Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hero Mode again?

In Aonumas interview with Gameswelt it sounded like A Link Between Worlds would get an actual 2nd Quest instead of just Hero Mode... however, it seems like he only meant that it won't be an option like in The Wind Waker HD, because Nintendo just confirmed Hero Mode as the 2nd playthrough in their latest press release:

For those who can’t put down this latest title in The Legend of Zelda series, once a player has completed the main game, a Hero Mode will be unlocked, in which Link takes greater damage from enemies when hit. Intrepid explorers may even find a small hidden extra waiting to be found somewhere in Lorule during a second play through…

I hope this "small hidden extra" is a new dungeon... :D

I'm a little bit disappointed that Nintendo contents theirselves with the simple "double damage" thing. The difficulty of a Zelda game is more than just damage values. It includes enemies, puzzles, secrets... Which is why the original 2nd Quest in The Legend of Zelda and Ocarina of Time's Master Quest are the only truly satisfying higher difficulty levels.

You need stronger enemies to appear. Imagine Eastern Palace plastered with Eyegores. You need more complicated puzzles. Like the ones in Master Quest. And things need to be more hidden. Like the dungeons and many caves in TLoZ's 2nd Quest. With a topdown Zelda game changing the dungeons should be a lot easier to do than in a 3rd person Zelda. So, I was actually hoping that they would consider doing this in A Link Between Worlds.

Of course having Hero Mode is still better than nothing. It's just that it would probably have been better to make this available from the start like in The Wind Waker HD. But I'm eager to see what this "small hidden extra" will be.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Link Between Worlds: Preview & New Details

Yesterday I had the chance to playtest the game for at a press event in Berlin. I played it for about 3,5 hours, enough to test the first three dungeons and pay attention to many details in the game. My full German preview can be found here.

My overall impression is very positive. The game is everything, Aonuma promised it would be. It's very open, there's lots to explore, there's nearly no hand holding, there are puzzles that can you get stuck, etc. It's also very addicting and should offer good replay value. Can't wait to play it again!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Maiamais in A Link to the Past?

This Thursday I might get the chance to play A Link Between Worlds for the first time, so I'm currently replaying A Link to the Past to freshen up my memories of the game, before touching the all new sequel for the 3DS.

It's mostly the usual business. I've played the game several times already and therefore know it quite well. However, there's one thing that really caught my attention in the Dark World, in the cave, where the Sanctuary would be:

Is that a small versions of Mother Maiamai? Looks just like it. I completely forgot about this thing!

I wonder if it was already called "Maiamai" back in A Link to the Past and the character in A Link Between Worlds just was based on this one. Also,now I think that the Maiamai cave in Lorule is at the exact same spot (it was said that Mother Maiamai travels between the dimensions). This would be a nice reference. I imagine that there will be some people, who would be surprised about that, if they happen to replay A Link to the Past after A Link Between Worlds. Or play it right now like I did.

But I guess, it might even make more sense to replay A Link to the Past AFTER finishing A Link Between Worlds, because this might not be the only insignificant thing in the game that became important in the sequel.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Link Between Worlds Features a 2nd Quest!

According Aonuma told them that A Link Between World will unlock a higher difficulty level, when you beat the game once. What would be changed, he wasn't saying.

I really hope that they did more than just another Hero Mode, where you take double damage and find no hearts. Because that should have been implemented as an option similar to The Wind Waker HD. And with a topdown Zelda game it's a lot easier to change to environment and dungeons to offer a true 2nd Quest / Master Quest experience.

By now Gameswelt has released a video version of this interview, where Aonuma says that this 2nd playthrough won't be the same as the "Hero Mode" in The Wind Waker HD.

Maiamais & Upgrades in A Link Between Worlds

You've probably seen this before. If not, let me introduce to you what could potentially become one of my alltime favorite collectible sidequests. Maiamais are basically a mix between the Secret Seashells from Link's Awakening and the Gold Skulltulas from Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask and the upgrade system in Four Swords Adventures. There are those little shell creatures hiding in the environment, making whiny noises. And you have to detach them from the walls using wall merge or Pegasus Boots and bring them back to their mother, who lives at Lake Hylia. For every ten Maiamais you can chose one of your items to be upgraded. Nintendo showed us the bow upgrades, which shoots three arrows at once.

The upgrades seem to be similar to Four Swords Adventures, where you can give a Great Fairy an item and she makes it better. This is what the upgrades did, to get an idea what they could to in A Link Between Worlds:

  • Bow: shoots an array of three arrows, faster charge
  • Boomerang: greater range and speed
  • Bombs: four times the size
  • Hammer: bigger shock wave
  • Slingshot: scatter shot of three seeds
  • Fire Rod: Cane of Somaria
  • Roc's Feather: double jump
  • Pegasus Boots: air walk
  • Shovel: dowsing
  • Lamp: no upgrade

Well, some of these upgrades were mandatory to beat the game. Since the Maiamais are an optional sidequest, I guess that all of the upgrades are optional as well. So, you won't turn the Fire Rod into the Cane of Somaria, I guess. Unless of course there are certain mandatory upgrades received in other means. For example the shop in the Lower World could be an upgrade shop, if this does make sense. The upgrade for the Pegasus Boots is probably not an option though, since the wall merging ability covers crossing abysses in a way.

