Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2013 Zelda Calendar

Did you know that there's an official Zelda calendar licensed by Nintendo? I didn't. Immediatly after I learned about it I bought one on Amazon:

As you can see on the back of the calendar, it spans rather typical art from the last five retail games, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, Ocarina of Time 3D and Skyward Sword. Usually the different cover arts. So, while the quality is very nice and shiny, it's overall nothing special and a little bit boring.

But I like that the calendar has one additional page at the beginning that spans the months September til December 2012, which means I can already use it. Which is quite nice.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

3DS Virtual Console: Zelda II

Zelda II - The Adventure of Link is now available on the European eShop for all non-ambassadors. I think we are the first to get this and my inner Zelda collector forces me to buy this, so let's take a look.

Zelda II will probably be THE game profiting from the restore point feature. Next to Super Mario Land. Well, with Super Mario Land a part of the game's experience was to fail and start over, otherwise it's a terribly short game. So, the restore points make this game a little bit too easy maybe. Zelda II on the other hand is just brutal and unforgiving, being able to save right before a boss makes this game so much more less frustrating and enjoyable. I'd wish the Wii version had this when I replayed the game last year for the anniversary.

But of course the new restore point feature is probably part of the reason why I had to pay for this game yet again, even though my Club Nintendo account (which is linked to the eShop) clearly tells Nintendo that I already bought the game for the Virtual Console on the Wii (and the NES Classics version for the GBA). That Nintendo is charging you again for the same game, just because the emulator "improved", is ridiculous. Emulators on the PC offer me ten quick saves, screenshot tools and many more while being completely free. Of course you shouldn't download any illegal ROMs, but they are very easy to find. And Nintendo is competing with that. If it wasn't for my inner collector, I would never buy any Virtual Console games. Playing the games on the PC is just much better and completely free.

Nintendo has to improve their Virtual Console service. And they should start with a unified account based library. Oh, wait, we already got that in Europe, but Nintendo decided to ignore it...

PS: I'll save this one for the next big replay session. Together with Zelda I. I've already beaten the VC version of Link's Awakening though, did it while writing the guides for ZeldaEurope.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bigger and Better Rumors

You've heard the rumors.

Overall it reads exactly as the stuff Nintendo said about Skyward Sword. It was said to be the biggest Zelda game and Nintendo's biggest project yet with a hundred people working on it. It was supposed to be revolutionary with its controls. It got tons of orchestrated music. It even had a Faron Woods dungeon demo, where the entire woods would act as a dungeon. Just take some interviews about Skyward Sword, replace Wii MotionPlus with the new GamePad, add some talk about detailed HD visuals, dodge all specific details and what you get is this pile of rumors above. Everyone can come up with that.

I had an "inside source" once. No one big, but informative. He told me all about the Four Swords Anniversary Edition, before anything was known, primarily because I cared a lot about the game and he wanted to me to know. But I had to promise him not to leak anything (which is why I made some spot on speculation posts instead), because he feared for his job, and he was very specific on how the singleplayer worked and what the new levels offered. So, if you go out and leak some information, why not tell us how they use the Upad in the game exactly? Or what's the hardware feature that they included for Zelda. It just tells you how glorious and large everything will be, but it lacks any details.

And I do not like the idea of focusing on the Wii U Gamepad. Of course it's the new toy and it would look bad, if one of the main titles doesn't use it. But with Skyward Sword they acted like the Wiimote and Nunchuk is THE way to play Zelda. And frankly they were right. The controls felt great, you got sword and shield in your own hands, everything was intuitive. It was the forced way of how you used the controls in the game that no one liked. All those terrible "slice in the right direction"-puzzles. If you use the controls in more natural sword fights, it could be really awesome. Only a few fights in Skyward Sword felt truly natural. I enjoyed battling Demise, but that was the last fight in the game. Most of the other fights just felt wrong, including long time enemies like Stalfos or Deku Babas. Now imagine fighting one of the Darknuts in Twilight Princess with the new controls - that could be fun! But instead of focusing how to make it right, they throw it all away and just focus on the newest gimmicky toy. Actually I would fully believe that! Because that's seems to be the new Nintendo way... sadly. So, I wouldn't wonder, if large parts of these rumors turn out to be true.

But I can't think of any fun or natural way to use the Upad to play Zelda. 2D Zelda maybe, but not a 3D title. Especially if they want you to hold the pad in front of the TV screen all the time. Like in the Zelda Nintendoland minigame, Battle Quest. I can play Skyward Sword all day long only using my wrists. But stiffly holding that pad in front of me? No way.

What I like is the ambitious part. Zelda hasn't been ambitious in a long time. With every new game they have a new main gimmick, some new visual style and that's all "good enough". For example it's always the same number of dungeons, some have more, some has less, but no other Zelda game has surpassed A Link to the Past yet in number and size of dungeons and that was the third of 16 games! What's up with that? But whenever Nintendo tried to increase the scope, it became a problem of emptiness. Hyrule Field in Twilight Princess is large but empty. Which is why they preferred to make more "dense" areas in Skyward Sword. But now they suddenly have the resources to make everything bigger? I sure hope so.