Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Twilight Princess DLC Disappointment

Okay, the new content itself is great as always. Love the new movesets, Twili Midna plays totally awesome (except for the weird squeak sounds) and I could see her become one of my favorite characters. The ideas on the new Adventure Map are interesting and feel fresh. And the costumes are fun.

But other than that, they did everything wrong, which could be done wrong. Everything. Murphy's Law at its best.

Let's start with Twili Midna ... while she seems to be an awesome character, she's completely self-contained. She doesn't have any unlockables at all, not even a new costume. She gets more Heart Containers while leveling up and her higher tier weapons are obtained randomly. I know that you can buy her separately in Japan, which is probably the main reason, why they did that. We don't have this purchase option in Europe, so I don't care, and even if we did, I would probably be disappointed about buying a character, who doesn't have anything to do in the game.

If you primarily play Adventure Mode, Twili Midna won't see any use. There is not a single mission for her, which is a massive letdown, considering that the entire Adventure Map was themed after Twilight Princess. You just keep playing the 16 original characters... on the 2nd mission it already starts with you being locked to Imp Midna. Why did they make you pay for an entire new character, if she doesn't see any use at all?

I'm not even sure, if she appears on the new Adventure Map at all, like as an ally or enemy (Update: it seems like she does). But she certainly doesn't in Legende Mode, while this would have been the perfect opportunity to patch her in. Especially Cia's mission on the Twilight Palace should have Twili Midna, because it was Cia, who cursed her into the imp form... now they finally created Twili Midna, but they still don't use her.

And with this way of nonexistent character integration with the DLC I don't even care much about the upcoming Majora's Mask characters... they probably won't be of use as well. And that's a shame.

I also don't understand, why we did get two more Darkness weapons... forget about my posts about element balance, they clearly don't care. We have eight Darkness weapons now and we probably might get two more in the Majora's Mask pack, if it's really Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid. They probably wanted to keep Twili Midna as a shadow character and at least the Mirror does Light element damage as well. Maybe in the sequel they will introduce true multi-element weapons...

Okay, this might be nitpicking, but I feel the same about the Dominion Rod...

It completely looks and feels like a Light weapon. And we have Princess Zelda here, where it's weird to have her wield a dark weapon... so, I don't understand the concept of this being a darkness weapon yet.

Another big disappointment is the lack of any new stages. Even at the discount the DLC is at roughly 30% of the main game's price. So, I would expect about 30% of the content, which would include about three or four new stages. But nothing of the like. The City in the Sky would have been awesome or Snowpeak Ruins. Ordon Village could have been a possibility as well. But getting nothing is just lame. It's really boring to play the same 14 stages over again and again, this game badly needed new ones.

The Adventure Map is even based on the different regions of the original Twilight Princess map, just rotated by 90°. But you get a snowy regions for example, which would have been perfect for the Snowpeak Ruins.

I will probably still enjoy what we got, but overall I'm let down by all of this...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Level Increase and new Potions


You can go past Level 99 in version 1.4. All my characters are on Level 99, so this is a welcome addition. Also, good thing I haven't bothered with A ranking Boss Rush yet. I was secretly hoping that something would be coming that might make this level easier and looks like I'm in luck. If you could kill the bosses in one strike each, this level would be a lot more enjoyable. With Cia I can get it done under 15 minutes, because she's awesome, but it involves a lot of luck having the bosses in positions, where it's not total madness. You get hit by Manhandla one time and the A rank is gone.

And I hope the new potions will include a Materials+ potion. I will be using this all the time and then finally there will be a good use for all the materials, which I have collected. You can even go past 99 units per material now.

Man... I really felt like this game was about to be done, but it's quite the opposite...! Koei Tecmo will keep this baby alive for a while. And there goes all my free time. :D

But this explains, why there are Heart Pieces on the Adventure Map. With new levels every character gets a couple of new Heart Containers.

Hyrule Warriors: Twilight Princess Adventure Map, Dominion Rod

So, Zelda's really getting the Dominion Rod. Nice fit. It looks like a light element weapon though and so far no Phantoms involved, but I guess that each combo might result in a different statue. She's also getting an Ilia costume, which looks creepy. I would have preferred a Rutela costume for Ruto, since she could use some more attention, but whatever...

Now let's take a look at the new Adventure Map:

This looks really interesting. Completely new item cards, Twilight zones and more. And less space. It's "only" 93 missions in total to be accurate. And there only seem to be six new weapon upgrades. I suppose the Dominion Rod tiers might just be available randomly like with Epona. But for Twili Midna's Mirror it could make sense to be upgraded via the Adventure Map, since her Heart Containers and Heart Pieces should also be there. But then we would only get four new 8-Bit weapons.

Talking about Heart Pieces ... there's a new one for Midna, the Imp Midna, not the new one. This is very interesting, because this could mean that each character is getting four new Heart Pieces. Considering that this map is quite smaller than before, you wonder, if everyone really gets five new Heart Containers in total on this map. If not... this would mean that they might plan even more DLC in the future, because I suppose that the last line of hearts will be completed at the end of the DLC for everyone. (Update: You can go past Level 99 now, which is why there are only Heart Pieces.)

But here's Ganondorf's new costume and 8-Bit weapon:

It makes sense for him to have the keys, because they match his asymmetrical sword style. And the costume makes him look even more like Demise, I like it. Too bad it doesn't seem like we're getting the dark costumes here. I really wanted that Dark Agitha. But I still think that.

There are these weird red and green Twilight Orbs / Portals. I suppose these hide the costumes, which means that there are 14 costumes in total.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: New Weapon for Zelda Incoming!

