Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Nintendo and Miitomo Launch

My bet for Nintendo's next generation: it will be all digital. No cartridges or discs anymore. Physical releases will have download codes inside. Nintendo is already testing this with releasing Pokémon Virtual Console games in retail or with Starfox Guard. And now they're pushing the eShop a lot more with their new My Nintendo rewards nonsense.

I liked the Club Nintendo, collecting stars and "buying" some merchandise. This sadly is now gone and the whole new My Nintendo rewards system looks like an early April Fools' joke instead of a meaningful replacement. I personally just want to get this:

A Twilight Princess Picross? Why not? However, you can't just buy it in the eShop, you can only get it through My Nintendo, where you have to jump through hoops to get enough Platinum Points for the game. I'm not interested in Miitomo, so the only way for me to get enough points is visiting Miiverse and the eShop on a weekly basis. That's not a big deal, because I do that anyway, but accumulating enough points for the Zelda Picross will take many weeks and it's all so boring.

The gold point reward system is even less exciting. You get discounts for buying games on the eShop? Too bad that the prices on the eShop usually are a lot more expansive than in retail, so it doesn't really save you any money.

Anyway... for Nintendo going all digital is very convenient and also more profitable, since they would save the costs and losses for distribution. So, I can see, why they want to push into this direction. I'm just not sure, if I'm a big fan of it. On the one hand I like having download versions of the games, because it is very practical, if you don't have to change cartridges and discs all the time. On the Wii U both physical and download versions share savegames, so sometimes I even like having both. A disc release for my collection and the download version for playing. On the Nintendo 3DS this doesn't work, because the cartridges keep the savegames on them. With all four 3DS Zelda games I own two different copies and I somewhat feel inclined to also complete them both, which I recently did with A Link Between Worlds. It would be more convenient, if the savegames worked like on the Wii U, though. It would keep my Backloggery a little bit smaller.

If Nintendo goes all digital, there still might be something left for collectors. The GB Pokémon retail versions actually come with maps and other extras, instead of just housing a download code. I always loved the NES and SNES times, where retail releases had colorful and detailed manuals full of artwork. A Link to the Past came with a map of Hyrule and so on. Today you get a recycling box with nothing but the game in it and some sheets. But Nintendo could return to the old sensation of boxed games, if they want to still sell retail versions and especially Limited Editions in an all digital era. The irony will be that these boxes will have everything, except for the game...

Hyrule Warriors Legends Collector's Guide

Got this yesterday:

I also have the old one for Hyrule Warriors and there's only one good reason to get these guides: they include the official artbook in English translation and high resolution, which was otherwise only available in Japan as part as the Premium and Treasure Box sets. I think, in case of Hyrule Warriors: Legends the English artbook also was a preorder bonus here and there, but this still has the bigger pages:

It's nice to have this. Originally only the eGuide was supposed to have the artbook section, so I was positively surprised that the Collector's Edition guide also has it at the end. Because besides the artbook, there is no real reason to go for the guide. The Legend Mode scenario guides are well done for the most part, but the Adventure Mode guide is (still) a mess.

For some reason they completely inverted the chessboard notations. So, the bottom row is referenced by the letter "H" (instead of 1). And the entire Adventure Mode guide is just a list of mission statements and reward - things you can clearly see in the game. They don't even have the locations for the Gold Skulltulas or Fairy Rewards. They just briefly mention that you can find Skulltulas usually in the center of the web (which is not true at all) and Fairies inside pots, but not where exactly. They post outlines of the maps for every Adventure Battle, where only keeps with treasure chests are marked. Other than that the maps are completely useless, but make up a good chunk of the guide. The old guide for Hyrule Warriors had the exact same issues, but simply was a lot thinner...

This one is 448 pages strong, the same as the Twilight Princess (HD) guidebook. I wonder, if this really is the limit for Prima's printing machines, because this can't be coincidence... Lucky for them that they didn't have to cover the DLC Adventure Maps.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hyrule Warriors (Legends): Marin Announced

When I returned last evening I was greeted with some awesome character news about Hyrule Warriors: Marin just got confirmed at Wondercon 2016 last weekend.

She was probably everyone's best guess, including my own, so it's not the biggest surprise. It will still be amazing to see her in action and Koei Tecmo already delivers some beautiful concept art. She was basically my first video game crush and it will be nice to have her in 3D for the first time.

I also like playing as pretty females in video games and Hyrule Warriors really does deliver in this department. So, having Koei Tecmo work for the Zelda franchise, certainly has its merits, and over half of the roster is made of female characters. There are now 14 female and 12 male characters on board (if you count Sheik as female, that is). But if my predictions are right, this will change with the upcoming DLC, because unless they go for Hilda or Irene in A Link Between Worlds, the three new characters will most likely be male.

Anyway, Marin is the first character from a pure 2D Zelda game that will be turned into 3D art for Hyrule Warriors. This opens new possibilities, though there are not all too many potential characters in the classic Zelda games. Agahnim from A Link to the Past comes to mind, but he only fights with magic from his hands, which would be too similar to Wizzro and even lack a good weapon type like the Ring. But we'll see...

There's still the question about Marin's "weapon" as well, where they showed something that seems to be the Sea Lily's Bell. I really hope that she will direct all eight Instruments of the Sirens with her singing voice, because this would be the perfect fit. And it would be weird, if she only uses one of the instruments. It's not like the rest will get used by other characters, since we already have many musical instruments as (potential) weapons.

And we still don't know anything about Linkle's weapon yet, where my best theory was the Flying Rooster. Having played Linkle's campaign, where she even uses Cuccos for her army, it would be such a nice fit.

30th Anniversary Replay List, First Update

For the 30th Anniversary of the Zelda franchise and the release of new big Zelda game I made plans to play through as many Zelda games again as possible. I've already started last year and by now I went through over half of the series:

For the most part I have been covering the topdown Zelda games, where only the Four Swords series would be missing. I've played The Minish Cap in 2014, when it got released on the Wii U Virtual Console, and I've already beaten this game seven times in total, so I'm not eager right now to play this again. With Four Swords Adventures I really want to experience this with three other people, where I might have the chance at a Zelda fan meeting in August. And with Four Swords at least I want replay the Hero's Trial at some point, which requires some high levels of masochism though.

The same goes for Zelda II - The Adventure of Link. In February I returned to a savegame on my Nintendo 3DS, where I got to the town of Nabooru at beforehand, but I didn't make much progress there and focused on replaying The Legend of Zelda instead. Even with Restore Points Zelda II can be fairly difficult, but I might play it a little bit alongside Hyrule Warriors: Legends.

Hyrule Warriors: Legends will be my main focus in the next months, probably even until The Legend of Zelda for Wii U arrives, however, I still would like to go through all 3D Zelda games again in order, before the new one gets released. Those would be:

  • Ocarina of Time
  • Majora's Mask
  • The Wind Waker HD (2nd Quest)
  • Twilight Princess HD (Hero Mode)
  • Skyward Sword

I might play all of this on the Wii U or will aim for the Nintendo 3DS remakes with the Nintendo 64 Zeldas. I'm not sure yet, but probably the latter. With both The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD I saved the 2nd playthrough option for later, which I certainly will do before the new game. And Skyward Sword I haven't played since it was released, so this is a game that I'm really looking forward to playing again. It should also be a fitting finale for my 30th Anniversary replay run.

Replaying A Link to the Past on the 3DS

As stated in my previous post, I also went through A Link to the Past again, while finishing my 2nd Hero Mode run of A Link Between Worlds. Surprisingly, I did so on the 3DS as well, where Nintendo introduced the Super Nintendo Virtual Console for New Nintendo 3DS this month. Because there's no cross buy functionality and I still didn't touch my Wii U copy, I actually didn't want to get this, but then I received a review code from Nintendo and having it next to A Link Between Worlds on my New 3DS during my travels was nice, so I could easily switch between both games and enjoy them on the same system.

There was also another perk: in Europe they went for the 60Hz NTSC version of the game, instead of the usual 50Hz PAL version. This also let me experience the original game for the first time in English, because the console versions in Germany were locked in German and there was no language selection at the time.

