Monday, November 21, 2011

Skyward Sword Blade Journal, Day 5

SPOILER WARNING: Area post Silent Realm 2 + sidequests

This game really takes me back to the Nintendo 64 Zelda times. I spent A LOT of time just running around trying to discover new details. And I usually even find out something new! And I'm not doing that at the end of the game, because I'm bored. I'm still in the middle of the main quests, I'm sidequesting, because I like it a lot.

The Gratitude Crystals are basically the Secret Seashells / Gold Skulltulas / Poe Souls / similar collectible items of this game. Though you earn most of them by helping people, it seems there are at least 15 of these crystals hidden in Skyloft at night. This was made for me, I love Skyloft at night because of the atmosphere and I love looking for hidden things. It's like Gold Skulltulas in Kakariko, just without the rattling. And they are cleverly hidden. I was right about Zelda's room though, you get in it through the chimney. There you can also discover, who's bathing at night. It's this humor and this level of detail which make this game great.

You get 5 Gratitude Crystals for helping people, but it seems there are various choices, that you can make, which leads to different outcomes. I already talked about the ghost hand and the couplings at the academy, now there's Peatrice, the Item Check Girl, who falls in love with you throughout the game. You can tell her at some point that you also like her or you can dump her. The first one definitely gives you 5 crystals, I'm not sure what happens if you dump her, my best guess would be that you get 5 crystals from the father... the father is funny, he's the guy from the bamboo slicing minigame and he's totally angry at you, which makes him "wanna slice bamboo", haha.

I love the medals, this system has A LOT of potential. However, I fear that this potential will never be fully tapped. So far I got 7 different medals and 2 duplicates. Yes, that's right, I got both the Life and the Heart Medal twice for whatever reason. The Life Medal makes sense, because it adds an additional Heart Container. The more you have the more extra Heart Containers you get. I'm not sure about the Heart Medal, do I know find even more hearts usual if I equip both? If that's the case I want two Treasure Medals, I ALWAYS have the Treasure Medal equipped, I'm such a treasure collecting junkie. But there's so much more potential in this, just look at the 64 rings from the Oracle games, which was a similar concept. They had tons of ideas for nice boosting effects. I hope there will be at least 16 different medals, that's a quarter of the rings and not too much to ask. But I guess I will be disappointed and maybe there are only 8 of them... I dunno and it's actually nice that I have no clue how many medals there are. Because the hope that there always could be a new medal left somewhere will keep me looking. But I definitely hope that there will be a red and a blue medal, one boosting your attack power and one boosting your defense. Like the Red and Blue Mail in Link's Awakening or the Red and Blue Ring in the Oracle games. It's a classic and this shouldn't be missing. Also, this would be a much needed optional sword upgrade, it's always boring when the sword upgrades are story related and not part of your own doing. Another possibility would be medal that lets you regenerate your health like the Heart Ring. I would also suggest medals boosting your stamina and air supply, but you already have potions for this and the Potion Medal to lenghten potion effects. But there are many possibilities. My favorite medal so far is the Bug Medal, which shows the locations of insects on your map. This is very useful, I would like a similar medal showing treasures you find out in the open. Another nice idea would be a medal, that makes your sword beam load faster.

I don't like the camera change to first person, it works different than before. In all other four 3D Zeldas you would switch into Link's point of view, but now Link will automatically look into the direction of your camera. I prefered the old way, but this is a minor detail.

I also got further into the main quests, I've beaten the Ancient Cistern and the second Silent Realm trial and I've explored the first two ports of the giant sand sea.

The Ancient Cistern was probably the best dungeon so far. It was still completely linear and not very large, but it got this underground area, which was simply amazing. That's how a dungeon is supposed to look like, visually. Dark, spooky, with chains on the wall, purple acid fluid, traps and Zombie Bokoblins. That's how you imagine a real dungeon. The atmosphere was totally awesome and a very nice contrast to the bright and colorful upper level. The boss fight again was a lot of fun, this game probably has the most solid and fun selection of bosses in any Zelda game. It was also the first and hopefully not the last time that you could swing an enemy weapon. I hoped that this feature from The Wind Waker would fully return, but instead it's just this one occasion. It would be nice, if you could use the Moblin's spears or the Hi-Tech Bokoblins electric swords for example. This is a game about swinging the Wiimote as your sword and there should be as many melee weapons as possible. But at least the whip is a nice item, it was already a winner in Spirit Tracks and might become a staple in the series.

The second Silent Realm trial was overwhelming. The area at Lanayru Desert was massive, you could easily run out of time and I was chased a couple of times. I never died though, only once at the beginning. It surprised me that the trial gave me the Clawshots, which then would lead to lots of sidequesting (fully explore Skyloft!). But yeah, it was mentioned earlier that they would give you all items as early as possible and I guess the bow will be next. Because before the Fire Sanctuary Bokoblins will steal all of your items (I remember that from Nintendo's spoiler marathon), which wouldn't be possible if you don't have all items.

But you actually got the full length Double Clawshots... especially in the first Zelda game that allows you to upgrade your items multiple times you would think that the Hookshot is the perfect candidate for upgrades. After all it's one of the few items that got constantly upgraded in older games. You get the Hookshot and then extend its chain to the Longshot in Ocarina of Time for example. Or the Double Clawshots were an upgrade to the Clawshot in Twilight Princess. You could have combined that like getting the Hookshot first, then add a claw, then extend the chain and then get a second one. The Beetle also got three upgrades and it feels a little bit inconsistent. Currently I can't upgrade anything anymore and I was hoping that some of the new items would upgradeable. But neither the Gust Bellow, nor the Whip or the Clawshots seem to have any upgrades. For the Whip it would have been nice to add an upgrade, where it damages enemies. But I still hope that the Bow will offer something...

However, the Clawshots let you do lots of sidequesting like entering Zelda's room. It was the second time in the game that opening closets was actually worth it. I do it all the time, but usually there's nothing in there. And you also get to peek into the bathroom... you basically could have guessed, who's occupying the bath all night, because he's the only character, who you don't meet at night...

And Lanayru definitely now is my favorite area in the game. It just gets better and better. A boat like in Phantom Hourglass with a robot pirate on it (so hilarious!!) and a time warp field around it, which turns the sand dunes into the water of the ocean which the desert used to be in the past? Hell yeah, why not? This stuff is amazingly creative and a lot of fun. No other game has crazy shit like this. The ocean area is about the size of one map in Phantom Hourglass. And the islands in the sand sea are very fun. Clawshotting my way through massive cliffs? Fast riding on minecarts? Rebattling old bosses? HELL YEAH!!

By the way, the Skipper's Retreat was a very nice spot for farming Sand Cicadas, Dusk Relics and even Goddess Plumes. Just go through the door on the top again and again.

No comments: