Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Rumor: SoulCalibur VI on Switch Starring Link?

Following these rumors on Reddit, SoulCalibur VI will be announced soon and for the first time since SoulCalibur II will also be present on a Nintendo system, where Link will finally be a guest character again.

This is what the source had to say:

The game should be revealed by the end of the year and make its 21st anniversary at least. One trustworthy source told me it would be revealed at PSX. If the Switch version is not announced in a matter of fact way alongside it like multiplatform games do when revealed at a specific console's event, then it should be announced during the Nintendo Direct in January that I keep hearing about. The source who told me about the Switch version is different from the one who told me of the game's existence, I might add. They also told me that Link would return as a guest character on that version.

I'm not really interested in discussing, whether these rumors are trustworthy or not, since most of them are so superficial that they might as well be true. We will see soon enough. In general the 3rd party support for Nintendo Switch seems to be really good at the moment and whenever SoulCalibur VI is coming, a Nintendo Switch version seems very likely. And I like the thought a lot!

SoulCalibur II was one of my favorite games on the Nintendo GameCube and Link being a guest character played a big role in that. But overall I like the franchise, where I enjoyed its Beat'em Up qualities. SoulCalibur II also had this amazing Weapon Master Mode, but from what I've understood, this wasn't present in later titles. I haven't had the chance to play any of the successors, but if there's another Nintendo version in the future, I won't hesitate to purchase it.

For Link it would be nice, if his primary design is based on Breath of the Wild, but with an alternate Tunic of the Wild costume present. His arsenal should also take all the games into consideration, which came after SoulCalibur II, where they have lots of different options. But primarily I would like to see some of the technological weapons from Breath of the Wild.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Breath of the Wild EX Log, Entry 5

Picking up from where we left last time, I kept exploring the Hebra Mountain region for a little bit and found five more Koroks for a repdigit: 777 in total. That's not the most spectacular progress, but going through Hebra can take its time. I'm barely halfway done with the place...

It's actually quite the beautiful area, if the clerk of the weather is on our side, which is very rarely the case. 95% of the time it's dark and moody in this area and you can't see far. But if it's finally clear weather, going for the snowboarding ride can be very enjoyable. Who needs games like Steep, if Zelda comes included with that? Also, at least you can climb all the time here despite the weather conditions. Nothing annoys more in this game than the constant rain...

With the Koroks I'm experiencing this phenomenon of spotting a hidden Korok long before the Korok Masks senses them. It's easy with stone circles that you might even spot on the map, but also tall trees or other special spots. Checking the map helps quite a lot with estimating, where a Korok could hide. The Mask still helps, for example there was a Korok under a rock in a narrow corner that I probably would have missed without it, but I certainly wish that the radius of the mask would be larger and might even have "levels" to it. The closer you get, the more it shakes or something.

Well, at least it stops me from examining places in detail, where nothing is to be found...

There's one other thing that I wanted to talk about and that's the drops of the new Champion amiibo. You can find a complete list of all amiibo drops here and I'm a little disappointed with what the new ones have to offer aside from the Divine Helms. For starters, the actual Champion weapons, which the amiibo figurines hold, can't be gotten from them. I understand that they have these weird one-at-a-time ingame restrictions, but the weapons aren't really that good later in the game and certainly not worth the diamonds. Getting them from the amiibo therefore would have been nice and add to the completion of receiving the all tribes' weapons with the corresponding amiibo.

But even with the Champion weapons it wouldn't have been complete. In particular I'm missing the Kite Shield, which I would classify as a Rito item. However, as far as I know, you can only get three of them in the entire game. I still have the one left at Selmie's Spot, but as soon as that is gone, it's extinguished like half of the Lynel weapons...

Revali's amiibo could have been a solution for this little problem, but Nintendo didn't care for that either. Devil's in the details.

Current Progress:
  • Koroks: 777/900
  • Map Rate: 89.92%

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Breath of the Wild EX Log, Entry 4

Back to it! It's been quite a while since the last post, four months to be exact, mostly because I was busy playing Metroid instead. So, I haven't played much Breath of the Wild in the last months, only a few hours, where looking for the remaining Koroks was still the main objective... A pretty boring task, to be honest. I don't want to start Master Mode, before I'm 100% done with Normal Mode, but collecting all Korok Seeds certainly takes its time, so somewhere along the way I lost motivation and focused on the Metroid series instead.

