Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - The Year of Crossovers


Another year has passed and for a year, which didn't see a new title in the The Legend of Zelda main series, this was probably a very lively one, especially when compared to the voids in 2008 and 2012. It all began end of January, where Iwata announced in an investor briefing that Nintendo is going to be less protective about their character IPs:

We will actively expand our character licensing business, including proactively finding appropriate partners.

And this ultimately led to various cameos for the Zelda series in other video games this year. There was the "The Legend of Zelda Zone" in Sonic Lost Word, Link costumes in Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2 and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and of course Link's infamous appearance in Mario Kart 8.

As a perfect fit for this "year of crossovers" we saw the release of the next Super Smash Bros. game, both on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. Though nothing much happened with the Zelda franchise in the next iteration of Nintendo's allstar fighting game. We got new stages with the Spirit Train from Spirit Tracks, the Gerudo Valley from Ocarina of Time 3D and Skyloft from Skyward Sword. The Zelda franchise also saw a significant upgrade in the field of items with the Gust Bellow, the Beetle, Bombchus, a Fairy Bottle, Cuccos and three new assist trophies: Skull Kid, Midna and Ghirahim. But there were no new playable fighters from the Zelda series and the recurring ones only changed a little, so overall the new Smash probably wasn't all this exciting for Zelda fans.

However, Zelda finally got its own well deserved allstar fighting game with Hyrule Warriors. You could probably even name this the "year of Hyrule Warriors", because this title was huge. Speculating about new characters and weapons, marveling at artwork and of course playing the game, where you can easily invest hundreds of hours - Hyrule Warriors dominated the free time of Zelda fans in the latter half of the year. And it will still keep going. Two more DLC packs are coming in early 2015, one about Majora's Mask and one adding new game modes. Hyrule Warriors will probably keep the fans busy, until the next Zelda games get released.

2015

This time there's actually not much to speculate about the upcoming year, since Nintendo already laid out the Zelda road map for 2015. Fans of Majora's Mask will be happy that their favorite game will finally receive full attention in the first half of 2015. First there's the Majora's Mask content for Hyrule Warriors, which certainly will be exciting, and then there's the remake for the Nintendo 3DS with some improvements and additions.

There will also be new songs from Majora's Mask in the "Master Quest" program of the Symphony of the Goddesses, which returns in 2015 to North America and Europe (I'll be in Dusseldorf). Certainly an event to look forward to.

The 2nd half of 2015 will revolve around the new Zelda game for the Wii U. This year they already showed us the visual style, the open world and a battle against a giant hybrid of an Octorok and Beamos. There's a lot more to learn at the next E3 and the game is still slated for a 2015 holiday release, so in exactly one year we might all be playing the new game!

We also know that there's a new 3DS Zelda game in development, probably based on A Link Between Worlds. However, I suspect this game will be shown and released in 2016 to not steal attention from the new Wii U game. There's also the question, if Hyrule Warriors will receive a 2nd wave of DLC or not, e.g. Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time packs. I personally don't think so, the next step will probably be a sequel, but it's still a possibility.

In any case: Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: 8-Bit Magical Sword?

I was thinking about this and I guess, it could be possible that the Magical Sword gets to be the 8-Bit variant of the Master Sword. It would get listed under Master Sword and be unique in the same way, so you cannot get duplicates or sell it. And it comes with the same Evil's Bane seal.

Also, Link would have the 8-Bit Magical Shield while wielding the 8-Bit Magical Sword.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Super Smash Bros. 4 Unexcitement

When I started this blog in 2008, Super Smash Bros. Brawl was huge for me. Sadly I have deleted most of the post from the time, because they were more of a backlogging nature, but they showed my excitement for the game. I invested about 300 hours into Brawl, collected all stickers and nearly all trophies, created many stages and overall had a lot of fun with it. It's probably my favorite game on the Wii next to the Metroid Prime Trilogy.

Now we got this:


I could not replicate the same excitement this year with Super Smash Bros. 4, which just recycled Brawl in many ways (lots of stages, music, almost all characters), but also lacked some of the good parts like most stage editor elements, the Subspace Emissary or the stickers. Overall it feels all very lazy and that should not be of surprise, when the director of the game publicly states that he doesn't want to work on Smash anymore.

It's still a quality game and the gameplay certainly has improved over Brawl, for me it's the best gameplay and controls in the series. But while the core is great, the package feels entirely inferior to Brawl. One of the reasons might be the development of the 3DS version, which probably cut the resources in half. If they didn't make a 3DS version and put all their efforts into the Wii U game, it probably would have a lot more going for it.

Another big reason is Hyrule Warriors, where Zelda finally got its own allstar game. Ghirahim or Midna might not be "worthy" enough to be playable in Smash, but they sure are in Hyrule Warriors. And Koei Tecmo's character design is just absolutely splendid and beautiful, they did such a great job with this game that it's very easy to ignore the new Smash as a Zelda fan.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Beaten Link's Awakening Again

I honestly don't know, how many times I've played through Link's Awakening by now, but definitely over 20 times. The only other Zelda game, where I'm not exactly sure, how many times I played through it, is Ocarina of Time. With all the other games I remember quite well, how many times I played them.

But with Link's Awakening this has become some sort of Christmas tradition for me. It was Christmas 1997, where I got the game. And it was my first Zelda game. It took me months to beat it originally, I got stuck so many times in the silliest situations. I cried, when I finally beat the game, because such an amazing journey came to an end.

Today I beat it in one evening. It's a very short Zelda game and I know all the best routes through the dungeons, but it's perfect, if you want a quick Zelda experience.


It also brings back so many memories, each time I play it. The mystery the game had, when I only knew it from Club Nintendo magazin articles. The imaginations about the island Cocolinth running wild. It was like reading a good book.

I picked up the uncensored, original, monochrome German version of the game, which has the Claude M. Moyse translation humor. He was known for sneaking in some kinky translation here and there, so you get Buzz Blubbs talking about condoms and sharing juices. Or one of my favorite parts is the quest with the mermaid. She actually lost her bikini top and if you dive in front of her, she gets upset... and when she offers you a scale, pervert Link grabs something else first. Good times. :D

What I also enjoy a lot about the game are the secrets. Some of the Pieces of Heart and Secret Seashells are so well hidden that you really have to be thorough to look for everything. This was my first Zelda game and it taught me that there can be a secret behind every wall and under every bush. Sadly Zelda games kind of lost this, by now it's always very obvious, where things are hidden. Take the Maiamais in A Link Between Worlds for example. It's a fun collectible quest, but way too easy.

Hyrule Warriors: Fishing Rod?

This might sound weird, but when I look at Link's weapon list, it really feels like he's missing one weapon. Of course he already got seven weapons in total, but his tabular weapon menu basically screams "give me one more weapon". It just looks incomplete.

And there's still the issue that we haven't seen another new Water element weapon so far. There's one new Light, Fire and Lightning weapon and four new Darkness weapons. At this point I wouldn't even be surprised, if the Majora's Mask pack added yet two more Darkness weapons with Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid. And only a Deku character would probably add another Water element weapon, however, there are more likely candidates for the remaining two character slots.

The solution? Give Link the Fishing Rod! This would happen as part of a free update - probably the last one, which comes alongside the Ganon/Boss pack and the two new game modes. That way the final update would be more exciting and Koei Tecmo could use this as a "thank you". On the other hand they could also add the weapon and/or its upgrades to the Termina Adventure Map, since Majora's Mask is now getting fishing ponds in the remake.


It would be a pure joke weapon, which is why it's not really potential paid DLC. But seeing, how they made the Spinner and the Dominion Rod work, they could easily come up with a full fishing moveset, where Link whips his enemies using the Fishing Rod and smashes them with giant fish that he pulled out of nowhere. Something absolutely ridiculous, but fun.

Hyrule Warriors: Majora's Mask Pack Speculation

One of the most fun to have with Hyrule Warriors besides playing the game is speculating what the game might offer in the future. We have two more DLC packs left. The last one will include two new game modes and isn't that interesting (yet), but the Majora's Mask pack certainly is, especially since it's accompanied by the 3DS remake later next year. Early 2015 will be all about Majora's Mask.

Characters

Well, the Majora's Mask pack will contain two new characters, three new costumes and a new Adventure Map. While I don't like the lack of integration of the paid DLC characters, they are still the most interesting thing here. And I narrowed it down to five likely candidates:

  • Fierce Deity Link
  • Skull Kid
  • Tingle
  • Happy Mask Salesman
  • Deku Princess

Each of these have something going for them and against them. Right now I still consider Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid as the best choices. In some of my previous posts I had the theory that they might aim for less significant characters with the DLC, like Yeto or the Deku Princess, but that was obviously not the case with Twili Midna. They go for the big fan favorites here and those are certainly Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid. After all they are the ones represented as First 4 Figures from the game! And with them all F4F would be playable.


