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.

No comments: