Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Tears of the Kingdom Adventure Log, Entry 22

evening view of Hyrule Castle and Hebra Mountains

It's been two weeks since my last update and I haven't really played much in this time, because I lacked motivation. My need to play this game is slowly returning, though, which is good, but overall it feels weird to have this happen – multiple times – with a new Zelda game.

Well, it also took me the entirety of 2017 to complete Breath of the Wild, which included some breaks, but there I was waiting for the DLC and I was finished with the main story and all shrines after two and a half months. The rest of the time was exclusively spent looking for Koroks, but I'm not even at the point yet where I'm actively searching for Koroks in Tears of the Kingdom, I only pick up the ones I find on the way...

Anyway, this Adventure Log has been a story of distractions and this post won't be an exception. So, I haven't been to the Wind Temple yet, but I've been to the last stable, completed a variety of armor sets, and also collected the last Tears of the Dragon... So, there were a couple more milestones achieved before going into the Rito storyline.

with Shadow Sidon looking at the tower on Mount Lanayru from Zora's Domain

Well, at first I've been back to Zora's Domain for a bit, because I didn't have the Lightscale Trident yet and was looking for all the different Zora weapons to take pictures of them. And completing Hyrule Compendium will also be another massive task that is still waiting for me. I try to cover what I can during my adventures, but I haven't even started getting into all the materials yet. It's insane.

A Tale of Tails

After postponing this for weeks or maybe months, I've finally entered Rito Village to find that the daughters of Kass have grown quite a bit, which is nice to see. They even have taken over the shops in the village.

Notts singing

So, you can just buy the full Snowquill set here, like you could in Breath of the Wild. Since you get the Archaic Warm Greaves during the tutorial on the Great Sky Island, there was obviously no immediate need for me to get any cold-resistance armor, especially since you can also use Zant's Helmet to protect yourself from freezing effects. It's still useful, because you can enhance it, unlike those items, where I definitely should have done so a bit earlier.

But I had to "quickly" go and enhance it first, which is where the distractions began again... At this point in the game you want to have three stars on everything, because of the silver enemies, but in this case you need nine Fire-Breath Lizalfos Tails. Should be easy enough, right? Set your sensor, go around Death Mountain with an ice weapon, and you should be done quickly...

Wrong! I've spent an entire evening to collect these things. Problem is that obtaining the tails from Lizalfos is entirely luck-based, so you won't always get one from defeating them. At first it went pretty well, where I got one after another. But then I've defeated 20 Fire-Breath Lizalfos in a row without getting a single one. This made me even speculate that there is a limit for how many you can get, which won't refill until the next Blood Moon. But maybe I've just been super unlucky...?

Worst thing is that you need 30 more for the four-star enhancements... This was also the case in Breath of the Wild, but I don't remember things being so bad there, at least not for this. And I've fully enhanced every armor twice in that game.

In general, I'm completely against such luck-based drops, no matter what. Grinding the same enemies over and over again, just in the hopes of getting an item that they may or may not drop, shouldn't be a thing in any video game. It's despicable. The Wind Waker did it right, back when such materials were introduced, because you could always get the goods with your Grappling Hook. Then Skyward Sword came and messed it all up...

To be fair, there are certain materials that you will always obtain from defeating enemies in Tears of the Kingdom (and Breath of the Wild), like the horns or in case of the Lizalfos the talons. But there are still the rare drops. With the next game they really should simplify this whole system. Make it one material per enemy and make it always drop. Done.

flying above Death Mountain together with the Light Dragon and Dinraal

Now, the above screenshot sums up the better part of that evening. Zeldra and Dinraal keep appearing above Death Mountain and since you also need a lot of dragon parts for all the armor enhancements, especially for the neat stuff, I've kept approaching them to feel at least somewhat productive with my time.


To Tabantha Tundra

I've ended up being so frustrated by the effort that it took to enhance the Snowquill set that I've built a hoverbike and just flew it right into the massive storm cloud above Hebra... In the least this offered an impressive sight of what's still to come with the flying Rito ships.

on the hoverbike into the storm!!!

Well, you just crash when you try to go inside the cloud... I'm not sure what I was expecting here, but it was worth a try and I mainly did it for fun. Ultimately, I ended up in the northern end of the Tabantha snowfields, because the geoglyph and the tower there were acting like beacons in the dark snow storm.

flying towards the Pikida Stonegrove Skyview Tower

With this particular tower you don't have to do anything to activate it, which was interesting... But I suppose that it acts as a bit of a challenge should you come from the ground, because it's on top of one of these giant mushroom-shaped ice rocks.

