Saturday, July 29, 2017

Super Metroid Revisited

In anticipation of Samus Returns, I'm currently (re)playing several Metroid games. After Zero Mission, I continued on the Wii U Virtual Console and played through Super Metroid again.

Super Metroid was my first Metroid game, when I discovered the franchise for myself in 2008. It's even the game that made me chose the nickname "TourianTourist", some time before opening this blog. And since then it always has been one of my favorite Metroid games next to the Metroid Prime Trilogy, where I've also beaten the game a couple of times now. But after replaying the game now, it doesn't feel like it can live up to all that.

It's still a very good game, don't get me wrong, but it feels a little dated now, where most of the issues lie in its controls, especially after playing Zero Mission and seeing Samus Returns. The input seems to be quite stiff. It starts with the Wall Jumps that behave somewhat differently than in other games. You have to press into the direction and then press the jump button like a split seconds afterwards. If you press both at the same time, it doesn't work. And every time I play this game, it takes some time to get used to this again.

But it's still not as bad as the Grapple Beam. This item has some really awkward handling and probably the "stiffest" input in the game. It's just not fun to use this item. This goes so far that one time I played through Super Metroid without using the Grapple Beam at all. I did the entirety of Maridia with Wall Jumps, because it worked much better for me than the Grapple Beam. And that's saying something.

In addition, there are some things in Super Metroid that are simply inconvenient. One is the item select, where you have to go through a list of five items with some of them even being situational. Both Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission streamlined this more by using the R button to toggle between Beam and Missiles, as well as Bombs and Power Bombs in Morphball Mode. Much better! They also got rid of the Grapple Beam and the X-Ray Scope. And I'm a little worried how well switching items and beams in Samus Returns will work. From the looks of it, you have to use the touchscreen quite a lot...

Another issue is the map, where you can only view your current area. When I arrived at the end, I was missing three Missile Expansions, so I wanted to compare my map with item location maps on in the internet. But for this I still had to travel through each area individually, where again I thought that Teleport Stations will be the best addition to the franchise since the ledge grab (which is also absent from Super Metroid, since it was introduced in Fusion).

With all of this in mind, I won't be surprised if this game follows Samus Returns and receives a proper remake in the future, maybe even on the Switch. With that Nintendo would be remaking the Metroid classics in order, which makes a lot of sense. It probably wouldn't be necessary for Metroid Fusion, though, and at some point Nintendo should make a proper Metroid 5, instead of doing remakes.

Anyway, I still enjoy this game quite a lot. The music and atmosphere are absolutely great, all areas have a distinct feel to them and offer maze-like exploration. I usually enjoy the Brinstar area the most and the Wrecked Ship the least, where I kind of lost motivation around this part. Even though Super Metroid only takes around 3 to 5 ingame hours to beat, where you could do it in one evening, it took me several weekends to fully beat this game... It wasn't as exciting as it used to be.

At least the game keeps it simple, because you don't have to beat it six times under different conditions to unlock all endings. Overall the game is much easier than Zero Mission, which is especially noticeable with the bosses. I guess, in case of Ridley the Super Metroid version actually is a little more difficult, but the Kraid and Mother Brain fights are much, much easier, when compared to the GBA game. On the other hand Super Metroid doesn't hold your hand as much, where you have to find out on your own, where you can progress, while Zero Mission keeps giving you directions all the time.

Collecting all the items isn't as insane as it was in Zero Mission as well. There are no ridiculous Shine Spark stunts required and it's mostly about finding all the hidden secrets. Still, to get 100% under 3 hours certainly takes some practice and planning, because it's easy to miss a Missile Expansion here and there.

I would try this as well, but currently my time is somewhat limited. Before Samus Returns gets released, I also want to play through Metroid Fusion on the Wii U Virtual Console. And I'm also currently playing through Metroid Prime: Federation Force with some friends, where we're having a blast. But more about this later on.

