Monday, July 25, 2016

Let's Update Majora's Mask 3D

If Majora's Mask 3D ever received a 2.0 update, what would it offer? What would it contain? In the "Let's Update" series on Hyrule Blog we talk about hypothetical updates to existing Zelda games that would provide meaningful improvements and possible content additions.

Majora's Mask 3D already did receive an update to the version 1.1, however, it only fixed some smaller bugs and errors. Let's do a little more with the game.

Visuals, Controls and Interface

The 3D effect should go deeper and the camera should be adjusted more to the back to avoid any 3D clipping errors. Overall it should feel more like Ocarina of Time 3D. And like in the prequel, you should be able to assign items to the I and II touchscreen buttons by selecting the item and tapping the button.

The Select button should open the item inventory, instead of the Bomber's Notebook. Notifications for the latter also should be deactivatable in the options menu. Everything still gets recorded, but the notebook won't show up every time you do or find something.

Many fans also probably would want the Zora Swimming to work like in the original game, without the barrier. This could be realized by making it so that tapping A twice and holding the button makes you swim faster. Naturally the Magic Pots in the Beaver Race wouldn't be needed anymore.

Warp and Save Points

Majora's Mask 3D did add Quill Statues for saving the game in several places, where some of them should be turned into actual Owl Statues for warping. These new warp locations should be:

  • Deku Palace
  • Goron Village
  • Pirate Fortress
  • Ikana Graveyard

Additionally the update should add new Quill Statues in front of both the Fishing Holes, so it's easier to save your progress during the fishing minigames.

New Skulltula House

There needs to be some new content and the easiest way to add something would be another Skulltula House, hiding 30 new Gold Skulltulas (or even 40 to make it a full 100 gold spiders in Termina). The Skulltula Houses both offer a lot of fun and a unique atmosphere, so adding one certainly would be appealing.

The best location would be in the Mountain Village, which never really has been an actual village with just one house:

The minidungeon itself would focus the usage of Goron Link and Hot Spring Water, so lots of ice and boulders. You should be able to enter and beat it right after acquiring the Goron Mask. Having the Fire Arrows makes the "Mountain Skulltula House" easier, but it shouldn't be required.

The reward would be another wallet upgrade, where in the end you can get the Colossal Wallet holding 999 Rupees. It's not the most original new reward, especially since the Ocean Skulltula House gives you the same thing, but there isn't any space for new masks or items. And that way it would be on par with our Ocarina of Time 3D Update.

Master Quest Mode

Another addition would be a Master Quest mode for veteran players. It's a 2nd Quest with the following changes:

  • Double damage
  • (Mirrored game world)
  • Stray Fairies hidden in different places
  • More and tougher enemies inside dungeons
  • Original boss fights
  • Original Zora Dungeon on the Moon

The Zora Moon Dungeon and the original Twinmold fight would make the game easier in these parts, but overall it should be a mode that attracts the fans of the original Nintendo 64 game in different ways.

It probably would be tough or too much work for GREZZO / Nintendo to alter the four temples in similar ways to the dungeons from the original Master Quest for Ocarina of Time, but in the very least they could make the selection of enemies more challenging, e.g. fighting multiple Dinolfos in Woodfall Temple or even Iron Knuckles inside the Stone Tower Temple. The Stray Fairies also should be hidden in more difficult places, where in case of the Woodfall Temple they could use some of the hiding spots that had been changed from the N64 version.