With Fierce Deity Link there is a chance that he might just be a costume for Link and nothing else. He also could be both a costume and a character. They could make him a separate character, but also give Link an unlockable Fierce Deity color swap on the new Adventure Map just for fun. Or even a full costume, since they simply could reuse and downscale Fierce Deity Link's model as a costume. I already made several arguments, why he should be his own separate character, but this only applies, if they plan a moveset. And I think both Sheik and Twili Midna already made this clear that these kind of transformed characters get their own slot and won't just be some costume or weapon.

In a way Fierce Deity Link is actually very similar to Twili Midna. Both only appeared at the end of a Zelda game, but have a cult following amongst the Zelda fans. From Aonuma's message about here on Miiverse:

When I was developing Twilight Princess, I thought it was such a waste to let a beautiful princess like her only appear in the ending. Now Koei Tecmo Games has made my wish to see more of her come true.

Something similar could be said about Fierce Deity Link and I actually hope that they give him more to do in Majora's Mask 3D, maybe like a Cave of Ordeals, where you can play as him. It's just so much fun to use him. But Hyrule Warriors is the perfect chance to give this character more action and he's predestined to be in the game. Fierce Deity Link was the biggest power rush in the entire Zelda series and he makes a great fit for Hyrule Warriors, which is a all about overpowered fighters. And seeing how powerful they made Twili Midna, I don't see an issue with Fierce Deity Link being more powerful than Link. The DLC characters are separate after all, so it's not like he's going to make the game any easier.

Also, with Twili Midna they recycled lots of Cia's animations, which they haven't done with any other character yet. All of them got unique animations. But that probably happened, because they are to get the DLC characters done. And with the Fierce Deity Link they could recycle lots of assets, including the voice and some animations, from Link. That way they have more time to get one fully original character done. Though even Skull Kid for example would probably recycle some things, like the special attack with the moon.

Skull Kid is easily the poster child of Majora's Mask and he's also the humanoid helper villain much as Zant or Ghirahim, so there's a good chance that he will become playable with the DLC. Majora fighting Fierce Deity might also be a theme for the new Adventure Map and it even could make sense, if they need each other's materials. Koei will probably add a Challenge Mode mission, where you can fight both characters, so that you can get their materials without buying the new Adventure Map. Or it works like with Twili Midna, where she simply drops Midna's materials. This could work for Fierce Deity Link, but not for any other new character.

The big argument against Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid is that they most likely would add even more darkness type weapons to the game, while we already got eight. While the element balance already got screwed with the Twilight Princess DLC, it still would be weird to completely ignore all other elements over the course of two DLC packs. And this is where the other characters come in.

I often see the Happy Mask Salesman named by fans and he certainly would complement Skull Kid as well as Fierce Deity Link would, if you want to characters with a connection, where one needs the materials of the other. But I'm personally not a big fan of this character idea for two different reasons. One is that he never takes action. He's this mysterious background character, who lets Link do his deeds in all of the games, where he appeared. Him taking action would feel as weird to me as kid Kafei suddenly slaughtering thousands of enemies, while he originally couldn't even fight Sakon. Still Koei Tecmo could make him work with a moveset, where he utilizes different ability masks, but I fear a moveset like that would feel very gimmicky, which is the 2nd reason.

We know that Tingle was already in development (see here) together with a Tingle Balloon weapon. But that doesn't have to mean anything. Like Midna's "Hair" weapon, he simply could have been scrapped. Maybe even Aonuma told them not to include Tingle, since he's not very popular in the west. And with the DLC there's now the problem that you can preorder everything without knowing what characters exactly will be included. So, it should better be something that doesn't disappoint the masses.

Also, Tingle is a recurring character like Impa or Ganondorf. And like these two he should get his own Hyrule Warriors incarnation and not be specifically from the world of Termina. So far all the characters taken from specific eras like Fi or Darunia only ever appeared there and nowhere else. While this also wouldn't apply to the Happy Mask Salesman and Skull Kid, these two at least had their only main role in Majora's Mask. So, it still makes sense to use their Majora's Mask versions. Tingle on the other hand probably had his most important role in the Wind Waker, but he even got his own games. I think Tingle would make the most sense as a character in the sequel, where he appears as part of the world of Hyrule Warriors. And in a potential sequel they have the room for more silly characters like Agitha, while in the DLC they want selling characters. However... we know for a fact that they already were working on Tingle, which is why he's still a very likely candidate. Either he got scrapped or he gets finished up for the DLC.

The Deku Princess is also more likely to appear in the sequel than in the DLC. In my previous post I gave several good reasons, why she should be an addition to the game. It would be important to have a Deku next to a Goron and a Zora to complete the Majora's Mask race trio. She would add another (much needed) water weapon and could come with a Woodfall stage, Deku troops and maybe even an Odolwa boss. However, seeing how the Twilight Princess Adventure Map didn't have any new content AT ALL, we're lucky to get a Clocktown Stage, if anything. So, my ideas were probably too optimistic for the DLC and it's more likely to have all these things in the sequel together with a Deku character. And while I still think that the Deku Princess would be the best Deku representative, she is certainly not Twili Midna level of popular to be hot cake DLC.

I should also mention Mikau, since he would be an awesome addition using the guitar as his weapon type and playing with electric attacks. He's a rockstar and the perfect fit for this Zelda rock music game. However, since we already have a Zora character, he's more likely to appear in a sequel as well.


Adventure Map

We can already listen to the 8-Bit Clocktown Music of the upcoming Adventure Map, so it's probably going to be an 8-Bit version of Termina. I thought the Twilight map was well made visually, though it lacked any new content. I still have the hope that they at least might make a Clocktown stage for this. Maybe they even create a free new scenario for Legend Mode in the 1.5 update, where the heroes got side tracked in Termina and where you're able to face the new characters without the DLC.

However, I thought the difficulty level of the Twilight map was a pain. It's not so much about the damage output, which totally makes sense for characters, who can have up to 40 Heart Containers by now, but about the A rank and 2nd Skulltula requirements, where you can't take more than 10/25 and 4 hearts of damage. It only results in a pure "All Attacks are Devastating" playstyle, where I use the Item Power-Up mixture to kill everything with the Sacred Bow at a safe distance. And that's not much fun.

So, if they really have to keep the same silly A rank and Skulltula requirements for everything, I hope that they will aim at a different difficulty level for Termina Map. The Master Quest Map was overall easier, but had the rules. The Twilight Map was very hard, but it gives double material drops. Maybe the Termina Map will aim at time limits, but you can use Ocarina item cards to get rid of them. So, this would be similar to the Twilight Zones on the Twilight Map.

Overall for the item cards they could use different masks. Use the Mask of Truth to read Gossip Stones and reveal enemies. Or use the Postman Hat to look into post boxes and unlock rewards. As for the rewards, those will probably have 8-Bit variants for the remaining six original weapons. I really liked the Power Bracelet + Raft combo and the 8-Bit Keys for Ganondorf, those were cool choices. Let's see, how the remaining 8-Bit weapons could look like:

  • Great Fairy: 8-Bit Fairy
  • Naginata: 8-Bit Bow
  • Portal: 8-Bit Compass
  • Baton: 8-Bit Recorder
  • Hammer: 8-Bit Food
  • Scale: 8-Bit Heart

Those are different from previous ideas, mainly because it seems that DLC characters and weapons are not getting 8-Bit variants. I used the Food as the Hammer because of the shape and because it's a reference to the Rock Sirloin from Majora's Mask, which was a Goron item in the game. The only other major items would be the Bombs and the Magical Sword. But it could be that Darunia is using the Bombs as his Hammer. The 8-Bit Hammer from Zelda II was also a nice idea, but it seems like they only use items from the first Zelda game.

The Magical Sword is a bit iffy. It could be used for the Naginata, but I guess it's also possible to have an 8-Bit alternative to the Master Sword, which works exactly like the Master Sword. And I also heard that someone met a Wiizro with an 8-Bit Blue Ring in a Network Link battle. Can't confirm this yet though. But the same guy also spotted Agitha with the Rupee as her Parasol.

And yes, I want to see a huge 8-Bit Fairy... lol. She would probably even carry an 8-Bit Potion around as her bottle.


Costumes

Next to 8-Bit weapons there should be 16 more recolored default costumes, but also three new full model costumes. If Fierce Deity Link is not a playable character, he at least should be a full costume, which models the armor based on the artwork and every detail. A cheap color swap like in Super Smash Bros. 4 would only be acceptable, if he's also a playable character.

