Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Breath of the Wild: 100% Completion

A topic of interested for Hyrule Blog always has been 100% completion, so let's compile a guide about what it takes to achieve the same for Breath of the Wild, if you're really willing to go this far.

Well, to achieve true 100% completion, you have to take care of the following tasks:

1) Beating them Game

This seems self-explanatory, however, most Zelda games don't actually save your game or register anything, if you beat them. In these cases you could even argue that beating the game doesn't really add anything to your save file and therefore might not be strictly necessary for 100% completion. Breath of the Wild on the other hand takes note of this. After you've beaten Ganon, your save game will be marked with a star and the menus will show different entries for completion, e.g. number of completed quests and the completion rate of your map.

(When the first DLC gets released, you'd want to do this and all of the following in "Hard Mode".)

2) Obtaining all Key Items

The Key Item menu is probably the first stop to check your completion status. While the Sheikah Slate and the Paraglider are received as part of your journey, several other items are given for completing various tasks. So, here's what you have to achieve:

  • Complete all four Divine Beasts to get the different Champion abilities
  • Complete Hyrule Compendium and receive the Classified Envelope
  • Collect all 900 Korok Seeds and receive Hestu's Gift
  • Defeat all 84 Overworld Bosses and receive all three Medals of Honor
  • Obtain all ten pieces of Horse Gear
  • Find the Travel Medallion (DLC only)

You need the Rider Link amiibo in order to get the Traveler's Bridle and the Traveler's Saddle.

3) Getting all Heart Containers and Stamina Vessels

Other than discovering and completing all 120 Sheikah Shrines, you have to take their Spirit Orbs to a Goddess Statue to receive all Heart Containers and Stamina Vessels. (You can trade them to the statue at Hateno Village afterwards, if you don't want them.)

There are also four additional Heart Containers gotten from defeating the bosses of the Divine Beasts. If you forget to take them, you will find them right next to the Divine Beasts.

4) Obtaining the Master Sword

You need to collect 13 Heart Containers in order to pull the only permanent weapon in the game out of its pedestal. (The first DLC will also allow you to upgrade the Master Sword by finishing the "Trial of the Sword".)

5) Completing the Adventure Log

The "Adventure Log" part of the menu lists several quests and all of Link's recoverable memories. You can see the totals after beating the game:

  • 14/15 Main Quests
  • 76/76 Side Quests
  • 42/42 Shrine Quests
  • 18/18 Memories

You currently can't really complete the primary Main Quest "Destroy Ganon". Some Shrine Quests still might need to be discovered, if you've found the corresponding shrines already without ever triggering the quests.

The side quests include several tasks in the game, including upgrading your Sheikah Sensor, Bombs and Stasis Runes or finishing your house at Hateno Village.

6) Achieving 100% Map Completion Rate

After you've beaten the game once, the map will show a completion percentage. This isn't the same as the overall completion of the game, instead it's calculated based on the following:

  • Cleared Divine Beasts
  • Korok Seeds
  • Shrine Discoveries
  • Location Discoveries

The Divine Beasts, Korok Seeds and even shrine discoveries are already covered by the previous tasks, however, it still might be that you haven't achieved 100% on the map, because you're missing a few locations. Those are names on your maps and you should check for any bridges or other interesting landmarks that aren't labelled yet.

7) Opening all Treasure Chests

Whenever you've opened all treasure chests inside a shrine, it will display a small treasure chest icon next to the shrine's name on your map. Treasure chests inside Divine Beasts are missable, but unlike the shrines the game doesn't really keep track of them.

If you want to find all treasure chests on the overworld, you can target them with the Sheikah Sensor+. However, certain chests are currently glitched and not obtainable:

  • Great Plateau, Woodcutter's Hut (if you got the Warm Doublet from the Old Man directly)
  • Hateno Village, near the Dye Shop
  • Lake Floria, Rassia Lake
  • East of Aris Beach, stuck underwater
  • Chest Game in Lurelin Village

You should just ignore these for now. The respawning treasure chests on Eventide Island also don't count.

This task also includes finding the Hylian Shield, as well as a majority of the armor pieces in the game. However, those aren't "fixed" items.

8) Collecting and Enhancing all Fixed Armor

There's lots and lots of different armor pieces in the game, but most of them can be sold and re-purchased at any time, so they aren't really "fixed". You also only have limited inventory space for armor (five pages). This is why for 100% completion only the eight individual armor pieces count, which can only be obtained once and cannot be sold:

  • Champion's Tunic
  • Zora Helmet
  • Zora Armor
  • Zora Greaves
  • Thunder Helmet
  • Cap of the Wild
  • Tunic of the Wild
  • Trousers of the Wild

All the other armor pieces are simply "nice to have". This also avoids the problem, where you would have to get several amiibo in order to collect all the different armor pieces that are exclusive to them.

In order to enhance the above pieces (with the exception of the Thunder Helmet), you will need to find and free all four Great Fairies around the world. It's also necessary to collect all dragon parts from all three dragons, which includes freeing Naydra (which you have to do for a shrine anyway).

9) Freeing Malanya

Other than the four Great Fairies, you can also find the "Horse God" Malanya, who can revive fallen horses. Free him in the same fashion as the Great Fairies to be done with this.

On a side note, your collection of horses isn't really part of 100% completion, since you can let them go or have them killed at any time. Only collecting all horse gear really counts.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 35

Today I finished another milestone in the game: completing all side quests. I was missing two of them and since I didn't want to look them up on the internet, it took me quite some time to find them. Well, one I could locate methodically, but the other really was just found after running around aimlessly for one week.

The Fickle Goron

The first side quest was called "Death Mountain's Secret" and I found this relatively quickly after the last entry, about one week ago. I counted, how many side quests there were in each individual village and I noticed that Goron City didn't have all that many. So, I decided to search the area.

And that's when I found that Dugby, a Goron Kid at the Goron Hot Springs, actually shows a red exclamation mark, when you approach him. However, nothing really happens, when you talk to him. He mentions something that he said in the hot spring and whether you understood it or not, but he never repeats it and he never goes back into the hot spring. It doesn't create an entry in the Side Quest menu and I was at loss, what I'm supposed to do here.

At first I thought that I had to listen to him from a hidden position, similar to how it's done in a few other side quests. But that doesn't work. I even tried positioning the nearby minecart on the tracks right above the Goron kid, so I could listen from there. But no results.

I got really frustrated with this, trying to figure it out for about two hours. I then went to the Daqa Koh Shrine nearby to get the Drillshaft from a secret stash. The Drillshaft is the best mining tool in the game and I was happy, when I found the stash a while ago. It's really useful.

Well, the surprise came, when the side quest automatically solved itself afterwards. Apparently Dugby hid the Drillshaft there and wanted you to find it by telling you about it under water. I might have talked to him earlier in the game and ignored this, but there never was an entry in the Side Quests section of the Adventure Log. This only appeared, when I solved it in the end. This is, why I missed this side quest for so long... And it feels like this is glitched somehow. (Update: it seems that this weird behavior gets triggered by finding the Drillshaft before ever talking to him.)

My Hero Ignorance

Well, I was left with only one Side Quest, but no clue where to look. I got very close to looking it up on the internet several times, but I resisted the temptation and then just accidentally found the thing all by myself today. It wasn't even anything special. It's just a girl, who sits at a tree near the Outskirt Stable and for some reason I never noticed her. Well, she looks kind of camouflaged there and another reason was that the Outskirt Stable already had two side quests and I only thoroughly checked all stables with one. Still, it was kind of underwhelming similar to my last Hinox, because it wasn't that hard to find and I've just been going blind there, as so often.

But it's done now...