Whether the game world should be mirrored like in Ocarina of Time 3D Master Quest or the Hero Mode of Twilight Princess HD is questionable. But it probably would be interesting to see Termina in a flipped state and also not too confusing, since Clocktown and the dungeons have been built around symmetry. It's actually quite easy to imagine a mirrored Termina. The clocks would go in the wrong direction, though.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Metroid Prime Blast Ball: All Paint Job Feats

In Metroid Prime: Blast Ball you can collect 15 Paint Jobs for your mech that get unlocked by getting certain achievements. Here's a list of what you will have to do to unlock them all:

  • First Blast Ball Win
  • 10 Blast Ball Wins
  • 100 Blast Ball Wins
  • Won 7 Blast Ball Games in a Row
  • Scored within 5 Seconds
  • Scored 3 Goals in a Game
  • Performed 3 Assists in a Game
  • Performed 5 Blocks in a Game
  • Scored 50 Goals
  • Performed 50 Assists
  • Performed 100 Blocks
  • Pushed Ball over 10km
  • Ran over 10km
  • Beat a Challenge
  • Beat 10 Challenges

(Thanks to Vague_Rant on GameFAQs for the last one!)

The unlockable Paint Jobs are:

Camouflage, Clover, Clubs, Diamonds, Fire, Flower, Hearts, Lightning, Polka Dot, Shark, Spades, Star, Kraid, Mother Brain, Ridley

These are not tied to specific feats. For each player it's completely random, which feat does unlock what Paint Job. For example in the above image you can see that the Shark Paint Job got unlocked by the task "Won 7 Blast Ball Games in a Row". However, this might be different for you and the Shark Paint Job can't be associated with that achievement. This means that you can't "show off" with a certain Paint Job, so just go ahead and chose whatever Paint Job you like best visually.

Additional Paint Jobs can be unlocked with amiibo:

  • Samus
  • Zero Suit Samus
  • Mario
  • Luigi
  • Peach
  • Rosalina
  • Bowser
  • Bowser Jr.
  • Skull - Any other amiibo

Apparently Super Mario seems to be really popular in the Metroid universe...

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Majora's Mask 3D Fishing Journal 2, Final Day

With all the freebies on Thursday it felt like Nintendo honestly didn't want me to find time to return to my fishing sessions and catch that final piece for my collection, but I did it anyway and thus finally completed Majora's Mask 3D again.

The strategy to catch the Great Fairy Fish was pretty much the same as last time. Go do a lot fishing at the Ocean Fishing Hole during the first two days and then save your game at the Dawn of the Final Day, so you can reset, if you didn't have any luck. Now, keep using the door at the Ocean Fishing Hole with the Great Fairy's Mask on, until the hair glimmers. Then check for the Great Fairy Fish (you really have to go close to the crystal cave as Zora Link) and repeat, if it's not there.

Any small Fairy Fish then will do, it doesn't matter much, where they are. You don't have to push your luck and try to find a combination, where the small one spawns right in front of the big one. You can just lure him there and use your Fishing Rod to move him in the right spot.

Finally, reeling the Great Fairy Fish in takes a long time with the incredibly weak Young Link, for me it took 5 ingame hours with the Inverted Song of Time in tact. So, you probably don't want to try this after the final midnight, or else the moon might crash on your during the process. Play it safe.

Luckily with such a big fish the pillars in the water don't seem to be a problem. With smaller fish like the Ambrosial Amberjack the borders can really get in the way and make it hard to reel them in at the end. Landing fish on the shore is much easier. But this doesn't seem to be a problem with the really large fish, which just pop on the ground easily.

Here are my records of my second fishing playthrough (the values in parenthesis are from the German translation):

  • Termina Bass: 13cm (60cm)
  • Termina Loach: 22cm (79cm)
  • Groovy Carp: 5cm (38cm)
  • Sweet Ranchfish: 5cm (39cm)
  • Fragrant Reekfish: 10cm (52cm)
  • Mooranha: 5cm (38cm)
  • Postal Salmon: 34cm (97cm)
  • Cuccofish: 6cm (40cm)
  • Ancient Fish: 107cm (172cm)
  • Ferocious Pirarucu: 174cm (220cm)
  • Colossal Catfish: 117cm (180cm)
  • Lord Chapu-Chapu: 357cm (315cm)