But since Link already got so many costumes, they should try to give other characters something here. So far only Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, Lana and Cia received real costumes and it's time for some other characters to get some costume joy. Here are some ideas:

  • Goron Link costume for Darunia
  • Garo Ninja costume for Wizzro
  • Cremia / Malon costume for Lana or Zelda
  • Tingle costume for Volga

Goron Link is a no brainer. Darunia would get Link's hat, the gloves, the pants and the necklace, so that he looks like Link transformed into Darmani. This would be different from the Ghost Darmani costume, since it requires a modified character model and it would be based on Goron Link.

In any case it's weird that Darunia and Ruto already got Majora's Mask color swaps on the Master Quest Map. You would have thought that they save this for the Ternina Map. Or maybe they get Majora's Mask themes here as well. For example Ruto could have a Mikau reskin, where she has all his tattoos. Not sure about Darunia though...

I've always been a fan of the Garo race in Ikana and it would be nice to have a full blown Garo costume for Wizzro, since he's kind of the playable representative of all ghost beings. He also could just get a Garo Ninja or Poe Collector color swap on the Adventure Map, but I'm personally not a fan of color swaps, which could have been real costumes (like Skyward Sword Impa).

If Tingle's not playable, he could also be a ridiculous costume for someone. Volga in a Tingle costume would be fun, but I guess it's also a possibility for Link or even Darunia. But I hope that they give costumes to characters, who haven't received any special costumes yet. Link, Zelda and Ganondorf already got lots, Lana and Cia got a nice costume in the first pack and the Majora's Mask pack should have something in store for others. Impa or Sheik might be candidates as well. Maybe we might just get their Ocarina of Time costumes.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Costume Packs Released

By now Nintendo has released the costume packs in Europe for 0,99€ each. With a small price like that I wouldn't mind more costume packs. Though I'm not entirely happy with the preorder costumes. The Twilight Princess costumes all look too dark and Zelda's dress in her Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess versions looks messed up while running. Besides these issues I really enjoy the variety. My favorites are Ocarina of Time Link and Skyward Sword Zelda.


I still think similar costumes for Impa and Sheik would be nice, as well as a Demise costume for Ganondorf. The Ocarina of Time costume for Link also could have red and blue versions.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Legend of Zelda U - Game Awards 2014 Footage

Watch it here.

Impressive. I wasn't all that excited about the E3 footage, but that's more like it. It overall reminds me a lot of Far Cry 4, just more beautiful. But it has a lot of similarities like the large mountain areas, the towers and parachuting around the area. Actually they even made the first Skyward Sword trailer finally come to life here, where Link jumps off a cliff and skydives into a landscape. That never happened in the actual game, but is now part of Zelda U. It's also reminiscent of the well know artwork from the first Zelda game:


28 years later their original vision of The Legend of Zelda now comes to life.

In general I have the feeling that this might be the next milestone for Zelda after Ocarina of Time. Zelda on the N64 was the big game of its generation and ever since Zelda only has seen experiments. The biggest game during all these years was Twilight Princess, which evolved from Ocarina of Time, but also made several steps back like with the very linear game world. I personally enjoy having an open world in Zelda more, because for me exploration is really the most important part of a Zelda game. It also adds to the replay value.

So, naturally the new Zelda game fully appeals to me. But with games like these, there's always the same problem: having empty worlds. Even The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess already had this issue, where they filled the world with repeating elements like having the same towers and islands all over the ocean. While the landscape here looks rich and natural, there isn't much to catch your eyes. And for a Zelda game it's important to have something interesting in every corner. It already lacks the enemies, Aonuma took even a while to find some during the video, which is a bad sign. Or more enemies come out at night, since this game brings the day cycle back, you even have a digital clock on the map:


You can spot quite some interesting things here, but not many. What I like is that the maps looks really natural with its river courses and lakes. It doesn't have the artificial vibe of past Zelda games, where the world usually was made from chambers.

In the northeast you can spot something that looks like a lake in the shape of a skull and might be related to Death Mountain, maybe you even have the classic Spectacle Rock there. There's also some spiral formation southeast of it.

In the southeast corner of the map you can see something, which looks like Crescent Island. And maybe it is. It would be interesting to have a world here, which also connects Labrynna and Holodrum to Hyrule. But I doubt that this will be the case, though it's entirely possible that this is named "Crescent Island" as a reference.

And in the southwest you can spot something, which appears to be a tower above clouds or snowy mountains. All of these and the mountain top in the south, which is shaped like a fairy, are the landmarks catching my eye right now.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Costume Frenzy

In case you haven't heard yet, the preorder costume sets for Hyrule Warriors will be available on the eShop later this month, on the 18th December. At least this was announced for Japan, but I guess this will be the case in the other regions as well. It kind of fits, because the December is the only month without a new DLC pack and it could be a nice Christmas present.

Overall I enjoy having lots of different costumes for a character, because it adds quite some variety. Some of the reskins, which you unlock on the DLC Adventure Map, are pretty cheap though. It would have been nice to get some actual costumes out of these ideas, like a full Skyward Sword costume for Impa or a true Rutela costume for Ruto for example, though her pink recolor actually looks really nice. But having only reskins feels like wasted potential with some of these. Others look really great, like the silver golden Fi or Cia in blue. And Ghirahim even got a costume without his cape, which is pretty cool. I made a picture series of all Twilight costumes on ZeldaEurope, in case you want to take a look at all of them.

And I would actually like to see some small costume packs released alongside the preorder ones, mainly with these costumes:

  • Ocarina of Time Sheik
  • Ocarina of Time Impa
  • Skyward Sword Impa
  • Demise costume for Ganondorf

While Impa and Ganondorf already got Skyward Sword recolors, I still want full costumes for these, mainly for the sake of completion. Not only Link and Zelda should have all their reincarnations. And those could be released as Ocarina of Time Pack 2 and Skyward Sword Pack 2.

Then there's still the question of the dark costumes:


Only Link got his so far, but everyone in the game has a dark version, where it would be fun to have them playable. But I was thinking that maybe the new game modes in the final DLC pack will provide that, so you will be able to unlock the dark costumes there. Maybe even the Wizzro imposter costumes, where the characters appear in a ghostly tone.

On the Majora's Mask Adventure Map I expect to see more recolors and I'm hoping for some of these:

  • Lana in Red
  • Cia in Red
  • Ruto with Mikau's tattoos

A Fierce Deity Link recolor à la Smash 4 could be possible, but this would be the cheapest and most disappointing way of dealing with Fierce Deity Link. Unless of course Fierce Deity Link is a full character and they just add the recolor costume for fun.

A red costume for Lana would give her one color scheme for each goddess / Oracle, which fits her character design very well. Cia has all of Lana's colors and she would look good in red, too.


Apropos red costumes, what Koei also likes to do is Christmas costumes and I was thinking that this might not be too bad. Link in a Santa outfit is not too far from his usual clothes, a Santa Darunia could be fun and imagine a sexy Santa costume for Cia and Twili Midna, something like that:


Artwork by VanEvil

Of course there's no Christmas in the Zelda universe, so this probably won't happen... :D

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Twilight Princess DLC Disappointment

Okay, the new content itself is great as always. Love the new movesets, Twili Midna plays totally awesome (except for the weird squeak sounds) and I could see her become one of my favorite characters. The ideas on the new Adventure Map are interesting and feel fresh. And the costumes are fun.

But other than that, they did everything wrong, which could be done wrong. Everything. Murphy's Law at its best.

Let's start with Twili Midna ... while she seems to be an awesome character, she's completely self-contained. She doesn't have any unlockables at all, not even a new costume. She gets more Heart Containers while leveling up and her higher tier weapons are obtained randomly. I know that you can buy her separately in Japan, which is probably the main reason, why they did that. We don't have this purchase option in Europe, so I don't care, and even if we did, I would probably be disappointed about buying a character, who doesn't have anything to do in the game.

If you primarily play Adventure Mode, Twili Midna won't see any use. There is not a single mission for her, which is a massive letdown, considering that the entire Adventure Map was themed after Twilight Princess. You just keep playing the 16 original characters... on the 2nd mission it already starts with you being locked to Imp Midna. Why did they make you pay for an entire new character, if she doesn't see any use at all?

I'm not even sure, if she appears on the new Adventure Map at all, like as an ally or enemy (Update: it seems like she does). But she certainly doesn't in Legende Mode, while this would have been the perfect opportunity to patch her in. Especially Cia's mission on the Twilight Palace should have Twili Midna, because it was Cia, who cursed her into the imp form... now they finally created Twili Midna, but they still don't use her.

And with this way of nonexistent character integration with the DLC I don't even care much about the upcoming Majora's Mask characters... they probably won't be of use as well. And that's a shame.

