Friday, September 24, 2021

Age of Calamity: Guardian of Remembrance Revealed

shattered glass from Terrako showing different artworks from Age of Calamity

Cerainly, the most important reveal for Zelda fans in the newest Nintendo Direct was the "Guardian of Remembrance" DLC wave for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which will already be released on October 29th and not in November, as announced earlier this year. You can watch the new trailer on Youtube and these are the key facts:

  • New Story - Battle for Kakariko Village, Battle for Goponga Village, and more
  • New Stages - Coliseum, and more
  • New Playable Character - Purah & Robbie, and one more
  • Added actions for existing characters

We're a little bit smarter than we used to be back in February, when the Expansion Pass got first announced, but there are still some mysteries about this, where probably there will be another trailer before launch to show us more. Like, we still don't know what these new actions for the characters are going to be.

 

New Battles / Stories

Overall the trailer confirms that this is going to be a story expansion with some additional major battles that take place at various points in the main story. Those will probably unfold as some optional key points, similar to Cia's and Linkle's Tales in the first Hyrule Warriors, but the narrative isn't really focused on a single character this time.

Urbosa standing next to the King of Hyrule

We can see how Terrako gets taken over by Calamity Ganon at the Coliseum. We can see how Link trains Zelda to use the Master Cycle Zero. We can see little Sidon being brave once again. We can see Vah Rudania towering over Kakariko Village. We can see Urbosa's troops coming to the aid of King Rhoam. We can see how Robbie and Purah are preparing something with a blue flame. And we can see a follow-up to the cliffhanger that left Kohga and Sooga at the mercy of Astor.

It's really all over the place and that's awesome, because it gives all the different characters a chance to shine once more in these new chapters.


New Stages

Unlike the first Hyrule Warriors, the main campaign of Age of Calamity rarely ever re-used existing stages for new story battles. And when it did, the stages were visually altered and even extended. It seems like the DLC is following this trend, where the new stories also come with new stages, which is very awesome and exciting, because the first Hyrule Warriors didn't do this for any of its DLC.

Here is what has been shown so far:

  • Coliseum
  • Goponga Village
  • Kakariko Village

There are probably more, but it's hard to tell from the current material. Of course it's possible that they will re-use some of the old stages as well, maybe give them a slightly different look or maybe not. For example we can see a new cutscene with Revali at the Lost Woods, which might hint at a new battle unfolding there.

The Coliseum stage

Anyway, so far the Coliseum was only used for Challenges, where those all took place inside an Ancient Shrine. So, it's nice that the real place finally makes it into the game, which always has been predestined for some battles. And we can probably expect that these new stages will be used for some additional Challenges as well, where the inside of the Coliseum is of course perfect for some intense combat.

Vah Rudania towering above Kakariko Village with lots of Sheikah villagers gathering

And to actually see Kakariko in the game almost feels surreal, because this place has been completely avoided by the main story. Hateno Village was historically unscathed by the war and it makes sense that they want to keep it like that, but it's nice to see that at least the Sheikah village is going to make it into Age of Calamity.

A Hylian village on the other hand will be featured with Goponga, named after the swamp in Link's Awakening. There were only few remains of this village in Breath of the Wild and it will be interesting to see how this looked like originally. A similar place would be Deya Village to the west of the Dueling Peaks, which makes you worry that they might not go into the full potential with of all of this. But let's see.

Update: Zelda.com actually confirms Lanayru Road as yet another stage. Whether this is actually separate from Kakariko Village or just a different name for the same stage remains to be seen. It would be another great location from the game, however.


New Characters

This part of the announcement was relieving and disappointing at the same time... Now, the first wave of DLC, "Pulse of the Ancients", put such a huge focus on Robbie and Purah that it felt really weird that Koei Tecmo didn't make them playable at the time. And this had the fans certainly worried, even though these two seemed like the most obvious character choice for the DLC.

Robbie fighting with huge mechanical arms and Purah standing next to him

But now it's finally happening and they are actually a duo character, which was a common suggestion among fans. They probably would have worked on their own as well, but it does make sense for these two characters to work together, where this will certainly become one of the more quirky movesets.