It might also be a tower that you're supposed to find early in the game, since the game is sending you to the Rito first, but there will be quite the difficulty spike nearby, where I fought my first Frost Gleeok in the game. Looks cool.

South Tabantha Snowfield Frost Gleeok

There are some ruins there for a relatively easy fight. And having enhanced the Snowquill set to three stars also helped a lot here, so the effort from the other evening wasn't for nothing. This was also to clear the path, where I've already spotted the golden horse to the north, but I thought it best to first defeat the dragon before I go and tame that special horse:

feeding golden apples to the wild golden horse

I already knew of its existence from my Zelda's house in Hateno, where you can find a picture of this horse, but it actually turned out to be Zelda's new horse, as a replacement for the white one. It's not even too great, the starts are worse than Epona's:

Hypona - 4 speed, 4 strenght, 3 stamina, 2 pull, gentle temperament

With a golden horse I expected everything to be on five stars by default... Of course you can now increase these stats via Malanya, but I haven't bothered with horses in quite some time. Bringing the Stable Trotters to the last Great Fairy, Mija, was one of the few exceptions, because you need to pull their wagon with something.

pulling the Breezer with Athena through the snowfield

Otherwise the Zonai vehicles, first and foremost the hoverbike, have made horses fully obsolete. It also doesn't help that the Ancient Bridle and Saddle don't seem to have returned. Or at least I haven't found them yet...

But there were a couple of milestones achieved here, where I'm slowly but surely making progress towards the finish. Bringing the golden horse to the Snowfield Stable completed the line of side adventures with Penn, where you have to investigate rumors about Zelda around all the stables. So, this finally scored me the Froggy Hood and enhancing the entire set to two stars grants you the "Slip Proof" set bonus, where you can climb on wet surfaces without limitations.

Finally! It's been what now? Six and a half years? This is how long I've wanted this ability, though it would have been a lot more useful in Breath of the Wild, where this armor set should have been in that game already. There were also some moments in Tears of the Kingdom where I was craving this, but in the skies and the Depths you don't need it at all and if all fails you can use Zonai devices. I also won't have any use for where I'm going next, which is mainly the snowy areas...

Four Stars Froggy Hood from Mija

The other milestone is finally having access to all four Great Fairies. I don't think I will pay Mija a second visit, however, because her position is super inconvenient, where you have to travel quite a bit from the nearest shrine and there are also Bokoblins on horses in your path. It's like she still doesn't want any visitors, where I found her location in Breath of the Wild much more convenient. But in both games Cotera is my go-to fairy.

In addition, I got the Monster-Control-Crew Fabric from participating in the battle at Hebra, which was the last one I had to attend. So, a lot is coming together in this final area, in my case.

Phantom from the Past

Another goal in this area is the North Lomei Labyrinth, where the sky labyrinth is called "North Lomei Castle Top Floor" for some reason. Seems like they forget to update the translation here. You have to melt your way through various ice masses in the surface labyrinth, which is new, but I like how ice now melts so much faster than it did in Breath of the Wild. Making a fire almost instantly makes it pop.

Phantom Ganon

There is also a permanent Gloom Spawn near the center, where I guess the idea is to have it chase you through the labyrinth, but those days are over. It's even worth it to take the fight by now, because the Demon King's Bow does 60 damage for me and it has great range, so it's really good for fighting Gleeoks.

This encounter also gave me hope that the reward will really be worth it in the end, where my idea was that the completed Evil Spirit set will protect you from the Gloom Spawn somehow, but that doesn't seem to be the case...

opening a chest inside the Lomei Labyrinth wearing the Evil Spirit set with burning flames right behind me

It's pretty much the same thing as in Breath of the Wild, no enhancements and disguise only for stal enemies. Though, I suppose the increased bone damage might be much better in this game, since the bone weapons all have pretty good damage values.

Maybe, just maybe, this set also prevents the random Gloom Spawns from spawning, since you're basically disguising yourself as a fellow Phantom Ganon. I've only tested it with a permanent one and it's still chasing you. And to be fair, it wouldn't even make much sense, since the Phantom should know its kind. Even if you could prevent the spawns, the fact that you cannot enhance it would only mean that everything else will kill you. So, I don't think that this was worth the effort, not in the slightest.

Tears to the Past

Two more geoglyphs were waiting for me around the Tabantha Tundra, which were the last ones. I first got the "Ganon" at the Northern Snowfield and finally the "castle" at the Tabantha Hills. Impa kept telling me to get that one next, since this leads to the second memory, and I probably should have listened, because it was quite unspectacular for the finish. But I liked how it takes place on the infamous ledge in front of the Shrine of Resurrection, which gives you a nice view of a Hyrule where its nature remains mostly untouched and also takes you back to where everything began with Breath of the Wild. As for the other...

