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...


Update:

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.

Metroid Prime 4 Announced



All Nintendo had to do was display a big "4" in space to win E3 2017. Metroid Prime 4. That's all we wanted from this E3 and that's all we needed to hear to be happy.

After the debacle with both Federation Force and the shutdown of Another Metroid 2 Remake last year, it's nice to finally get some real Metroid from Nintendo again with both this and a new 2D Metroid for the Nintendo 3DS.

That they're willing to tease a game this early in development already shows, how Nintendo wanted to make it up to the Metroid fans after last year. It's still a shame that we didn't get to see any actual gameplay yet and we might have to be patient until E3 next year.

The shocking news was that Metroid Prime 4 actually isn't developed by Retro Studios. What can happen, if some other team under the direction of Kensuke Tanabe takes over Metroid Prime, has been effectively demonstrated with Federation Force, which had very low sales. I don't want to bash the game all that much, because I still have to play it and it didn't feel that bad from when I tried it, but it's still not what people wanted from Metroid.

On the other hand the Retro Studios that we know and love isn't the same anymore after several key members have left the company. So, even if it still was developed by Retro Studios you would have to be cautiously optimistic. But let's hope for the best, because this is certainly a game that Nintendo doesn't want to screw up. The Metroid Prime Trilogy contains three absolute master pieces and we wouldn't want the sequel to face any drop in quality. Quite the opposite.

Breath of the Wild: Champion amiibo Announced


Called it!

They haven't announced a release date yet, but I take it that it they might get released alongside the "The Champions' Ballad" DLC Pack later this year, because this ties in perfectly. The German press release also states that they are going to be released "end of 2017".

The game also needs an update to support them and it's doubtful that the June 30th update will provide this so soon. But maybe it will, since the three upcoming Link amiibo were already supported by the base game months ahead.

I'm not particularly excited about the quality of the amiibo, because they all ended up with poles. But it's certainly hilarious and somewhat fitting, how they put a large pole right between Urbosa's legs. Gotta get that one, before they alter it like the Dildo Edition Zelda amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. line for obvious reasons.

They also didn't say a word about functionality, but they probably just give weapons and items similar to most other Zelda amiibo. It's just a question of whether the Champion weapons will be a part of it or not, but since they are seen in the actual figurines, it would be a shame, if they aren't.

Breath of the Wild: Expansion Pass - First DLC Trailer


Watch the trailer here. It gave us the first moving pictures of the first DLC Pack called "The Master Trials", as well as a teaser for the second DLC Pack called "The Champions' Ballad". The first pack will already be released in two weeks on June 30th, so we can return to the game with new content pretty soon.

It does confirm the existence of Golden Enemies, as you can see with the impressive illustration above. It almost makes me wish for a Golden Lynel amiibo to be released alongside the pack.

The "Trial of the Sword" seems to offer some good variety, especially with the designs of the individual rooms and challenges. And it seems like you will be able to grab some armor pieces along your way, because Link is wearing the Flamebreaker Boots in the last bit.

It's nice to see the new armor in motion, but other than the Korok Mask we still don't know what they will do.

Nintendo also released a fact sheet and the best news here is that the new "Master Mode" will offer a separate save slot. This takes away one of my concerns in my wishlist for the game. I wouldn't want to delete my current savegame or create a new profile on my Wii U or Nintendo Switch just so I can start playing Master Mode...


The mode itself still looks kind of underwhelming, despite the golden foes and the floating platforms. They should have done a little bit more with it, e.g. adding more Guardians to the world, switching some stuff around and so on. But I'm still looking forward to replay the game in this mode and I also like the name "Master Mode" much better than "Hard Mode".


They also teased the 2nd DLC and gave it a theme, where it revolves around the four Champions. You can see Kass standing in a new location offering to play the "Champions' Ballad":


This is above Zora's Domain and I always felt like there should have been a shrine or something else up there... But it might be that Kass can be found in view of all four Divine Beasts and his additional encounters trigger some new memories about the Champions, for example how they got into their positions in the first place. So, the DLC could fill some more gaps in Link's memories.

But it doesn't seem to be an epilogue story, like I originally hoped it would be in my predictions. You can clearly see Vah Ruta in it's firing position with the beam going at Hyrule Castle, which only happens during the game and not before or after.

It's also unclear, how all of this will tie up with a new dungeon or whether the dungeon might even be entirely separate from the "story".

E3 2017: Roundup

METROID IS BACK, BABY!!!

Nintendo's main presentation is over and I'm fairly happy with the result. About half of my E3 2017 Predictions became a reality. They showed us more of the Breath of the Wild DLC, where in this turn they also confirmed two of my major predictions:


No Breath of the Wild movie, though. Also, there wasn't a Smartphone Zelda announced, but the Spotlight focused on Nintendo Switch anyway, so this still might happen.

And finally they have announced Metroid Prime 4! But sadly it seems they aren't far enough into development to show any of it this year, so it's probably something for E3 2018 and they just made the teaser to give us something. Otherwise there probably would have been a riot from the Metroid fanbase.

The biggest surprise to me probably was that they didn't announce a Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, because after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Pokémon Tournament Deluxe and many more Switch ports this seems like an obvious cash-in. Still can happen, though! It seems like they want to focus on ARMS and Splatoon 2 this E3, where Smash Bros. for Switch would have taken away a lot of the attention.

More thoughts about the individual announcement coming soon!


Update:

Metroid: Samus Returns announced for Nintendo 3DS! Nice! This is another prediction I got right. Last year, after they shot down AM2R, I made the prediction that they are working on a Metroid 2 Remake themselves, probably based on Other M (see The Future of Metroid - a future now confirmed). Also, this really confirms that there are currently two Metroids in development, one classic title and a Prime game.

E3 2017: Last Minute Predictions


I've updated my E3 2017 Predictions from last month with some ideas I had just now. If there's really going to be a Metroid Prime 4 announced today, then Sylux might also join the roster of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch and there might be an HD Remaster of the Metroid Prime Trilogy coming to Switch.

Enjoy the show, everyone!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

World of Hylia - Zelda RPG Concept


This is an idea, which I had early on while playing through Breath of the Wild... Essentially all Nintendo would have to do is take the world of Breath of the Wild and use it for more of a RPG-like gaming experience. The key aspect here is that you would create your own character in one of the following races:

  • Hylian
  • Sheikah
  • Zora
  • Goron
  • Rito
  • Gerudo

While Link is the all-rounder, who can do it all, here each race has specific traits. Sheikah would be good at stealth, but they are weaker in general. Zora can swim fast and swim up waterfalls, but they are weak to electricity. Gorons can roll around using stamina and swim through lava, but they can't swim through normal waters. They can also swing two-handed weapons at ease, while they can't use bows or smaller weapons. Rito can fly around using their stamina and they are good archers. Gerudo are good fighters in general and show better heat resistance, but are weak to the cold. And the Hylians are simply the default characters with no specific perks or disadvantages.

The player would go through a typical character creator in the beginning of the game, where he can also define the gender and the looks of the character to his liking. And depending on the tribe, he or she will start in a different location of the world map. Then you take on quests, try to improve your character or do whatever you do in a RPG like this.

The world would be the same as in Breath of the Wild, but the RPG would take place either ~100 years before or after the game. This way Nintendo could recycle the game world of Breath of the Wild, where the players would already be familiar with the environments, while at the same time it could explore new things. Hyrule Castle and Hyrule Castle Town could be there in full glory with a real population, instead of being some decayed ruins full of Guardians. Nintendo could also extend the world at some of the borders, where you currently just run into invisible walls.


Multiplayer?

Now, there's the question, whether this should become a singleplayer experience or a multiplayer (MMORPG) experience, where you play together with other people all over the internet. This could be even a potential direction, where multiplayer Zelda is headed.

Minidungeons could appear all over the world similar to the Sheikah Shrines, where for each a certain number of people is required or at least recommended. This could work similar to the pedestals in Tri Force Heroes, where everyone has to step into the "Triforce" to enter the next area.

Only problem with multiplayer would be the new fighting mechanic of Breath of the Wild with its slow motion parts. This would be really hard to get right in multiplayer. Hyrule Warriors partially has the same issue with Special Attacks during coop, where the other player can essentially walk around the frozen enemies and look at the attack at different angles. It could work similarly in a multiplayer game based on Breath of the Wild, at least for melee combat and flurry rushes. The mid-air archery is what makes things complicated. You can't just freeze the game for everyone in your proximity, while you do this.

Another issue would be inventory management, where you can spent quite some time within Breath of the Wild's menus. Even switching weaponry over the D-Pad shortcuts can take its time. Here the game normally pauses, which also wouldn't be possible in a multiplayer experience. So, if Nintendo ever wanted to try this, there are certainly some technical hurdles to take.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Don't Be Fooled by Their Similar Names


My Nintendo has currently an offer, where you get 40% off of Oracle of Ages, Oracles of Seasons and Skyward Sword. What caught my attention is the following description about both Oracle games:

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages and The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons are Game Boy Color classics. Don't be fooled by their similar names - both games offer a unique story and are packed with adventure, puzzles and classic Zelda action.

Even 16 years after their release, Nintendo seemingly is still afraid that there might be confusion about this being one and the same game with different features. And there really might be. They have Pokémon to thank for this mentality. And even at the time of the release, Nintendo had to do a lot of advertising to communicate that these are actually two fully developed Zelda adventures. I still have some flyers and magazine ads from that time stating "an adventure too big for just one game". And even up to this date Nintendo is still fighting the Pokémon stigma about the Oracle games.

This might even be the reason, why Nintendo never tried something similar again with the Zelda series. This is somewhat of a shame, because the games were ahead of their time and today they could function without any complicated password system. But of course today they can put 32GB of data on a cartridge, so there isn't even a good excuse to release two similar games separately at the same time. Just the opposite, like with A Link to the Past & Four Swords they could put two games on one cartridge. Even at the time of the GameBoy Color, it was technically possible to put both games on one cartridge (the games used 2MB cartridges, while 4MB and 8MB GameBoy cartridges existed - you could even find a version with both games on one cartridge). Or if Breath of the Wild is any indication, they could just develop one big game, instead of two smaller ones.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Breath of the Wild: DLC Pack 2 Speculation

This still might be too early, because at this point we haven't even seen the first DLC in action yet. We don't even know yet, when the first DLC will be released. But I've already put a lot of thoughts into this, where I want to share some ideas. Also, with the first DLC I came too late for some predictions, where it's probably best to share all of this as early as possible.

Here's what the official website says about the 2nd DLC's contents:

  • New dungeon
  • An original story
  • More new challenges

New Dungeon and Story

I think that these two will probably go hand in hand. So, you will play the new dungeon as part of the new story and the new story will lead you to the dungeon. Simple as that. The real question is, what kind of story and what kind of dungeon will we get?

So far the game has three different types of dungeons: the Sheikah Shrines (as mini dungeons), the Divine Beasts and Hyrule Castle. Hyrule Castle does have similar visuals to the Divine Beasts, but it's fully intertwined with the surrounding overworld. And it seems that the "Trial of the Sword" will use the same visuals as the shrines, but mixes it with overworld assets and enemies. It's doubtful, but possible that the new dungeon will come up with something entirely new.


At first I thought that they could just add another Divine Beast, after all you can play any number of them, before facing the final boss. Another Divine Beast then simply would add to the damage. However, they can't just add another boss like that, since because of the Boss Rush it would make the "early Ganon" challenge even harder by buying the DLC.

Also, it would break a certain pattern within the four Divine Beasts that the game already has established. Each Divine Beast dungeon represents one of the game's main elements and focuses on a specific Sheikah Slate Rune. The same goes for the four bosses, where each boss also fights in the style of one of the main weapon types in the game, which is the same as the Champion weapon that you get afterwards. So, you have a pattern like this:

  • Vah Medoh: Wind, Stasis, Bow/Distance
  • Vah Ruta: Ice, Cryonis, Spear
  • Vah Rudania: Fire, Bombs, Giant Blade
  • Vah Naboris: Electricity, Magnesis, Sword and Shield

Unless they also introduce a new rune, a new weapon type and weapon element for the DLC, I would doubt that there's going to be a fifth Divine Beast. Another problem would be the actual placement. It needs a large space to wander around and afterwards it needs to be placed somewhere, where it can sit and fire at Hyrule Castle. And it doesn't seem like there's any space left for this, despite there being quite some empty areas. In general the Faron region could use a dungeon, because it's only big region named after a Goddess that doesn't have one. But it's quite the overgrown area...

Also, from a story standpoint it would feel weird to introduce this now, since the Calamity Ganon lore ever only depicted four Divine Beasts and four Champions. Of course it's still possible that a fifth one was made and still needs to be excavated, where they even could bring back the Mogma race for the task. But all in all this would completely feel like it's coming out of nowhere.

Of course this is a general problem with the DLC, which is probably why Nintendo sneaked in the "Trial of the Sword" via the Master Sword pedestal to make it fit without altering the rest of the game too much. But the Sheikah Shrines and Towers also appear out of nowhere, where the 2nd DLC could make use of this "habit" to actually place a new dungeon somewhere in the environment. Finding a large shrine somewhere wouldn't feel entirely out of place.

And the Sheikah Shrines themselves are the closest that we got to a traditional dungeon in the game, you even have the typical Small Keys in some of them. It could be that they simply add a large, special Sheikah Temple to provide a classic Zelda dungeon experience.

Storywise it would be interesting to learn more about what happened 10.000 years ago at the rise of both Calamity Ganon and Sheikah technology. And it would also be interesting to know, how the Triforce still fits into all of this. We only briefly see it in the Calamity Ganon tapestry and it also seems to be part of Zelda's sealing power, but it never gets fully put into the picture or even mentioned by name.

I could even see the Triforce as the fifth dungeon icon. Right now you have the four animals of the Divine Beasts as icons on your loading screen (and for the Champion abilities), where another additional dungeon could represented as a Triforce icon. In the Four Swords Anniversary Edition they even added a new stage in form of a Triforce with the "Realm of Memories", which is why a Triforce-based DLC-dungeon would have a familiar tone to it.

Also, so far Nintendo has used the following artwork to advertise the DLC:


This doesn't have to mean anything, but it creates the impression that Zelda will also play an important part in the DLC story. It could technically even be possible that you're going to play in the epilogue scenario, where you travel together with Zelda after the defeat of Calamity Ganon to explore new shrines that have been appearing all over Hyrule, including a large temple.

However, this might be difficult to implement with the current system. You would enter this new stage of the game by defeating the final boss (so, everyone with a fully completed save file would simply have to beat Ganon again to get into the DLC). But this only should work, after you've freed all four Divine Beasts, because otherwise this might create a mess, especially if Zelda's supposed to be your companion in the DLC part. They probably would use the same requirements that you need to see the current epilogue, where you have to collect all 18 memories to get there (which includes freeing the Divine Beasts).

The rest of the game could stay the same, so you could still complete any other missing tasks with Zelda at your side. If you enter a shrine, she would wait at the entrance (and probably be annoyed), similar to how Marin waits for you in Link's Awakening, if you enter the Southern Face Shrine. Hyrule Castle would be still in ruins and you could explore it normally to find any missing Koroks or whatever, maybe even with Zelda at your side all the time, who could be giving some comments about her destroyed or study and other things. But the Guardians all should probably be gone, which makes this a little boring. But they could add new threats to this stage of the game...

This would also remedy the current ending of the game, which feels somewhat lackluster. But on the other hand we probably shouldn't expect as much, if the first DLC is any indication.


Additional Challenges

This could mean absolutely anything, but what I would like to see the most is new Sheikah Shrines, eight in total. Why exactly eight? Well, this would make this a total of 128 Sheikah Shrines, which is a pretty number in information sciences, an exponentiation of base 2, two times 64. Numbers like these are often used by Nintendo anyway. And considering that the new dungeon might give an additional Heart Container, it would allow you to reach the maximum of Heart Containers and Stamina Vessels in the game by collecting eight more Spirit Orbs.

It would also be nice to have a couple more travel points, for example the northern border of the Eldin region could desperately use a shrine there. Or there's nothing on the mountains north of Zora's Domain.

These new "EX shrines" could be made part of the epilogue scenario, where they look differently from normal shrines (similar to the EX chests) and where they suddenly have appeared all over Hyrule. Other than new Spirit Orbs they could hold the keys to the new Sheikah Temple dungeon. So, at first you'd have to find the eight new shrines, before you can explore the big new dungeon. Maybe they even contain eight Triforce Shards, where you'd have this classic Zelda quest in a new garb. Or it could work similar to the current game with the Divine Beasts, where finding the keys is optional, but helpful in the new dungeon, just on a much smaller scale. This way the players wouldn't be forced to look for the new shrines, if they don't want to.