The main reason why they've kept this for now is probably to give them a proper story chapter where the two Sheikah scientists are forced to take action themselves, instead of relying on the other heroes. This way they also get some nice cutscenes and more attention, which probably wouldn't have been possible in the first DLC wave, which was all about adding more Challenges to the game. That's why we had Battle-Tested Guardian as a bonus fighter there, instead of these two. So, it all makes sense, even though these characters would have been a better fit for the first DLC pack.

It would be interesting if their ZR ability let you swap between the two. But from the footage it looks more like Robbie is doing the hard work, while Purah does some Sheikah tech magic from the sidelines. But it's too early to say anything about their moveset so far.

The disappointing part about all of this is that there is only one character left, which also seems somewhat odd. The first DLC wave added three new movesets and you would expect them to follow this trend in the second wave for at least one more character. Plus, with a total of 21 characters the last guy or gal or whatever will be an offshoot on the last row, making the roster look kind of lacking at the end.

So, who will this last character be? A popular suggestion was Kass as an additional time traveling story, but if this were the case, they would have teased this in some form for sure. And it also doesn't seem like they are going to do villain scenarios this time, like they did with Ganondorf and Cia in the first Hyrule Warriors. If any villains become playable in Age of Calamity, it's because they have joined the good guys in some way or form. With that in mind, this puts Astor and Harbinger Ganon out of the picture and effectively leaves us with only this guy:

Sooga doing a ninja pose in front of the Blight Ganons

Sooga. It has to be. He is the most badass villain sidekick in the Zelda series, where Koei Tecmo managed to surpass Volga, and it was already disappointing that he wasn't playable in the base game. If there is only one character left, it has to be him.

The trailer even shows us more of the battle of Kohga and Sooga against Astor, so this seems like a safe bet. In the main story this was left as a cliffhanger, where we didn't know what happened to Sooga afterwards. But he appears in the second credits as part of the good guys, so he definitely survived. And a new story chapter could tell us what happened, while also making him playable. Sooga for the win.

Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack Announced

the beginning of Majora's Mask showing Skull Kid on the Switch

If a Nintendo fan hears "Expansion Pack", he/she probably thinks of the Nintendo 64 and its RAM update. And finally the Nintendo Switch Online service really sees an expansion in the form of Nintendo 64 titles, as well as Sega Mega Drive. You will even be able to purchase the respective controllers via the My Nintendo Store, similar to NES and SNES before.

However, it's literally an "Expansion Pack", because you have to upgrade your membership. This is somewhat disappointing, considering that the service simply put a paywall in front of the peer-to-peer online gaming, something that used to be completely free on previous Nintendo systems. That still has a sour taste to it and while the service is quite cheap, it's mainly justified by the extras, like these classic game libraries, where there hasn't been all that much. Some free games, like Tetris 99, and the NES and SNES libraries. That's about it.

So, will we have to get yet another expanded membership, should they decide to add GameBoy titles? Or will any future classic game library be part of the Expansion Pack? Will they still add more to the basic membership from now on? Questions over questions about all of this...

Anyway, Ocarina of Time will be part of the Nintendo 64 launch titles and Majora's Mask will come to the service later on. This brings two more Zelda games to the Nintendo Switch, where now something like a "3D collection" feels much less likely. It would still make sense to put The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD together on Switch, but it will most likely come without the Nintendo 64 games now, because Nintendo wants you to pay for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. At the same time, this also makes a "Nintendo 64 Mini" feel less likely.

Ideally, they will also add Master Quest later on. This never found its way to the Wii and Wii U Virtual Consoles, but Nintendo likes to add some specialties to the Nintendo Switch Online libraries, like Star Fox 2. And we're actually getting Banjo & Kazooie back for the first time, so that's something and should certainly make some fans happy.

Nintendo Direct September 2021 Roundup

Bayonetta with braided twin tails

The previous two Nintendo Directs in 2021 have been quite satisfying, where it would have been nice, if they were able to keep up with this. But this one was somewhat lackluster, mostly because it contained a lot of teasers instead of actual announcements. You want to know the final fighter addition to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate? Well, then tune in on October 5th! Huge Animal Crossing: New Horizons update? Wait for October to learn more!