I also don't understand, why we did get two more Darkness weapons... forget about my posts about element balance, they clearly don't care. We have eight Darkness weapons now and we probably might get two more in the Majora's Mask pack, if it's really Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid. They probably wanted to keep Twili Midna as a shadow character and at least the Mirror does Light element damage as well. Maybe in the sequel they will introduce true multi-element weapons...

Okay, this might be nitpicking, but I feel the same about the Dominion Rod...


It completely looks and feels like a Light weapon. And we have Princess Zelda here, where it's weird to have her wield a dark weapon... so, I don't understand the concept of this being a darkness weapon yet.

Another big disappointment is the lack of any new stages. Even at the discount the DLC is at roughly 30% of the main game's price. So, I would expect about 30% of the content, which would include about three or four new stages. But nothing of the like. The City in the Sky would have been awesome or Snowpeak Ruins. Ordon Village could have been a possibility as well. But getting nothing is just lame. It's really boring to play the same 14 stages over again and again, this game badly needed new ones.

The Adventure Map is even based on the different regions of the original Twilight Princess map, just rotated by 90°. But you get a snowy regions for example, which would have been perfect for the Snowpeak Ruins.

I will probably still enjoy what we got, but overall I'm let down by all of this...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Level Increase and new Potions

Yes!!

You can go past Level 99 in version 1.4. All my characters are on Level 99, so this is a welcome addition. Also, good thing I haven't bothered with A ranking Boss Rush yet. I was secretly hoping that something would be coming that might make this level easier and looks like I'm in luck. If you could kill the bosses in one strike each, this level would be a lot more enjoyable. With Cia I can get it done under 15 minutes, because she's awesome, but it involves a lot of luck having the bosses in positions, where it's not total madness. You get hit by Manhandla one time and the A rank is gone.

And I hope the new potions will include a Materials+ potion. I will be using this all the time and then finally there will be a good use for all the materials, which I have collected. You can even go past 99 units per material now.

Man... I really felt like this game was about to be done, but it's quite the opposite...! Koei Tecmo will keep this baby alive for a while. And there goes all my free time. :D

But this explains, why there are Heart Pieces on the Adventure Map. With new levels every character gets a couple of new Heart Containers.

Hyrule Warriors: Twilight Princess Adventure Map, Dominion Rod


So, Zelda's really getting the Dominion Rod. Nice fit. It looks like a light element weapon though and so far no Phantoms involved, but I guess that each combo might result in a different statue. She's also getting an Ilia costume, which looks creepy. I would have preferred a Rutela costume for Ruto, since she could use some more attention, but whatever...

Now let's take a look at the new Adventure Map:


This looks really interesting. Completely new item cards, Twilight zones and more. And less space. It's "only" 93 missions in total to be accurate. And there only seem to be six new weapon upgrades. I suppose the Dominion Rod tiers might just be available randomly like with Epona. But for Twili Midna's Mirror it could make sense to be upgraded via the Adventure Map, since her Heart Containers and Heart Pieces should also be there. But then we would only get four new 8-Bit weapons.

Talking about Heart Pieces ... there's a new one for Midna, the Imp Midna, not the new one. This is very interesting, because this could mean that each character is getting four new Heart Pieces. Considering that this map is quite smaller than before, you wonder, if everyone really gets five new Heart Containers in total on this map. If not... this would mean that they might plan even more DLC in the future, because I suppose that the last line of hearts will be completed at the end of the DLC for everyone. (Update: You can go past Level 99 now, which is why there are only Heart Pieces.)

But here's Ganondorf's new costume and 8-Bit weapon:


It makes sense for him to have the keys, because they match his asymmetrical sword style. And the costume makes him look even more like Demise, I like it. Too bad it doesn't seem like we're getting the dark costumes here. I really wanted that Dark Agitha. But I still think that.

There are these weird red and green Twilight Orbs / Portals. I suppose these hide the costumes, which means that there are 14 costumes in total.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: New Weapon for Zelda Incoming!

One Facebook Nintendo revealed that Zelda's getting a new weapon in the upcoming Twilight Princess DLC next week. Nice thing that they didn't make this an exclusive amiibo weapon, haha.

Since this is a Twilight Princess pack, I already had the idea of the Dominion Rod for her. You can even expand this idea by controlling different Phantoms from Spirit Tracks, which would be a nice reference to that game and to her new move in Smash. And this would most likely give her a fire type weapon, if it involves Fire Phantoms.

Another possibility would be the Ice Rod. While not being from Twilight Princess, it would create a nice water type weapon and the water element hasn't seen a new weapon yet.

There's also a new picture of Twili Midna:


I kind of dislike that they reused the Shadow Wolfs from Imp Midna here, but it looks kind of cool. It's probably one of her specials.

Also, Link is getting a Postman costume! Very nice choice. I was thinking about the Hero's Shade, but he's still a potential character in my eyes and wouldn't have worked well as a costume, since costumes don't change the sound. And the Postman wouldn't be a fighter, so a costume for Link is a nice touch. I could even imagine Link becoming a postman in a Zelda game.

I wonder what the other costume could be, if it has any relation to Twilight Princess... I can only come up with more costumes for Link, like his Ordon clothes, the Zora Armor or the Magic Armor. But maybe it's a Rutela costume for Ruto. That could be beautiful.

And the Adventure Map is going to be Twilight Princess themed. So, there goes the idea of having the dungeons, I guess... unless they meant that the missions will focus on Twilight Princess and even offer new stages from this game like the Snowpeak Ruins. Which I still hope is the case, despite the lack of Yeto. And I wouldn't mind getting a completely original Adventure Map.

I'm really excited for all of this. Too bad Smash Bros. 4 for Wii comes out one day later, so I won't find much time to play the new Smash... :D

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Star / 8-Bit Weapon Speculation

As joke weapons in Hyrule Warriors they went for gigantic 3D voxel weapons based on the 8-Bit items from The Legend of Zelda (NES). This is what we got so far:
  • Link's Sword: 8-Bit Wooden Sword
  • Link's Magic Rod: 8-Bit Candle
  • Impa's Giant Blade: 8-Bit Boomerang
  • Sheik's Harp: 8-Bit Stepladder
  • Lana's Book: 8-Bit Book of Magic
  • Zelda's Rapier: 8-Bit White Sword
  • Fi's Goddess Sword: 8-Bit Silver Arrow
  • Ghirahim's Demon Blade: 8-Bit Arrow

There's even more. If you play Network Link battles, you can already spot certain characters with additional 8-Bit weapons, which aren't unlockable yet. This includes what appears to be the Red Ring for Midna and even some 8-Bit Rupee Parasol for Agitha. I've yet to see them myself, so I can't clearly tell. But I suppose, some of these might be unlockable on the next Adventure Map and maybe in the end everyone will get at least one 8-Bit weapon.

Let's think about what other items from The Legend of Zelda could act as potential star weapons in Hyrule Warriors, just for fun ... here are some of my ideas:

  • Zelda's Baton: 8-Bit Recorder
  • Ganondorf's Great Swords: 8-Bit Magical Swords
  • Darunia's Hammer: 8-Bit Hammer (from Zelda II)
  • Ruto's Zora Scale: 8-Bit Food
  • Zant's Scimitars: 8-Bit Magical Boomerangs
  • Cia's Scepter: 8-Bit Magic Rod
  • Volga's Dragon Spear: 8-Bit Magical Key
  • Twili Midna's Mirror: 8-Bit Compass
  • Tingle's Balloon: 8-Bit Fairy

Some of this I could easily see happening. Other stuff might be too weird. Darunia for example is a tough choice, but I could see him smashing things with a Raft on a stick, because that's probably the heaviest item in the classic 8-Bit arsenal. Or they simply give him the Hammer from Adventure of Link.

I'd love the Food for Ruto, since it was basically the bait item of the first game. Giving this to a fish woman would have some irony. And Ganondorf certainly needs the Magic Sword, so each of the three main characters have one of the classic swords each. Since there are even different sprites fort he Magical Sword, he could use both of them for his weapons.

If Tingle is really in the game, giving him the classic 8-Bit Fairy as his balloon would be fitting, don't you think? The 8-Bit Heart Container also could act as a mask for Skull Kid, if he's in, since Majora's Mask had the shape of an heart.


I had some other ideas in the past for what could act as potential star weapons. Like the Skull Hammer for Darunia, the Bug Catching Net for Agitha or the Great Fairy's Sword for Impa. But with the exception of the Bug Catching Net those would be serious alternatives and not some joke weapons. I also had the idea of 16-Bit weapons like the Magic Hammer for Darunia or the Magic Mirror for Twili Midna. But all of that might be material for a sequel and for the first game they probably keep the theme of 8-Bit weapons.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Twili Midna announced for Hyrule Warriors

BAM! There she is!