What brought me back all of sudden was the new free update with the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 promotion content, as well as the new Divine Helms for the Champion amiibo. I got all of that already, so it wasn't much to do, but it was still something. I hope that Nintendo will keeps such small updates going in the future, especially if they keep improving the ways of integrating the new content.

I like the way, how this time they provided the "randomly placed chests" for the DLC armor. How they handled this in the Master Trials DLC was mediocre at best, but here you get these new red falling stars with red chests, where looking for them was quite fun. It also didn't feel like they just retroactively added something to the game, which wasn't there before, it felt more like a new event. So, this was handled very nicely.

Luckily I didn't have to look for other falling stars, because I already met the required materials to upgrade all four Divine Helms, which I just got from the amiibo via scam saving. Luckily I got most of them on my first or second try, so it didn't take too long. To get them all to four stars you need four Star Fragments and eight Giant Ancient Cores, but luckily I got more than plenty of both already.

Originally I hoped that they would be a nice replacement for the Ancient Helm, which looks too goofy, but they all aren't really that better. I probably like the Vah Ruta Divine Helm best, but it's still weird, especially because Link keeps this terrible mullet with all of them... Yikes.

If they just could give the Diamond Circlet the "Ancient Proficiency" set bonus and I would be happy... I also dislike, how they ended up after the first DLC armor in the sorted Armor Inventory. Why not put them next to the Ancient Armor, where they belong? They did so with Sheik's Mask and the Fierce Deity set, which are amiibo items as well. And those are the kind of small details that Nintendo keeps getting wrong with the armor.

The new Salvage gear isn't that great either and certainly not for everyone's taste. The clipping errors with shields are especially bad:

Anyway, to fill my Armor Inventory for now, I bought duplicates of both the Hylian Hood and the Hylian Tunic. One advantage is that for now I can't get any additional armor pieces from amiibo that I would just sell anyway. Saves me a little inconvenience, even though they sell for 125 Rupees. The other advantage is that it rearranges the Armor Inventory so that the Climbing set one page with everything right next to each other. Since this is the set I use the most often, I want switching to it to be as quick as possible.

Well, I used crimson dye one the duplicate hood and I already had dyed the original tunic in a navy color. What's interesting here is that these combinations actually match. So, the crimson Hylian Hood looks good with the original color Hylian Tunic:

And the navy dyed Hylian Tunic fits the original color Hylian Hood better. That's just a small observation, overall I haven't put much effort into dyeing yet, otherwise I only dyed Gerudo set into red and the Tunic of the Wild set into crimson as an homage to the classic red tunic (where the crimson Hylian Hood also looks very nice in combination).

About the Koroks, I found about twenty more since my last post. There were a couple remarkable ones that surprised me and even got me puzzled for a while. One was at Cora Lake, where you have to complete some block patterns, but I couldn't find the required magnetic block. It's somewhere under the water cleverly hidden in a blind spot, so you have to look very carefully to find it. Some people even believe this Korok to be a bug...

Following the way north I also discovered two new types of Korok puzzles, which I haven't seen before.

Since I had to travel to Hebra Peak for the Xenoblade chronicles 2 side quest, I used the opportunity to place my Travel Gate on top of the peak as a scatter point from where I dive into the snowy mountains to look for Koroks. My instinct told me that I was missing many Koroks there and they didn't betray me... I quickly found four of them and I will continue my journey through this region.

Current Progress:
  • Koroks: 772/900
  • Map Rate: 89.41%

Got the Champion amiibo

I received this package today. I got the four-pack, which was a lot more convenient than tracking down four individual amiibo. Overall this was a very amiib-heavy year for me, where I probably put more money into them than into actual video games. I got twenty in total, which includes the four 30th Anniversary amiibo from the The Legend of Zelda series that got released at the end of last year, three additional Link amiibo from June, nine Breath of the Wild amiibo (including the Champions), two Metroid amiibo and the two Bayonettas from the Super Smash Bros. series.

I actually only got 10 amiibo before this year, so I expanded my collection by 200%... And that should hopefully be enough for a while. Earlier this year I bought a large plastic box to store all my Zelda amiibo and save them from dust, but that thing is now crowded...

Anyway, here are some photos of my newest additions:

Best of the bunch is certainly Daruk. He has this nice weight to him and he feels very robust. Many amiibo appear rather fragile, which includes Mipha for example, but Daruk is rock hard. But like the other Champions he has a pole coming out of his butt, where Urbosa is easily the funniest exemplary. Well, she certainly has more balls than most men, but with her it's kind of extreme. With the Smash Zelda they even removed the "dildo" pole under her dress with later versions, but in this case Urbosa has her legs spread and the pole goes right through her crotch, which is kind of weird, but certainly doesn't let you peak... And she looks, like she's enjoying it, oh well. So, I'm not entirely sure what Nintendo was thinking here other than "stability".

Anyway, the poles aside the detail work is quite nice. Before this point I didn't even notice that each Champion has their Divine Beast symbol on their blue scarfs and skirts. They also put quite some details into the weapons, where it's a shame that apparently you can't get the Champion weapons from the amiibo.

I will try the amiibo and all their loot in the game later this evening.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Update 1.3.3 Released

Finally there's a new update for Breath of the Wild of version 1.3.3, following the 1.3.1 update from August. They skipped a version number and we can only speculate why that is. Maybe version 1.3.2 was going to support the new amiibo and was made a while ago, while version 1.3.3 then added the new Xenoblade Chronicles 2 gear. We will probably never know.

Anyway, here are the official patch notes:

  • The amiibo of the four Champions (Revali, Daruk, Urbosa, and Mipha) are now supported.
  • The side quest to receive Xenoblade Chronicles 2 collaboration gear is now available.
  • An issue preventing the × mark for Game Overs from being recorded in Hero’s Path mode from Ver.1.3.0 onward has been fixed.
  • Various fixes to improve gameplay.

As soon as you load the game, the new Side Quest named "[Xenoblade Chronicles 2]" will appear in your Adventure Log. Compared to previous EX chest quests, this one offers a new feature with red shooting stars falling from the sky. They look and sound similar to the shooting stars that will earn you the Star Fragments, but the red ones are triggered directly as soon as you look at the right area and the actual drop is much more noticeable, where you can always clearly see and hear the impact. And instead of a Star Fragment, the impact points will house one of three red chests, which are new in design:

You can even see a little Star Fragment decoration on these chests! Once you found all three of them, this is how the fully assembled Salvage Gear looks like:

  • Salvager Headwear
  • Salvager Vest
  • Salvager Trousers

Like the Tingle set it does have a set bonus from the start ("Swim Dash Stamina Up" in this case), but the pieces can't be upgraded at all.

However, concerning DLC armor there is actually an improvement in the new update. As you might have noticed in the description, it doesn't include the typical "if you sell it, you can't get it back" warning anymore. Instead it's just a "rare find". The same change applies to the Nintendo Switch Shirt and all armor items from the Master Trials DLC pack and there's a good reason for that.

You can now purchase all DLC armor from Granté's Collection:

This only includes the ones, which you've found already. But you can now get duplicates and what's more important, you can finally get them back, if you accidentally sold them! This actually crosses off one point from the long list of issues, which is very good news. It shows that Nintendo is still willing to improve the game. It's a small step in the right direction, but there are a few more steps to take!

Update: One step back in the wrong direction, you apparently can't re-purchase the Hylian Shield from Granté anymore. Hopefully that's just a bug and will be fixed in the next version...

The Armor inventory is still limited to five pages, which can hold up to 100 pieces of armor, and as of version 1.3.3 there are 98 individual armor pieces in the game. So, if you get one of everything including all the new armor, there are only two open slots left. Hopefully Nintendo will expand this by one page or else you will have to sell the goods in order to make space for all the upcoming DLC armor (if there are more than two pieces coming, which is highly likely).

According to GameFAQs, the falling chest at Mount Drena was also fixed. It now sits on top of the mountain. The glitched chests in Hateno Village, at Rassla Lake, Aris Beach and the Old Man's Hut weren't fixed, however.

Update: amiibo functionality

Other than the Divine Helms, scanning the Champion amiibo will reward you with the weapons of the respective tribe, but seemingly not the Champion weapons themselves. In addition Daruk drops minerals, Mipha drops fish, Urbosa drops meat and Revali drops fruits.