At least she gave me a Star Fragment, so that's very useful. On my journeys I also got several Star Fragments dropping from the sky. And of course I kept fighting Lynels after every Blood Moon. But I still need at least 31 Star Fragments to upgrade all amiibo gear, so there's lots of grinding left to do, if I'm in the mood for the game.

I also didn't find many Koroks in the meantime - there's still a little under 200 of them left. But I will wait for the first DLC, because it probably will be a lot more fun to look for the rest using the Korok Mask.

So, this concludes this series for now, until the first DLC arrives!

Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 76/76
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Shrines: 120/120
  • Medals of Honor: 3/3
  • Compendium: 385/385
  • Koroks: 706/900
  • Map Rate: 83.95%

Friday, May 26, 2017

E3 2017 Predictions

The E3 2017 will be happening from June 13th to 15th and while Nintendo will probably set a big focus on Super Mario Odyssey, there's still more that we could and should expect from Nintendo's announcements. Here is a list of predictions about topics that are of interest for Hyrule Blog.

Breath of the Wild Aftermath

Breath of the Wild is one of Nintendo's biggest and most acclaimed games ever made, which has created quite the phenomenon. And while Nintendo already dedicated the entire last year's E3 to this game and the game already has been released for three months now, it's still possible that Nintendo will make some additional announcements for Breath of the Wild at E3 2017.

Other than a release date for the first DLC Pack, they could announce a line of Champion amiibo that are going to be released on the same day as the DLC. Make more money out of this game. They could also showcase the first DLC in their Treehouse Livestream, playing the Trial of the Sword or Hard Mode.

The real big announcement, however, would be an Anime Movie based on Breath of the Wild coming to cinemas later this year to reach an even broader audience with the new Zelda phenomenon.

Smartphone Zelda

Other than potentially making movies, Nintendo's plans for reaching a broader audience manifested already in the realm of Smartphone gaming. Pokémon Go, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes were a solid beginning and according to the latest rumors a Zelda Smartphone game will follow later this year.

Such a game would probably utilize the classic top down perspective and the touch-only controls of the Nintendo DS Zelda games. But it could work out just fine and create a nice Zelda game on the go. If this is really happening, we will learn about it at E3 2017!

Additionally, Nintendo could announce a "Nintendo Phone" developed in cooperation with Apple to attract the Nintendo fans, who haven't been really into Smartphone gaming until now.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch

This already has been discussed last year as Super Smash Bros. for NX, but after Mario Kart 8 Deluxe it shouldn't come as a surprise, if Nintendo announces a new version of Super Smash Bros. 4 as well.

This new version would come with all previous DLC, as well as all stages of both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U version. The 3DS stages would be graphically enhanced for this purpose. Additionally there could be new stages and fighters, as well as some returning characters, e.g. Wolf or the Ice Climbers (which now wouldn't be effected by any technical limitations anymore).

The Smash Run and Smash Tour modes would be gone (to keep something exclusive to the previous versions) and replaced by something more similar to the Adventure Mode or Subspace Emissary.

As for new fighters, the Inklings from Splatoon and maybe also a character from ARMS like Spring Man or Ribbon Girl come to mind. And of course there would have to be a new Fire Emblem character based on Fire Emblem Echoes.

Talking about clones, for the current Zelda hype they could also introduce a "Wild Link", who uses different techniques based on Breath of the Wild for his specials. For example the Up Special could utilize Revali's Gale and the Paraglider, while the Bombs would be the one from the Sheikah Slate. As the Ultra Smash he could even fire an Ancient Arrow at his opponents. But knowing the Smash development team, they would probably just bring back Young Link and don't give him any new moves.

Another possibility would be finally a new character from the Metroid franchise, where Sylux could advertise a potential Metroid Prime 4 (see below).

Fire Emblem Warriors

The team, who made Hyrule Warriors, is currently developing Fire Emblem Warriors for the Switch and it's probably too early to expect any news about a potential Hyrule Warriors 2. However, it will be interesting to see, what they are capable of doing with the Nintendo Switch.

New Game by Retro Studios / Metroid

We still don't know, what Retro Studios has been up to ever since Tropical Freeze. In the recent news, it has been announced that Alexander Brandon will compose the score for their next game. This got me pretty excited, because together with Michiel van den Bos he made the extraordinary soundtrack of Unreal and Unreal Tournament, which is my only other long time favorite video game series next to Zelda. It also means that the soundtrack might end up being somewhat futuristic.

Also, Kensuke Tanabe had talked quite a lot about a potential Metroid Prime 4 in the past and Metroid Prime: Federation Force teased the potential plot of the game even further. So, there's a good chance that we're going to see Metroid Prime 4 on Nintendo Switch this E3, which without any doubt would be the big highlight and a big reason to buy the system.

Other rumors have it that there are currently not only one, but two Metroid games in development. And that certainly would be welcome, after the franchise didn't see any major entries on both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The 30th Anniversary of Metroid is also still a thing and it would be nice, if Nintendo acknowledged this somehow at E3, after they failed to do so with the 25th Anniversary of Metroid. Also, the Metroid Prime Trilogy could see an HD Remaster to accompany Metroid Prime 4.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Breath of the Wild in the Timeline

The timeline of the Zelda franchise has been a topic of debate ever since Ocarina of Time (and maybe even earlier), but came to an end in 2011 with the release of Hyrule Historia and the official timeline that put it all into picture. And this certainly this had removed some steam from the Zelda discussion boards all over the internet.

But with Breath of the Wild Nintendo has reignited the flame of timeline theories, where for almost a year now the fans debate over where Breath of the Wild falls into the timeline, ever since the game got showcased at E3 2016. Even after the game has been released, the only thing that became clear was the fact that it takes place over ten thousand years after the rest of the series in an age of ancient technology.

It has resolved some mysteries from last year's E3 - for example it should be clear now that Hyrule Castle and Hyrule Castle Town probably aren't really the one from Twilight Princess, though they certainly share a lot of similarities in design.

But the clues still remain all over the place. The existence of the Koroks points at the Adult Timeline, while the resting place of the Master Sword is very similar to the one from the Fallen Hero Timeline. In the English translation Zelda mentions that the Master Sword has been "steeped in the glowing embers of twilight", though other translations just mention "shadows" at this part. And if you listen closely, while the Champions talk during the same ceremony scene, you can hear Zelda making references to the Wind Waker and A Link to the Past as well. It's quite different in every language, but the references are always there.

Also, the Divine Beast Vah Medoh is probably named after Medli (spelled Me-do-ri in Japanese and even called Medolie in French and German), while places on the map are named after many different persons and locations from almost all Zelda games, including handheld games like Link's Awakening, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, The Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass and even Tri Force Heroes.

If you take amiibo goodies into consideration, things get even crazier, because not only can you summon Wolf Link from a different era, you can obtain equipment of many different heroes from the past over all the timelines. But of course some gimmick like this probably shouldn't be considered as true canon material.

However, the problem remains the same. You can't really pin down the timeline placement of Breath of the Wild in any of the three established branches. And the discussions are going on, which is probably even intended by Nintendo.

But the real question is... Does it even matter?

From the perspective of the game, everything that happened in past Zelda games has happened such a long time ago that it doesn't feel like the timeline split should matter even more. Breath of the Wild has literally put thousands of years between itself and the rest of the series. Do we really need to keep up three different timeline branches for this? From this new perspective it's like all the past Zelda games became mere legends, where all of it may have happened, completely independent from the timeline split.

Last year after the E3 I came up with timeline merge theory, where the new game(s) take place in a unified timeline and where everything from the past Zelda games is coming together. This was supposed to explain all what we've seen at the E3 and I even came up with various story concepts for how such a thing could happen.

And while Nintendo didn't go this route with its story, it seems like they still took a similar approach. They created a Zelda game, where the rest of the series takes places at such a distant past that the timeline split doesn't really matter anymore. Breath of the Wild essentially takes place in a new timeline, a reboot so to say, where the entire past of the Zelda series has become the "lore" of this new universe.