What other "challenges" could there be? If it's a really just new shrines, they probably would have said so. Nintendo could come up with something entirely new here, which the game hasn't seen yet. They could also add a new type of overworld boss for another Medal of Honor. Or they could add new Side Quests, which might fill some gaps, for example there is currently nothing to do with the Lord of the Mountain.


New Armor

Most of the new rewards in the first DLC are new armor pieces, nine in total. And as chance would have it, the current armor menu then will have only room left for exactly nine more pieces of armor, if you only got one copy of everything. So, the armor menu will probably be filled at the very end, if you have all the DLC and all the amiibo gear.

The first DLC will add three different masks and for the second DLC I would like to see more pairs of boots. One could be the "Spiked Boots" that would provide the much needed ability to climb in the rain. The other could be the classic "Pegasus Boots" that make you walk faster without any food/potion effects.

As for full sets, I would love to have something similar to the Sword Master Suit from Tri Force Heroes, something that makes Link look like the most epic and glorious knight ever. With the release of Super Mario Odyssey they might also put Link in a Mario outfit, which makes him jump a little higher. And in general I would expect something super silly like an Agitha outfit (including the dress), which makes it easier to collect bugs. If Tri Force Heroes was any indication, then anything is possible when it comes to Link's wardrobe.

If it's just about pure functionality, I would like to have Bomb Outfit, where the bombs do (much) more damage and the set bonus prevents you from getting hurt by your own bombs.

Also, I would like to get more horse gear, like a Dragon Bridle and Saddle or an Ancient Bridle and Saddle.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Boss Rush?

Did you know that there's actually a Boss Rush in the game?



And this gives me the idea that I'd really like some boss rush like this somewhere else in the game. The upcoming "Trial of the Sword" in the first DLC Pack could make you face all four main bosses again as well, maybe even all of them one after another in the last room. This certainly would be a nice challenge.

But going through the entire "Trial of the Sword" will probably take very long and ideally I would be able to replay the above scenario at any time, because it looks pretty epic and like a lot of fun. But the upcoming "Hard Mode" for example could still feature the boss rush at the end in any case just for kicks.

Hyrule Warriors 2: First Predictions

Hyrule Warriors has proven to be a great source of entertainment for Zelda fans during the years of waiting for Breath of the Wild. And it shouldn't come as a surprise, when Koei Tecmo develops another Hyrule Warriors title for the Nintendo Switch, after they are done with Fire Emblem Warriors. While this could be yet another enhanced port of the same game, we already had that on the Nintendo 3DS with Hyrule Warriors - Legends. For the Switch it would be nice, if we get a proper sequel with improved gameplay, new ideas and more.

So, here are some first thoughts about a potential Hyrule Warriors 2. After Fire Emblem Warriors has been showcased at E3, it might also be possible to say more. However, right now it doesn't look like it has any meaningful improvements over Hyrule Warriors on Wii U and 3DS.


Focus on Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild has become a big success and wildly popular, the game finally delivers a new base for the Zelda series in many ways. And with a new Hyrule Warriors game, they should set a clear focus on this. They could start by developing a roster based on Breath of the Wild, where the artworks of the game already look like they were made for a new Hyrule Warriors game to begin with, because they depict each character with a distinct weapon:


  • Link (Bow and Sword)
  • Zelda (Sheikah Slate)
  • Mipha (Zora Trident)
  • Daruk (Hammer Sword)
  • Revali (Rito Bow)
  • Urbosa (Gerudo Scimitar)

Some of the Champion descendants also could get their own character slots, especially Sidon and Riju are quite popular. In case of Riju she could even be different enough from Urbosa, if she uses the Thunder Helmet as her weapon type and unleashes lighting-based attacks on her enemies. With Sidon it might be difficult to find a weapon that's not just a copy of Mipha's or Ruto's fighting styles, because he never uses any special items in the game, just his charming personality. Yunobo also has his own charm, but his signature move is already used by Daruk. But of course you could say the same about Riju and lightning attacks. Teba is probably the least interesting, who doesn't really stand out when compared to Revali.

Another possible character from Breath of the Wild would be the "Old Man" using the Paraglider on the battlefield.

The story of the new Hyrule Warriors itself could take place some time after or maybe even before Breath of the Wild, in the era of ancient technology. Cia and Lana would still be the gatekeepers to other eras and they could receive visual upgrades, where both have more "technological" looks. Technology is the new magic after all. It even does fit their previous characters, where the Summoning Gates (probably based on the Gate of Time) seemed like a piece of technology, instead of something that's pure magic. So, Cia and Lana entering the age of technology could fit rather well.

They would also be the bridge to previous eras and summon various of heroes from all times for help, including the four Champions of Hyrule and characters from the previous Hyrule Warriors game. Koei Tecmo usually keeps all previous characters in a Warriors sequel, while there certainly also will be new characters from past Zelda games, not just Breath of the Wild.

Naturally we'd also like to see more stages and troops, where Breath of the Wild will be front runner. Zora, Rito and Gerudo warriors could be based on the game. There could be Guardian armies with the weakest type of Guardian Sentinels as the base enemy. And the game's Bokoblins, Moblins, Lizalfos and even Lynels also provide excellent entries for new enemy designs.

However, what makes the fighting in Breath of the Wild so great is the new combat system with its versatile enemies, the perfect dodging, the mid-air archery, the shield parrying and more. Ideally Koei Tecmo would also try to incorporate some of the new mechanics into their game and make the fights a little bit more challenging. Especially the Lynels shouldn't become some super-easy jokes with their Warriors renditions.

The stamina system could also become a part of the game and potentially replace the current magic system. Running around swiftly would deplete stamina (but not as much as in Breath of the Wild) and so would certain attacks. This way characters could also collect Stamina Vessels, instead of having too many Heart Containers (and Pieces).


Callable Mounts and Weapon Swaps

In Hyrule Warriors only Link could ride over the battlefield by using Epona as his "weapon". A sequel could introduce a slightly different system, where you can call mounts to cross the battlefields in a faster pace. Your moveset (and weapon) would change during the riding phase. So, instead of being a separate weapon, Link's horse would be something that he can call at any time and dismount at any time to return to his normal moveset.

Of course he wouldn't be the only character with such an option. Zelda could call her royal white stallion and Ganondorf could call the giant horse. Riju and Urbosa could use Sand Seals (Patricia in Riju's case). Goron characters could use some gecko-like Dodongo creature. Or Twili Midna could summon a large shadow wolf. But of course not every character would qualify for a mount, for example Fi would look really weird riding anything... It would only apply, where it makes sense.

Another possibility would be that characters could bring multiple weapons onto the battlefield and switch between them at any time. Only in certain cases the "switch" might feel awkward, e.g. Link switching to the Great Fairy. But she could become her own character to begin with, using a "Bottled Hero" as her weapon type.

Also, certain characters could share weapon types among each other. For example Cia and Lana could both use the Summoning Gate, while the Dominion Rod could be another weapon for Twili Midna.


New Adventure Mode

Overall Adventure Mode needs something new. Legends had a total of 10 different Adventure Maps with the tile-based mission system and if you've gone through all of that, chances are that having the exact same Adventure Mode again would lack any kind of motivation.

For the sequel a 16-bit variant based on A Link to the Past could be an interesting option. They could also stay with the classic 8-bit look and use "2D Zelda Prototype" that got created during the development of Breath of the Wild as an inspiration:


They could turn the entire Hyrule of Breath of the Wild into 8-bit, which certainly would be amazing and offer enough space to include enough missions for dozens of characters.

Apropos missions, in both cases the Adventure Mode wouldn't utilize a tile-based system anymore. Instead you would wander around with your 8/16-bit character and interact with the Adventure Map more like you would do in a Zelda game. "Challenge Battles" would be represented as enemies and "Adventure Battles" as shrines, caves or dungeons. So, by attacking an enemy that you see on the map, you would initiate a specific Challenge Battle. Different enemy tiers could even represent the difficulty level of the mission, where the toughest Challenge Battles are hidden under Golden Lynels for example.

Overall Adventure Mode would play more like an actual Zelda game, but at the same time it's still a "menu" and should allow for quick navigation of some sort, e.g. with a zoom out function.


Conclusion

Following Breath of the Wild, implementing a new Adventure Mode and of course adding many new characters and possibilities. Only this way Hyrule Warriors 2 could become a worthy sequel.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Breath of the Wild: 100% Completion


A topic of interested for Hyrule Blog always has been 100% completion, so let's compile a guide about what it takes to achieve the same for Breath of the Wild, if you're really willing to go this far.

