Thursday, November 24, 2011

Skyward Sword Blade Journal, Day 8

SPOILER ALERT: up to Dungeon 7

If saying that there's actually 7 dungeons is already a spoiler for you, then I apologize.

Well, what a day! I've started to play exactly one week ago, I'm 64 hours in the game and I haven't beaten it yet. Well, I wasted a lot of time with running around, looking for treasures, insects and other stuff, but I'm overall very happy with the amount of time that I was able to spent with the game. And it doesn't seem to be over yet.

The part with the three dragons sadly didn't offer any new dungeons or revisited dungeons and unnecessarily you had to play all three dragons in a given order (Update: that's actually not true, but it's the only non-linear section), but this part of the game offered some fresh surprises. It was mostly about reexperiencing old environments in a new way. You already did that with the Silent Realms, but now it was time for something different.

The forest area was completely flooded and you can dive all over the place. I had three empty bottles at that time, so I used this opportunity to try the air potion, I bought three of them and upgraded them all, so that your air doesn't go away. I also combined this with the Potion Medal, so I could dive for a long time without breathing. It's not necessary to do this, but thanks to the potions you can endlessly spin, which is quite some fun. Flooding the entire area was literally a fresh idea and I enjoyed it while it lasted. However, flooding the area had the goal to get rid of all the monsters. And save for Takkuris, Keese and Deku Babas this succeeded. No Moblins, no Bokoblins... even one of the Kikwis actually says that this is boring! Fighting is the most fun part of the game, so don't take away the enemies!!

Next stop was Death Mountain, errrrh... I mean Eldin Volcano. The volcano errupted, you get caught in an explosion and Bokoblins use this opportunity to steal all your stuff and to imprison you. You now have to break free, avoid the guards and get your items back in a certain order. It was basically a mix between the Forsaken Fortress from the Wind Waker and the part where the Tokays steal your items on Crescent Island in Oracle of Ages. This is the best way to describe it. It was well made, the lighting of the errupting volcano was incredible and the atmosphere was dense, you could hear your pulse when you get near a guard. However, the whole thing came to a sudden end. At the beginning you lose basically everything except for the Sailcloth, the Scale, the Earrings and your wallet. I was freaked out at that moment, my Adventure Pouch was full of upgraded potions and the Goddess Shield. And I actually thought that I had to track down individual "Bokoblays" to get all of my stuff back, I imagined that gettting the contents of your pouch back would result in later sidequests. But you only had to reclaim the Gust Bellow, the Clawshots, the Whip, the Sling/Spreadshot and the Bomb Bag. Then you get the Master Sword and the Adventure Pouch with all of the other missing items in it... then you meet the Dragon and the story is over. It felt a little bit sudden, I was thinking that I had to get the rest of my items at the Volcano Summit. And I was thinking that I would finally get to revisit the Earth Temple, but not a chance. It would have been nice if you had to track down some of your items at the Earth Temple. Maybe you get the Master Sword at the Volcano Summit and then you return to the Earth Temple to look for the rest of the items. Sounds awesome right? But nah... and after this part, it seems that the Moblins are gone. Whyyyy?! I'm at the end of the game, why do they REMOVE enemies? If anything, the places should be crawling with the most dangerous enemies! Everything should try to stop me. But instead they clean the forest and now even the volcano area of all stronger enemies? What is going on here?

The Desert didn't get any flooding or erruptions, instead you explore yet another new area! The desert is by far the largest area in the game, Eldin Volcano looks like your dooryard compared to the desert. I mean there's an entire ocean area in the size of one Phantom Hourglass map and that's not even half of it. It's impressive. Well, I was eager to meet the third Dragon, because a Gossip Stone tells you that he puts you into trials and may reward you with the Hylian Shield. It turns out that the third Dragon manages the Boss Challenge mode. And it's well made, you can pick a battle and at the end of the battle he gives you a choice. You can either leave and pick a price or continue playing, but you carry on your health and you don't know what the next boss will be. You're fighting against them all, but the order is random. Well, if you win four battles in a row, you can get a Piece of Heart. And if you win eight battles in a row you can get the Hylian Shield. He also let's you replay the Silent Realms, which is nice, because now you can always get more Dusk Relics if you need them. It's a nice challenge and there seem to be some prices as well, but I'm not sure, I haven't beaten any highscore yet.