I might be able to find out more still, there is even one memory that I don't have yet, so some of these questions may get answered while I keep playing. For others I may have to wait until the next Hyrule Warriors...

Recall resonating with the last tear

Like in Breath of the Wild, you will receive one final memory after collecting the others, which shows what happened to Zelda at the end of her journey, much like how the last memory in Breath of the Wild shows Link's demise.

I'd love to see more of this in a new Hyrule Warriors game. What they have done with Age of Calamity would also work so well with this setting – even better, because time travel is already an established element here and not just something that comes out of nowhere with some Guardian in a box from Zelda's awakened powers. Though, at least Tears of the Kingdom explains that Zelda has inherited both the time and light powers from Sonia and Rauru, so this gives some more credibility to what happened in Age of Calamity.


The Eighth Heroine

Before I made this post, I decided to find two more shrines to bring my current total to 136, which is the number of shrines Breath of the Wild had at the end with The Champions' Ballad. There is still more to find here and the shrines were for the most part really great. It makes me long for a Shrine Maker as much as I want a new Hyrule Warriors now, all based on Tears of the Kingdom.

Well, spotting any missing shrines on the surface is easy enough when you have all 120 Lightroots activated. That completely gives it away and in this case I went to the west end of the Gerudo Highlands, where I haven't been to this area yet, mainly because I wanted the Snowquill set first, which I do have now.

at the edge of the Gerudo Highlands in the sun

The Mayamats Shrine is one of those good examples with its puzzle, "A Route for a Ball". While I didn't have any trouble to solve it, I still thought that the solutions were really clever, with a good mix of using Recall and the Ultrahand. And it beats just getting an undeserved blessing from Rauru, like at the Otutsum Shrine a bit to the north. I'm not sure what that was about, though technically the Shrines of Light are there to aid you, not to test you, so getting these random blessings aren't necessarily wrong from a lore standpoint. But I still feel like I got robbed of a proper shrine.

giant sand statue with opened face

At the end of this road lied the statue of the Eighth Heroine, where you now can open its face with a Mirror Shield puzzle. It's a nice throwback to the Spirit Temple from Ocarina of Time and it gives you Tingle's Hood, where I have completed yet another armor set.

But... does the game want to tell you here that Tingle was the Eighth Heroine? I'm still a bit disappointed that it wasn't Zelda, after all, because this was such a nice theory, but Tingle would be a new low for that story... At least it explains why they definitely wouldn't let him into Gerudo Town. Gotta keep the children safe.


  • Sage's Vows: 4/5
  • Sage's Wills: 15/20
  • Main Quests: 17/23
  • Side Adventures: 55/60
  • Shrine Quests: 25/31
  • Side Quests: 100/139
  • Memories: 17/18
  • Towers: 14/15
  • Shrines: 136
  • Lightroots: 120/120
  • Caves: 124/147
  • Korok Seeds: 440
  • Schema Stones: 11
  • Yiga Schematics: 32
  • Old Maps: 15
  • Map Completion: 73.67%

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Tears of the Kingdom – Princess Zelda and Gerudo King Fabrics

Princess Zelda fabric on the Paraglider

Gerudo King fabric on the Paraglider

Nintendo has shared images of the fabrics that you can get from the upcoming Zelda and Ganondorf amiibo for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. They are already in the game, so this isn't something new to see, because they had been data-mined months ago. I suppose you can even get them via NFC chips right now, but I haven't bothered to try this.

The amiibo are releasing on November 3rd, as announced in the Nintendo Direct as the only bit of Zelda news.

Booster Course Pass: Four More Characters!

artwork of Diddy, Funky, Pauline and Peachette on Daisy Circuit

In today's Nintendo Direct they have revealed one of the new courses in wave 6 of the Booster Course Pass for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Wii Daisy Circuit. And on this course they showcased a total of four new characters with Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, Pauline, and Peachette.

Well, this was unexpected in multiple ways... Nintendo must really follow the predictions, because they deliberately chose a course here that rarely anyone saw coming for the final wave. And yes, there are people out there who have predicted Wii Daisy Circuit to make it, but this comes after we already had a surprise course from Mario Kart Wii and GCN Daisy Cruiser in wave 5, so this seemed unlikely for multiple reasons. (Update: Actually, with Wii Daisy Circuit there is now a circuit track from every mainline Mario Kart game present in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. So, there was a pattern here.)