These were announcements of announcements and that's not what you really want out of a Nintendo Direct. Especially Super Smash Bros. Ultimate hurts and could be concerning to some. This is exactly how they did it with the final Challenger Pack of the first Fighters Pass and that one turned out to be Byleth. If this were a major third party addition, then we'd probably would have seen a trailer in the least to create hype.

But to be fair, there were a lot of good things, too. They've finally shown us Bayonetta 3 after all these years, which used to be this big mystical game in development that was announced as a title and nothing else, much like Metroid Prime 4. But good to see that it's not in some development limbo and even coming out next year, much like the sequel to Breath of the Wild.

I personally love how they give Bayonetta (and Jeanne) a new look in each game and I really like the new one. It makes her look much younger, where she has these Lolita vibes to her this time, which is somewhat ironic, but it fits her over-the-top lewdness quite well. It's also based on the looks of Cereza, which makes sense.

Then there was Kirby and the Forgotten Land, which feels a lot like Super Mario Odyssey, as well as more info on Splatoon 3. Nothing about Xenoblade Chronicles 3, where this Nintendo Direct could have been all about games with a "3" in the title. Missed opportunity, I'd say.

The expansion of the Nintendo Switch Online service has also been confirmed, where we will really get Nintendo 64 and even Sega Mega Drive games, together with the respective controllers. But you have to pay extra...

And finally, the only real interesting part for Hyrule Blog was a first look at the second wave of DLC for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which is already coming out at the end of October and not in November, so much earlier than expected. More on this in a separate post, coming later today.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Nintendo Direct September 2021 Predictions

 

Nintendo has announced a new Direct on Twitter for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, depending on where you live (it's 12 AM CEST on the 24th). Now, I personally didn't expect a Nintendo Direct before the mid of October, after the upcoming major release of Metroid Dread and the Nintendo Switch OLED, but I certainly don't mind to be wrong in this case. This already gives us more things to talk about in the meantime.

But with this new timing also comes a certain uncertainty about the contents of the Nintendo Direct, because a mide/later October date would have made some stuff more likely. Nonetheless, let's go over some potential topis of interest for this month's Nintendo Direct.


Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity – Guardian of Remembrance

If you're expecting any news about the sequel to Breath of the Wild already, then you will probably be out of luck and are forgetting that the prequel is still a thing and gets its second DLC wave in November, titled "Guardian of Remembrance". It's supposed to include new story scenarios, new playable characters and new abilities for the existing characters.

They've kept revealing anything about the first wave very close to their chests, so it's not a 100% that we will already get to see its contents in action. But unless Nintendo plans to do another Nintendo Direct in the next two months, which feels unlikely, we can assume that they might reveal those new playable characters among other things in this Nintendo Direct. And this will be exciting.


Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – The Final Challenger

It is time. After three years full of speculation about who will join the roster of the world's most ambitious video game crossover of all time, things will finally be wrapped up and the development of this game comes to an end. And it's been a crazy ride with a great variety of newcomers, where there should be something in it for everybody. Except for the Zelda fans. But maybe this will change soon? Or maybe we will get another spectacular third party addition? Or maybe it's really King Boo or another Pokémon?

In any case, we will find out very soon... Any details will certainly be shared in a separate presentation by Sakurai, so the Nintendo Direct will most likely just show a trailer and cover some basics, like with Kazuya back in June.


Animal Crossings: New Horizons x The Legend of Zelda

Now that I have started playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it's time for Nintendo to reveal its next major update, which could and should focus on doing a cooperation with The Legend of Zelda for its 35th Anniversary, much like it did with Super Mario Bros. earlier this year.

Bring back the villagers from the Zelda universe. Add a lot of Zelda decoration items, like the Master Sword. And do a bunch of quality of life improvements while you're at it. But who am I kidding? The latter probably won't happen...


Nintendo Switch Online: New Classic Games Library

While the NES and SNES libraries for Nintendo Switch Online are awesome, Nintendo needs to step things up a notch by adding either Nintendo 64 or GameBoy (Color) games or even both.

There have been a lot of rumors about this lately, especially since a new controller FCC application has come up, where the confidentiality deadline ends on Friday, right after the Nintendo Direct (see NintendoLife for more details). And this could very well be a Nintendo 64 controller for the Nintendo Switch. With that we would also be able to play Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask on the Nintendo Switch, maybe even Master Quest.

