Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hyrule Warriors Legends: My Fairy Still Incomplete

I'm on vacation right now and brought my Nintendo 3DS with me, where last week at a Zelda fan meeting I was able to get the "Circle of Friends" Medal in Hyrule Warriors - Legends. This brought me back into the game for now, where other than completing Legend Mode on "Hero" difficulty I mostly just have grinding left to do.

Part of that is the new "My Fairy" feature, where I wanted to get at least one fairy with all skills unlocked. My motivation is quite low, however, and to a certain degree that's because Nintendo / Koei Tecmo never bothered with fully offering everything there is. Or does anyone outside of Japan actually have the following costume...?

No? Me neither. And that's bugging me, because I would really like to use it on my developed fire fairy, since most fire outfits don't look as nice.

Together with Link's Classic Tunic, there were four sets of My Fairy Clothing only available as rewards in special offers, e.g. as a preorder bonus. This was over a year ago and today Nintendo could offer these as a reward on My Nintendo. There are hardly any worthwhile rewards available anyway and these gifts were originally received as download codes, so it would work pretty well.

Other than that Koei Tecmo started adding new fairy designs, including the following beauty:

They only did so for the elements Light, Darkness and Water. But they never bothered with adding new fairies for the elements Fire and Lightning... Those could have been retroactively placed on any Adventure Map, but we never saw any more updates. And at this point it's doubtful that Koei Tecmo would provide another update for the game. They are busy with Fire Emblem Warriors right now and probably are going to work on Hyrule Warriors 2 afterwards.

But in the very least Nintendo should offer the missing clothing via My Nintendo.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Update 1.3.1 Released

Nintendo released an update for Breath of the Wild today, which does fix the Medal of Honor Glitch caused by the first DLC. According to this, they also fixed a "world reset glitch" that was possibly thanks to the Trial of the Sword.

Additionally, the News channel of the Nintendo Switch will provide "Tips from the Wild" for the game, where you can receive items, if you launch the game from the channel. This is starting tomorrow, August 9th.

It's nice to see that Nintendo fixed the Kilton bug in Master Mode already, instead of waiting for the next big DLC update, but I'm afraid they only did this, because they wanted to get this news channel feature out now. I'm a little bit worried that this feature will include exclusive items, because I don't have a Switch yet, but I think it will probably just give you food items or certain weapons in the game, which you can obtain otherwise.

They didn't fix the issue with the Hyrule Compendium picture overwrite between Normal Mode and Master Mode and I somehow doubt that they will fix this, because this is probably intentional to save memory... In the very least they fixed the glitch, which was holding me back from starting Master Mode.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Super Metroid Revisited

In anticipation of Samus Returns, I'm currently (re)playing several Metroid games. After Zero Mission, I continued on the Wii U Virtual Console and played through Super Metroid again.

Super Metroid was my first Metroid game, when I discovered the franchise for myself in 2008. It's even the game that made me chose the nickname "TourianTourist", some time before opening this blog. And since then it always has been one of my favorite Metroid games next to the Metroid Prime Trilogy, where I've also beaten the game a couple of times now. But after replaying the game now, it doesn't feel like it can live up to all that.

It's still a very good game, don't get me wrong, but it feels a little dated now, where most of the issues lie in its controls, especially after playing Zero Mission and seeing Samus Returns. The input seems to be quite stiff. It starts with the Wall Jumps that behave somewhat differently than in other games. You have to press into the direction and then press the jump button like a split seconds afterwards. If you press both at the same time, it doesn't work. And every time I play this game, it takes some time to get used to this again.

But it's still not as bad as the Grapple Beam. This item has some really awkward handling and probably the "stiffest" input in the game. It's just not fun to use this item. This goes so far that one time I played through Super Metroid without using the Grapple Beam at all. I did the entirety of Maridia with Wall Jumps, because it worked much better for me than the Grapple Beam. And that's saying something.

In addition there are some things in Super Metroid that are simply inconvenient. One is the item select, where you have to go through a list of five items with some of them even being situational. Both Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission streamlined this more by using the R button to toggle between Beam and Missiles, as well as Bombs and Power Bombs in Morphball Mode. Much better! They also got rid of the Grapple Beam and the X-Ray Scope. And I'm a little worried, how well switching items and beams in Samus Returns will work. From the looks of it, you have to use the touchscreen quite a lot...

Another issue is the map, where you can only view your current area. When I arrived at the end, I was missing three Missile Expansions, so I wanted to compare my map with item location maps on in the internet. But for this I still had to travel through each area individually, where again I thought that Teleport Stations will be the best addition to the franchise since the ledge grab (which is also absent from Super Metroid, since it was introduced in Fusion).

With all of this in mind, I wouldn't be surprised, if this game follows Samus Returns and receives a proper remake in the future, maybe even on the Switch. With that Nintendo would be remaking the Metroid classics in order, which makes a lot of sense. It probably wouldn't be necessary for Metroid Fusion, though, and at some point Nintendo should make a proper Metroid 5, instead of doing remakes.

Anyway, I still enjoy this game quite a lot. The music and atmosphere are absolutely great, all areas have a distinct feel to them and offer maze-like exploration. I usually enjoy the Brinstar area the most and the Wrecked Ship the least, where I kind of lost motivation around this part. Even though Super Metroid only takes around 3 to 5 ingame hours to beat, where you could do it in one evening, it took me several weekends to fully beat this game... It wasn't as exciting as it used to be.

At least the game keeps it simple, because you don't have to beat it six times under different conditions to unlock all endings. Overall the game is much easier than Zero Mission, which is especially noticeable with the bosses. I guess, in case of Ridley the Super Metroid version actually is a little more difficult, but the Kraid and Mother Brain fights are much, much easier, when compared to the GBA game. On the other hand Super Metroid doesn't hold your hand as much, where you have to find out on your own, where you can progress, while Zero Mission keeps giving you directions all the time.

Collecting all the items isn't as insane as it was in Zero Mission as well. There are no ridiculous Shine Spark stunts required and it's mostly about finding all the hidden secrets. Still, to get 100% under 3 hours certainly takes some practice and planning, because it's easy to miss a Missile Expansion here and there.