It still would be nice to learn more about what happened 10,000 years ago and even before that. How did Calamity Ganon came to be? What happened, before the Sheikah technology was created? Maybe the DLC or a future Zelda title will explore this and maybe at some point Nintendo will really introduce a timeline merge to the story. But until then the most convenient and simplest explanation is that all the previous stories are just lore and legends to this new world.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 34

Horsing Around, Part 3

Because I didn't have any luck finding any better horses, I checked out HylianAngel's excellent Horse Guide to learn what's actually possible. I have been looking in the right places (at Upland Lindor and Taobab Grassland), but I didn't know that it's just not possible to find a horse with all fifteen stars.

To sort things out I've been ignoring all horses that don't have the five Stamina, but then you won't get the five Speed as well. In fact the best possible outcomes in that case are either five Strength and three Speed, which is what I currently have for Hilda, or four Strength and four Speed, which is like Epona with better Stamina.

A horse with five Speed can have only two stars of Strength at best, as well as three Stamina. Anything with only three points of Stamina would have been ignored by me previously, but since I now knew what I was looking for, I found a brown horse like this at Taobab Grassland:

I gave her the highly original name of "Speeda" and she will have to do for now. I do want to have at least one horse with maximum Speed, while Hilda with her stats then covers the other maximums. I might also try to find a blue horse or a pink horse with the same stats as Speeda to name her either "Midna" or "Styla" to keep the princess naming convention. But on the other hand I like the look of a normal brown horse combined with the Knight's Bridle and Knight's Saddle. And overall I would prefer it, if you could collect more than just five horses. With the three special horses in the game, it doesn't leave much room for the "random" horses.

Otherwise I'm probably done with this feature of the game. I'm not using horses that often anyway and since there's so little room to embrace any kind of variety, it's just not that interesting.

Completing Hyrule Compendium, Part 2

This is done as well. I had exactly eight Fauna / Creatures pictures left and as I thought those were mostly just different types of sparrows that are found in the different regions. I only got the Golden Sparrow in the Eldin region previously and these were the ones that I was missing:

  • Common Sparrow
  • Red Sparrow
  • Blue Sparrow
  • Rainbow Sparrow
  • Sand Sparrow

They are scared off easily, which is why I never paid much attention to them, let alone take pictures. You need either the Sheikah Stealth gear or some Stealth effect food / potions to get close for good shots.

Otherwise I was missing Bladed Rhino Beetles and Seagulls, which both weren't hard to figure out. But with the Bladed Rhino Beetles I was convinced that I had found some west of Satori Mountain earlier in the game, which doesn't seem to be the case. You can find them in the Necluda region, though.

The very last entry with the number 066 completely eluded me, however. I had no idea, what it could have been, but luckily it's not like you have to consult the internet or guides to figure this out, since you can just buy any missing pictures. So, I bought the last one from Symin at the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab. Turns out it was a Fairy... Those don't appear anymore, if you have five or more in your inventory, and since I haven't been using them anymore, they essentially vanished off my radar.

You also receive the Classified Envelope containing Sheikah porn for your efforts... It's another useless trophy item in the Key Item inventory, but I guess it's nice to have something that tells you on first glance that you have completed everything.

(However, with the DLC the Compendium should also get new entries, for example for any golden tier enemies or even new bosses. Unless it's really so that you can only find gold tier enemies in Hard Mode and Hard Mode will simply leave out the red tiers, while the new dungeon won't have any new bosses. It will be interesting to see, how Nintendo handles this.)

Other than 202 Koroks, all that's left for now are two remaining Side Quests (still no clue) and grinding about five dozens of Star Fragments for the amiibo gear.

Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 74/76
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Shrines: 120/120
  • Koroks: 698/900
  • Medals of Honor: 3/3
  • Compendium: 385/385
  • Map Rate: 83.29%

Breath of the Wild: Anime Movie?

This is something that came up about one year ago (see this post about a potential Zelda movie), but now that we were able to experience Breath of the Wild it became clearer for how this could work.

It all goes hand in hand with the new way of story telling in Breath of the Wild, where the majority of animated cutscenes take place one hundred years before the events of the game in the form of lost memories that you can find all over the world. You never get the full picture, though.

A Breath of the Wild anime movie could tell the story of what happened 100 years ago in greater detail, maybe even set the main focus on them, while the events in the future are treated as "flash forwards". The movie could even begin with Link fighting Calamity Ganon in the ruined castle as the build-up and from there on explore, how it all came to this dire situation.

A movie for a Zelda game wouldn't work, if it just followed the main game's event. This is what you can already experience in the game as the player and there's usually a too predictable pattern, as you do all the dungeons. It would be boring to watch Link free one Divine Beast after the other. But it would be interesting to learn more about the characters, which used to be your allies in the past, the Champions of Hyrule. And this is why a Breath of the Wild anime movie would probably set the events in the past as its main plot, while the events of the game will be mere flash forwards that deliver the pinnacle and the story's outcome.

And this way a movie would still be quite interesting for players of the game, while it the same time it's enjoyable for people, who haven't played the game yet, and might even motivate those to try it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 33

This is what I call action!

Hello, my name is TourianTourist and I'm addicted. To fighting Lynels. The combat in this game is just so good, it never seems to get old. And they really turned the Lynels into the mightiest enemies in the Zelda series. It's so much fun to fight them, I'm actually looking forward to the DLC and any potential Golden Lynels.

In some places you can even have some really amazing fight scenes, when one of the three dragons appears in the background or even right above you. This might happen in the East Deplian Badlands with Dinraal (see the picture above), at the East Gate of Lanayru Road with Naydra and on top of the Gerudo Highlands with Farosh. There's another place, where you can have Farosh in the background while fighting a Lynel - and that place turned out to be crucial for my current journey.

Anyway, I didn't have much luck with getting Star Fragments from Lynels these days. I actually had more luck with them dropping from the sky. But with one Lynel I was lucky and got two at once. This has happened before and helped me quite a lot with my upgrading progress. Right now I have the Tunic of the Hero set fully upgraded, so it's three more sets to go. And I will keep going. Luckily I have so much fun fighting the Lynels that I don't mind. I even stepped my game up and I now hunt for the majority of Lynels after a Blood Moon...

I even marked them all with swords on my map to know where they all are. I did the same with all the Talus (using the ore symbol) and all the Hinox (using the skull symbol), so my map is now filled with all the strong monsters on overworld, where I barely have any stamps left. (I did not mark the ones in Hyrule Castle or otherwise I would have used all 100 stamps up.)

Medals of Honor

Talking about monsters... My big achievement today was finally collecting all three Medals of Honor. I did get the one for slaying all Talus about a week ago and the two last Talus were the following:

Crenel Hills Stone Talus
South Koukot Plateau Stone Talus

I also found one of my last shrines at Crenel Hills, I just didn't explore the whole hill at the time. So, I found this one quite "quickly", after I had realized that I haven't been to the north side of the hill yet. The other one was at Gerudo Canyon, not far from where I also found one of my last shrines. But I'm pretty sure that I've met this Talus earlier in the game, while exploring the area, I just ignored it, because I didn't know that defeating them all would get you something.

Anyway, afterwards I was looking for the last Hinox for exactly one week (keep in mind that I'm only playing a few hours in the evening). I was convinced that it had to be a Stalnox, because a Hinox is too easy to spot as that you could possibly miss one. So, I even kept targeting Stalnox with my Sheikah Sensor+ and I wandered around pretty much everywhere during the night. With no luck. Well, that was because it wasn't a Stalnox, but just some plain red Hinox at Kamah Plateau:

This one is not even hard to find...! I more or less stumbled over it on my way to the Lynel on the hill right behind him. Well, I did notice the empty place, while studying the map, so I thought I should check it out, before going to the Lynel. I thought that the supposed Stalnox might be there and I just missed it in the jungle. So, I was quite surprised, when I found out that all along there has been a fat red Hinox up there. It's surprising, because I've already fought the Lynel close by multiple times (I usually went there via Riola Spring, though). I also got all treasure chests in the area and I've found Koroks all around Kamah Plateau. But I never saw the Hinox. Funny, how it goes...