The next two months certainly will be Metroid-heavy!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Metroid: Samus Returns - amiibo Functionality Revealed

The four different Metroid amiibo will have two different functions in Metroid: Samus Returns. Ingame they will offer you Reserve Tanks and other cheats:

  • Samus (Smash Bros.): Missile Reserve Tank
  • Zero Suit Samus (Smash Bros.): Energy Reserve Tank
  • Samus: Aeion Reserve Tank
  • Metroid: reveals nearest Metroid location

It's not known, if there are any limitations to this, e.g. if you can keep replenishing the Reserve Tanks or if this only works once per day like almost all amiibo in Breath of the Wild. But considering that those are supposed to be Reserve Tanks, where you most likely won't be able to scan the amiibo in the middle of a fight, you can probably just keep filling the Reserve Tanks, whenever you're out of danger.

In addition the amiibo unlock new features within the main menu, after you've completed the game once:

  • Samus amiibo (Smash Bros.): Concept Art Gallery
  • Zero Suit Samus (Smash Bros.): Sound Test
  • Samus: Metroid II Art Gallery
  • Metroid: Fusion Mode

Fusion Mode is a higher difficulty like Hard Mode or Hype Mode, but you're wearing the Fusion Suit from Metroid Fusion, which also used to be a feature in Metroid Prime, if you linked the game with Metroid Fusion (or purchased it in the Extras Gallery of the Metroid Prime Trilogy).

However, all of this leaves a sour taste. The cheats are fine and seem like typical amiibo behavior these days, but unlocking galleries and higher difficulties always used to be something that you did by beating a Metroid game, which is still a requirement here. But now you will also have to track down and scan figurines to do this, which feels like a rip-off. Both amiibo and DLC shouldn't lock existing content in a game, they should add to the experience in another way...


Twilight Princess Manga, Vol. 1 & 2

I got these last weekend and it's been a while, since I've read the other Zelda manga. It was in 2011 when I bought all ten previous books from the German publisher Tokyopop and it wasn't even on my radar that the first two Twilight Princess volumes were released in Germany already. But Tokyopop did a solid job at keeping it consistent with what I bought six years ago. Only the red unicorn icon (which stood for "fantasy") on the spine is now gone, which placed the author name and Triforce icon lower. The "Zelda" logo on the cover also doesn't have such a strong relief anymore, but otherwise it's quite uniform. I suppose that if you would buy reprints of the other Zelda manga today, they all would be completely consistent.

The content features the typical Akira Himekawa filigreed interpretation of a Zelda game, but it feels closer to the actual game than usual. The very beginning reminded me somewhat of A Link to the Past with an evil figure that resembled Agahnim and a story about the Light World and the Shadow World. Afterwards you are immediately introduced to the true Midna and you get a panel like this:

Shamed be he who thinks evil of it.

This certainly set the mood... And the manga even has a few brutal scenes, like Ilya being shot by an arrow and Link losing an arm, after it got cut off by King Bulblin. The other Zelda manga weren't this dark and bloody. But the rating of the game was even why the manga wasn't originally published in 2006, because the magazine containing the Zelda stories was aimed at grade schoolers (source). Now, ten years later Akira Himekawa returned to the task and apparently had more freedom with it.

What's also unusual is the length. All other Zelda manga by Akira Himekawa were concluded after one or two volumes. Volume 2 of Twilight Princess brings Link to the point where he finds the first Fused Shadow. Volume 1 mostly focuses on Ordon Village, while Volume 2 is about Wolf Link meeting Midna and Zelda. At this rate it might take a couple more volumes to tell the story, where apparently four volumes are planned in total. But as already said, they are staying a little closer to the source material, save for the more graphic content.

Of course they don't have Link exploring dungeons (the Forest Temple mostly revolves around the cursed Ook and the monkey tribe) and Link talks like usual, where I found his character not as likeable in the beginning, because he only seemed to care about food and Rupees, while he then blames himself for all the misfortunes around him. They even gave him some weird backstory, where he originally came from a desert town that seemingly got destroyed, because he removed some sword from a rock, which wasn't the Master Sword, but connected to the Hero's Spirit...