Well, to achieve true 100% completion, you have to take care of the following tasks:


1) Beating them Game

This seems self-explanatory, however, most Zelda games don't actually save your game or register anything, if you beat them. In these cases you could even argue that beating the game doesn't really add anything to your save file and therefore might not be strictly necessary for 100% completion. Breath of the Wild on the other hand takes note of this. After you've beaten Ganon, your save game will be marked with a star and the menus will show different entries for completion, e.g. number of completed quests and the completion rate of your map.

(When the first DLC gets released, you'd want to do this and all of the following in "Hard Mode".)


2) Obtaining all Key Items

The Key Item menu is probably the first stop to check your completion status. While the Sheikah Slate and the Paraglider are received as part of your journey, several other items are given for completing various tasks. So, here's what you have to achieve:

  • Complete all four Divine Beasts to get the different Champion abilities
  • Complete Hyrule Compendium and receive the Classified Envelope
  • Collect all 900 Korok Seeds and receive Hestu's Gift
  • Defeat all 84 Overworld Bosses and receive all three Medals of Honor
  • Obtain all ten pieces of Horse Gear
  • Find the Travel Medallion (DLC only)

You need the Rider Link amiibo in order to get the Traveler's Bridle and the Traveler's Saddle.


3) Getting all Heart Containers and Stamina Vessels

Other than discovering and completing all 120 Sheikah Shrines, you have to take their Spirit Orbs to a Goddess Statue to receive all Heart Containers and Stamina Vessels. (You can trade them to the statue at Hateno Village afterwards, if you don't want them.)

There are also four additional Heart Containers gotten from defeating the bosses of the Divine Beasts. If you forget to take them, you will find them right next to the Divine Beasts.


4) Obtaining the Master Sword

You need to collect 13 Heart Containers in order to pull the only permanent weapon in the game out of its pedestal. (The first DLC will also allow you to upgrade the Master Sword by finishing the "Trial of the Sword".)


5) Completing the Adventure Log

The "Adventure Log" part of the menu lists several quests and all of Link's recoverable memories. You can see the totals after beating the game:

  • 14/15 Main Quests
  • 76/76 Side Quests
  • 42/42 Shrine Quests
  • 18/18 Memories

You currently can't really complete the primary Main Quest "Destroy Ganon". Some Shrine Quests still might need to be discovered, if you've found the corresponding shrines already without ever triggering the quests.

The side quests include several tasks in the game, including upgrading your Sheikah Sensor, Bombs and Stasis Runes or finishing your house at Hateno Village.


6) Achieving 100% Map Completion Rate

After you've beaten the game once, the map will show a completion percentage. This isn't the same as the overall completion of the game, instead it's calculated based on the following:

  • Cleared Divine Beasts
  • Korok Seeds
  • Shrine Discoveries
  • Location Discoveries

The Divine Beasts, Korok Seeds and even shrine discoveries are already covered by the previous tasks, however, it still might be that you haven't achieved 100% on the map, because you're missing a few locations. Those are names on your maps and you should check for any bridges or other interesting landmarks that aren't labelled yet.


7) Opening all Treasure Chests

Whenever you've opened all treasure chests inside a shrine, it will display a small treasure chest icon next to the shrine's name on your map. Treasure chests inside Divine Beasts are missable, but unlike the shrines the game doesn't really keep track of them.

If you want to find all treasure chests on the overworld, you can target them with the Sheikah Sensor+. However, certain chests are currently glitched and not obtainable:

  • Great Plateau, Woodcutter's Hut (if you got the Warm Doublet from the Old Man directly)
  • Hateno Village, near the Dye Shop
  • Lake Floria, Rassia Lake
  • East of Aris Beach, stuck underwater
  • Chest Game in Lurelin Village

You should just ignore these for now. The respawning treasure chests on Eventide Island also don't count.

This task also includes finding the Hylian Shield, as well as a majority of the armor pieces in the game. However, those aren't "fixed" items.


8) Collecting and Enhancing all Fixed Armor

There's lots and lots of different armor pieces in the game, but most of them can be sold and re-purchased at any time, so they aren't really "fixed". You also only have limited inventory space for armor (five pages). This is why for 100% completion only the eight individual armor pieces count, which can only be obtained once and cannot be sold:

  • Champion's Tunic
  • Zora Helmet
  • Zora Armor
  • Zora Greaves
  • Thunder Helmet
  • Cap of the Wild
  • Tunic of the Wild
  • Trousers of the Wild

All the other armor pieces are simply "nice to have". This also avoids the problem, where you would have to get several amiibo in order to collect all the different armor pieces that are exclusive to them.

In order to enhance the above pieces (with the exception of the Thunder Helmet), you will need to find and free all four Great Fairies around the world. It's also necessary to collect all dragon parts from all three dragons, which includes freeing Naydra (which you have to do for a shrine anyway).


9) Freeing Malanya

Other than the four Great Fairies, you can also find the "Horse God" Malanya, who can revive fallen horses. Free him in the same fashion as the Great Fairies to be done with this.

On a side note, your collection of horses isn't really part of 100% completion, since you can let them go or have them killed at any time. Only collecting all horse gear really counts.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 35

Today I finished another milestone in the game: completing all side quests. I was missing two of them and since I didn't want to look them up on the internet, it took me quite some time to find them. Well, one I could locate methodically, but the other really was just found after running around aimlessly for one week.

The Fickle Goron


The first side quest was called "Death Mountain's Secret" and I found this relatively quickly after the last entry, about one week ago. I counted, how many side quests there were in each individual village and I noticed that Goron City didn't have all that many. So, I decided to search the area.

And that's when I found that Dugby, a Goron Kid at the Goron Hot Springs, actually shows a red exclamation mark, when you approach him. However, nothing really happens, when you talk to him. He mentions something that he said in the hot spring and whether you understood it or not, but he never repeats it and he never goes back into the hot spring. It doesn't create an entry in the Side Quest menu and I was at loss, what I'm supposed to do here.

At first I thought that I had to listen to him from a hidden position, similar to how it's done in a few other side quests. But that doesn't work. I even tried positioning the nearby minecart on the tracks right above the Goron kid, so I could listen from there. But no results.

I got really frustrated with this, trying to figure it out for about two hours. I then went to the Daqa Koh Shrine nearby to get the Drillshaft from a secret stash. The Drillshaft is the best mining tool in the game and I was happy, when I found the stash a while ago. It's really useful.

Well, the surprise came, when the side quest automatically solved itself afterwards. Apparently Dugby hid the Drillshaft there and wanted you to find it by telling you about it under water. I might have talked to him earlier in the game and ignored this, but there never was an entry in the Side Quests section of the Adventure Log. This only appeared, when I solved it in the end. This is, why I missed this side quest for so long... And it feels like this is glitched somehow. (Update: it seems that this weird behavior gets triggered by finding the Drillshaft before ever talking to him.)


My Hero Ignorance


Well, I was left with only one Side Quest, but no clue where to look. I got very close to looking it up on the internet several times, but I resisted the temptation and then just accidentally found the thing all by myself today. It wasn't even anything special. It's just a girl, who sits at a tree near the Outskirt Stable and for some reason I never noticed her. Well, she looks kind of camouflaged there and another reason was that the Outskirt Stable already had two side quests and I only thoroughly checked all stables with one. Still, it was kind of underwhelming similar to my last Hinox, because it wasn't that hard to find and I've just been going blind there, as so often.

But it's done now...


At least she gave me a Star Fragment, so that's very useful. On my journeys I also got several Star Fragments dropping from the sky. And of course I kept fighting Lynels after every Blood Moon. But I still need at least 31 Star Fragments to upgrade all amiibo gear, so there's lots of grinding left to do, if I'm in the mood for the game.

I also didn't find many Koroks in the meantime - there's still a little under 200 of them left. But I will wait for the first DLC, because it probably will be a lot more fun to look for the rest using the Korok Mask.

So, this concludes this series for now, until the first DLC arrives!


Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 76/76
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Shrines: 120/120
  • Medals of Honor: 3/3
  • Compendium: 385/385
  • Koroks: 706/900
  • Map Rate: 83.95%

Friday, May 26, 2017

E3 2017 Predictions

The E3 2017 will be happening from June 13th to 15th and while Nintendo will probably set a big focus on Super Mario Odyssey, there's still more that we could and should expect from Nintendo's announcements. Here is a list of predictions about topics that are of interest for Hyrule Blog.


Breath of the Wild Aftermath

Breath of the Wild is one of Nintendo's biggest and most acclaimed games ever made, which has created quite the phenomenon. And while Nintendo already dedicated the entire last year's E3 to this game and the game already has been released for three months now, it's still possible that Nintendo will make some additional announcements for Breath of the Wild at E3 2017.

Other than a release date for the first DLC Pack, they could announce a line of Champion amiibo that are going to be released on the same day as the DLC. Make more money out of this game.

The real big announcement, however, would be an Anime Movie based on Breath of the Wild coming to cinemas later this year to reach an even broader audience with the new Zelda phenomenon.


Smartphone Zelda

Other than potentially making movies, Nintendo's plans for reaching a broader audience manifested already in the realm of Smartphone gaming. Pokémon Go, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes were a solid beginning and according to the latest rumors a Zelda Smartphone game will follow later this year.

Such a game would probably utilize the classic top down perspective and the touch-only controls of the Nintendo DS Zelda games. But it could work out just fine and create a nice Zelda game on the go. If this is really happening, we will learn about it at E3 2017!

Additionally, Nintendo could announce a "Nintendo Phone" developed in cooperation with Apple to attract the Nintendo fans, who haven't been really into Smartphone gaming until now.


Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch

This already has been discussed last year as Super Smash Bros. for NX, but after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe it shouldn't come as a surprise, if Nintendo announces a new version of Super Smash Bros. 4 as well.

This new version would come with all previous DLC, as well as all stages of both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U version. The 3DS stages would be graphically enhanced for this purpose. Additionally there could be new stages and fighters, as well as some returning characters, e.g. Wolf or the Ice Climbers (which now wouldn't be effected by any technical limitations anymore).

The Smash Run and Smash Tour modes would be gone (to keep something exclusive to the previous versions) and replaced by something more similar to the Adventure Mode or Subspace Emissary.

As for new fighters, the Inklings from Splatoon and maybe also a character from ARMS like Spring Man or Ribbon Girl come to mind. And of course there would have to be a new Fire Emblem character based on Fire Emblem Echoes.

Talking about clones, for the current Zelda hype they could also introduce a "Wild Link", who uses different techniques based on Breath of the Wild for his specials. For example the Up Special could utilize Revali's Gale and the Paraglider, while the Bombs would be the one from the Sheikah Slate. As the Ultra Smash he could even fire an Ancient Arrow at his opponents. But knowing the Smash development team, they would probably just bring back Young Link and don't give him any new moves.

Another possibility would be finally a new character from the Metroid franchise, where Sylux could advertise a potential Metroid Prime 4 (see below).


Fire Emblem Warriors

The team, who made Hyrule Warriors, is currently developing Fire Emblem Warriors for the Switch and it's probably too early to expect any news about a potential Hyrule Warriors 2. However, it will be interesting to see, what they are capable of doing with the Nintendo Switch.


New Game by Retro Studios / Metroid

We still don't know, what Retro Studios has been up to ever since Tropical Freeze. In the recent news, it has been announced that Alexander Brandon will compose the score for their next game. This got me pretty excited, because together with Michiel van den Bos he made the extraordinary soundtrack of Unreal and Unreal Tournament, which is my only other long time favorite video game series next to Zelda. It also means that the soundtrack might end up being somewhat futuristic.

Also, Kensuke Tanabe had talked quite a lot about a potential Metroid Prime 4 in the past and Metroid Prime: Federation Force teased the potential plot of the game even further. So, there's a good chance that we're going to see Metroid Prime 4 on Nintendo Switch this E3, which without any doubt would be the big highlight and a big reason to buy the system.

Other rumors have it that there are currently not only one, but two Metroid games in development. And that certainly would be welcome, after the franchise didn't see any major entries on both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The 30th Anniversary of Metroid is also still a thing and it would be nice, if Nintendo acknowledged this somehow at E3, after they failed to do so with the 25th Anniversary of Metroid. Also, the Metroid Prime Trilogy could see an HD Remaster to accompany Metroid Prime 4.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Breath of the Wild in the Timeline


The timeline of the Zelda franchise has been a topic of debate ever since Ocarina of Time (and maybe even earlier), but came to an end in 2011 with the release of Hyrule Historia and the official timeline that put it all into picture. And this certainly this had removed some steam from the Zelda discussion boards all over the internet.

But with Breath of the Wild Nintendo has reignited the flame of timeline theories, where for almost a year now the fans debate over where Breath of the Wild falls into the timeline, ever since the game got showcased at E3 2016. Even after the game has been released, the only thing that became clear was the fact that it takes place over ten thousand years after the rest of the series in an age of ancient technology.

It has resolved some mysteries from last year's E3 - for example it should be clear now that Hyrule Castle and Hyrule Castle Town probably aren't really the one from Twilight Princess, though they certainly share a lot of similarities in design.

But the clues still remain all over the place. The existence of the Koroks points at the Adult Timeline, while the resting place of the Master Sword is very similar to the one from the Fallen Hero Timeline. In the English translation Zelda mentions that the Master Sword has been "steeped in the glowing embers of twilight", though other translations just mention "shadows" at this part. And the Divine Beast Vah Medoh is probably named after Medli (spelled Me-do-ri in Japanese and even called Medolie in French and German), while places on the map are named after many different persons and locations from almost all Zelda games, including handheld games like Link's Awakening, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, The Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass and even Tri Force Heroes.

If you take amiibo goodies into consideration, things get even crazier, because not only can you summon Wolf Link from a different era, you can obtain equipment of many different heroes from the past over all the timelines. But of course some gimmick like this probably shouldn't be considered as true canon material.

However, the problem remains the same. You can't really pin down the timeline placement of Breath of the Wild in any of the three established branches. And the discussions are going on, which is probably even intended by Nintendo.

But the real question is... Does it even matter?

From the perspective of the game, everything that happened in past Zelda games has happened such a long time ago that it doesn't feel like the timeline split should matter even more. Breath of the Wild has literally put thousands of years between itself and the rest of the series. Do we really need to keep up three different timeline branches for this? From this new perspective it's like all the past Zelda games became mere legends, where all of it may have happened, completely independent from the timeline split.

Last year after the E3 I came up with timeline merge theory, where the new game(s) take place in a unified timeline and where everything from the past Zelda games is coming together. This was supposed to explain all what we've seen at the E3 and I even came up with various story concepts for how such a thing could happen.


And while Nintendo didn't go this route with its story, it seems like they still took a similar approach. They created a Zelda game, where the rest of the series takes places at such a distant past that the timeline split doesn't really matter anymore. Breath of the Wild essentially takes place in a new timeline, a reboot so to say, where the entire past of the Zelda series has become the "lore" of this new universe.

It still would be nice to learn more about what happened 10,000 years ago and even before that. How did Calamity Ganon came to be? What happened, before the Sheikah technology was created? Maybe the DLC or a future Zelda title will explore this and maybe at some point Nintendo will really introduce a timeline merge to the story. But until then the most convenient and simplest explanation is that all the previous stories are just lore and legends to this new world.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 34


Horsing Around, Part 3

Because I didn't have any luck finding any better horses, I checked out HylianAngel's excellent Horse Guide to learn what's actually possible. I have been looking in the right places (at Upland Lindor and Taobab Grassland), but I didn't know that it's just not possible to find a horse with all fifteen stars.

To sort things out I've been ignoring all horses that don't have the five Stamina, but then you won't get the five Speed as well. In fact the best possible outcomes in that case are either five Strength and three Speed, which is what I currently have for Hilda, or four Strength and four Speed, which is like Epona with better Stamina.

A horse with five Speed can have only two stars of Strength at best, as well as three Stamina. Anything with only three points of Stamina would have been ignored by me previously, but since I now knew what I was looking for, I found a brown horse like this at Taobab Grassland:


I gave her the highly original name of "Speeda" and she will have to do for now. I do want to have at least one horse with maximum Speed, while Hilda with her stats then covers the other maximums. I might also try to find a blue horse or a pink horse with the same stats as Speeda to name her either "Midna" or "Styla" to keep the princess naming convention. But on the other hand I like the look of a normal brown horse combined with the Knight's Bridle and Knight's Saddle. And overall I would prefer it, if you could collect more than just five horses. With the three special horses in the game, it doesn't leave much room for the "random" horses.

Otherwise I'm probably done with this feature of the game. I'm not using horses that often anyway and since there's so little room to embrace any kind of variety, it's just not that interesting.