But it doesn't matter anymore, because I finally got all three Medals of Honor:

They don't seem to be good for anything other than bragging rights. So, consider this as bragging or whatever. But I really do like, how the Key Item menu is arranged currently. All the horse armor sits perfectly aligned in the second half of the inventory screen. Too bad that it won't stay this way, though. As far as I know, there are still two more trophy items left for me to get, while you also keep the 459 useless Korok Seeds in your inventory. And there will be the Travel Medallion with the first DLC Pack. So, the Key Items menu will be two pages long and leave some horse saddle orphans on the second page... Almost as if Nintendo wants to troll everyone, who is a little obsessed with order.

I still think that it would have been a good idea to have a separate Horse Armor tab (using the horse icon from Hyrule Compendium), it would simply look better and after all those aren't "key items" anyway. Nintendo also could add five more sets of Horse Armor to fill an entire page, because right now the horse customization options feel pretty limited compared to Link's armor collection (I've also added this to my list of suggestions for improvements).

So, what's left other than over two hundred Koroks? I still haven't found the two remaining side quests despite going through all villages and stables again and again. Those might be located somewhere else then. And it really seems like I have to take pictures of various sparrow types for Hyrule Compendium. But now that I have finally found all overworld bosses, I can focus on these tasks.

Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 74/76
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Shrines: 120/120
  • Koroks: 686/900
  • Medals of Honor: 3/3
  • Compendium: 378/385
  • Map Rate: 82.21%

Monday, May 15, 2017

Zelda Smartphone Game?

According to Wallstreet Journal there is a The Legend of Zelda title in development for smartphones. This doesn't surprise me all that much, in fact I'm currently preparing my E3 2017 speculations and this has been on my bullet list. Well, a new top down Zelda game to be accurate, either for smart devices or Nintendo 3DS.

I'm also expecting a "Nintendo Phone" to be announced at E3, where Nintendo might develop something in cooperation with Apple. I'm personally not a Smartphone gamer and I'm not even using one at the moment, but a Smartphone specifically designed for the Nintendo fan would certainly catch my interest.

Anyway, after Breath of the Wild there will be a clear split in the series. Modern Open World Breath of the Wild style 3D Zelda games and classic top down Zelda games, primarily developed for handheld devices. I would have preferred another follow-up to A Link Between Worlds, because the game was just beautiful and after all Nintendo is still strongly supporting the Nintendo 3DS, where soon they will release the New Nintendo 2DS XL. Tri Force Heroes was released end of 2015, which means that this year there could come another title from the handheld Zelda team following the typical two year development cycle. But instead of making a third game for the Nintendo 3DS, they probably focused on a smartphone game.

Of course a Zelda game developed for touch devices would follow the control style of Phantom Hourglass:

So, you touch to move in the direction of your finger and you touch the item icon to use items. A "Nintendo Phone" might offer some additional input like a D-Pad, but the game has to be playable with touch only to support all the phones out there. But it's possible, Phantom Hourglass has done this before and it worked quite well for the most part.

I wouldn't even be opposed to the idea. I started with Link's Awakening on the GameBoy, so handheld top down Zelda will always have a special place in my heart and I would love to see it going in the future, even if it means going mobile like that. And while I spent about 60 minutes in a tram each work day, I'm not playing my Nintendo 3DS there, because it's too valuable. I can see myself playing a new Zelda game on a smartphone, though.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Small Ways to Improve Breath of the Wild

There's no arguing that Breath of the Wild is the next big step for the Zelda franchise and a gigantic masterpiece in the history of gaming. Yet, the game is not perfect, especially if you spend a lot of time with it, some bigger and some smaller flaws are shining through. But it's not too late, because with Nintendo's DLC and update plans for the game some things can still be improved. So, let's compile an update wish list for the game.

Keep in mind that the goal of this post is to provide ideas of what can be improved within the scope of updates and DLCs. Things that still could be added or fixed for real. So, if you don't like the new weapon system (I personally do) or the game's ending (I personally don't), you can only hope that Nintendo will do it better in the next game. What's important now is anything that still can be changed for the better.

Nintendo already crossed off two major points of this list with their 1.2.0 multi language update, where you now can play in Japanese with English subtitles (or any language combination), and the upcoming Korok Mask, where we'll finally get a solid way of tracking down all those little guys.

But let's give them some more ideas:

Multiple Save Games

Zelda games and Nintendo games in general usually offer two or three save games, so you can easily start over without losing your previous progress. Breath of the Wild, much like Tri Force Heroes, broke this tradition, but unlike Tri Force Heroes you can't just replay any part of the game at any time. And since the game invites to experiment, especially with the way of how they set up the final dungeon and boss, you still might want to replay it.

The only way to do this right now would be creating additional user accounts on your Wii U or Nintendo Switch. And that's more of a workaround than a real solution. Maybe Nintendo thought that people only use additional save slots for friends and family, but the replay value of a game is very important and nothing should stand in your way there.

Especially when the first DLC comes out, this will be crucial. People might want to replay the game in Hard Mode, while at the same time they'd want to try the Trial of the Sword or look for the new armor pieces in their current savegame and that without juggling between different user accounts.

Currently a savegame takes 64MB of space on your hard drive, which is a quite a lot for save data, but that shouldn't stop Nintendo from doubling it considering that the game is 11GB large and has over 2GB of updates already.

Improved Options

While the option menu of Breath of the Wild is certainly the most comprehensive in the series, it still does lack a certain level of finesse with some of its options:

  • Separate camera controls for aiming
  • Fully customizable HUD
  • Fully customizable controls

The first issue would be the camera controls, where you can invert them both horizontally and vertically, if you want to. While this is an important option, it does apply globally to all camera controls, even if you're using first person or third person aiming. But here you might want different behavior, because after all that's how the Zelda games on the GameCube did it, where the horizontal camera controls were inverted, but not for first person. Twilight Princess HD already had the exact same problem, where it's not possible to have the same camera controls as in Twilight Princess on the GameCube anymore.

Otherwise the HUD options could have used some more gradation. Right now you can either clutter your entire HUD with all the information or only display your hearts and stamina. Something in between would have been welcome, where for example you can still see your currently selected Rune under the heart meter, but not the full D-Pad shortcuts. Ideally you could just turn on and off every part of the HUD to your pleasing.

Also, most modern games let you fully change around its button layout, while in Breath of the Wild you can only switch X and B buttons for some reason... Ideally you could assign every button to whatever you want. Want to swing your sword with B like in the good old times? Then this shouldn't be a problem!

Stash Chest

As soon as you have fully upgraded your house in Hateno, it should contain a stash chest under the staircase, where you can store additional weapons, bows, shields, armor and even food. It would work similar to the Item Check in Skyward Sword and offer an entire second inventory space: one page for weapons, one page for bows, one page for shields, five pages for armor and three pages for food. The last two might not seem necessary, but the additional armor stash should be nice for those, who like to have dyed duplicates. And overall it should be up to the player, whether he wants to use the stash chest or not.

It would solve what's more or less a midgame problem. Early in the game your weapons break too quickly anyway and at the end the player will invest his weapons in fighting Lynels and Guardians. However, especially when you keep exploring new areas and solve Shrines, you will find lots and lots of good weapons, where you'd want to save some for later. As the game is now, you might end up throwing away good weapons to make space for even better weapons or for basic tools like Torches or Korok Leaves.

