Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Replaying A Link to the Past on the Wii U


After skipping over Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, which I just beat in August, my journey through the Wii U Virtual Console continued with A Link to the Past. I've already beaten the game on Nintendo 3DS earlier this year and directly compared it to A Link Between Worlds, so you should read that instead, because the playthrough was a little bit more interesting.

This time it felt more like a chore to be honest. I'm going through my backlog of Wii U games now and the redundancy towards the 3DS library really shows here, where the motivation for some of the stuff is quite low. At least with the NES and N64 Classics I have certain goals for my replay sessions, but A Link to the Past was just there, waiting to be completed yet another time.

I don't feel as strongly about A Link to the Past as the other classic Zelda games, most likely because I never owned a Super Nintendo as a kid and I wasn't able to play it before the GameBoy Advance times. I still see it as a great game, it has one of the best overworlds in the series, which Nintendo has reused twice over the years (in Ancient Stone Tablets and A Link Between Worlds), the visuals are nice, the music is great and it invented so many things for the Zelda series. Treasure chests, cutting grass, dashing into trees, lighting torches, Cucco Revenge Squads and so much more... A Link to the Past certainly defined the series.

But after a strong beginning, the second half of the game really is just dungeon crawling and most of the Dark World dungeons aren't as enjoyable. Of course they aren't supposed to be nice places, but they also didn't have to be as annoying, especially with letting you run in circles.

This time I played Misery Mire early (after Thieves' Town and the Swamp Palace), so that I wouldn't have to take to do the complicated backtracking in the Ice Palace. However, when I reached the end, where I could have just placed the block, I realized that I missed a key and since I always do 100% runs with the dungeons fully explored and cleared, I had to go through the entire Ice Palace again looking for said key. I also tend to always miss a key somewhere in Misery Mire, but it's not as terrible there.

Another troll moment is in Ganon's Tower, where you defeat the Armos after that long and complicated room with the invisible bridge. You now have the choice to go either up or left. The way up brings you to the Big Key, while the way left locks you out and then you have to do it all over again, both the puzzle and the Armos fight. Not nice, Nintendo!

At least I've learned something new this time. You can actually turn the "Rabbit Beams" (the rotating stars that follow you around and turn you into a rabbit) into a fairy by sprinkling Magic Powder on them, exactly like with a Anti Fairy. That was news to me and sadly I only learned this in Ganon's Tower. I'll try to use this to my advantage the next time, whenever I decide to play A Link to the Past again, probably on the Switch.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Postbox: Bipin & Blossom's Son

Hello Tourist and congratulations for all the good work, especially about the Oracles!

I would like to ask you something about Bipin and Blossom's son, whom I called Link. I play the games with a New 3DS XL and the bought and downloaded versions (PAL I think).

I have chosen to take the Ages-Seasons-Seasons-Ages route and right now I'm at the first Seasons' Linked playthrough (with Ages' Secret to Holodrum), with 6 of 8 Essences of Nature at the moment.

At the initial Ages' completion I think that I have reached Link's childhood by 150 Rupees and Sing decisions, if I recall correctly. The result was the Shy one.

The problem is that at the Seasons' continuation, things seem to have stuck at this point. Link's parents refuse to ask me any questions and just keep telling me the initial hello stuff. It is as if the game thinks I haven't got any Essences yet. If I speed-catch Link, he says "You're Chris? I'm Link! No way!", or something like that.

If game mechanics correlate this situation with time somehow, besides story progression, neither changing seasons with the Rod, nor planting Gasha Seeds and harvesting them seem to have an effect so far. Even though I must confess that only after Level 6 completion I started to plant Gasha Seeds, because some Level 4 & 5 randomness rings are left for the collection, so it wasn't very urgent. I have harvested about 20 Seeds so far.

Could all this be a glitch?

Could I miss something that as long as I don't do it, the growth from childhood to adulthood effects aren't triggered?

Is there really an option for a forever Shy child? I certainly hope not, just for completion's sake.

The funny thing is that there are some opinions and discussions around the Web that comment about too much pampering! Well, I admit that according to this way of thinking, yes, I have pampered the child a little bit, but I didn't mean to freeze things forever!

Any clues or ideas?

Thank you very much and keep the devoted work!

Chris from Greece

Hey Chris,

thanks for the message!

The child's growth is indeed triggered by planting Gasha Seeds. However, 20 should be plenty, so it's weird that you haven't made any progress yet and neither the child nor the mother give you any choices.

As far as I know, there is no glitch or bug or bad choice that might prevent you from evolving the child. Even a baby can be fully grown in a Linked Game. So, that's the good news, we just have to find out what's blocking your progress. Try keep planting Gasha Seeds and visiting the family regularly in between. Also, try some of the lower class Gasha Spots as well, it might be that you also have to use some of them.

Let me know in the comments, whether this worked or not. If not, I'll do some more research. If anyone has any ideas, also please post them in the comments.

PS: Good choice with the Ages → Seasons → Seasons → Ages route!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My Nintendo Reward Suggestions

Well, My Nintendo still hasn't seen any improvements... In order to not lose any of my "hard earned" Platinum Points, I had to buy the Mario, Donkey Kong and Isabelle Nintendo 3DS Themes, which I'm never going to use. But it's better than nothing or any of the useless discounts. And I'm still at around 3000 points, where I will face a loss of points every month from now on.

And this doesn't have to be. They could make the whole service so much more interesting and exciting by putting some actual content on it, mainly DLC. Here are some suggestions:

  • Another My Nintendo Picross game. The Wind Waker Picross, Skyward Sword Picross, something... I suppose that it might be already in the works, but naturally it will take some time.

  • Four Swords Anniversary Edition. Many people haven't gotten this back in 2011/2012 and it was supposed to be a free game. No harm is done by re-releasing it via My Nintendo, except for maybe the fact that the singleplayer mode works much better than the one in Tri Force Heroes.

