Saturday, August 31, 2019

Fire Emblem Fever

It's not a secret what my favorite Nintendo franchises are. There's The Legend of Zelda on top of course, where I've been a fan for almost 22 years now, and there is also the Metroid series in second. And then there's Super Smash Bros. and the rest, where for the most part I enjoy various platformers...

But recently another Nintendo franchise has piqued my interest: Fire Emblem. Well, I've been mostly playing Fire Emblem: Heroes on my Smartphone for the past two years, where it has become my favorite mobile game and part of my daily routine. But with these Smartphone games Nintendo primarily wants to bring more attention to their main products and this certainly worked in my case with Fire Emblem...

photo of the Limited Editions of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Fire Emblem Warriors and Fire Emblem: Fates, all European versions

After the recent hype around Three Houses, I went on an ebay shopping spree this month and got myself the Limited Editions of three Fire Emblem games, all new and sealed – Fire Emblem: Fates, Fire Emblem: Warriors and Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

I've also gotten a copy of Fire Emblem: Awakening last year and I'm still currently playing this game. And here's the thing... I'm still playing it, because I'm barely making any progress. Unlike Heroes, where the entire game is build around quick play sessions, the main Fire Emblem games sure take their time. One battle in Heroes might only last for a minute, while it can take up to thirty minutes in Awakening, plus some time for preparing your inventories and other things. And this really eats on my motivation, because playing it feels really slow...

So, I guess I won't become a super big Fire Emblem fan any time soon and I'm personally more interested in the stories of the characters that I got to know from Fire Emblem: Heroes and the Super Smash Bros. series than the actual games. In a way this is the complete opposite to the Zelda games...

Whenever someone tells me that he or she plays the Zelda games mainly for their stories, it usually amuses me, because I really don't do that. I play the Zelda games for the exploration and the overall gameplay, where I run around, hit things with a sword, solve puzzles and discover secrets. The story is normally just something that sets the foundations for whatever the gameplay has to offer and is often not that important to me. At least when it comes to the main story, because I do enjoy talking to NPCs and all that stuff, all the story bits that you get from exploring. The more the story is intertwined with the exploration, the better, where I tend to enjoy games like Link's Awakening or Majora's Mask much more.

With Fire Emblem, however, things are different, because I'm generally more interested in the main story and character relations than the tactical gameplay. It's funny, how during battles I'm more invested in enhancing the support between certain characters than the actual strategy. There are also so many options of how to make progress with the characters that it's kind of overwhelming and these games were made to be played through many times over.

Anyway, with these games I'll have enough to play when I'm not busy with either Zelda or Metroid and it will certainly take me quite some time to play through it all, but I'm not in a hurry and I have no plans on blogging about these games any time soon.

Link's Awakening Remake: Crazy Tracy's Health Spa

The Japanese website for Link's Awakening on Nintendo Switch also has a first look at Crazy Tracy and her home:

screenshot of Crazy Tracy's place... it's all very pink and she stands on a heart-shaped rug

Wow, this looks certainly... interesting. Health spa? More like a love spa! Now I'm convinced that the bowl of white cream in your inventory is indeed the new Secret Medicine. And Link probably doesn't want to know where she got it from... :D

Come to think of it, the Secret Medicine actually was rubbed onto Link by Crazy Tracy in the original game. Here's what she has said when you bought some:

All right, come
here and I'll
rub it on you!
...There... I've
applied my own
secret medicine!

So, it makes sense that they've changed the item from what looked like a potion into a lotion.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: More Secret Seashell Rewards!

Nintendo of Japan has updated their site for the new Link's Awakening with dozens of new screenshots. And one of them shows us something interesting, namely the inside of the new Seashell Mansion:

screenshot of Link standing inside the Seashell Mansion

This looks not only quite differently, but it's also of note that the bar on the right has not only three stops, but five, where there's at least two new rewards here.

This idea was already discussed in an earlier post, but it looks like things are even more extensive than anticipated. There seem to be more Secret Seashells in total, because there are exactly ten bars here now with stops at bar 1, 3, 6, 8 and 10. If you only need 20 Secret Seashells for everything all these bars would feel a little bit excessive and this would also mean that you get your first reward with two Secret Seashells already...

In the original there were additional rewards for visiting the Seashell Mansion with exactly five and ten seashells. In this case you would get a free Secret Seashell, but you had to visit the mansion with the exact amount. Hopefully, this gets changed, so you can still get the rewards, as long as you have collected enough of them. And getting more seashells for collecting seashells always felt like a lackluster reward, where the remake has lots of new options to replace them:

  • Piece of Heart
  • Heart Container
  • Fairy Bottle
  • Chamber(s)
  • Figurine
  • Great Spin Attack

I still like the idea of adding an upgraded Spin Attack as a final reward here (again kudos to Lankelink for this suggestion). And I would be honestly surprised, if this wasn't a location for a new Piece of Heart, maybe even an entire Heart Container... But there are various other options as well that come with the remake. Maybe not one of the figurines, because they seem to be confined to the village(s), but it's still a possibility.

Also, in addition to the extra seashells there was one more Secret Seashell that you could miss: the one at Kanalet Castle, where you need the Flying Rooster. Ideally, this one won't be missable any longer, because the game allows you to get the Flying Rooster back or so. But they need to make sure that there isn't anything missable at the end. In the original you only needed 20 out of 26 Secret Seashells, so either there is still a small buffer in the remake as well or you still should be able to get all Secret Seashells at the end of the game.

So, the big question is... what's the new total? My best bet is that there is now a total of either 40 or even 50 Secret Seashells. 50 seems a little bit too much, because this would effectively double the amount of Secret Seashells, but adding enough for 40 should be certainly doable. In any case it will be nice to have more, because the Secret Seashells are truly a fine collectible item, where they can potentially be hidden anywhere: under bushes, in the ground, in pots, in chests and so on... Having some more to find will certainly be awesome for veterans, because you have to explore all the new secret hiding spots.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: New Chamber Items?

You already notice how much better the inventory management is in the Link's Awakening remake by how rarely they had to change items during the gamescom footage. But when they did you could briefly spot another new item in the inventory:

screenshot of the inventory menu

Well, there's still the mystery cream item next to the trading item slot, in this case the Pineapple. But this simply might be the new Secret Medicine and there is also something new right between the Secret Seashells and the Sleepy Toadstool.

It looks like a stone slate, but there is a number next to it indicating that this is yet another collectible item. The first thing that comes to mind here are the new chambers that you can get from Dampé as rewards for the Chamber Dungeon, but the item itself looks slightly different:

part of a screenshot where Link receives a chamber item from Dampé

Here you can clearly see the borders of the chamber with entrances on each end, but the new item in the inventory looks just blank... Plus, there probably wouldn't be much use to keeping track of the number of extra chambers in your inventory, so this might be something else entirely. But maybe it's related, where you can bring these blank chambers to Dampé, so he can turn them into new chambers for you. The coloring of both items is even similar, where they get a little green'ish at the bottom.

Update: According to the official website, you indeed collect additional chambers, which can be earned from both amiibo and other mini-games as well:

Tap compatible amiibo figures to earn more Chambers and [find] additional Chambers throughout the game in updated mini-games, such as the river rapids, trendy game, and fishing.

This could also mean that not all Zelda amiibo will add these "plus effects" to your Chamber Dungeon, some of them might only unlock new chambers. It could also be both, where each Zelda amiibo gives you a new chamber and a plus effect... We'll see, but the Chamber Dungeon certainly seems to be a big focus of the remake.

PS: Note, how the Sleepy Toadstool is there in the inventory together with the Magic Powder. In the original it wasn't possible to have both of these items at once, so there's another minor improvement here. Also, we have to wonder what the slot below the Sleepy Toadstool will be used for. The one between the Secret Seashells and the new slates simply might belong to the Golden Leaves, but the fifth slot is still unclear.

It's also interesting how the Fairy Bottles have seemingly fixed slots within the inventory, instead of simply appearing one after the other. This might even be an indicator for how early you can find the corresponding bottles.

Link's Awakening Remake: New Warp Points Confirmed!

In the gamescom footage of the new Link's Awakening we could finally see one of the Warp Holes in action, where during the demonstration they traditionally take us from Animal Village back to Mabe Village. However, unlike in the original you don't go from one Warp Hole to the next in sequence, but instead you're prompted with a warp select screen:

screenshot of a map of Koholint Island with five visible warp points... the one at Animal Village is cut off by another image from the stream

And if you look closely at this screen, you can actually spot a total of three new warp points:

  • At Dampé's Shack
  • At the Seashell Mansion
  • Near the House by the Bay

All of these should be very useful and this even matches with what we had speculated about new warp holes two months ago, where both the House by the Bay and the Seashell Mansion were considered as new warping locations.

Dampé's Shack, however, comes as a bit of a surprise, where it turns out that the supposed "Rupee Rock" that we had spotted at E3 was not a Rupee Rock, but another hidden warp point:

screenshot of a warp portal behind Dampé's Shack

But since you want to return to the Chamber Dungeon many times over this will certainly be nice to have, it's just that it renders the warp point in Manbo's Pond somewhat useless, since this one was just around the corner. But maybe the functionality of Manbo's Mambo will be enhanced as well and it lets you use any of the Warp Holes in addition to Manbo's Pond with the Ocarina.

The new gameplay didn't go as far, so we will see about that in a month, maybe even a little earlier.

Link's Awakening Remake: Gamescom 2019 Footage

screenshot of Link looking at the freshly opened Angler's Tunnel

Today Nintendo showcased the new Link's Awakening at the gamescom for about half an hour. You can watch the stream here on Youtube.

The gameplay takes us from the beginning of the Yarna Desert up to the miniboss of the Angler's Tunnel, with a detour to Dampé's Shack to showcase another Chamber Dungeon Challenge. There is a lot of "new" things to see here, where I suggest to take a look.

One interesting detail is that the Angler's Tunnel now got a new music track on top of the old one, where it sounds a lot more like a typical water dungeon. The original music was basically just a sped-up version of the cave track, where it's nice that they have done a little bit more here, while still keeping the original.

Another small detail in the Angler's Tunnel is that its Eyegore statues look differently from the ones in the Tailcave and the Color Dungeon. In the original those were all the same. The green Eyegore statues do look a little bit frightening anyway, as if they could become alive at any time like the did in A Link to the Past / Between Worlds.

Also, by now it should be clear that you will indeed be able to spot sunken Pieces of Heart from above, as clear as the water seems to be in this game. There were no new Pieces of Heart visible in the footage, however, at least that I found on first glance.

You can spot some entirely new things, however, like a new warp points and a new collectible item in the inventory, but I'll make separate posts for those, so stay tuned!

Welcome Back!

screenshot of the Breath of the Wild 2 teaser trailer, where the mummified Ganondorf looks at the viewer with glowing, red eyes

Like Ganondorf in the recent teaser for the sequel to Breath of the Wild, this blog finally awakens from the dead!

Well, technically it hasn't been dead, just hidden underground for over a year, ever since the new data protection regulations caused quite the risk and burden for owners of simple, personal websites. I've kept writing this blog in secret, like I would have normally. In the meantime I was hoping that Google would support bloggers on Blogspot to deal with this mess, but all they did was providing a cookie banner (still better than nothing), so it took me a while to do the rest myself and find the courage to bring this site back online.

As you can see, this page has now a Privacy Policy, which apparently you should read, even though it makes no difference whatsoever. This blog wasn't monetized and never used any third party plugins, so outside of comments and Google's rough, built-in statistics, there isn't really much to cover here.

During the last months I've already gave some people access to this blog, either friends or former regular readers or both, but now I wanted to take the big step and make this site open to the public again. I really hope this works out and I won't have to hide this site yet again...

Anyway, what did you miss? Well, luckily the Zelda series was on a hiatus in 2018 (with the exception of the Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition) and the only big topic was Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. So, you didn't miss anything of importance last year on this site.

Earlier this year, however, the remake to Link's Awakening was announced and I've already made many excited posts about the topic with opinions, suggestions, predictions, ideas and everything about the new version. June 2019 has been the biggest month in over two years on Hyrule Blog, where it's filled with posts about the remake and more are to come. Needless to say, I'm really excited for Link's Awakening and I wanted my thoughts about it out there. And of course there is the sequel to Breath of the Wild as well, which will certainly keep my busy at a later time.

So, have fun catching up!