I suppose that this will replace GCN Mushroom Bridge in the end. It could also be that Wii Rainbow Road won't make it into the final wave, but this would soft-confirm a second Booster Course Pass for me, because there is no way that they are not ending things with that particular course. And if we're not getting two more GameCube courses any longer, then this will allow us to re-arrange the remaining courses a bit more meaningfully:

This way we'd have a Bowser Castle and a Raindow Road at the very end, which would be great.

As for the characters, they got the three most popular candidates with Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, and Pauline, all at once. That's worthy of a celebration and most people should be very happy about this. But why they opted for Peachette instead of Dixie Kong, who is also in Mario Kart Tour, is beyond me. This could have been the perfect Donkey Kong wave, character-wise...

And we already have Baby Peach, Cat Peach, and Pink Gold Peach for more than enough Peach variants. Though, technically this is a variant of Toadette, but she looks like Peach anyway. It seems a bit like a waste, especially when you have characters in Tour like Dixie Kong, Nabbit, or even Captain Toad.

Of course it wouldn't matter that much if this wasn't the end of the DLC. And maybe it isn't the end after all...?

I'm curious to see how the character select screen now looks like. There is only space for two more characters at the moment, where some people are suggesting that Peachette and Funky Kong are alt characters. But why would they have to be alts, while Cat Peach or Dry Bowser aren't? It would be disrespectful to these drivers and not make much sense in the overall picture.

Maybe they have put other characters together (like the villagers, who used to be one slot on the Wii U) to make space, where the most popular candidates are Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach. It was observed that ever since wave 2 you won't get Mario, Tanooki Mario and Metal Mario in the same CPU match together. Same with Peach, Cat Peach and Pink Gold Peach. This could imply that they are internally handled as alts already and not as their own characters any longer.

Or maybe they simply added another row or column. But this would mean that there is now space for four or five more characters, where this would be hinting at more DLC coming. Well, let's see how the sixth wave is going to look in full, but maybe they will already have announced Booster Course Pass Vol. 2 by the time. There are enough courses and characters left in Mario Kart Tour to keep this going in 2024 with three more waves.

Nintendo Direct September 2023 Roundup

Swordfighter Peach

The Super Mario Direct just came to end. You could already make the same joke the last time, where the year 2023 has a gigantic focus on the Mario franchise, following the success of the Super Mario Bros. Movie. (Which was very entertaining, I loved it!)

My favorite part was the Princess Peach Showtime! game, which surprised me quite a lot. While the different costumes are similar to Kirby's copy abilities, it has a lot more style and I love what they are doing with the character here. So, I'm willing to give this a try. Otherwise there was the quite surprising wave 6 announcement for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but I will talk about this separately.

The rumored F-Zero title turned out to be F-Zero 99, which must feel like a huge slap in the faces of the fans right now. But it could also be a first step into bringing the franchise back. Since it's "free", I might check it out, but I personally thought that this is a dumb idea. But dumb can be fun.

Oh, and the Splatoon 3 DLC is really stylish. I never really got into the franchise, because it always looked like something that appeals more to the generation Fortnite, but if it had been more like Side Order from the beginning, I probably would be a big fan today. This looks fresh.

No news about Zelda at all (except for the release date of the upcoming amiibo), which was expected, and no news about Metroid either, which is a shame, but not all too shocking. Maybe next time.

Well, I will go back to playing Tears of the Kingdom now... It's almost like nothing has changed in the last three months.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Nintendo Direct September 2023 Predictions

Nintendo Direct logo

Here we go, the obligatory September Direct was just announced two and a half hours ago and will air tomorrow at the same time, so let's see where we're at. There have been a variety of rumors, like a potential remaster of F-Zero GX, but most of it won't be relevant to this blog. So, let's just go through my hot topics...

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

It has already been confirmed last week that we won't be getting any expansions for the game (see here), so that's off the table. But there is still the chance that they might do something to celebrate the game's success, where for example they could add the missing Master Mode via a free update. But I personally don't expect anything at this point.

I'm also not expecting any other Zelda announcements right now, because it's a bit early for that, but ports of The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD are always a possibility in between and they could announce those for early 2024.

Another possibility, which could closely follow Tears of the Kingdom, is a "Shrine Maker". This is something that I already wanted out of Breath of the Wild and I will talk about my new ideas in more detail later, given that Nintendo won't already make this a huge topic tomorrow.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

The last three Nintendo Directs all teased the next wave of the Booster Course Pass and this one won't be any different. Again, I expect them to show us one of the new courses again, probably Piranha Plant Cove or the pipe track with the severe naming issues, and the two last characters. Oh, and maybe we will get some additional courses for Battle Mode with wave 6. This would be a nice ending and also something they would show in the Direct...