Elemental Shields

Breath of the Wild offers an impressive variety of different melee weapons for different situations. And also the bows offer some good variety with different shooting styles and arrow types. Shields on the other hand don't. Other than the Ancient / Guardian Shields they only seem to differ in material and durability, but not in functionality. It's not even that different from what Skyward Sword already had offered with its shields.

The most obvious solution to this problem would be adding shields based on the game's three main combat elements: fire, ice and electricity. These flavors are already used by the different weapon and arrow types and it only makes sense to have the same thing with shields. The Flame, Frost and Shock Shields would respectively burn, freeze or zap your enemies, when they hit your shield. Of course the same happens to you, when you're on the other end, so you have to be more careful around enemies, who are using these new shield types. But this makes perfectly sense and it integrates so well into the current system that you have to wonder, why these shields don't already exist in the game...

(Also, another idea would be a Gust Shield, which would be another technological shield equipped with a propeller that creates an air stream in front of you. You would even be able to propel a raft by simply holding it, though you wouldn't be going as fast as with a Korok Leaf. And using it for shield surfing would be like using a "Hover Board", where you can utilize it in any terrain without losing durability. To compensate this shield would break quickly, if it gets hit, so you have to be careful not to actually use it in combat.)

Additional Rune Upgrades

Only half of the Sheikah Slate Runes can be upgraded in some way... And this feels somewhat unfinished, since there would have been interesting options for the other runes as well.

Magnesis+ should first and foremost offer a bigger distance for its initial beam. Especially with sunken treasure chests the short distance can be sometimes annoying. But of course this wouldn't be all - an upgraded Magnesis could offer one or two additional abilities (inspired by Trine 2). It could be used on Bokoblins, Lizalfos and Moblins, who are using metallic gear, to move a single enemy around as you please. Also, an object in your pull could be magnetically charged to attract other magnetic objects by holding down the "A" button, so that you can move around multiple objects at once.

Cryonis+ would let you create five or even six ice blocks at the same time. A simple, but effective upgrade.

Additionally there also could be an (expansive) upgrade for the amiibo Rune, where you can use all loot amiibo twice a day, instead of just once.

Regional Map Information

When you start the game, your map is divided in various areas, where each Sheikah Tower unlocks the map information for one of them. As soon as you're done with that, all borders will be gone and there's no way of telling, where the different areas were (other than studying certain landmarks).

There simply should be an option to display these boundaries again, maybe together with the names of the region. Next to these names there could be symbols used for your completion status:

  • Shrine Symbol for having discovered all Shrines in the area
  • Korok Seed Symbol for collecting all Korok Seeds in the area
  • Treasure Chest Symbol for opening all Treasure Chests in the area
  • Star Symbol for defeating all overworld bosses (Talus, Hinox, Molduga) in the area

This certainly would be helpful with tracking down any stuff that you're still missing at the end of the game. Can't find that last Talus? Well, just keep looking in the area that doesn't have a star symbol!

Of course if they do that for treasure chests as well, it would be nice, if they'd...

Fix the Unobtainable Chests

There are a couple of treasure chests in the game, where your Sheikah Sensor+ picks them up, but you can't get them for different reasons. Some might be glitched and out of bounds, others simply might not be there at all. Those are the ones that are known:

  • Great Plateau, Woodcutter's Hut (if you got the Warm Doublet from the Old Man directly)
  • Hateno Village, near the Dye Shop
  • Lake Floria, Rassia Lake
  • East of Aris Beach, stuck underwater
  • Chest Game in Lurelin Village

Please fix this, Nintendo, so that our Sheikah Sensors can finally rest!

A Way to Climb in the Rain

This probably doesn't need any explanation to anyone, who has played the game for a bit. Being able to climb everywhere in the game world is revolutionary and part of what makes this game so fun. But this fun goes away quickly, as soon as a single drop of water fell from the sky. In that moment you will struggle with climbing a tree, let alone a mountain. There are techniques to still get where you want, for example each climbing jump "only" makes you slip down by about 70%. However, it's still frustrating.

Ideally the Climbing Gear with its "no-slip gloves" and "no-slip toes" provided by ancient technology would already do the trick. It doesn't, but to keep things balanced they could introduce a new item called "Spiked Boots" (or similar), where you won't have the "Climbing Jump Stamina Up" Set Bonus anymore, but at least you won't slide down at all while wearing these. Another disadvantage of the Spiked Boots could be that they make you walk slower in general, so it's really just a tool for climbing.

Shortcuts for Armor

The armor system in Breath of the Wild is pretty sophisticated. It essentially combines the various outfits from Tri Force Heroes with the changeable boots and the different masks from the Nintendo 64 Zelda games. And with so many activities in the game you change your armor quite often. Climbing a mountain? Don that Climbing Gear! Swimming through a river? Don that Zora Armor! Fighting a Guardian? Don that Ancient Cuirass! Facing some Electric Keese? Don that Thunder Helmet!

However, changing armor is now even more inconvenient than it used to be in Ocarina of Time. You have to open the inventory and scroll to the armor section, which is right in the middle, where it's easy to scroll too far by holding the R-Stick, and then select the pieces that you need, which might even be scattered over different pages. And if you need to change it again, every item that you picked up in the meantime will alter your position in the inventory, if you open it again. So, you have to scroll back to the armor... again and again. And this wastes a lot of time.

Ideally there would be some shortcuts, e.g. pressing up and down on the R-Stick could bring you to the first and last selected pieces in your inventory. Simple as that. Or they could also make it so that Materials, Food, Key Items and Horse Gear get a second row. This way the Armor would be always in the top right and easier navigable.

Other than that it should be possible to equip a set with one button press (e.g. by pressing X), instead of having to equip each piece individually. Often you want the full set anyway and such a shortcut would save even more time.

Armor Set Bonus with Alternate Head Pieces

In the topic of Set Bonuses, there is the issue with jewelry, where the Set Bonus won't apply for no good reason. Getting and enhancing the jewelry is much more expansive than the normal armor, for example they all require Star Fragments on each upgrade step. But at the same time they aren't as good as the silly helmets that come along with the armor sets. And some of them really look silly.

The most prominent example is probably the Ancient Armor, where the greaves and the cuirass look really cool, but the helmet makes you look like the biggest dork in Hyrule. Wearing the super expansive Diamond Circlet fixes the look, but you will also lose the valuable "Ancient Proficiency" Set Bonus, where all Ancient / Guardian Weapons do more damage. And this shouldn't be the case.

Nintendo should make it so in an update that the Set Bonus still applies to jewelry like this:

It would be the same for the Ruby Circlet and the Snowquill set, the Sapphire Circlet and the Desert Voe set, the Topaz Earrings and the Rubber set, as well as the Opal Earrings and the Zora set. And while it's technically not jewelry, the Sheik's Mask is the most expansive piece of armor in the game when it comes to enhancing and shouldn't lose the Stealth "Night Speed Up" Set Bonus.

Enhance the Dark Armor

For some reason you just can't upgrade the Dark Link set. Usually there's a balancing reason as to why you can't enhance certain pieces of equipment, especially with the various monster masks or the Thunder Helmet. But in this case it's just one tunic of many and there's no good reason, why you shouldn't be able to upgrade it to a full 60 like the others:

Purchasable DLC Armor

Currently there is one piece of DLC armor in the game and that is the Nintendo Switch Shirt. What's weird about it is that you can sell it, but not get it back...

Why is that? Every other piece of armor in the game can either be re-purchased or it can't be sold. Why not just add the Nintendo Switch Shirt to Granté's collection?

Since the shirt gets added to the very end of the armor inventory, it may happen that players accidentally sell it along with any duplicate pieces that they might get from amiibo or certain places in the game. And if you notice this too late, you won't be able to get it back. This issue will be especially troublesome with all the new armor that comes with the DLC, if it behaves the same way.

