Monday, February 16, 2015

Majora's Mask 3D Daybook, Day 4

Next destination: Great Bay. The original Mikau looks really great in here, which makes me really want him for Hyrule Warriors 2.

But this is where I could test the new swimming at first hand. I have to say that it's a good thing that they added the new swimming speed, because it makes navigating the Pirate Fortress or the Great Bay Temple a lot easier. Outside the dungeon areas it's a shame thought that you can swim fast using the magical barrier. What were they thinking? The original game was not balanced for that and now you constantly get a magic problem, unless you use a Chateau Romani. While I do that, you still get the annoying electrical barrier sound and view. Especially in the Beaver Race this was annoying, because you had a blue overlay on the red and white rings. This causes some optical issues and in combination with 3D it's even worse... So, there should have been a different solution other than wasting your magical barrier. Like tapping A twice to swim faster.

The soldier with the Stone Mask now moved into the Pirate Fortress. While this kind of rubs the main use of the Stone Mask right in your face, it's not a bad change. Now you actually have to dodge some pirates for real, before you can use the mask. And you can't forget the mask in advance. I also like the new sequence, where the soldier flees the fortress.

The Gerudo Guards (the ones fighting with scimitars) felt a lot easier to beat than originally. It only took two or three hits with the Gilded Sword. They also removed the Shell Blades from the tanks with the Zora Eggs, but this is a welcome change. Those things were terribly annoying in such a small space. However, they also could have removed those fish. It actually happened to me that I caught a fish instead of the last Zora Egg and then teleported out of the fortress in a rush. You can imagine my unpleasant surprise, when I noticed that I had to return to the fortress all over again. But luckily I also forgot to take a photo of a pirate, so I had to go back anyway.

Apropos photos... it's interesting how the Bomber's Notebook also lists some side quests, which don't yield any meaningful rewards. Like giving one of Lulu's fans a picture of her, lighting up the Zora hall, playing the small boomerang minigame at the coast or winning the lottery. These are things, which I only ever did once and then completely ignored in later playthroughs, because they weren't important to a complete savegame. But now that the Bomber's Notebook keeps track of them, there's a reason to do all these things with each playthrough, which I like. It adds more to the 100%.

I'm positively surprised about the whole Bomber's Notebook. I was afraid that it would hand hold you through all sidequests, but what it actually does is compiling a check list of all the things you've completed so far. The Bomber kids are now also very useful, because they tell you "rumors" about sidequests, which you have yet to do. And this is a very good system. It tells you what things are left to do, but it doesn't tell you, how to do them. That you still have to figure out for yourself.

Now after I got all Zora Eggs, I focused on some minigames and sidequests including the Beaver Race, which used to be my nemesis in the past. And with the already described optical issues and the slide pad, this didn't go down so well. However, either you swim a lot faster now and the clock is ticking slower than on the Nintendo 64. Because despite making a couple of mistakes each time, I still made all four rounds on my first try. I remember that on the N64 version, if you wanted the Piece of Heart, you could not make a single mistake. It was really cut close. I'm not complaining though. I used the Chateau Romani and they made it probably easier, so that you can go for the pots with magic.

I also took a sneak peek at the ocean fishing area and it looks amazing. You can even catch a giant Swordfish like in Phantom Hourglass. Overall it seems like they combined aspects of all the fishing from previous Zelda games: Link's Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Phantom Hourglass. The fishing pond in Ocarina of Time was used as the prototype, naturally. From Link's Awakening you get fish hiding in alcoves and the legal use of a sinking lure. Also, now you actually can fish at the ocean, which is also where the big sea fish from Phantom Hourglass come in. From Twilight Princess you have the idea of using different lures for different fish, however, instead of actual lures you use different masks and songs, but it makes good use of everything in the game, which is nice. And you also have the system, where different times and weather result in different fish. The only thing missing would be fishing from a boat.

I didn't actually try out the new pond yet. Because you need all the different masks, I feel like this is an endgame feature, where you spent some time, after you've completed the original game. And with that the fishing ponds are certainly a great addition, which will keep me playing for a while, instead of simply completing Majora's Mask for the sixth time and be done with it.