  • Hyrule Warriors Legends Gifts. Link's Classic Tunic and four sets of My Fairy outfits were only available as gifts for preorders or other promotional events. If they don't decide to add them via future updates, they could offer codes via My Nintendo.

  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii / Nintendo 3DS DLC. It's needlessly overpriced. And we're probably getting it all anyway with Super Smash Bros. for Switch, which is why you shouldn't buy any of the DLC as of now. But having some of the content available as goodies on My Nintendo would be nice. However, they probably would make it cost Gold Points...

  • Swapdoodle add-on packs. Swapdoodle is the successor of Swapnote with the key difference that you have to pay for new features like additional colors this time, which is quite the bold move by Nintendo. I wouldn't invest any money in it, but I certainly would put some Platinum Points into the add-on packs, before the app will be taken down again because of dick pics.

  • Nintendo Badge Arcade Free Plays. This is a similar situation. I rarely ever put actual money into this thing, only of it was a 0.50€ sale game and if there were some Zelda badges that I really wanted to get. And even that made me feel bad. But buying tickets with Platinum Points every now and then would be sweet. They are already offering something similar for Miitomo, so why not this as well?

Anything would be better than what Nintendo currently offers. It feels like Nintendo doesn't know what to do with the service. They wanted to shift from the Club Nintendo to digital goods, but they are not willing to hand out anything worthwhile. And the different currencies are also problematic, because most of the better rewards will be locked behind Gold Points.

For example the The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack costs 60 Gold Points. Now, all the people, who don't like to invest into the eShop (for good reasons), will be excluded from rewards like this, while their retail games don't yield any bonus (unlike before with Club Nintendo). Ideally the retail games would contain Gold Point cards. You can even redeem point codes, but Nintendo doesn't seem to use this feature...

My Nintendo could be good, but right now it's just a giant turd, but Nintendo isn't really trying.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hyrule Warriors: Collaboration Character?

With a potential 30th character slot open in both Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors - Legends, I had another thought. What if Koei Tecmo planned to include a character from another Nintendo game as further collaboration and as a way to test reactions about future "Nintendo Warriors" installments? After all they expressed interest in Mario Warriors and Pokémon Warriors in the past...

I'm personally not the biggest fan of the idea, because I want Koei Tecmo to focus on Hyrule Warriors for now. There's still so much potential left and with a sequel we could easily go up to twice as many characters. There are many good characters left, who would have deserved the 30th slot, such as Hilda, Linebeck or Groose, so adding some character from another game would leave a sour taste, especially if it's some completely lame entry like Mario or Marth.

I don't even see the appeal in a Mario Warriors or Pokémon Warriors. Koei Tecmo already did make the Pokémon Conquest games, while Pokémon Tekken should give the Pokémon fans the fighting action that they want. And Mario has enough spin-offs as it is. The only Nintendo franchise that I could see getting a Warriors spin-off in the distant future, is Fire Emblem. But that's certainly not as popular as Zelda and having a Fire Emblem character in Hyrule Warriors right now probably wouldn't mean much to the fans.

However, there's one character that I could imagine to be part of the game and where I certainly wouldn't mind the cameo: Samus.

She would fit the roster of beautiful and strong females very well. They could even implement her Power Suit as a Focus Spirit mechanic, which could be pretty cool. And it would be a nice way for Koei Tecmo to honor the 30th Anniversaries of both Zelda and Metroid together.

In 2012 one of Koei Tecmo's earlier collaborations with Nintendo were costumes in Dynasty Warriors Vs. on the 3DS, see here. Next to a Link costume, they also had one of Zero Suit Samus:

So, both of this can be viewed as their preferences at the time, where Hyrule Warriors became a reality two years later. A Metroid Warriors wouldn't carry much potential on its own, but in the very least they could have Samus guest star in Hyrule Warriors. This could even tie in to amiibo, so that it's only available for people with a Samus or Zero Suit Samus amiibo... Nintendo would certainly love the idea.

Now, such a cameo character would at least explain, why it's not as neatly integrated as the other DLC characters were in Legends. You wouldn't want to suddenly run into Samus on Hyrule Field or collect her Heart Containers from Lorule, because she's out of place in this universe. It makes sense to keep such a character completely separate from the rest of the game, while it still could be fun to play as her. So, it could add up.

Again, it's more likely that the 30th character slot won't ever be filled, but that won't stop us from speculating. And if it has to be a character from another franchise, then Samus probably would be the most exciting addition.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Breath of the Wild in June 2017?

The rumors about a delay of Breath of the Wild, where the game won't be available at the launch of the Switch, seem to thicken now, with a potential release right after E3 2017. The game was accidentally listed by Target for a June 14th release (see here), while Laura Kate Dale shared about rumors on Twitter with a release date for Friday, June 16th.

Overall I'm fine with this date, it should give me enough time to go through all 3D Zelda games on my Wii U again next year, before Breath of the Wild comes out. It's also a nice time to take two weeks of vacation. :-D

What really annoys me in those rumors is the fact that Nintendo won't be releasing the Wii U version at the same date, but one week later. I completely believe this, because this would be typical for Nintendo. Ten years ago, when Twilight Princess came out, it was the same thing. Even worse, the North American Wii version came out one entire month before the European GameCube version, and in that time I got spoiled with the final boss of the game, before I even had the chance to play it. Things go down on the internet a lot faster these days, so if you're resorting to the Wii U version, then you have to stay offline for more than a week and that right around and after E3! What terrible timing. As usual some people will find the game in stores early and then you might even be confronted with spoilers, while you're just watching E3 news. And that would suck.

Also, it would be essentially another gigantic middle finger for all Wii U adopters. "What? You bought the Wii U in 2013, because we promised you a nice new Zelda game back then? Well, we got news for you! You shouldn't have! The Switch version will be released first and the system will also have all the best Wii U games with new content and enhanced features! But it's your own fault, really, for buying the Wii U, hahahahaahaaaaa!!!!"

