Monday, April 23, 2018

Awaiting a Smartphone Zelda Title

If there was one Nintendo game this year that could really excite me, it wouldn't be Metroid Prime 4. It wouldn't be the new Super Smash Bros. either. I don't have a Switch yet and I'm still holding off to buy one, until Nintendo sells the inevitable golden Zelda Special Edition, so for me there's no reason to get excited for Switch games yet.

A new Nintendo 3DS Zelda game would be nice, but the rumors from the beginning of this year about a Link's Awakening 3DS remake or requel were most likely fake or otherwise Nintendo would have announced this game at the last Nintendo Direct, which heavily focused on upcoming Nintendo 3DS games in 2018.

And even if another Nintendo 3DS Zelda game was coming, it still wouldn't be on the top of my excitement list, because it probably would just be another short game that you can beat in one weekend. What would excite me, however, is a Zelda title for Android and iOS.

But whyyyy...?!!!

There are multiple reasons here. For starters, I really like the classic topdown Zelda gameplay and I think that with the touch controls of the Nintendo DS Zelda games the smartphone is the platform, where this type of Zelda gameplay can and will stay alive. Of course there could be topdown Zelda games on the Switch, but it certainly wouldn't be the focus, since the system can run something amazing like Breath of the Wild. For smart devices on the other hand it would be the perfect choice, when it comes to Zelda.

The most important reason, however, is that I have about 60 minutes of Smartphone game time per workday, because I'm going to work via tram, which takes half an hour. So far I've spent this time with Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, which has been nice, but I need something new soon.

I've already completed all the worlds in Super Mario Run and unlocked all characters. And I've only got eleven more items for the Kingdom Builder left to collect, where four of them were restricted to some Mario Kart promotion and aren't available right now. The rest will need extensive grinding in the Toad Rally and Remix-10 modes, which isn't that much fun anyway...

Fire Emblem: Heroes on the other hand is potentially a never-ending story, where I still like the simple strategy gameplay and the character designs. But during this Eastern the Gacha Goddess hit me hard, where I went from 300 Orbs down to zero trying to get a certain character, which sort of killed my motivation for now. Usually, when it comes to getting banner characters, I have some good luck and it only takes a certain amount of tries to get what I would like to have, but in this case there were two banner characters of the same color and I kept getting the wrong one. And once you're invested in the gambling, it's hard to stop. I wouldn't put any money in this game, but others do, seeing how it's Nintendo's most successful smart device title yet. And this leaves a sour taste...

Anyway, it would be nice to have something new from Nintendo, before Mario Kart Tour in 2019, which doesn't really feel that exciting to begin with. Also, I'm not that big of a Mario fan and I don't care much for Fire Emblem either. But I'm a huge Zelda fan and if the rumors from last year can be trusted, Nintendo planned to release a Zelda game for smart devices, following Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. And this would be perfect for me.

What intrigues me here is that this probably wouldn't be some "weekend" game like A Link Between Worlds. Nintendo's smart device titles are usually "dumbed down" in some form and are supposed to be played in short bursts, but they are also made to last and see regular updates and events. With Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes it's the simplified gameplay, what's "dumbed down", while Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp aims at a smaller setting. But they all are perfect for the go and see regular content updates (less so with Super Mario Run, sadly).

With Zelda there is also no real reason to dumb down the core gameplay, because the Nintendo DS Zelda games already have proven that Zelda works with a touchscreen alone. But such a game would most likely aim at some level-based structure, similar to Tri Force Heroes or the Four Swords games, so that you can play it in short sessions.

In there is the potential of a Zelda game that regularly gets new content or even keeps creating fresh content on its own via randomly generated levels - like the first Four Swords game, just more extensive. Or you could take The Binding of Isaac as an example for a game that features generated dungeons in the classic Zelda style. And this is something that you could keep playing on a daily basis.

Ideally, such a Zelda game could keep me busy and entertained for the rest of the year and beyond, instead of being a traditional Zelda title that simply ends, after you've beaten all the dungeons and found everything. And that's what excites me, where I really hope that Nintendo will announce something soon.

Played Some Wand of Gamelon

Well, I always claim that I've played and completed all Zelda games in existence, but this is only true, if you don't count the Philips CD-i Zelda games. They don't count, though. While Philips held some character licenses that led to the games, Nintendo doesn't officially acknowledge them as part of the "The Legend of Zelda" series. Not even Hyrule Historia mentions them and for good reasons.

I do own a copy of Link: The Faces of Evil, but I never had a CD-i to play the game and I never had any real interest in it anyway. I just got it for cheap on ebay and thought it was worth a "lol".

Anyway, this weekend I visited a retro gaming "exhibition" in my town, where there was one lonely Philips CD-i waiting to be played with a copy of Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon inserted. Of course I had to try this.

And it's as bad as they say. The system didn't have a real controller, but more like a remote with a large D-Pad and buttons in the left and right upper corners. It was designed for one hand, which played badly. The left button lets you attack with the sword, which at the same time also lets you pick up Rupees and talk to people. The right button opens the menu, but it's also a hidden interaction for doors and entryways, which took me forever to realize.

The worst part is the fighting, however. If you thought that Four Swords has a short and unforgiving recovery time, you haven't played this game. Enemies running through you will kill you, because you lose half a heart per frame or so. Even on full health this game can kill you in the blink of an eye.

Sadly, I couldn't experience the best part, which is the sound and music, because the TV was muted and I couldn't turn it up again. But I liked the overworld map, which seemed quite creative and intriguing. I didn't get far, however, because I started somewhere early in the game and it was entirely unclear what I had to. And of course I couldn't play it forever.

I've seen quite a lot of the games at Zeldathon, but I forgot most of it already. It's mostly the (unintentionally) funny moments that stick with you here. It was still interesting to experience it for myself for once and maybe I'll get another shot at these games in the future. I wouldn't want to try Zelda's Adventure, however, because it's so terribly slow between screens.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Breath of the Wild: My Armor Collections

As an appendix to my Master Mode Log for Breath of the Wild, I wanted to present my entire armor collection, once it was finished. I've farmed some more Star Fragments this evening and finally enhanced all the pieces to the max, thus "completing" my armor collection. So, here are all five pages from my Master Mode file:

Since this was a playthrough of the DLC mode, it only made sense to keep all DLC pieces this time. I also want all enhanceable armor pieces in my collection, just in case that Nintendo has a change of heart and still patches the current armor limit. Then I would only need to purchase missing pieces, which can't be enhanced, to finally complete my collection(s) for real.

In this case I sold the three armor pieces from the Great Plateau: the Old Shirt, the Well-Worn Trousers and the Warm Doublet. I also didn't get the four masks from Kilton's Bone and Fang: the Bokoblin Mask, the Moblin Mask, the Lizalfos Mask and the Lynel Mask. I do like them for the unique animations and sounds, but Majora's Mask made them fully obsolete, so there was no real reason to get them this time.