One Facebook Nintendo revealed that Zelda's getting a new weapon in the upcoming Twilight Princess DLC next week. Nice thing that they didn't make this an exclusive amiibo weapon, haha.

Since this is a Twilight Princess pack, I already had the idea of the Dominion Rod for her. You can even expand this idea by controlling different Phantoms from Spirit Tracks, which would be a nice reference to that game and to her new move in Smash. And this would most likely give her a fire type weapon, if it involves Fire Phantoms.

Another possibility would be the Ice Rod. While not being from Twilight Princess, it would create a nice water type weapon and the water element hasn't seen a new weapon yet.

There's also a new picture of Twili Midna:

I kind of dislike that they reused the Shadow Wolfs from Imp Midna here, but it looks kind of cool. It's probably one of her specials.

Also, Link is getting a Postman costume! Very nice choice. I was thinking about the Hero's Shade, but he's still a potential character in my eyes and wouldn't have worked well as a costume, since costumes don't change the sound. And the Postman wouldn't be a fighter, so a costume for Link is a nice touch. I could even imagine Link becoming a postman in a Zelda game.

I wonder what the other costume could be, if it has any relation to Twilight Princess... I can only come up with more costumes for Link, like his Ordon clothes, the Zora Armor or the Magic Armor. But maybe it's a Rutela costume for Ruto. That could be beautiful.

And the Adventure Map is going to be Twilight Princess themed. So, there goes the idea of having the dungeons, I guess... unless they meant that the missions will focus on Twilight Princess and even offer new stages from this game like the Snowpeak Ruins. Which I still hope is the case, despite the lack of Yeto. And I wouldn't mind getting a completely original Adventure Map.

I'm really excited for all of this. Too bad Smash Bros. 4 for Wii comes out one day later, so I won't find much time to play the new Smash... :D

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Star / 8-Bit Weapon Speculation

As joke weapons in Hyrule Warriors they went for gigantic 3D voxel weapons based on the 8-Bit items from The Legend of Zelda (NES). This is what we got so far:
  • Link's Sword: 8-Bit Wooden Sword
  • Link's Magic Rod: 8-Bit Candle
  • Impa's Giant Blade: 8-Bit Boomerang
  • Sheik's Harp: 8-Bit Stepladder
  • Lana's Book: 8-Bit Book of Magic
  • Zelda's Rapier: 8-Bit White Sword
  • Fi's Goddess Sword: 8-Bit Silver Arrow
  • Ghirahim's Demon Blade: 8-Bit Arrow

There's even more. If you play Network Link battles, you can already spot certain characters with additional 8-Bit weapons, which aren't unlockable yet. This includes what appears to be the Red Ring for Midna and even some 8-Bit Rupee Parasol for Agitha. I've yet to see them myself, so I can't clearly tell. But I suppose, some of these might be unlockable on the next Adventure Map and maybe in the end everyone will get at least one 8-Bit weapon.

Let's think about what other items from The Legend of Zelda could act as potential star weapons in Hyrule Warriors, just for fun ... here are some of my ideas:

  • Zelda's Baton: 8-Bit Recorder
  • Ganondorf's Great Swords: 8-Bit Magical Swords
  • Darunia's Hammer: 8-Bit Hammer (from Zelda II)
  • Ruto's Zora Scale: 8-Bit Food
  • Zant's Scimitars: 8-Bit Magical Boomerangs
  • Cia's Scepter: 8-Bit Magic Rod
  • Volga's Dragon Spear: 8-Bit Magical Key
  • Twili Midna's Mirror: 8-Bit Compass
  • Tingle's Balloon: 8-Bit Fairy

Some of this I could easily see happening. Other stuff might be too weird. Darunia for example is a tough choice, but I could see him smashing things with a Raft on a stick, because that's probably the heaviest item in the classic 8-Bit arsenal. Or they simply give him the Hammer from Adventure of Link.

I'd love the Food for Ruto, since it was basically the bait item of the first game. Giving this to a fish woman would have some irony. And Ganondorf certainly needs the Magic Sword, so each of the three main characters have one of the classic swords each. Since there are even different sprites fort he Magical Sword, he could use both of them for his weapons.

If Tingle is really in the game, giving him the classic 8-Bit Fairy as his balloon would be fitting, don't you think? The 8-Bit Heart Container also could act as a mask for Skull Kid, if he's in, since Majora's Mask had the shape of an heart.

I had some other ideas in the past for what could act as potential star weapons. Like the Skull Hammer for Darunia, the Bug Catching Net for Agitha or the Great Fairy's Sword for Impa. But with the exception of the Bug Catching Net those would be serious alternatives and not some joke weapons. I also had the idea of 16-Bit weapons like the Magic Hammer for Darunia or the Magic Mirror for Twili Midna. But all of that might be material for a sequel and for the first game they probably keep the theme of 8-Bit weapons.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Twili Midna announced for Hyrule Warriors

BAM! There she is!

There's absolutely no arguing that she was the frontmost important thing to be added to the game, right after the unplayable villain trio. The only question was, will she be a character on her own or a weapon for the existing Midna? Since they showed a 2nd weapon for Midna at E3, many (including myself) speculated that Midna's true form would be used for this weapon.

Now later it got revealed that her 2nd weapon was called "Hair" and it's likely that it got scrapped alltogether. It just makes more sense for her to be her own character, since she has a different model, which would have different costumes than Imp Midna. So, Imp Midna is most likely going to stay as an one weapon character.

I don't know, why I thought otherwise, since I always advocated that Fierce Deity Link should be his own character and not just a weapon for Link. Also, this is the only way to get a beautiful character art into the character select menu, because weapons don't add that. And it would have been a shame to miss that beautiful face.