In any case this was the first time that I've played through A Link to the Past again since the release of A Link Between Worlds. The latter became one of my favorite Zelda games and now I had the chance to compare, how the original holds up. And... it's alright, but I enjoy playing through A Link Between Worlds a lot more. Both games have a strong beginning, where you can prep in Kakariko and get some stuff like your first bottle and the Bug Net, before you head for the Eastern Palace. A Link to the Past starts out way more epic with Hyrule Castle in the rain, but I feel like this is a long and linear part, where I have to drag myself through, before the real fun begins.

And the "fun" feels a little bit like Hero Mode early on. I was actually searching for some fairies to put in a bottle, where you can't find them in the same spots as in A Link Between Worlds or Ancient Stone Tablets. There are some fairies south of Eastern Palace, but I forgot about those at first, so I went to the only spot, where I was sure to find fairies: the ice cave at Lake Hylia. However, getting there right in the beginning can be quite tough with those Sand Crabs, which are fast and deal TWO HEARTS of damage for some reason. So, it would have been smarter to go to Eastern Palace first.

And except for the Ice Rod and the Magic Powder, which you can both get early, it feels somewhat more restricted than A Link Between Worlds. After the Eastern Palace there isn't much to do except for going to the Desert Palace, because only the Power Glove really opens the Light Worlds up for you, where you finally can get the Zora's Flippers, which also give you some restricted means of teleporting with those vortexes in the water. You can't get the Ocarina until after the Palace of Darkness and I really missed Irene's broom. In A Link Between Worlds the game really opens up after the Eastern Palace. You can get the Power Glove and the Zora's Flippers right away, you can teleport early on and you can rent all items except one, opening all of Hyrule except for the desert.

I also feel like the Hyrule in A Link Between Worlds is more enjoyable to explore. A Link to the Past invented one of the best overworlds in the series and A Link Between Worlds perfected it. It start with small things like the pathways east of the smithy, which I immediately missed in A Link to the Past. And A Link Between Worlds makes just better use of all the areas, like the Flute Boy Meadow, even if it's just because you find Maimais there or Shadow Links. But there are also significant additions like the Rupee Rush minigame, one of my absolute favorites. In A Link to the Past you have this little parkour minigame, which you only play once and then never visit the same spot again. So, it feels like a waste of space. The world has more substance in A Link Between Worlds and the Light World was for me always the strong part of A Link the Past, because the Dark World basically just is dungeon crawling with little to do on the overworld.

The controls are also not ideal. For some reason someone decided it was a good idea to put the map on the X button, instead of using this button for a 2nd item. Also, the Pegasus Boots are used with the A button (which takes some time getting used to after playing both A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes), while the shoulder buttons don't really do anything. Later Zelda games handled the controls a lot better.

It's also curious, how throwing pots at enemies is the best way of fighting early in the game - it's a lot more powerful and effective than using your sword. But of course there are only a limited number of pots around, usually as many as there are enemies, so you have exactly one shot with each pot. It really seems like this even was an intended feature, using the "pots of power" as weapons, which got lost later in the series (it's still a thing in Link's Awakening, but there you have to earn the Power Bracelet first).

It's also noticeable, how you can get many Rupees early on, I got more than 700 Rupees before Eastern Palace. But the only thing to spent Rupees on are the Zora Flippers for 500 Rupees and then the Pond of Happiness, which takes up to 1400 Rupees... As soon as you did that, the only thing really requiring Rupees are potions, where a Blue Potion costs 160 Rupees. I abuse those together with the Cane of Byrna quite a lot for the bosses and then I refill my Rupees at the treasure chest game in the Village of Outcasts. But that's really all there is to the currency.

With the Restore Points of the Virtual Console I even went for a clear zero death savegame for the first time, similar to The Legend of Zelda in February. On the GameBoy Advance this wasn't an issue, because this version didn't count saving as "dying". The original did though, so you had to beat the game in one run in order to get this:

(When I replayed the game in 2011 on the Wii Virtual Console I also didn't die, but I saved about ten times. I remember that a friend watched me beat the game and then made fun of how I died ten times, where I had to explain to him that this happens with saving the game... Well, buddy, here's your proof.)

The one thing I always claimed to be a lot better in A Link the Past were the dungeons and even with those I now feel like they are a lot more enjoyable in A Link Between Worlds. The classic dungeons make better use of enemies, that's for sure - I really wish the Eastern Palace in A Link Between Worlds had some Eyegores for example. But save for this the dungeons were not really that much more difficult. Most people also remember the classic dungeons to be longer, but that's not actually the case, they are about the same. In some cases they are even shorter, e.g. Tower of Hera, which is so much more amazing in A Link Between Worlds and doesn't have the annoying Moldorm mechanic, where in A Link to the Past I now abused Restore Points to make things less frustrating. I always hated this fight.

Or if I compare the Ice Palace to the Ice Ruins, there's a clear winner. The Ice Palace isn't really that enjoyable. I avoided getting the Cane of Somaria in advance and going through the same trite set of rooms again and again is just absolutely tedious. Even the new Turtle Rock, where people seem to complain about how short it became, has a lot more to it than the classis SNES version, which was just a mess of Somaria roller coasters and tube mazes. And it was a very short dungeon also. The only bigger exception, where I still prefer the classic version, might be Skull Woods, as I explained in my previous post.

But... that's how it should be. A Link Between Worlds built on an amazing game and improved upon many things. A Link to the Past has the more serious / epic story, but overall I have moved on to the successor. It's still quite a short game, so this probably wasn't the last time that I've played it though.

Replaying A Link Between Worlds in Hero Mode

Between Twilight Princess HD and Hyrule Warriors: Legends I've been replaying A Link Between Worlds and A Link to the Past, where I finished them both last Friday. Because I visited home over the Easter holidays, I will now post my thoughts with a slight delay.

Well, in case of A Link Between Worlds, I've already
replayed the game last year on my cartridge copy and I started playing Hero Mode right when Tri Force Heroes was released. So, my replay session of Hero Mode got split into several parts over the course of about five months and in the beginning I played the Hyrule dungeons. Late February I returned to this savegame, when I visited home to help my mother moving, and there I was going for the Titan's Mitts and all 100 Maiamais, basically completing about all sidequests.

StreetPass Frenzy

Less than two weeks ago then there was a Manga Con in Leipzig, where I visited all four days of the convention to meet some friends and participate in some Nintendo events (I scored 2nd place in a Mario Kart 8 tournament). And a convention like this is perfect for getting lots and lots StreetPass hits, where I returned again to A Link Between Worlds to fight all those Shadow Links of people.

This was actually the first time, where I cleared all 50 StreetPass challenges legitimately and even got all 20 apples on the Apple Tree without setting up fake StreetPass hits with one of my other 3DS systems. And with so many StreetPass encounters it was also the fastest. There are even many 50 Rupee bounties, because some might just set up StreetPass in the beginning and then never bother with it again. But I didn't have to use my dummy Shadow Links for some of the tougher challenges and strategies from my StreetPass Guide like the "Bombos Byrna Drink" worked like a charm.

Still, there were also quite some people with tough Shadow Links, which can be dangerous in Hero Mode, so I kept playing until my StreetPass Meadow got filled with golden signs. Having lots of those is also good to fill up your total Rupee counter quickly, because you can get up to 999 Rupees with a single StreetPass fight. Now, all there was last to do last week was clearing the remaining Lorule dungeons, getting the best equipment and then battling all the Shadow Links.

I still played quite some Rupee Rush though and even managed to break the 1000 Rupees in the Lorule version. I even had a run, where I got exactly 0.00 seconds left... So, I was quite unhappy that I didn't have internet access to show these records on Miiverse....

Hero Mode Course

When replaying the normal game, there are tons of possibilities in what order you play the dungeons. 2520 different possible orders to be accurate. In Hero Mode, however, I feel like the game is getting quite linear for myself, because there doesn't seem much of a choice for me. The quadruple damage is very tiresome, so I want to get the Blue Mail first and then go for the Titan's Mitts to get as strong as possible for the difficult stuff.

So, my order of the Lorule dungeons was as boring as this:

  • Swamp Palace
  • Thieves' Hideout
  • Desert Palace
  • Skull Woods
  • Palace of Darkness
  • Turtle Rock
  • Ice Ruins

When I played normal mode, I actually started with Ice Ruins and then cleared Turtle Rock next. It was still easier than doing them last in Hero Mode, because only with the Red Mail you receive as much damage as with the Green Mail in Normal Mode.