Of course this could also lead to a "Nintendo 64 Mini", but Nintendo might skip this in favor of providing more for their online subscription service. Plus, microchips are scarce these days and they probably want to focus on the new Nintendo Switch OLED model for production.


The Wind Waker HD & Twilight Princess HD?

If we get Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask on the Switch in any form, then what will be of the remaining 3D Zelda games? While this is still a strong possibility, Aonuma has already said that they have no plans to release any games for Zelda's 35th Anniversary this year on the Nintendo Switch, so this feels more like something for Spring 2022 at the earliest and probably won't be featured in this Nintendo Direct.


Xenoblade Chronicles 3

The Nintendo Switch Online extension isn't the only thing that has seen some rumors lately, where this could be a major title in the upcoming months or early 2022. The Xenoblade Chronicles franchise has gained some popularity recently, with the release of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition last year and the addition of Pyra / Mythra to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate earlier this year.

I'm mostly curious about the art style here, where the first two games have been quite different. And of course the "waifus", which always will be the best thing about JRPGs.


See you on the other side!

Got Some My Nintendo Store Rewards

For the first time ever I ordered some (free) items from the My Nintendo Store: a Skyward Sword HD XL postcard set, a Dodo Airlines tote bag and a Nintendo Switch card case... So, what's up with all that?

The My Nintendo Store can be used as a good representation for how Nintendo fares today in terms of user friendliness, where at least the one for Europe / Germany leaves a lot to be desired. You can get some free items, like all of the above, similar to the good old Club Nintendo days with its amazing rewards. However, you still have to pay for shipping and they only accept Master Card or Visa.

Depending on where you're from, this might not strike you as an issue, but at least in Germany it's quite uncommon to actually own and use a credit card. We pay with EC cards (or just cash) and we love our PayPal for online shopping, or bank transfer, but not credit cards, which are still widely regarded as unsafe, even though that has changed quite a bit. Luckily, my bank has upgraded my EC card to a Master Card debit card, so now I could finally shop at the My Nintendo Store without getting an actual credit card and the extra costs that come with one.

However, the bright side is that all these items were still available. If we were able to easily purchase them with a variety of payment methods, then they would probably be sold out within hours, even though you can only get one of these per customer. Nintendo could make some good money here if they simply sold these things normally, but I suppose they either don't want to or they simply couldn't meet the demand.

And of course the problems don't stop there. If you want to purchase multiple of the free My Nintendo reward items, then you can't, because you can only redeem one My Nintendo code at a time. So, for three free items you have spent the full shipping costs for each single item and Nintendo will send them to you in three separate packages all at once. That's 2021 Nintendo economics for you.

Well, I also needed a replacement for my Wii U GamePad charger cable, so at least I could order this with one of the free items. I also want to purchase the Super Nintendo controller for Nintendo Switch, but it wasn't available right now, where I will do this later, maybe with one of the other Legend of Zelda thingies I haven't gotten yet.

You might be wondering about that, where I've only got the Skyward Sword postcards right now. And even those were basically just a test order, where I wanted to make sure that everything works with my new Master Card. The My Nintendo codes only last for 48 hours and you can only get one, so if something had gone wrong, then it wouldn't have been the biggest loss.

Still, these postcards are actually very nice. They are quite big and of high quality. I doubt that anyone would ever really use them as postcards, especially since you only get the one pack, but they are some perfect small art pieces to be framed and used as decoration.

The Dodo Airlines bag is for an inside joke that I have with someone, where this is just perfect. I've only recently got into Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but there is a reason why my island is called "Dodolint" and why I also had to get this bag. Sadly, it's slightly damaged on the logo, but I suppose that's what you can expect from something free these days.

Moving on to the main attraction and the actual reason why I finally got into this whole My Nintendo Store thing: the "Nintendo Switch Card Case 8". If you're dumbfounded by this, then I won't blame you and I know that there are many third party accessories like this available. But I wanted a card case that has the same shape and look as the normal Nintendo Switch game cases, where to my knowledge this is the only one.

