dizzy or clumsily dropping on the ground, which makes her even more adorable, but it's also an issue with her safety. She seems to be a very unsafe character. Especially her glorious C6 leaves her open for attacks, which takes away quite a lot potential. Some more dodge cancels and invincibility frames would make her a lot better. She also doesn't seem to do well against Giant Bosses. The C6 does take a way a good amount of the Weak Point Gauge, but it's not enough and you might have to throw in a Special to break the gauge in one go.

I do like, how she flies over the battlefield as her running animation. That looks really great and I had something similar in mind for Marin, who could transform into a seagull to fly around. But even if she doesn't, Medli gives me already my dose of fly-running.

I also like the design of the third tier of her weapon. It looks absolutely amazing and is certainly one of the best looking weapons in the game. Great job there. The fact that she actually uses a "Rito Harp" as the weapon type next to Sheik's Harp also opens some doors. For example a Hilda really could get a "Triforce Scepter" next to Cia's Scepter or a potential Nabooru could get "Gerudo Scimitars" next to Zant's Scimitars.

If Medli gever ets a second weapon type, I suppose the Grappling Hook would be the best fit, since it's a tool of the Rito and Medli originally gave it to Link. So, maybe that won't be Toon Link's weapon in the DLC, but something else, e.g. something with Phantoms. We'll see. Toon Link has more than enough possibilities for additional weapons and I hope that he won't take away from other characters.

Material-wise Medli seems to be a Ganon fangirl. She needs some Ganondorf stuff and a lot of Phantom Ganon materials, where I don't have all that many yet. I know that the new Reward Map battle has three of them, but I have yet to unlock this mission. Luckily the new Master Wind Waker Map seems to have a large portion of red and blue zones, where getting better materials from the new enemies could become easier.

On the Wii U she needs a lot of King Dodongo crystals and she's actually the third new character to do so, where she's the first new DLC character, where I couldn't afford all her badges right away. Luckily the Master Material Potion on the Wii U does a great job. I used it on the first Boss Challenge Battle with the ten King Dodongos and got nine gold materials out of it. They actually fixed the same potion with the current update for Legends, so it should work equally now, but it still costs way too much. 20 Silver Materials is nothing that I want to afford at this point. The Wii U version made much better use of the bronze materials, so you're not constantly stuck with 999 rubbish. And it seems like you can't get lots of silver materials from the "Divisive plan" battles anymore, which makes the whole situation on the 3DS even worse.

It's the similar with the Experience Potion. On the Wii U I used it together with Experience+ on the bottom left Master Quest square ("Rack up your K.O. count!" Lvl 12) and got Medli from Level 4 to to 37 in one go. Of course on the other hand there's still a long way to the 255 maximum with her... Which I probably won't do, because the real fun is on the 3DS with the new map and with less grinding. The Wii U version really lost all appeal to me at the moment and I probably will only use it to try out the new characters in full glory.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: 1st SpotPass Gift

Today Koei Tecmo hands out the following via SpotPass to celebrate the release of the first DLC:

  • 500,000 Rupees
  • 10 Golden Weird Eggs
  • 10 Golden Odd Mushrooms

This is great timing! My Darkness Fairy is at Level 99 and I wasn't going to refresh her, until I have enough food to get me the Double Shade ability back. And this should help A LOT. Thanks, Koei!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Master Quest Map Impressions

Just in time for the upcoming Master Wind Waker Map I'm about to be finished with the Master Quest Map. I unlocked all squares, got all weapons and costumes, as well as all fairy rewards. There are only a few Heart Containers missing, as well as some Golden Skulltulas. The latter I will get, while unlocking the first seal on the Master Sword at the same time, which freshly got uncovered after I got all Level 3 weapons.