So, I'm completely fine with a June release, but in the very least I hope that this part of the rumors will turn out wrong and that Nintendo has the decency to release both versions on the same date. In case they're not releasing a Special Edition limited hardware Switch bundle alongside the game, which I don't want to miss as a Zelda fan, I will stick with the Wii U version. I won't buy the Switch until the inevitable Zelda edition is available, that's for sure.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: 8th SpotPass Gift

Just as a reminder, we're getting another SpotPass gift for Hyrule Warriors - Legends today. This was already announced a month ago (see here), but nevertheless it should be mentioned again. Here are the goods:

  • 1.000.000 Rupees
  • 5x Golden/Delicious Light Fruit
  • 5x Golden/Delicious Mushroom Spores
  • 5x Golden/Delicious Elixir Soup
  • 5x Golden/Delicious Hyoi Pear

It doesn't accompany any update, but in case we're really getting a version 1.7.0, I would expect it to be released around Christmas. Such an update would add at least one of the two missing fairy designs (Fire and Lightning), as well as the various special / preorder offerings, which includes the Classic Tunic for Link and some fairy clothing. Some people already have this stuff (I got the Classic Tunic and the Classic and Twilight Sets of clothing at launch), but together with the additional fairies there should be something new for everybody as a nice little Christmas gift.

We'll see. It's not certain, but the fact that we're still getting SpotPass promotions might lead the way to one final update that completes the game.

Update: It appears that North America didn't get the 1 Million Rupees this time. Might be an oversight.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Time's End II & Terrible Fate

Theophany is back with a follow-up to his Time's End album from four years ago! To top things this time, he cooperated with EmberLab creating a massively amazing Majora's Mask fan animation about the Happy Mask Salesman and Skull Kid receiving Majora's Mask. Really good stuff, so check it all out:
Theophany on Bandcamp
Terrible Fate on Youtube

It seems like Theophany focused on the Woodfall / Swamp region with this album, while the first album was about Clocktown, so we might get more releases for the remaining regions in the future...? I certainly wouldn't mind at all!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Ciao Ciao, Cia

This is a continuation of this post.

After completing the Lorule Map and with it the entirety of Adventure Mode, there isn't much left to be done for me in Hyrule Warriors - Legends except for grinding. I'm not in a rush with this, mostly just playing one hour per day, but ideally before Hyrule Warriors 2 comes out I want to be done with the game and have every character in their best possible form, which means Level 255, at least one perfect weapon build and all badges. The latter is already finished, so what's left is mostly leveling everyone up, unsealing weapon skills and collecting best possible weapons for the new additions.

And naturally I already achieved these goals with my favorite character, Cia... There she is, full 255 Levels and 60 Heart Containers:

The attack level becomes pretty ridiculous, it's nearly 700 more than a weapon with Legendary on it:

In the end I mostly played her on the first Adventure Map and the first half of the Great Sea Map, where I was clearing them from Item Cards and where you only get very little EXP, to prolong the process as much as possible, while unlocking a Legendary weapon seal on the way. So, I took my sweet time with her.

That Legendary weapon seal was also the last missing piece for her "perfect" weapon:

I know that Legendary doesn't make any real difference in the end due to the damage cap and high attack power you get from the levels. So, it can be a waste to put this on your weapons, but I do it anyway, mostly for the aesthetics and because it doesn't really feel complete without it. You want to break at least one of these seals with every character to show your determination.

And I personally don't know what else I would put on the weapons anyway. I'm not a fan of the Duel or Special category skills, because they are highly situational. "No Healing" is only good in Adventure Mode, but it can be a hindrance whenever you're not bound to A ranks or whenever you want to use the "Heart Strong" skill. "Defenseless" is also bad, if you like the occasional blocking, e.g. against Manhandla. (I wish that "Heart Strong" was actually a skill under the Special category, which makes more sense, because nearly all the Special skills have a downside, while the rest of the Augment skill don't. And the opposite of Heart Strong, Adversity, also falls under the Special category.) "VS Dragon" is pretty nice, but then again it's only useful for missions with the corresponding enemies in it.

And with Bombos active you don't really need the additional damage boost, in fact the new Heart Power skill should be more than enough. The only other must-have is "Hasty Attacks", though not every weapon is actually better with it (depends on how much you rely on certain combos and such). But it's certainly a skill that I enjoy with Cia, especially deploying the C6 quickly for the giant bosses can be crucial.

On a site note, I don't really like the looks of her "Crackling Scepter", because it doesn't go as well with most costumes as the beautiful Scepter of Souls. The latter makes a great combo with her new Koholint costume for example:

The "golden" Crackling Scepter only looks okay with her Master Wind Waker costume, which is also quite nice, but I do prefer the above combo.

Anyway, I won't have to worry about that for a while, because now Cia has to rest and it's the other characters' turns. After I'm done with the majority of characters, I want to play Legend Mode / Free Mode in the "Hero" difficulty, which is where I probably will use Cia for most of the time again. But until then it's good-bye.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Replaying The Legend of Zelda on the Wii U

Someone get a vacuum cleaner.

The NES Mini was released one week ago and I was able to try out the device at a retro gaming party, which was fun. But it also made me want to play the NES Zelda Classics yet again, which is why I decided to go at The Legend of Zelda on my Wii U Virtual Console.

I've already replayed The Legend of Zelda on my 3DS earlier this year around the 30th Anniversary, which I personally liked more, because the game looks much sharper on the 3DS screen and the D-Pad of the Wii U GamePad is too stiff. But I want to play all my Virtual Console games on the Wii U next to reduce my backlog. Anyway, since my last playthrough wasn't many years ago, this wasn't a playthrough to refresh my memories of the game. It was more an attempt to harden my memories, because this time I had decided to play completely without the help of any solution maps and without planning ahead. I was still using Save Points for a deathless run, but otherwise I wanted it to be the pure exploration experience of the original, where you have to deal with all the hidden secrets and maze-like dungeons fully on your own.