Skyward Sword had also certain upgrades, the only interesting one though would be the one for the Bug-Catching Net. I guess, it's safe to assume that we will get a similar upgrade for the net in A Link Between Worlds as well. For the bombs they could give them the "Remote Bombs" upgrade from The Minish Cap. Unless it's necessary to lay multiple bombs at once. I don't think that you can undo the upgrades.

I'm hoping that they find a nice upgrade for the lamp, which they weren't able to do in Four Swords Adventures.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Link Between Worlds German Cover

Yes, looks identical to the North American one. Usually we are getting something different, more colorful. However, according to Nintendo the European cover will be dual sided with a colored variant on the inner side.

The main reason, why I make this post, is that unlike the North American cover there's no Nintendo Network logo anymore... why's that? I was hoping for a new multiplayer mode in the style of Shadow Battles from Four Swords Adventures...

My best guess would be that they originally planned Miiverse integration, but the Miiverse update for the Nintendo 3DS won't arrive in time, so they have cut the feature or plan to add it as an update for the game.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Link Between Worlds Limited Edition Nintendo 3DS XL Announced

I miss the times, where they just release a Zelda game without any big limited stuff next to it. No big fuss, just the game... I don't want to buy a new console with every Zelda release (but I'm a collector, so it's hard to resist).

But it seems like Nintendo really, really wants all the money from Zelda fans this year. I'm not kidding, this already was the MOST EXPANSIVE year to be a Zelda fan, but now you can add 200€/$ to the equation. Hyrule Historia, the Symphony of the Goddesses, the Limited Edition Wii U, the Limited Edition The Wind Waker HD and now this. And from Prima Games there's the Zelda Box and one more Collector's Guide. The year of the 25th Anniversary was a cheap joke compared to this. You need a big wallet for all this stuff. That's 800€ spent for Zelda alone.

Well, I was flirting with the 3DS XL recently, so a part of me was hoping they would do this, because my rationality wouldn't let me buy one, since I already got the 3DS. But my love for Zelda outweights my rationality.

The problem with this thing is that there already has been a Zelda limited bundle for Ocarina of Time 3D. I even had to sell my previous 3DS to get it. And now it kind of looks like Nintendo is saying "Hey, Zelda fans! How do you like your 3DS? Want to buy a 3DS XL as well? Come on!"... Since the XL is a really different model, they might get away with this. However, I really hope they won't do the same for the Wii U. Like when the new Zelda game gets released, they release a fully golden Wii U or something. This would be terrible and a big kick into the balls of every Zelda then, who now bought the The Wind Waker HD bundle. I can have both a 3DS and a 3DS XL, many do, but buying two Wii Us is a differemt story. This thought scares me.

Of course they cleverly waited to announce this bundle until after the The Wind Waker HD bundle got released. Because now the message is "don't buy the remake bundles, the new games will get better looking ones". By now it's best to really wait many years before you buy a new Nintendo product. Really wait until the last minute. Otherwise they will find a way to punish you for early adopting.

The thing is that you can never know. It might as well be that they won't release a special bundle for the Zelda Wii U game and in this case you will regret not getting the The Wind Waker HD bundle. But in case they do release a better looking all golden Wii u system, you will regret buying the The Wind Waker HD bundle. As a Zelda fan you can't be sure anymore what to buy... it's frustrating. However, with Nintendo the safer bet now is that they probably will screw their early adopters. This has been the case for many years now. So, if history will repeat itself, you don't want to get a Wii U just now. You want to wait.

Of course the 3DS XL bundle is awesome for every Zelda fan, who missed the Ocarina of Time 3D bundle. I'm not saying anything against that. But all those bundles will have to backfire eventually. Nintendo is training their customers not to buy their products early.

The Return of Non-Linearity!


Here are new Aonuma quotes (source):

The other main thing, along with the item rental system and the order of dungeons, is this idea of linearity versus non-linearity. Recently Zelda games have been very linear, and the idea of being able to do things in any order is something that only games can achieve. When you watch a cartoon or a movie, you watch from beginning to the end and you have the story. If a game only tells a story linearly, it's not really using that full potential of the game. The main thing we wanted to accomplish with A Link Between Worlds was to have that non-linear style.