I guess, the main reason, why people wanted her to be the weapon and not the character, is that then there would have been space for a surprise character like Yeto or the Hero's Shade. But of course this is backwards mentality, since there is no real limit to character slots. If they haven't planned Yeto yet, there won't be Yeto. They planned two new movesets per pack and one of them is Twili Midna. If she would have been implemented as a weapon, we would have gotten two new weapons instead.

The real question now is ... what's the new weapon? I would have speculated the Spinner, but Koei Tecmo already announced that this one is going to stay exclusive to amiibo. Another option would be the Dominion Rod. It could be a new weapon for Zelda, but also a 2nd weapon for Twili Midna. Giving a new character two movesets from the get-go would be cool. Another possibility is the Fishing Rod ... but we all know, where this would end: Link having eight weapons in total, no thanks.

So, I place my bet on Ganondorf's horse! This makes the most sense. Like Epona it's already in the main game. It would be a moveset based on Twilight Princess, where Ganondorf showed his horse skills. They could even take the ghost riders as attacks from there. And Ganondorf deserves to get a 2nd weapon, simple as that.

By the way, I'm happy I was right that Twili Midna uses the "Mirror" as her weapon type with the Mirror of Twilight being one of the tiers. I'm eager to learn about the other tiers, she could even get a 16-Bit Magic Mirror as a joke skin.

I also hope that they will patch Legend Mode with her now, because the true Midna should have appeared in certain situations, like when Cia first met her.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8 (Review)

Link driving on the Master Cycle on Hyrule Circuit

This review was originally published on ZeldaChronicles (formerly known as ZeldaEurope) and got translated for this blog in 2021 by the same author.

Have you ever imagined what a "Zelda Kart" would be like? Well, the new pack of DLC for Mario Kart 8 might give you an idea – in there you'll ride as Link on the Master Cycle over the Hyrule Circuit. So, let's take a look how this has turned out...


DLC is still an undiscovered country for Nintendo. After the overpriced course packs for New Super Mario Bros. 2, the company banks on a new model for Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8, where the DLC seems to more worth it from a price point and can also be pre-ordered. Already since end of August, you can get the two packs: "The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8", which has been released last Thursday, as well as "Animal Crossing x Mario Kart 8", which is scheduled for release next May.

Each DLC pack comes with three new drivers, four new karts and eight new tracks (split into two cups) and costs 8€ on its own. Combined they'll only cost 12€, saving you 25%. This is a fair price, especially if you consider that the total of 32 tracks from the main game gets increased by 50% here. This will add a lot of fresh air and more variety to the game.

If you pre-order both DLC packs, you'll also get different colors for Yoshi and Shy Guy, similar to the Dark Link outfit in Hyrule Warriors. It's kind of cheap that this gets withheld from all other players, since these are just colored reskins, but it's a nice bonus nonetheless.

Otherwise this is all content that clearly was made after the main game got finished. So, nothing was held back to make more money, where instead this is a serious expansion for an already content-rich title, which got released at the end of May.

In general Mario Kart is one of Nintendo's best suited series for DLC. You could always keep adding to the game with new courses, drivers and vehicle parts. In the following you get a complete list of all the content in the "The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8" DLC pack.


New Drivers:

  • Tanooki Mario
  • Cat Peach
  • Link

New Vehicle Parts:

  • Blue Falcon
  • Tanooki Kart
  • B Dasher
  • Master Cycle
  • Triforce Tires
  • Hyrule Kite

New Courses:

  • GCN Yoshi Circuit
  • Excitebike Arena
  • Dragon Driftway
  • Mute City
  • Wii Wario's Gold Mine
  • SNES Rainbow Road
  • Ice Ice Outpost
  • Hyrule Circuit

Link, the Racer

Apart from the Super Smash Bros. series, it's actually quite rare that our hero Link gets a cameo appearance in other games. After he has done well in SoulCalibur II eleven years ago, Link now finds himself on the racetracks of Mario Kart 8, where it's up to the fantasies of the players how he got there. Maybe he asked the Triforce to have some fun with many beautiful princesses? Kart racing is probably not what he had in mind there, but the Triforce has its own way of fulfilling wishes, as you all know...

But such questions aren't of importance in Mario Kart anyway. What's really important is how well Link got integrated into the game and here you could say that he looks absolutely ridiculous. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. There's a certain humor to it how Link squeezes himself into a tiny kart with a serious look on his face, just to then celebrate a victory in joy like a child. If you perform stunts, he will either swing his sword or hold up the Triforce, which feels a little bit more dynamic than with most other characters.

Link's design is based on the one from Skyward Sword, which fits Mario Kart 8 rather well and makes him look more friendly than in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U. He's a heavyweight driver, sharing the same class with Donkey Kong, Waluigi, Roy and Rosalina. If you like any of these drivers, he could be an interesting alternative and in general Link has a certain charm to him, which probably will make him a popular pick overall. So, it shouldn't be of surprise that Link is currently outranking Rosalina online. The hero of Hyrule is everywhere.

Link on the new Master Cycle

Also, Link gets the "Master Cycle" as a new toy – a fancy bike in the shape of a horse. The Hylian Shield as decors are a nice detail and in addition there are the "Triforce Tires" and the "Hylian Kite", which you can use in combination with any other vehicle, if you want.


Hyrule, the Racetrack

Link as a driver is certainly great, but the new courses are what you really want out of the DLC. And there's something for Zelda enthusiasts in here as well with the "Hyrule Circuit", where you drive around and through Hyrule Castle. Nintendo managed to capture the overall charm of The Legend of Zelda in a relatively compact way and came up with some special features for this track.