Some time before that (when I got the Level 3 Great Fairy) the game also started to give me Legendary Seals, which are still locked. Seals for Augment Skills started appearing right after collecting all Level 2 weapons, where I finally got "Hasty Attacks" for Cia, my main character. And you really can "main" someone in this version of the game, because it often lets you chose a second or third character, even for some of the Level 3 weapon missions, where normally you're locked to the corresponding weapon type. But e.g. "Artillery Fire" with Zant was always an awful mission, but here I could just breeze through with Cia. In addition she got many missions for herself on the Master Quest Map, so I was able to play with her quite a lot. She's Level 90 right now, way ahead of Link, who's at Level 75. All other characters are between Level 30 and 50, which means that some of them are heavily under-leveled, but you can usually compensate this with Shade Fairy Magic.

When the Master Quest Map was first released for Wii U, I really enjoyed it, because it introduced the nice "Rack up your K.O. count" missions. Especially the bottom left corner of the MQ Map is very nice for leveling your characters, but here they increased the difficulty somewhat. On the Wii U even with a Level 1 character you could easily kill the Giant Bosses in one go, which now requires some more levels for the same mission. But it was my first goal to get there, where I faced little resistance on the path.

Anyway, what makes the Master Quest Map special, are the Master Rules on each mission. Most of them can be easily ignored or even make the game easier. "No Healing" doesn't matter, because you want to have the A Rank anyway. It's the same with "Speed Run", where you now have 20 minutes on the clock. Again, that rule never really matters, because the A Rank turns all battles into "Speed Runs", in fact it's even handy to have a clock on the screen for that. And "No Blocking" makes the game even easier, because it takes away the damage requirement for A Ranks. I heavily enjoy these missions.

"No Item Attacks" usually doesn't prove to be a big issue, they even removed some more unfair scenarios with this on the 3DS. Only "Don't Get Hit" is a real problem and that one luckily is rare. I still hate it, but luckily there's now the "Water Wall" Rental Skill, which allows you to get hit a couple of times. It doesn't work with the "All Attacks are devastating!" missions, but the only real problem are the "Don't Get Hit" Adventure Battles anyway. Thanks to the Fairy Magic it became a lot easier on the 3DS, though.

They also added Owl Statues to some missions, which they curiously didn't do at all on the first Adventure Map. They are very scarce on the Master Quest Map, but still a welcome addition. Especially Owl Statues near Skulltulas and your base can be a huge help. In general everything feels "fresh" enough that I don't mind replaying Adventure Mode that much. It took a long time on the Wii U, but thanks to the changed rewards and character requirements and the more balanced difficulty I don't feel like dragging myself through the exact same thing again. I'm also making progress at a much faster rate.

Still, what really annoyed me on the Master Quest Map were the Item Cards... again. They were well done on the Great Sea Map, but here you constantly have to repeat missions to get the necessary item cards for rewards and making enemies appear. You especially need a lot of Bombs and the Compass is required more often than usual. On the other maps the Compass is rarely useful, but here the hidden spots are often in the middle of nothing. Though with the Recorder you can't actually use it on a wrong spot, so you can essentially just try until you find the right place. Bombs can be misplaced, however, and there are two spots right above the two screens at Death Mountain with rows of Armos next to each (where you would find the Power Bracelet in the NES game), where the cave entrances are one field next to where they originally were on the NES. That oversight was already there on the Wii U version and if you're using a map with all secrets from the original game, it might mislead you. And you're not getting enough bombs on your way, which is why you have to repeat the same missions over and over again.

The map also didn't feel as rewarding, which is weird. It has the Level 3 weapons and those are beautiful to have. One the Wii U those were the most important unlocks and here you have them all on one single map. This should feel like an amazing achievement to get it all, but they added the superior "Plus" versions to the game. They look the same, but offer more power, so you're not done with upgrading your weapons and can't get started building good weapons just yet. They are just another intermediate step before the real deal. Also, the Fairy Clothing for the most part was just Skyloft stuff, which got boring pretty quickly. I still need Fire head gear and Darkness make-up, where the Master Quest Map didn't provide anything... It was just differently colored Skyloft Shirts and Pants everywhere. Yikes.

Well, both the Termina and Twilight Maps got unlocked next, but I will go for the Master Wind Waker Map first. Hopefully, it will still be easy enough and not require all the Level 4 weapons already. But since the original Master Quest DLC map was also quite easy, I don't think that this will be the case. I just want something new, before I go at the dreadful Twilight and Termina Maps again.