After visiting all of Great Bay, I started a new cycle to play the Ocean Spider House, my favorite part of the game. However, the large, steep stair case there looks really bad now, because they still only use textures for the stairs. This was one of my major complaints in Ocarina of Time 3D with the graphics. It's all in stereoscopic 3D now, but they didn't bother with modelling stairs? It just looks weird.

I also did most remaining side quests like Deku Deeds, getting the All Night's Mask, listening to grandma and even the new side quest, where you get an extra bottle with Mysterious Milk from the Gorman Brothers. I don't really want to know what he put in that milk... but they used the spoilable item timer system from Ocarina of Time for this and you can't warp or use the Goron. But Clocktown is not far from the race track and you can easily do it with the Bunny Hood.

The only major side quest I didn't complete before playing the Great Bay Temple is Kafei's Quest. I usually wait, until I have a warp point in Ikana for the sake of convenience. However, you really need the Ice Arrows now to enter the main area. Previously you could hookshot from the right angle to the dead tree at the other end of the river, but they fixed this. And I'm not all to happy about it, because it makes the game more linear than it has to be... and you don't really need the Ice Arrows in Ikana anyway, so why force them?

New masks:

  • Zora Mask
  • Troupe Leader's Mask
  • Stone Mask
  • All Night's Mask

I also did the frog choir, when I played the Great Bay Temple. This is actually a nice tip for everyone. Whenever you are about to play the Great Bay Temple, initiate the frog quest first. So, beat Goht again and get the first three frogs. If you now meet the frog in the Great Bay Temple, you can complete the quest and get your Piece of Heart afterwards. That way you never have to return to the Great Bay Temple, which is a hard to navigate dungeon thanks to its currents.

I like how the dungeons are a lot brighter in this game, especially with the Great Bay Temple. I always despised the dark and gloomy waters, it makes the dungeon a little bit more friendly... or maybe you could see this as a bad change, because it takes away the dreadful atmosphere of the temple.

However, the 3D in this dungeon was just terrible with all the water and electric barrier effects going on. It hurt my eyes, so I had to turn it off several times. This never happened before on the 3DS, I usually play with the 3D on and turn it only off, if I'm using the gyro aiming. But in Majora's Mask 3D sometimes you get a lot of annoying effects popping in your eyes, sometimes you have clipping errors where things in the environment pop out of the screen and completely ruin the 3D view. I don't think this ever happened in Ocarina of Time 3D, which makes it even weirder.

And man... why did they have to ruin the Ice Arrows? This was the only time in a 3D Zelda game, where the Ice Arrows were actually fun and useful. And now they limited them to the few points, where you had to use them. That's really boring and it's not like they're easier to use now. You can still miss those sparkling spots. It's just that they removed a feature, which had game breaking qualities, instead of taking the three years of development time to fix it.

You can still use them freely in Gyorg's chamber, interestingly enough. Though I didn't understand, if they had any purpose there. Maybe to attack his eyes with the sword, while it's floating in the water...

The revamped fight is all right. You have one phase, where you snipe him from the platform, and one phase, where you "fight" as a Zora. I get that they wanted to emphasize both ways of fighting him, instead of giving the option to do it either way. It still sucks and the 2nd phase is now a pure puzzle fight, which feels like a hassle and takes way too long.

And... you can't use Fierce Deity Link in Gyorg's 2nd phase anymore. And neither in Twinmold's from what I heard. And that stinks. The whole point of that mask was blowing away boss enemies. That's the only real thing you could do with it and they took it away? Come on! It supposedly still works on Odolwa and Goht and these are the bosses, where defeating them really changes the environment. With Gyorg you only get the rehearsal and the jumping minigame. And Ikana was cursed anyway, so defeating Twinmold only changes the color of the sky... So, yeah, with these two bosses it's not important to have short cuts. It still would have been nice, if they had found a way to let Fierce Deity Link fans still have their fun with the bosses. They could have given Fierce Deity Link an Iron Boots effect, where you can fight Gyorg under water. But taking things away like that is a bad solution.

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