While the Divine Helms do support the "Ancient Proficiency" set bonus as a replacement for the Ancient Helm, they don't have the "Guardian Resist Up" buff, but only the buffs already advertised by Nintendo:

  • Vah Rudania Divine Helm: Flame Guard (Lv1)
  • Vah Ruta Divine Helm: Swim Speed Up (Lv1)
  • Vah Naboris Divine Helm: Electricity Resistance (Lv1)
  • Vah Medoh Divine Helm: Cold Resistance (Lv1)

To upgrade a Divine Helm it takes the same materials as for the Ancient Helm, so that's:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Grezzo Working on a Legend 2

Grezzo, the developers behind Ocarina of Time 3D, Four Swords Anniversary Edition, Majora's Mask 3D, Tri Force Heroes and Ever Oasis have new job postings on their website with a certain phrase on top:

"Would you like to make a legend with us? 2"

If this feels familiar, then that's because back in June 2014 they had a similar job advertisement, where the year after they released both Majora's Mask 3D and Tri Force Heroes. The job advertisement could have been for either one, based on the description it probably was Tri Force Heroes, but this is a direct reference to the job ad from before, where the "2" hints at the fact that they're doing this again. So, it seems like they are back to work on Zelda, which is nice to hear.

What's interesting here is that they are looking for developers with experience in Unreal Engine, so this is certainly not about another Nintendo 3DS game and they might be developing for the Nintendo Switch now. As a longtime Unreal fan this has me excited quite a bit and also sparks my curiosity, because this could lead to a few things.

Overall the Unreal Engine is quite versatile and can be used to make sidescrollers or games from the topdown perspective for a 2,5D look, as much as any traditional 3D game in different visual styles. So, the speculations are all over the place. I've seen fans asking for HD remakes of both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask on the Switch (see this article from Morgan Lewis for example), where the Ocarina of Time in Unreal Engine 4 project by CryZENx certainly left many impressions of how nice this could look...

But I personally would say that it's way too early to remake the Nintendo 64 Zelda games again, because the Nintendo 3DS iterations are still good enough. The only 3D Zelda game that hasn't seen an update yet is Skyward Sword and I'm convinced to see Skyward Sword HD at some point in the future on the Nintendo Switch, because the Joycons enable this game all too well. But this would be a project of a similar size to the Wind Waker HD, where you have very little effort, because the original visuals of Skyward Sword are perfect for HD upscaling. There's no need for Grezzo or any other studio to translate the game into Unreal Engine 4.

My best bet would be that they are working either on an entirely new topdown Zelda game or a remake of Zelda II - The Adventure of Link for the Nintendo Switch. In a recent interview with Jeuxvideo.com (source) Aonuma was even asked about such a remake, where this might not be a coincidence. I've even considered such a remake in the past after interviews with Miyamoto about the original (see here), where this could lead to a new approach for a sidescrolling Zelda. This even fits the "2" in the job ad quite well, because Zelda II - The Adventure of Link was called "Zeruda no Densetsu 2: Rinku no Bōken" in Japan.

Others claim that this might be a reference to "Seiken Densetsu", also known as the Mana series, because Koichi Ishii, the head of Grezzo, used to work on the Mana series for Square Enix and they are developing a remake of Secret of Mana, but it's doubtful that Grezzo is actually involved there.

Breath of the Wild: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Costume

Today Nintendo aired their Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Direct and as quite a surprise they announced new armor for Breath of the Wild based on the character Rex from the game:

This will be distributed on November 9th as a free update that contains a new side quest, which will lead to the outfit. Supposedly, the same update will also support the four new Champion amiibo, which will be released on November 10th.

I don't expect too much here - the new side quest will probably be on the same line as the armor pieces gotten from "Misko's Journal" in the Master Trials DLC, so some randomly dropped chests somewhere with armor pieces that can't even be upgraded...

But this is nonetheless a nice promotion and a nod to the fact that Monolith Soft, the developers of Xenoblade Chronicles 2, helped out with creating the world of Breath of the Wild. This outfit also fits the game surprisingly well thanks to the new tech theme in Hyrule.

However, this also opens the door to similar promotions, where the costumes might not look as integrated as this one. With non-Nintendo games on Nintendo systems we get these kind of costumes all the time, for example there is Link's gear in Skyrim now, but it never really has been the other way around for Zelda. Breath of the Wild is certainly a popular game and seemingly predesignated for such promotions, but hopefully Nintendo won't overdo it in the future, where we could end up with Link crossdressing as Bayonetta instead of the other way around.

On a side note, if you now collect all the armor in the game, including this new Rex costume and the four Divine Helms, the Armor inventory should be filled except for three slots. Two, if the Rex costume comes with an additional helmet or head gear. It's hard to tell from the pictures, whether the helmet on the back is a separate piece or a part of the body, but in any case there's not much space for additional armor left. There will also be more armor in the Champions' Ballad DLC, where we've already seen one piece, so hopefully Nintendo will expand the Armor inventory by one page in one of the upcoming updates or otherwise it won't be possible to collect everything anymore.