Talking about Silent Realms, when I said "unless there's another trial in Skyloft" I was actually joking! JOKING! You should have seen my face when the game told me that the final trial handn't been final at all and that I had to do another one in the village! But it was fun, it was weird to see the guardians in the village, it wasn't really hard and by now I know Skyloft like the back of my hand. Unlike the forest. I replayed the Forest Silent Realm twice now and both times I got lost... lol. Interestingly Skyloft got its own submenu in the Silent Realm replay mode called "other places". Does this mean there's even a fifth Silent Realm? Because otherwise they could have just made a normal menu made of four selections like with the bosses. I hope not...

And nothing in this game is meaningless. I like how you stumble over certain details and wonder what they mean. Like when you find the windmill at Eldin Volcano, it seemed like a random detail, but later it would turn into a quest. Or those holes in the ground, you can plant a seedling there, even though only one hole results in a tree. I don't know why you can plant the seedling in the pumpkin fields or if there's any other sidequest that involves planting later on. And there was this weird bird statue with only one eye near the water fall in Skyloft. I always wondered what that thing would mean, but I never imagined that it would open the entrance to the final(?) dungeon!

Opening the dungeon was certainly an epic scene. When looking for the Gratitude Crystals at night I checked the sidewalk, where you followed Fi at the beginning of the game, maybe two or three times without any success. Turns out that nothing was hidden there for a reason, the whole thing crumbled down. But there was a treasure chest on that path containing 20 Rupees, first missable detected in this game. :D Not that this really matters.

The dungeon itself, called the Sky Keep, looks very, very promising. It only has eight rooms, but they are organized like a tile puzzle. You can move them around freely and try to proceed. This might turn into the smartest dungeon of the Zelda series yet... or not, I can't tell yet, because I left the dungeon to get the Hylian Shield first. I also want to finish all sidequests before the finale. Save the best for last. And the Sky Keep is actually the first thing, where Nintendo hasn't shown any preview material, right? I'm really excited about the dungeon, but this will have to wait.

I opened all of the black treasure chests in Skyloft by now, well, at least the menu entry of the cube dowsing tells me that there are no cubes left for my sword to react to. But I am disappointed about the content of the last chests. The best thing I got was the fifth empty bottle. Then I got a small quiver and a lot of Rupees. Like this chest in the Bazaar, it gives you 300 Rupees and I was disappointed. This was the most exciting treasure chest, because you see it plenty of times during the game. I expected some nice new medal for example. But there were no new medals. So far I only got ten medals, seven different ones and three duplicates. But there must be a duplicate for the Treasure Medal as well, so there might be more. I'm guessing the total is 12. I'm also missing three Heart Containers. I got two Piece of Hearts right now, so there will be at least an 18th one coming from sidequests. But I doubt there will be eight more Heart Pieces left. What does that mean? Two more bosses leaving Heart Containers? I doubt that somehow as well. Or is 18 the actual maximum? Because I got two Life Medals, which add an extra Heart Container. So, if you want all 20 Heart Containers you have to carry both medals with you? But this would suck, it just wastes space in your Adventure Pouch. Well, you don't really need all 20 Heart Containers, because the game is easy, but it just looks so unfinished. With 18 Heart Containers I always feel like I'm still missing something. It would have been better to get extra Heart Containers instead of those medals. But.. I don't know yet, it might as well be that I'm really just missing some Heart Containers and/or Pieces. Hopefully.

I finish this post with some minor details, which I've noticed. You can actually light torches by blowing up bombs. Considering that there hasn't been a single "light the torch"-puzzle yet, this is an impressive detail. And you can blow up Gossip Stones with bombs like you could in the N64 Zeldas. Nice. However, you can't scoop in the Potion Shop. Remember the little Potion Shop in Faron Woods in Twilight Princess? The one run by a bird? There you could scoop a potion and pay by putting Rupees in a box. Or simply steal it. It's not a big deal that this doesn't work in Skyward Sword, but it would have been a nice detail. The way I see it this game is all about the nice details.

Ah, wait... I've heard there's something called "Hero Mode". I'm curios what this will be. Of course I'm hoping for a full fledged 2nd Quest with Stalfos in every corner, that would be totally awesome. But I'm keeping my expectations low, maybe it's just a forced Three Heart Quest or something lame like that. But if the game manages to offer some challenge after all I will be pleased. And please don't tell me what the Hero Mode is, I want to find out for myself. It's actually already bad enough that I know that it exists.


Anonymous said...

Friendly tip – duplicate your save file before you go ahead with the final battle.

TourianTourist said...

Thank you very much, I'll do that!

Anonymous said...

You're welcome!

- Long Time Reader (of Time)

TourianTourist said...

Ah, I see why you gave me the advice. Just started the Hero Mode. ^^ Thanks again.