I first played this game back in the late 90s, where I only had some maps of the Level 1 and 5 dungeons from the infamous Club Nintendo magazine and no internet to help me out, so the rest I had to figure out on my own. Burn all the trees! Bomb all the walls! Find your way through the dungeons! I wanted to replicate this experience, but of course after beating this game several times (including one half a year ago), I was bound to remember some stuff. It's not like I had magically forgotten everything about the game.

For example, I had a rough idea, where the three truly hidden Heart Containers on the overworld are. The two Heart Containers that need the Raft and the Ladder are easy to find, but the others are well hidden and you can get them right at the start of the game (at least in the 1st Quest), which is invaluable.

Some of this stuff is hard to remember, because there are so many different versions of the same world. You have the 2nd Quest, but also the BS The Legend of Zelda game, where most things are in different locations as well, e.g. the Level 2 dungeon is located at a place, where you'd normally find a Heart Container in the 1st Quest of the NES game... So, things can be a little confusing.

There's some additional trial and error with finding all the cave / dungeon entrances on the overworld, if you don't know the exact wall to bomb or the exact tree to burn. Sometimes you have just long rock walls or tree lines over the entire screen and you have to find the one square that holds a secret. You can only use your HUD as an orientation, really, and during that I noticed that the caves at the southeast beach are right below the "x" of the Bomb counter. So, X does mark the spots here, which is a nice little trick, if you want to impress others watching you play.

Since I had a rough idea, where everything is located, it wasn't all that ridiculous. Only in the 2nd Quest there were to things that gave me trouble, where I couldn't help it and looked them up eventually. One was a Heart Container, which is found at the graveyard. In itself it's not too hard to find, because you just have to push the right grave, but trying to move every single tombstone is a deadly endeavor, because they all keep spawning Ghinis, which keeps hurting you. Unless you really like dying, it's best to ingrain the spot, where the Heart Container is found, into your soul. The other lost item was the Magic Book, which is randomly found in a room with "weaker" enemies in Level 4, if you push the right block. If you have an idea, where moving blocks could open a stairway, you automatically start testing and it's often blocks in similar positions. But in that case it didn't even occur to me that the room could hold a secret like that, especially since it's quite early in the dungeon.

Even if you remember the exact locations of all the items, memorizing the dungeons is a different topic. It's not like in later Zelda games, where every room is unique and recognizable. It all very much looks the same and fighting through the hordes of annoying Darknuts, Wizzrobes, Like Likes and Bubbles doesn't really encourage exploration. At least you don't have to test every part of the walls, because if there's a hidden pathway, it's always right in the center. But the aforementioned blocks are a different topic and there will be still many walls to test, where studying the maps is more important than ever here. Bombs became the rarest and most valuable good in the game, because you also might need them for fighting (especially with the many Triple Dodongos in the 2nd Quest) and you're limited to a maximum of 16 of them. This completely changed with A Link to the Past, where you can carry many more and where bombable walls are usually cracked. And even if they aren't, you can use your sword to test them, instead of wildly placing bombs everywhere.

If you use solution maps, you know where all the destructible (and go-through) walls are and you can also plan the most efficient routes through the dungeons, instead of aimlessly wandering through the mazes. This makes the game quite easier and does take away an essential part of the challenge, which is why I didn't want to resort to maps this time. And with the 1st Quest things aren't too bad at first, it's really the Level 9 dungeon that gave me the most trouble. You have to learn this maze part by part and there's no quick way out of it in case you need to recover (and you will need to recover thanks to the constant Wizzrobe spam). But it's arguably the toughest dungeon in the game, not even the Level 9 of the 2nd Quest comes close to it - in fact it's much nicer, because it focuses on a long series of T-junction rooms with a block in the center, where you don't have any enemies. And you can quickly find your way out of the whole thing, in case you want to stock up on potions and/or bombs.

And all that stocking up made me realize how grind heavy The Legend of Zelda actually can be. You need lots of Rupees for the good items early on and always more for Potions later in the game. You also need to refill your Bombs, which aren't dropped by every enemy. I basically follow a circle route along the woods in the east, the shore and the fairy fountain near Level 1. The Blue Tektites and the Leevers at the beach give lots of Rupees, while Moblins and Blue Octoroks potentially leave Bombs behind.

I kept going through that grinding cycle a lot and these guys are mainly at fault:

Blue Wizzrobes and Blue Darknuts. They eat your health away swiftly and even with the Magical Sword they still need multiple hits to be defeated (three for the Blue Wizzrobes and two for the Darknuts). Their movements are erratic and even with the Blue Ring every touch costs you a heart. It's lucky that they never appear alongside each other, the dungeons either feature Darknuts or Wizzrobes, but never both.

Other than the enemies, what annoyed me the most during my latest playthrough were dark rooms. They don't add anything to the gameplay, unless you really have no Candle and have to find your way through the dark. But otherwise it's just the same procedure of going into the menu to equip the candle and use it. All this does is disrupting your game flow and later on I sighed at every dark room that I encountered, because you never really have the Candle equipped already. It's less of an issue, if you have the Magic Rod and Book and like using it, but as I said earlier, I was unable to find the Book at first.

Still, it was overall a fun experience. I'm always amazed, how well this game holds up for something from the NES era. And if you've never played it before, I can only advise to pick it up on the Virtual Console or via the NES Mini console and to avoid all maps or other guides that you can find on the internet. Try to discover all the secrets of this game on your own for the true experience!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hyrule Warriors (Legends): Rearranged Rosters

Now, that the rosters of both Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors - Legends are final, I can't help but feel a little bugged by how Koei Tecmo simply sorted all the characters by when they were added to the games and not by meaning. So, I started to rearrange the rosters in my head and made a little project, where I threw the character select screens into Photoshop.

My criteria for the new order were simple enough:

  • Sort the characters by games / eras.
  • Put different versions of the same character above each other, e.g. Zelda and Sheik.

On the Nintendo 3DS this turned out pretty well...