The characters will reveal a lot about the future of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, whether there could be more waves coming in a second volume of the Booster Course Pass or nothing at all. Everyone wants Diddy Kong and Pauline, where the absence of one of them could be an indication of more DLC coming. Especially Diddy Kong, because people will riot if he still didn't make it into Mario Kart 8 after nine whole years...

So, I'm going to predict Chargin' Chuck and Nabbit, just because I want to see that extra DLC coming and get the majority of missing courses from Mario Kart Tour ported over.

Earlier this week we've learned that they are wrapping up development of the mobile title, where the Booster Course Pass will come to an end at the same time and will ultimately include all the new courses from Tour. So, it doesn't look too well, but I'm still a little hopeful.

Metroid Prime

Now, that Tears of the Kingdom has been released, the last big already-announced game for Nintendo Switch that everyone is waiting for is Metroid Prime 4. They technically never announced it for Nintendo Switch, though, so it could become one of the first titles for the successor console, but people would love to get a first teaser in any case. If it's for the next console, they won't show us any ingame footage, however.

And they might want to keep going with those remasters of the Metroid Prime Trilogy, where I wouldn't mind another shadow-drop of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes Remastered.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Tears of the Kingdom – Master Mode?

artwork of a Blue Boss Bokoblin

There has been an extensive interview by Famitsu with Aonuma and Fujibayashi, the producer and director of Tears of the Kingdom, which goes into various topics, like the creation of the Depths, the new abilities, the story ideas, and even the timeline placement. But probably the biggest takeaway comes at the end, where Aonuma confirms that they are done. They have moved on and have no plans for additional content, so we won't be getting any DLC for Tears of the Kingdom.

And this wouldn't be all too surprising if it weren't for the missing Master Mode. Otherwise this game feels truly complete and it's only natural that the Zelda team wanted to move on after developing on the same engine and world for over ten years. They should be focused on the next Zelda installment for Nintendo's upcoming hardware and all the possibilities that come with it.

Now, selling the same type of DLC again would also be lame, where many of the features from the Expansion Pass for Breath of the Wild are already included in Tears of the Kingdom. For example, all of the DLC armor pieces are there (or almost all of them, because I haven't found the Nintendo Switch Shirt yet), the Hero's Path Mode is there, as well as the Travel Medallion. And arguably some of these things never should have been paid DLC in the first place.

So, if they still were to add a Master Mode, there is a chance that they would do this as a free update and not as part of a paid Expansion Pass, which apparently won't be happening anyway. They may have even prepared such a mode a while ago and are simply waiting for the right timing to release it, to create some more buzz around the game and to get people back into the game who have already finished it. So, it's a possibility, despite these news. I'm not holding my breath, however...

The reason why there is no Master Mode could also lie in some design challenges, because they can't just simply repeat what they did in Breath of the Wild:

  • Enemies regenerate health.
  • Enemies are more aggressive and observant.
  • Most enemies will have ranked up by one tier.
  • Golden enemies get introduced as a new tier.
  • Floating platforms with additional enemies and chests appear all over the world.

The main issue here are the new horns that have grown on the enemies with three or more tiers, which are dependent on the tier. On the one hand the horns can be used as a fusing material, where generally this would create a much better balance than the Master Mode in Breath of the Wild did, because defeating stronger enemies will always provide you with materials for creating equally stronger weapons. On the other hand they are also required for enhancing armor, where Nintendo would have to make sure that you can still find enough of the basic horns in Master Mode. Having a single red Bokoblin somewhere in the Gerudo Highlands won't cut it this time.

This can be solved by only upgrading some of the enemies, but not all of them. Adding stronger enemies in addition to what's there is also always an option, like that infamous White-Maned Lynel on the Great Plateau. Golden enemies may even work better as special encounters, similar to how they used to be in Oracle of Seasons and The Minish Cap.

Part of the reason is that they would also need golden horns that look even more threatening than the stuff on the silver enemies. And these new horns wouldn't be required for any armor enhancements, unless they add some new items exclusive to Master Mode, so in the end they wouldn't be as valuable as their silver counterparts – they would purely be there for the strong fusion attack power. This isn't necessarily a problem and may even be true for some of the existing horns already (I wasn't able to check it all yet), but it adds to the idea that the golden enemies shouldn't be all too common in the end.

