Sunday, October 23, 2011

Four Swords Anniversary Edition, Extra Round

Yesterday I had the chance to play the new Four Swords Anniversary Edition in multiplayer together with Evelyn Jade from She didn't have the chance to play through the game yet, so she was the host and we picked up her latest savegame. We've beaten the first door of Vaati's Palace, cleared the Realm of Memories and got all three Golden Keys. It was a lot of fun, after all this game was meant to be played in multiplayer and not alone. And I'm really happy that I had the chance to play the game with her.

It's also a little bit more challenging. You really have to work together at points and you can't abuse the warping. For example the Link's Awakening stage turned out to be much trickier in two player mode. You can't just go somewhere using the Roc's Cape, let the second Link appear right next to you and use his bombs to blow some cracked blocks up. One player has to get the bombs and he needs to find a way around the swamp. A lot more coordination is needed here. But after all that's what multiplayer is about... cooperating.

Okay... cooperating and competing. And what makes this multiplayer game so unique is that you do both at the same time. You work together but you fight for the Rupees. Since I already got the Hurricane Spin Attack I had the advantage and at the beginning I annoyed the hell out of Jade using that technique... :D It's especially helpful during Rupee Rain or during the credits, where all the fairies appear. Well, then I had to promise to stay fair and not use it. And resisting to use the Hurricane Spin was really hard for me, because after all I went through HELL to unlock this thing. But we both got some medals at the end and it's not like you need these things anymore. Unlike in the original version collecting medals isn't necessary to unlock anything. And maybe next time we will be equally powerful for a real match. ;)

Of course I wouldn't post this if I hadn't made any interesting observations. The 50 Rupee minimum time bonus stays in multiplayer and gets even multiplied by the player count. In our case we would at least get 300 extra Rupees per stage for doing nothing else but reaching the goal. In the original version it was 6 Rupees, one Rupee per player and per floor. This makes a 294 Rupee difference, which sometimes might be the difference between winning or losing. While playing the GBA version it happened that we were short on a couple of Rupees at the end of a stage. Something like 2930 Rupees while going for the Golden Key in Death Mountain for example... so, yeah, this can really make a difference. And in four player mode you would get 600 Rupees extra for nothing!

The second difference was that they fixed the exploit, where you abuse Rupee Wraiths and Rupoors (the Black Rupees) during Rupee Fever to your advantage. Ah, I missed Rupee Fever so much, especially the catchy tune. Scoring like 8000 Rupees? Not a problem when you really use Rupee Fever all the time (in case you don't know what Rupee Fever is, when all players have full health the Rupees count doubly). However, in the GBA version you could even exploit Rupee Wraiths and the black Rupees. You dropped Rupees, but you could recollect them and get twice the amount back. Let's say you touch a Rupoor and you drop four small red Rupees, that's 80 Rupees alltogether. If you recollected them, you would get 160 Rupees back thanks to the Rupee Fever. They fixed this in the Anniversary Edition, the dropped Rupees now also count doubly. You drop four red ones, you lose 160 Rupees instead of 80. So, no abusing of Rupee Wraiths or Rupoors anymore... that's bad, because it was actually a very clever tactic. UPDATE: Actually they didn't fix it, you can still use this tactic. I'm sorry for the wrong information, my mistake.

But except for these things the multiplayer works exactly the same as in the GBA version. They only other difference is that you can use the whistle to annoy the other player(s), which can be fun. The only thing that could make it more annoying would be Link shouting his "Come on!" phrase from The Wind Waker each time you use the whistle, that would be so unnerving.

Generally I'm pickung the game up every now and then for a short session. It's perfect for some Zelda action in between. I'm usually replaying one of the original stages, because maybe I get to see a new floor, which I've never encountered before. Love the randomization and I actually got to see some new stuff. It's really amazing how many different floors there are. The new stages on the other hand provide very little replay value. Especially the Hero's Trial. I replayed the first door, which isn't as bad as the other two, once using the Hurricane Spin Attack. But overall the level design is too linear and too tedious, one enemy spawning switch after another. And unless I feel like torturing myself I probably won't be replaying the other two doors anytime soon. But by now I collected a total sum of over 220,000 Rupees, which speaks for the general replay value. You're going to return to this game once after a while, which makes it different from other Zelda games. If you're finished with a normal Zelda game it might rest for years... but not this game and the fact that this is a downloadable game, where you don't have to swap any discs or cartridges, makes picking it up even easier.

Now after experiencing the multiplayer I'm finally ready to finish my promised review. Unlike all the superficial reviews of this game this one will be very thorough.

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