Surprisingly, I liked the portrayal of both Ordon and Ilya in the manga. The village really feels like a beautiful place in the nature where you would want to live, instead of being the tutorial town you want to escape from. And Ilya is much prettier and nicer than she is in the game, where she is real girlfriend material for Link. It's something that the game wanted to achieve, but couldn't pull off, at least not for me.

There was a nice detail, where they had many souls of the soldiers in the canals below Hyrule Castle (Town). The GDC 2005 Trailer of the game did feature them there in high numbers also, but they weren't as present in the actual game.

Anyway, I'm curious to see where this will be going. However, this might take a while, because Volume 3 so far is only available in Japan and Volume 4 isn't available yet at all.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Medal of Honor Glitch in Master Mode

Looks like Master Mode has caused yet another significant glitch in the game. After overwriting your pictures in Normal Mode, it seems that now you won't even be able to complete the game in Master Mode at all, because you can't get all three Medals of Honor.

Getting these won't be possible in Master Mode right now!

It appears that in Master Mode, Kilton still checks for the enemies that used to be in Normal Mode. All the upgraded Taluses and Hinoxes won't count, so you can only get up to 19 Hinoxes and 18 Taluses respectively. The others are ignored and won't have a star next to their name, after they've reappeared on a Blood Moon.

This glitch will probably be fixed with the next update, but I doubt that Nintendo will release an update just for this. They only do this for critical stuff and new amiibo, so as long as there's a second DLC incoming, they might wait with patching any smaller issues in the update for the "Champions' Ballad" DLC Pack. Or they might never get fixed at all, since the first update also didn't fix any existing glitches like the unobtainable chests...

For me it makes me even more hesitant to start Master Mode any time soon. I'm currently quite busy with (re)playing various Metroid games and in Breath of the Wild I'm still collecting the rest of the Koroks in Normal Mode, which will take its time, because I don't have much motivation for that either.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Breath of the Wild: The Traveler's Gear (Free DLC Proposal)

At Japan Expo this month, Eiji Aonuma told the fans that they want to fix some complaints about the game with the upcoming DLC for Breath of the Wild, "the Champion's Ballad". But why wait so long? Why not fix some things in some free update and DLC? Why should the fans even pay for DLC just so that issues with the game are fixed?

I put some thoughts into what could become a free DLC Pack and update, which adds a few items and fixes some problems. I call it "The Traveler's Gear" and it has a specific theme: armor. Some of these ideas coincide with points in my list of improvements.

Funnily enough, the first DLC even amplified two of the issues with the game, instead of fixing them. But all of this will be addressed in this proposal.

New Armor Item: Pegasus Boots

This is THE classic boot item in the Zelda series, which has first appeared in A Link to the Past, but also made its return in Link's Awakening, Ancient Stone Tablets, Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, the Minish Cap and A Link Between Worlds. It's a staple in the 2D Zelda games, but so far it never made its way into the world of 3D Zelda games, unless you count Linkle's weapon type in Hyrule Warriors.

Like most armor items in Breath of the Wild, this iteration will be somewhat simpler. It makes you walk faster without the need of any speed boosting food effects. If you actually dash with these boots, it will create a gust that pushes enemies aside for some minor damage. It's ideal to take care of weak foes like Keese.

New Armor Item: Spiked Boots

This item will help you fight the worst enemy in the game: rain. Whenever it's raining, you can equip these boots to keep climbing without sliding. It's a simple addition that will make this game so much more enjoyable for all the players.

As a downside, these boots will make you go slower, so they are really only meant for climbing and nothing else. You also won't have the "Climbing Jump Stamina Up" set bonus anymore, if you've been using the full Climber's Armor.

Five New Sets of Horse Gear

While you're able to customize your horses in the game, the options are fairly limited with only five sets of horse gear. This DLC should at least double the amount and here are some ideas for new horse stylings:

  • Ancient Bridle & Saddle
  • Dragon Bridle & Saddle
  • Red Lion Bridle & Saddle
  • Loftwing Bridle & Saddle
  • Lynel Bridle & Saddle

Those will be either added to existing shops in Hyrule or to minigames that don't have an exclusive reward yet. For example the Ancient Armor should be sold in the Akkala Ancient Laboratory, while Kilton could sell you the Dragon and Lynel sets. And the gliding minigame could be the spot, where you get the Loftwing armor for your horses (it wouldn't make them fly, though, it's just for the looks).