For Skyward Sword, that kind of narrowed, focused world helped us with that, but at the same time it meant you didn't have that wide-open world to explore. We've heard the complaint about lack of openness from a lot of fans. As we're deciding what the core gameplay mechanic was, we have that open-world desire at the forefront of our minds, and we're trying to figure out how to incorporate that as well.

Yeeeees! Yes! The main message of this blog always has been "make the Zelda games less linear, more open, more fun to explore". It's basically the one most important thing I wanted back from Zelda and I've written countless blog posts about this topic. While I doubt that anyone at Nintendo studies this blog (if you do, thanks for your time!), it seems like I wasn't the only Zelda fan, who wanted this. And it feels like a huge success that the tides are finally turning. It's great to see that Aonuma has finally gotten some insight and that Nintendo returns to the origins of Zelda.

Nintendo even went so far that they made multiple versions of specific cutscenes, depending what dungeons has been completed at the time. I really hope that this is not just some trend, where Nintendo returns to linear Zelda in a few years. But I will really enjoy the upcoming games starting with A Link Between Worlds.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Wind Waker HD: German Review

Finished my full review at ZeldaEurope. If you can speak German, check it out.

Now that I've written everything off my chest, I'm not sure, if I want to write the same thing in English on my blog. So, I might do something else or do nothing at all. Overall I'm finished with The Wind Waker HD for now and A Link Between Worlds is getting my full gaming attention.

You can read my important thoughts in my The Wind Waker HD Logbook, though it's somewhat chaotic.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Majora's Mask 3D for next year becomes more likely

Of course someone asked Aonuma about a Majora's Mask remake at yesterday's New York Comic Con panel and his response was that we might get an answer, if we play A Link Between Worlds (source). That's rather cryptic. I guess, he just meant the mask in Ravio's Shop though.

But since Grezzo got finished with their Street Pass Garden game at this E3, I have the feeling that they resumed working on Zelda and are making Majora's Mask 3D right now, slated for a summer 2014 release.

Well, it was always safe to assume that Majora's Mask 3D will be made eventually. Half of the work got already done and there's demand, so it's more a matter of "when". I really hope that they will update the Picto Box in this game to the same standards of The Wind Waker HD. Imagine Miiverse selfies with all those masks!

Aonuma wants to get away from Handholding and Linearity

Oh, Din! Aonuma is suddenly telling us the things, which I wanted to hear for years. Here are the quotes (source):

"We wanted to make it a game where it would be fun to get stuck and be lost."

"I think that one thing all game developers worry about when they're putting something into a game is, 'Will people notice it? Will people realize what they're supposed to do?' And we kind of have a bad habit of hand-holding, trying to make things easier for everyone. But more and more, I start to think that that kind of isn't actually that fun."

"There's actually one area in the game where I fought for three days with my director over whether we should have a hint in there or not. As a result, after the end of that we actually decided to take it out. So if that part of the game is too difficult, it's my fault."

I can't believe to hear stuff like this from Aonuma! Finally he's realizing what's good for Zelda! It's probably ten years too late, but better late than never.

For years I've been ranting about these points on my blog. Games (games in general, not just Zelda) have become more and more linear. Developers are constantly afraid that players are going to miss things. There's handholding and "in your face" hints everywhere. I want Zelda games, where I have to use my brain, where I explore things for myself, where I can potentially get stuck and lost. And it's great to see that Zelda finally returns to these qualities!

And if there's a part of the game, which is "too difficult", no one will blame you, Aonuma. Quite the opposite. It's about time that Aonuma recovers from all the Water Temple whining and finally dares to make a new Water Temple.

Even more excited for A Link Between Worlds now.

What the European Boxart of A Link Between Worlds Should Look Like

I guess, most of you have already seen the boxart for Northamerica. Very golden, as usual. The European and Japanese covers tend to be more colorful and so far people have been speculating that it will be the same motive, but in color.

But I personally hope that it will be this artwork, or at least parts of it:

It looks amazing. Would go very well alongside the European covers of Ocarina of Time 3D and Spirit Tracks.

A Link Between Worlds Comic Con Gameplay Footage

Here it is.

Well, I didn't like yesterday's story trailer all too much and especially silly names like Hilda and Lorule, but the gameplay of this game looks really nice.

This is the kind of Zelda game, I'm really enjoying. It seems very dense and there's something to explore and find in every corner. This is the overworld quality of games like Link's Awakening or The Minish Cap. I enjoy having optional minidungeons and nice collectibles. The Maiamas look like fun to collect and the rewards are without question great, if not the most rewarding collectible item in the entire series yet. The upgrading reminds me of Four Swords Adventures, which was one of the game's best features. And I can't wait to find out what all the upgrades will be like. I'm happy that there so many of these Maiamas to collect and I hope that the number of Pieces of Heart is the same as in A Link to the Past, because generally I find Pieces of Heart not too exiting as a collectible.

If you take a look at the item screen, there are like three bottle items in the inventory, but all in a different shape. I wonder, what those things could be for.

Also, you can now actually bomb a tunnel between the Witch Hut and the Eastern Palace. And generally the areas seem to be more open and connected than they used to be in A Link to the Past. And the small tour through the Lower World didn't let me down either, there were these bomb throwing cyclops everywhere, much like in the original. They also seem to be very aggressive, spamming with bombs around them. So, maybe the difficulty level might not disappoint too much and orientate itself on A Link to the Past, which would be perfect.

But overall I'm really excited about the footage. Luckily we don't have to wait too much longer to get this game.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Princess Hilda from Lorule Says Hello

"Lorule"? Lorule...?! Seriously? :D

"Hilda" as a Sabrina, the Teenage Witch reference was already bad enough, but they're naming the Dark World kingdom "Lorule"? As in High Rule and Low Rule? That's sounds like some very bad fanfiction, Nintendo. Did Aonuma's son came up with this? ... Ah, yeah, and the Dark World is now the "Lower World".

I don't really like anything from the new trailer. The story is bad and the overall quality reminds me of Spirit Tracks, which is by far not my favorite Zelda game.

But it's interesting that Aonuma noted that the game would be in some way related to Majora's Mask. And he didn't meant the mask on the wall of the shop. My best guess would be that Lorule actually used to be Termina. After all in Termina was a mirror version of Hyrule with the same people, but a completely different fate.

And I really do like the item upgrade system. Collectibles that make your items stronger? That's my jam!

And there seems to be optional minidungeons for Rupees. I like this, that's something that has completely been missing from Skyward Sword.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Some Thoughts about the Wii U

Let's buy a brandnew 300€ home console to play a ten year old game. That's the Zelda crazyness. Well, if it wasn't for the limited Zelda bundle, I wouldn't have gotten the console now. Otherwise I probably would have waited for Zelda U or a number of more interesting games.

This is also the earliest, I've ever adopted an home console. The Nintendo 64 I did get at Christmas 99. That's three years and three months after the initial release. The GameCube I bought myself in August 2005. That's about three and a half years later. The Wii I bought in April 2008. That's only one year and five months, so the Wii came already quite early for me. But the Wii U I bought after 10 months. And unless Nintendo keeps releasing Zelda bundles like this, I'll probably never adopt a system so early again.

I also adopted the Nintendo 3DS early, even before the Zelda bundle. But mainly because I wanted to play the Four Swords Anniversary Edition badly. But there was also Ocarina of Time 3D and other good games like Mario Kart 7 were coming up, so the 3DS felt right. I even use it on a daily basis to farm Play Coins and play the Streetpass games. I currently try to get 300 coins, just in case A Link Between Worlds uses them, so I can pump them into the new Zelda right away. And of course when A Link Between Worlds arrives next month, my 3DS will be used all day long.

The Wii U doesn't have the same input. The Wind Waker HD was mostly the same as the original, it didn't feel as different and exciting as Ocarina of Time 3D did. And there wasn't really anything new like with the Four Swords Anniversary Edition. Don't worry, my Wii U won't collect dust now that I'm done with The Wind Waker HD... but only because I put it back in the closet, where it's safe from the dust. I'm not too interested in the system at the moment. It's good to have it in case anything interesting gets released though.

Mario Kart 8 and the new Smash are the most interesting upcoming titles for me at the moment. I definitely want to get those. But I'm also interested in New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario 3D World and NintendoLand. NintendoLand has some Zelda stuff in it - Battle Quest, so that's probably the thing I'm going to get next. And I already got New Super Luigi U, because I wanted the limited retail version, but I want to play the main game first.

The Wii U itself doesn't have too much to offer. The 3DS had quite some interesting preinstalled or free to download software. For example there's the stupid augmented reality cards stuff, which can be fun to try, or the Streetpass Plaza games, which I use on a daily basis. I also like the Activity Log, where you get many stats for every software. The Wii U on the other hand only has the Miiverse to go for it, but I can also do this on the PC, which is more comfortable. There's TViiiii channel, but it doesn't work for Europe... why is it even there? Also, there's a LoveFilm channel, which required me to download some big ass update only to tell me that the channel is not available in Germany. I'm pretty sure that we have LoveFilm here... and again, why is it even installed on the system, if I can't use it? The Youtube channel is reported to freeze your Wii U, so I'm not trying that one. And then again it's easier to use Youtube on my PC. And the Activity Log is missing the awesome software library stats, there's only the per day/month log... So, yeah, nothing to do here...