I would try this as well, but currently my time is somewhat limited. Before Samus Returns gets released, I also want to play through Metroid Fusion on the Wii U Virtual Console. And I'm also currently playing through Metroid Prime: Federation Force with some friends, where we're having a blast. But more about this later on.

The next two months certainly will be Metroid-heavy!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Metroid: Samus Returns - amiibo Functionality Revealed

The four different Metroid amiibo will have two different functions in Metroid: Samus Returns. Ingame they will offer you Reserve Tanks and other cheats:

  • Samus (Smash Bros.): Missile Reserve Tank
  • Zero Suit Samus (Smash Bros.): Energy Reserve Tank
  • Samus: Aeion Reserve Tank
  • Metroid: reveals nearest Metroid location

It's not known, if there are any limitations to this, e.g. if you can keep replenishing the Reserve Tanks or if this only works once per day like almost all amiibo in Breath of the Wild. But considering that those are supposed to be Reserve Tanks, where you most likely won't be able to scan the amiibo in the middle of a fight, you can probably just keep filling the Reserve Tanks, whenever you're out of danger.

In addition the amiibo unlock new features within the main menu, after you've completed the game once:

  • Samus amiibo (Smash Bros.): Concept Art Gallery
  • Zero Suit Samus (Smash Bros.): Sound Test
  • Samus: Metroid II Art Gallery
  • Metroid: Fusion Mode

Fusion Mode is a higher difficulty like Hard Mode or Hype Mode, but you're wearing the Fusion Suit from Metroid Fusion, which also used to be a feature in Metroid Prime, if you linked the game with Metroid Fusion (or purchased it in the Extras Gallery of the Metroid Prime Trilogy).

However, all of this leaves a sour taste. The cheats are fine and seem like typical amiibo behavior these days, but unlocking galleries and higher difficulties always used to be something that you did by beating a Metroid game, which is still a requirement here. But now you will also have to track down and scan figurines to do this, which feels like a rip-off. Both amiibo and DLC shouldn't lock existing content in a game, they should add to the experience in another way...


Twilight Princess Manga, Parts 1 & 2

I got these last weekend and it's been a while, since I've read the other Zelda manga. It was in 2011, where I bought all ten previous books from the German publisher Tokyopop and it wasn't even on my radar that the first two Twilight Princess volumes were released in Germany already. But Tokyopop did a solid job at keeping it consistent with what I bought six years ago. Only the red unicorn icon (which stood for "fantasy") on the spine is now gone, which placed the author name and Triforce icon lower. The "Zelda" logo on the cover also doesn't have such a strong relief anymore, but otherwise it's quite uniform. I suppose that if you would buy reprints of the other Zelda manga today, they all would be completely consistent.

The content features the typical Akira Himekawa filigreed interpretation of a Zelda game, but it feels closer to the actual game than usual. The very beginning reminded me somewhat of A Link to the Past with an evil figure that resembled Agahnim and a story about the Light World and the Shadow World. Afterwards you are immediately introduced to the true Midna and you get a panel like this:

Shamed be he who thinks evil of it.

This certainly set the mood... And the manga even has a few brutal scenes, like Ilya being shot by an arrow and Link losing an arm, after it got cut off by King Bulblin. I don't remember the other Zelda manga being this dark and bloody. But the rating of the game was even, why the manga wasn't originally published in 2006, because the magazine containing the Zelda stories was aimed at grade schoolers (source). Now, ten years later Akira Himekawa returned to the task and apparently had more freedom with it.

What's also unusual is the length. All other Zelda manga by Akira Himekawa were concluded after one or two volumes. Volume 2 of Twilight Princess brings Link to the point, where he finds the first Fused Shadow. Volume 1 mostly focuses on Ordon Village, while Volume 2 is about Wolf Link meeting Midna and Zelda. At this rate it might take a couple more volumes to tell the story, where apparently four volumes are planned in total. But as already said, they are staying a little closer to the source material, save for the more graphic content.

Of course they don't have Link exploring dungeons (the Forest Temple mostly revolves around the cursed Ook and the monkey tribe) and Link talks like usual, where I found his character not as likeable in the beginning, because he only seemed to care about food and Rupees, while he then blames himself for all the misfortunes around him. They even gave him some weird backstory, where he originally came from a desert town that seemingly got destroyed, because he removed some sword from a rock, which wasn't the Master Sword, but connected to the Hero's Spirit...

There was a nice detail, where they had many souls of the soldiers in the canals below Hyrule Castle (Town). The GDC 2005 Trailer of the game did feature them there in high numbers also, but they weren't as present in the actual game.

Anyway, I'm curious to see, where this will be going. However, this might take a while, because Volume 3 so far is only available in Japan and Volume 4 isn't available yet at all.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Medal of Honor Glitch in Master Mode

Looks like Master Mode has caused yet another significant glitch in the game. After overwriting your pictures in Normal Mode, it seems that now you won't even be able to complete the game in Master Mode at all, because you can't get all three Medals of Honor.

Getting these won't be possible in Master Mode right now!

It appears that in Master Mode, Kilton still checks for the enemies that used to be in Normal Mode. All the upgraded Taluses and Hinoxes won't count, so you can only get up to 19 Hinoxes and 18 Taluses respectively. The others are ignored and won't have a star next to their name, after they've reappeared on a Blood Moon.

This glitch will probably be fixed with the next update, but I doubt that Nintendo will release an update just for this. They only do this for critical stuff and new amiibo, so as long as there's a second DLC incoming, they might wait with patching any smaller issues in the update for the "Champions' Ballad" DLC Pack. Or they might never get fixed at all, since the first update also didn't fix any existing glitches like the unobtainable chests...