Completing Hyrule Compendium, Part 2


This is done as well. I had exactly eight Fauna / Creatures pictures left and as I thought those were mostly just different types of sparrows that are found in the different regions. I only got the Golden Sparrow in the Eldin region previously and these were the ones that I was missing:

  • Common Sparrow
  • Red Sparrow
  • Blue Sparrow
  • Rainbow Sparrow
  • Sand Sparrow

They are scared off easily, which is why I never paid much attention to them, let alone take pictures. You need either the Sheikah Stealth gear or some Stealth effect food / potions to get close for good shots.

Otherwise I was missing Bladed Rhino Beetles and Seagulls, which both weren't hard to figure out. But with the Bladed Rhino Beetles I was convinced that I had found some west of Satori Mountain earlier in the game, which doesn't seem to be the case. You can find them in the Necluda region, though.

The very last entry with the number 066 completely eluded me, however. I had no idea, what it could have been, but luckily it's not like you have to consult the internet or guides to figure this out, since you can just buy any missing pictures. So, I bought the last one from Symin at the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab. Turns out it was a Fairy... Those don't appear anymore, if you have five or more in your inventory, and since I haven't been using them anymore, they essentially vanished off my radar.

You also receive the Classified Envelope containing Sheikah porn for your efforts... It's another useless trophy item in the Key Item inventory, but I guess it's nice to have something that tells you on first glance that you have completed everything.

(However, with the DLC the Compendium should also get new entries, for example for any golden tier enemies or even new bosses. Unless it's really so that you can only find gold tier enemies in Hard Mode and Hard Mode will simply leave out the red tiers, while the new dungeon won't have any new bosses. It will be interesting to see, how Nintendo handles this.)


Other than 202 Koroks, all that's left for now are two remaining Side Quests (still no clue) and grinding about five dozens of Star Fragments for the amiibo gear.

Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 74/76
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Shrines: 120/120
  • Koroks: 698/900
  • Medals of Honor: 3/3
  • Compendium: 385/385
  • Map Rate: 83.29%

Breath of the Wild: Anime Movie?


This is something that came up about one year ago (see this post about a potential Zelda movie), but now that we were able to experience Breath of the Wild it became clearer for how this could work.

It all goes hand in hand with the new way of story telling in Breath of the Wild, where the majority of animated cutscenes take place one hundred years before the events of the game in the form of lost memories that you can find all over the world. You never get the full picture, though.

A Breath of the Wild anime movie could tell the story of what happened 100 years ago in greater detail, maybe even set the main focus on them, while the events in the future are treated as "flash forwards". The movie could even begin with Link fighting Calamity Ganon in the ruined castle as the build-up and from there on explore, how it all came to this dire situation.

A movie for a Zelda game wouldn't work, if it just followed the main game's event. This is what you can already experience in the game as the player and there's usually a too predictable pattern, as you do all the dungeons. It would be boring to watch Link free one Divine Beast after the other. But it would be interesting to learn more about the characters, which used to be your allies in the past, the Champions of Hyrule. And this is why a Breath of the Wild anime movie would probably set the events in the past as its main plot, while the events of the game will be mere flash forwards that deliver the pinnacle and the story's outcome.

And this way a movie would still be quite interesting for players of the game, while it the same time it's enjoyable for people, who haven't played the game yet, and might even motivate those to try it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 33


This is what I call action!

Hello, my name is TourianTourist and I'm addicted. To fighting Lynels. The combat in this game is just so good, it never seems to get old. And they really turned the Lynels into the mightiest enemies in the Zelda series. It's so much fun to fight them, I'm actually looking forward to the DLC and any potential Golden Lynels.

In some places you can even have some really amazing fight scenes, when one of the three dragons appears in the background or even right above you. This might happen in the East Deplian Badlands with Dinraal (see the picture above), at the East Gate of Lanayru Road with Naydra and on top of the Gerudo Highlands with Farosh. There's another place, where you can have Farosh in the background while fighting a Lynel - and that place turned out to be crucial for my current journey.

Anyway, I didn't have much luck with getting Star Fragments from Lynels these days. I actually had more luck with them dropping from the sky. But with one Lynel I was lucky and got two at once. This has happened before and helped me quite a lot with my upgrading progress. Right now I have the Tunic of the Hero set fully upgraded, so it's three more sets to go. And I will keep going. Luckily I have so much fun fighting the Lynels that I don't mind. I even stepped my game up and I now hunt for the majority of Lynels after a Blood Moon...


I even marked them all with swords on my map to know where they all are. I did the same with all the Talus (using the ore symbol) and all the Hinox (using the skull symbol), so my map is now filled with all the strong monsters on overworld, where I barely have any stamps left. (I did not mark the ones in Hyrule Castle or otherwise I would have used all 100 stamps up.)


Medals of Honor

Talking about monsters... My big achievement today was finally collecting all three Medals of Honor. I did get the one for slaying all Talus about a week ago and the two last Talus were the following:

Crenel Hills Stone Talus
South Koukot Plateau Stone Talus

I also found one of my last shrines at Crenel Hills, I just didn't explore the whole hill at the time. So, I found this one quite "quickly", after I had realized that I haven't been to the north side of the hill yet. The other one was at Gerudo Canyon, not far from where I also found one of my last shrines. But I'm pretty sure that I've met this Talus earlier in the game, while exploring the area, I just ignored it, because I didn't know that defeating them all would get you something.

Anyway, afterwards I was looking for the last Hinox for exactly one week (keep in mind that I'm only playing a few hours in the evening). I was convinced that it had to be a Stalnox, because a Hinox is too easy to spot as that you could possibly miss one. So, I even kept targeting Stalnox with my Sheikah Sensor+ and I wandered around pretty much everywhere during the night. With no luck. Well, that was because it wasn't a Stalnox, but just some plain red Hinox at Kamah Plateau:


This one is not even hard to find...! I more or less stumbled over it on my way to the Lynel on the hill right behind him. Well, I did notice the empty place, while studying the map, so I thought I should check it out, before going to the Lynel. I thought that the supposed Stalnox might be there and I just missed it in the jungle. So, I was quite surprised, when I found out that all along there has been a fat red Hinox up there. It's surprising, because I've already fought the Lynel close by multiple times (I usually went there via Riola Spring, though). I also got all treasure chests in the area and I've found Koroks all around Kamah Plateau. But I never saw the Hinox. Funny, how it goes...

But it doesn't matter anymore, because I finally got all three Medals of Honor:


They don't seem to be good for anything other than bragging rights. So, consider this as bragging or whatever. But I really do like, how the Key Item menu is arranged currently. All the horse armor sits perfectly aligned in the second half of the inventory screen. Too bad that it won't stay this way, though. As far as I know, there are still two more trophy items left for me to get, while you also keep the 459 useless Korok Seeds in your inventory. And there will be the Travel Medallion with the first DLC Pack. So, the Key Items menu will be two pages long and leave some horse saddle orphans on the second page... Almost as if Nintendo wants to troll everyone, who is a little obsessed with order.

I still think that it would have been a good idea to have a separate Horse Armor tab (using the horse icon from Hyrule Compendium), it would simply look better and after all those aren't "key items" anyway. Nintendo also could add five more sets of Horse Armor to fill an entire page, because right now the horse customization options feel pretty limited compared to Link's armor collection (I've also added this to my list of suggestions for improvements).


So, what's left other than over two hundred Koroks? I still haven't found the two remaining side quests despite going through all villages and stables again and again. Those might be located somewhere else then. And it really seems like I have to take pictures of various sparrow types for Hyrule Compendium. But now that I have finally found all overworld bosses, I can focus on these tasks.


Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 74/76
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Shrines: 120/120
  • Koroks: 686/900
  • Medals of Honor: 3/3
  • Compendium: 378/385
  • Map Rate: 82.21%

Monday, May 15, 2017

Zelda Smartphone Game?

According to Wallstreet Journal there is a The Legend of Zelda title in development for smartphones. This doesn't surprise me all that much, in fact I'm currently preparing my E3 2017 speculations and this has been on my bullet list. Well, a new top down Zelda game to be accurate, either for smart devices or Nintendo 3DS.

I'm also expecting a "Nintendo Phone" to be announced at E3, where Nintendo might develop something in cooperation with Apple. I'm personally not a Smartphone gamer and I'm not even using one at the moment, but a Smartphone specifically designed for the Nintendo fan would certainly catch my interest.