Then there's this thing:

I love the Zelda deco, but overall the Wii U controller is definitely one of Nintendo's weirdest toys yet. It's like playing with an oversized handheld. Generally I hope that they go for a "multiple controller" approach with the Wii U. We have the Wii U GamePad, the Pro Controller, the Wiimote + Nunchuk, the Balance Board and others. They should design their games to support as many controllers as possible, so that everyone can play the way he enjoys playing the most. Like they did in Pikmin 3. With the new Zelda this means that it should support the same controls as in The Wind Waker HD, but also the Wiimote setup from Skyward Sword. Having 1to1 Motion controls, doesn't mean that there have to be "do the right movement" puzzle fights all over the game. I think we can have realistic sword controls, but also classic button controls in the same Zelda game.

It's sad that the Pro Controller doesn't have a Gyro Sensor. It would make it really great for The Wind Waker HD. Gyro aiming is really great, you want that for your Bow and Boomerang.

Let's see what the future holds for Wii U. Whatever it is, I'm ready for it. Because I have the console. Waiting in my closet.


I forgot to mention that I really like the Nintendo Network ID. It's so much better than using stupid Friend Codes. Nintendo stated that they will bring the Network ID to the 3DS as well, which is awesome. Also, they really should turn this into a real account for software purchases. If I have bought Zelda II on my 3DS, I should get it on the Wii U as well. I should have one digital software library under my Nintendo Network ID and it should carry over to all my systems.

And yeah, the ability to upload screenshots directly from your game onto the internet is pretty cool and advanced for Nintendo. I'm going to make good use of that.

99 of every Spoils in The Wind Waker

(Miiverse Post)

Did it already. I really like doing this as a closure to a 100% savegames. It might look crazy and completely OCD and like something that takes ages to do, but it really just took me only about two hours. The trick is to know, where the best and fastest farming spots are. Well, I just compile a little guide to let you know my favorite spots, in case you also want to have yellow 99s all over your inventory.

99 Red Chu Jellies:

The secret cave at Pawprint Island. Really no contest here. Grapple the six red ChuChus inside the cave, exit the cave, repeat.

99 Green Chu Jellies:

This is even easier to do. The best spot is the entrance of the Forbidden Woods. There are like 10 or so in the room. Just grapple them all, leave the dungeon, get back in the room, repeat.

99 Golden Feathers:

If you go for the Green Chu Jellies in Forbidden Woods, stay in the dungeon. Go to the northmost room, where the miniboss fight took place. The room right before has four Peahats. You have to use the Grappling Hook to get Golden Feathers from them. Kill them easily with the Boomerang. Then go back into the miniboss room, return, repeat.

99 Boko Baba Seeds:

Those are easily farmable at the entrance to Forest Haven. There are six at the water stream (one is at the side of the cliff, easy to miss). Grapple them to get the Seeds and kill them with the Boomerang. If you're timing is right, Beedle's shop ship should be right under you, when you kill the sixth one. Just jump down, enter his shop ship, get back out, repeat.

99 Skull Necklaces:

Go into the Phantom Ganon maze in Ganon's Castle. From where you start just use the door right in front of you. It leads to a trap room with six Moblins. Kill them all quickly with Light Arrows. They usually drop orbs containing th necklace. In the center of the room you can heal yourself with a fairy and replenish arrows and magic. If you leave the room and go back in, all Moblins and all recovery items will be back. So, it's easy to repeat the process.

99 Joy Pendants:

This is also easily done in the Phantom Ganon maze. From where you start, turn around, use the door and then the door straight in front of you. It leads to a room full of Bokoblins, where you can quickly farm many, many Joy Pendants by using the Grappling Hook or by simply killing them all. Leave the room, go back in, repeat.

99 Knight's Crests:

Again this takes place inside the Phantom Ganon maze (this place is truly amazing). From where you start, turn around, use the door, then go left, straight, left, straight, straight. You will enter a trap room with three Darknuts (one of them is a caped version, in case you missed them for your gallery!). Simply kill them with Light Arrows. They will ALWAYS drop orbs with their Knight's Crest in it, but also some arrows. To refill your magic and/or health simply destroy the pillars inside the room. They have large magic jars and fairies underneath them. Leave the room, go back in, repeat.

You can't farm 99 Blue Chu Jellies. There are 23 max in the game. 15 you need to unlock the Blue Potion at the potion shop. So, 8 inside your Spoils Bag is best.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Wind Waker HD Logbook, Final Day

Beaten. 100%. That's it for now. (Spoilers ahoi!)

Well, there wasn't much left to do for today. The Wind Temple, two remaining Triforce Shards, three more Treasure Charts, a hand full of figurines and of course the final dungeon and boss.