Skull Woods is still the downer, because this dungeon is just a massive disappointment over the original. Now, that I had the chance to directly compare the dungeons between A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds, I'm actually quite fond of most of them. They could use some tougher enemies here and there, especially in the earlier dungeons, but over all they are very well designed, in my opinion much better than the originals. Except for Skull Woods. They turned an open dungeon with multiple entrances, which is a pretty cool idea that rarely ever has been utilized in Zelda, into a linear mess...

But the other dungeons make up for it. I still think that the Ice Ruins are one of the best dungeons in the series, it's just so well designed and also offers a good challenge. I also enjoy Turtle Rock a lot, as well as the Desert Palace. And after going through A Link to the Past again, I also prefer the new Palace of Darkness and Tower of Hera over the originals.

Anyway, this was the fourth time that I have fully completed the game (except for the 999.99 seconds Cucco Run), twice in normal mode and twice in Hero Mode. And I enjoy it a lot, this probably wasn't the last time. I love the ending, gets me every time. It's beautiful.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wii U Discontinued in 2016?

Naturally Nintendo is denying the current rumors, because they have no other choice. It's ultimately the same as when they say that the NX will be a third system and not a replacement for either Nintendo 3DS or Wii U. They said the same with the Nintendo DS and those are lies to protect their current systems from losing sales. But with all the rumors it really seems like Nintendo will be pushing a new console in 2016 and that The Legend of Zelda U will be one of its start titles.

Last month I already made a post about this, where it seemed like a mistake to me, because if it wasn't for Hyrule Warriors, it felt like the system ultimately wasn't worth it. That's a crazy and spoiled notion, if you think about it, but I've been saying that as a fan of Zelda and Metroid, where I expected to have a new Zelda game and Metroid Prime 4 already.

Otherwise the Wii U actually became the game system with my largest library with a total of 24 games. There are even quite some games, which I've only started playing like New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario Maker, Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2 and Splatoon. So, there's still enough entertainment for me to squeeze out of the system until Zelda and the new console arrive. It's simply that except for Hyrule Warriors and maybe Mario Kart 8 I wasn't really excited about any of the games... I had far less games on GameCube and Nintendo 64, but those were strong games like Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask and Metroid Prime, which stuck with me. Or I really enjoyed the Super Mario Galaxy games on Wii, while Super Mario 3D World seemed "okay", but it didn't really excite me as much. Overall the Wii U always gave me the feeling that Nintendo could have done more with it and The Legend of Zelda certainly arrives way too late.

But I'm making my peace with the fact that the Wii U will be said and done with Zelda and there's even a bright side to this. As for the new Zelda game it certainly will be a good thing, if it becomes a launch title for the new system as well, because this will heavily increase the sales over a just having a Wii U release now. Zelda needs this, because if this massive game doesn't sale, it will hurt the series.

And as a collector I won't have to worry about a golden Wii U Zelda Limited Edition release. If Nintendo stops producing the Wii U and start producing a new console this year, I really doubt that we would see something like a golden Wii U. In fact Nintendo already could have released a bundle for Twilight Princess HD, but they didn't. And this way the Wind Waker Edition certainly was the right choice for any Zelda fan:

I did not regret buying this edition and it would be nice if this remains to be the one and only version of the Wii U for Zelda fans. And this will be the console that I'm playing The Legend of Zelda U on. If Nintendo is making a new Zelda console bundle, it will be for NX, which might be too early on launch, but you can never know with Nintendo... But if those pictures about the new screen controller are true, it wouldn't really be a thing for a special edition anyway, because it doesn't have any front for decorations, it's all screen.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Predictions per Pack

You can read my thoughts about the announced Season Pass plans for Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends here. Now, the fun part starts again, where we think about potential characters and weapons!

Master Wind Waker Pack

This is pretty straight forward. This pack won't contain any new characters and weapons, so it won't be even available on Wii U. But at the same time Medli gets released, who probably gets all her weapon upgrades, Heart Pieces and Heart Containers on the new Master Wind Waker map on the Nintendo 3DS.

I'm curious to see, how this map will look like. I'm actually hoping that all the DLC will have the 8-Bit style of Link's Awakening including this map. The NES style is getting boring and since I'm a huge fan of Link's Awakening, which was my first Zelda game, I would be happy to get have as much representation as possible. In the very least it will get its own pack...

Link's Awakening Pack

This posed me a riddle at first. With the Twilight Princess and Majora's Mask packs on the Wii U nearly all the DLC content (with the exception of two Ocarina of Time costumes) was based on the respective games. But as much as I love Link's Awakening, it doesn't strike me as an immediate source for new characters and weapons. But it's unlikely that the new character or the new weapon won't have anything to do with Link's Awakening, because the pack on the Wii U, which only contains those, is still called "Link's Awakening Pack".

My best guess for the character is Marin, who uses the Eight Instruments of the Sirens as her weapon, directing those with her singing voice. Each move could correspond to a different instrument and she might even call the Windfish as one of her more powerful moves, similar to how you call Levias with the Great Fairy. And she would be able to turn into a seagull, probably while running. I think, overall this would be pretty amazing.

Richard might be an alternative, who played an important role in For the Frog the Bell Tolls, which was used as a basis for developing Link's Awakening. But overall he's not important enough and would just be another sword wielder. His moveset probably would have something to do with frogs though...

So, Marin is a safe bet and it will be amazing to see her in 3D for the first time. With all the characters coming from specific Zelda games, Koei Tecmo so far stayed very close to their original designs. Now they only have basic artworks for her and they might impress us here, since Marin has never appeared in 3D before (not counting trophies in Smash Bros.). Koei Tecmo's original designs for Link, Zelda, Impa and Ganondorf were pretty amazing, where I wish that they would do more of those. (Update: Marin confirmed!)

As for Linkle's weapon, I still hope that she will get the whip at some point, because it would fit her so nicely, but probably not in the Link's Awakening pack. And there isn't much left in Link's Awakening that could act as a weapon. Most of the items originally came from other games, so I think the weapon will have something to with Link's other companions on Koholinth. The Chain Chomp Bow-Wow could work as some crazy weapon. He's already a skin for the Ball & Chain in the game, but this wouldn't stop Koei Tecmo at this point.

However, Linkle is a Cucco girl, so the one and only perfect weapon for her from Link's Awakening would be the Flying Rooster, who is also one of Link's companions in the game and therefore basically the most special Cucco in the entire series. It would be a Cucco based moveset, since the Cucco itself won't be playable anymore on the 3DS. But I suppose, this would be the best choice for Linkle.

Another possibilities could be the Fishing Rod that I had in mind for Link for a while. Link's Awakening was the first game to feature fishing... However, so far Linkle didn't show any affinity for it and other games like Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess are more prominent when it comes to fishing.

Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks Pack

This pack is like the opposite of the Link's Awakening pack, because there are lots of possibilities here. I would even say that both games could have gotten their own, individual packs, because there are potential characters and weapons (for Toon Link) in both of these games including Linebeck, Oshus, Byrne, Cole, the Grappling Hook, the Whirlwind, the Whip and the Sand Wand. I guess, the character will be from one game and the weapon from the other. Or they use someone and something that appeared in both games...

I wonder, if the Adventure Map will combine the Rail Hyrule with the Realm of the Ocean King... You just would have to connect the Ocean Realm of the New Hyrule with the sea of Phantom Hourglass to the east. Still, both games could have gotten their own map and it's likely that we will probably just get a Rail Map, because another ocean map wouldn't add much at this point.

Well, let's start with the characters, where Oshus (with his cane as a weapon) is probably the least likely candidate. King Daphnos is already getting a Oshus color costume, which doesn't have to mean anything, but Oshus is more likely to appear in Hyrule Warriors 2. If there's any character from Phantom Hourglass, then it would be first and foremost Linebeck:

My issue with Linebeck is that he would really stretch the concept of turning Zelda characters into fighters of mass destruction, because in his nature he is a coward, who hides in a box, even if he had a change of heart during the end of the game. Marin at least had the courage to try and wake the Windfish herself, where I could imagine that she could become some magic force given the Eight Instruments of the Sirens.

Well, but Linebeck is certainly a fan favorite and a game like this would be the chance to finally redeem himself in the eyes of everyone. I could imagine him riding his boat over the battlefield, blasting all enemies into eternity, as some ridiculous over-the-top moveset. His weapon type might be the Telescope similar to how you fight with a telescope in Tri Force Heroes, if you use the Linebeck costume. One of the tiers could even be Aryll's telescope. Also, he's featured in both games, which makes him an excellent choice for the Phantom Hourglass AND Spirit Tracks pack.

Byrne and Cole I've always pictured as fighters in Hyrule Warriors, especially Byrne, even when the toon style wasn't yet a thing. Byrne could have easily matched the realistic style of the early Hyrule Warriors and his Clawshot weapon is a no-brainer. Cole's pseudo weapon type would be "hat", where his moveset revolves around dark blasts, ghost rats, Puppet Phantoms and maybe even a Malladus transformation.

As already mentioned, Toon Link has many options for new weapons. I wouldn't be surprised, if he ends up with the most weapons next to the main Link. The Four Sword for example would be great, but I don't expect to see this now in this pack.

I hope, it won't be the Whip, because I really, really want its Skyward Sword version to become Linkle's weapon in the future. And Toon Link could have a great alternative with the Grappling Hook - he used this in both The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass and it could become some real fun moveset, where he whirls it around and grabs enemies. I'd even say, it has more potential than the Whip, which just replaced the Grappling Hook in Spirit Tracks. Actually one of the tiers could even be based on the Whip from this game, where it uses the snake head as the grapple. (Thanks to Marandahir from the comments for this suggestion!)

It could also be something crazier, e.g. Phantom Zelda or the Spirit Train. But if Linebeck really makes it in, his boat will probably be an important part of the moveset, so having also the train would be too much of the same craziness. So, if I had to guess, I'd say Linebeck and a Grappling Hook / Whip weapon would probably be the most likely candidates, since they also would span both Nintendo DS games.

A Link Between Worlds Pack

I've been always sure that the trio Ravio, Hilda and Yuga will be part of Hyrule Warriors in the future - now the question is, which one of those three will have to wait for Hyrule Warriors 2 to make it in.

Hilda is probably the one, who has the least unique potential. There's already a Hilda color costume for Zelda and she would be just another dark element user, where we've already got too many of those. Cia even already got a "scepter" weapon type, which they might want to rename for Hyrule Warriors 2, though Hilda's type could be "Triforce Scepter" or "Triforce Staff".

Yuga will be in with utmost certainty, because his "Brush" weapon would offer a very unique addition, where he could turn enemies into paintings and summon monsters by painting them.

Ravio is in a way similar to Linebeck. He's a coward at heart, but he might redeem himself here in Hyrule Warriors, where he finally finds the courage to become the Hero of Lorule. In the past I already imagined him to have a "Bracelet" weapon type, where each move would have him use a different item from his shop in a humorous way. It all should look somewhat clumsy and Sheerow should also be part of the action.

It might also be that they add all three of them and offer one of them for free as the 30th character, similar to Medli.

Another candidates from this game would be Irene with a broomstick weapon and Osfala with the Sand Rod. But they will certainly go for the main trio first.

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Season Pass Announcement

Last Friday the future DLC plans for both Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends were revealed. There will be four packs in a Season Pass again, three of which are also going to be available on Wii U, but only contain the new characters and weapons. The 3DS version will also get new Adventure Maps and lots of My Fairy costumes.

The Wii U version won't be all that interesting, because characters and weapons alone don't do much, since you'd also want new missions for them. This was already a problem with the DLC characters Twili Midna, Young Link and Tingle in Hyrule Warriors, where now nearly half of the roster will be in the same state, when the new DLC is done.

I'm not too unhappy about this though. I've put over 700 hours into Hyrule Warriors on Wii U and I was 100% done with Adventure Mode, all A ranks. All that's left to do for me there is Challenge Mode, where you get the same missions for every character. It will be nice to try all the new characters in HD, but my main focus will be on the 3DS version from now on, where I made my peace with going through Adventure Mode all over again. It seems to be a lot more well balanced, where even the Twilight Adventure Map can be enjoyed on lower levels.

Currently my New 3DS is my gaming system of choice, so Hyrule Warriors: Legends is a welcome addition, even if it's a graphical downgrade. If they also would release all the new Adventure Maps on Wii U, I probably would be overwhelmed...

Ideally both games would have completely different Adventure Maps though. My original idea was focusing on the style of Link's Awakening and then make maps for the handheld games, instead of recycling all the Wii U Adventure Maps again. But it seems that this is what they will be doing with the DLC maps. At least I hope that they will go for the Link's Awakening 8-Bit style and not just redraw Koholint in the NES style. Even the "Master Wind Waker" map could be already done in the Link's Awakening style. We'll see.

Capcom Zelda games?

It's obvious, how they are going for all the handheld Zelda games, except for Tri Force Heroes, which is probably still too new (A Link Between Worlds was also "too new", when Hyrule Warriors came around) and the games made by Capcom. No Oracle of Ages, no Oracle of Seasons, no Four Swords and no Minish Cap.

Make your peace with this. There might be some issues with rights here, similar to how the Symphony of the Goddesses can't play any pieces from those games, because the music was made by Capcom. Now, Hyrule Historia also covered those games and their characters, so the rights weren't a problem there, but the main problem probably lies in the heavy rivalry between Capcom and Koei Tecmo. Capcom even successfully sued Koei Tecmo around the time, when Hyrule Warriors was released, about their ten year old Xtreme Legends expansion system for Warriors games, which was absolutely ridiculous.

Even if the rights were fully available, Koei Tecmo might just avoid all Capcom Zelda games for the sake of it. If there is even the tiniest issue with character rights involved here, Capcom won't allow any of it or will try to sue again. I already took note in the past, how Cia, Volga and Wizzro essentially acted as replacements for Veran, Onox and Vire, while Lana shared traits of all three Oracles. And I'm quite happy with what Koei Tecmo is doing with their original characters here.

At least the Four Sword as a weapon for Toon Link should be possible at some point.

3DS Character Usage and Costumes?

It also seems that this time the new characters and weapons won't be available on their own in Japan. This is a good thing, because this way the new characters and weapons might be well integrated into the new Adventure Maps, making it all more valuable. At least Medli should be an important part of the Master Wind Waker Map, since she gets released for free similar to Cia, Volga and Wizzro with the original Master Quest pack.

It's also noteworthy that they didn't announce any new costumes. I guess, the Adventure Maps will have the usual color costumes, but maybe some more original costumes will also be unlockable on the maps, e.g. a train engineer costume for Link on the Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks map. This goes hand in hand with having actual packs this time. On the Wii U the better costumes could be bought on their own in Japan, but on the 3DS all those costumes became now unlockable in Adventure Mode.

A post about my predictions for the individual packs will follow! It's nice, how the individual packs are spread over the entire year, instead of being released one month after another. This will keep the talk about Hyrule Warriors up!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Twilight Princess Master Quest

This is an idea that I had many years ago, but I don't think that I ever shared this in detail on this blog. It was about a Master Quest version of Twilight Princess. I fantasized a lot about this in the past and these fantasies now came back while playing Twilight Princess HD, where again they missed the opportunity to create some true 2nd Quest, instead of just doing the usual Hero Mode option.

Anyway... similar to the 2nd Quest from the Wind Waker you get to keep the Ordon Clothes. One of my main visions was Link fighting Darknuts in his starting outfit - this was basically the signature of this mode. Though in hindsight I don't think that the Ordon Clothes look that good, but it still would be nice to have them as an option, where wearing the clothes could cause double damage / a blue heart meter (instead of some amiibo doing this). Additionally there would have been a way to keep using the Wooden Sword for an even greater challenge. If the Wooden Sword burns, you can buy a new one in a shop. All the game needs would be two more inventory slots for this, one for the Ordon Cloths and one for the Wooden Sword. And in combination they would act like the Cursed Ring from the Oracle games.

Now, in the Master Quest mode the enemies would be completely re-arranged to add a Cave of Ordeals-esque challenge throughout the entire game. This would include all Poe Souls, where they would appear as early as the Forest Temple to annoy the hell out of you, because you can't beat them yet and you need to backtrack later on. Darknuts would already appear in Lakebed Temple and the miniboss fight in the Temple of Time would feature multiple Darknuts instead of just one. And even on the overworld things would be more difficult, e.g. armored Dinolfos appearing on Hyrule Field. The only place, where I probably wouldn't mess with enemies all that much, is the Cave of Ordeals, because that's already good enough.

The dungeons in Twilight Princess are arguably less open for modifications than the ones in Ocarina of Time, because they follow a more linear and scripted flow. Still, it's possible to partly change routes, especially in dungeons with two wings like the Lakebed Temple, Arbiter's Grounds, City in the Sky or Palace of Twilight, where you basically would let the player explore the other wing first. Or in Goron Mines the central room with the moving magnetic cranes could be used to change the course of the dungeon. There are possibilities. In the Temple of Time you could even twist the whole concept by giving you the Dominion Rod right at the start and having to move the statue all the way up, instead of down, in order to get to the Boss Key...

In addition to tougher enemies and modified dungeons it would also be interesting to have the sidequests changed somewhat. I already mentioned the redistribution of Poes, but in the least I would do the same for the Golden Bugs, so that they are not as pathetically easy to find. Try to hide them somewhere.

In any case I hope that Ocarina of Time won't be the last Zelda game to ever see a fully fledged 2nd Quest again. I'm getting bored of the lazy Hero Modes that Nintendo keeps throwing at us.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Twilight Princess HD Collector's Guide

Today I received the Prima Collector's Edition Guide for Twilight Princess HD. I completely skipped the guide for Tri Force Heroes, because that one didn't follow the usual design. It didn't have the title of the game on the book's spine and it had some colorful artwork on the front, instead of a golden crest or symbol. And since I buy these guides for my collection and certainly not for the content, I didn't want to spend any money on it.

The Majora's Mask 3D guide also already gave concern about the quality with its messed up spine, but luckily the Twilight Princess HD guide doesn't have any of these issues and it does go along nicely with the other books. Here's how it looks right next to the original Twilight Princess guide:

The contents of these two books are pretty much identical as well. Just as Nintendo has remastered the game with minimal effort, you just get a "remastered" guide here. They swapped all the screenshots for newer ones, which look arguably a lot better, since the original had screenshots with a pretty bad quality. They rearranged some stuff and made very little tweaks to the design, but overall it's the same guide. So, if you open both books at the same page, you get the very same content with the same wordings!

They added seven pages for the Cave of Shadows with some useful strategies (nothing that I couldn't figure out on my own already, though) and an INCOMPLETE checklist for the Miiverse Stamps, but both guides have the exact same number of pages, 448 in total. Before this section they only changed the Palace of Twilight, which saved two pages for some reason. What they did then was minimizing their "Legendary Checklists" at the end to the smallest font ever to save a lot of space. Otherwise this would have become the largest guide in the collection so far.

The Legendary Checklists are still not legendary by the way - they tried to fix some of the oversights in the original, but they keyword is "tried". For example they added four of the missing Dig Caverns, but they are still missing one at Kakariko Gorge... The biggest joke is the new Miiverse Stamp list though. They arranged it in the order, how they found them, which is very inconvenient, because the alphabet doesn't go "ANHUO" and I'm pretty sure that this isn't even the optimal order, if you would go for "early as possible". And for some reason they don't even have all the stamps in the list, just little over half, even though they claim it's a complete list!

There are even some weirder examples, e.g. they have the Cucco Stamp in their checklist, but in the treasure chest lists, as well as in the actual guide the same chest supposedly still has 50 Rupees (thanks to @Leothyx for pointing this out). What's going on here? As someone, who has assembled a complete stamp list in less than a week, I'm not sure, what they are doing. It's not that hard. Maybe Prima should hire me...

What I'm also missing is any new artwork. They just reused the same artwork from the old guide with nothing new to be found. To be fair Nintendo also didn't update any of their character and item artwork, they just released some new illustrations. But if you're looking for those, you won't find any of it.

Anyway, at least the guide is now based on the Normal Mode, so this time all the maps are as they should be and not mirrored. I like that a lot, because I never really was fond of the mirrored Wii version. And this is why I still prefer this guide over the original Twilight Princess version, even though it's just a lazy remaster as much as the game.

They added a different cloth map as well, which is nice and visually my favorite of the cloth maps so far:

The original guide had a different one, where they tried to mark all Poe Souls, Treasure Chests, Pieces of Hearts and so on. That's useful for when you play the game and don't want to use a large book all the time. The new cloth map is nice for putting it in a frame and hanging it on a wall, which I plan to do.

Twilight Princess HD Wolf Link amiibo Records

Last evening I was running through the Cave of Shadows for another time, trying to score the best possible "record" basically by cheating. Now, when you reach the end of a challenge, it shows you the following statistics:

  • Your remaining hearts
  • Floor reached (either 6, 20 or 40)
  • Hero Mode or not
  • amiibo used on which floors
  • Your time
  • Best combo
  • Damage taken

"Combo" means the number of enemies that you kill with one charge circle of the wolf. You can get into the dozens with Stalchilds or Chuchus. You can also only use three amiibo: Wolf Link, Ganondorf and Zelda / Sheik. It seems that Sheik just counts as using Zelda. I don't have both, so I can't try, but from what I've heard, Sheik counts as using Zelda a 2nd time.

Anyway using Zelda / Sheik heals you completely. Using Wolf Link refills the number of hearts based on your best record, which is solely based on the number of remaining hearts at the end. So, if you finish the Cave of Shadows having full 20 hearts at the end, he acts the same as Sheik and Zelda on your next run.

And it only lets you save a new record, if you surpass this number. So, if you ever manage to get to an end point with full 20 hearts, you can't do better and it won't even let you save new records afterwards. The Wolf Link amiibo only seems to save the number of remaining hearts (best: 20) and the reached floor (best: 40). So, the best possible result would be 20 hearts on floor 40. All the other statistics don't matter and won't get saved, not even Hero Mode.

What does this mean? You basically just have to get to the end, heal yourself with Zelda or Sheik and then call it a record. And that's what I did yesterday.

Welcome to the age of amiibo. Hope it will end soon...

Update: It really only lets you save, if your surpass the number of hearts. So, if you get to floor 6 with 20 hearts on your first time, it won't let you save records for floors 20 and 40! Then only deleting the amiibo data is an option, which will take away its ability to heal, making it more difficult to get a high score.

Update 2: It seems that Hero Mode doesn't get saved either. I edited the post accordingly!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Twilight Princess HD Miiverse Stamp Guide

While playing through Twilight Princess HD I was busy compiling a list of all 50 Miiverse Stamp locations. I really enjoyed this new feature, because it added some unique rewards, where you previously would only find Rupees.

You can find the guide(s) here:

English version on GameFAQs
German version on ZeldaEurope (PDF)

Usually I only write these smaller location guides in German for ZeldaEurope, so this is the first time that I'm also releasing such a guide in English. All my other English guides were about a more complicated topic such as the Magic Rings or the StreetPass battles, where no other English guide provided the same level of detail. So, I usually don't write "dull" guides like this in English, though here at least I dedicated a part of the guide about the changes from the GameCube and Wii versions. I tried to list, how many Rupees were originally found in those chests, which may or may not be interesting to some people.

By the way, you can find all my guides in English on the right side bar, where I added a list called "My Guides".

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Twilight Princess HD Diaries, Day 6

Today I had a clear step-by-step plan for the rest of the game:

  1. Complete the Cave of Shadows
  2. Master Rollgoal
  3. Complete the Cave of Ordeals (twice)
  4. Collect all 50 Miiverse Stamps
  5. Finish the game

And I achieved all of these goals in this order. The full playthrough took me exactly 40:00 hours, though the ingame timer always runs, so this time includes pauses. I was never a big fan of the timer in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, because it always gives me the urge that I should rush more and aim for a better time. And on systems like the Wii U it's not needed anyway, because there's play stats for that. Well, let's talk about the individual steps...

Cave of Shadows

The first 20 floors were pretty fast and easy, in fact I could do those without getting hurt in a couple of minutes, so I thought the other half of the cave will be pretty easy as well. And I couldn't have been more wrong. Floor 21 is where the nasty stuff starts...

So, then I finally got my Bottomless Wallet:

But this was not the only reward!