No full Recovery on Hearty and Endura Ingredients

This isn't really an improvement, but a nerf for certain cooking ingredients. Right now the cooking in the game is completely broken, because you don't have to care about getting good health restoring recipes at all. There's no point, because all you need to do is cook one Hearty Radish over and over again, since this gives you a full recovery and some extra hearts. This also works with Hearty Durians, Hearty Truffles, Hearty Salmon or anything "hearty" really. It's the same with stamina and enduring / tireless ingredients.

Nerf this!

Fixing this would be simple: hearty ingredients only give you the extra hearts, but not the full recovery. That should be the job of other ingredients. As a balance you should now be able to get beyond the 30 hearts maximum using hearty ingredients by adding a temporary third row of hearts.

Riding Buffalos, Rhinos and Moose

Next to horses there are other types of animals that you can ride like deer and bears. But not all of them can be used as mounts, even if they look like they were made for job. It would be nice, if you could also ride around on Buffalos, Rhinos or Moose just for the fun of it.

Show Stats of Horses before Replacements

When you already have five horses at the stables, you need to let one go, before you can register a new one. However, they won't tell you the exact stats of the horse, until you register it. This way you can never be sure, if your new horse actually comes with an improvement. The game should simply show the stats of the new horse within the menu, where you select, which horse should leave your collection. It would also be nice to have more space general, e.g. up to eight or ten horses.

More Horse Gear

While Link does have lots of options to alter his appearance in the game, the gear for horses seems rather limited with only five sets of bridles and saddles. Imagine having some Ancient Horse Armor provided by the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab or something that makes a horse look like a dragon. If all the different outfits for Link or the different sets of boats and trains in past Zelda games have showed us anything, then it's that Nintendo can be really creative, when it comes to such customization options.

Let's have at least five more sets. This way there would be 20 pieces, where it also would be a good idea to have a separate tab for Horse Armor in the inventory, which would give the Key Item tab more room to breath.

Give Endgame Access to All Equipment

Weapons are broken and lost all the time in Breath of the Wild. But you can get almost every piece of equipment again in the game, if you know, where to look. Almost. It seems that there are certain pieces of equipment, where it's not possible to get them back later in the game, mostly stuff from Red and Blue Lynels:

  • Forest Dweller's Sword (only available at the Test of Wood)
  • Kite Shield
  • Lynel Spear
  • Lynel Crusher
  • Mighty Lynel Sword
  • Mighty Lynel Spear
  • Mighty Lynel Crusher
  • Mighty Lynel Shield
  • Mighty Lynel Bow

This is especially a problem, when you want to take good pictures for your Hyrule Compendium. And overall absolutely all resources in the game should be re-obtainable. To fix this, they could just keep some additional Red and Blue Lynels around, while the Blue Lynel in Hyrule Castle could simply drop his belongings, which he currently doesn't do for some reason.

Replayable Eventide Event

Probably one of the most interesting Shrine Quests in the game would be Eventide Island, where you're stranded without any of your equipment for a nice challenge. The upcoming "Trial of the Sword" will even make use of the same mechanic.

It would be cool, if you actually could replay Eventide Island as a minigame, where maybe even your best time gets recorded. Going back to the Shrine or leaving the island will stop the minigame.

A Proper Reward for Collecting all 900 Korok Seeds

Collecting all Korok Seeds is probably the mother of all collectible tasks in a video game. But it stops being rewarded halfway and if you really do it all, you basically get the middle finger from Nintendo. It's understandable that they didn't want to lock any useful item behind this task, because at this point in the game it would come way too late. But at least with the 100 Gold Skulltulas and 60 Poe Souls in past Zelda games you got infinite Rupees. A solution would have been, if you could trade the Korok Seeds for Star Fragments and maybe get infinite Star Fragments from Hestu (on a daily basis), if you trade them all. This would even solve another problem, where you have to grind too many of these in order to upgrade all the amiibo gear.

Any ideas as to what should be fixed or added to the game? List them in the comments!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 32

In my last entry I told you, how lucky I was with getting Star Fragments from fighting Silver Lynels - it even felt like a 50% chance at the time. But it looks like I'm down on my luck, I haven't gotten any Star Fragments from Silver Lynels in a while now, even after fighting over a dozen of them. According to this research the chance of getting a Star Fragment is at 5% - so much for my estimate. It's even lower with amiibo, where it's at 1% or 2%. Talk about grinding!

At least my collection of Savage Lynel Bows is getting more impressive every day. Meanwhile I had a total of eight of them with the Five-Shot Burst weapon bonus:

Combined with over 800 Shock Arrows and over 100 Ancient Arrows I could probably destroy an entire army of Guardians. Bring it on, game!

Since I got asked this, after a Blood Moon I usually fight the same four Silver Lynels: the two at Oseira Plains (near the Ishto Soh Shrine) and the two in North Akkala, north of the Spring of Power. I've also went through the Deplian Badlans yesterday and fought all four Silver Lynels there, but this area doesn't have an easy access via warp points and there is a long walk between each Lynel. This reminds me, when I made my first tour around Death Mountain, desperately looking for a shrine. Well, there wasn't one here. I still hope that the second DLC will provide some additional shrines in certain places, because some areas really could use the warp points.

I don't like fighting the Lynels in cold areas, because I'm restricted to that ugly Rito Armor, but sometimes I just go for the three in Tabantha Tundra anyway. The ones on top of Gerudo Highlands seem rather impractical, so does the one at Tarm Point. And I usually forget about the one at the Purifier Lake and any others that I haven't mentioned here. But if I ever want to speed things up with the Star Fragments, I'd probably go for them all. Right now I'm still focused on other tasks than just the grinding.

Dog Chests

While the Silver Lynels weren't as generous this week, I did have some luck finding Star Fragments by feeding dogs, though. I didn't know this before today, because I never really bothered with befriending dogs besides feeding them maybe once or twice. Turns out that the third time is the charm. Then they bring you to one NEW treasure chest each, which weren't there before. While I don't like, how this "breaks the rules", because chests normally don't just appear out of nowhere in this game, the dog chests at Lurelin Village and the Snowfield Stable did give me a Star Fragment each, which is nice.

Hero's Path to Nowhere

My main goal this week was still finding the two remaining Hinox, Talus and Side Quests, but I didn't have much success on that front. I only found one more Stalnox at the East Akkala Plains. I keep studying the map for "empty spaces", ideally ones that are named, but mostly I just end up in areas that really seem to be completely empty. Taafei Hill for example. Or the Zodobon Highlands. Okay, the latter has one of the Zora Stone Monuments, but otherwise there doesn't seem to be anything up there on the hill, not even a Korok. And that's kind of frustrating, but at least the East Akkala Plains didn't let me down.

Right now I could really use the Hero's Path Mode to see, which areas I haven't explored in full detail in the last hundred hours. When the first DLC gets released, it's probably too late...

Completing Hyrule Compendium, Part 1

Since my search for the remaining side quest stuff didn't go so well, I focused a lot more on completing Hyrule Compendium and gradually improving the picture quality:

My goal is to only buy the pictures at the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab, if it's really necessary. I already had finished the "Treasure" section (no big deal, it only has four entries) and the "Monster" section, where I had to buy the picture for Master Kohga a while ago. This weekend I completed the "Materials" section, as well as the "Equipment" section.