This case fits perfectly into your normal Nintendo Switch collection, while being highly practical for swapping between games that you keep playing more regularly, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. I keep my Nintendo Switch boxes right next to my Nintendo Switch, so switching games was already quick and easy enough, but it's still somewhat inconvenient if you want to keep the cartridges in the right cases all the time, because you always have to take out two of them. Can't have that Skyward Sword HD inside my Super Smash Bros. Ultimate case, even if it's just temporary.

But with this baby you can keep all the games that you might play currently much more organized and accessible. And since this is made by Nintendo, it has the same regular card slots inside, only eight of them at once. To my experience, the third party stuff tends to be much tighter, which makes removing the cards harder, potentially even damaging them. And I don't want that.

It also comes with two changeable covers, where both the inside and outside is different. Ideally, they would have send you two boxes as well, but it's not like I'm ever playing more than eight games at once. And the games I don't play can go back into their normal boxes for the time being.

But I'm really happy with this item overall. It was a must-have for my Nintendo Switch collection and the reason why I initiated this haul.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Skyward Sword: Official Soundtrack Announced

Well, it's happening again. Japan is getting an amazing soundtrack collection for the latest Zelda release, in this case The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD. But the 187 tracks also include the Wii title screen music, so everything is there.

There are two editions of the soundtrack, where the Limited Edition (as shown above) comes with a small music box. You can find all the info and more pictures on NintendoEverything and Nintendo of Japan.

This looks to be on par with the beautiful soundtrack collection for Breath of the Wild, which got released in 2018. It's a similar box and the same number of discs, while the Limited Edition also comes with a musical extra. I like the little music box more, though.

If I still had anything that played music CDs, other than my 16 year old Xbox, then I would probably try to get my hands on this. But since this only gets released in Japan, it's quite some effort for just a pretty box. Let's see...

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Zelda Contents?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the second most successful Nintendo Switch title, having outsold the evergreen Breath of the Wild by ten million already, and the biggest game in the Animal Crossing franchise. Still, there are lot of things missing from previous titles, like the contents from The Legend of Zelda, which includes special clothing, furniture and even villagers.

Almost all of this was present in Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS, where most of it stemmed from the "Welcome amiibo" update, as well as the "Nintendo set". Next to the four amiibo-exclusive villagers, there were 26 clothing items, 15 furniture items and more. This is actually one of the biggest crossovers the Zelda series has seen so far, next to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

On the crossover wiki you can find an excellent overview of all of this, but below is also a list of all the Zelda things in New Leaf.

graphics of Ganon, Wolf Link, Epona and Medli from New Leaf

Villagers:

  • Ganon (cranky pig)
  • Wolf Link (smug wolf)
  • Epona (peppy horse)
  • Medli (normal bird)

 

Outfits:

  • Epona outfit
  • Fi's Mask
  • Ganondorf wig, Ganondorf outfit, Ganondorf pants
  • Hero's Cap, Hero's Tunic, Hero's Pant, Hero's Boots
  • Link hat, Link outfit
  • Majora's Mask
  • Makar's Mask
  • Medli outfit
  • Midna's Mask
  • New Hero wig, New Hero's outfit
  • Outset Shirt
  • Princess Zelda Dress, Zelda Wig
  • Sheik mask, Sheik outfit, Sheik pants
  • Tingle Hood
  • Wolf Link outfit

 

Furniture:

  • Bomb
  • Cucco Ornament
  • Fairy Bottle
  • Gossip Stone
  • Heart
  • Heart Container
  • Hero of Time Scroll
  • Hylian Shield
  • Hyrulean Treasure
  • Lon Lon Milk
  • Master Sword
  • Piece of Heart
  • Rupee
  • Termina's Moon
  • Triforce

 

Wallpaper / Flooring:

  • Hyrule Wall
  • Zelda Floor


Now, in New Horizons you can get a Leaf Mask and a pair of maracas for an excellent Hestu impression.  You can also craft an ocarina and play random notes on it. While these things already have a Zelda vibe to them, none of the above items have made a return yet, which is quite suspicious.