For me it makes me even more hesitant to start Master Mode any time soon. I'm currently quite busy with (re)playing various Metroid games and in Breath of the Wild I'm still collecting the rest of the Koroks in Normal Mode, which will take its time, because I don't have much motivation for that either.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Breath of the Wild: The Traveler's Gear (Free DLC Proposal)

At Japan Expo this month, Eiji Aonuma told the fans that they want to fix some complaints about the game with the upcoming DLC for Breath of the Wild, "the Champion's Ballad". But why wait so long? Why not fix some things in some free update and DLC? Why should the fans even pay for DLC just so that issues with the game are fixed?

I put some thoughts into what could become a free DLC Pack and update, which adds a few items and fixes some problems. I call it "The Traveler's Gear" and it has a specific theme: armor. Some of these ideas coincide with points in my list of improvements.

Funnily enough, the first DLC even amplified two of the issues with the game, instead of fixing them. But all of this will be addressed in this proposal.

New Armor Item: Pegasus Boots

This is THE classic boot item in the Zelda series, which has first appeared in A Link to the Past, but also made its return in Link's Awakening, Ancient Stone Tablets, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, the Minish Cap and A Link Between Worlds. It's a staple in the 2D Zelda games, but so far it never made its way into the world of 3D Zelda games, unless you count Linkle's weapon type in Hyrule Warriors.

Like most armor items in Breath of the Wild, this iteration will be somewhat simpler. It makes you walk faster without the need of any speed boosting food effects. If you actually dash with these boots, it will create a gust that pushes enemies aside for some minor damage. It's ideal to take care of weak foes like Keese.

New Armor Item: Spiked Boots

This item will help you fight the worst enemy in the game: rain. Whenever it's raining, you can equip these boots to keep climbing without sliding. It's a simple addition that will make this game so much more enjoyable for all the players.

As a downside, these boots will make you go slower, so they are really only meant for climbing and nothing else. You also won't have the "Climbing Jump Stamina Up" set bonus anymore, if you've been using the full Climber's Armor.

Five New Sets of Horse Gear

While you're able to customize your horses in the game, the options are fairly limited with only five sets of horse gear. This DLC should at least double the amount and here are some ideas for new horse stylings:

  • Ancient Bridle & Saddle
  • Dragon Bridle & Saddle
  • Red Lion Bridle & Saddle
  • Loftwing Bridle & Saddle
  • Lynel Bridle & Saddle

Those will be either added to existing shops in Hyrule or to minigames that don't have an exclusive reward yet. For example the Ancient Armor should be sold in the Akkala Ancient Laboratory, while Kilton could sell you the Dragon and Lynel sets. And the gliding minigame could be the spot, where you get the Loftwing armor for your horses (it wouldn't make them fly, though, it's just for the looks).

With all of that it would make sense, if all the horse gear gets its own tab within the inventory, instead of being stuffed into the "Key Items". This would use the horse icon from Hyrule Compendium.

More Armor Enhancements

Especially after the release of the Master Trials DLC, there are quite some pieces of armor in the game that cannot be enhanced. This makes most of them rather useless in the later game, where having good armor values is key to survival. So, let's just give those Great Fairies more to do, they certainly would be happy about it.

This would include the Dark Armor, the Nintendo Switch Shirt, the Tingle Armor and the Korok Mask. The enemy masks from Kilton's Shop probably also should receive upgrades, while Majora's Mask shouldn't for balancing reasons. After all this mask combines all the effects of the other enemy masks.

With the Phantom Armor this also would be questionable, because you can get this armor very early in the game, while it's as powerful as the Soldier's Armor and the Barbarian Armor combined. And the latter requires you to explore all three Labyrinths! Maybe instead of the attack boost, it has a Critical Hit set bonus. Then it would still be special, but not as overpowered in an enhanced form.

Re-Purchasable DLC Armor

A simple issue with a very simple solution. Right now, if you (accidentally) sell any of the DLC armor pieces, you can't get it back. Especially if you often use amiibo and want to sell the duplicate pieces, this is an issue, if you notice it too late.

There's even no good reason, why Nintendo handled the DLC armor this way. They probably wanted to keep them as "special" items, where it doesn't make sense to have any duplicates, since there is a small story tied to most of them. But the solution is still simple: as soon as you sell them, they should just re-appear in Granté's Collection. He will only offer the one piece that you sold and it will go away from his collection, as soon as you buy it there.

This makes sense in the game's world, because Granté is a collector of rare armor. So, whenever you sell a piece to someone, it makes sense that it would end up in Granté's hands eventually. There he will be happy to sell it to you again for a big profit. Also, it already works in a similar way with the Hylian Shield. You can get a new one from Granté, but only one at a time.

Set Bonus for Alternate Head Pieces

Certain sets of armor offer a "Set Bonus" with a special ability. However, many of these sets also offer alternative head gear in the form of jewelry or some special DLC and amiibo items, where you will lose this set bonus for no good reason. This update should fix this:

As an example, whenever you wear the Ancient Greaves and the Ancient Cuirass, you can still get the "Ancient Proficiency" set bonus from the Diamond Circlet or Midna's Helmet, so you don't have to wear the dorky Ancient Helm. Especially if you consider, how much more effort goes into upgrading the Diamond Circlet, which requires Star Fragments, this only makes sense as a reward. This should apply to every head pieces that offers a similar bonus to the rest of the set. Often these are already placed right next to each other in the inventory.

Here's a full list:

  • Ruby Circlet: Unfreezable with the Snowquill Armor
  • Sapphire Circlet: Shock Damage Resist with the Desert Voe Armor
  • Topaz Earrings: Unshockable with the Rubber Armor
  • Opal Earrings: Swim Dash Stamina Up with the Zora Armor
  • Diamond Circlet: Ancient Proficiency with the Ancient Armor
  • Midna's Helmet: Ancient Proficiency with the Ancient Armor
  • Sheik's Mask: Night Speed Up with the Stealth Armor

Quick Equip

Last, but not least, this hypothetical update would let you quickly equip one entire set of armor by pressing X in the Armor Inventory. So, for example, if you select the Climber's Gear and press the X button, it will automatically equip the Climber's Bandanna and the Climber's Boots along with it.

Ideally there also would be a shortcut of getting to your current armor in the inventory (e.g. by pressing the left stick), because the armor tab is placed right in the middle of it all and it often takes quite some time to change armor, which you will do very often in the game, since every situation profits from a different outfit.