In my Normal Mode file I did keep these items, as well as dyed duplicates of the Hylian Hood and Hylian Tunic, while I sold three of the DLC armor sets, when I needed to make space for the final DLC: the Tingle, Phantom and Salvage Gear sets.

So, this is how my previous collection looked like:

I prefer the Master Mode variant, because it seems a little bit more practical, how important armor sets are placed and aligned. With sets that I use often, like the Climber's Gear or the Fierce Deity set, I prefer it, when the items are all right next to each other, so equipping the full set is as quick as possible. But overall this turned out rather well in both variants.

It's just that in the Normal Mode variant doesn't have any interesting items at all on its fourth page. There are only some of the Kilton shop items on top and the rest are amiibo tunics, where the Tunic of the Wild set on page 5 makes them fully obsolete.

Overall I didn't experiment much with dyeing, as you can see. There are two sets, where I insist on the red or crimson color, which are the Gerudo Vai set and the Tunic of the Wild set, simply because I think they look better that way. The red Tunic of the Wild reminds me of the classic Red Tunic from A Link to the Past. Here and there I also did some "color corrections" on individual pieces, but nothing special.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Metroid: Samus Returns Revisited

For the last two weeks I've been traveling quite a lot and since Nintendo's Smartphone games don't work without a solid internet connection, I had to resort to my Nintendo 3DS, where I was in the mood to play Samus Returns again.

For my review last September I've played through the game in both the Normal and Fusion Mode difficulties. This time I opted for a Hard Mode playthrough, where I followed two rules:

  1. No Scan Pulses
  2. No Backtracking before the end of the game

The only exception to the second rule would be revisiting the Surface area once before facing the Metroid Queen to complete the map there with Space Jumps, which isn't possible anymore, as soon as you are in company of the Baby Metroid.

But this gave me a lot of time with the baby, where for the first time I could take some of the shortcuts that it provides for obtaining various power-ups. I also scored the second best "ending" in Hard Mode with a time of 7:40, which leaves a lot of room for improvements. But I wasn't speedrunning, I was playing more casually and I also had the goal of completing the entire map without any Scan Pulses, which wasted quite some time.

When filling out the map, the game can be a little annoying, because there are many squares, where you often have to touch some weird corners either by jumping against the right spot or by using the Spider Ball. So, sometimes for one little spot on the screen it creates an entire square on your map, which caused quite some short-notice backtracking on my end. "Oops, I missed some weird corner again."

On the long run I want to unlock all nine ending eventually, but beating the game under 4 hours will require a lot of practice and perfect knowledge of the game world.

At least I enjoy replaying the game a lot. It might even become the Metroid game with the highest replay value for me and it will certainly replace Super Metroid and Other M on that regard, the two Metroid games I've beaten the most so far. It just has the fast paced and smooth gameplay that I enjoy about Other M, but it's a lot closer to the classic Super Metroid gameplay, where the SNES game sadly feels very sluggish with its controls from today's standards.

Samus Returns is quite linear with its strict area-by-area approach, but most Metroid games follow this approach, some are just better at hiding it than others or offer some weird sequence breaks as compensation. But the areas of SR388 themselves usually feel quite open and the game doesn't have this "in your face" linearity of Metroid Fusion or Other M, where you're always told where to go. There's also no forced backtracking to previous areas, which was super confusing in some of the Metroid Prime titles. All of the backtracking is just there for you to discover more hidden power-ups.

Already with the GameBoy Classic I thought that the approach of killing all Metroids within one area to proceed felt quite smart. And Samus Returns really did a good job of developing this formula into a game that has a nice flow. I enjoy it a lot and this certainly wasn't the last time that I've played through this game.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Experiencing Four Swords Adventures in Multiplayer

Four Swords Adventures was the only Zelda game that I didn't touch during my 30th Anniversary Replays for two reasons. One, I played all the games on either Nintendo 3DS or Wii U, where Four Swords Adventures was the only game that's not available on Nintendo's latest systems. Two, I didn't want to play through the entire game in singleplayer again, which is kind of dull, but instead experience everything in multiplayer for a change.

And during this week I finally got the chance to play the game with others at a Zelda fan gathering organized by ZeldaEurope. It's not easy to get a full round of Four Swords Adventures to happen. For a four player session you need a TV, a GameCube, the game, a memory card, four GameBoy Advance systems, four link cables and three more players willing to participate. I could only contribute two GBAs and cables, the rest of the hardware had to be brought by others.

But getting the players was probably the hardest part, because not every Zelda fan is interested in the multiplayer installments - some even downright hate them. In addition there had been many different activities during said fan gathering, where people preferred doing something else and I had to keep asking around.

Another obstacle was created by the fact that we had four GameBoy Advance SP systems, where you can only charge them while playing with some 3rd party cables that don't cover the entire back of the the system, so you can plug in an AC adapter in addition for even more of a cable clutter. While I had one of those "special" link cables, the rest were the official ones from Nintendo. So, the GBAs kept running out of battery and had to be charged separately, which created some downtime.

With all these factors in place we only played through three out of the eight levels, where one level (consisting of three stages) was covered by one play session. But in each session I was playing with a different group of people for quite different experiences, which was nice to have.

The first session, where we played the "Whereabouts of the Wind" was absolutely chaotic. Everyone was fighting everyone, blocking paths with Fire Rods and Bombs, stunning each other with weapons, even bombing each other to death to steal the Force Gems, or simply screwing around for the fun of it. It was hilarious and the levels probably took twice as long because of all the shenanigans, but I had a good laugh and it was probably the most fun of the three sessions.

Sadly, one of the guys from the first session, who really wanted to play the game, had to leave the gathering early and the other two lost motivation / interest afterwards, so I moved on with a completely different group of people for the second level.

Here, during the "Eastern Hyrule" part, one of the guys fully played cooperatively, not caring about grabbing Force Gems himself. I played some Tri Force Heroes with him before that and this showed in the way he played. He was also really interested in the game, so that was good. Well, the second guy was screwing around a lot by accident, while the last guy played fiercely with a competitive mindset, going for the Force Gems whenever possible and voting very strategically at the end to solidify a win. I can go either way, but if you have a player like this in your team, I'm in for the competition as well. But playing against him wasn't much fun, to be honest...

Overall the second session was the most cooperative one, probably because the stages really demanded that. "Village of the Blue Maiden" is a very puzzle-focused stage, where you have to keep guessing, where you can proceed, which is a little annoying in multiplayer, because switching from one big screen to the next requires the full team. And in the "Village of the Blue Maiden" you might keep running around a lot, because the course isn't exactly clear.

For me it's been over six and a half years since I last replayed the game, during the 25th Anniversary of the Zelda series in 2011. So, my memory was kind of foggy about the details in the stages, but this was a good thing. Since I wanted to play as much of the game as possible, I was kind of impatient, so I didn't take the backseat here and guided the team with my remaining knowledge of the levels. But since I forgot some of the details, levels like the "Village of the Blue Maiden" demanded the guesswork of everyone.

During the third and last session at "Death Mountain" things were much more straightforward again and the competitive guy got replaced by a greedy girl, who was so greedy for Force Gems that a good part of the gameplay revolved around stopping her in her greediness, which was fun. It also had some absolutely hilarious moments with the Hinox, because when they grab you, they drop ALL your Force Gems. All of them. One time I went from over 1000 to zero, while the other players would just enjoy the loot

At the end of each stage, before the rankings are calculated, you can actually upvote and downvote one player, based on who was the most helpful and who caused the most trouble. The third session was the only one, where this worked the way it was intended, instead of simply downvoting the guy with the most Force Gems (which was often me) and upvoting the guy with the least Force Gems for strategic reasons.

And it was quite interesting to see, how the competitive factor kicks in here. Unlike in the first Four Swords game on the GameBoy Advance, where every player has his own savegame tied to A Link to the Past and where you need to collect the "Medals of Courage" by winning to unlock stuff, in Four Swords Adventures you have no good reason to compete. You don't get anything for winning a stage other than the win.

Still, people can go crazy for Force Gems just like that, while the original Four Swords might even incite players to cooperate more. "You collect all the Rupees this round for a Medal of Courage and I take the next one", until every player has enough Medals of Courage. Meanwhile in Four Swords Adventures you have people bombing each other to death just for the loot.

Four Swords didn't really allow that, because you had a common Rupee account, where every death was paid from this account and you needed to collect enough Rupees for the Great Fairies at the end of each stage. So, killing a player in that game for whatever reason would be very stupid, while in Four Swords Adventures you might just want to do it to steal someone's Force Gems or for the fun of it.

If I got this correctly, unlike in the singleplayer mode you don't even get a "Game Over", when you run out of Force Fairies, but it will take much longer for a fallen player to be revived, which gives other players the chance to loot more. So, go have fun and kill your buddies.

But with all this chaos I can fully understand, why Nintendo dropped the competitive part in Tri Force Heroes with its online play, outside of the Coliseum Mode. There were enough trolls in the game already, so there didn't need to be an incentive to play like that for real in an online environment.

In local multiplayer this can be a lot of fun, however, and hopefully I will be able to continue the game on the next ZeldaEurope gathering. Five levels are still left and sadly we didn't play any rounds of "Shadow Battles" yet, though the "Hammer Tag" game in the Tingle's Tower minigames was kind of similar and also quite some fun.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Got a Sheikah Slate Keychain

Last Friday I went to a Zelda fan gathering, which was arranged by ZeldaEurope and lasted for about a week. It was a lot of fun with many different activities, including a Zelda trivia quiz. In the past I helped organizing these quizzes, but this year I was able to participate as a player for the first time, where I achieved the best score with some luck and won this really nice item:

I hadn't seen this before, but I really like it. This Sheikah Slate keychain made out of some metal alloy and has a nice weight to it. It can hang out of your pocket, so that you can carry around this miniature Sheikah Slate like the real deal.

It was one out of various prizes, where the best scoring players could chose one after another. The other prizes included a DVD of the Zelda Animated series, a Sheikah Eye laptop sticker and some self-made items. But I'm very happy with my choice and keep marveling at it, because it's so shiny. It will stay with me and always remind me of the nice fan gathering that we had.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Breath of the Wild & Super Mario Odyssey: Zelda x Mario Crossover DLC Concept

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey have quite a lot in common. Both were released in 2017 and both are two of the most successful games on the Nintendo Switch, driving the sales of the system. Both put a much bigger emphasis on exploration than their predecessors and both also let you dress the main character in many different outfits.

There are 107 different pieces of armor in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where you can change Link's hat, shirt and trousers for different effects and abilities. Meanwhile Mario currently has 46 different hats and 47 different outfits to chose from, mainly for the looks, with more to come in future updates.

So, wouldn't it be a nice idea to have simultaneous updates for both games, where Link receives a Mario outfit and Mario receives Link's clothings? Let both our heroes swap their clothes! This could happen to celebrate the success of both titles.

References to a Link costumes in Super Mario Odyssey even had been discovered by dataminers already, as documented on Cutting Room Floor. These were the descriptions of both items:

Link Hat: A hat from a far-off land.

Link Suit: This outfit from another land comes complete with back accessories (sadly nonremovable).

However, as of version 1.2.0 the references to the Link costume were removed, while all the other references to upcoming outfits, like a Santa or a Zombie Mario, stayed in tact and even more references got added, like an 8-Bit Mario.

So, this might be an idea that Nintendo had, but which got scrapped in the meantime. It also doesn't look like Nintendo has any interest in updating Breath of the Wild ever again, which makes this even less likely.

Still, let's think about how this could have been implemented in Breath of the Wild. For the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 collaboration they had this neat little side quest, where treasure chests were falling from the sky at certain positions. But they probably should do something else to include a Mario outfit.

One thing that comes to mind are the many traveling merchants in the game, where they could bring a classic Zelda character back, who would be perfect for the job: Tarin.

With Tarin it's pretty obvious that he was originally a walking and talking Super Mario reference. He looks quite similar to Mario and he loves to eat mushrooms to a fault, where he got temporarily transformed into a raccoon. He was replaced by Talon in later Zelda games, who still has the resemblance and used Mario's sleeping pose in Ocarina of Time. He also wears a Bowser pendant as part of his outfit and gives you a Mushroom in Oracle of Seasons.

So, either Tarin or Talon would do fine, where the above artwork of Tarin fits the role of a merchant pretty well. He could sell various mushrooms from the game, like the Rushrooms or Stamella Shrooms, in addition to the Plumber armor set.

You would be able to purchase more than one and also dye it, where different colors could turn this into the outfits of different Mario characters. Green dye for Luigi, yellow dye for Wario and purple dye for Waluigi. The white dye could be used for the classic Fire Flower look. So, there would be many options to make this set entertaining.

The set itself could provide the "Climbing Jump Stamina Up" set bonus and maybe even let Link do funny sounds while jumping. It would be nothing out of the ordinary, so like most of the DLC armor pieces this would be just for the looks and the fun of it.

(As with any potential additions to the armor collection in Breath of the Wild this comes with the disclaimer that such an update should also expand the armor inventory by at least one page, so there's enough space to get all armor items in the game. Currently it's capped at 100.)

Breath of the Wild: Kinstone Concept

Kinstones! This was arguably one of the most charming side quests in the series, which was featured in The Minish Cap, where fusing Kinstones with people (and even certain objects in the environment) would lead to something lucky. It might open the door to a cave, it might drop a treasure chest in the environment or spawn a golden enemy, which drops many Rupees.

Overall this is something that would have been an interesting addition to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. At this point we shouldn't expect any more updates or DLC for the game, but in five to ten years they might re-release Breath of the Wild on the next system, where it receives some "Deluxe" or "Definitive Edition" version with all the DLC already included from start and several improvements on top.

One of these improvements could be "Kinstones", which probably wouldn't be actual Kinstones, because this was a product of the Minish, but something as part of the Sheikah technology. These "Sheikah Kinstones" could be broken data chips, where assembling the two pieces would have a positive effect somewhere on the map, like special treasure chests appearing or even new Sheikah Shrines. This should be marked on your map right when you fused the Kinstones, so you know where to look immediately.

They could even use the golden enemies for this, where fusing Kinstones would spawn them somewhere on the map and they drop many Rupees, minerals and Star Fragments (they probably should do this anyway). This could even work in Normal Mode, though this would technically create more chances to miss photos for Hyrule Compendium...

The Kinstones themselves could come in several types again and would be stored in either the materials or the key items inventory tabs, probably the latter. They could also have an inventory tab on their own. You would find them in treasure chests, but they would also be dropped by defeating the various types of Guardian enemies.

And overall this would solve several issues with the game:

  • There's no real incentive to talk to many of the NPCs in the overworld.
  • Treasure chests often contain weapons or materials that you don't really need to a point, where opening treasure chests feels like a chore and isn't really rewarding.
  • All the DLC EX chests with the new armor pieces just got hidden in the world out of nowhere with lots of "EX Side Quests" being spammed into your Adventure Log all at once.

A new version of Breath of the Wild could tie most of the DLC armor pieces into the Kinstone quests. So, only after fusing Kinstones with certain people, the treasure chests with the new armor pieces would appear in the world.

When standing next to any NPC in the game, you would get the option to fuse Kinstones by pressing X or Y instead of A for the talking. This would open a small menu like in The Minish Cap, where you see the Kinstone half of the NPC and your Kinstone collection to chose the right one for a fusion.

There are many NPCs in the game, where you never really have to talk to them, e.g. Benny on a rock at the east border of Hyrule Field. Many of them are adventurers, so it's likely that they might have found some Sheikah artifacts on their way. And adding Kinstone fusions to these characters would turn all these characters into actual points of interest, where it's worthwhile to check everyone out, as Manny would say.

Breath of the Wild: Inventory Improvement Ideas

I've recently played through the entirety of Breath of the Wild again in my Master Mode 100% Completion Run and while it was overall a lot of fun to replay the game, I had a constant gripe with the inventory. It's just so inconvenient in many ways, managing it wastes a lot of play time and sometimes it's even downright limiting. This is, where Breath of the Wild is in most need of improvements and maybe even another update by Nintendo, so that my inevitable third playthrough would be a lot more comfortable and enjoyable.

There is also an excellent article, Thoughts on UX of Zelda: Breath of The Wild by Junyue Hua, dealing with the same issues. I've taken some ideas and modified screenshots from that article for this post.

More Armor Space

Broken record here, but it's still an issue that the game offers 107 individual armor pieces, while there is only room for 100 armor pieces in your inventory. So, if you're getting it all, you will have to get rid of at least seven pieces. At the same time the game even invites you to buy duplicates of armor pieces for dying, as proposed by a merchant in Gerudo Town. But this isn't really feasible, if you want as many unique armor pieces as possible.

The solution would be simple. Just let the armor inventory expand by at least one more page. Ideally you could have up to eight pages, which is the same number as the materials inventory and which would allow you to store many duplicates, if you really wanted to.

Armor Quick Equip

Changing armor in the game can be somewhat inconvenient. Not only do you have to navigate the lengthy inventory, but if you want to change to an entire set, because you want to utilize its set bonus, you have to select and equip each piece of the armor set individually. A better solution would have been to give you an "Equip set" option:

The "X"-button doesn't have any functionality within the inventory, except for holding materials. In case of the armor inventory it could have been used as a shortcut to equip pieces and entire sets at once.

With alternate headpieces like the Divine Helms, which you can get from the Champion amiibo, equipping a set on these items would automatically equip the corresponding rest of the set, like the Ancient Cuirass and the Ancient Greaves in this case. This would be really useful considering that the Divine Helms were placed at the end of the armor inventory, instead of next to the rest of the Ancient set, where it would belong. But of course the flawed sorting is another problem in itself here.

Vertical Inventory Tab Navigation

Even with a quick equip feature, changing armor within the inventory would still be quite slow, because you have to find the right pieces first. This is easy enough early in the game, but the more you play, the more the inventory grows. There can be five pages of armor (which isn't even enough), eight pages of materials, three pages of food and two pages of "key items". Together with weapons, bows and shields that's a total of 21 inventory pages that you need to navigate.

The armor inventory is right in the middle of the action, between shields and materials. While you can quickly navigate between pages using R-Stick, it still takes many flicks to get where you want. And holding the stick almost always guarantees you to miss your target.

While the full horizontal navigation of the inventory seems intuitive, it just isn't practical later in the game, where it would have been good to have an option to arrange the inventory tabs vertically. So, one flick to the right moves you from shields to armor and the next flick from armor to materials. Inside these tabs you could now move up and down between the pages.

With such a mechanic, it would only take you three flicks at the most to get to the armor inventory tab, where then you can quickly navigate vertically to find the right pieces of armor. Since the vertical boundaries are refined to the armor space, you could even hold the R-Stick here to quickly switch to the first or last armor page.

Additional Sorting Options

There could be additional sorting options to make things even easier and quicker. With the materials inventory, the two materials you will hold the most often are Apples and Wood. Apples are found right in the beginning of the first materials page, while Wood is located right at the end of the materials list as the last item, where you would need to scroll all the way down or right. But a reverse sorting option for the materials would make things a lot quicker.

Also, it would be useful, if you could sort materials by their effect, e.g. have all speed boosting ingredients right next to each other.

Quick Swap Weapons, Bows and Shields

"Your inventory is full."

That's the one sentence that you will read the most often in Breath of the Wild, along with "You can't carry any more melee weapons." And it's always annoying. You open a chest or you find a good weapon, but you can't pick it up right away. Instead you have to open your inventory and drop something first.

A more convenient interface would at least give you the option to swap your currently selected item with whatever is lying on the ground:

In case of treasure chests, you would drop your current weapon, shield or bow on the ground and take the contents from the chest. Afterwards you could swap them again, in case you didn't really want the chest's contents.

There could even be an option to quickly "discard" the content of chests, where the item drops on the ground instead of your current gear. This would be useful for everyone, who simply want to have opened all the chests in the game, but aren't really interested in the contents. Of course chests, where you have chosen to discard the content, shouldn't re-appear.

Sorting during Quick Change

You can change your weapon, bow or shield on the fly by holding left or right on the D-Pad without opening the inventory screen. While this is nice to have, it arranges all items in a line, where you can have up to 20, which results in a lot of scrolling and flicking with the right analogue stick to get to your desired item.

After you've "swapped" items, your currently selected tool will also be at the end of the line. So, if you want to change from a new weapon back to the Master Sword you would have to scroll all the way back to the beginning.

To make the "quick change" really quick, you should have the same sorting options as in the actual inventory by pressing the "Y"-button. So, when you currently have a sword at the right end, sorting would potentially move you quickly to the left half.

In addition they could let you navigate up and down with R-Stick during the quick change, which would behave the same way as in the inventory, where you have four lines of five items.

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition - Balance Changes

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition was already released last month in Japan for Nintendo Switch, on March 22nd. We won't get the western version before May 18th, but some guys on Reddit and GameFAQs already got the Japanese version and have been reporting various improvements to the game's overall balancing.

Director Yosuke Hayashi had already announced in an interview with Famitsu that they "adjusted the balance so that the game becomes easier to play" (source), but back then we didn't know in detail what this would mean.

Overall the game keeps most of the improvements that were made with Hyrule Warriors: Legends on the Nintendo 3DS, so the difficulty of the Twilight Map isn't absolutely ridiculous anymore and so on. But there are some additional changes on top of that.

This is what has been reported by players so far:

  • A-Rank and 2nd Skulltula requirements in Adventure Mode are now percentage-based instead of a fixed value. It's 100% for basic A-Ranks and 40% for the 2nd Gold Skulltulas.
  • You can now store up to 20 weapons per weapon type instead of just 10.
  • Removing a weapon skill now only costs 30,000 instead of 300,000 Rupees.
  • The "Exorcism" (and presumably "Legendary") weapon skill now only take 15,000 K.O.s to unlock, "Evil's Bane" needs 10,000 K.Os.
  • Some Badge material costs have been reduced. The badges for powering items longer now only require silver materials.
  • Rupee costs of Potions have been reduced. For example, the "Guard Breaker" potion now only needs 20,000 Rupees instead of 40,000, while the "Weak Point Smasher" went down to 5,000 from 25,000 Rupees. Material costs are still the same, however.

There are some really good news in there. Reduced grinding is always a good thing, where the Rupee costs in the original game were way too high in many situations, especially with removing weapon skills.

But the best news is certainly that the damage requirements for A Ranks and Gold Skulltulas are now percentage-based, instead of using a fixed numbers of hearts. This finally gives collecting more hearts for every character a real purpose other than powering the "Heart Power" weapon skill, which was introduced in Hyrule Warriors Legends with the "A Link Between Worlds" Pack.

This should also make it much more easier to get A Ranks and Gold Skulltulas in many situations, where originally you had to resort to tricks like shooting everything with a Power-Up Bow from a distance, instead of fighting for real.

They used the original games' basis for the percentages, where you could take 10 hearts of damage for an A-Rank in most missions, as well as four hearts of damage for the 2nd Skulltulas, while the characters usually start with 10 hearts in total. That translated to 100% and 40% respectively. So, with these percentages it never gets harder than in the originals, it only gets easier, the more hearts you collect.

Sources: Reddit, GameFAQs (1), GameFAQs (2),

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Breath of the Wild Master Log, Entry 8

For the final part of my Master Mode run it was time to take on the Champions' Ballad, Eventide Island and the Trial of the Sword. What they all have in common are challenges, where the game takes away your stuff, so waiting until the end of the game, where you have all the Stamina and Heart Containers in the world, seemed like a good decision. But it also had the disadvantage that I wouldn't get the DLC rewards before the very end, where they aren't of any real use anymore...

Death #2

For the "One-Hit Obliterator" Trial I decided to don the Phantom Ganon Armor for a change... However, this led to my second death in the game, not far from the location of the first one, where I died after "gliding" from the cliff in front of the Shrine of Resurrection.

My mistake was that I thought the "Disguise" set bonus of the Phantom Ganon Armor works exactly like Majora's Mask. It's a Ganon costume, after all. But apparently it only works with Stal enemies and I paid with my life for this mistake, because I got hit by some Thunderbolts thrown by the Bokoblins at the first camp, who weren't really impressed by my "disguise".

I didn't die otherwise outside the shrines (and only once during that ridiculous Rohta Chigah Shrine with the many spikes) and I probably would have been pretty mad about this mistake, if it wasn't for that first death early in the game. So, my Hero's Path was tainted in any case and now my first death wouldn't taunt me anymore, since I died exactly, where I expected to die. The Forest of Spirits really was graveyard in this game. If I ever replay the game on Master Mode, I would try to achieve an entirely death-free run, however. It's doable, as long as you're careful on the Great Plateau, both during the tutorial phase and the "One-Hit Obliterator" madness.

But since I didn't have to worry about not dying anymore, I decided to fully explore the foggy Great Plateau during this trial. I didn't do this the first time on Normal Mode, because I wanted it to be done quickly, but I was curious what I could have missed. Well, turns out that I didn't miss anything at all!

All the other enemies that you normally find on the Great Plateau were gone. I was looking forward to killing both the Stone Talus and the White-Maned Lynel in one hit, but they weren't present anymore. Most of the enemies hang at the four points, where the trial tells you to go. There are some exceptions like multiple Ice Keese around Mount Hylia and some electric enemies at the bog near the Oman Au Shrine. There's also a new Decayed Guardian at the Temple of Time, but the Decayed Guardians at the Eastern Abbey are all gone.

And the enemy camps all look empty like this:

As you can see in the above screenshot, I've put Majora's Mask on after my initial mistake, which looks pretty nice together with the Phantom Ganon cape. But it also helps a lot with the enemies during this trial. The enemies tend to check you out personally, instead of sounding an alarm, where you can just lure them away and take them out one by one with the One-Hit Obliterator. Very useful.

But in general this seemed like the best opportunity to use the different DLC armor pieces in action. Since you die in one hit anyway, the lack of enhancements doesn't matter here, so you can go fight some Guardians in style:

Of course you can always choose to do so, but I personally prefer to have the defense at any time. And overall I did have a lot more fun with this part of the DLC than the first time.

The Realm of Nitpicky Memories

Off to the most relaxing part of the DLC, I was probably most busy being nitpicky about the "tacked on" nature of the content. I didn't even pay that much attention to certain things during my first playthrough of DLC Pack 2, The Champions' Ballad, but if you take the time to look, some things seem a little unpolished. Again, the devil is in the details here.

For example, if you go to Riju before doing the trial with the orb, she will say that this was yet another important Gerudo heirloom stolen by the Yiga just now, but they only treasured it for the hero, so when Link recovers the thing, he can use it as he pleases and doesn't have to bring it back like the Thunder Helm, which he only was allowed to borrow, because it is an important Gerudo heirloom and he can't just have it...

That doesn't make any sense left and right... They never mentioned this "heirloom" before and didn't think about giving it to Link, even though it was meant for him. And if this wasn't enough nonsense, the Yiga steal this thing in the exact second, where you're initiating Urbosa's trials. How convenient!

But I like the idea of throwing an orb down that giant hole at the Yiga Clan Hideout, where it would have been hilarious, if the dead body of Master Kohga would have blocked the orb slot. It's also nice, how the Kihiro Moh Shrine had a puzzle with lots of orbs to go with the theme. So, overall it certainly was one of the better trials in the Champions' Ballad, but I still didn't like the unnecessary Gerudo heirloom nonsense.

Another thing that I didn't like was how Kass essentially got cloned during the Champions' Ballad act. Well, he and other characters like Beedle, who are always present at the stables, already seem to have some sort of teleportation ability, but when Kass performs Revali's Song next to Divine Beast Vah Medoh, he really is in two places at once, because you can spot him all the way down playing with his children. When you talk to him, he even acts like he hasn't seen you in a while...

This seems rather sloppy and at least Nintendo should have thought of removing Kass from Rito Village during the time, where the Champions' Ballad Main Quest is active.

Well, I played Urbosa's part first, because having the fast reload for Urbosa's Fury was super helpful with the Realm of Memories, and went clockwise from there: Revali, Daruk and finally Mipha.

I chose Mipha for last, because Waterblight Ganon seemed like the hardest of the Realms of Memories. Thunderblight without full electricity protection can be tough as well, but I used a triple Shock Resistance dish before going into the fight, which works much like with the Trial of the Sword.

During the Windblight Ganon fight you only get a measly Feathered Edge, which breaks quickly, so it's best to use it for Urbosa's Furies as long as you have it. But the rest of the fight is doable with arrows alone. Fireblight Ganon is easily the easiest of the three, since you get multiple spin-to-win tools here.

It's really the environments that make the Blight fights tougher than they actually are, which is probably why they seem much easier inside the Sanctum. And Waterblight Ganon is the worst offender here, where he floods the room with water during the second half. This caused me quite some trouble, because for some reason, Link sometimes wouldn't draw his bow, when I jumped off a Cryonis block. So, I landed in the water and then had issues with getting back on land, while Waterblight would bombarded me with ice blocks... But if you use Urbosa's Fury, the ten arrows that you get are enough to beat him.

One thing that I didn't fully realize the first time was that Nintendo sort of recreated each official artwork of the Champions in their respective memories, the same artworks that were also used for the amiibo figures. It was really apparent during Urbosa's cutscene, where she makes her special stance by looking over her shoulder, but I didn't notice it with the other Champions until now.

Otherwise it still feels weird, how you have to fight a bunch of Guardian Skywatchers and Turrets during Mipha's trial. Following the theme of upgraded overworld bosses, they probably could have introduced higher tiers of Hinox for the DLC, where you would have to fight a Silver Hinox on Upland Zorona for the trial. This could be a Golden Hinox in Master Mode, while all the Black Hinox could have been upgraded to silvers in that mode... This way the Hinox would have the five typical tiers, instead of stopping at the black tier.

Also, there's apparently another impossible chest with a Soldier's / Knight's / Royal Bow in the same area, at the north tip of Upland Zorana. I never knew this before, because the Sheikah Sensor+ doesn't pick it up, but according to and similar sites it's there.

Final Trial Revisited

As much as I liked this "dungeon" the first time, as underwhelming I found it to be the second time. I was done with the "Final Trial" in less than 30 minutes and while the other four Divine Beasts aren't really long either, they at least felt like interesting places to explore, where I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the sense of adventure. You have these gigantic beasts inside the environment and you walk all around their outer shells, experiment with moving the beasts or parts of their bodies and so on.

Here you just get four chamber with typical shrine trials and you're done. And while there's a sense of mystery around this whole thing, there's no outside to explore or anything. It's not bad and it does something different with the Divine Beast mechanics, but it isn't really outstanding either.

The boss, however, is still boss and certainly the absolute highlight of the DLC...

It's funny, how you can actually distract him by dropping Mighty Bananas. This even helps during the phase, where he uses his Clone Jitsu.

About one of the rewards that you get for clearing the Champions' Ballad...

Otherwise I finally got my beloved bike back:

Sadly, it won't be of much use at this point. I've already found everything on the overworld, so using the bike would be just for fun now. But at least this way I've learned to appreciate horses much more. Thanks to the Ancient Saddle I've been using horses a lot more frequently during this run and they are probably even more convenient than the Master Cycle Zero in various situations. They're faster, you don't have to fuel them and you don't to hold the "A" button the entire time, which is a lot more comfortable.

The bike is still more fun and it has much better off road capabilities, while you also don't have to worry about it dying. So, it seems quite balanced and depending on the situation I would chose one or the other.

Stranded on Eventide +

This time the "Final Trial" wasn't really the final trial for me, because there was still the Trial of the Sword left and another Sheikah Shrine: the one on Eventide Island. Both of these trials have in common that you will lose your entire inventory except for (some of) the key items. And with no armor and the upgraded enemies, it seemed like the best idea to wait until the end of the game, where you have lots of health and stamina.

So, I kept the island for later including the chests around it in the sea, which was a good source of Rupees.

And overall I like Eventide so much more than the Trial of the Sword. The atmosphere on the deserted island is fantastic and makes me hope for a sequel that takes entirely place on some large tropical island. Being stranded on Eventide has a nice touch to it and it's not just about confronting the enemies, but also about exploring the island for all its resources and maybe even finding a way around the enemies. It's the survival gameplay of Breath of the Wild at its best.

I know that you can just drop some good weapons before the trial, like on your raft or on the small island with the chest, and pick the up after the trial has started. But I didn't want to "cheat" this way, not so late in the game. So, I took the challenge the way it was intended.

Unlike in the Trial of the Sword you can actually use your Master Cycle Zero during the trial, which is funny, but probably not very useful. You can't use any amiibo, however, the game prevents you from it.

Also unlike in the Trial of the Sword, your Champion abilities are still active here. And "Urbosa's Fury +" fully trivialized the trial, because you can just eradicate all the enemies with it without any longer loading times. So, in the end this whole thing was a lot easier than expected...

It was still fun to experiment a little bit. For example, I tried to defeat the Hinox with thunder strikes (real ones, not the ones from Urbosa's Fury) this time, by pushing a metal weapon onto him with Magnesis, but the damage wasn't as high as expected. Also, when I hid up in the cliffs to try this, the Hinox dug up explosive barrels out of nowhere and threw them after me...

I didn't even knew that they could do this, but this seems to be a nice throwback to the classic Hinox enemy from A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening, which threw bombs at you. But it's nice to see that I keep learning new things about this game, even after hundreds of hours of playtime.

I still wish that you could replay the trial at any time, because this would be fun.


So, after I was done with both the Champion's Ballad and Eventide Island, I expected to have a map completion of 100% again. But this wasn't the case, I ended up with 99.75% and was still missing a couple of locations. I found two of them rather quickly by studying the map:

  • Statue of the Eighth Heroine
  • Maw of Death Mountain

I was at both of these places, but I didn't trigger the names there. I took a picture of the Statue of the Eighth Heroine from a distance, but I didn't get close to the statue. And I walked around the "bridge" at the Maw of Death Mountain, collecting all the Koroks. This is what happens, when you just follow points on a map, instead of really exploring the places.

When I found the last Korok in my Normal Mode run, where I avoided using any guide maps, I automatically ended up at 100.00%, because I've walked over every square meter of the map by that time. But if you know, where everything is located, and skip some of the empty space, you might miss a location name or two...

However, I then was stuck at 99.91% and I couldn't find the last one. For a moment I was even afraid that I've been the victim of some bug, but it would be the first time that I've heard about this. I was studying MrCheeze's Waypoint Map, but I couldn't find what was missing. The only thing left seemed to be the "Hyrule Kingdom" location that you first read after leaving the Great Plateau. I was worried that you might be able to miss that, if you land too far away from the Plateau. But then I checked my Normal Mode map and it wasn't there either...

Well, after I went fully through this checklist, I finally found the culprit:

The Gerudo Desert Gateway. Yes, this is what happens, if you just follow points on a map and try to be efficient about it. I never went through the gate to the desert, because there is nothing there to find. I went above it for the Koroks. And later I entered the desert by gliding from the Wasteland Tower straight to Vah Naboris.

Enhancing Wild Things

To enhance the final set of armor in the game you need all types of dragon parts twice, as well as four Star Fragments, but I got those covered already from my previous farming sessions. But you also need Acorns, Courser Bee Honey and Energetic Rhino Beetles (15 of each), where I was still lacking the last two. Time to farm!

As for the Courser Bee Honey, there is some on the Great Plateau, but you can find many in one spot at both Fort Hateno and Rutile Lake (on the southwest side of Satori Mountain). Satori Mountain in general is a good source for many materials.

For the Energetic Rhino Beetles I then figured out any easy farming strategy. Go to East Akkala Stable, skip until morning, collect them with the Stealth set equipped, repeat. There are lots of them in the woods nearby.

What do you mean? I found like a dozen of them in half an hour...

Also, was missing a Bladed Rhino Beetle and a Sanke Carp in my inventory as materials, but both could be found in and around Kakariko. Apparently the Sanke Carps never gets dropped by any of the amiibo or otherwise I should have gotten them before.

It's not a necessity for a 100% savegame, but I still like to have at least one of each material inside my inventory.

Anyway, I'm almost done with enhancing all the armor. The additional shrines of the Champions' Ballad housed two Giant Ancient Cores, which was exactly what I needed to upgrade the Ancient Helm. I got another one from farming Guardians for my inventory collection, so I was good here. Now, only the Twilight and Sky amiibo tunic sets still need to be upgraded, where I currently need 16 more Star Fragments, which is just a matter of time.

I want to have all enhanceable sets fully upgraded in my inventory at the end, but I don't really count this as part of 100% completion either, since most of them can be sold again and you currently can't have all the armor at once anyway. Only the eight armor pieces that can't be sold (Champions' Tunic, Thunder Helm, Zora set and Wild set) should be there and if possible also fully enhanced. But I will post my "full" armor collection soon, once it's finished.

The Real Final Trial

You could say that I saved the worst for last with the Trial of the Sword. You can do this a lot earlier in the game, but for this type of challenge I simply preferred having the maximum of stamina and hearts. Also, this was the one part of the game, where I was not looking forward to it and where I felt really uneasy about it. You know, the same feeling that you have before an important test. I don't like it, when video games make you feel this way, because they shouldn't. I play video games to relax. They should be fun and engaging, not stressful.

The only other challenge in the Zelda series that made me feel like this was the Hero's Trial in the Four Swords Anniversary Edition. But in case of the Trial of the Sword it was more about the lack of practice, because I've only beaten it once in Normal Mode, and one particular room in the Beginning Trials. Overall it's by far not as bad as the Hero's Trial.

And I've studied this impressive No Damage Run by sva161620, which helped quite a lot and really boosted my motivation to do this. There are lots of good tricks in there and I like, how he doesn't rely on techniques like bow spinning or perfect parries, where it's easy to screw up. Instead he uses methods that can be copied by anyone, which is a good learning experience. So, if you're having troubles with the Trial of the Sword, go watch this video. Be aware that he makes it looks easy, but you don't have to copy the speed and perfection. And it really helps to know how to avoid damage in all of the scenarios.

It's also a good idea to prepare with food before the trials, because you can take any status effects, extra stamina and extra hearts into the trial. So, eat some food for two yellow Stamina Wheels and to get your hearts to 30. Also, in Master Mode you certainly want that triple Attack boost, because offense is really the best defense here, where you need to cook three Mighty Bananas, one Mighty Thistle and a dragon horn for the effect that lasts for 30 minutes, which is enough to get through each trial.

So, with that I was finally fully prepared to enter the trial...

The Beginning Trials are really the hardest part of all this, specifically the tenth floor, where you have to fight two Silver Lizalfos, who like to fully regenerate inside the water. It was already quite tough with two Black Lizalfos in Normal Mode, but the Master Mode version seems really unbalanced, especially for something that is supposed to be the "Beginning Trials", where you'd think that this is the easiest. It seems almost like an oversight by Nintendo, because the rest of the trials were usually kept fair, where you can succeed on wits and strategy.

But in this case you just don't have the equipment for it. They will kill you quickly, because you don't have the protection. Their spit alone does like five or six hearts of damage. And they will last, because your weapons aren't that good. I've heard people say that they did it with the Lightning Rod from the previous floor by attacking the Lizalfos in the water, but this didn't really work too well for me. Other strategies involve to burn them to death in a fire trap, but that's hard to pull off.

The video above uses "Chain Sneakstrikes" as the method to do it, but you're essentially abusing a flaw with the AI here. Whenever you perform a Sneakstrike on an enemy, they will turn around afterwards, ignoring anything before them. So, if you do a Sneakstrike and then walk in front of the enemy, you can immediately do another Sneakstrike afterwards. You can keep repeating this, until the enemy is dead, and with this method even the strongest tiers aren't an issue, because Sneakstrikes do eight times the damage of your weapon. You can just quickly kill those two Silver Lizalfos with them.

So much for theory, in praxis it's also not easy to pull off, because the Lizalfos have a habit of noticing you, while you sneak up to them. This is why the guy in the video shoots arrows in front of them, so they are distracted. But even this might not help. My first try was a complete catastrophe and I had to leave the trial to give up.

I did it on my second try, but even that didn't went smoothly at all. I could take out the first Silver Lizalfos exactly like in the video, which was a huge help. But the second Silver Lizaflos kept noticing me, where I had to run back to the beginning of the jetty, hoping that the Lizalfos would reset to its original position, which sometimes they don't. They face inwards, which makes sneaking up to them impossible. But sometimes they turn around, when you get closer, which is a little weird... But it's much easier to deal with only one Lizalfos than two, which is why I ultimately succeeded with some patience.

Floors 11 and 12 afterwards are probably not even worth mentioning. Don't use the raft on Floor 11, but slowly take the archers out from Cryonis blocks. Then push the Bokoblins into the water with a Korok Leave and try the same with a heavy weapon on the Silver Moblin. Fighting a Hinox without taking damage was routine by now. Stasis+, shoot the eye, attack close, retreat, repeat.

And after I was done, I was in good need for a Hestu Dance Party. Collecting all 900 Korok Seeds never felt so rewarding, because you can just enjoy Hestu's stash expansion dances again and again. And after beating the Beginning Trials, it was party time!

Because I was somewhat stressed by these trials, I didn't attempt it all in one evening. I've beaten the Beginning Trials on Monday (sometime after 0AM), then did the Middle Trials on Tuesday evening and the Final Trials yesterday evening. The rest of the time I've spent with farming materials (mostly Star Fragments) to relax.

But I've bested both the Middle Trials and the Final Trials on my first try, where the Beginning Trials really are the toughest. You just have much more room for error and much better gear in the other trials. I would even say that the difficulty goes down with each one.

The Middle Trials start easy with the air rooms, where you can kill most enemies by pushing them into the abyss. The darkness rooms can be tough, however, because it has some strong enemies in there that you can hardly see. Even the Black Hinox managed to hit me hart despite my Hinox killing routine, because I couldn't see, where I was going... Well, I never was a fan of the artificial dark areas in the game, it just looks wrong. And if it wasn't for this part, the Middle Trials would be really enjoyable and fun.

Fighting the Guardians Scouts in the last part also felt surprisingly easy, almost as if they didn't scale up, but there are also lots of neat tricks here, like pushing them into the water, dropping a huge metal box on them or burning them to death.

Now, the Final Trials are certainly the longest, where my damage boost only lasted into the middle of the ice floors, but long enough to take down the Silver Moblin and the Gold Bokoblin on Floor 15. But it also felt like the easiest of the three trials, because you get plenty of food and good weapons, while most of the enemies don't scale here and can be easily killed in one hit: Stal enemies, Fire- and Ice-Breath Lizalfos, Chuchus, Pebblits and even the Guardians thanks to the nine Ancient Arrows that you can find.

I did fight the first Guardian Stalker and also the first Guardian Turret normally to save some Ancient Arrows, where I had exactly the two left at the end (I used one on each Lynel, one on the Gold Moblin on Floor 14 and the rest on the other active Guardians). I just wanted to be save in case I screw up hitting the Lynel on the final floor in that chaos.

And I almost screwed up badly by forgetting to collect that Blizzard Rod on Floor 15, which is a real life saver on the final floor as well, because it stops the entire army of riding Blue Bokoblins. It makes this almost too easy. And even, if you screw up somehow, there are plenty of fairies and multiple "hearty" ingredients to bring you back to form. You can actually cook up a triple defense meal for the final floor, which helped as much as that Ancient Arrow and the Blizzard Rod.

So, with that I was done and could finally claim the true Master Sword... again.

So, what to do with this new shiny sword? Felling lots of trees, of course!

Link is a true force of nature and the real Calamity in this game.

I needed to collect the firewood for some Star Fragment farming, because that's like the only thing left to do at this point. Well, I made very good use of both the enhanced Master Sword and the Master Cycle Zero during my Normal Mode run, when I kept looking for the remaining Koroks, but here I didn't get both of these until the end, sadly.

Of course this was my own choice and I could have gotten them a lot earlier, but challenges like the Trial of the Sword or the Realms of Memories give me an incentive to wait until I have gotten all the Spirit Orbs. With similar challenges in past Zelda games, like the Cave of Ordeals in Twilight Princess, I also usually did them at the end of the game. In some cases you couldn't even do it before, because the game prevents you from entering the final floors in some way.

The Best Shield

What's even more pointless than getting the best sword at the end of the game? Right, getting the best shield at the end of the game! I waited so long to get the Hylian Shield, because I wanted to wait for its yellow modifiers to appear, which only happens late. The best possible one to get is "Shield Guard Up + 54" and here it is:

After you've beaten the Stalnox in Hyrule Castle, you can just save your game right before opening the chest and reload as long, until you get your desired modifier. That's save scumming for you. There is also "Durability Up +" modifier for the shield, but it has a hidden random stat to it and it's not that useful, because with the high Shield Guard value of 144 your Hylian Shield will rarely ever take damage.

I still don't like this, because it adds yet another thing to the game that won't last and can't be gotten back, because the Hylian Shield sold by Granté won't have modifiers. So, ultimately this is just a collectible that I probably will never use and just keep in my inventory for bragging rights.

Apropos bragging, with the last Hinox I also finally got all Medals of Honor and with that all key items in Master Mode:

I also still had to buy the rest of the pictures from Symin to get that Classified Envelope, where I needed to pay 18,500 Rupees for the weapon pictures. And I have to say that with buying all the pictures, purchasing armor and paying for the Great Faries I always had a good use for Rupees. It fully added up, one half-way efficient run of Master Mode scored me enough Rupees to purchase everything. Of course I had to sell some minerals to make this work, but I still have enough left to enhance the rest of the amiibo gear. So, only Star Fragments and dragon parts required some long-time farming.

Final Hero's Path

This is how my Hero's Path of my entire Master Mode run looks like:

I did get all 900 Koroks and all treasure chests again, except for those that are glitched. So, any empty space on the Hero's Path has absolutely nothing except for maybe some material sources that can be ignored.

You can also clearly see, where the Star Fragment farming took place with paths emitted from the same travel gates. They almost looks like the third of a star, a "star fragment" so to say.

According to my Wii U I've spent a total of 175 hours to complete the game in Master Mode. That's less than a third of my original playthrough, but still quite a lot considering I've tried to be somewhat efficient by clearing one area after another this time. That's a whole new level for Zelda games, where in the past even the longest Zelda games only took around 30 to 40 hours at maximum to be completed a second time, when you know what to do and where to find everything. Even playing through a Zelda game for the first time never really scratched the hundred hour mark, but Breath of the Wild is certainly in a different league here. It's quite the time investment, but an enjoyable one.

The End(?)

This is it for my Master Mode run of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Wii U. I also own the Switch version of the game, but I don't have a Nintendo Switch yet. Once I do, it's likely that I will do another complete Master Mode run on that system, where I want to focus on fully completing Hyrule Compendium with personal pictures, which will be a new challenge, because you have to fight Lynels very early, before they start upgrading. But I won't be doing this anytime soon.

For now this savegame will act as a playground, where I want to practice my fighting skills from time to time. There are so many crazy things that you can do combat-wise in this game and I want to experiment with this somewhat in the future, where a fully completed Master Mode file will serve as the perfect platform to do this.

Master Mode Progress:

  • Divine Beasts Freed: All
  • Main Quests: 20/20
  • Shrine Quests: 42/42
  • Side Quests: 90/90
  • Memories: 23/23
  • Shrines: 136/136
  • Koroks: 900/900
  • Talus: 40/40
  • Hinox: 40/40
  • Molduga: 4/4
  • Map Completion: 100.00%

All done, again! Thanks for reading!