There's absolutely no arguing that she was the frontmost important thing to be added to the game, right after the unplayable villain trio. The only question was, will she be a character on her own or a weapon for the existing Midna? Since they showed a 2nd weapon for Midna at E3, many (including myself) speculated that Midna's true form would be used for this weapon.

Now later it got revealed that her 2nd weapon was called "Hair" and it's likely that it got scrapped alltogether. It just makes more sense for her to be her own character, since she has a different model, which would have different costumes than Imp Midna. So, Imp Midna is most likely going to stay as an one weapon character.

I don't know, why I thought otherwise, since I always advocated that Fierce Deity Link should be his own character and not just a weapon for Link. Also, this is the only way to get a beautiful character art into the character select menu, because weapons don't add that. And it would have been a shame to miss that beautiful face.

I guess, the main reason, why people wanted her to be the weapon and not the character, is that then there would have been space for a surprise character like Yeto or the Hero's Shade. But of course this is backwards mentality, since there is no real limit to character slots. If they haven't planned Yeto yet, there won't be Yeto. They planned two new movesets per pack and one of them is Twili Midna. If she would have been implemented as a weapon, we would have gotten two new weapons instead.

The real question now is ... what's the new weapon? I would have speculated the Spinner, but Koei Tecmo already announced that this one is going to stay exclusive to amiibo. Another option would be the Dominion Rod. It could be a new weapon for Zelda, but also a 2nd weapon for Twili Midna. Giving a new character two movesets from the get-go would be cool. Another possibility is the Fishing Rod ... but we all know, where this would end: Link having eight weapons in total, no thanks.

So, I place my bet on Ganondorf's horse! This makes the most sense. Like Epona it's already in the main game. It would be a moveset based on Twilight Princess, where Ganondorf showed his horse skills. They could even take the ghost riders as attacks from there. And Ganondorf deserves to get a 2nd weapon, simple as that.

By the way, I'm happy I was right that Twili Midna uses the "Mirror" as her weapon type with the Mirror of Twilight being one of the tiers. I'm eager to learn about the other tiers, she could even get a 16-Bit Magic Mirror as a joke skin.

I also hope that they will patch Legend Mode with her now, because the true Midna should have appeared in certain situations, like when Cia first met her.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Deku Princess as DLC?

This might be crazy, but I completely changed my stance on the possible DLC characters for Hyrule Warriors. My first impression was that there's only choice for the Majora's Mask characters: Skull Kid and Fierce Deity Link, since they are the most prominent and powerful characters from the game. But after learning that Tingle already was in development and most likely will be one of the characters for the DLC, I considered different scenarios.

Since Nintendo and Koei Tecmo seemed happy with the sales, a sequel to Hyrule Warriors is not unlikely. But of course they would need some interesting new characters for the sequel. Main characters that is. Well, there will be Ravio, Hilda and Yuga from A Link Between Worlds, but for the most part we only have side characters left. Some more important ones like Groose or Nabooru and some less important ones like Batreaux. But the sequel needs some big new faces, which could easily be provided by Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid. (In the sequel Skull Kid would also be free have the moon as his special attack, which is currently occupied by someone else.)

And it could make sense not to go for the most important characters in the DLC. In any case they won't get the same spotlight and usage as the 16 original characters. And not everyone likes DLC, some people even refuse to buy it. So, I wouldn't wonder if the DLC focuses more on side characters. Tingle might even be a good choice here, because he's a love / hate thing. Whoever likes him, buys the DLC, and the others can just ignore it alltogether.

My second choice now would be the Deku Princess:



There are several reasons for this. Majora's Mask now enters the world of Hyrule Warriors and so far each game got the following:

  • at least two characters
  • at least two stages
  • one boss from the game
  • troops made of enemies from the game

Well, Ocarina of Time only got a reskinned King Dodongo, but that still counts for me. And everything else fits. There's the Imprisoned and the Bokoblins from Skyward Sword and the Bulblins and Argarok from Twilight Princess. Stalchilds are from Ocarina of Time.

Koei Tecmo showed that they like patterns in their game, so I wouldn't be surprised, if they gave Majora's Mask the same treatment. The full package. They already announced two characters for the game, so that's the first fit. And next to them there would be two new stages, new troops and one new boss. And I think the best way to do this would be via Dekus and Woodfall. This is what the new Adventure Map would offer:

  • Clocktown Stage
  • Woodfall Stage
  • Odolwa boss
  • Deku troops

The Garo could also make an excellent choice for the troops, but Dekus are probably more prominent. And the Deku Princess is simply the character, who fits this content the best. And it would be nice to have a Deku representative in the game next to one Goron and a Zora.

Besides that she would offer another water moveset, which so far has the lowest number of weapons, so this is needed. And to be honest, she's one character, where I already have a moveset worked out in my mind. Her normal attack string would have her whirl around (like Deku Link) and whip others with her hair. In the combos she uses the Deku Pipes to shoot Deku Bubbles and fly with the propeller flowers to bomb things with Deku Nuts. As her special she would summon a giant Deku, who sucks everyone in and shoots them away. Maybe she could also play certain songs from Majora's Mask like the Sonata of Awakening for different effects.

I think, while not being a major character, she brings lots of potential to add many different things from Majora's Mask to Hyrule Warriors. A lot more than Skull Kid and Fierce Deity Link probably would.

On the other hand it would be weird to have Clocktown, but not Skull Kid. However, it could be that they "visit" Clocktown at a different time, where the moon isn't about to crash on the town. They also visited Skyloft long before the events of Skyward Sword, while Lake Hylia and Death Mountain got represented after the Hero of Time left. So, it wouldn't be too surprising, if the Majora's Mask stages don't take place during the exact events of Majora's Mask.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hyrule Warriors - Weapon Element Count #2

The release version of Hyrule Warriors had a perfect balance of the elements with four weapons per element, not counting the Master Sword, because that's just a modified Sword & Shield moveset.

Also, Koei Tecmo had a perfect balance with the base damage values of their characters and still have, even after the first update. So, part of me believes that they're going to maintain that balance and at the end of the DLC we're looking at a perfect balance again. Now let's add Epona, the Scepter, the Dragon Spear, the Ring and the Spinner to the counts:

  • Light: 5
  • Fire: 5
  • Water: 4
  • Lightning: 5
  • Darkness: 6

A good guess would be that they're going for 30 weapons in total with 6 weapons per element. But this means a couple of things here.

The Darkness element is already full, which would mean that there won't be any more Darkness type weapons. This is interesting, because if they would add Skull Kid using the Mask as his weapon type, you'd think that this is a Darkness type weapon. What else would it be? Even the mini moons from the Power-up Hookshot deal Darkness damage. This could potentially mean that Skull Kid is not part of the DLC.

Well, Midna's Hair or Mirror would most likely be a Light element weapon. And Tingle's Tingle Balloons could classify as Fire Element, because he probably would drop Tingle Bombs all over the place. Now this basically leaves one more Lightning weapon and two more water weapons. I already speculated about Yeto being the Twilight Princess character and maybe the Deku Princess will be part of the Majora's Mask pack. Mikau as a Lightning fighter (Guitar) could also be a fit, but it would be more important to get a Deku representative before another Zora.

However, we're one weapon short. But it might be that we get another free weapon or another amiibo weapon somewhere down the line. Like a horse moveset for Ganondorf could be Lightning based. Or I thought about that Tingle, since he already was in development before the release and he has his fans and haters alike, gets added as another free character like Cia, Volga and Wizzro. There could also be a free weapon for someone, something silly like the Fishing Rod for Link to add another water weapon.

Majora's Mask 3D developed since 2011

According to Aonuma on Miiverse, Majora's Mask 3D went into development shortly after Ocarina of Time 3D was released. I actually thought that development started after Grezzo's StreetPass Garden game was finished in June 2013. And even that would have been a significant amount of time for a remake.

Ocarina of Time 3D was in development for about a year. Making The Wind Waker HD only took half a year. But third time's the charm and I think that this might be the first time, where a remake of a 3D Zelda game actually gets to see new environments and dungeons. Because why else would they work for over three years on this title? That's a lot of time for a remake, especially if you consider that they were able to built on top of Ocarina of Time 3D, where they already have the engine ready. Actually you'd think that this game would be done a lot faster than Ocarina of Time 3D.


Grezzo's job listing this summer even made me speculate that they actually weren't making Majora's Mask 3D, because the job descriptions were for game progression and level design, two things you wouldn't in a remake like Ocarina of Time 3D.

Now my list of ideas aimed at a more basic remake. I only hoped for a third Skulltula house, but maybe we could hope for much more.

Actually with the remakes Aonuma usually tries to fix things. In Ocarina of Time 3D he felt like he had to fix the Water Temple. And with the Wind Waker HD they aimed at fixing the sailing and the Triforce quest. Usually things people complained about.