For starters, you don't collect the usual Coins, but Rupees, which already makes this course more fun for Zelda fans. Also, if you get an item from an Item Box, it plays a quick version of the classic treasure chest jingle. And next to the usual Toads, you'll find some Hyrule Soldiers in the audience, which are similar to the ones from Spirit Tracks, meaning that they all wear Link's green garments. The last section of the course also has some Deku Babas and Keese as classic enemies from the Zelda universe.

Hyrule Circuit from above

The real ingenuity is found inside Hyrule Castle, however, where for the first time there is a puzzle waiting for you in Mario Kart. There are three anti-gravity boost pillars in the form of Crystal Switches and if you activate them all in a row, this will make a boost ramp appear right in front of the Master Sword for an impressive short cut. Hitting all three switches on your own isn't exactly easy, which adds an interesting component to the track. Sometimes other drivers might activate the switches that you've missed, so that there is still a chance for you to make that shortcut.

All in all the Hyrule Circuit is well-made and a worthy representation for the world of The Legend of Zelda inside Mario Kart in one compact course.


Nintendo Kart

While Link is the only guest driver (for now), there are some trips into other Nintendo universes via the new racetracks as well. One is the "Excitebike Arena", where you simply go in circles, but the track elements are different with each race. There are ramps, mud spots and such, where their order, height and so on vary each time you play the course.

Another highlight is "Mute City" from F-Zero, a turbulent track with the classic music, which whets your appetite for a new F-Zero game on the Wii U. As a special gimmick there are "pit areas", which will fill your coins while driving over them. In addition, there is the Blue Falcon as a new kart waiting for you to be used here or anywhere.

Mario in the Blue Falcon on Mute City, leaving Wario behind

The DLC pack might be named "The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8", but all of these things show that this is not just a simple crossover, where shows a lot of potential. The idea of a "Nintendo Kart" isn't exactly new and this DLC is a first, small step in that direction, probably to see how the fans are going to like it.

Overall this is already quite nice, but Nintendo certainly could have gotten more out of this idea already. Like, the only new drivers next to Link are "Tanooki Mario" and "Cat Peach". While they might be cute, veterans like Diddy Kong are still nowhere to be found. And why not also add Zelda or maybe even the legendary Captain Falcon himself?

More Courses, More Fun

Next to the three courses based on other Nintendo games, there are also three classic courses and two entirely new courses in this DLC pack. Among the retro tracks is "Yoshi's Circuit" from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! on the GameCube, where its only gimmick are the many curves, which take a good amount of driving skills for you to score first place. This course also already re-appeared in Mario Kart DS, so this is actually the third time you can race here.

For the "SNES Rainbow Road" it's even the fourth time, where it was available in Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Mario Kart 7 as well. This marks also the first Mario Kart game, which has three different Rainbow Roads to offer. But there is no denying that this course has a special appeal, especially for long drifts, where this remaster looks incredible. But it's mainly a visual overhaul, where gameplay-wise it's not much different from the Nintendo 3DS version.

SNES Rainbow Road looking real shiny with a full moon in the background

The new version of "Wario's Gold Mine" on the other hand makes good use of the anti-gravity feature, where you now might want to collide with the mine carts instead of avoiding them. This way this track is more fun than it used to be in Mario Kart Wii.

One of the completely new course is the "Dragon Driftway", offering some East Asian flair, which is rare for Mario games (the Chai Kingdom from Super Mario Land comes to mind). And there is also the "Ice Ice Outpost", where you have two differently colored roads running in parallel. A similar idea can be found on other courses already, like the "Sweet Sweet Canyon", but this time this concept has been expanded to the entirety of the course.

Aside from some of the new gimmicks, these additional courses are actually quite basic. Yoshi's Circuit, the Excitebike Arena and the SNES Rainbow Road don't employ any special methods of racing at all. The other courses mainly use the anti-gravity feature and only two of them have short glider sections, so you won't see that new Hyrule Kite very often. None of the new courses have underwater segments whatsoever. But this doesn't necessarily harm the new cups, quite the opposite. It's a collection of some really well-made courses, maybe even some of the best racetracks in Mario Kart 8.

What's completely missing, however, are any additions to the lackluster Battle Mode, which doesn't seem to get any love in the DLC either... In the very least some of the new courses, like the SNES Rainbow Road, could have worked there as well, but there is nothing. And that's a shame for everyone who likes to pop some balloons.



Even though Nintendo could have made more out of the entire concept, Mario Kart 8 now offers a successful first guest appearance of Link and Hyrule with the "The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8" Pack. And there is some good new content in addition, breathing new life into the game, scratching on the surface of a potential "Nintendo Kart" by including Excitebike and F-Zero as well. If you already own Mario Kart 8, then getting the DLC should be a no-brainer. And it might even get some Zelda fans interested in the game...

The only downside is that there are no additions or improvements to the Battle Mode and that the selection of new drivers leaves quite a bit to desire.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hyrule Warriors: Deku Princess as DLC?

This might be crazy, but I completely changed my stance on the possible DLC characters for Hyrule Warriors. My first impression was that there's only choice for the Majora's Mask characters: Skull Kid and Fierce Deity Link, since they are the most prominent and powerful characters from the game. But after learning that Tingle already was in development and most likely will be one of the characters for the DLC, I considered different scenarios.

Since Nintendo and Koei Tecmo seemed happy with the sales, a sequel to Hyrule Warriors is not unlikely. But of course they would need some interesting new characters for the sequel. Main characters that is. Well, there will be Ravio, Hilda and Yuga from A Link Between Worlds, but for the most part we only have side characters left. Some more important ones like Groose or Nabooru and some less important ones like Batreaux. But the sequel needs some big new faces, which could easily be provided by Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid. (In the sequel Skull Kid would also be free have the moon as his special attack, which is currently occupied by someone else.)