For the "Materials" I was only missing the Big Hearty Truffle, where you can find some around Mount Satori or the Minshi Woods. For the "Equipment" I had to track down the following weapons:

  • Traveler's Claymore - can be found on the field east of Dueling Peak's Stable
  • Spiked Moblin Club - got that from a Stal Moblin
  • Serpentine Spear - Bokoblins use them at the horseback archery circle near Hateno
  • Forest Dweller's Sword - at the Test of Wood
  • Spring Loaded Hammer - completely forgot about it

However, there were also four Weapon pictures that I simply couldn't get anymore and I had to buy them:

  • Lynel Spear
  • Mighty Lynel Crusher
  • Mighty Lynel Spear
  • Mighty Lynel Bow

The entire Mighty Lynel weapon series is out of reach at the end of the game. It seems like you can't obtain any of it, since the only remaining Blue Lynel in one of the Hyrule Castle Gatehouses doesn't drop its equipment. There's still the Red Lynel on top of Ploymus Mountain, but it only ever uses Sword, Shield and Bow, so you can't get the Lynel Spear or the Lynel Crusher. I only have a really bad picture of the latter (see the above image) and won't be able to improve this for now, which is a shame.

Maybe the DLC will help and you can find all types of Lynels with all the weapons in the Trial of the Sword. However, like with Eventide Island you will probably lose all the equipment, as soon as you leave the trial. Since this Trial of the Sword doesn't take place in the "real world", you wouldn't be able to bring the weapons outside for some nice photos. And it's not even clear, if you actually can use the Sheikah Slate inside the trial.

Apropos Eventide Island, I went back there looking for some of the weapons and for some reasons all the treasure chests on and around the islands were back, containing early game weaponry like Soldier's Swords. I'm not sure, if this is a bug or if this is intended, but it keeps happening. It would be cool, if you actually could repeat the trial just for fun. Then I even would understand, why the treasure chests keep coming back.

Anyhow, now I'm only missing eight "Fauna" pictures in the "Creatures" section of Hyrule Compendium. At least half of them seem to be tiny birds like Sparrows, so I will keep donning my Sheikah gear for the sneaky snaps...

PS: I found my 666th Korok at Eastern Abbey. This can't be coincidence, I still don't like this devilish place from the early game, even though it's a complete joke now.

Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 74/76
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Shrines: 120/120
  • Koroks: 668/900
  • Talus: 38/40
  • Hinox: 39/40
  • Molduga: 4/4
  • Compendium: 377/385
  • Map Rate: 80.72%

Breath of the Wild: Voice Pack Update

At the beginning of this week, when Nintendo detailed the first DLC Pack for Breath of the Wild, they also released the 1.2.0 update for the game, which gives you the option to change the audio of the game to any language. For the Wii U version Nintendo even offers a free voice pack, where you can download all the different languages with around 835MB.

So far I've only played the game in English and I've made good use of the new update to also experience the game in German and Japanese. You could already play the game in other languages by changing your system's language, but this way it's more convenient, because altering the system language takes quite some time due to the Wii U GamePad. Also, not all languages would be available and before it wasn't possible to play Japanese with English subtitles. So, this new option is certainly nice to have and it's good that Nintendo finally reacts to feedback in the form of updates.

I mostly just watched all 18 memories with the different voices again, first in German, then in Japanese. And of the three languages I overall like English the best. It's really just Zelda's annoying voice, where they lost me...

She's somewhat more likeable with the German or Japanese audio, but at the same time her English voice (Patricia Summersett) certainly is more memorable and sticks with you.

With the Champions I preferred English in any case, where part of it are also their sounds for the Champion abilities. Especially Daruk's shout and his "Daruk's Protection is ready to roll!" speech are so much more better.

But it's nice to be able to experience it all in different languages, where out of curiosity I might try others in the future, e.g. Russian. (Update: the Russian voices sound actually quite good!)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Champion amiibo?

Breath of the Wild is with all certainty the biggest game that Nintendo has ever produced and naturally the company will see to its profitability in many ways. Other than being a very successful launch title to the Nintendo Switch and selling somewhat lackluster DLC (at least so far), there are also amiibo being sold out on their release day. And you can be sure that there will be more of the latter.

At the last Nintendo Direct there were even three new Link amiibo announced for June 23rd: Majora's Mask, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, which all are already supported by the game with costumes and other goodies (the Twilight Princess Link amiibo is identical to the one from Smash Bros. in function, though).

And this probably won't be all of it. The current five amiibo for Breath of the Wild are all based on a series of nine character artworks for the game:

  • Link (Archer)
  • Link (Rider)
  • Zelda
  • Bokoblin
  • Guardian

  • Mipha
  • Daruk
  • Revali
  • Urbosa

The first half was already released as amiibo and it shouldn't be a big surprise, if the four Champions will also make it into figurine form later this year, probably around the time, when the first or second DLC gets released. If you look at the corresponding artworks, you can see, how those were made with figurines in mind:

It's almost too obvious. And it makes sense to wait with these figurines until later, because before the game was released, the characters didn't mean much to the Zelda fans, because nothing was really known about them. This has changed with the game now and especially Mipha has become a quick fan favorite alongside her brother (no artwork for him, though). These characters now mean something to the audience, where Nintendo can expect the usual demands for potential amiibo.

So, what will they do in the game?

With the exception of Rider Link, where Nintendo probably wanted to ensure its sales despite the figurine's quality, all of the Breath of the Wild amiibo don't feature any exclusive items. And it will most likely be the same, if Nintendo released amiibo for the Champions.

The most obvious goodie will be the different Champion weapons, which are all prominently featured on all the artworks: the Lightscale Trident, the Boulder Breaker, the Great Eagle Bow, the Scimitar of the Seven and the Daybreaker.

Only problem with this is that it probably would have to follow the limitations in the game. You shouldn't be able to receive them, before you've finished the corresponding Divine Beasts (where the current amiibo already have similar restrictions), and you can't have more than one. Basically the same limitations as to crafting these weapons. But this could be tricky. For example you could spawn a chest with the Lightscale Trident at Zora's Domain and then have one crafted. Will the game recognize the one in the chest? Or will the one in the chest go away?

To be honest, they don't even need these limitations to begin with and Nintendo might just remove them in the same update that will support the new amiibo. Why shouldn't you have more than one duplicate? From an endgame perspective these weapons are all rather mediocre and not really worth the cost of one diamond. But getting them as "free" gifts from amiibo could be nice.

Other than the Champion weapons the Champion amiibo could offer the different tribal weapons, similar to how the Sheik amiibo gives you weapons from the Sheikah tribe. For example you could get a Falcon Bow or a Kite Shield from Revali. Or Mipha could give you a Silver Shield or the Zora Spear. There's lots of different stuff here, where some of it can't even be gotten from the current amiibo yet.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Golden Enemies?

With the upcoming DLC of Breath of the Wild Nintendo will introduce a "Hard Mode", where all enemies move up one tier by default. This raises the question, what will happen to the different silver enemies, which are currently the top tier? In their press release Nintendo talks about "higher-ranking enemies players wouldn’t find through normal play", so apparently there will be a new level for enemies. And you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that this will probably lead to the return of Golden Monsters:

Golden Monsters were first seen in Oracle of Seasons, where there was a Golden Moblin, a Golden Octorok, a Golden Darknut and a Golden Lynel found in certain spots in the overworld only during specific seasons. They had a lot more health than their normal red and blue counterparts and some of them would also attack a lot faster.

Golden Monster returned later in The Minish Cap with Golden Octoroks, Golden Tektites and Golden Ropes that get spawned after certain Kinstone fusions. They also have a lot more health than usual enemies and attack with excessive speed. (Other than that golden enemies were also a thing in Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland.)

Much like Breath of the Wild, both of these Zelda games were directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise, when certain features of these game see a return. Breath of the Wild makes much greater use of enemy tiers than any other Zelda game in the past. There are the traditional red and blue tiers, as well as the black tier, which has been quite rare in the series. The game also introduced the silver tier as enemies, which are a lot more resilient.