With all of that it would make sense, if all the horse gear gets its own tab within the inventory, instead of being stuffed into the "Key Items". This would use the horse icon from Hyrule Compendium.

More Armor Enhancements

Especially after the release of the Master Trials DLC, there are quite some pieces of armor in the game that cannot be enhanced. This makes most of them rather useless in the later game, where having good armor values is key to survival. So, let's just give those Great Fairies more to do, they certainly would be happy about it.

This would include the Dark Armor, the Nintendo Switch Shirt, the Tingle Armor and the Korok Mask. The enemy masks from Kilton's Shop probably also should receive upgrades, while Majora's Mask shouldn't for balancing reasons. After all this mask combines all the effects of the other enemy masks.

With the Phantom Armor this also would be questionable, because you can get this armor very early in the game, while it's as powerful as the Soldier's Armor and the Barbarian Armor combined. And the latter requires you to explore all three Labyrinths! Maybe instead of the attack boost, it has a Critical Hit set bonus. Then it would still be special, but not as overpowered in an enhanced form.

Re-Purchasable DLC Armor

A simple issue with a very simple solution. Right now, if you (accidentally) sell any of the DLC armor pieces, you can't get it back. Especially if you often use amiibo and want to sell the duplicate pieces, this is an issue, if you notice it too late.

There's even no good reason, why Nintendo handled the DLC armor this way. They probably wanted to keep them as "special" items, where it doesn't make sense to have any duplicates, since there is a small story tied to most of them. But the solution is still simple: as soon as you sell them, they should just re-appear in Granté's Collection. He will only offer the one piece that you sold and it will go away from his collection, as soon as you buy it there.

This makes sense in the game's world, because Granté is a collector of rare armor. So, whenever you sell a piece to someone, it makes sense that it would end up in Granté's hands eventually. There he will be happy to sell it to you again for a big profit. Also, it already works in a similar way with the Hylian Shield. You can get a new one from Granté, but only one at a time.

Set Bonus for Alternate Head Pieces

Certain sets of armor offer a "Set Bonus" with a special ability. However, many of these sets also offer alternative head gear in the form of jewelry or some special DLC and amiibo items, where you will lose this set bonus for no good reason. This update should fix this:

As an example, whenever you wear the Ancient Greaves and the Ancient Cuirass, you can still get the "Ancient Proficiency" set bonus from the Diamond Circlet or Midna's Helmet, so you don't have to wear the dorky Ancient Helm. Especially if you consider, how much more effort goes into upgrading the Diamond Circlet, which requires Star Fragments, this only makes sense as a reward. This should apply to every head pieces that offers a similar bonus to the rest of the set. Often these are already placed right next to each other in the inventory.

Here's a full list:

  • Ruby Circlet: Unfreezable with the Snowquill Armor
  • Sapphire Circlet: Shock Damage Resist with the Desert Voe Armor
  • Topaz Earrings: Unshockable with the Rubber Armor
  • Opal Earrings: Swim Dash Stamina Up with the Zora Armor
  • Diamond Circlet: Ancient Proficiency with the Ancient Armor
  • Midna's Helmet: Ancient Proficiency with the Ancient Armor
  • Sheik's Mask: Night Speed Up with the Stealth Armor

Quick Equip

Last, but not least, this hypothetical update would let you quickly equip one entire set of armor by pressing X in the Armor Inventory. So, for example, if you select the Climber's Gear and press the X button, it will automatically equip the Climber's Bandanna and the Climber's Boots along with it.

Ideally there also would be a shortcut of getting to your current armor in the inventory (e.g. by pressing the left stick), because the armor tab is placed right in the middle of it all and it often takes quite some time to change armor, which you will do very often in the game, since every situation profits from a different outfit.