And it could make sense not to go for the most important characters in the DLC. In any case they won't get the same spotlight and usage as the 16 original characters. And not everyone likes DLC, some people even refuse to buy it. So, I wouldn't wonder if the DLC focuses more on side characters. Tingle might even be a good choice here, because he's a love / hate thing. Whoever likes him, buys the DLC, and the others can just ignore it alltogether.

My second choice now would be the Deku Princess:

There are several reasons for this. Majora's Mask now enters the world of Hyrule Warriors and so far each game got the following:

  • at least two characters
  • at least two stages
  • one boss from the game
  • troops made of enemies from the game

Well, Ocarina of Time only got a reskinned King Dodongo, but that still counts for me. And everything else fits. There's the Imprisoned and the Bokoblins from Skyward Sword and the Bulblins and Argarok from Twilight Princess. Stalchilds are from Ocarina of Time.

Koei Tecmo showed that they like patterns in their game, so I wouldn't be surprised, if they gave Majora's Mask the same treatment. The full package. They already announced two characters for the game, so that's the first fit. And next to them there would be two new stages, new troops and one new boss. And I think the best way to do this would be via Dekus and Woodfall. This is what the new Adventure Map would offer:

  • Clocktown Stage
  • Woodfall Stage
  • Odolwa boss
  • Deku troops

The Garo could also make an excellent choice for the troops, but Dekus are probably more prominent. And the Deku Princess is simply the character, who fits this content the best. And it would be nice to have a Deku representative in the game next to one Goron and a Zora.

Besides that she would offer another water moveset, which so far has the lowest number of weapons, so this is needed. And to be honest, she's one character, where I already have a moveset worked out in my mind. Her normal attack string would have her whirl around (like Deku Link) and whip others with her hair. In the combos she uses the Deku Pipes to shoot Deku Bubbles and fly with the propeller flowers to bomb things with Deku Nuts. As her special she would summon a giant Deku, who sucks everyone in and shoots them away. Maybe she could also play certain songs from Majora's Mask like the Sonata of Awakening for different effects.

I think, while not being a major character, she brings lots of potential to add many different things from Majora's Mask to Hyrule Warriors. A lot more than Skull Kid and Fierce Deity Link probably would.

On the other hand it would be weird to have Clocktown, but not Skull Kid. However, it could be that they "visit" Clocktown at a different time, where the moon isn't about to crash on the town. They also visited Skyloft long before the events of Skyward Sword, while Lake Hylia and Death Mountain got represented after the Hero of Time left. So, it wouldn't be too surprising, if the Majora's Mask stages don't take place during the exact events of Majora's Mask.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hyrule Warriors - Weapon Element Count #2

The release version of Hyrule Warriors had a perfect balance of the elements with four weapons per element, not counting the Master Sword, because that's just a modified Sword & Shield moveset.

Also, Koei Tecmo had a perfect balance with the base damage values of their characters and still have, even after the first update. So, part of me believes that they're going to maintain that balance and at the end of the DLC we're looking at a perfect balance again. Now let's add Epona, the Scepter, the Dragon Spear, the Ring and the Spinner to the counts:

  • Light: 5
  • Fire: 5
  • Water: 4
  • Lightning: 5
  • Darkness: 6

A good guess would be that they're going for 30 weapons in total with 6 weapons per element. But this means a couple of things here.

The Darkness element is already full, which would mean that there won't be any more Darkness type weapons. This is interesting, because if they would add Skull Kid using the Mask as his weapon type, you'd think that this is a Darkness type weapon. What else would it be? Even the mini moons from the Power-up Hookshot deal Darkness damage. This could potentially mean that Skull Kid is not part of the DLC.

Well, Midna's Hair or Mirror would most likely be a Light element weapon. And Tingle's Tingle Balloons could classify as Fire Element, because he probably would drop Tingle Bombs all over the place. Now this basically leaves one more Lightning weapon and two more water weapons. I already speculated about Yeto being the Twilight Princess character and maybe the Deku Princess will be part of the Majora's Mask pack. Mikau as a Lightning fighter (Guitar) could also be a fit, but it would be more important to get a Deku representative before another Zora.

However, we're one weapon short. But it might be that we get another free weapon or another amiibo weapon somewhere down the line. Like a horse moveset for Ganondorf could be Lightning based. Or I thought about that Tingle, since he already was in development before the release and he has his fans and haters alike, gets added as another free character like Cia, Volga and Wizzro. There could also be a free weapon for someone, something silly like the Fishing Rod for Link to add another water weapon.

Majora's Mask 3D developed since 2011

According to Aonuma on Miiverse, Majora's Mask 3D went into development shortly after Ocarina of Time 3D was released. I actually thought that development started after Grezzo's StreetPass Garden game was finished in June 2013. And even that would have been a significant amount of time for a remake.

Ocarina of Time 3D was in development for about a year. Making The Wind Waker HD only took half a year. But third time's the charm and I think that this might be the first time, where a remake of a 3D Zelda game actually gets to see new environments and dungeons. Because why else would they work for over three years on this title? That's a lot of time for a remake, especially if you consider that they were able to built on top of Ocarina of Time 3D, where they already have the engine ready. Actually you'd think that this game would be done a lot faster than Ocarina of Time 3D.

Grezzo's job listing this summer even made me speculate that they actually weren't making Majora's Mask 3D, because the job descriptions were for game progression and level design, two things you wouldn't in a remake like Ocarina of Time 3D.

Now my list of ideas aimed at a more basic remake. I only hoped for a third Skulltula house, but maybe we could hope for much more.

