Nintendo sent me the game today, together with the amiibo for Ganondorf and Shiek. I'm currently not under any embargos, so I won't get the new Zelda games early, but at least I can blog about my daily progress, which I usually like to do. I should also get the Limited Edition tomorrow, but you don't need the Wolf Link amiibo right away, which is why I've already started playing. Only having the Ganondorf amiibo from the start was important to me, because I want to use it all the time. (However, you can't use any amiibo until after you've saved Faron Woords from the Twilight.)
Thing is that I've started a normal game, because I want to experience everything like I remember it from the GameCube. And sadly here the Ganondorf amiibo is the only way to make the game harder, because they decided to put Hero Mode and Mirror Mode together, instead of keeping separate options...
The same problem exists with the camera controls. For some reason they decided to combine the free camera control settings with the ones for the first person / aiming perspective. That was not the case in the Wind Waker HD and it's quite troublesome for me, because I can't have the same camera controls as in the GameCube version. If I invert the horizontal axis, it does the same for the first person view, which is super annoying. For me there's a reason, why inverted controls feel more intuitive under certain views, because you're either moving your head or an outside camera centered on you with the stick, but the game just doesn't acknowledge any of that. The original GameCube version got the camera controls right for me, while it didn't even offer any options... they just had it right, but now they don't.
It's also annoying that you can't navigate the paused item menu with the analog stick or d-pad, for some reason. Again, The Wind Waker HD let you do this and I don't understand, why they removed this, forcing me to swap items via the touchscreen all the time. Stupid Nintendo is stupid. Even the map can not be moved with the stick like in the original, you have to use the touchscreen...! I hope that there will be a day one update, where they improve this whole control and menu situation somewhat.
And this might be just me, but having Midna on the L button is also not ideal. Mainly because I played so much Hyrule Warriors that I'm used to having targeting on L by now, so I accidentally press L, whenever I want to lock on an enemy, which then results in a chat with Midna... They could have put here on the D-Pad or somewhere else and use the L button for the quick transform, which is inaccessible, if you want to play with the GamePad alone.
Those are all little complaints, but they already add up right at the beginning of the game, which is bad enough with its goat herding and tutorials. It took me two and half hours to get into the first dungeon... I have wasted some time with taking some notes or doing silly things ingame, so you might get there faster, but it's still way too much bloat. And Nintendo's improvements didn't really help with that. You have to catch only one fish this time and there's only 12 Tears of Light to collect, but there weren't any significant improvements.
I actually took note, which insects they have removed for the Tears of Light part:
- the one on the wall on Coro's house
- one of the two insects behind the gate
- one of the two insects on the wall after the cave
- one of the three insects in the center of the poison fog area
I already thought that they mostly went for the pairs, which doesn't save all that much time. You will still have to take the same routes. And they might have removed some insects, which are easy to miss, so you don't end up with backtracking.
Anyway... the frame rate is bad. Probably even worse than in the original for some reason. I remember that the original always had some issues with the fog area in Faron Woods, but here it's really apparent and the game usually slows down, whenever you fight enemies. This is what happens, if they just lazily port a GameCube game without improvements to the engine. And it's a shame, because the Wii U certainly can do better than this. (Update: Apparently this only happens, when you play on the GamePad. It's still weird, because I play on the GamePad a lot and usually don't have such issues with other games.)
Talking about the fog area... I was convinced that one of the chests there would give me my first Miiverse stamp, but this wasn't the case. This is disappointing, because I was hoping that the stamps would be in some of the more clever hidden spots, but let's see... so far I've found two of them, both in the Forest Temple, both easy enough to find.
Overall I like a lot, how the Rupee system has changed. You can already carry up to 500 Rupees with the first Wallet and that the game doesn't keep telling you, how much the blue, yellow and red Rupees are worth, is certainly great.
By the way, I named myself "Tourian" in the normal game and my horse "Error". In Hero Mode I will be "Tourist" and the horse "Bagu". Naming Epona like that seems accurate, because they haven't improved her one bit. I wish, they would have added the obstacle avoiding mechanism from the new game, because that would be smooth.
Right now I've arrived at Kakariko and I will return to the game tomorrow. It's now time for the Nintendo Direct.