Well, with Majora's Mask 3D it should be obvious that they're going to make the time system a little bit more accessible and have a saving system, where you can save anywhere at any time. They already showed that the Song of Time doesn't save your game anymore, probably because there's no need for this. And there are many other ways to improve things here. However, this wouldn't take three years.

Now the second big complaint was that there were only four main dungeons. Well, they already depicted in the main artwork that there's still the four giants as normally. So, it's not like there's suddenly two more giants or something like that. But they could easily fit a new area into the game in the southeast and let something happen there. The game always was about sidequests after all.

I don't want to get my hopes up too much, but I can't help but feel excited about this. And it's nice to have something new to speculate about.

Hyrule Warriors: Yeto as DLC?

So, right now I actually hope for Yeto in the Twilight Princess DLC:



There are two good reasons for this. One is the weapon element, where we really could use another good water moveset (which would in his case be more ice based). So far every element has seen at least one new DLC weapon, except for the water element. He'd have the weapon type "Fish" with Reekfish and Hylian Loach being different tiers. He also would be another heavy hitter with 650 maximum base damage (like Ganondorf and Darunia). I'm hoping for this, because he might be helpful with A ranking the Boss Rush. Water users there do a lot more damage, but I don't think that any of the existing water movesets are sufficient for the battle. Maybe Yeto could make this mission somewhat easier.

And so far Koei Tecmo kept a good balance with the elements and damage values. I guess that Tingle would be a fire element user (dropping Tingle Bombs) with 550 maximum base damage (this is the lowest value, so far only Ruto and Fi have this). Skull Kid would probably be yet another darkness user with 600 damage to be in the middle of all that. And with Midna's hair and the Spinner there are also additional Light and Lightning weapons. But of course the first DLC round already has messed up the element balance, so it might not be that perfect. But I know that the game could use another water weapon and two more characters in the damage extremes.

The other reason for Yeto would be having the Snowpeak Ruins stage. The upcoming DLC really needs some new stages and Snowpeaks Ruin is the one location left from Twilight Princess, which really would make a good battlefield addition. Right now only Lake Hylia offers a small ice portion with Zora's Realm and it would be cool to have a full ice stage, because we don't have this yet. We got forests, mountains, caves, deserts, temples and all the typical Zelda stuff, except for an ice area. Well, and Clocktown would offer a full town as a battlefield in the Majora's Mask pack to complete the picture.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hyrule Warriors used to include Tingle

According to the hacker crediar, the game code of Hyrule Warriors references to Tingle and the Tingle Balloon as a weapon. There was also a second weapon for Midna simply called "hair":

Looking at code of #HyruleWarriors I found some disturbing text strings: action/model/C_TINGLE.bin.gz action/model/W_TINGLE_BALLOON.bin.gz
There is one more: "101_dark_tingle_00" And also there seems to be a 2nd weapon for midna: action/model/W_MIDNA_HAIR.bin.gz


We already knew from E3 that Midna was going to get a 2nd weapon, which never made it into the full game. The question is, if this is scrapped or unfinished content. If the latter applies, we are looking at the DLC here.

I cannot deny that Tingle would offer an unique moveset. I even had the same idea for him in one of my earlier speculation posts about the character roster. But with the roster getting slimmer, I was hoping that he wouldn't take a spot over Fierce Deity Link.

But I can probably give up my hopes on that. They might even use Fierce Deity Link as a selling point for the sequel... because what other super awesome badass characters would be left? They have Imbadorf here and they need something good for Hyrule Warriors 2.

And I'm not opposed to Tingle, so I wouldn't mind his inclusion, might be even a lot of fun.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The scamiibo problem

I haven't been so mad at Nintendo ever since this, but I calmed down by now and tried to analyze, what went wrong with amiibo in Hyrule Warriors.

It's actually quite simple: amiibos were introduced and designed for "figure play". Figure play means that you scan a figurine and bring it into the game. The figurine offers a new way of interacting with the game and it keeps being useful, because you'll use it whenever you want to bring the figure character into the game.

But that's not what happens with Hyrule Warriors. You scan the figurine, unlock the Spinner and then put the figurine aside. The Spinner is normal DLC content exactly like Epona, which should be available on the same means. But here the Link figurine acts as a physical DLC code.

Now let's think about, how the Spinner should have worked as figure play. There would be an actual Spinner figurine, which you can buy. And whenever you scan it during the game, it lets your character (any character, not just Link) switch to the Spinner moveset. Whenever you want to switch back to your normal moveset, you press Up on the Dpad. Hey, this actually sounds like fun... not that a Spinner figurine would actually sell, this should simply illustrate the way, how figure play works normally.



With the Link figurine it should spawn Link in the game as a helper character, who takes keeps and defeats officers (unlike the usual comrades). Sort of like a virtual coop play. It could have nice nods like spawning a Dark Link, when you scan the figurine while playing as Cia.

That's how figure play is supposed to work. Nintendo should try to give an incentive that makes you want to buy amiibo and play with them. In Hyrule Warriors you just scan the thing once and then it collects dust. You might even try to scan it through the package and then return it afterwards. And that people might try that, simply shows how this is not about figure play or the figurine, but only about the DLC content, where the amiibo is nothing more than an overpriced way of unlocking it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

amiibo + Hyrule Warriors = scam

The worst case scenario for amiibo integration in Hyrule Warriors would have been locking content like costumes or weapons. And I can't believe that Nintendo went this route.

This is just utterly disappointing. I love Hyrule Warriors and I want every content out of it. What I don't want, is buying amiibos. They look terrible and I feel like I'm too old for buying toys like this. With Smash and Mario Kart they only add some optional mechanics, where I easily can ignore them. But locking the Spinner, unless you buy the Link figurine, is a vile marketing move to make you buy these figurines.


Why did it have to be Hyrule Warriors? Of all the games, which have amiibo support, it seems to be only one, where they didn't come up with some fitting ideas for the toys and just made some exclusive unlockable content. There would have been many different many ways to make amiibos work with Hyrule Warriors without locking actual content. Make the amiibo your virtual coop buddy, who helps you with difficult missions. This could be worthwhile in many cases, where an A rank is hard to get. But you wouldn't have to buy the amiibo to score the A-ranks, it's just making things easier, like the coop mode.

And what does the Spinner have to do with the figurine, besides the fact that it's used by Link? Absolutely NOTHING! This is not the way amiibos should be used.

I hope that it's a one time unlock. So, I can buy a figurine, unlock the weapon and then sell it again. But in any case this is not acceptable. I can't even be happy about the Majora's Mask news, because I'm so mad about this. And it probably won't stop there. There most likely will be exclusive weapons for Zelda, Ganondorf and Sheik as well in the future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Majora's Mask 3D Announced

I would say "Called it", but I pretty much have been speculating about this before every Nintendo Direct. The timing is perfect though and the series wouldn't have been complete without this title.

I'm happy!

Please check out my earlier post about ideas for the remake! Some of it might become relevant in the near future.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hyrule Warriors - Some Improvements on Grinding

Let's face it, Hyrule Warriors is a grindy game. And I'm okay with that, as long as I have my fun while grinding. However, there are certain aspects of it, which they should improve in an update or the sequel:

Material Potions
A mixture effect, which makes rare materials drop with higher percentages. I would use it all the time. In fact that's what I believed one of the potions did. In German it's called something like "Looting Bonus" and I thought it increases the chance for rare materials, while it actually provides you with more looting skills on your weapons. But for a time I invested 20 bronze materials before each battle in a weak one, which actually felt pretty good. (And thanks to it I have lots of Materials+ skills, which actually help.)

Material Trading
This could be an alternative to Material Potions. What it does that you trade a number of common materials to get a rare material from the same character / enemy. So, you trade five to ten of Link's Boots to get Link's Scarf. Or five Aeralfos Leather to get an Aeralfos Shield. Sounds fair, right? Getting rare materials is simply bound to luck. You have to defeat the same type of enemy for a large number of times to get what you need. At least they could make your looting time more worthwhile, if all the common drops are actually worth something.

Skill Overwrite
Who needs that Experience+ or Rupees+ on a weapon, if you got all your characters on Level 99 already? :D Sometimes you get nice weapons with unwanted skills. And crafting your perfect weapon would be so much more comfortable, if you could erase or overwrite skills on your weapon. And why shouldn't you be able to?

Weapon Selling
Right now you can only sell weapons at the end of a battle, if you get more than ten of the same type. And this is annoying, especially if you don't want to think about weapon skills after a heated battled. I don't see, why the selling feature shouldn't be available in the smithy, since it uses the same weapon interface... patch, please!