  • Termina Seabass: 32cm (95cm)
  • Goodta Goby: 6cm (42cm)
  • Ambrosial Amberjack: 39cm (104cm)
  • Bashful Angler: 47cm (114cm)
  • Dancing Sea Bream: 21cm (76cm)
  • Fairy Fish: 11cm (56cm)
  • Ninja Flounder: 20cm (75cm)
  • Skullfish: 34cm (97cm)
  • Nuptuna: 97cm (164cm)
  • Grand Swordfish: 184cm (226cm)
  • Savage Shark: 223cm (249cm)
  • Great Fairy Fish: 342cm (308cm)

It took me a total of three cycles (about 6 real hours) to replay the fishing minigame and it overall was quite enjoyable. I probably wouldn't do it again anytime soon and rather try to improve the size records for each fish, but if you're only aiming at catching one fish per type to get the entries, it can be done pretty quickly.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Metroid Prime Blast Ball Released

Out of nowhere Nintendo released Metroid Prime Blast Ball to the public yesterday and I'm having a blast with this game (pun intended)! I discovered it last night and it was so fun and addicting that I stayed up until 7AM, which is quite unusual for me.

And this is great advertisement for Federation Force. Despite being a Metroid fan I wasn't really excited about it (understandably) and didn't even have this on my radar at the moment, but Blast Ball plays so well that I might give it a chance now. The fact that I'm almost exclusively playing on my New 3DS right now, also helps, but it's a good move from Nintendo's end.

At least Nintendo of Europe's end. The way I understood it for North America is that there the game is only a demo and if you want to keep playing, you have to buy Federation Force. In Europe it seems to be a standalone game, where they completely separated both titles. And I prefer this, because Blast Ball makes perfect sense as a small download title that you can play in between, without swapping any cartridges. In this form I will play it certainly a lot more, because it's quick and easy to access. And since I like Blast Ball so much, I still might give Federation Force a go now.

The gameplay itself is very simple, but hard to master. I guess, most people will compare it to Rocket League, but as an old Unreal Tournament fan it feels more similar to the Death Ball mod for Unreal Tournament 200x, only more grounded. And these matches can get very intense and exciting, where scoring a goal feels really satisfying. I especially like, how the goals get smaller after every score, because this makes it easier to catch up for the losing team, which result in more suspense for the overall match.

It could use some more fine tuning, though. The blaster runs out too quickly for my taste. I understand, why there's a limit, but I once too often couldn't score a goal, just because my blaster was on cooldown. And it's not like the small blasts are that great, it's just limiting and a way to have you charge as long as possible. And the ejection power-up is way too overpowered, the game probably would be better without it. A Missile Pack power-up would have been nice instead, where you get three fast and strong shots without charging.

There is some other stuff that needs to be improved as well...

  • The 3D is horrible. I already think that the 3D in Majora's Mask 3D looks too flat, but Blast Ball has like two layers. Even some paper fold book gives you more depth. It's like with the Wii U GamePad. The closer we get to the NX, the more Nintendo seems to abandon the 3D effect, instead of endorsing it. I still keep the 3D on, because it helps with judging the battlefield. It would just be better, if it had some real depth to it.
  • There is no online friend mode. You can only play with random people and that's completely stupid. Last night I was skyping with a friend and we both played the game sharing commentaries, but we couldn't play it together, which was really disappointing. This needs to be added.
  • There is no black list. Probably the most important feature from Tri Force Heroes isn't as desperately needed here, but I still saw people playing goal keeper for the enemy team or just trying to be "funny" in creative ways. And then I should be able to say "Squadala! You're off!"
  • When joining a new game, you might get many error messages first. Probably similar issues to Tri Force Heroes here.
  • Inactive players stay on too long. One team might be stuck with a player, who does nothing, or games can't start at all, because the host is idle. This in combination with the constant error messages can make it quite difficult to find a game.

But I do like the international aspect with the pre-set voice recordings in multiple languages. You can even alter the pitch, where the high and low pitch voices sound really funny. "Gooood joooob!" But you also get the foreign speak, where it shows you the translated message in the HUD, which gives you a nice sense of playing with people all over the world. Tri Force Heroes certainly didn't offer this...

I also like the "Indigo vs. Gold" theme over the traditional "Blue vs. Red" and the visual readability of them game is very well done. Even when switching sides I never have any orientation issues. Only the health meter could work better, because it flashes red, whenever you get hit, even if it is minor damage. It stays red, if you're in danger, but these flashes make you also believe that you're in danger for a split second, which is confusing. They just should add red effects around the crosshairs instead.

Well, if they fix some of these issues and keep the game up for free, I will certainly keep playing it for quite a while. Look out for "Tourian".

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: 4th SpotPass Gift

Koei Tecmo sends out a little reminder that this game still exists with another SpotPass Fairy and the following gifts:

  • 500,000 Rupees
  • 10x Golden Elixir Soup
  • 10x Golden Carrot

The fairy is the Master Quest Light Fairy design and with her we finally got all the SpotPass Fairies that are available in Japan (see here). But they still had two more SpotPass gifts containing food and Rupees, which we can also expect at some point.

I can make good use of the Rupees right now, because I completely burned my 9+ Million in order to get all characters to a Level 80 minimum. And getting more fairy food is always helpful. There is a total of 13 fairy slots right now and I haven't really bothered with updating my collection. I still have the last three gift fairies...

Hopefully they will also offer the currently unavailable fairy costumes (along with the Classic Tunic for Link) soon. Those would actually be great SpotPass gifts for the future, but all of this will probably end up as some extra DLC, if it becomes available at all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Majora's Mask 3D Fishing Journal 2, Day 2

Another day has passed and another 3-day-cycle of fishing is over. I have to say that playing this sidequest after everything else in Majora's Mask 3D does feel good. Link saved Termina from its demise already and now it's time to relax somewhat and do some fishing after all these troubles.

Yesterday the Sweet Ranchfish gave me trouble, but I could cut things short with this little fellow by just quickly exiting and re-entering the Swamp Fishing Hole and checking the side pond. Around 9AM on the first day I already got the Sweet Ranchfish and that's when the fisherman asked me the following...

This pond's all
fished out. Why
not try your
luck in the sea?

I said "Okay" and here we are. I spent the rest of the cycle fishing at the ocean and it's looking as good as yesterday. I'm now only one fish short and it's the big boss, the Great Fairy Fish. So, there's a fitting finale awaiting for tomorrow or whenever I'm lucky enough to meet the Great Fairy of Fish. Now, here's the list of what I caught today...

  • Termina Seabass: 32cm
  • Goodta Goby: 6cm
  • Ambrosial Amberjack: 38cm
  • Bashful Angler: 37cm
  • Dancing Sea Bream: 21cm
  • Fairy Fish: 9cm
  • Ninja Flounder: 20cm
  • Skullfish: 34cm
  • Nuptuna: 97cm
  • Grand Swordfish: 184cm
  • Savage Shark: 221cm

I caught two of the Savage Sharks, where it felt like the game wanted to troll me a little. The first Savage Shark was all over the place. Before I even could cast the lure and think about catching some smaller fish, the shark would already be on the other corner of the pond. It took several tries to lure him in. But one door later I saw one right at the shore surrounded by lots of these small Goodta Goby, which he also eats. And catching that Savage Shark never has been easier than this.

For both the Great Swordfish and the Savage Shark I used Fierce Deity Link, which made things really easy and epic at the same time. He's so strong that even catching a Nuptuna with Young Link gave me more trouble...