Make it happen, Nintendo!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Breath of the Wild Master Log, Entry 3

I'm in the middle of hunting down all remaining Koroks in Normal Mode, where I very much underestimated the task of re-exploring the entire world with the Korok Mask equipped. This item should have been there from the beginning, because it's getting quite tiresome. I only found 30 more Koroks since the last post, where it can be frustrating to walk through empty wastelands for hours without finding anything.

And you have to be thorough with this, cover as much ground as possible. This is for example, how the area looks in Hero's Path Mode, after my Korok hunt in the Gerudo Desert:

By the way, there should have been a way to reset the path. When I started re-exploring everything with the Korok Mask equipped, it would have been helpful to start a new Hero's Path to see, where I've been with the mask and where not. With the 200 hours old map data in place this is hard to tell. For me right now this is entirely useless data, because I could have walked by a Korok without noticing it!

Also, I was excited to see, if there are any types of Korok puzzles left that I've completely missed without the mask. So far this doesn't seem to be the case, except for one Korok in Lurelin Village.

Otherwise it's not really the Korok Mask itself, but thoroughly exploring every area inch by inch that does the trick. The Korok Mask simply gave me the incentive to do this. Often I already see from a distance, when there's another Korok hidden somewhere, even before the Mask is shaking. It's certainly more fun to discover Koroks on your own, but the Mask makes sure that I don't miss anything.

So far I re-explored the Great Plateau, Hyrule Castle and Hyrule Castle Town, Zora's Domain and the Zora River, the Lanayru Wetlands, the Deplian Badlands, the Faron Grasslands and the Gerudo Desert. But I still got ways to go. I bet that most of the remaining Koroks are in the Hebra Mountains, still my least favorite area in the game. But it doesn't seem like I will be starting Master Mode anytime soon.

Sunbathing Stalnox

Anyway, my main achievement for today was finally collecting and upgrading all amiibo armor in the game, after I got the new Link amiibo this week.

The Twilight Princess Link amiibo doesn't give anything new, he works exactly like the Smash Link amiibo. However, he does spawn another Epona, even though I already registered her at the stable. I might want to preserve this behavior just in case, so this amiibo remains useless for now. The Majora's Mask Link and the Skyward Sword Link amiibo gave new gear, though, where I previously gathered all necessary materials to upgrade them (mostly Star Fragments and dragon parts). So, now I finally have completed the task of upgrading all armor in the game:

The Fierce Deity set is certainly a new favorite. I liked the Barbarian set in functionality, but not the looks. So, as a day 1 fan of Fierce Deity this is a welcome alternative, where I will don the outfit to fight Lynels from now on. It's not as good as the Fierce Deity Armor in Tri Force Heroes, though. :D

Current Progress:
  • Koroks: 753/900
  • Map Rate: 87.84%

Friday, July 7, 2017

Breath of the Wild: The Champions' Ballad - First Footage

Today at Japan Expo Nintendo presented quite a lot about Breath of the Wild, including the upcoming expansion, The Champions' Ballad. Nintendo Germany posted video on Twitter with new footage of what appears to be an epilogue scenario storyline. You can see Zelda kneeling before the Gerudo throne in one scene and approaching the Flight Range in another scene with the activated (but not completed) Sha Warvo Shrine on her way, accompanied by two Hyrulean Soldiers. It's not entirely clear with these scenes, but Aonuma did confirm that the DLC takes place after Ganon (according to this tweet).

I previously speculated about such a possibility here, so it's nice to see this become a reality after all. With the previous teaser from E3 it didn't look like that's going to be the case.

I think that you will be able to play the DLC storyline, after you've collected all 18 memories and defeated Ganon. This also includes freeing all four Divine Beasts. Most of the game world will probably stay the same. So, you can still go and clear Shrines, collect Koroks and do any sidequests that you've missed previously. But there will also be new story scenarios that you can play, maybe even with Zelda at your side.

It looks like Zelda might be seeking out the Champions' descendants: Riju, Teba, Yunobo and Sidon. The reason should be obvious, she wants them to become the new Champions, maybe even for a new threat on the horizon. When I started the game, I actually expected these characters to take over the Divine Beasts in the storyline, but this never happened. They just helped you to get inside the machines and then were pushed to the sidelines, which was disappointing. Especially Teba became such a forgettable character that it's very hard for me to even remember his name. And it seems that Nintendo will fill the gaps here with the 2nd DLC, which is a good move.

I expect that we will also get new memories about the previous Champions, how they became Champions in the first place. This was also missing from the game's story so far - we only ever saw them as the Champions, but not how they were chosen for these roles. And this could create some interesting new memory scenes, fitting the DLC perfectly. The scene in the Gerudo throne room might even deal with Urbosa, it's hard to see, if it's really Riju (but the character on the throne is quite short).

I also hope that the DLC will make the Divine Beasts accessible again. This was quite untypical for a Zelda game that you can't get back into the dungeons, after you've completed them. The only other game that did that was Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, other than that there was only the Ghost Shop in Phantom Hourglass with the same behavior.

As another appetizer Nintendo already released a render of one of the new outfits in the DLC:

It's Link with the Lobster Shirt from the Wind Waker! That's a really cool idea that makes a lot of sense. The Champion's Tunic always felt like it was designed after the infamous Lobster Shirt. Maybe we can the conductor outfit as well, haha.

They also announced that Breath of the Wild will get its own artbook called "Master Works":

Maybe this book will reveal the truth behind its timeline placement? We can only hope!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Got the new Link amiibo

How many Link amiibo does one need? The answer is, all of them!

By now Nintendo has made amiibo of all the Links from all the major console Zelda games, except A Link to the Past. But I wouldn't be surprised, if this would follow, alongside with amiibo for the Minish Cap Link, Conductor Link and the Link Between Worlds...

But if Nintendo makes more Zelda amiibo, I really hope that they increase the production by a tenfold. Acquiring these Links was a disaster, especially here in Germany. Picture people camping in front of a GameStop at launch day, only to learn that the shop had just one copy of each amiibo available. Amazon was sold out within seconds. It was near impossible to find them in shops at release day!