It seemed like a weird choice to use "silver" for the strongest enemies in the game, but it appears that Nintendo simply reserved the gold tier for the DLC. At first these silver enemies can be quite annoying, especially since during the midgame they start appearing everywhere, even when you're not prepared for their strength at all. But when you reach an endgame status, it becomes much and much easier to defeat them quickly. So easy in fact that golden enemies would be a welcome challenge later in the game.

Only Lynels might be a little more interesting, because the silver variants didn't gain any health over the White-Maned Lynels, they have the exact same stats.

And to be honest, they didn't have to, because they still are furious tanks and the toughest enemy in the entire game. Golden Lynels with even more health certainly would become a big challenge, even with endgame gear.

Of course all the golden enemies should be worth the trouble. Ideally all golden enemies would have a high chance of dropping Diamonds and Star Fragments, especially since you need so many of the latter to upgrade all armor available in the game.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Breath of the Wild: DLC Pack 1 Detailed

Today Nintendo gave a quick tour through all the new features in the first upcoming DLC Pack, called Breath of the Wild - The Master Trials. You can find all the info on Zelda.com, so let's take a look.

Trial of the Sword

These trial dungeons are by now a staple in the series, where the Trial of the Sword seems to follow the tradition of defeating enemies in a room-by-room basis, 45 rooms in total. The main difference is that the Trial of the Sword strips you of all your equipment, similar to Eventide Island. After finishing the trial, the Master Sword will stay in its glowing state permanently, offering 60 damage and high durability in all fights.

To enter the trial, you have to place the Master Sword back in its pedestal:

I really like, how they sneaked this in. It's a nice throwback to the spiritual Silent Realm Trials from Skyward Sword and a "clean" way of adding a new dungeon without altering the environment somewhere. I also really like the looks of the place, where they combined the indoor visuals of the Sheikah Shrines with outdoor assets like trees and Bokoblins camps. It has a unique feel to it, even though they are just recycling contents here.

Since this trial takes place its own little "spiritual realm", it also can break any established rules. Normally you wouldn't have Bokoblins or any other overworld enemies inside shrines (or Divine Beasts), while the Guardian Sentinels only appear inside them. But here they can just throw it all together without going against the logic of the game.

It will also be a nice challenge, when you have to start all over. I liked that about Eventide Island, because it really brought back the survival aspect of the game. Suddenly cooking the right recipes will matter again!

BUT... I was actually looking forward to some real endgame challenge. For what do I even need to upgrade all my armor and collect the best possible weapons, if there's no real use for them other than fighting Silver Lynels over and over again? This "Cave of Trials" could have provided a challenge, where spending all the time with the game to reach your best is actually worth the effort. But here it puts you in a place, where it doesn't really matter, what you do in advance, other than maybe collecting all Champion abilities and getting all Heart Containers.

Hard Mode

In Hard Mode all enemies will move up one tier, be more observant and regenerate. There will also be treasure chests and enemies in the sky on floating platforms. And that's really it...

What a disappointment! This could have been easily a feature from the beginning of the game, where I don't see the point, why this gets released much later as paid DLC. While there's a little bit more to it than the usual Hero Mode option, it's not much. I do hope that this is an actual option like with the Hero Mode in the Wind Waker HD, which you can turn on and off at any time, because it's not a real incentive to replay the game just for this. It will be a nice change, when I replay the game at some point in the future, e.g. when I play it on the Switch, but I wouldn't want to start over, if it's just some stronger enemies.

Ideally Nintendo would have been inspired a little more by the 2nd Quest from The Legend of Zelda. They could have switched the locations of shrines, e.g. moving the Runes outside of the Great Plateau. They could have altered shrine puzzles, they could have placed more Guardians on the overworld, and so on. Also, the Divine Beast dungeons are way too easy as they are now, especially with the lack of enemies. They could have solved many problems with the difficulty in this Hard Mode, but instead Nintendo just went for a cheap option again. And that's quite disappointing.

Anyway, with this system I wondered, how you will be able to take photos of the red enemies for your Hyrule Compendium, when they are all replaced by blue ones. But it seems like that's what the floating platforms are for:

On first glance I even thought this was a Red Moblin on the right platform, but it's a blue one. But I guess, it's still possible that there might be red ones up in the sky as well, it will just be really hard to take pictures.

They also announced new ranks for enemies, where we will probably get golden enemies, similar to Oracle of Seasons and The Minish Cap. I had been wondering, why the game stopped at "silver" and this was in fact a big bullet point in my speculation about the DLC. So, it's good to see that at least one thing might come true.

Again, I wonder, how you will be able to complete Hyrule Compendium on your own, if you can't find the golden enemies in Normal Mode... But it might be that the Trial of the Sword offers the full spectrum of enemies in both modes, so you can take your pictures there. Otherwise you will probably have to buy them.

Hero's Path Mode

This will show a record of your travels through Hyrule up to 200 hours of play time.

Okay, this is very nice and all, but why is this a paid DLC feature? It even works retroactively, so they have been tracking the data for this already! Which means that this part of the DLC probably was half-way in the making, when they launched the game. It looks more like a cool feature for an update, but not something that should have to be bought.

Too bad it's "only" 200 hours, because I can't keep track of my beginnings anymore. But luckily I have written this blog for that!

Travel Medallion

With this Key Item you can set a new travel gate anywhere on the map, so you can teleport to it later on.

This is another nice update feature, but not something I would classify as paid DLC. Many other games provide small features and additions like that as free updates, so why not Breath of the Wild? I also don't understand, why it had to be a Key Item:

Nintendo probably just implemented it that way, so they can throw it in some lazily placed EX chest somewhere, but overall it would have made more sense as another Sheikah Slate Rune. It's not like you will be needing it that often, so the usability here is not a big issue, but it would have looked more consistent.

It's still a nice feature and I probably would just use it to finally get my travel gate on top of Hyrule Castle. Snowboard fans might also make good use of it at Hebra Peak.

Korok Mask

This new mask will shake, whenever there is a hidden Korok nearby.

Finally! I've been waiting for something that helps me finding Koroks ingame, because I really don't want to use (internet) guides... Again, you shouldn't have to pay for this to get it, it should have been in the game from the very start or at least provided by a free update.

The simplest solution would have been giving the Koroks an entry in Hyrule Compendium, so that you can target them with the Sheikah Sensor+. But I like this solution a lot more for two reasons. For one it's a little bit more logical, because there's no good reason, why the sensor wouldn't pick up the already discovered Koroks (of course you could make the same argument for activated shrines and opened treasure chests). And this way you can actually target two things at the same time. By wearing this mask and targeting treasure chests with the Sheikah Sensor+, you can very efficiently clear an entire area without switching between targets.

More Equipment

There's Majora's Mask, Midna's Helmet, a Phantom Armor and a Tingle Outfit. Eight pieces in total. Like the Travel Medallion and the new Korok Mask they are found in new EX chests all over Hyrule.

I like this! Lots of fan service here and I like, how Nintendo makes good use of the new armor system. It basically combines having masks like in Majora's Mask (where you can now finally wear THE Majora's Mask) with having costumes like in Tri Force Heroes with having different boots and armor like in Ocarina of Time. It's all there in one clever, versatile system.

Now, there is just the question, whether this will be pure fan service costumes like with the amiibo stuff, or whether they will provide actual abilities.

I guess, the Tingle costume could improve your gliding stamina, not that this is really needed. And with Majora's Mask it would be cool, if wearing it would summon a Blood Moon on the next night. This might even be useful for the one Shrine Quest and it would be quite useful for farming Star Fragments from Lynels. Midna's Helmet could do the opposite and prevent a Blood Moon.

Anyway, the only thing I don't like here is that Nintendo just drops these new armor items somewhere on the overworld in EX chests. That seems rather lazy and I would have preferred getting a couple of new shrines, which could contain the items, as well as a shrine giving you the "Teleport Rune".