Weapon Enhancement
At some point in the game you won't need all those Rupees anymore. And it would be nice to have a place to spend them all. I thought that it would be reasonable, if you could buy stars on a weapon for 100,000 Rupees per star. It eliminates some of the randomness and there's no harm done in upgrading all your weapons to three star goodness. The same could also be done for adding sockets, but this might be too overpowered... weapons with eight sockets are quite rare for a reason.

Paying for seals
Another feature added to the smithy, where you could spend your Rupees, would be direct unlocking of seals. Instead of killing the required numbers of enemies, you just pay a price. This wouldn't work with the Master Sword seal and you can only pay for Legendary Seals, after you unsealed the Master Sword. The price could be 10 Rupees per K.O., so a full Legendary seal would cost 250,000 Rupees.

Nintendo Direct - Hyrule Warriors DLC reveal tomorrow?

Koei Tecmo tweeted today that they're making great progress with the DLC of Hyrule Warriors and they're ready to show it soon. They also retweeted the news about the Nintendo Direct using their Hyrule Warriors channel. And from what we gathered on ZeldaEurope, the next Hyrule Warriors update is planned for November 20th. I guess that there is a fair chance that tomorrow will be the reveal of the new weapon and characters. So, let's do some final speculation.

I still think that Princess Midna should be in. Whether it is as a 2nd weapon for Midna (like it was teased at E3) or as a separate character is the question. But in any case they should also patch Legend Mode, so that true Midna appears whenever she was supposed to be appear. It was Cia, who cursed her, but Midna always appears in her imp form, even though she shouldn't.

Next to true Midna I see many possibilities. Ganondorf's horse as a weapon. Yeto (Fish), Hero's Shade (Four Swords) and even Linkle (Crossbow) as potential characters. I really hope, it's Linkle. But her connection to Twilight Princess would be a thin one. Of course they could introduce some Ordon stage as Link's home, where his sister lives. By the way, I definitely want some new stages with the new DLC! Snowpeak Ruins would probably be the best choice from Twilight Princess and with it Yeto would be the most meaningful character.

I have absolutely no clue about the costumes in the Twilight Princess pack. The only ideas I have are more variations of Link: Ordon clothes, Zora Armor and Magic Armor. But he already has the most costumes. Stuff like pale Midna and Puppet Zelda would be simple reskins of existing costumes, so that's not it either. A Rutela costume for Ruto could be nice, but would probably be "too much". We'll see.

I hope that they at least will tell us, what characters will appear in the Majora's Mask pack. I'm still standing my ground that they should be Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid. The three costumes would be Majora's Mask Fierce Deity Link (since he probably would get a new design), Goron Link's clothes for Darunia and a Twilight Princess version for Skull Kid.

With it they could also announce Majora's Mask 3D for next Spring. This would be really awesome and I still haven't given up hope on that, especially after Grezzo teased that they work on Zelda again. I don't expect to see anything from Zelda U yet, but maybe...

amiibos are another topic. They already announced that the Link amiibo will be compatible with Hyrule Warriors and they will most likely demonstrate this. I wouldn't even wonder, if this is their main focus. However, I really don't like or want the amiibos, so I hope that they don't add anything exclusive to the game. I mean, in Smash they are pretty much useless. I could imagine that they spawn a helper character, who isn't completely incompetent and maybe grows like a normal character with Levels and badges. And it would be fun, if using the Link amiibo with Cia spawns a Dark Link... We'll see.

The Mario Kart 8 DLC will also be interesting for Zelda fans. It appears that it will be released next week and it could keep me entertained until the Hyrule Warriors Twilight Princess pack arrives. I don't expect more than one track for Zelda though.

Hyrule Warriors - True 100%

When it comes to Zelda, I am an extreme completionist. I've completed everything in the entire Zelda series with the sole exception of the 999.99 seconds Cucco Run in A Link Between Worlds, which still makes me unhappy that Nintendo decided to put such an insane challenge in my favorite series. But at least Hyrule Warriors won't be another exception, even though this game is a real time sink (but a fun one). After a staggering 380 hours I achieved the following:

  • all characters on Level 99
  • crafted all badges
  • collected all Heart Containers and Pieces
  • unlocked all weapons and costumes
  • got all 120 Gold Skulltulas
  • unlocked the Master Sword seal
  • cleared Legend Mode on all four difficulties
  • scored "A" rank on every Adventure Mode battle (one exception)
  • achieved all medals

The one exception is the "A" rank for the Boss Rush level on the Rewards Map. Easily the most difficult mission in the game and you can only take ten hearts of damage, which Ganon can subtract with one single blow. This is the matter of the right character choice and quite some luck. But unlike the Cucco Run I feel that this is doable and I will probably be looking at full "A" ranks everywhere soon.

Until the DLC arrives of course, so this is only a temporary 100%. And I'm certainly not unhappy about this, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming updates. And even though I've pretty much done everything, I'm still playing the game. One goal, which still remains, is crafting "perfect" weapons for everyone. For this I have to clear at least one Legendary seal with every weapon type, which takes its time (though the new "Rack up your K.O. count" missions really help). So far I've done it for Lana's Book, Ganondorf's Great Swords, Zant's Scimitars, Cia's Staff and Wizzro's Ring. Fi and Ghirahim will probably be next.

I also try to get a nice setup on these legendary weapons. I really enjoy having Bombs+ and Materials+ on them. The Elemental bonus is also nice and useful except with multi-element weapons like the Lyra. So, I try to have at least these skills. I'm currently undecided, if I also want Stars+ and Sockets+ or if I rather go for more Strength skills. But I guess, the looting is fine. And I certainly hope that the upcoming DLC and updates will provide some challenges, so that these near-perfect weapons will come to good use. Though I already made good use of them in Hero Mode. With level 99 characters and legendary weapons the difficulty is just right.

What would also be nice, is the ability to replace existing weapon skills. That certainly would help a lot with crafting the weapons, you want. But maybe in an update... because that's supposedly a normal feature in a Warriors game and some fans might ask for it. Right now I had some luck using gold empty sockets potions on Network Links. For example it gave me a completely black five star Scepter of Souls for (my favorite) Cia with six sockets. It seems rare to get more than six sockets from a Network Link, sadly.

But I don't count the weapons as part of the 100%, because they are not permanent. You can always (accidently) sell them, so the only weapon seal, which counts, is the Master Swords'.

(By the way, making backups of savegames on the Wii U is a hassle. You need an external hard drive, copy the ENTIRE game (I have the digital version) and then delete the copy of the game with the exception of the save file. I miss the old Wii times, where I just can copy the save file on a SD card. In any case, this is not a savegame, which I want to lose. But I'm not even sure, if making a copy on an external drive is any good. If the Wii U gets damaged and needs repair, it probably won't be compatible afterwards, because Nintendo keeps everything very restricted. And this is just another example, how unfriendly the Wii U is. As much as I love its games and the GamePad, Nintendo needs to learn to make things easier and simpler for everyone.)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Upcoming DLC Adventure Maps: Combined Dungeons?

Previously I had the idea of using the classic TLoZ dungeons for Adventure Maps, because it would give the item cards new uses, e.g. lighting up rooms with the Candle. However, it turned out that they would be too small, because every character gets five new Heart Containers and one new costume to collect.

But... I completely forgot that all the dungeons were aligned on two grids of the same size of the overworld. Their shapes fit perfectly in each other:


This might as well be the next two Adventure Maps! I'd also like to see them design more original 8-But environments like on the Rewards Map, but the dungeons could be interesting.

I see two problems with this though:

1) So far each square represents a battle field. You can fantasize about how the tree on the islands leads to Eldin Caves. Or how the hill with Level 2 is Lanayru Gorge. It has a nice touch, which wouldn't really work on a dungeon map.

2) Some items like the Candle or the Ladder are usually not used in one specific spot. You can use the Candle anywhere in the room to light it up. Or use the ladder on any part of a gap. And bombable walls are always in the center. The new Adventure Map would have to take this into account, but then maybe finding all secrets would be too easy and not require the compass at all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Fierce Deity vs. Majora


If you check message boards about Hyrule Warriors and ask what people expect, which characters will be chosen for the Majora's Mask Pack, you will get very similar results in most places. Pretty much everyone agrees on Skull Kid and there's not much arguing about it. However, the second character is where opinions really differ.

I see "Tingle" A LOT, usually with the argument that it was his first game. But I don't get it. I'm not a Tingle hater, just check some older posts about him, and I'm certain that he will be a fighter in Hyrule Warriors at some point. But including him via the Majora's Mask pack would be like including Ganondorf via some Ocarina of Time pack, just because that was his first game. Tingle is a recurring character, in fact he has the most appearances after Link and Zelda, and he should be treated as such. He should get his own Hyrule Warriors incarnation, which should be saved for a sequel, where adding more joke characters next to Agitha would be more acceptable.