Actually with the remakes Aonuma usually tries to fix things. In Ocarina of Time 3D he felt like he had to fix the Water Temple. And with the Wind Waker HD they aimed at fixing the sailing and the Triforce quest. Usually things people complained about.

Well, with Majora's Mask 3D it should be obvious that they're going to make the time system a little bit more accessible and have a saving system, where you can save anywhere at any time. They already showed that the Song of Time doesn't save your game anymore, probably because there's no need for this. And there are many other ways to improve things here. However, this wouldn't take three years.

Now the second big complaint was that there were only four main dungeons. Well, they already depicted in the main artwork that there's still the four giants as normally. So, it's not like there's suddenly two more giants or something like that. But they could easily fit a new area into the game in the southeast and let something happen there. The game always was about sidequests after all.

I don't want to get my hopes up too much, but I can't help but feel excited about this. And it's nice to have something new to speculate about.

Hyrule Warriors: Yeto as DLC?

So, right now I actually hope for Yeto in the Twilight Princess DLC:

There are two good reasons for this. One is the weapon element, where we really could use another good water moveset (which would in his case be more ice based). So far every element has seen at least one new DLC weapon, except for the water element. He'd have the weapon type "Fish" with Reekfish and Hylian Loach being different tiers. He also would be another heavy hitter with 650 maximum base damage (like Ganondorf and Darunia). I'm hoping for this, because he might be helpful with A ranking the Boss Rush. Water users there do a lot more damage, but I don't think that any of the existing water movesets are sufficient for the battle. Maybe Yeto could make this mission somewhat easier.

And so far Koei Tecmo kept a good balance with the elements and damage values. I guess that Tingle would be a fire element user (dropping Tingle Bombs) with 550 maximum base damage (this is the lowest value, so far only Ruto and Fi have this). Skull Kid would probably be yet another darkness user with 600 damage to be in the middle of all that. And with Midna's hair and the Spinner there are also additional Light and Lightning weapons. But of course the first DLC round already has messed up the element balance, so it might not be that perfect. But I know that the game could use another water weapon and two more characters in the damage extremes.

The other reason for Yeto would be having the Snowpeak Ruins stage. The upcoming DLC really needs some new stages and Snowpeaks Ruin is the one location left from Twilight Princess, which really would make a good battlefield addition. Right now only Lake Hylia offers a small ice portion with Zora's Realm and it would be cool to have a full ice stage, because we don't have this yet. We got forests, mountains, caves, deserts, temples and all the typical Zelda stuff, except for an ice area. Well, and Clocktown would offer a full town as a battlefield in the Majora's Mask pack to complete the picture.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hyrule Warriors used to include Tingle

According to the hacker crediar, the game code of Hyrule Warriors references to Tingle and the Tingle Balloon as a weapon. There was also a second weapon for Midna simply called "hair":

Looking at code of #HyruleWarriors I found some disturbing text strings: action/model/C_TINGLE.bin.gz action/model/W_TINGLE_BALLOON.bin.gz
There is one more: "101_dark_tingle_00" And also there seems to be a 2nd weapon for midna: action/model/W_MIDNA_HAIR.bin.gz

We already knew from E3 that Midna was going to get a 2nd weapon, which never made it into the full game. The question is, if this is scrapped or unfinished content. If the latter applies, we are looking at the DLC here.

I cannot deny that Tingle would offer an unique moveset. I even had the same idea for him in one of my earlier speculation posts about the character roster. But with the roster getting slimmer, I was hoping that he wouldn't take a spot over Fierce Deity Link.

But I can probably give up my hopes on that. They might even use Fierce Deity Link as a selling point for the sequel... because what other super awesome badass characters would be left? They have Imbadorf here and they need something good for Hyrule Warriors 2.

And I'm not opposed to Tingle, so I wouldn't mind his inclusion, might be even a lot of fun.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The scamiibo problem

I haven't been so mad at Nintendo ever since this, but I calmed down by now and tried to analyze, what went wrong with amiibo in Hyrule Warriors.

It's actually quite simple: amiibos were introduced and designed for "figure play". Figure play means that you scan a figurine and bring it into the game. The figurine offers a new way of interacting with the game and it keeps being useful, because you'll use it whenever you want to bring the figure character into the game.

But that's not what happens with Hyrule Warriors. You scan the figurine, unlock the Spinner and then put the figurine aside. The Spinner is normal DLC content exactly like Epona, which should be available on the same means. But here the Link figurine acts as a physical DLC code.

Now let's think about, how the Spinner should have worked as figure play. There would be an actual Spinner figurine, which you can buy. And whenever you scan it during the game, it lets your character (any character, not just Link) switch to the Spinner moveset. Whenever you want to switch back to your normal moveset, you press Up on the Dpad. Hey, this actually sounds like fun... not that a Spinner figurine would actually sell, this should simply illustrate the way, how figure play works normally.

With the Link figurine it should spawn Link in the game as a helper character, who takes keeps and defeats officers (unlike the usual comrades). Sort of like a virtual coop play. It could have nice nods like spawning a Dark Link, when you scan the figurine while playing as Cia.

That's how figure play is supposed to work. Nintendo should try to give an incentive that makes you want to buy amiibo and play with them. In Hyrule Warriors you just scan the thing once and then it collects dust. You might even try to scan it through the package and then return it afterwards. And that people might try that, simply shows how this is not about figure play or the figurine, but only about the DLC content, where the amiibo is nothing more than an overpriced way of unlocking it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

amiibo + Hyrule Warriors = scam

The worst case scenario for amiibo integration in Hyrule Warriors would have been locking content like costumes or weapons. And I can't believe that Nintendo went this route.