I also figured out, how the "highscore" system works. It does show you all sorts of stats at the end, before you can save on the Wolf Link amiibo, like your remaining hearts, the amiibo used, your time, damage taken and highest combo. This looks all pretty impressive at first, but all that matters for the "record" are your remaining hearts. It only saves those on the amiibo and what floor you have reached. Because my previous run to floor 20 had more hearts left at the end, I could not save a new record. So, my data on the Wolf Link amiibo shows that I'm still at floor 20...

You can, however, just heal yourself right at the end to make sure that you have a better result. The Wolf Link amiibo will give you the stored hearts from your best run and the Zelda or Sheik amiibo will heal you completely, so save those for the end.


Naturally I had to defend my title as Rollgoal Master and play through all 64 levels of Rollgoal again. Doing it with the Analog Stick was very similar to the GameCube version, so there's nothing special here.

In the past I complained, how it's silly that you have to go through the same courses eight times in total. All that's different is that there's a little less time and they keep being mirrored with every level. Time isn't really an issue though, I hardly ever need more than 40 seconds for one course, which is the time limit of the eight level.

So, when they announced Twilight Princess HD, I was hoping that they would shorten the process. Basically have the first level for the Frog Lure and then go right into the most difficult set. However, considering the new Bottomless Wallet and the reward, it makes sense that you have to go through all this effort, because Hena completely fills your wallet:

That's right. If you want to fill your wallet to the 9999 Rupee maximum, this is the best way to do it. It also fills very slowly, so you can probably walk around for a while with the sounds of incoming Rupees in your ears. It's very satisfying to complete Rollgoal in this version.

Cave of Ordeals

The Cave of Shadows made me actually appreciate the wolf form in some situations, so I would use it more often in Cave of Ordeals. In the past I would avoid the wolf as much as possible and use some of the items like the Ball & Chain a lot. Now, in this run I was constantly using Wolf Link for certain enemy types, especially the Chuchus. In human form I always got hurt from the large Chuchus, when they jumped around. But in wolf form you basically just have to hold ZL and keep spamming A. You will destroy all the gel without getting hit.

I was using the Ganondorf amiibo and didn't have any trouble. It was basically the same as playing in Hero Mode, because there are only four Hearts, which you can find in the Cave of Ordeals, enemies won't drop any. But then again, I played through the Cave of Ordeals so many times that I know all the tricks (except for the wolf ones, apparently). I also made a 2nd run right away, but nothing has changed there. So, here's my inventory with three times Great Fairy's Tears, which I like to have at the end of the game:

However, the Cave of Ordeals now has more rewards to offer than just potions and fairies...

Miiverse Stamps

I didn't have too look for any missing stamps, because it actually was the case that nearly all remaining stamps were gotten from the Cave of Ordeals and Hyrule Castle. The Cave of Ordeals actually gives you a chest with a stamp on each floor with the Great Fairy, so that were five stamps in total. Two more were found in Hyrule Castle and you now also get a stamp for collecting 60 Poe Souls, where it's nice that you're getting something else here than just Rupees, even though it's just a Rupee stamp.

The final stamp is gotten automatically after collecting the 49 other stamps...

I'm planning on compiling a Stamp Location Guide the next days.

The Grand Finale

Ganondorf looks like a giant ape, when he's stabbed. But we already knew that... The additional credits were completely underwhelming. Just a black screen in the background that supports the fact that this was just a lazy remaster.

In case you wonder, there's no reward or statistic about using the Ganondorf amiibo, it's an entirely optional challenge like the Cursed Ring in the Oracle games. I really got used to those blue hearts though, so now it doesn't feel right, when the hearts are still red, so I instinctively scan the Ganondorf amiibo at the beginning of every play session.

That's it for now. I'm planning on playing through Hero Mode later this year, probably after playing the 2nd Quest of The Wind Waker HD. I might also do some more fishing and practice the Cave of Shadows, but probably nothing worth another entry in this diary series for now. Thank you for reading.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Twilight Princess HD Diaries, Day 5

Today was dungeon crawling day. I've played through Snowpeak Ruins, Temple of Time, City in the Sky and Palace of Twilight. After you've gotten out of the big sidequest phase, there isn't much to do after the individual dungeons. Their items only give access to little possibilities throughout the overworld.

I still enjoy this part quite a lot, because the dungeons in Twilight Princess were all very well designed. It feels "cool" to play through them, except maybe City in the Sky, where I feel like the dungeons drags on too much. And I mindlessly hate the part with the hands chasing the Sols. Ugh. I've played this probably a dozen times already, but I still get nervous during this part. At least the second half of the dungeon then feels very rewarding with the glowing Master Sword, which sadly only gets used in this dungeon.

Overall I remember pretty well, how this part of the game let me down, when I played the game for the first time in 2006. Even though Twilight Princess easily became the longest and largest Zelda game, it still didn't feel satisfying to me. Like I'm running too quickly from one dungeon to the next without any real substance. Like something is missing. It felt like the game was already over, before it really started, which is also probably due to its heavy linearity.

Anyway, Snowpeak Ruins certainly was my favorite of the lot, because the idea of a ruined mansion being a dungeon felt pretty original, at least for Zelda. And I like the puzzles with the cannon, as well as the sliding block puzzles. Those are always pretty smart.

However, the snowboard minigame afterwards gave me some trouble. It feels somewhat rigged, because even if you're in 1st place, you have to score a certain time in order to win or else your opponent will run you over at the last second, which looks so super unfair. I forgot that holding down A actually slows you down, so I was too slow and got beaten by Yeto several times, before I realized my mistake. It's also another one of these wall hitting minigames that Twilight Princess has. It's like the steering in the entire game is broken.

But with a little practice all the minigames are possible. I even got a perfect score of
61454 points in the fruit balloon popping challenge. I thought that this might give you another stamp, which would have been evil, but it's just the same 200 Rupees that you got in the original for this.

I'm really looking for stamps right now, because currently I have only 41 out of 50. Unless Hyrule Castle and the Cave of Ordeals somehow give you the entire rest, I'm missing something somewhere. Which would be exciting, because this means that there are some treasure chests, which I haven't found yet. I do have completed the alphabet though, I'm mostly missing some of the faces and other stamps. And there even quite some places, where I thought that I would find stamps there, but didn't, like any of the hidden chests inside Lanayru Spring. Or I thought that I would get many stamps during the owl statue search, but this wasn't the case - there are still just Rupees in most of these locations.

But there at least has been a significant improvement in that part: the checkmarks on your map for the owl statues will be removed one by one during your search. In the original versions they would stay forever and clutter your map with red dots... and I always wished that they would go away.

Now, the Rupee situation has improved significantly over the original game, but there are still quite a lot and I wasted hundreds of them. Especially giving Agitha the remaining Golden Bugs hurts a lot. You have to give them all to get the larger wallet, so you can finally carry more Rupees. So, she basically gave me around 1000 Rupees, which didn't fit into my wallet, and then she finally expanded my wallet, so it could carry 1000 more Rupees... What an evil girl...! It's not alone her fault though, the main issue lies within the fact that there's nothing to spend Rupees on, except for wearing the Magic Armor, which only really might be useful in the Cave of Ordeals.

And the new Bottomless Wallet won't be available until you got the light infused Master Sword in the Palace of Twilight. That's when the final section of the Cave of Shadows gets unlocked. Both the Cave of Shadows and the Cave of Ordeals will be my goals for tomorrow, as well as completing the final dungeon.

Right now I got:

  • 57 Poes (Cave of Ordeals has the last three)
  • 41 Stamps
  • All Golden Bugs
  • All Heart Containers

Fun fact about my Heart Piece hunting: there's this one piece that I seem likely to forget at Hyrule Field in Faron Province. It's right up there in one of the trees and it's one of the first Heart Pieces that you can get, but I've missed both the last time that I've played through this game and now. I had 42 Heart Pieces before going into the Palace of Twilight and I wondered, where I was missing one piece, thinking really hard all over the map, where I could have missed something. I don't want to use the Fortune Teller, because it feels like cheating and I should have memorized all the locations anyway. My inner compass then was drawing me to Faron Field, I just felt like I was missing something there and at night you could even see the Piece of Heart from a long distance... I guess, it's just untypical for Heart Pieces to sit in trees, which is why I keep missing it.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Twilight Princess HD Diaries, Day 4

Today the big sidequest part continued and right after I made my previous post, I found the Ghost Lantern right away, which directly answered my question about its whereabouts. It's not really spectacular though...