I also read Happy Mask Salesman or Kafei a lot, but I have a hard time imagining a good moveset for them. They already admitted that they had lots of trouble turning Agitha into a fighter, so they will probably go for characters with actual fighting potential first. Mikau and the Deku Princess are very solid choices for that, but I feel like those characters should be introduced properly in a sequel, where they get tied into the story via the Legend Mode. The interaction with the others is what makes them really shine and come to life in this game.

The Majora's Mask Pack won't offer new scenarios or any other expansions to the Legend Mode. So, my bet is still on Fierce Deity Link. Not a costume or a weapon, but as a full character. Because together with Skull Kid and maybe Clocktown (and/or the Moon) as a new battlefield they would create a great story context without having new cutscenes or similar. In fact the whole "Fierce Deity vs. Majora" conflict never really got explained in Majora's Mask. It's just something that exists at the end of the game and since then has tickled the imagination of fans. It's one of the most mysterious parts of the Zelda lore, which is why it's so fascinating and spawned lots of fan fiction. People are excited by the unknown.

And this they can use. Having Skull Kid (using Majora's Mask as a weapon) and Fierce Deity Link battle it off in a new series of Adventure levels just works on its own without forcing a greater story context, which explains everything. There's no need for explaining, it's a platform for imagination. Actually the Adventure Mode always has been. I've seen Zelda fans, who like to fantasize about how the Adventure Battles, which can be rather random, came to life with their own little stories. And Koei Tecmo can ignite more of that with the "Fierce Deity vs. Majora" theme.

It's a meaningful and worthwhile addition, which works without a drawn-out story, and certainly a lot better than just randomly adding two characters without any real context.

So, I'm still thinking that Skull Kid and Fierce Deity Link will be the characters. Also, don't forget that both of them have First 4 Figurines. If they add Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid, all Zelda First 4 Figurines will be playable in Hyrule Warriors!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Master Quest 100%


Well, this went down a lot faster than I expected. But having all characters above level 80 (except the three new ones) really helped. Most of the work with the first Adventure Map was getting stronger and better, leveling up and farming badges. This is where most of the time went. The Master Quest Adventure Map then was just one big rush, I also completely A ranked the entire thing yesterday:


It's still about 50 hours of additional game time. Which for the small price is superb, most full price games don't offer that much game time. Mario Kart 8 I only played for 43 hours...

Interestingly enough the three new characters, Cia, Volga and Wizzro, didn't require any high levels. They were around level 50, when I was finished. This is in big contrast to the first map, where I sometimes I even had trouble with level 99 characters to finish the job. And even on the Master Quest map there were some tough missions like the one for Zant's Heart Container in the southeast. This also had one of the toughest to get Skulltulas for me. But they made it easy for the three new guys.

But I love playing them. Cia became my absolute favorite character in the game. Her combos are so very versatile and fun to use. Her sexy C2 is a nice and quick crowd clearer... the "Defeat 1000 enemies in 10 minutes" mission was a real pain with Agitha and it was still hard to A rank with other strong characters. With Cia I did it easily on my first try and they even took the items away, so you couldn't destroy the Deku Babas! But Cia is simply that good. Her C3 is nice for duels and her C4 (where she summons four Dark Links) cuts through the weak point gauge of the giant bosses really, really quickly. So, you're almost guaranteed to make a big hit on each weak point stun. I already like her character and her looks, but the moveset is pretty much perfect.

Surprisingly I also think that Wizzro is a fun character. Especially in the new "Rack up your K.O. missions", which are really crazy and fun. They are basically what the "Defeat x enemies in 10 minutes" missions should have been in the first place. But those missions are really nice to quickly break weapon seals, level up and farm materials and good weapons, since you constantly use magic on tons of monsters and the occasional big guy. Anyway Wizzro has good crowd spamming, amazing juggle abilities and even a good duel move with the beam. And I enjoy his pure evil being.

Volga is very solid, but for me personally the most boring of the three newcomers. He has that dragon move, but it doesn't have the fireball and it takes a while to activate. But it's very useful in the "Defeat x enemies in 10 minutes" missions, because you can easily clear one crowd with a single strike, unlike most characters. The C2 and C3 are very useful for duels and the C4 offers some quick cloud clearing, though not as efficient as the C5 dragon, but a lot faster. He's definitely one of the better characters in the game, but I personally had more fun with Cia and Wizzro.

The Master Quest map was okay. I liked, how they stayed true to the original 2nd Quest and used the Flute for various secrets (even though the stairs were misplaced) and used all the 2nd Quest locations for dungeons. I didn't like that they recycled so many old missions, but for a 2nd Quest it's tolerable. I hope that the upcoming Adventure Maps will offer more new things, especially new stages like Snowpeak Ruins or Clocktown.


The Master Quest map also added five new Heart Containers for everyone. It added a new row of Heart Containers and it seems obvious that the other two upcoming DLC Adventure Maps will have five more Heart Containers for everyone each to complete this row. That's already a total of 80 Heart Containers per map and it completely destroys my idea of having the dungeons as Adventure Maps, because they are simply too small. Even Level 9 is only about half the size of the overworld. It's a shame, because I thought the dungeons would have made great Adventure Maps and added some variety to the items. (Update: Wait, actually the original dungeons were combined on two grids of the same size as the overworld. The shapes fit perfectly in each other. Maybe they use that. Or maybe they create new environments like on the Rewards Map, based on Twilight Princess Hyrule and Termina.)

And overall the announced DLC seems very final to me. Especially with the third row of Heart Containers, which got squeezed in. It's a nice thing, because it gives every character at least five new missions to do. There's also one alternate costume for everyone now, which is great, and they even try to add new joke weapons for everyone. I don't think that it all has to be 8-Bit weapons. For example Agitha could still have the Bug Catching Net as her Star Weapon and Darunia the Skull Hammer. But in any way with the end of the DLC the game will probably be finished.

And for me there's only little left to do. Leveling up some characters to 99, which now goes faster than ever thanks to the "Rack up K.O.s" missions. Getting some last bagdes, where the option to turn off cutscenes helps a lot. But I've already completed the badges of five characters (Link, Impa, Lana, Zelda and Agitha) and with most others I'm only missing a few golden ones. And getting some "near perfect" weapons, even though I probably won't have much use for them. But I did get a really nice weapon for Ganondorf, Lvl3 five stars and the following abilities:

  • Strength V
  • Darkness +
  • Stars+
  • Sockets+
  • Materials+
  • Bombs+
  • Legendary

An eight slot with Strong Attack+ or One-Hit Kill would have made it fully perfect, but it's already more than good enough. I especially enjoy having the Bombs+ ability, so I will try to get this with everyone. It would be nice, if you could replace weapon skills like in other Warrior games, because then it would be considerably easier to create your best possible weapon.

And if they add some good challenges to the game with the Challenge Mode and the two new game types, all the leveling up, crafting badges and creating near perfect weapons won't be in vain, because you might need your characters at your best. This might be what the Ganon Pack aims at.

I don't think there will be any more DLC after the Ganon Pack. Yes, there's tons of potential with characters from Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask and A Link Between Worlds. But they need to save something for the sequel.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Dark Costumes

So, turns out that the Master Quest DLC is quite awesome. The Master Quest for the Adventure Mode is great. They stayed true to the map of the original 2nd Quest up to the point, where you have to open trees with the Flute. And surprisingly there's lots to do for every character, not just the new ones (though I love the new ones).

Everyone gets five new Heart Containers and one alternate Master Quest skin. The five Heart Containers add a new line, which will most likely result in a total of 45 Hearts for every character at the end of the DLC. I guess that the two Adventure Maps in the upcoming DLCs will provide five more Heart Containers for everyone each to complete the third line of hearts. It simply adds up.

And I also assume that they will keep adding new costumes for everyone with the upcoming DLC Adventure Maps. For the Twilight Princess pack it would be nice to get the dark versions of everyone. We already got Dark Link as a preorder bonus:


But in the game there exists dark versions of every character. Just today I encountered Dark Fi and Dark Ghirahim in one of the new Adventure battles. They are not hard to make, but they are fun, so I assume this will be the next set of skins. Since there will be one new character and Link already got his dark version, it will add up to 16 again. Hey, I even had this idea before the release, where you could select the dark versions of everybody on the character screen. It would be nice to see this come true in a way.

Of course with this my idea of having the dungeons as Adventure Maps most likely won't suffice. There are already 80 Heart Containers, which they have to spread, and this doesn't include the hearts of the new character. So, they will need big maps again. But maybe Ganon's Lair / Death Mountain could be used. Or they make completely new environments loosely based on the Twilight Princess Hyrule and Termina. Well' see.