Keep in mind that they didn't bother with adding the golden enemies to Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity either, where they might follow the example here and not care as much about them as some of the fans, like myself, do. Of course these are completely different projects, but both teams had been working closely together for the new Hyrule Warriors and there may have been an influence on this topic.

Another trait of enemies in Master Mode was the regeneration, where this wouldn't work with bosses that want you to destroy a number of weakspots, first and foremost Colgera. But this was already an issue with Dark Beast Ganon in Breath of the Wild, where it simply didn't regenerate and the same solution could apply here: just make exceptions.

Otherwise, adding floating platforms probably wouldn't add much value to a game world that was already enhanced vertically. It also wouldn't hurt and with the Zonai devices there are many new possibilities for this than there were in Breath of the Wild.

Gloom Spawn trying to reach Link on a sky rock

In fact, with a Master Mode they have countless of possibilities to make the game harder. For example, there could be more places where you have to face Gloom Spawns and they could also appear more often. But this could potentially make the game more annoying than harder...

There is also the question of the connectivity to Breath of the Wild, where it transfers your horses and the Picture of the Champions. Ideally, it would check for a Master Mode save file there, but fall back to a Normal Mode save file if there isn't one. But it technically should work like that already, because people who have exclusively played Master Mode in the previous title have been missing out with this.

So, overall it's not as simple as changing some enemy values and Nintendo may not have any interest in implementing this mode again, because it means too much effort. But if they are going to add more features to the game via updates, then Master Mode should be on the top of the list. As polished and complete as the game is otherwise, it's just not something that we should expect to happen.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Tears of the Kingdom Adventure Log, Entry 21

on a hill on Grinnden Plains with Shadow Sidon and Ghost Yunobo

This is just going to be another small update, before I proceed with the main story. I've been mostly just wandering along paths where I either haven't been yet or haven't been in a long time, picking off from my last adventures around the Faron region, slowly moving towards the northwest of the map, where the last sage is waiting. This normally wouldn't warrant its own post, but I've achieved two major milestones along the way and want to talk about them now, or else the next entry might become too large again.

Boss Brush-Off

One habit I've kept from Breath of the Wild is marking bosses on the map, where I use the sword icon for the ones that still need to be defeated, which then gets changed into either an ore for Taluses or a skull for everyone else. It would be awesome if the game(s) did something like this automatically, but that's not the case...

And the areas where I've been very early, like West Necluda, were still riddled with sword icons, so I had some cleaning up to do. I'm not sure whether the medals for beating all bosses have returned or not, but I'm still being thorough and I got one step closer to finding out, because the trail of bosses led me ultimately to that infamous Flame Gleeok on the Bridge of Hylia, which was shown in the trailers.

Bridge of Hylia Flame Gleeok

Same strategy as with the Thunder Gleeok in Faron, so I was mostly relying on Mineru to get close and land my shots. But this is a fantastic setting for one of the coolest boss fights in the series, where this certainly won't be the last time that I've fought this particular Gleeok.

Anyway, now I only need to find a Flux Construct above the Hebra region and then I will have completed all the side quests around bringing down specific overworld bosses. My theory is that the guy at Lookout Landing will let you earn the medals afterwards...

To the Edge of the World

From Lake Hylia I then was cruising towards the Tabantha Frontier and using the hoverbike to cross Hyrule is such a breeze. As much as I love the Master Cycle Zero in Breath of the Wild, it can't hold a candle to this thing when it comes to speed and the possibilities. You can go pretty much everywhere with it. And with over 2400 Zonaite in my inventory from my adventures in the Depths, it's also as convenient to summon by now. The only inconvenience is that you often need to upend the hoverbike after a landing...

flying over Hyrule Field with the hover bike

The best example of how much faster exploration in Tears of the Kingdom can be is probably the Tamio River. In Breath of the Wild you need to use a raft and there are lots of treasure chests waiting to be picked up there, so it can take a while to make your way through this area. Luckily, Tears of the Kingdom doesn't needlessly spam treasure chests and you can just use something like the hoverbike to quickly fly above the river and check for anything interesting, so the whole thing can be explored within minutes.

The game makes up for it with all its other additions, like the caves, where the one at the end of the Tamio River features another Gloom Spawn that doesn't go away. It's also wet inside, where you can't climb walls so easily, which caused a bit of a problem for me there...

Also, I didn't notice this before, but in its glowing state the Master Sword still makes the "bam!" sounds, like it did in Breath of the Wild. It's just that it rarely ever enters this glowing state, even though it often looks like it with things fused to it. But in Breath of the Wild every enemy taken over by Malice would cause this effect, mostly the Guardians, and you also could make it permanent via the Trial of the Sword, so you would experience it a lot more often. The enemies covered in Gloom in the Depths won't do the same for you, but the Gloom Spawn and what comes out of it will.