Similar to Ocarina of Time Link from the 30th Anniversary amiibo, I had my "secretary" track them down for me. I'm lucky to have her, because otherwise I would have missed all of them.

And it doesn't seem like Nintendo has any interest in producing more. They are probably happy that they were able to sell them all so quickly and then they moved on by announcing the next wave of Zelda amiibo coming later this year with the Champions. They could make quite some money by simply reproducing what they already had offered so far, but seemingly Nintendo has more interest in these items being limited than in the happiness of their fans.

Scalpers make the whole thing even worse, but ideally no one would buy from them, so this kind of business isn't lucrative any longer. But with Nintendo not producing enough items, there will always be fans that are desperate enough to pay high prices... And so Scalpers will keep preordering in high numbers.

Amazon Germany seems to have reacted to the situation, though, because when they started taking preorders for the upcoming Metroid amiibo, you were limited to one per person. So, I was able to preorder them, along with the Legacy Edition of Samus Returns. But this should be the default behavior with all amiibo and limited Nintendo products these days.

Well, anyway, here are some pictures of the new Link amiibo:

The Skyward Sword Link has a crooked sword... Other than that the quality is alright, as usual. The best one of the batch is certainly Young Link, who also gives the best ingame reward in Breath of the Wild with the Fierce Deity items. So, this is the amiibo that you really want to have. I find the Twilight Princess amiibo a little boring, but that's probably because it's Twilight Princess. And at least his sword is straight. :D I also like, how they all wield different swords.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Normal and Master Mode Share Pictures

This is one interesting discovery by Lawaleeth010101 on Reddit. And everyone should be aware of this, if they start Master Mode!!

It seems that Nintendo implemented it so that Normal Mode and Master Mode share the same save data for pictures, probably in an effort to save some disc space required for the DLC. What does this mean? It means that any picture you take in Master Mode potentially overwrites your taken pictures in Normal Mode. For example this is a picture of the Ancient Bow in Normal Mode (as indicated by the lack of a tiny Triforce in the bottom left corner) with a Golden Lynel in the background, which should be impossible:

This happened, because the player took a new shot in Master Mode. Only purchased pictures from Symin are unaffected by this, they stay what they are in both modes. So, you can't use this to get your own pictures in Normal Mode of any entity that you've previously missed there.

How does this work?

Basically any entry in the Compendium is either a reference to the game data pictures (if you purchased it from Symin) or a reference to a picture in a folder on your Wii U / Switch / external hard drive (if you took the picture yourself). That folder of pictures gets shared between the two game modes, so whenever you take a new picture of something, it will also be displayed in the other mode, unless the entry had a reference to the purchased game data pictures.

Your Hyrule Compendium in Master Mode will still be empty in the beginning, because the entries don't have any references yet. So, you will be inclined to start over and take pictures of everything again, but this will overwrite any pictures you took in Normal Mode!! Unless Nintendo decides to fix this horrific behavior, you should be aware of this.

I personally invested quite some time in getting nice pictures on Normal Mode and I probably will just purchase all pictures in Master Mode this time, so nothing gets overwritten. If I ever play the Switch version, I will do it the other way around and take all pictures in Master Mode.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Breath of the Wild Master Log, Entry 2

The Trial of the Sword - Middle Trials

Those midpoint floors in the Trial of the Sword must be my new favorite thing in the game. These little havens of peace, where you can rest, cook and (mentally) prepare for the challenges ahead. You might even grab a fairy or two, unless they decide to fly away, even if you approach crouched and very slowly...

Overall the Middle Trials weren't that bad, probably even easier than the Beginning Trials. I thoroughly enjoyed the Guardian Scout part at the end and the air section was also pretty nice, because in aerial combat you can avoid most attacks and easily land lots of slowmo headshots on your enemies.

The dark room section on the other hand was creepy, because you can't even see the enemies right in front of you, unless they glow like the one Decayed Guardian... The room that probably gave me the most trouble was the one with the Fire-Breath Lizalfos, but I just realized that I could have used the Ice Arrows that you can obtain on Floor 3 to take them out quickly. You don't need them otherwise in this section.

And I actually died after blowing myself up with explosive barrels at the Decayed Guardian. And this was quite stupid. I was locked in a mindset, where in each room you have to be "smart" to deal with the enemies, while just rushing in with Stasis+ and hitting the thing with your strongest weapon (like you normally would on the overworld) was still the best way to deal with this situation...

But it was actually nice to repeat the first section and go in prepared. It's the thing with this kind of trial pit dungeons - I usually don't enjoy them on first try, where you head into the unknown, but they get a lot of fun once you know the rooms and all the tricks to them. It also goes down a lot faster.

Trial of the Sword - Final Trials

So, after I took a pause, I went on into the final trial. This time I abused a little trick, where you take any status effect into the trial with you. So, I prepared a triple defense boost lasting for 30 minutes (by cooking three Armored Porgies and one dragon horn) and used this right before going into the trial, which helps with the lack of any armor in the beginning.

Overall the Trial of the Sword was the first time, where I put more thoughts into cooking than the usual "cook one hearty ingredient after another" method for unlimited recovery. This cooking guide is a really helpful site for this, where you can try out any recipe in the game online, before you actually waste the ingredients ingame. For example I never would have bothered with cooking dragon parts, because those are such a rare item, but in this case it was good to find out about the added time bonus of 30 minutes. Anyway, you still find some hearty ingredients in the Final Trials in some of the resting places. And those give plenty of recovery for the trials ahead.

Well, the Final Trials consist of four zones in total, which I would call the "Thunderbone Zone", the "Scorching Zone", the "Frozen Zone" and the "Ruined Zone". It essentially follows the game's three main elements and then offers a Guardian-heavy finale.

