Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tri Force Heroes Demo Impressions

This weekend Nintendo of Europe hosted 10 hours of online time for the Tri Force Heroes demo and I tried to make good use of it. And there I was between enjoyable THUMBS UP spamming rounds and looking like this:

The experience is very different based on who you play with. On Saturday I had two or three really good teams with enjoyable playthroughs. When everyone knows what they are doing and keeps throwing thumb ups at each other, it's a good feel. On Sunday I didn't have much luck and with certain people you might need a lot of patience. I have to admit that I disconnected a couple of times, because the people I played with seemed like a hopeless cause. The demo only worked online for a limited time and I didn't want to spent this time explaining, how to use bombs properly.

For example in the Bomb Storage level the guy with the bombs is the crucial part of the team. Mostly I went for the bombs myself to make sure, everything goes well, but one time I wanted to play with the Gust Jar again. But then I had a guy, who didn't even understood that he had bombs. When we tried to activate the second switch, he went back to the Bomb Flower at the first switch and tried to bring it back in time! He was like these silly Gorons in Ocarina of Time, trying to open Dodongo's Cavern. My attempt of spamming the "Come here!" and "Item!" icons didn't came across. I even picked him up to put him in the exact spot... Maybe he was trolling, maybe he never played Zelda in his life. In any case, what should I have done?

But for the most part this system of communicating is very interesting and enjoyable. I just wish, there would be a couple more icons. Like "Lag!" and "Facepalm!". On a more serious note, "Push" and "Pull" could make sense. Of course you can just actually push or pull to show what you want, but the animation is very subtle and once I had a hard time to explain that you have to move the big block in the Fire Temple to the right spot and not throw me on top of it...

It's somewhat a new era of playing Zelda, if you think about it. As a Zelda veteran Zelda games have been "too easy" for an entire generation now. They are still easy, but now you have to teach the new players, how to move a block, by using eight different emoticons. The communication becomes the puzzle. (I'm pretty sure that Aonuma said the same, so saying it myself feels a little cheesy now.)

It also adds to the replay value. The levels seem to be all very static and linear, so the singleplayer certainly won't have the same replay value as in Four Swords, but playing it with different people offers a different experience every time. And you can take different roles by selecting the costume and the item, which makes it interesting. This was especially clear in the Bomb Storage level. And the levels with different items will probably be the interesting ones.

However, due to this you can already tell at the start, which players might not be experienced. For example why would you use the Kokiri Clothes in the Bomb Storage level, which has no Bow? Or why would you take the Bow in the Fire Temple, when someone else chose the Kokiri Clothes? It's like paying attention really hurts some people. Also, in the Buzz Blob Cave it did make the most sense to use the Kokiri Clothes in any case, so if anybody didn't chose them, there was a good chance that they could be a problem. One way or the other. I had one guy, who insisted to be on top of the totem, while he was the only one, who didn't wear the Kokiri Clothes. He just made it needlessly complicated. The Spin Attack Attire is also useful in the level and I saw one guy making good use of it, but there were others, who selected this costume and then never did a single Spin Attack, even in the part where all the blobs appear.

Another example is the Legendary Dress. If someone in your team has it and you're low on health, he should break pots and kill enemies, not the others. I really like the costumes and they add a good deal of strategy to the game, but some people will just wear them because of the looks without paying attention to the effects.

Good thing that the final game will have a Black List. (I even like, how they explain the story with hero candidates and false heroes.) Still, I'm really excited. Before the demo I was skeptical about playing with random people, but after the demo I think this might be what makes the game last long. Even with only three levels and a handful of costumes the demo didn't become boring. I'm really looking forward to the full experience now.

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