But earlier this year the game got an update for the 35th Anniversary of Super Mario Bros., where items from the Super Mario franchise became available for purchase, including the very useful pipe. And it seems likely that Nintendo will do the same for the 35th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, where they could bring back most of the missing Zelda contents from New Leaf and maybe even add some new Zelda goodies.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Started Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Me in Animal Crossing next to Saharah in front of Anabelle's house

It has been a quiet month so far and this probably won't change, unless Nintendo is delivering one of their September Nintendo Directs this year. But we probably will have to wait until their next big release, which is Metroid Dread on October 8th, together with the Nintendo Switch OLED model.

In any case, it's the perfect time to catch up with some (Nintendo Switch) games – whether that's games in your backlog or games that you've wanted to play for a while, it doesn't really matter, as long as it's fun. In my case it wasn't something on the backlog, but a game that I've been looking at for quite some time now and finally decided to try it myself – Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

This was one of the most popular games in 2020 and while the hype is already over, it's still worthwhile to get into this game. As a Zelda fan you will most likely have heard about Animal Crossing before – may it be from Super Smash Bros., from the Zelda cameo items that are in those games or simply because it's from Nintendo and very popular.

Anyway, Animal Crossing is a rather simple and open loan repayment social simulation with anthropomorphic animals, where you gather materials and design your own village or, in case of New Horizons, your own island. It's in many ways like Harvest Moon, just without crops, livestock and the pressure of making as much money as quickly as possible. The latter still helps, but you can really do things in your own pace.

Because I enjoyed the early Harvest Moon games and because I like Nintendo games in general, I've always been toying with the idea of playing Animal Crossing, but I was usually put off by its real time aspect and its usage of events, because I hate missing things in games and I don't want to feel inclined to play a game at specific times.

Now, in the era of free-to-play games with constant events, daily challenges, and all that stuff, this is just business as usual and was especially problematic in Pocket Camp, where my first contact with the franchise wasn't a good one. However, New Horizons is far from as bad and demanding, where the game lets you do most things at your own pace. Plus, you can change the clock of your Nintendo Switch if things need be, though I personally want to avoid this and find it exciting to try the game at different times of the day whenever I can.

Also, I've learned that the mindset of "gotta collect it all" isn't really appropriate in a game of such a scale, since you have limited space anyway and you should just focus on the things that you want to have. It's still fun to catch and collect all the different fossils, insects, fish, sea creatures and art pieces in order to complete the museum, however, where this can be compared to your typical collectible quest and is entirely different from getting furniture, decorations, clothing and so on.

me on a bamboo mystery island

In fact, a lot of it feels like an Adventure game and even reminds me of Zelda to an extent, at least in the early game. There you can only access a part of the island, but then you get the vaulting pole to cross rivers and later the ladder to climb up to higher levels, which both gives you access to other fish, insects and resources. Animal Crossing: New Horizons really makes me want a new top-down Zelda game that is more extensive and lets you do these things inside a beautifully crafted world, together with all the other goodness that comes with a Zelda game... But this game will have to do for now and also comes with the merit of enjoying your island life in more personal and creative ways.

The island theme really hits a nerve, where islands in video games have a special place in my heart. After all, I got into gaming on the GameBoy and its various digital islands, like Mario Land, Kitchen Island and of course Koholint. It's also something that I've enjoyed a lot in other games, like The Wind Waker or Phantom Hourglass. Speaking of, visually this feels very similar to the Nintendo DS Zelda games, both in tone and how everything is laid out in the world design.

It even crossed my mind to recreate something from these games, like Mercay Island, or some part of Link's Awakening, like the Animal Village. But of course I wouldn't be the first to do any of this and instead of being fixated on remaking environments from other video games, I just want to do whatever I feel like...

 

The Legendary Plan

So, my island is called "Dodolint", as a pun on Dodo (Airlines) and Koholint, with a Windfish pixel art as its flag (based on the Nightmare boss chamber in Link's Awakening DX) and the Metroid "Get Item" melody as its island tune, for now. It's still all in the early stages, where I don't have much to show and the whole Zelda theme hasn't come fruition yet. I'm mostly focused on collecting all the different critters that are available right now, as well as planning my overall island by moving around buildings and thinking about what villagers I want in the future.