As you can see, the different Links are all together in one row together with the two prominent sidekick guides. The columns then list the characters from the same game or era. This worked out so well, because the columns have five slots each and for the most part there are teams of five connected characters, so each column has its own "theme":

  • Zelda Main Characters in Hyrule Warriors
  • Hyrule Warriors Original Characters
  • Ocarina of Time / Majora's Mask Era
  • Toon Eras
  • Twilight Princess (only 4)
  • Other

Ghirahim and Fi had to split, where I decided to put Ghirahim below his buddy Zant, so that most of the villains are on the lower rows (which put Medli in an odd place). It also put Fi right next to Midna, which places these two guide sidekicks together as well, as I already mentioned earlier.

A good new order for the Wii U roster isn't as obvious as first, but if you map the exact same order onto the Wii U character select screen, it also works out quite well:

The Twilight Team gets split in the middle here, but otherwise it's all nicely connected. I also like, how Cia ended up next to Link.

Well, I suppose with Hyrule Warriors 2 Koei Tecmo could aim at an order more similar to this.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Breath of the Wild: No March Release?

You've probably seen the rumors by Emily Rogers about Breath of the Wild potentially not being part of the Nintendo Switch launch lineup. Reasons are that the localization and testing will need a lot more time than originally anticipated.

It does fit the picture, though. During E3 2016 Nintendo purposefully avoided confirming a March 2017 release, in fact they kept emphasizing that the game is simply slated for 2017, leaving themselves some room. Emily Rogers was spot-on about many things this year, so I do trust her word. You shouldn't always trust her sources and things change behind the curtains all the time, so these rumors are bound to be inaccurate in some cases. But if Emily hears something from multiple sources, then we should listen... In any case these rumors sound plausible.

And I personally don't mind. I played Ocarina of Time at Christmas 1999 - one year after the original release. That didn't make the game any worse and it's still one of the best games of all time today. Nintendo has gone so far with Breath of the Wild, they might as well take all the time they need to make it perfect, so it will become the timeless experience that is Ocarina of Time. All that stands in our way is our impatience, but that won't matter in two years and certainly not in ten.

In my case I still want to go through my Zelda backlog of Wii U (Virtual Console) games, I want to play Skyward Sword again and I also want to take the time to fully complete both Hyrule Warriors games. So, for me as a Zelda fan there's more than enough entertainment left on the current systems, which is why I can wait a little longer.

A later release also would go perfectly hand in hand with the idea of a Limited Edition bundle, because these Special Edition hardwares and different console colors never appeared at launch. They might appear half a year later, though. So, if this turns out to be true, I will strictly advise any Zelda fan NOT to buy the Switch at launch, because you want to wait for the Golden or Sheikah Slate Edition that comes with Breath of the Wild a little later.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hyrule Warriors: 30th Anniversary DLC Character?

Look at the current roster of Hyrule Warriors - Legends...

With such a blatant gap in the character select menu, you ought to ask, whether they might have planned a 30th character for the game. It's the 30th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda after all and receiving one final character would certainly be a nice gift. This idea isn't new, in fact I've dealt with it on Hyrule Blog several times already (for example here).

However, I personally thought that this character would be Hilda, because so far every DLC character, both free and paid, has been integrated into the DLC Adventure Mode Maps of Legends. They get their higher weapon tiers there, as well as 15 collectible Heart Containers. This is much better than on the Wii U, where save for Cia, Volga and Wizzro all DLC characters stayed autonomous with nothing to do and their tier 2 and 3 weapons unlocked already. They could add one more character to Legends that works the same way, but he or she would break all current patterns and then give you a tier 4 weapon right from the start...

For a full new character it would need another Adventure Mode Map, but update 1.6.0 already added a medal for receiving all other medals, which is a big indicator that they don't plan to add any more Adventure Mode Maps or anything bigger at all. I had this vision, where they could have used the Level 9 dungeon from The Legend of Zelda as a finale map, but that seems off the table for now. And retroactively adding the characters' goodies on older Adventure Maps might be too much of an override. It's still possible that we're getting an autonomous character, but chances are slim.

And to be totally honest, I wouldn't even know, who would make a good candidate at this point. There are plenty of characters left, but most of them are either best saved for a sequel or should have been paired with any of the previous DLC offerings. Toon Ganondorf, Makar, Linebeck, Byrne, Hilda... All of them have potential, but if Koei Tecmo had them planned, we already would have gotten them with the corresponding DLC packs. After all Medli was released for free alongside the Master Wind Waker Pack and not just now. If they had Toon Ganondorf or Makar planned, they could have turned the Master Wind Waker Pack into a full DLC pack with two new characters. So, I doubt that we will see them now. Same goes for Linebeck, Byrne or Hilda, who could have accompanied the DLC featuring their games.

Groose has been requested quite often by fans, which even was acknowledged by Koei Tecmo (which is a big deal, they did the same for Yuga and Linkle), but he would be completely loose at this point. Groose is such an obvious choice, because he left an apparent gap inside the story mode, where Skyward Sword was the only era to not feature two heroes. And even his weaponry is part of the story campaign, so all it ever needed is Groose to be part of the Sealed Grounds scenario as well. But that's best done in a sequel, where they can change the story accordingly or come up with an entire new story.

Another request that I see often is Vaati from The Minish Cap, but according to producer Yosuke Hayashi at the Wondercon earlier this year this would be "difficult". There was no further elaboration on that, but right now we have to assume that all the Capcom Zelda games are off-limits.

One of my favorite picks outside the Capcom games would be Nabooru, but again she's someone, who's best delivered in a sequel together with a Gerudo Fortress / Desert Colossus stage and Twinrova as her personal opponent. That would be great and right now she would feel rather out of place and meaningless.

And there lies the problem... If this is really supposed to be a 30th Anniversary gift, then it should be something meaningful and not just some side character from a game that already has been featured. Agahnim from A Link to the Past could make a great classic character, but his role is too similar to Yuga's, where adding him right after Yuga would be somewhat uninteresting. On GameFAQs I see people often suggest the Old Man from The Legend of Zelda as a "joke character", where all his quotes are from the original game, like "Master using this and you can have it". But I'm not sure about getting such a faceless character just for the laughs. The old man got more defined in later games with characters such as Saharahla or Oshus, where you might even find a good weapon type to go with them (Oshus could use his cane).

