Monday, December 9, 2013

A Link Between Worlds and DLC? Boss Challenge and Online Battle Modes!

This June Aonuma suggested in an interview with NintendoLife that they are looking into ways how to add content to a Zelda game in the form of DLC. Naturally DLC isn't an easy feat with Zelda, because you can't just add some new levels/areas to the game, unless you hide them under a tombstone like the Color Dungeon in Link's Awakening DX. But additional quests and dungeons also should yield a nice reward, which shouldn't be a bad afterthought.

However, A Link Between Worlds leaves certain interfaces for add on content, which could easily work and might even sell well. First thing is the absent Boss Battle/Gauntlet mode. After Spirit Tracks offered the possibility to battle all bosses again, Nintendo turned this into its own mode in Ocarina of Time 3D, which then made a return with the Lightning Round in Skyward Sword. And fans loved it! Battling bosses against the clock, going for highscores, battling all bosses in a row... Or alone the option to replay a boss whenever you want. It's great and every new Zelda should have it.

But... A Link Between Worlds didn't have one. In fact this is one of the very few complaints I have about this near perfect Zelda game that you can't replay the fun boss battles. I thought the bosses were great and the option to replay them is dearly missed. Also, battling all bosses in a row is always a nice challenge, definitely a lot more fun than some 17 minutes dodging minigame. So, where is it?

However, I can't help but feel that this was entirely intentional from Nintendo's side. A boss battle mode would make great extra content. I would easily pay 5€ for this. And maybe this is Nintendo's big plan here. Make the fans wish for a boss challenge mode and then release one as paid DLC.

The other obvious thing are online battles... the StreetPass feature is nice and all, I had a lot of fun with it, but overall it feels like another step back. The first game to have a battle mode was Four Swords Adventures, which had probably the most fun battle mode with "Shadow Battles", but it could only be played locally. Phantom Hourglass then offered online battles, which was great. But the gameplay of the battle mode wasn't as fun, nor the most Zelda'ish gameplay. However, it was online and connected many Zelda fans world wide. Spirit Tracks returned to a more fun concept with its battle mode (even though it wasn't nearly as great as Shadow Battles), but they cut the online. Again it was only local...

And now A Link Between Worlds finally returns to the great fun that Shadow Battles offered, but you can't even play against other people. It's only StreetPass and you fight bots. While the bots are really good (probably some of the most impressive AI from Nintendo) and the battles can be A LOT of fun, once you learned how to outsmart the AI, it's getting boring fast. I enjoyed the StreetPass battles for many, many hours, but after a while you just want a real opponent. Who does mistakes, but who also adepts. You want to play with friends and you also want to play online with people from Zelda message boards.

To integrate it, you would just talk to Gramps that you want to battle Shadow Links online. Maybe the bounties might be a problem, in case people are losing willingy to give you endless Rupees, but you could just leave the bounty rewards out. And have no penalties (like a counter how many games you've lost). If there's nothing to lose, less people will skip a match just because they're about to lose.

Also, they could add new arenas to the package. The five normal arenas are great and add to the replayability, but after a while you want some fresh places. New maps usually breath new life into an online game.

An online mode is probably not as likely, because Nintendo doesn't have the greatest affinity for online gaming, so this might remain a wet dream of mine. However, I could see a boss challenge mode happening via DLC in the next weeks.


Anonymous said...

I've though about DLCs the first second I've heard that no Boss Rush-Mode exists in the game.

Personally, I don't like to see Nintendo starting with DLCs, but at least they keep their games affordable. So I see no problem in spending some extra Cash compared to PS/XBox-games for 60 or 70 Bucks and having a story-relevant Day1-DLC fpr 15 more Bucks.

Alejandro González said...

I would love and totally buy regardless of price, if A Link to the Past was released as a DLC for A Link Between Worlds.