My hopes are that Nintendo will release a big Zelda update in the next months, which brings back most of the Zelda contents from Animal Crossing: New Leaf, including the four Zelda villagers: Epona, Ganon, Medli and Wolf Link. Those are hilarious and I'm really banking on them making a comeback later on. After all, New Horizons has almost all past villagers with a few exceptions, where they've already brought back some of the missing Welcome amiibo villagers with the 1.9.0 update earlier this year...

But I'm really just preparing things for such an update, so that I have everything in place once it's available. As for the rest, I've made a list of other four personality types with the villagers that should fit a Zelda theme the best (check out all of them on the wiki):

  • Ankha (snooty cat)
  • Lucky (lazy dog)
  • Phoebe (sisterly ostrich)
  • Sterling (jock eagle)

Sterling is the most obvious one, because he's a knight that comes with a medieval theme. Then there's Lucky, who is essentially a Gibdo dog and even came with Zelda items in his house in earlier Animal Crossing titles, where this is probably the villager with the biggest Zelda connection besides the four ones that directly came from Zelda.

Ankha has an Egyptian theme that fits an Adventure island generally quite well, plus you have desert temples and an entire Egyptian tribe (with the Cobble Kingdom) in the Zelda games, so it's not a bad fit in any case. Phoebe doesn't have such a strong connection as the others on this list, but at least the inside of her house is a lava cave. Plus, she looks really cool.

As for the remaining two slots, I might just rotate these or pick whatever I like best, where currently I'd like to get Coco. But let's see... Luckily, you can use amiibo / amiibo cards for all of these, so getting these villagers will be easy enough, because with amiibo you can replace an existing villager of your choice at any time. Otherwise you would need the right villager to leave and then find the right villager in time by using Nook Miles Tickets. Or be very lucky with the campsite... Speaking of being lucky...


The Bumpy Start

While this is all fun and exciting, getting into the game was actually quite awkward, because a lot of it is left to chance. You might enjoy getting something completely randomized, but if you have specific ideas for your island, then the lack of options is really frustrating.

You're only given the choice between four different randomly generated island and you can't trigger a new seed. If you want different choices, you will have to restart the entire game and all the other dialogues with Tom Nook, where you enter your name and so on. And even then it will be random what starting villagers you get, what fruits and flowers you have, among other things...

me and my starting villagers, Fuchsia and Billy, at a bridge ceremony with Tom Nook

Here it helps a lot to know which things can be changed later on and therefore don't matter, like the starting villagers. And what things can't be changed and therefore will stay like they are forever. Overall the entire terrain of the island can be changed, with the exception of the location of the service center. So, anything else on the "inside" of the island shouldn't really matter, but of course it's still nice to have something that you like somewhat, because it will take a long time until you can start terraforming.

The shoreline, however, is completely fixed and you won't be able to change any of it. This includes the location and size of your pier, the spit, and coastal rocks, as well as the location of the river mouths, the secret beach and the airport. The latter will also have one of four colors, which can't be changed for some reason. And while the flowers don't really matter, your main fruit does.

So, these are a lot of variables and the game doesn't really let you make any choices, other then the four islands it has generated for you. It would have been nice to generate new ones on the spot. It also would have been nice to see what fruits and airport color these islands have in advance. And ideally, you could still change the latter later on.

Well, once you've got past all of this and finally made a choice that you're somewhat happy with (you probably won't get it all, unless you're insanely patient), then the game really doesn't cover itself in "quality of life" measures. While it's supposed to be a laid-back experience, where you dilly-dally through the game, it still should respect your time more than it does.

Like, why can't I craft multiple of the same item at once? Why don't manila clams stack? Why is Harvey's island the only place where I can put things into my storage from afar? These and many other similar questions can be simply answered with "because Nintendo", where we all know that they are terribly stubborn about not making things more comfortable...

But overall the early game is really enjoyable and adventurous with its theme of camping on a deserted island. Of course things get more and more urbanized the more you play, where some of the nature charm is inevitably lost, but at least it feels like you're making some progress.

me at Anabelle's house again with Pekoe sitting next to a tree during the night

Let's see how far my efforts will go. I probably won't be blogging more about this, unless we really get a big Zelda update for the game. If this were to be the case, then Animal Crossing: New Horizons would naturally have more relevance for this blog and it would be interesting to show some of the Zelda-themed things. Until then...