When the use of Ghost Lantern was revealed, I labelled it as "most useless addition ever" and I probably have to take that back. Its usefulness shows in combination with the Poe counter on the maps, which I didn't know at the time. The lantern alone wouldn't be all that useful, but now you can look at the map and see what provinces have Poes left. For example there are a total of 19 Poes in the Lanayru Province, but the province many different areas including Lake Hylia and this is where the Ghost Lantern comes in. If you're only missing one or two Poes in a province, it lets you narrow it down to an area.

I guess, this is helpful for everyone, who never has collected all the Poes before. I still remember, how I criticized the whole Poe Souls quest, back when the game was released, especially when compared to the Gold Skulltulas in Ocarina of Time. The lack of an overview made it hard to help people, who were missing one Poe. It could potentially be anywhere and there was no way to narrow it down.

But the quest still has other issues, which weren't resolved with the HD version, mainly the lack of rewards and that there was no way to change the time of the day. If the lantern could do the latter, it all would be better. Unlike the normal lantern, you can't swing it, which feels weird, so I wish that they might add something that happens, when you swing the thing. Either make the time pass faster or summon nearby Poes during the day.

Next to collecting Poes, I also played quite some minigames, including the infamous Rollgoal for the Frog Lure. Using the gyro of the GamePad doesn't work very well, but you can just deactivate motion controls and play it with the Analog Stick, which works as good as on the GameCube. I only played the first eight levels and will keep the rest for when I have the Bottomless Wallet at the end of the game. In the original you got your wallet filled, when you've beaten all levels of Rollgoal, so that's how I plan to fill the 9999 Rupees.

Which didn't work as good for me were the minigames around around the Zora River. Someone in charge of developing Twilight Princess must have had some serious wall hitting fetish. If you hit a wall in these minigames, you screw up... In case of the bird minigame you even have to start over and the controls here aren't exactly awesome. With a little practice it's possible to get a highscore or even a perfect score. But overall this game has an issue with steering controls and running into walls... like with the giant boards in the Gerudo Desert, which came next.

Anyway, I did most of the sidequests at this point and before going into the Gerudo Desert I had:

  • 21 Golden Bugs
  • 23 Stamps
  • 29 Poe Souls

My stamp collection grew quite a lot, but many of the stamps got located in the hidden grottos, where you now have a good reason to visit them all.

So, there was the pinnacle of the game leading right into my favorite dungeon of the game, Arbiter's Grounds. I just love the atmosphere and the ideas. Also, every time playing this dungeon I notice, how some rooms have a similar architecture to the Earth Temple, my favorite dungeon in The Wind Waker. Well, both dungeon at least share the "undead" theme, so this might not be coincidence.

After the Arbiter's Grounds you can play a new section in the Cave of Shadows and I was surprised by its visual quality. The first six floors that you can play in the beginning look identical to the Cave of Ordeals, but floors 7 to 20 have a new stone design, which is nowhere else to be found in the game and therefore looks fresh. It feels like what the Cave of Ordeals always should have been, because it certainly looked very monotonous. There's even more variety here, like floors with lava or water. And I like, how you're forced to fight enemies, which you usually would engage in human form.

So, I'm quite enjoying this feature, despite the amiibo nature. Though right now it doesn't let me save records on the amiibo anymore for some reason, which makes me worried. The whole point of the cave seemed like improving yourself and it's a shame, if I make a good run and can't save the progress.. I got to Level 20 with only losing two hearts, but it didn't do anything.

Well, I then completed the fishing, where this is still my favorite version of fishing in the series. I just love the fishing pond and that you can bobber fish everywhere in Hyrule. On the GameCube I spent a lot of time with the fishing, I even made a list of all the locations that had fish, which I might put on my blog later.

And then continued to my 2nd favorite dungeon in the game, the Snowpeak Ruins. Or maybe it's my favorite, I can't decide, both have great design. I even used to have savegames for all the dungeons on different GameCube memory cards, so I could always replay the dungeons at any time (and I did so quite often). This would have been a great feature for a remaster such as this one...

Anyway, these are my collection stats right now:

  • 23 Golden Bugs
  • 29 Stamps
  • 45 Poe Souls

Only one Golden Bug and 15 Poes missing, but I know where they are, I just can't access them yet. And 21 more stamps to go, which is great. If I reach the end of the game and still haven't found them all, Nintendo will have done it right. I suppose that there are quite some stamps found during the Dominion Rod quest and I fear that there might be some stamps for perfect scores in minigames, e.g. the fruit popping flying wall hitting game.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Twilight Princess HD Diaries, Day 3

Another day, another province. Let's jump right into the missing bugs from Lanayru:

  • the insect at the lake house
  • one of the four insects in the river tunnel
  • one of the two insects in the center of Zora's Domain
  • the insect in the upper floors of Zora's Domain

It feels more similar to the insects in Faron, where they also reduced some groups and removed an insect behind a house. The one at Zora's Domain though saves quite some time, because you don't have to climb all the way up again.

Next step was the carriage escort and that didn't go so well for me. The new Epona controls are too stiff, I've never run into so many walls in a video game before, the horse gets stuck, where it can and actually naming it "Error" was the most appropriate thing I could have done. That doesn't look good, after they claimed to have improved the controls and after Zelda U apparently has very good horse mechanics...

To make things worse, I fell off into Kakariko Gorge, when I tried to shoot the bombing Kargarok. It came too close, the explosion threw me off the horse and into the abyss. Now let me tell you what happens: you have to restart from the beginning at the Hylia bridge! Imagine my outburst of frustration.

Still, besides all the issues with Error, I decided to do some sidequests before the Lakebed Temple, mainly getting all the Bomb Bags. Without warping you have to navigate Hyrule in its entirety and make some good use of the horse. In order to get back up to the Zora River for example, where the rafting minigame is located, you have to get shot up by the cannon, go to the northern field and there use the entrance to Zora's Domain. It's quite the detour compared to simply warping up there, so usually you would want to beat Lakebed Temple first and get the ability to switch between forms and to warp.

Getting the Master Sword is the point, where the game gets the most fun for someone like me, who enjoys exploring and sidequests. The sidequests are not really well distributed throughout the game - as soon as you get the Master Sword you can do a majority of them. You don't have to, but I personally like to do sidequests as early as possible. So, that's why I usually spend many hours collecting bugs, hunting Poes, exploring grottos, fishing, opening Malo Mart and so on, before going to the Gerudo Desert.

And... now also collecting stamps! You may not like Miiverse Stamps, but I think that this was the best addition to the game. It's much more enjoyable than just collecting Rupees and it actually now gives you a good reason to search for many of the treasure chests, including the ones in hidden grottos. There they even added new chests for the stamps, instead of replacing the content of existing ones.

And it's not like losing any Rupees hurts. You still get tons, for example from Agitha, who I had a beautiful moment with. There's this scene, where she slowly walks home from the field south of Hyrule Castle Town during dusk. You can walk slowly right beside her and Link and Agitha will keep looking into each others eyes while romantically walking next to each other, which looks funny, because they are not looking, where they are going. However, their passionate stare walk got interrupted by a nasty Poe, which could do as it pleased, because I couldn't turn into a wolf in front of Agitha...

Apropos Poes, to my surprise they actually did add a Poe Counter to each region of the map! So, they did improve the Poe hunting somewhat. I haven't found the Ghost Lantern yet and so far I didn't get spoiled about its location, which is exciting. I have some theories, where it could be. I'm thinking that you either get it from Jovanni after a certain number of Poes (it's not 10 though) or you might find it somewhere, like the cave at Lake Hylia or Arbiter's Grounds. If you already know, where it is, please don't spoil it in the comments. Finding this new item will be one of my goals for tomorrow.

I'll finish this post with the Zelda U easter egg, where they put some E3 2014 images into the store at Hyrule Castle Town. However, as soon as Malo Mart takes over, those pictures are gone. Probably a way of saying that Zelda U is expansive stuff...