This is just utterly disappointing. I love Hyrule Warriors and I want every content out of it. What I don't want, is buying amiibos. They look terrible and I feel like I'm too old for buying toys like this. With Smash and Mario Kart they only add some optional mechanics, where I easily can ignore them. But locking the Spinner, unless you buy the Link figurine, is a vile marketing move to make you buy these figurines.

Why did it have to be Hyrule Warriors? Of all the games, which have amiibo support, it seems to be only one, where they didn't come up with some fitting ideas for the toys and just made some exclusive unlockable content. There would have been many different many ways to make amiibos work with Hyrule Warriors without locking actual content. Make the amiibo your virtual coop buddy, who helps you with difficult missions. This could be worthwhile in many cases, where an A rank is hard to get. But you wouldn't have to buy the amiibo to score the A-ranks, it's just making things easier, like the coop mode.

And what does the Spinner have to do with the figurine, besides the fact that it's used by Link? Absolutely NOTHING! This is not the way amiibos should be used.

I hope that it's a one time unlock. So, I can buy a figurine, unlock the weapon and then sell it again. But in any case this is not acceptable. I can't even be happy about the Majora's Mask news, because I'm so mad about this. And it probably won't stop there. There most likely will be exclusive weapons for Zelda, Ganondorf and Sheik as well in the future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Majora's Mask 3D Announced

I would say "Called it", but I pretty much have been speculating about this before every Nintendo Direct. The timing is perfect though and the series wouldn't have been complete without this title.

I'm happy!

Please check out my earlier post about ideas for the remake! Some of it might become relevant in the near future.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hyrule Warriors - Some Improvements on Grinding

Let's face it, Hyrule Warriors is a grindy game. And I'm okay with that, as long as I have my fun while grinding. However, there are certain aspects of it, which they should improve in an update or the sequel:

Material Potions
A mixture effect, which makes rare materials drop with higher percentages. I would use it all the time. In fact that's what I believed one of the potions did. In German it's called something like "Looting Bonus" and I thought it increases the chance for rare materials, while it actually provides you with more looting skills on your weapons. But for a time I invested 20 bronze materials before each battle in a weak one, which actually felt pretty good. (And thanks to it I have lots of Materials+ skills, which actually help.)

Material Trading
This could be an alternative to Material Potions. What it does that you trade a number of common materials to get a rare material from the same character / enemy. So, you trade five to ten of Link's Boots to get Link's Scarf. Or five Aeralfos Leather to get an Aeralfos Shield. Sounds fair, right? Getting rare materials is simply bound to luck. You have to defeat the same type of enemy for a large number of times to get what you need. At least they could make your looting time more worthwhile, if all the common drops are actually worth something.

Skill Overwrite
Who needs that Experience+ or Rupees+ on a weapon, if you got all your characters on Level 99 already? :D Sometimes you get nice weapons with unwanted skills. And crafting your perfect weapon would be so much more comfortable, if you could erase or overwrite skills on your weapon. And why shouldn't you be able to?

Weapon Selling
Right now you can only sell weapons at the end of a battle, if you get more than ten of the same type. And this is annoying, especially if you don't want to think about weapon skills after a heated battled. I don't see, why the selling feature shouldn't be available in the smithy, since it uses the same weapon interface... patch, please!

Weapon Enhancement
At some point in the game you won't need all those Rupees anymore. And it would be nice to have a place to spend them all. I thought that it would be reasonable, if you could buy stars on a weapon for 100,000 Rupees per star. It eliminates some of the randomness and there's no harm done in upgrading all your weapons to three star goodness. The same could also be done for adding sockets, but this might be too overpowered... weapons with eight sockets are quite rare for a reason.

Paying for seals
Another feature added to the smithy, where you could spend your Rupees, would be direct unlocking of seals. Instead of killing the required numbers of enemies, you just pay a price. This wouldn't work with the Master Sword seal and you can only pay for Legendary Seals, after you unsealed the Master Sword. The price could be 10 Rupees per K.O., so a full Legendary seal would cost 250,000 Rupees.

Nintendo Direct - Hyrule Warriors DLC reveal tomorrow?

Koei Tecmo tweeted today that they're making great progress with the DLC of Hyrule Warriors and they're ready to show it soon. They also retweeted the news about the Nintendo Direct using their Hyrule Warriors channel. And from what we gathered on ZeldaEurope, the next Hyrule Warriors update is planned for November 20th. I guess that there is a fair chance that tomorrow will be the reveal of the new weapon and characters. So, let's do some final speculation.

I still think that Princess Midna should be in. Whether it is as a 2nd weapon for Midna (like it was teased at E3) or as a separate character is the question. But in any case they should also patch Legend Mode, so that true Midna appears whenever she was supposed to be appear. It was Cia, who cursed her, but Midna always appears in her imp form, even though she shouldn't.

Next to true Midna I see many possibilities. Ganondorf's horse as a weapon. Yeto (Fish), Hero's Shade (Four Swords) and even Linkle (Crossbow) as potential characters. I really hope, it's Linkle. But her connection to Twilight Princess would be a thin one. Of course they could introduce some Ordon stage as Link's home, where his sister lives. By the way, I definitely want some new stages with the new DLC! Snowpeak Ruins would probably be the best choice from Twilight Princess and with it Yeto would be the most meaningful character.

I have absolutely no clue about the costumes in the Twilight Princess pack. The only ideas I have are more variations of Link: Ordon clothes, Zora Armor and Magic Armor. But he already has the most costumes. Stuff like pale Midna and Puppet Zelda would be simple reskins of existing costumes, so that's not it either. A Rutela costume for Ruto could be nice, but would probably be "too much". We'll see.