Anyway, after Breath of the Wild there will be a clear split in the series. Modern Open World Breath of the Wild style 3D Zelda games and classic top down Zelda games, primarily developed for handheld devices. I would have preferred another follow-up to A Link Between Worlds, because the game was just beautiful and after all Nintendo is still strongly supporting the Nintendo 3DS, where soon they will release the New Nintendo 2DS XL. Tri Force Heroes was released end of 2015, which means that this year there could come another title from the handheld Zelda team following the typical two year development cycle. But instead of making a third game for the Nintendo 3DS, they probably focused on a smartphone game.

Of course a Zelda game developed for touch devices would follow the control style of Phantom Hourglass:


So, you touch to move in the direction of your finger and you touch the item icon to use items. A "Nintendo Phone" might offer some additional input like a D-Pad, but the game has to be playable with touch only to support all the phones out there. But it's possible, Phantom Hourglass has done this before and it worked quite well for the most part.

I wouldn't even be opposed to the idea. I started with Link's Awakening on the GameBoy, so handheld top down Zelda will always have a special place in my heart and I would love to see it going in the future, even if it means going mobile like that. And while I spent about 60 minutes in a tram each work day, I'm not playing my Nintendo 3DS there, because it's too valuable. I can see myself playing a new Zelda game on a smartphone, though.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Small Ways to Improve Breath of the Wild

There's no arguing that Breath of the Wild is the next big step for the Zelda franchise and a gigantic masterpiece in the history of gaming. Yet, the game is not perfect, especially if you spend a lot of time with it, some bigger and some smaller flaws are shining through. But it's not too late, because with Nintendo's DLC and update plans for the game some things can still be improved. So, let's compile an update wish list for the game.

Keep in mind that the goal of this post is to provide ideas of what can be improved within the scope of updates and DLCs. Things that still could be added or fixed for real. So, if you don't like the new weapon system (I personally do) or the game's ending (I personally don't), you can only hope that Nintendo will do it better in the next game. What's important now is anything that still can be changed for the better.

Nintendo already crossed off two major points of this list with their 1.2.0 multi language update, where you now can play in Japanese with English subtitles (or any language combination), and the upcoming Korok Mask, where we'll finally get a solid way of tracking down all those little guys.

But let's give them some more ideas:


Multiple Save Games


Zelda games and Nintendo games in general usually offer two or three save games, so you can easily start over without losing your previous progress. Breath of the Wild, much like Tri Force Heroes, broke this tradition, but unlike Tri Force Heroes you can't just replay any part of the game at any time. And since the game invites to experiment, especially with the way of how they set up the final dungeon and boss, you still might want to replay it.

The only way to do this right now would be creating additional user accounts on your Wii U or Nintendo Switch. And that's more of a workaround than a real solution. Maybe Nintendo thought that people only use additional save slots for friends and family, but the replay value of a game is very important and nothing should stand in your way there.

Especially when the first DLC comes out, this will be crucial. People might want to replay the game in Hard Mode, while at the same time they'd want to try the Trial of the Sword or look for the new armor pieces in their current savegame and that without juggling between different user accounts.

Currently a savegame takes 64MB of space on your hard drive, which is a quite a lot for save data, but that shouldn't stop Nintendo from doubling it considering that the game is 11GB large and has over 2GB of updates already.


Improved Options

While the option menu of Breath of the Wild is certainly the most comprehensive in the series, it still does lack a certain level of finesse with some of its options:

  • Separate camera controls for aiming
  • Fully customizable HUD
  • Fully customizable controls

The first issue would be the camera controls, where you can invert them both horizontally and vertically, if you want to. While this is an important option, it does apply globally to all camera controls, even if you're using first person or third person aiming. But here you might want different behavior, because after all that's how the Zelda games on the GameCube did it, where the horizontal camera controls were inverted, but not for first person. Twilight Princess HD already had the exact same problem, where it's not possible to have the same camera controls as in Twilight Princess on the GameCube anymore.

Otherwise the HUD options could have used some more gradation. Right now you can either clutter your entire HUD with all the information or only display your hearts and stamina. Something in between would have been welcome, where for example you can still see your currently selected Rune under the heart meter, but not the full D-Pad shortcuts. Ideally you could just turn on and off every part of the HUD to your pleasing.

Also, most modern games let you fully change around its button layout, while in Breath of the Wild you can only switch X and B buttons for some reason... Ideally you could assign every button to whatever you want. Want to swing your sword with B like in the good old times? Then this shouldn't be a problem!


Stash Chest


As soon as you have fully upgraded your house in Hateno, it should contain a stash chest under the staircase, where you can store additional weapons, bows, shields, armor and even food. It would work similar to the Item Check in Skyward Sword and offer an entire second inventory space: one page for weapons, one page for bows, one page for shields, five pages for armor and three pages for food. The last two might not seem necessary, but the additional armor stash should be nice for those, who like to have dyed duplicates. And overall it should be up to the player, whether he wants to use the stash chest or not.

It would solve what's more or less a midgame problem. Early in the game your weapons break too quickly anyway and at the end the player will invest his weapons in fighting Lynels and Guardians. However, especially when you keep exploring new areas and solve Shrines, you will find lots and lots of good weapons, where you'd want to save some for later. As the game is now, you might end up throwing away good weapons to make space for even better weapons or for basic tools like Torches or Korok Leaves.


Elemental Shields

Breath of the Wild offers an impressive variety of different melee weapons for different situations. And also the bows offer some good variety with different shooting styles and arrow types. Shields on the other hand don't. Other than the Ancient / Guardian Shields they only seem to differ in material and durability, but not in functionality. It's not even that different from what Skyward Sword already had offered with its shields.

The most obvious solution to this problem would be adding shields based on the game's three main combat elements: fire, ice and electricity. These flavors are already used by the different weapon and arrow types and it only makes sense to have the same thing with shields. The Flame, Frost and Shock Shields would respectively burn, freeze or zap your enemies, when they hit your shield. Of course the same happens to you, when you're on the other end, so you have to be more careful around enemies, who are using these new shield types. But this makes perfectly sense and it integrates so well into the current system that you have to wonder, why these shields don't already exist in the game...

(Also, another idea would be a Gust Shield, which would be another technological shield equipped with a propeller that creates an air stream in front of you. You would even be able to propel a raft by simply holding it, though you wouldn't be going as fast as with a Korok Leaf. And using it for shield surfing would be like using a "Hover Board", where you can utilize it in any terrain without losing durability. To compensate this shield would break quickly, if it gets hit, so you have to be careful not to actually use it in combat.)


Additional Rune Upgrades

Only half of the Sheikah Slate Runes can be upgraded in some way... And this feels somewhat unfinished, since there would have been interesting options for the other runes as well.


Magnesis+ should first and foremost offer a bigger distance for its initial beam. Especially with sunken treasure chests the short distance can be sometimes annoying. But of course this wouldn't be all - an upgraded Magnesis could offer one or two additional abilities (inspired by Trine 2). It could be used on Bokoblins, Lizalfos and Moblins, who are using metallic gear, to move a single enemy around as you please. Also, an object in your pull could be magnetically charged to attract other magnetic objects by holding down the "A" button, so that you can move around multiple objects at once.

Cryonis+ would let you create five or even six ice blocks at the same time. A simple, but effective upgrade.

Additionally there also could be an (expansive) upgrade for the amiibo Rune, where you can use all loot amiibo twice a day, instead of just once.


Regional Map Information

When you start the game, your map is divided in various areas, where each Sheikah Tower unlocks the map information for one of them. As soon as you're done with that, all borders will be gone and there's no way of telling, where the different areas were (other than studying certain landmarks).

There simply should be an option to display these boundaries again, maybe together with the names of the region. Next to these names there could be symbols used for your completion status:

  • Shrine Symbol for having discovered all Shrines in the area
  • Korok Seed Symbol for collecting all Korok Seeds in the area
  • Treasure Chest Symbol for opening all Treasure Chests in the area
  • Star Symbol for defeating all overworld bosses (Talus, Hinox, Molduga) in the area

This certainly would be helpful with tracking down any stuff that you're still missing at the end of the game. Can't find that last Talus? Well, just keep looking in the area that doesn't have a star symbol!

Of course if they do that for treasure chests as well, it would be nice, if they'd...