There's also the Old Man in Breath of the Wild, who probably has a more important role, and it's slightly possible that they might try to promote the game with a new character in Hyrule Warriors. It wouldn't be the Link from the game, because that could just be realized as a costume for Link and maybe a Sheikah Slate weapon type (which could finally give him an actual Darkness weapon). In the very least I could imagine them doing the costume, but any of it will have to wait until the actual game was released. And at this point Koei Tecmo might be already working on a sequel for Nintendo Switch, where Breath of the Wild certainly will be a great base for new content. So, I doubt that they would do anything beyond a costume.

With that I'm at an impasse. A new character might not integrate well into Legends without any new Adventure Mode Maps and there doesn't even seem to be any real candidates at this point. So, it's best to get used to that gap in the lower right corner, because it might never be filled.

But at least we can still expect some smaller goodies like costumes or additional fairy contents, where I made a post about potential future updates here.

Update: There's also the possibility that there's going to be a collaboration character from another Nintendo franchise, e.g. Samus. In that case it would even make sense for the final character to be separated from the rest of the game. See this further post for more thoughts about this idea.

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Future Updates?

The Legends of Hyrule Pack is through and with the A Link Between Worlds DLC Hyrule Warriors - Legends should be completed. But it's still possible that Koei Tecmo will give us additional updates for the game in the future with some content for free.

In the very least there is still some stuff that's not available for everyone yet:

Like with the new Darkness Fairy that got added in version 1.6.0, it's possible that the rest of the fairy goodies also gets added retroactively to the original Adventure Mode Maps. All the fairy rewards don't count towards map completion anyway, so it wouldn't be a big deal, if some of it got added after you've completed the maps. This also goes for fairy clothing. If you've already received them as gifts, they will be simply checked off on the map after the update, like you've gotten them in the mission before.

As for the Classic Tunic, they could just unlock it with the 1.7.0 update - after all that's the same version number, when the Wii U game got this costume for free last year. Or alternatively it could be a reward on the Rewards Map for one of the multiple missions that don't actually hold a reward, e.g. "Chosen by Fate". And there's the possibility that one of the new Zelda amiibo (e.g. 8-Bit Link) does the trick, similar to how the Spinner was unlocked by Link's amiibo in the Wii U version.

(I would also like them to add the Dark Toon Link costume, as well as all his Four Swords colors, while they're at it. I give them points for creativity when it comes to Toon Link's costumes, but that he doesn't have any of his obvious colors is kind of weird.)

Of course it might be that Koei Tecmo will sell these as small content packs like they did with the preorder costumes on the Wii U, but I doubt it. It doesn't hold the same value as the costumes back then, since the additional fairy sets are for the most part just recolors of existing pieces. And the Classic Tunic used to be free DLC on the Wii U, where it would be weird, if they suddenly tried to sell it on the 3DS. Those weren't DLC content packs anyway, all of the preorder / special offer content was already in the base game and received as presents from the Extras menu. And they should stay as that, as gifts.

We will certainly get another SpotPass offering later this month and I suppose that either around that time or around Christmas we will see the 1.7.0 update with some, if not all of the missing contents.

But considering that there are two fairy designs "missing", a fifth Fire Fairy and a fifth Lightning Fairy, they might split it up into two different updates, 1.7.0 and 1.8.0. Throw out some small gifts here and there to keep the game in the news and to keep the player base interested.

There also remains the question of a potential 30th character... But that's for another post.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Lorule Map Impressions

Complete. With the Lorule Map we can finally conclude the gigantic chapter of the Adventure Mode in Hyrule Warriors - Legends. A total of ten Adventure Maps (including the Rewards Map) provide you with numerous missions and tons of unlockables. The Lorule Map is certainly not an exception and keeps up the good quality that came with both the Koholint and Grand Travels Maps.

First of all, this is the Hyrule and Lorule from A Link Between Worlds in the glorious 8-Bit style. And it's quite the accurate representation, which is very nice after the weirdly distorted environments of the previous two DLC Adventure Maps. It's also surprisingly linear, unlike the original game. It does have a very nice flow to it, though. You keep opening up parts of Lorule and these separate parts are very suitable for individual play sessions. So, you might just go and play the Skull Woods area for today. With the confined areas it has a good structure and you get a much better sense of completion and progress than most of the other Adventure Maps, where you go all over the place.

You also don't have to replay missions for Item Cards, not even once. With the right course everything puts itself together very well. It does some teasing, where you early on see an ice statue, but you won't be able to get the Fire Rod until the very end, but otherwise you can usually get what you need within the vicinity. It's of note that this is the only Adventure Map, which doesn't have a Compass Item Card. But you don't need this anyway, because it's always obvious, where you have to use what item.

The Item Cards also activate Nice Powers, but this feels somewhat like wasted potential, because ten of them just change the recommended element. Only Bombs and Hammer give you some bonus effects, which are Rupee and attack power increases. You can have two of these effects at once, but the next item card used will overwrite them.

The options with the Instruments of the Sirens were certainly richer, but in the very least the Lorule Map keeps giving you double weapons, exactly like the Termina Map. I personally would have preferred some other bonus, like a constant EXP boost, but it does help with weapon grinding.

And it does so, because they did add "Divisive plan" missions for the characters, who didn't have one yet, with the exception of Marin. And with the double weapon drops they are now the best way to grind for perfect weapons, especially the fight against three Yugas on D14. Sadly, both Volga and Ruto became low level missions, so you don't have a natural grinding spot for Lightning and Water weapons, but I do understand that they wanted to give Yuga and Cia the higher spots. It's just that again the best missions are preferred by Light weapons.