The first zone is a little special in that it offers constant thunder strikes and lets you fight stal enemies for the most part. It ends with a Stalnox battle, who has three different elemental weapons attached to its body: a Thunderblade, a Great Frostblade and a Flamespear. The Giant Frostblade and the Flamespear are quite useful in the "Scorching Zone" and the "Frozen Zone" respectively, because they allow you to one-shot many enemies there and also help you battle the surrounding temperatures without any potion effects.

With the ice blocks in the "Frozen Zone" wood also became useful in this. I collected some in every trial, wondering if it ever would be of use (e.g. lighting a cooking pot), but this didn't happen until there. And this can be quite significant, especially with Frost Talus boss. There it's a good strategy to melt the ice blocks to open the air streams right before you wake the boss. With the air streams you can easily take out both the Igneo Talus and the Frost Talus using midair shots.

The Final Trials are the longest part with 23 floors in total (including three resting places), but it wasn't that hard overall. I did it on first try. A big role in that played the Ancient Arrows that can be gotten in this trial and used as a wildcard for any strong enemy. If used right, it makes this trial quite easy. I found a total of nine Ancient Arrows and took note, where they were located:

Ancient Arrows might be the main reason, why Nintendo used the Eventide mechanic and didn't let you bring any equipment into these trials, because otherwise you could just gather lots of Ancient Arrows and bomb every room with them.

I'm still surprised that they put some into the trial and with a total of 9 you can take care of every dangerous enemy here. There are two Lynels, two Guardians Stalkers, two Guardian Skywatchers and two Guardian Turrets towards the end. And you can one-shot all of them. I did defeat the first Skywatcher and the first turret in a "normal" manner to save some arrows for later, because I didn't know exactly what would be waiting for me (I expected fighting a Lynel and a Guardian at the same time). But it turned out that you can just kill them all with Ancient Arrows, if you want to... This takes away a big part of the challenge, but I'd rather clear the trial once and then play it for fun or for some extra challenge later on, where I don't have anything to lose.

For now I'm done with the trial and that's what counts.

After you complete the trial, you get this little cutscene with the Master Sword making Fi sounds again. They even subtly play Fi's theme in the melody during this.

Overall I found the Trial of the Sword quite enjoyable. It's certainly one of the better pit trials in the series, especially with the variety in room designs and themes. I also like, how it's split into three different trials, similar to the Treacherous Tower from A Link Between Worlds, while you can still play it all consecutively like with the Den of Trials in Tri Force Heroes. That's probably not worth the trouble, though, because each trial gives you all the items you need to survive. Only maybe saving some ancient weapons from the Middle Trials for the later Guardians might be worth it.

Things might also become very different in the Master Mode version. There it's possible that you don't get any Ancient Arrows at all or that Nintendo added more stronger enemies.

Chilling in the Deplian Badlands

Now that I've gotten all the new armor pieces and fully upgraded the Master Sword, there's only thing left to do for me in Normal Mode... Hunting down the remaining Koroks!

This certainly will relieve me of the stress from the Trial of the Sword. I really felt, how much I was on the edge after finishing the trial, when suddenly I didn't have to worry about getting hit anymore...

As my first tour, I exited the Lost Woods and wandered around the Great Hyrule Forest to the Deplian Badlands. I wanted to test the new Master Sword on some of the Lynels there and I also wanted to place my Travel Medallion in the area:

I still remember, how early in the game I wandered around there looking for a shrine without any luck. And I still hope that Nintendo will add additional EX shrines with the 2nd DLC, where this area would be well suited for an additional teleportation point.

Chest Rain

The tour around the Deplian Badlands led me to Mount Drena, where I witnessed a weird phenomenon. Probably caused by the floating platforms in Master Mode, there is a new glitched chest here in the game. It keeps dropping from the sky at the top of Mount Drena and then bouncing out of range, where the game immediately respawns the chest and the same thing happens again. So, you can watch a chest fall from the sky again and again, which is kind of funny.

Unlike the other glitched chests you can actually catch this one using Magnesis or Stasis, however...

It contains a Royal Halberd (or a random spear weapon). And apparently this also happens in Master Mode.

Current Progress:
  • EX Side Quests: 7/7
  • Koroks: 722/900
  • Map Rate: 85.27%

Friday, June 30, 2017

Breath of the Wild Master Log, Entry 1

Breath of the Wild got its first DLC Pack called "The Master Trials" and with that I'm fully back to the game. This will continue my Adventure Log series, just with focusing on the new features from the DLC, since I was mostly done with the base game.

The main attraction will be playing through the game in Master Mode again, but at first I will try the other additions in Normal Mode and I also want to fully complete my Normal Mode save file. I still need to collect 190 Koroks, where I want to use the new Korok Mask to find them all.

Hero's Path

The first thing I checked out was the new "Hero's Path Mode", which almost fills my entire map:

Thing is that I've played over 400 hours now and except for some Koroks I've found everything already, so this isn't really that interesting or helpful. I will certainly check out some of the gaps, but because this doesn't cover all of my game time, it shows gaps in places, where I've already been. For example there's this peak to the northwest of Hateno, which I've clearly have been avoiding, but the map shows that I've already found a Korok on top.

Enter EX

Because the Korok Mask is probably the most useful addition in the DLC, I aimed to get it right away. However, I wanted to try finding some of the new armor pieces without reading the new Rumor Mills or Misko's journal. And at least for the Korok Mask this worked quite well.

It didn't go as well with any of the other items. I thought that the Tingle costume might be located on the Tingle Islands, but this wasn't the case. And it probably would have taken forever to find the Travel Medallion...

Anyway, you can't place it inside Hyrule Castle, so there goes my shortcut to the top again... I will probably place it near the Deplian Badlands to access the Lynels there more quickly or on top of Hebra Peak for some snowboarding fun.

Ruins Chaser

Instead of wasting a lot of time trying to find the new items on my own, I decided to simply read Misko's journal and follow the leads. And those were rather single-minded, because all eight new armor pieces were hidden in the ruins in and around Hyrule Field and Hyrule Castle Town. So, I donned the new Korok Mask and my Ancient Armor to hunt for the new pieces...