You can't go any farther.

At the west edge of the map I couldn't resist the urge to try and reach the giant landmass in the distance, but the game blocks your path right before you could land on it. This was most certainly the same already in Breath of the Wild, but with the new vehicles it's easier than ever to truly test your boundaries.

flying towards the Tabantha Frontier from the west

I've been to the Tabantha Frontier before, but I hadn't fully explored it until now, where the Lightroots in the Depths certainly helped with finding at least one of the hidden shrines here. And that shrine where you have to get a crystal from a hole in one of the craters was a neat idea.

flying towards said hole with the big Awakening head

In the end I've just used a spring from my inventory to do the trick. This worked really well, unlike the shrine where you have to giant metal balls in the right way to activate switches. For the last puzzle there I simply shot a Bomb Arrow at the switch, after I grew impatient trying to do it the "right" way.

There are many ways to cheese puzzles, but the first time I'd really like to go for the intended solution, whatever that may be. Best example is probably Addison, where I usually try to make use of whatever is in the proximity to support his signs. But theoretically you could just use a hover stone to solve most of the sigh situations easily and even keep it perfectly straight while doing so. Well, I like the charm of the slightly slanted signs everywhere, but if I'm ever going to replay this beast of a game (e.g. in a theoretical Master Mode), then I will probably just rely on the hover stones to be quicker.

Sir Stashalot

It was time for a pit stop in Korok Forest, because I've collected enough Korok Seeds to upgrade all my stashes. It takes 20 less seeds than in Breath of the Wild to do so, for a total of 421.

Hestu: "Shakalo? It looks like you've expanded all of your stashes as much as you can."

Like always, I've completed the shield stash last, where the required numbers were a bit weird. In Breath of the Wild only the last shield upgrade costs 20 Korok Seeds, but here several of the last upgrades cost 20, except for the second-to-last one, which for some reason goes back down to 15 again.

And I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't go further with this. The menus make it look like there might be a fifth line for each stash, but it's the same amount as in Breath of the Wild. Bows also have the same amount, even though the last row with the different arrow types is now gone entirely. Well, technically, it's one more slot, because you don't need to reserve a spot for the Bow of Light anymore, but they still could have let the player pump some more Korok Seeds into additional expansions there and maybe in all three categories.

Well, I don't need a reward for collecting Korok Seeds, as I have proven several times in the past, but it does feel more overwhelming here in Tears of the Kingdom than it did in Breath of the Wild. After my recent tours through the Depths I came back to the surface and realized that this is also still a thing and I'm not even halfway done yet... There is simply too much to achieve in this game, it's exhausting. At least the combination of the hoverbike with the Korok Mask should speed up looking for the last Korok Seeds significantly.

The Last Lightroot

Rito Village is a place that I have been avoiding successfully since the beginning of the game. I've been at its doorsteps early on, so I could talk to Tracey at the former stable, but I had no interest in going any further. The changed setting, where the whole village got covered in snow, is quite impressive, however, even though they already had done the same in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. I also like the frozen ponds of water, where you can break the ice. That's new.

at Rito Village, below the snow covered housings

Anyway, I haven't spoken to any Rito yet, because the first person I found was someone from the Depths exploration team, who actually exist to my surprise, because almost everyone down in the Depths turns out to be a Yiga in disguise. Well, he's pointing you right towards the chasm that leads to the last bit of the Depths where I haven't been yet, so I was in for one last detour.

You have found every lightroot. They have dispelled all of the darkness.
Dispelling Darkness Medal - An award for one who has conquered the darkness by lighting up every lightroot. This special item commemorates blessings received.

This is the first thing that I have fully completed in the game, even before activating all the Skyview Towers. But they should follow shortly after, together with the rest of the Shrines of Light.

No Glory for Master Kohga

With all the lights turned on, a familiar face was already waiting, meditating at a temple in the middle of the abandoned Rito Village Mine. The Master Kohga battles all have been quite creative so far, where the last one may be an exception:

Wielder of the Ultimate Yiga Power - Master Kohga

He's getting his own ARMS Construct, same as Mineru's, where you are basically re-enacting the Seized Construct boss fight. But I personally like this ring fight with Kohga so much more, where this is a fantastic finale for the character, and I still wish that they had something else with the Spirit Temple.