I haven't done the slide puzzle game at Link's cabana. However, I'm not sure, if this actually counts towards 100%, because if you beat all puzzles, it just starts over. But I'll save that for later in case I'm bored. I also like to fill my Spoils Bag with 99 of everything (except Blue Chu Jelly, there you can only have eight). It sounds ridiculous, but it's actually quickly done, if you know the right places. And it looks nice in your inventory. For the Knight's Crests there's a hidden room inside the Phantom Ganon maze, which has three Darknuts in it (including one of the caped guys, in case you missed it earlier for your figurine collection). Simply kill them with Light Arrows, collect the orbs, leave the room and repeat. That's something I'll do later, because I don't really have anything else for my Wii U and I don't plan to buy any other games in the near future.

Getting the Hero's Charm so late in the game feels a little bit weird. Well, I never really used this item until now, so it doesn't bother me as much. But if you're fan of it, it might trouble you that you don't have the chance to get this until after you got the Mirror Shield. In the GameCube original you could get the Hero's Charm right after Dragon Roost Cavern, if you wanted it badly. So, you were able to play the majority of the game with this item equipped.

On the other hand it's nice to get some actual reward from the Savage Labyrinth instead of just a lame Piece of Heart. It's interesting, how this changed over the versions. In the original Japanese version you get 10 Rupees at the end of the Savage Labyrinth as a kind of twisted joke. Then the updated western release put a Piece of Heart there. And now the Hero's Charm finally offers some real reward.

Another good thing about this change is that selfies with the Hero's Charm on the Miiverse are somewhat special and rare. It would be annoying, if everyone used this item for their shots, because Link looks really terrible with it. So, putting this item in such a late place in the game was probably not a bad idea.

Generally I like, how you can take screenshots or pictographs, post them on Miiverse, access your Miiverse posts from the internet and save the images on your computer. That almost feels like Nintendo entered the internet age. Making screenshots in a Nintendo game was only possible with emulators, but now I can easily make screenshots on the console and post them right on my blog. Here you go:

I love this! This will make things in the future a lot easier.

(Update: Actually this is even A LOT more easier. While being ingame you can actually directly upload your current screen on any website using the Wii U webbrowser. I'm posting stuff on the ZeldaEurope gallery directly from my Wii U. I could also upload images to my blog with this. Wow, Nintendo, you really surprised me here.)

I also like the location of Treasure Chart #46. It's at the second secret cave at Pawprint Island, the one with the aweful summoning Wizzrobe battle. In the past I usually forgot about this cave, even though it's one of only three locations, where you actually need the Hookshot. And you used to get only Rupees there, so it was easy to miss this one on your playthrough. But not anymore.

With the new camera I finally had the chance to make more pictographs during the Puppet Ganon battle. It's interesting that it wouldn't give me the sigil during the 2nd or 3rd phase of the battle. So, it seems like Carlov accepts only pictographs from the first phase. It's good to know that. Or it might be that all my attempts to shoot the 2nd or 3rd phase were simply not good enough. The 1st phase is the easiest to catch anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

In the Ganondorf fight they added new red sparks, when your and Ganondorf's swords clash in the battle. It's a cool effect, simple but effective, like most improvements in this version.

And they updated the credits. Now they show you a bubble of every character and monster in the game, as well important islands and events. It's really nice and a good update from the boring credits on the GameCube version that had like the same eight bubbles repeating over and over again.

Well, that's it for now. Of course to truly achieve 100% with this, I have to get a 100%ed 2nd Quest file as well. Since my figurine collection is already finished, this should be somewhat easier. But I won't be doing this in the near future. I will be saving the 2nd Quest for when I actually got an HD TV. I was playing this on my small, old tube TV. But while it only has a small screen, the image quality and the colors are brilliant. The Wind Waker HD looked beautiful on it. On the GamePad? Not so much, even though it should be the same resolution. But on the GamePad the colors didn't look as bright and vibrant. Also, some of the image looked noisy. Especially the red text.

So, yeah, my small, eight year old TV has a better image than the Wii U GamePad. I'd still like to play the game on a big screen one day, which is what I'm saving the 2nd Quest for.

Now I'm actually in the mood for some quality topdown Zelda. Hopefully A Link Between Worlds delivers.

Miiverse Posts:

Wind Tingle Statue 1
Wind Tingle Statue 2
Wind Tingle Statue 3
Wizzrobe Miniboss figurine (Missable!)
Molgera figurine
Molgera figurine 2
Knuckle figurine
Selfie with Knuckle
Knuckle & the five Tingle Statues
Triforce of Courage
Elite Darknut figurine
Gohma figurine (Ganon's Tower)
Kalle Demos figurine (Ganon's Tower)
Jalhalla figurine (Ganon's Tower)
Molgera figurine (Ganon's Tower)
Another Phantom Ganon figurine
Puppet Ganon figurine (Missable!)
Finished Nintendo Gallery

The Wind Waker HD Collector's Guide

You might be wondering, why I got this one, even though it will be included in the Zelda Box, which has this guide as well. Well, I wanted the cloth map, which only comes with the standalone version. The Zelda Box won't have any of the extras from the original guides.