And this wasn't all that difficult. If you're using the Sheikah Sensor+ to target treasure chests, you instantly know that you had the right answer. The only riddle that gave me some trouble for some reason was the "battleground where brave souls tested their skill". But it struck me, as soon as I saw the place in the distance, while wandering around Hyrule Field.

Anyway, I found all new armor pieces today:

But I have to say that I don't like, what Nintendo did here. Like with the Nintendo Switch Shirt, you can't enhance or re-obtain any of the DLC armor pieces. And the abilities are a joke, too.

Majora's Mask is essentially broken, because it combines all other enemy deceiving effects in one single item. It makes all of Kilton's masks completely obsolete, while at the same time it's much easier to get. It's one of the first items that you can find right after leaving the Great Plateau. Come on, Nintendo!

All the other new armor pieces are completely useless on the other hand, simply because you can't enhance them. In case of the Phantom Armor this would have been overpowered, because it combines the best armor values with Attack Boost of the Barbarian Armor, but they could have just given it some other bonus like Critical Hits.

Also, the Tingle costume could have had some gliding stamina boost and maybe a set bonus, where Rupees count double, instead of the silly Night Speed boost. I'm not sure about Midna's Helmet, but anything would have been better than just giving it "Guardian Resist", while there are already two head pieces in the game with the same effect and better stats...

With the new costumes the DLC really looks half-assed. This gives me the same feeling as when they first added paid DLC characters to Hyrule Warriors, which looked good, but were completely useless, because they didn't have any missions. Bad DLC can taint a good game.

The Trial of the Sword - Beginning Trials

Well, I also got a taste of the new trial dungeon, where I've beaten the Beginning Trials on my first try. Hardly, I might add, because the Hinox at the end almost killed me. I usually don't enjoy playing these types of challenges for the first time, where I'm heading into the unknown and where each mistake might throw you back to the beginning. I feel quite stressed, when playing these dungeon types, and it always feels like it's taking forever.

With that I'm quite happy that they have split it up in three individual trials, where I can make a good pause between each one and where I have some visible progress with the Master Sword getting 10 additional points of damage.

I think that they went somewhat overboard with the difficulty in some of the rooms, though, especially if you consider Master Mode. You don't get any armor in the beginning and only weak weapons, while they still let you fight two Black Lizalfos. And those would be two regenerating Silver Lizalfos in Master Mode.

Overall I was looking forward to Master Mode, but on the overworld you always have the option to avoid enemies as a strategy. In the Trial of the Sword you have to beat them all, where things might get ridiculous in Master Mode, which lowers my anticipation quite a bit...

It's also interesting to note, how they deactivated the Champion abilities (or the Master Sword itself) in this trial. It shows that this system of regenerating abilities doesn't work in such an environment, because some players probably would wait on each floor, until everything was regained. It works in the base game, because you often can move on from difficult fights and do something else, while you let your powers regenerate in the meantime. But in this room-based environment it would probably result in unnecessary stalling.

Current Progress:
  • EX Side Quests: 6/7
  • Koroks: 721/900
  • Map Rate: 85.19%

Breath of the Wild: The Master Trials DLC Released

The "The Master Trials" DLC Pack was released exactly 4 hours ago containing the Trial of the Sword, Master Mode, Hero's Path Mode, the Travel Medallion, the Korok Mask and "Misko's Treasure".

On the Wii U downloading the DLC might behave a little weird. After installing it, the game will tell you that you have to perform a System Update first, while there is none. Afterwards it will download and install another small update.

Unlike with the chests in the Purchase Bonus, which got dropped on the Great Plateau, they actually left hints for where to find the new items. It starts with a series of six new EX Side Quests, which are left in your Adventure Log. Those lead you to places with some new journals or books, which then lead you to the new ingame items. So, you don't have to walk all over the world with your Sheikah Sensor+ to find the chests.

They also added a telepathic Sheikah Monk message and another EX Side Quest for the Trial of the Sword, which leads you to the Deku Tree, who explains the whole thing:

So, Nintendo made sure that you won't miss any of the new additions.

As a side note, the Hero's Path Mode also keeps track of "deaths", where you used up a fairy.

Also, from what I have heard, Master Mode does more than just upgrading all enemies and adding floating platforms. There will be tougher enemy placements as well, which is very good news!

(I still have to work today, so I won't be able to check it all out until today's evening. But I will dedicate my whole weekend to the DLC in my new "Master Log" series as a continuation of my Adventure Log.)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Return of Macho Tingle

Breath of the Wild is getting its first DLC tomorrow with the "Master Trials" and to celebrate Nintendo published developer posts about each of the new outfits, almost as if dropping some costume pieces in treasure chests all over the map is something special. Well, at least the post about the Tingle costume made me realize that this actually marks the return of Macho Tingle, as seen in the above illustration.

Originally this was part of the intro of Color Changing Balloon Trip of Love, but Link's new costume is certainly close enough:

I guess, after they made such a big thing out of each single costume, the "Champions' Ballad" DLC will probably also have armor pieces, which are all fan service material and based on characters / things from past Zelda games.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Metroid: Zero Mission Revisited

After the announcement of Samus Returns, I decided to return to my endeavor from last year, where I started revisiting various Metroid titles, both Metroid II - Return of Samus on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console and Metroid Prime Hunters at the time. For now I want to replay several 2D Metroid games on the Wii U Virtual Console, where I started with Zero Mission, because there was a discount available at My Nintendo and because I haven't played this game since 2008, where I first got into the Metroid franchise.

Similar to Metroid Fusion, I never owned Zero Mission on my original GameBoy Advance. And I'm kind of glad that I didn't, because I can't imagine myself ever completing this game without the help of Restore Points. The amount of pixel perfect input perfection required to perform the various Shine Spark stunts in order to get some of the pick ups is just ridiculous. Especially the one Energy Container at Chozodia, where you have to hit several slopes and quickly store another Shine Spark, probably would have broken either my fingers or my GameBoy Advance, if I ever had tried this on the original version. With Restore Points it's doable, because if you screw up a single part, you just have to repeat this (given you saved right before it) and not start over from the very beginning.