Like in Breath of the Wild, Kohga then takes himself out and afterwards you will get randomly spawning Yigas everywhere, hunting for revenge. Unlike Breath of the Wild, however, there was nothing really to gain here, just a diamond and 100 crystallized charges, as well a schema stone from the mine. It's not exactly worth the trouble and probably something where you just want to wait until the very end of the game to save yourself from the annoyance of even more enemies spawning out of nowhere...

It would have been awesome if you could have gotten Kohga's mask and have everyone in the Yiga Clan react to you as their new master. That would have made the whole chase after Kohga a worthwhile effort. Or at least something that can't be gotten elsewhere.

Anyway, other than some bosses and probably the Cap of Time, I should be finished with the Depths. Next time I will really go for the Rito and finally finish all pieces of the story.



  • Sage's Vows: 4/5
  • Sage's Wills: 13/20
  • Main Quests: 16/23
  • Side Adventures: 51/60
  • Shrine Quests: 25/31
  • Side Quests: 94/139
  • Memories: 14/18
  • Towers: 13/15
  • Shrines: 128
  • Lightroots: 120/120
  • Caves: 120/147
  • Korok Seeds: 421
  • Schema Stones: 11
  • Yiga Schematics: 32
  • Old Maps: 15
  • Map Completion: 71.30%

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Booster Course Pass: Battle Mode Courses?

Mario fighting Inkling - official Battle Mode artwork

Starting with the third wave of the Booster Course Pass for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, we got more than what was originally advertised for the DLC. The first addition was the new custom item selection and while technically this came with the free updates, this was still done as part of the work on the Booster Course Pass. The fourth wave then surprised us with the addition of new characters, where the first one was Birdo. Then we got three characters at once in wave 5, where two more characters are left to be revealed.

With waves 2, 4 and 5 they also showed us certain new courses for the very first time – Sky-High Sundae, Yoshi's Island, and Squeaky Clean Sprint – before they got added to Mario Kart Tour. This won't be possible with the last wave, because all remaining city and nitro courses for Mario Kart Tour have already been revealed...

And this makes you wonder if they have something else planned for the final wave in the Booster Course Pass, as a final surprise addition. One thing that came to mind from the very beginning are new Battle Mode Courses, where there currently are five of them in Mario Kart Tour:

  • Tour Paris Promenade B
  • Tour New York Minute B
  • GBA Battle Course 1
  • GCN Cookie Land
  • DS Twilight House

Assets for another one have been data-mined with Wii Block Plaza, where this may make it into the mobile game in one of the upcoming tours that are still left.

The Battle Mode in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe comes with eight stages currently, where the menu lists them in two lines of four courses. So, if the Battle Mode were to get extended, they probably would add four more to make it look nice, where two of the above courses wouldn't make the cut. But which ones...?

The first that may come to mind are Paris Promenade and New York Minute, simply because it may be a bit weird to get battle courses based on actual race courses again, since that is exactly what they wanted to avoid with the new Battle Mode for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. But the battle variants of these two city tracks feel quite different, because you're not getting directed any longer, so can just freely drive around the roads, kind of like in 3DS Wuhu Town. They are a lot more suited as battle mode courses than what we got in Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U.

And since both Paris Promenade and New York Minute are already part of the Booster Course Pass, it would make a lot of sense to add their battle variants as another free addition to the pass, instead of including them in some separate DLC.

DS Twilight House in Mario Kart Tour

As for the retro courses, GCN Cookie Land is way too small for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and GBA Battle Course 1 is too similar to the existing SNES Battle Course 1, where they are the likeliest to not make it. DS Twilight House also shares its theme with GCN Luigi's Mansion, but it's still quite different, since you're driving outside in a spooky castle, and it's arguably the best battle course that Mario Kart Tour has to offer at the moment. If nothing else, they could give us just this single course by re-arranging the battle courses to a 3x3 grid.

Should Wii Block Plaza truly make it into Mario Kart Tour as well, this would be a no-brainer, because there are none of these "block courses" (like N64 Block Fort or GCN Block City) in the current Battle Mode yet, where this has been a classic theme. It's also large enough for the 12 player total. This could even be this wave's course that makes it into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe before Mario Kart Tour.

They will need to add spots for the cages in Renegade Roundup, but overall it shouldn't be much of an issue to port these Battle Mode courses over, given that there will be at least one more nice fit.

Battle Mode was the big new thing in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, maybe even the selling point over Mario Kart 8 for some, where it's a shame that this hasn't seen any attention in the DLC so far. But maybe they will get back to it for the finale, where we should learn more about the last wave of the Booster Course Pass later this month.