Make it happen, Nintendo!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Breath of the Wild EX Log, Entry 3

I'm in the middle of hunting down all remaining Koroks in Normal Mode, where I very much underestimated the task of re-exploring the entire world with the Korok Mask equipped. This item should have been there from the beginning, because it's getting quite tiresome. I only found 30 more Koroks since the last post, where it can be frustrating to walk through empty wastelands for hours without finding anything.

And you have to be thorough with this, cover as much ground as possible. This is for example, how the area looks in Hero's Path Mode, after my Korok hunt in the Gerudo Desert:

By the way, there should have been a way to reset the path. When I started re-exploring everything with the Korok Mask equipped, it would have been helpful to start a new Hero's Path to see, where I've been with the mask and where not. With the 200 hours old map data in place this is hard to tell. For me right now this is entirely useless data, because I could have walked by a Korok without noticing it!

Also, I was excited to see, if there are any types of Korok puzzles left that I've completely missed without the mask. So far this doesn't seem to be the case, except for one Korok in Lurelin Village.

Otherwise it's not really the Korok Mask itself, but thoroughly exploring every area inch by inch that does the trick. The Korok Mask simply gave me the incentive to do this. Often, I already see from a distance, when there's another Korok hidden somewhere, even before the Mask is shaking. It's certainly more fun to discover Koroks on your own, but the Mask makes sure that I don't miss anything.

So far I re-explored the Great Plateau, Hyrule Castle and Hyrule Castle Town, Zora's Domain and the Zora River, the Lanayru Wetlands, the Deplian Badlands, the Faron Grasslands and the Gerudo Desert. But I still got ways to go. I bet that most of the remaining Koroks are in the Hebra Mountains, still my least favorite area in the game. But it doesn't seem like I will be starting Master Mode anytime soon.

Sunbathing Stalnox

Anyway, my main achievement for today was finally collecting and upgrading all amiibo armor in the game, after I got the new Link amiibo this week.

The Twilight Princess Link amiibo doesn't give anything new, he works exactly like the Smash Link amiibo. However, he does spawn another Epona, even though I already registered her at the stable. I might want to preserve this behavior just in case, so this amiibo remains useless for now. The Majora's Mask Link and the Skyward Sword Link amiibo gave new gear, though, where I previously gathered all necessary materials to upgrade them (mostly Star Fragments and dragon parts). So, now I finally have completed the task of upgrading all armor in the game:

The Fierce Deity set is certainly a new favorite. I liked the Barbarian set in functionality, but not the looks. So, as a day 1 fan of Fierce Deity this is a welcome alternative, where I will don the outfit to fight Lynels from now on. It's not as good as the Fierce Deity Armor in Tri Force Heroes, though. :D

Current Progress:
  • Koroks: 753/900
  • Map Rate: 87.84%

Friday, July 7, 2017

Breath of the Wild - The Champions' Ballad: First Footage

Today at Japan Expo Nintendo presented quite a lot about Breath of the Wild, including the upcoming expansion, The Champions' Ballad. Nintendo Germany posted video on Twitter with new footage of what appears to be an epilogue scenario storyline. You can see Zelda kneeling before the Gerudo throne in one scene and approaching the Flight Range in another scene with the activated (but not completed) Sha Warvo Shrine on her way, accompanied by two Hyrulean Soldiers. It's not entirely clear with these scenes, but Aonuma did confirm that the DLC takes place after Ganon (according to this tweet).

I previously speculated about such a possibility here, so it's nice to see this become a reality after all. With the previous teaser from E3 it didn't look like that's going to be the case.

I think that you will be able to play the DLC storyline, after you've collected all 18 memories and defeated Ganon. This also includes freeing all four Divine Beasts. Most of the game world will probably stay the same. So, you can still go and clear Shrines, collect Koroks and do any sidequests that you've missed previously. But there will also be new story scenarios that you can play, maybe even with Zelda at your side.

It looks like Zelda might be seeking out the Champions' descendants: Riju, Teba, Yunobo and Sidon. The reason should be obvious, she wants them to become the new Champions, maybe even for a new threat on the horizon. When I started the game, I actually expected these characters to take over the Divine Beasts in the storyline, but this never happened. They just helped you to get inside the machines and then were pushed to the sidelines, which was disappointing. Especially Teba became such a forgettable character that it's very hard for me to even remember his name. And it seems that Nintendo will fill the gaps here with the 2nd DLC, which is a good move.

I expect that we will also get new memories about the previous Champions, how they became Champions in the first place. This was also missing from the game's story so far - we only ever saw them as the Champions, but not how they were chosen for these roles. And this could create some interesting new memory scenes, fitting the DLC perfectly. The scene in the Gerudo throne room might even deal with Urbosa, it's hard to see, if it's really Riju (but the character on the throne is quite short).

I also hope that the DLC will make the Divine Beasts accessible again. This was quite untypical for a Zelda game that you can't get back into the dungeons, after you've completed them. The only other game that did that was Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, other than that there was only the Ghost Shop in Phantom Hourglass with the same behavior.

As another appetizer Nintendo already released a render of one of the new outfits in the DLC:

It's Link with the Lobster Shirt from the Wind Waker! That's a really cool idea that makes a lot of sense. The Champion's Tunic always felt like it was designed after the infamous Lobster Shirt. Maybe we can the conductor outfit as well, haha.

They also announced that Breath of the Wild will get its own artbook called "Master Works":

Maybe this book will reveal the truth behind its timeline placement? We can only hope!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Got the new Link amiibo

How many Link amiibo does one need? The answer is, all of them!

By now Nintendo has made amiibo of all the Links from all the major console Zelda games, except A Link to the Past. But I wouldn't be surprised, if this would follow, alongside with amiibo for the Minish Cap Link, Conductor Link and the Link Between Worlds...

But if Nintendo makes more Zelda amiibo, I really hope that they increase the production by a tenfold. Acquiring these Links was a disaster, especially here in Germany. Picture people camping in front of a GameStop at launch day, only to learn that the shop had just one copy of each amiibo available. Amazon was sold out within seconds. It was near impossible to find them in shops at release day!

Similar to Ocarina of Time Link from the 30th Anniversary amiibo, I had my "secretary" track them down for me. I'm lucky to have her, because otherwise I would have missed all of them.

And it doesn't seem like Nintendo has any interest in producing more. They are probably happy that they were able to sell them all so quickly and then they moved on by announcing the next wave of Zelda amiibo coming later this year with the Champions. They could make quite some money by simply reproducing what they already had offered so far, but seemingly Nintendo has more interest in these items being limited than in the happiness of their fans.

Scalpers make the whole thing even worse, but ideally no one would buy from them, so this kind of business isn't lucrative any longer. But with Nintendo not producing enough items, there will always be fans that are desperate enough to pay high prices... And so Scalpers will keep preordering in high numbers.

Amazon Germany seems to have reacted to the situation, though, because when they started taking preorders for the upcoming Metroid amiibo, you were limited to one per person. So, I was able to preorder them, along with the Legacy Edition of Samus Returns. But this should be the default behavior with all amiibo and limited Nintendo products these days.

Well, anyway, here are some pictures of the new Link amiibo:

The Skyward Sword Link has a crooked sword... Other than that the quality is alright, as usual. The best one of the batch is certainly Young Link, who also gives the best ingame reward in Breath of the Wild with the Fierce Deity items. So, this is the amiibo that you really want to have. I find the Twilight Princess amiibo a little boring, but that's probably because it's Twilight Princess. And at least his sword is straight. :D I also like, how they all wield different swords.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Normal and Master Mode Share Pictures

This is one interesting discovery by Lawaleeth010101 on Reddit. And everyone should be aware of this, if they start Master Mode!!

It seems that Nintendo implemented it so that Normal Mode and Master Mode share the same save data for pictures, probably in an effort to save some disc space required for the DLC. What does this mean? It means that any picture you take in Master Mode potentially overwrites your taken pictures in Normal Mode. For example this is a picture of the Ancient Bow in Normal Mode (as indicated by the lack of a tiny Triforce in the bottom left corner) with a Golden Lynel in the background, which should be impossible:

This happened, because the player took a new shot in Master Mode. Only purchased pictures from Symin are unaffected by this, they stay what they are in both modes. So, you can't use this to get your own pictures in Normal Mode of any entity that you've previously missed there.

How does this work?

Basically any entry in the Compendium is either a reference to the game data pictures (if you purchased it from Symin) or a reference to a picture in a folder on your Wii U / Switch / external hard drive (if you took the picture yourself). That folder of pictures gets shared between the two game modes, so whenever you take a new picture of something, it will also be displayed in the other mode, unless the entry had a reference to the purchased game data pictures.

Your Hyrule Compendium in Master Mode will still be empty in the beginning, because the entries don't have any references yet. So, you will be inclined to start over and take pictures of everything again, but this will overwrite any pictures you took in Normal Mode!! Unless Nintendo decides to fix this horrific behavior, you should be aware of this.

I personally invested quite some time in getting nice pictures on Normal Mode and I probably will just purchase all pictures in Master Mode this time, so nothing gets overwritten. If I ever play the Switch version, I will do it the other way around and take all pictures in Master Mode.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Breath of the Wild EX Log, Entry 2

The Trial of the Sword - Middle Trials

Those midpoint floors in the Trial of the Sword must be my new favorite thing in the game. These little havens of peace, where you can rest, cook and (mentally) prepare for the challenges ahead. You might even grab a fairy or two, unless they decide to fly away, even if you approach crouched and very slowly...

Overall the Middle Trials weren't that bad, probably even easier than the Beginning Trials. I thoroughly enjoyed the Guardian Scout part at the end and the air section was also pretty nice, because in aerial combat you can avoid most attacks and easily land lots of slowmo headshots on your enemies.

The dark room section on the other hand was creepy, because you can't even see the enemies right in front of you, unless they glow like the one Decayed Guardian... The room that probably gave me the most trouble was the one with the Fire-Breath Lizalfos, but I just realized that I could have used the Ice Arrows that you can obtain on Floor 3 to take them out quickly. You don't need them otherwise in this section.

And I actually died after blowing myself up with explosive barrels at the Decayed Guardian. And this was quite stupid. I was locked in a mindset, where in each room you have to be "smart" to deal with the enemies, while just rushing in with Stasis+ and hitting the thing with your strongest weapon (like you normally would on the overworld) was still the best way to deal with this situation...

But it was actually nice to repeat the first section and go in prepared. It's the thing with this kind of trial pit dungeons - I usually don't enjoy them on first try, where you head into the unknown, but they get a lot of fun once you know the rooms and all the tricks to them. It also goes down a lot faster.

Trial of the Sword - Final Trials

So, after I took a pause, I went on into the final trial. This time I abused a little trick, where you take any status effect into the trial with you. So, I prepared a triple defense boost lasting for 30 minutes (by cooking three Armored Porgies and one dragon horn) and used this right before going into the trial, which helps with the lack of any armor in the beginning.

Overall the Trial of the Sword was the first time, where I put more thoughts into cooking than the usual "cook one hearty ingredient after another" method for unlimited recovery. This cooking guide is a really helpful site for this, where you can try out any recipe in the game online, before you actually waste the ingredients ingame. For example I never would have bothered with cooking dragon parts, because those are such a rare item, but in this case it was good to find out about the added time bonus of 30 minutes. Anyway, you still find some hearty ingredients in the Final Trials in some of the resting places. And those give plenty of recovery for the trials ahead.

Well, the Final Trials consist of four zones in total, which I would call the "Thunderbone Zone", the "Scorching Zone", the "Frozen Zone" and the "Ruined Zone". It essentially follows the game's three main elements and then offers a Guardian-heavy finale.

The first zone is a little special in that it offers constant thunder strikes and lets you fight stal enemies for the most part. It ends with a Stalnox battle, who has three different elemental weapons attached to its body: a Thunderblade, a Great Frostblade and a Flamespear. The Giant Frostblade and the Flamespear are quite useful in the "Scorching Zone" and the "Frozen Zone" respectively, because they allow you to one-shot many enemies there and also help you battle the surrounding temperatures without any potion effects.

With the ice blocks in the "Frozen Zone" wood also became useful in this. I collected some in every trial, wondering if it ever would be of use (e.g. lighting a cooking pot), but this didn't happen until there. And this can be quite significant, especially with Frost Talus boss. There it's a good strategy to melt the ice blocks to open the air streams right before you wake the boss. With the air streams you can easily take out both the Igneo Talus and the Frost Talus using midair shots.

The Final Trials are the longest part with 23 floors in total (including three resting places), but it wasn't that hard overall. I did it on first try. A big role in that played the Ancient Arrows that can be gotten in this trial and used as a wildcard for any strong enemy. If used right, it makes this trial quite easy. I found a total of nine Ancient Arrows and took note, where they were located:

Ancient Arrows might be the main reason, why Nintendo used the Eventide mechanic and didn't let you bring any equipment into these trials, because otherwise you could just gather lots of Ancient Arrows and bomb every room with them.

I'm still surprised that they put some into the trial and with a total of 9 you can take care of every dangerous enemy here. There are two Lynels, two Guardians Stalkers, two Guardian Skywatchers and two Guardian Turrets towards the end. And you can one-shot all of them. I did defeat the first Skywatcher and the first turret in a "normal" manner to save some arrows for later, because I didn't know exactly what would be waiting for me (I expected fighting a Lynel and a Guardian at the same time). But it turned out that you can just kill them all with Ancient Arrows, if you want to... This takes away a big part of the challenge, but I'd rather clear the trial once and then play it for fun or for some extra challenge later on, where I don't have anything to lose.

For now I'm done with the trial and that's what counts.

After you complete the trial, you get this little cutscene with the Master Sword making Fi sounds again. They even subtly play Fi's theme in the melody during this.

Overall I found the Trial of the Sword quite enjoyable. It's certainly one of the better pit trials in the series, especially with the variety in room designs and themes. I also like, how it's split into three different trials, similar to the Treacherous Tower from A Link Between Worlds, while you can still play it all consecutively like with the Den of Trials in Tri Force Heroes. That's probably not worth the trouble, though, because each trial gives you all the items you need to survive. Only maybe saving some ancient weapons from the Middle Trials for the later Guardians might be worth it.

Things might also become very different in the Master Mode version. There it's possible that you don't get any Ancient Arrows at all or that Nintendo added more stronger enemies.

Chilling in the Deplian Badlands

Now that I've gotten all the new armor pieces and fully upgraded the Master Sword, there's only thing left to do for me in Normal Mode... Hunting down the remaining Koroks!

This certainly will relieve me of the stress from the Trial of the Sword. I really felt, how much I was on the edge after finishing the trial, when suddenly I didn't have to worry about getting hit anymore...

As my first tour, I exited the Lost Woods and wandered around the Great Hyrule Forest to the Deplian Badlands. I wanted to test the new Master Sword on some of the Lynels there and I also wanted to place my Travel Medallion in the area:

I still remember, how early in the game I wandered around there looking for a shrine without any luck. And I still hope that Nintendo will add additional EX shrines with the 2nd DLC, where this area would be well suited for an additional teleportation point.

Chest Rain

The tour around the Deplian Badlands led me to Mount Drena, where I witnessed a weird phenomenon. Probably caused by the floating platforms in Master Mode, there is a new glitched chest here in the game. It keeps dropping from the sky at the top of Mount Drena and then bouncing out of range, where the game immediately respawns the chest and the same thing happens again. So, you can watch a chest fall from the sky again and again, which is kind of funny.

Unlike the other glitched chests you can actually catch this one using Magnesis or Stasis, however...

It contains a Royal Halberd (or a random spear weapon). And apparently this also happens in Master Mode.

Current Progress:
  • EX Side Quests: 7/7
  • Koroks: 722/900
  • Map Rate: 85.27%