What also took me quite a while was the Missile Expansion in the lower right corner of the Ridley area, because I tried getting this as early as possible... Other than the Shine Spark sequence to get there, you also have to get through a maze of dissolving blocks. It's a lot easier to do with the Space Jump ability, but then you would have to return there later in the game, which costs a lot of time. So, this time I tried to do it without it, which took many tries... There's lots and lots of mastery in this game.

Another infamous example would be within the tunnels of Brinstar, where you can get a Super Missile very early in the game, right after obtaining the Speed Booster and the Spring Ball:

It's probably even necessary, if you want to get a 100% item rating under 2 hours, which is required for some of the endings. I'm not gunning for this, though, I'm settling with completing the game on both Normal and Hard with 100% items. Other than Other M I hadn't beaten any Metroid games on Hard / Hyper Mode yet, because usually I felt like the games were hard enough on Normal Mode or I had trouble getting past the first big boss. But this time I'm up for a challenge.

Hardest part was probably the Mother Brain boss fight, which is absolutely atrocious in any difficulty. I actually had to go back and collect some missing Super Missile packs (6 of them do the trick), because otherwise this fight is just endlessly frustrating. Again having Restore Points made the whole thing more bearable.

But I like, how in a New Game+ it does show, how many items there are in each area and how many you found already. This is really helpful, because on my first playthrough I had to study maps on the internet in order to find some of the last Missile Expansions that I had missed....

In general Zero Mission isn't one of my favorite Metroid games and probably never will be, despite this being a solid title. I really enjoy, how they remade the first game and translated it into the style of Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. That's really well done, but they had to up the ante and that's where this remake failed me. I don't like running away from invincible foes in video games, so I ultimately found the whole Zero Suit section of the game to be not enjoyable. It even kills a good part of the replay value for me, which is probably why I never bothered with replaying this game up until now...

It's also a very long section of the game, where they've created this massive maze on top of a game world that already wasn't very easy to navigate to begin with. You can waste a lot of precious time just getting from A to B in this game. And this makes me look forward to the teleport stations in Samus Returns even more, because this feels like one of the best possible additions to the franchise (they had teleporters in Hunters, but there it wasn't all that helpful).

It also ruined a part of the continuity, which Retro Studios tried to establish with Metroid Prime, where Samus has some of the abilities from the first game ready in the beginning, but she loses them. It's almost like Sakamoto actively wanted to discredit Metroid Prime, where he likes to remind everyone that he isn't involved with the Prime series. That they added the Gravity Suit, Power Bombs and all the other typical upgrades to the remake also felt a little bit uninspired and to a degree unnecessary.

Anyway, it was still quite fun and I'm looking forward to replaying Super Metroid next month.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Nintendo Classic Mini: SNES Announced

Nintendo announced the Mini Classic version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System with the following list of games:

As I thought last year, when the NES Mini was announced, the main problem with a potential SNES Mini would be missing games. In my case I only was worried Terranigma, because this game never appeared on any Virtual Console, but I'm also missing one of my other favorites: Harvest Moon. Those two were my absolute favorite SNES games next to A Link to the Past and Super Metroid.

And there are plenty more renowned titles missing from that list: Donkey Kong Country 2 & 3, Secret of Evermore, Seiken Densetsu 3, Lufia II, Chrono Trigger, Illusion of Gaia - to name a few. The SNES is known for its great RPG library, but Nintendo didn't make good use of that.

Starfox 2 is certainly an interesting surprise, however, where I would like to see more of that in the future. I'm sure Nintendo has some more interesting unreleased goodies up their sleeves.

Anyway, it's not for me, I'm happy with the Wii U Virtual Console, where I at least can play Harvest Moon. And I won't have to worry about getting one of these things, which might be difficult, because Nintendo doesn't like to match the demands these days.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 36

Star Fragment Farming

Overall I have taken a pause from Breath of the Wild for the last month, but now and then I returned to farm some Star Fragments, usually to do something at the side while voice chatting with people. So far I have been gunning for Silver Lynels, but because the drop rate of Star Fragments is so low (around 5%) and because you have to wait for a Blood Moon to do it again, it felt quite stagnating.

This is why I was trying the Dueling Peaks method, which you often see on GameFAQs as a recommendation for Star Fragment farming. All you have to do is warp to the Shee Vaneer Shrine on top of the Dueling Peak, get to the top and observe the sky towards the northwest between 9PM and 2AM. You want to look between the Great Plateau and Hyrule Castle:

Don't look at Lake Hylia or the swamp area, because otherwise the Star Fragment might drop into the water and disappear.

Anyway, at first this method didn't work for me at all. I had luck in the first night, but then I didn't get any more Star Fragments. This had me frustrated, because this method seemingly wasn't more effective than the Silver Lynel fights, while standing around and waiting for nothing was super boring...

But I was doing it wrong. I made the mistake of skipping to the next night with a fire right after 2AM. And that's where the mistake was. You have to skip to the next morning first and then skip to the night. And voilà! A Star Fragment! In fact, this method was so effective that I got one Star Fragment on every single night. With within a few hours I was able to farm all the Star Fragments that I still needed for the amiibo armor and more.

When one falls, just mark it with your scope and teleport to the nearest shrine. The Star Fragments usually dropped around Wahgo Katta Shrine for me and were very easy to collect. And contrary to some statements that you might find, this works on any moon phase, even during a Blood Moon:

Just make sure to bring a Flame Blade. This way can quickly ignite a fire on top of Dueling Peaks and it will also keep you warm so that you don't have to equip any warmer clothes.

Well, I now got enough Star Fragments to upgrade all remaining amiibo gear, including the ones from the new Link amiibo released last Friday. And this concludes my efforts to upgrade all armor in the game, so the DLC may come.

Current Progress:
  • Koroks: 710/900
  • Map Rate: 84.28%

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Metroid: Samus Returns - Legacy Edition Pictured

So, we're getting this in Europe:

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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ever Oasis: Random Dungeons

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Breath of the Wild: The Master Trials @ Treehouse Live

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Metroid: Samus Returns Announced

Watch the trailer here and the Treehouse Live segment here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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