In general this map plays very quickly, despite it also having the full size of 16 x 8 squares. That's because there are no missions with a fixed time frame, e.g. "Rack up your K.O. count" or K.O. / Rupee competitions. For the most part you can also chose a 2nd character, which lets you easily plow through the whole thing with your main character(s). The difficulty is about the same level as all the DLC maps. It can get a little tougher with the 4+ weapon missions, but it's nowhere near Twilight Wii U fake difficulty. So, again it's all very moderate, but if you were hoping for a challenge for your fully built characters, then you will be disappointed. It does make sense in terms of the DLC, though. Some people might only buy the one map, because they don't have the time or the money for it all. And if you then get something ridiculous as the Wii U Twilight Map, it sure will feel like you bought the wrong content. Also, with new characters like Ravio and Yuga on the map, you don't want the difficulty to skyrocket.

(It just would be nice, if you had something to do with your fully developed characters. The Wii U version has the Challenge Mode for this and while I really don't miss this mode, I do miss a good opportunity to use your high level characters with perfect weapon builds.)

Anyway, there are two new Challenge Battle types. One is called "Scour the battlefield in pursuit of victory!" and has enemy characters hide under some random officer monsters. You have to beat right one to uncover the hiding foe. This can be a little bit annoying, because like with the Turncoat Soldier missions they might appear sometime after the fact that you defeated the officer. The second new type is called "Hunt down and defeat your foe!" (which should have been the name of the first new type), which is basically a new variant of "Defeat all Giant Bosses" just with Bombchus. Those can remove a significant amount of health from the giant bosses, but you can also just ignore them and defeat the bosses without help.

In addition they added a new Adventure Battle type, where you have to capture six keeps. Sounds simple, but it does feature some very aggressive and respawning teams of Keep Saboteurs, which swiftly take your own keeps. In fact such enemy aggression is rarely ever felt in the game, where you really have to do some defending here. Otherwise Koei Tecmo focused too much on the same Adventure Battle types here, especially "Use diversionary tactics to defeat the enemy!" with the Magic Stash Troopers gets used one too many times...

There is also a new supporter mechanic, where Ravio appears on the battlefield, but he doesn't join you right away. As the coward he is, he waits for you to beat many enemies first, before he feels safe enough to join you. You can also just go and kill him first, which is the Cia thing to do. But since Ravio is a theme here, I was also playing much more cowardly than usual thanks to the new Magic Fountain+ ability, which lets you blast away everything with Fairy Magic by just tapping the touchscreen corner repeatedly. Strats.

For your efforts you finally get the remaining 4+ weapons, the last Heart Containers for everyone, as well as new costumes, where the selection is quite good, but not perfect. I like that Lana and Cia got a Zelda and Hilda costume pair, that's pretty nice. And everyone of the sages got featured as a costume. On the other hand it's weird that seemingly quite some characters like Linkle got a Ravio recolor (should I call her "Raviole" in that case?), but not Link himself. It's the first time that he didn't get a costume, while it's also the first time during this DLC season that a color costume for him would have been perfectly clear. While he did have a purple tunic outfit from the Master Quest Map, it doesn't have the dark hair or the striped scarf. So, no real Ravio costume for Link is really a missed opportunity.

I was also hoping for some good fairy clothing, since this is probably the last time, where we will receive a big batch of content. The new stuff is alright, but it still feels like there is a lack of options, especially for Fire Fairies. For example I was hoping for something that could make the Din lookalike actually look like Din in terms of clothing. It's possible for Nayru, but not for Din, and overall the fire clothing is pretty lackluster. Also, completing the map doesn't give a new fairy slot, so we're still at 14.

Overall the Lorule Map is really good. It's full size, plays very fluidly and is neatly organized. It does leave some things to be desired, though, especially the lack of Hilda feels like a big chasm within the environment.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hyrule Warriors: Ravio and Yuga Impressions

The A Link Between Worlds Pack for Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors: Legends gave us two character additions from the lands of Lorule, the cowardly salesman Ravio and the demonic art collector Yuga. Compared to some additions from the previous DLC offerings they don't seem to be particularly outstanding, but let's still take a short look at how they turned out...


While his running animation is certainly hilarious, Ravio doesn't seem to offer everything that you would have expected, like a varied multi-element moveset based on all his shop items. It's just all Darkness and not all of it are weapons from his shop.

With DLC characters Koei usually likes to recycle some assets from the game to get them done and he really got the short end of the stick with that. Instead of the items from his shop, the Bow, Bombs and Boomerang he uses are simply the Hyrule Warriors variants, mostly in their upgraded forms. So, instead of using the Tornado Rod to create tornados, Ravio throws the Power-up Boomerang at things... And that seems a little bit like a low effort from Koei Tecmo's end.

Only the Hammer and Ice Rod are really from his shop, where these two tools essentially work in combination with each other, which is pretty nice, because freezing things and smashing them with a Hammer was one of the first true item combos in the Zelda series. The Ice Rod gets utilized in most of the combos and It really should have been the "Hammer + Ice Rod" weapon type, where the Ice Rod also has visible tiers.

But I do like the Rental Hammer tiers, especially the Nice Hammer variant with the Triforce symbolic on it. The handle even resembles Hilda's scepter as a reference, which makes me a little sad that she wasn't part of the last DLC wave as well. Other than that, Ravio didn't get all that many references. You can't take off his bunny mask in any way, you can only look under it to catch a glimpse of who's really under there (but they didn't create an actual face). His buddy Sheerow is also nowhere to be found...

They didn't go all-in with this character, but this at least leaves some potential for a sequel. There he could get a Tornado Rod weapon type with Sheerow in it, a maskless costume and more.

The moveset in itself also doesn't seem to be one of the better ones, while it isn't entirely terrible either. His charged C1 larges enemies inwards, which can be used for some follow-up combos, but he isn't really all that good at anything particular. Especially breaking Weak Point Gauges of Giant Bosses seems to be difficult in one turn. That he isn't the strongest, does fit his character, though... I also do like, how they captured his clumsiness within the moveset, e.g. the Focus Spirit Finisher, where he drops the big Bomb.