Sadly the cloth map is nothing special. It's just an artwork:

Might look nice on a wall, but it's nothing helpful. The original cloth map from the Twilight Princess Collector's Guide showed you Poe and Piece of Heart locations and similar. But like the map from the Skyward Sword Collector's Guide, this is just decoration and a little bit disappointing.

However, unlike the rest of the Skyward Sword guide this one does not disappoint at all. The Skyward Sword guide was really bad. It was missing collectible lists, had many useless pages made of artwork only, it had not the best image quality and it was the shortest guide of all of them. It was truly rushed. The The Wind Waker HD guide has a very clear design and with more than 350 pages it is the second biggest guide in the collection. From its size it looks like the guide has the same size as the massive Twilight Princess guide (though I don't have the Twilight Princess guide on me for comparison, I have it at my secondary residence). But the Skyward Sword guide doesn't even have half the size! And the content seems to be quite good. Which is nice to see after how badly rushed the Skyward Sword guide was.

Of course there are already some mistakes I noticed by browsing through the book for two minutes. For example they did forget Treasure Chart #42 as a price in the minigame guide. And in the figurine collection pages they tell you that you have to get Kogoli before entering Dragon Roost Cavern, while actually he doesn't disappear until Medli learns the Earth God's Lyrics. I guess, if I study the guide, I will find more mistakes, as usual. Maybe later.

When I get the Zelda Box, I will wait some months, maybe even a year, and sell all five duplicate guides without their extras. Including this one. This should give me the money back, which I invested in the box. And I still get to have the maps and other extras.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Wind Waker HD Logbook, Day 4

I'm currently at the entrance of the Wind Temple, so I've made some progress today. Everything else is pretty much done, I'm only missing three Treasure Charts and two Pieces of Heart, which are gotten from the charts. And there's two Triforce Shards left, but that's it. So, I'm close to finishing this 100%.

After the Forsaken Fortress I conquered the six reefs to get all the special charts. I already mentioned in the last post that some of these charts are useless at this point, when you have been thorough. The charts don't get unlocked until after your 2nd visit at Forsaken Fortress, while you can easily go for all the Big Octos and Great Fairies before that.

One thing I noticed myself doing is that I sometimes actively change the wind with the Swift Sail, so I don't have to do it on the island with the baton... :D I did this at the reefs a couple of times, but also on other islands like the Angular Isles. I guess, I'm just lazy, but it shows how convenient the Swift Sail really is. Using the baton all the time to change the wind was always quite a hassle.

After I was done with the reefs, I went for the Triforce Shard below Link's cabana. I like to imagine that these holes actually lead you to minidungeons down in the sunken Hyrule. Similar to the Earth and Wind Temples, which are accessed from mountain tops. Basically all islands in the Great Sea are mountain tops from the old Hyrule. So, with the minidungeon under Link's cabana you're in a sewer. It never really made sense to have a fully developed sewer under one little cabana, but if you take it as a dungeon in old Hyrule, this could be anywhere. When I played this today, I imagined that these are the sewers from Hyrule Castle or something similar. So, it feels right to get Triforce Shards from these locations instead of charts. However, now getting all the money from the Triforce Shard locations feels somewhat "off". You don't really need all the money anymore, but you get showered in it.

Next stop was Fire Mountain and Ice Ring Isle to get the Power Bracelets and Iron Boots. I can't help but feel sad that they didn't use this updated version as a chance to add more to these places. Have some more full fledged dungeons. It didn't need new bosses or enemies, but at least something like the Bottom of the Well and Ice Cavern minidungeons in Ocarina of Time. Which means that they get map and compass and a (already existing) miniboss to protect the new items. I didn't expect them to revamp the entire story and add big temples to these places, but something new would have been nice. It's just that these two islands feel very special.

I noticed that there some more changes to the map menu. One is that it doesn't tell you anymore, what you got from the sunken treasures. It got replaced by the Fishman icon. While the latter is an excellent addition, I can't see why we shouldn't have both. It was a nice info to see how many Pieces of Heart you got from Treasure Charts. Or to see what can be found where in general. Also, the Tingle Chart used to make a stupid clown's horn sound, when you closed it, that is now gone as well. And they managed to bug the menu, sometimes it looks like multiple islands are selected.

To finally make some progress I've beaten the Earth Temple and the entire Savage Labyrinth. The Earth Temple always was my favorite of the dungeons in The Wind Waker. Which isn't saying much, since the dungeons are all pretty weak. But this time it didn't have the same vibe to me. Maybe it was because I played it on the GamePad, which makes it look more like a handheld game, maybe it was the different lighting, maybe a mix of both. But it didn't have the same feel to it.