And I'm not looking forward to the loooong struggle against that Great Fairy Fish again, where you're also forced to use Young Link with the Great Fairy's Mask. But at least in this game the fish tend to give up after a while. If you pull them long enough, they get exhausted and you can just pull them in easily. It's when they start to show you their faces all the time. It's one of the things that makes the fishing in Majora's Mask 3D much more enjoyable than in Ocarina of Time. This and the fact that your line doesn't break as easily.

What's different in the Ocean Fishing Hole is that it takes a lot more time to scout for the fish you wants. You have to dive around as Zora Link for a while, where the border can be annoying, because the Fishing Hole Guy just keeps telling you not to swim out further. As much as invisible walls are terrible game design, they are certainly better than getting text boxes over and over again just because you're getting a little bit too close to the border...

You also have to try the corresponding masks in multiple places, which was another problem with fish like the Nuptuna. The Nuptuna looks like an Ambrosial Amberjack, which might make you insecure and keep trying with the Couple's Mask, but it's a lot larger and brighter and therefore somewhat easier to spot. It also seems to favor the third night around the carneval celebrations.

That's it for today and I will finish this post with some epic fishing screenshots... Behold!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Majora's Mask 3D Fishing Journal 2, Day 1

It's fishing time, again!

I did complete the whole thing last year, after Majora's Mask 3D got released, but I want to do it again and I want to do it a little bit more efficiently. I want to try to get all the fish in as few cycles as possible.

And overall I'm having fun with this, because this is easily the most interesting and fleshed out variant of fishing in the Zelda series, which at the same time really added something more to the different masks in the game, where many of them are only used once and now get to see some more value with the fishing.

The random number generation aspect can be off-putting, but all you really have to do is use the door and check the pond. And that's not really a big issue. In fact I managed to almost complete the entire Swamp Fishing Hole collection in a single 3-day-cycle. Here's what I caught:

  • Termina Bass: 13cm
  • Termina Loach: 22cm
  • Groovy Carp: 5cm
  • Fragrant Reekfish: 10cm
  • Mooranha: 5cm
  • Postal Salmon: 34cm
  • Cuccofish: 6cm
  • Ancient Fish: 107cm
  • Colossal Catfish: 117cm
  • Ferocious Pirarucu: 174cm
  • Lord Chapu-Chapu: 357cm

The only thing missing would be the Sweet Ranchfish. And I did in fact saw one, and despite being lured with Epona's Song he just wouldn't bite and then suddenly disappeared (probably because it was around 3PM, since he just appears from 6AM to 3PM). If that little fish wouldn't have been so fickle, I could start with the Ocean Fishing Hole tomorrow, instead of spending another cycle in the swamp for just one measly, little fish.

Otherwise it went quite well. I even caught three Lord Chapu-Chapus. Yes, THREE of them...

With Fierce Deity Link (and probably Goron Link) you can reel them in relatively quickly. When I caught my first Chapu-Chapu last year, I was playing as Deku Link and it took forever to reel it in (don't fish as Deku Link, ever). And this demotivated me from trying to catch him again until now, where I found that it's easy enough with the power of a god.

The Colossal Catfish also appeared automatically in the last hours of the 3rd day, because the earth is rumbling all the time. You directly get the jingle, when entering the pond, so you can just quickly leave and enter, until you hear the sound. You don't have to go on that pillar and stomp it as Goron Link each time.

And if you thought that the Zora Moon Dungeon was bad, try dolphin jumping onto that pillar... Yes, you can just hop there as Deku Link, but usually I'm checking the pond as Zora Link and then just want to quickly go up to the pillar to check for the catfish, where a dolphin jump seems like a shortcut, but it usually isn't. Anyway, if you visit the pond during the final hours, it saves you the trouble of going onto that pillar. But you also have to be careful that there's time left to catch the Colossal Catfish. Getting smashed by the moon, because you were too distracted with fishing, is probably one of the most unheroic ways of dying in a Zelda game, right after getting zapped by a shopkeeper for stealing.

Well, lets see, if I can get that Sweet Ranchfish tomorrow. That little...