For his badges he needs mostly Impa and Gohma materials, so nothing special. It's quite weird that the drops Young Link's materials, though. Why not Link's? Link drops an actual SCARF like Ravio has, which would have fit much better. This is another devil detail that just annoys me.


Marvel at the most glorious victory animation in the entire game! Koei Tecmo outdid themselves with that and Yuga overall leaves a good impression at first glance. At least on the Wii U. I really do like the visual and sound effects with his weapon on the home console, however, it seems quite butchered on the 3DS system. It just doesn't give the same strong feeling, when he whirls around the picture frame in a large area.

That's probably the best part of his moveset, the wide range of the attack string. In addition he has an interesting mechanic, where you can leave a magic circle after each combo by holding down the button. These circles freeze enemies in place and explode after a little while, which can also be used strategically to capture enemies in your combos. He also uses the Fire element for his C3 combo, which works good enough on Manhandla, while his C4 wrecks Argorok.

That's about it. The moveset also does leave little to desire when it comes to references. He hops into a painting with his C1, he shoots strong electric bolts with the C4, he even summons Ganon's trident with multiple moves and there are various sound effects from A Link Between Worlds, which is nice. The only thing that I'm missing would be summoning soldiers by painting them. It would have been amazing to see the classic A Link to the Past soldiers in 3D...

He drops Ganondorf's materials, but he doesn't need them himself. You would expect him to be the big Ganon fanatic that Toon Zelda turned out to be, but he likes Argorok and Lana instead. Well, whatever...

I also did get used to his new design pretty quickly and overall he seems like a solid addition to the game.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Last Dual-Elemental Weapons

The final DLC has been released and with its Lorule Map we get the remaining 11 dual-elemental weapons. Let's see, how these do or do not meet our expectations from last time. I've personally haven't unlocked any of them yet, but SmokeRulz has compiled a complete list on GameFAQs:

Okay, out of these 11 I've only anticipated two of them: the Dark Tome and the Light Crossbows. These made sense, unlike some other stuff on the list. The Light and Darkness combo is heavily overpowered, because the majority of the character enemies are weak to either one, and I didn't expect to get this for the main weapons of the Triforce Trio, especially since it feels weird to have them all use their opposing element so directly. I would have given the Water element to the Great Swords ("Swords of the Flood") and the Fire element to both the Hylian Sword and the Rapier. Link could have gotten the Darkness element on some of his other weapons, maybe the Spinner, not sure.

Also, Impa definitely should have gotten the Darkness element. She's the Sage of Shadows after all... And this just seems like a missed opportunity. It also would have helped somewhat with the balance of element combinations, which currently seems completely off:

Why do we need so many Light + Water weapons? Impa's Giant Blade is a great example, where they should have chosen another element instead, because we only have two Dark Water weapons at the end. The devil is in the details with Koei Tecmo, it's weird choices like this that really bug me in the game.

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Update 1.6.0

The A Link Between Worlds Pack got released yesterday worldwide and as usual we got another update with the game. However, it offered a little bit more than usual, so let's take a look. Next to a new fairy there are quite some new Fairy Rental Skills, a new weapon skill, as well as new medals. They also raised the level cap for the final time and they fixed that glitch, where you were unable to enter the center of the Grand Travels Map, if you left without saving after unlocking it.

Here's the new Fairy design for the Darkness element:

Looks good, doesn't it? It's certainly one the prettier designs and I'm glad that I didn't put all too many resources into a Darkness Fairy yet. But unlike the fairies that they added with the versions 1.4 and 1.5 it doesn't come with a new fairy slot and it's also not found on the new Lorule Map. They retroactively put her on the first Adventure Map, where you can find her on square H12 (that's on the southern shoreline) in the Enemy Base.

This also means that there is still a maximum of 14 fairy slots, unless you unlock another one by beating the Lorule Map this time (this remains to be seen). We also haven't gotten an alternative fairy design for the Fire and Lightning elements yet. They might add those in the same way in future updates or they might never happen. We'll see.

In addition to the new fairy they also added several Rental Skills, five of them in the rainbow color tier. There are improved versions of the Material Master, Weapon Master, Special Fountain, Magic Fountain and Extreme Crush skills. I already got the "Magic Fountain+", which you can now use three times per battle. And that's one powerful skill.

To unlock all of this you will need a lot of Fairy Food, but they have adjusted the Food drop rate. They seemingly tripled the amount, so you can get up to three foods in a normal battle and up to six on the Grand Travels Map. The Food+ skill, the Food Drop mixture and the Food Master Rental Skill will also increase the amount. So, collecting lots of food will be much easier now, even if it's at the expense of Material drops.

There's something for the weapon builders as well, because they added the new Heart Power skill. There is a new "HLTH" category for this and it is indeed sealed under 5000 K.O.s - but like with Legendary you don't have to appraise it to know what you're getting, because it's the only skill in that category. It's also easily the most useful skill next to Hasty Attacks, because it increases your damage based on your total amount of Heart Containers (not your actual health, as I previously thought, so you can still combine this with No Healing, if you want to). Now, there's finally a good reason to collect all the Heart Containers for every character, where with the level cap of 255 and the Lorule Map we finally reached the maximum of 60 hearts. So, look out for the 5000 seal! You certainly want this skill on your best weapons.

They also added five new medals, but it's what you would expect. There are the usual three medals for completing the Lorule Map, one for reaching level 255 with a character and one final medal for collecting all other medals. They added the same thing with the Boss Pack DLC on the Wii U and this is a huge indicator that they are done with this game for the most part. I was considering the possibility of a free DLC Adventure Map as a grand finale that comes with a 30th character, but in that case they wouldn't have added this medal yet.

We have yet to get the special offer costumes (Link's Classic Tunic and four My Fairy clothing sets), but they might just retroactively put them somewhere in a future update like they did with the new fairy.