Fix the Unobtainable Chests

There are a couple of treasure chests in the game, where your Sheikah Sensor+ picks them up, but you can't get them for different reasons. Some might be glitched and out of bounds, others simply might not be there at all. Those are the ones that are known:

  • Great Plateau, Woodcutter's Hut (if you got the Warm Doublet from the Old Man directly)
  • Hateno Village, near the Dye Shop
  • Lake Floria, Rassia Lake
  • East of Aris Beach, stuck underwater
  • Chest Game in Lurelin Village

Please fix this, Nintendo, so that our Sheikah Sensors can finally rest!


A Way to Climb in the Rain

This probably doesn't need any explanation to anyone, who has played the game for a bit. Being able to climb everywhere in the game world is revolutionary and part of what makes this game so fun. But this fun goes away quickly, as soon as a single drop of water fell from the sky. In that moment you will struggle with climbing a tree, let alone a mountain. There are techniques to still get where you want, for example each climbing jump "only" makes you slip down by about 70%. However, it's still frustrating.

Ideally the Climbing Gear with its "no-slip gloves" and "no-slip toes" provided by ancient technology would already do the trick. It doesn't, but to keep things balanced they could introduce a new item called "Spiked Boots" (or similar), where you won't have the "Climbing Jump Stamina Up" Set Bonus anymore, but at least you won't slide down at all while wearing these. Another disadvantage of the Spiked Boots could be that they make you walk slower in general, so it's really just a tool for climbing.


Shortcuts for Armor

The armor system in Breath of the Wild is pretty sophisticated. It essentially combines the various outfits from Tri Force Heroes with the changeable boots and the different masks from the Nintendo 64 Zelda games. And with so many activities in the game you change your armor quite often. Climbing a mountain? Don that Climbing Gear! Swimming through a river? Don that Zora Armor! Fighting a Guardian? Don that Ancient Cuirass! Facing some Electric Keese? Don that Thunder Helmet!

However, changing armor is now even more inconvenient than it used to be in Ocarina of Time. You have to open the inventory and scroll to the armor section, which is right in the middle, where it's easy to scroll too far by holding the R-Stick, and then select the pieces that you need, which might even be scattered over different pages. And if you need to change it again, every item that you picked up in the meantime will alter your position in the inventory, if you open it again. So, you have to scroll back to the armor... again and again. And this wastes a lot of time.

Ideally there would be some shortcuts, e.g. pressing up and down on the R-Stick could bring you to the first and last selected pieces in your inventory. Simple as that. Or they could also make it so that Materials, Food, Key Items and Horse Gear get a second row. This way the Armor would be always in the top right and easier navigable.

Other than that it should be possible to equip a set with one button press (e.g. by pressing X), instead of having to equip each piece individually. Often you want the full set anyway and such a shortcut would save even more time.


Armor Set Bonus with Alternate Head Pieces

In the topic of Set Bonuses, there is the issue with jewelry, where the Set Bonus won't apply for no good reason. Getting and enhancing the jewelry is much more expansive than the normal armor, for example they all require Star Fragments on each upgrade step. But at the same time they aren't as good as the silly helmets that come along with the armor sets. And some of them really look silly.

The most prominent example is probably the Ancient Armor, where the greaves and the cuirass look really cool, but the helmet makes you look like the biggest dork in Hyrule. Wearing the super expansive Diamond Circlet fixes the look, but you will also lose the valuable "Ancient Proficiency" Set Bonus, where all Ancient / Guardian Weapons do more damage. And this shouldn't be the case.

Nintendo should make it so in an update that the Set Bonus still applies to jewelry like this:


It would be the same for the Ruby Circlet and the Snowquill set, the Sapphire Circlet and the Desert Voe set, the Topaz Earrings and the Rubber set, as well as the Opal Earrings and the Zora set. And while it's technically not jewelry, the Sheik's Mask is the most expansive piece of armor in the game when it comes to enhancing and shouldn't lose the Stealth "Night Speed Up" Set Bonus.


Enhance the Dark Armor

For some reason you just can't upgrade the Dark Link set. Usually there's a balancing reason as to why you can't enhance certain pieces of equipment, especially with the various monster masks or the Thunder Helmet. But in this case it's just one tunic of many and there's no good reason, why you shouldn't be able to upgrade it to a full 60 like the others:



Purchasable DLC Armor

Currently there is one piece of DLC armor in the game and that is the Nintendo Switch Shirt. What's weird about it is that you can sell it, but not get it back...


Why is that? Every other piece of armor in the game can either be re-purchased or it can't be sold. Why not just add the Nintendo Switch Shirt to Granté's collection?

Since the shirt gets added to the very end of the armor inventory, it may happen that players accidentally sell it along with any duplicate pieces that they might get from amiibo or certain places in the game. And if you notice this too late, you won't be able to get it back. This issue will be especially troublesome with all the new armor that comes with the DLC, if it behaves the same way.


No full Recovery on Hearty and Endura Ingredients

This isn't really an improvement, but a nerf for certain cooking ingredients. Right now the cooking in the game is completely broken, because you don't have to care about getting good health restoring recipes at all. There's no point, because all you need to do is cook one Hearty Radish over and over again, since this gives you a full recovery and some extra hearts. This also works with Hearty Durians, Hearty Truffles, Hearty Salmon or anything "hearty" really. It's the same with stamina and enduring / tireless ingredients.


Nerf this!

Fixing this would be simple: hearty ingredients only give you the extra hearts, but not the full recovery. That should be the job of other ingredients. As a balance you should now be able to get beyond the 30 hearts maximum using hearty ingredients by adding a temporary third row of hearts.


Riding Buffalos, Rhinos and Moose

Next to horses there are other types of animals that you can ride like deer and bears. But not all of them can be used as mounts, even if they look like they were made for job. It would be nice, if you could also ride around on Buffalos, Rhinos or Moose just for the fun of it.


Show Stats of Horses before Replacements

When you already have five horses at the stables, you need to let one go, before you can register a new one. However, they won't tell you the exact stats of the horse, until you register it. This way you can never be sure, if your new horse actually comes with an improvement. The game should simply show the stats of the new horse within the menu, where you select, which horse should leave your collection. It would also be nice to have more space general, e.g. up to eight or ten horses.


More Horse Gear

While Link does have lots of options to alter his appearance in the game, the gear for horses seems rather limited with only five sets of bridles and saddles. Imagine having some Ancient Horse Armor provided by the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab or something that makes a horse look like a dragon. If all the different outfits for Link or the different sets of boats and trains in past Zelda games have showed us anything, then it's that Nintendo can be really creative, when it comes to such customization options.

Let's have at least five more sets. This way there would be 20 pieces, where it also would be a good idea to have a separate tab for Horse Armor in the inventory, which would give the Key Item tab more room to breath.


Give Endgame Access to All Equipment

Weapons are broken and lost all the time in Breath of the Wild. But you can get almost every piece of equipment again in the game, if you know, where to look. Almost. It seems that there are certain pieces of equipment, where it's not possible to get them back later in the game, mostly stuff gotten from Red and Blue Lynels:

  • Forest Dweller's Sword (only available at the Test of Wood)
  • Lynel Spear
  • Lynel Crusher
  • Mighty Lynel Sword
  • Mighty Lynel Spear
  • Mighty Lynel Crusher
  • Mighty Lynel Shield
  • Mighty Lynel Bow

This is especially a problem, when you want to take good pictures for your Hyrule Compendium. And overall absolutely all resources in the game should be re-obtainable. To fix this, they could just keep some additional Red and Blue Lynels around, while the Blue Lynel in Hyrule Castle could simply drop his belongings, which he currently doesn't for some reason.


Replayable Eventide Event

Probably one of the most interesting Shrine Quests in the game would be Eventide Island, where you're stranded without any of your equipment for a nice challenge. The upcoming "Trial of the Sword" will even make use of the same mechanic.


It would be cool, if you actually could replay Eventide Island as a minigame, where maybe even your best time gets recorded. Going back to the Shrine or leaving the island will stop the minigame.


A Proper Reward for Collecting all 900 Korok Seeds

Collecting all Korok Seeds is probably the mother of all collectible tasks in a video game. But it stops being rewarded halfway and if you really do it all, you basically get the middle finger from Nintendo. It's understandable that they didn't want to lock any useful item behind this task, because at this point in the game it would come way too late. But at least with the 100 Gold Skulltulas and 60 Poe Souls in past Zelda games you got infinite Rupees. A solution would have been, if you could trade the Korok Seeds for Star Fragments and maybe get infinite Star Fragments from Hestu (on a daily basis), if you trade them all. This would even solve another problem, where you have to grind too many of these in order to upgrade all the amiibo gear.


Any ideas as to what should be fixed or added to the game? List them in the comments!