Wednesday, March 30, 2016

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.

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