I hope that they at least will tell us, what characters will appear in the Majora's Mask pack. I'm still standing my ground that they should be Fierce Deity Link and Skull Kid. The three costumes would be Majora's Mask Fierce Deity Link (since he probably would get a new design), Goron Link's clothes for Darunia and a Twilight Princess version for Skull Kid.

With it they could also announce Majora's Mask 3D for next Spring. This would be really awesome and I still haven't given up hope on that, especially after Grezzo teased that they work on Zelda again. I don't expect to see anything from Zelda U yet, but maybe...

amiibos are another topic. They already announced that the Link amiibo will be compatible with Hyrule Warriors and they will most likely demonstrate this. I wouldn't even wonder, if this is their main focus. However, I really don't like or want the amiibos, so I hope that they don't add anything exclusive to the game. I mean, in Smash they are pretty much useless. I could imagine that they spawn a helper character, who isn't completely incompetent and maybe grows like a normal character with Levels and badges. And it would be fun, if using the Link amiibo with Cia spawns a Dark Link... We'll see.

The Mario Kart 8 DLC will also be interesting for Zelda fans. It appears that it will be released next week and it could keep me entertained until the Hyrule Warriors Twilight Princess pack arrives. I don't expect more than one track for Zelda though.

Hyrule Warriors - True 100%

When it comes to Zelda, I am an extreme completionist. I've completed everything in the entire Zelda series with the sole exception of the 999.99 seconds Cucco Run in A Link Between Worlds, which still makes me unhappy that Nintendo decided to put such an insane challenge in my favorite series. But at least Hyrule Warriors won't be another exception, even though this game is a real time sink (but a fun one). After a staggering 380 hours I achieved the following:

  • all characters on Level 99
  • crafted all badges
  • collected all Heart Containers and Pieces
  • unlocked all weapons and costumes
  • got all 120 Gold Skulltulas
  • unlocked the Master Sword seal
  • cleared Legend Mode on all four difficulties
  • scored "A" rank on every Adventure Mode battle (one exception)
  • achieved all medals

The one exception is the "A" rank for the Boss Rush level on the Rewards Map. Easily the most difficult mission in the game and you can only take ten hearts of damage, which Ganon can subtract with one single blow. This is the matter of the right character choice and quite some luck. But unlike the Cucco Run I feel that this is doable and I will probably be looking at full "A" ranks everywhere soon.

Until the DLC arrives of course, so this is only a temporary 100%. And I'm certainly not unhappy about this, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming updates. And even though I've pretty much done everything, I'm still playing the game. One goal, which still remains, is crafting "perfect" weapons for everyone. For this I have to clear at least one Legendary seal with every weapon type, which takes its time (though the new "Rack up your K.O. count" missions really help). So far I've done it for Lana's Book, Ganondorf's Great Swords, Zant's Scimitars, Cia's Staff and Wizzro's Ring. Fi and Ghirahim will probably be next.

I also try to get a nice setup on these legendary weapons. I really enjoy having Bombs+ and Materials+ on them. The Elemental bonus is also nice and useful except with multi-element weapons like the Lyra. So, I try to have at least these skills. I'm currently undecided, if I also want Stars+ and Sockets+ or if I rather go for more Strength skills. But I guess, the looting is fine. And I certainly hope that the upcoming DLC and updates will provide some challenges, so that these near-perfect weapons will come to good use. Though I already made good use of them in Hero Mode. With level 99 characters and legendary weapons the difficulty is just right.

What would also be nice, is the ability to replace existing weapon skills. That certainly would help a lot with crafting the weapons, you want. But maybe in an update... because that's supposedly a normal feature in a Warriors game and some fans might ask for it. Right now I had some luck using gold empty sockets potions on Network Links. For example it gave me a completely black five star Scepter of Souls for (my favorite) Cia with six sockets. It seems rare to get more than six sockets from a Network Link, sadly.

But I don't count the weapons as part of the 100%, because they are not permanent. You can always (accidently) sell them, so the only weapon seal, which counts, is the Master Swords'.

(By the way, making backups of savegames on the Wii U is a hassle. You need an external hard drive, copy the ENTIRE game (I have the digital version) and then delete the copy of the game with the exception of the save file. I miss the old Wii times, where I just can copy the save file on a SD card. In any case, this is not a savegame, which I want to lose. But I'm not even sure, if making a copy on an external drive is any good. If the Wii U gets damaged and needs repair, it probably won't be compatible afterwards, because Nintendo keeps everything very restricted. And this is just another example, how unfriendly the Wii U is. As much as I love its games and the GamePad, Nintendo needs to learn to make things easier and simpler for everyone.)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Upcoming DLC Adventure Maps: Combined Dungeons?

Previously I had the idea of using the classic TLoZ dungeons for Adventure Maps, because it would give the item cards new uses, e.g. lighting up rooms with the Candle. However, it turned out that they would be too small, because every character gets five new Heart Containers and one new costume to collect.

But... I completely forgot that all the dungeons were aligned on two grids of the same size of the overworld. Their shapes fit perfectly in each other:

This might as well be the next two Adventure Maps! I'd also like to see them design more original 8-But environments like on the Rewards Map, but the dungeons could be interesting.

I see two problems with this though:

1) So far each square represents a battle field. You can fantasize about how the tree on the islands leads to Eldin Caves. Or how the hill with Level 2 is Lanayru Gorge. It has a nice touch, which wouldn't really work on a dungeon map.

2) Some items like the Candle or the Ladder are usually not used in one specific spot. You can use the Candle anywhere in the room to light it up. Or use the ladder on any part of a gap. And bombable walls are always in the center. The new Adventure Map would have to take this into account, but then maybe finding all secrets would be too easy and not require the compass at all.