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Twilight Princess HD Diaries, Day 2

Today I played through the Eldin part of the game and by now I have warmed up to it. At first I didn't feel like playing Twilight Princess again, but it's getting closer to the fun part. But that's really, what all this is: Replaying Twilight Princess. Unlike the other 3D Zelda remakes / remasters, I don't really get a new experience from all of this. When I played Ocarina of Time 3D for example, it was all about exploring all the new details everywhere, it was a semi-fresh experience and I enjoyed it a lot. Even The Wind Waker HD at least looked very fresh and beautiful with its new bloomy bloom everywhere.

Twilight Princess HD looks sharper, cleaner and has more detailed textures, but that's pretty much it. There's nothing really to marvel at. The lighting even is worse in my opinion, everything looks quite pale, like the brightness is always way too high. It's especially noticeable in the "dark caves", which are not dark anymore. You don't have to use the Lantern at all, because you can see everything clearly... (Update: that has been due to the ingame brightness settings. On the lowest it's as dark as in the original.)

But at least Hyrule Field looks very pretty, I give them that, especially the part around Kakariko Gorge. It feels like this is a nice little preparation for Zelda U, though I wish that Error wouldn't get stuck on every wall. I don't see, how they have improved the horse controls, if anything they made them worse, because the horse now steers too sharply.

Anyway, like yesterday I took note, what insects went missing from the Eldin Tears of Light section, all of them in Kakariko:

  • the insect on the graveyard
  • the insect inside the shop
  • the insect in the upper inn
  • the insect in the highest building

I'm not all that happy about this, because I actually enjoyed hunting all the bugs here. Now you have buildings that you can access as a wolf for no reason at all. If anything they should have removed the Tears of Light at Death Mountain, so you don't have to go all the way up there. But... I wouldn't have removed any of the bugs at all. You can't really compare this to the Wind Waker HD, where they have removed some of the Triforce Charts, because they at least replaced them with additional Treasure Charts. Here the bugs are just gone and some parts of the game went missing...

And at the same time nothing really got added. For example there's this house in Ordon, which always remains closed. Originally they didn't have time to add an interior to this house, but now they did... Why not finally satisfy the curiosity of the players here, instead of keeping a door that leads to nowhere?

I also would have liked, if you could select the Ordon clothes in the menu. In the past I imagined having a "Hero Quest" version of the game, where everything is more difficult and Link wears the Ordon clothes all the time, similar to the 2nd Quest in the Wind Waker. With them you would take double damage, so essentially their purpose would be the same as the Ganondorf amiibo. Too bad that we live in the amiibo age, where simple features like the Cursed Ring / Tights are only available, if you buy 15€ figurines. Sigh...

Apropos amiibo. I tried the Wolf Link amiibo for the first time, which only let me play the first set of floors of the Cave of Shadows, scoring 20 Rupees. And with only five blue hearts, it was quite tough. In the Cave of Ordeals there's always some strategy to avoid damage. But here you have to jump in as a wolf and charge your attack, which leaves you vulnerable. I like the highscore system and if it wasn't for the Bottomless Wallet, I would even label this as a good use of amiibo, but if you have to buy the figurines to complete your game, it's a bad thing.

The difficulty with the Ganondorf in normal mode also feels quite good, since I keep looking for hearts more often. Of course this is a usual problem early in the game. As soon as you got more Heart Containers and bottles, you probably won't notice the difference. And that's where Hero Mode will be interesting. But since I haven't played Twilight Princess in five years, it was a good choice to start with normal mode to practice.

Nothing much happened on the Miiverse Stamp front yet for me. I only found two more, one of them under water in the Goron Mines, where I'm really happy that they changed this. This was always one of these "can't get this now" chests, where my wallet used to be full. Well, you have to backtrack to this part anyway, because you need the Clawshot for another chest, but it's still nice that I don't have to leave any chests and that I occasionally find some stamps instead of Rupees. Probably the most exciting part about the remaster...

Metroid Prime: Federation Force in Development since 2009

They have to be kidding, right? That's SEVEN YEARS! In that time they could have given us Metroid Prime 4 and Metroid Prime 5. Or a new Hunters game for the Wii U would have been great. But this? No, thanks.

The reception of Metroid Crime: Federation Force wouldn't certainly be as bad, if we had some actual Metroid games on the current systems, a 2,5D Metroid on the 3DS and Metroid Prime 4 on the Wii U. If we had this coming up, Federation Force probably wouldn't get all the hate. The other big issue is the chibi style:

Metroid has always been the coolest and most adult Nintendo series, so it's hard to swallow, if they start dropping the cuteness bomb on you. They even have a chibi Samus!! Zelda might have survived the toon style, but it's not a good fit for Metroid in any way. While Metroid Prime Hunters on the DS had even worse graphics, at least the characters looked cool and felt worthy of your game time. Playing as federation troops (aka cannon fodder) is certainly not as exciting as a selection of unique and deadly hunters.

I'm still a huge Metroid fan, it's my second favorite Nintendo series and I even enjoyed the badly received Metroid: Other M for it was worth (completed it four times, one on Hard Mode). I even got Metroid Prime Pinball in my collection and liked it. But I don't feel like buying this game...

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Potential DLC Characters & Weapons

Hyrule Warriors Legends is getting four DLC packs and it's likely that they will yet again enhance the roster with some characters and weapons. I'm convinced that there will be packs for Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword, because that's what we didn't get so far, with Adventure Maps for both games.

Also, with Medli The Wind Waker now has four characters in total - as many as Twilight Princess. The two games that are really behind with their characters are Ocarina of Time (not counting any costumes) and Skyward Sword, both with only at two representatives. So, that's where I expect any upcoming characters, mainly Nabooru and Groose, but maybe also Batreaux. Demise probably would be a costume, now that Toon Ganondorf also become one. After all Ganondorf's main weapon was heavily inspired by Demise and their statues are about the same.

Let's compile some list of things that I could see happening for the DLC packs with characters from the already featured games, new weapons and costumes.

New Characters:

  • Nabooru (with Sabres or Battle Axe)
  • Mikau (with Guitar)
  • Deku Princess (with Deku Pipes)
  • Makar (with Violin)
  • Beedle (with Bug-Catching Net)
  • Groose (with Bomb Flower Mortar)
  • Batreaux (with Scythes)

I'm not really expecting any Majora's Mask stuff, because we already got that in the last DLC and we just got Skull Kid with the new game. But I still like to list Mikau and the Deku Princess, because those are two characters that I really would like to see in the future.

Beedle would be based on Skyward Sword, where one of his special moves could even he doing some crazy bicycling. But naturally he also should have some traits from his other games, maybe like a Masked Beedle mode for Focus Spirit.

And Makar essentially would attack by planting trees, hovering around, etc. He probably would feel a little similar to Lana's Deku Stick moveset, though.

I've already talked about the other candidates in the past, so I won't go through all of this again.

New Weapons:

  • Bongos for Darunia
  • Fishing Rod for Link
  • Whip for Linkle
  • Four Sword for Toon Link

This game has many characters with only one weapon and for most characters this will be hard to change, because their weapons are really built around the character or the character itself is the weapon, e.g. Phai. So, Link will always be the guy, who gets all the fun toys. And a Fishing Rod weapon could be part of an Ocarina of Time pack.

The Whip would be from Skyward Sword and featured in a Skyward Sword pack, but it probably would be a better fit for Linkle, because a whip is a more feminine weapon. I'd love to see her get into a fight with Cia then.

New Costumes:

  • The Wind Waker costume for Tingle
  • Twilight Princess costume for Skull Kid
  • Demise costume for Ganondorf
  • Skyward Sword costume für Impa
  • Rauru or Gaepora costume for the King of Hyrule

Anyway, that's only if they don't go into the territory of other games. With the Hyrule Warriors DLC they first featured Majora's Mask and something similar could happen here. And since this is on handheld, games like Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks or A Link Between Worlds could become a thing with the following characters:

  • Oshus (with Cane)
  • Cole (with Hat???)
  • Byrne (with Clawshot)
  • Ravio (with Bracelet)
  • Hilda (with Triforce Scepter)
  • Yuga (with Brush)

I'm not sure about Linebeck, because his entire character revolved around avoiding any danger. It would seem weird to see him fight, but on the other hand we're probably already past the point, where any character would be out of question. Koei Tecmo can make everyone work. I feel the same about the Happy Mask Salesman, but both characters are so popular, they will become playable eventually.