In the Savage Labyrinth I noticed that you can't loot enemies anymore. On the GameCube you could use the Grappling Hook to steal hearts, bombs, arrows and Rupees from them. Of course in Hero Mode hearts are out of question, but they don't give you anything this time except for the usual spoils. Not that you would need any of it... even though I was playing in Hero Mode, it didn't feel any tougher than before. Well, in the original version the enemies inside the Savage Labyrinth also don't drop anything by default, so it has always been the case there that you didn't get any hearts (unless you steal them with the Grapple). The only real difference with the Hero Mode now is the double damage. But after you got a certain number of hearts, it's not really a big deal anymore. I was able to get through the whole thing with one soup. And I did make some stupid mistakes.

The Nintendo gallery is almost complete. I'm only missing five figurines at the moment, which are the Wizzrobe miniboss, Molgera, Knuckle, an Elite Darknut and Puppet Ganon. I got everything else including the Legendary Pictographs, which are now in color and look different. Nice thing is that you can grab all Legendary Pictographs in one run. You still have to change the day for each one, but since this is an one time thing, it's not so bad.

Tomorrow I'll beat the game and probably put the Wii U back in the closet for now... :D

Miiverse posts:

Redead figurine
Power Bracelets
Floormaster figurine
Poe figurine
Stalfos figurine
Earth Tingle Statue 1
Earth Tingle Statue 2
Earth Tingle Statue 3
Jalhalla Figurine
Missing Kogoli
Hero's Charm

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Wind Waker HD Logbook, Day 3

Sidequest day!

The whole day I did pretty much nothing else than sidequests. Before I went to Forsaken Fortress again to advance the story, I did every possible sidequest. I collected all available figurines, mapped the entire ocean, salvaged ALL Light Rings (that's a lot), conquered all Lookout Platforms (all but one, where you need the Fire Arrows), conquered all Submarines, killed all Big Octos, completed the Goron trading scenario, filled all sockets on Windfall Island with decorations, did the Forest Water quest and more. I also collected all three Triforce Charts and got their pieces.

So, only the things that require the Hammer, Fire/Ice Arrows, Power Bracelets, Iron Boots, Mirror Shield and/or Hookshot are left. Also, the Eye-Reefs are inactive before your return to Forsaken Fortress, they're all completely peaceful. So, I have to return there to cause havoc and get their treasures. However, it's weird that you get things like the Big Octo Chart or the Great Fairy Chart from these reefs, while in reality you can easily find all Big Octos and Great Fairies before getting those charts. So, these rewards are rather useless for thorough players.

Light Rings

Talking about charts, my printed out Light Ring Chart worked great. The Light Rings are all in the same exact same locations (I also happened to find the one southeast of Dragon Roost... don't know why I couldn't find it in the beginning of the game), so I could cross them off the chart and keep track of all of them. And they now give you ALL 50 Rupees. All of them. It makes them feel more worth it. I remember that, when I played the GameCube version, I was heavily annoyed by all the Light Rings, because they felt like a boring chore, where you do repetitive things for a few Rupees. But 50 Rupees per chest? It makes it really worth it to go for these things. The clusters of five Light Rings now even give you 250 Rupees! Though, because of the lack of Triforce Charts, there isn't much use for all the Rupees. I got all three Triforce Charts deciphered, bought everything from the golden Beedle, finished the trading transactions and I even filled the entire house of the rich people with Shop Guru statues... but I'm still close to 5000 Rupees yet again. I guess, I have to try out the new Magic Armor, which takes your Rupees instead of magic.


Of all the tasks I did today, the figurine collecting was probably the quickest and most enjoyable. Being able to make and deliver 12 pictographs at once makes this so much easier and more fun, it's great. It didn't even take one hour to get everyone from Windfall, Dragon Roost, Forest Haven and Outset. On the GameCube the figurine collecting was probably one of the most tedious sidequests in the history of Zelda, but Nintendo did a great job to turn the whole thing into something fun and enjoyable. The way it always should have been. I can't praise this enough, collecting all figurines in The Wind Waker HD is quick and great.

Tingle Bottles

I was hoping all day that I would get a Tingle Bottle with something useful for my collection. Like Puppet Ganon, Tetra or any other missable. But usually I only get joke messages. And the jokes start to repeat themselves. Yesterday I made a selfie in Tetra's cabin, where you can see an image of Link at the wall. And made a joke about it. Today I got about four Tingle Bottles from other people doing the exact same thing... and now I feel stupid. xD I really try to focus on sending out useful messages (locations of Tingle Statues, the new Treasure Charts, photos of missable figurines), but sometimes I just can't help but make a stupid selfie. It's just so hilarious.


It's weird that they didn't update the Boat / Rupee Course with a new level for the Swift Sail. It would also have been the perfect spot to award you with Treasure Chart #42 - instead you get it now from the annoying Pig-Finding game on Windfall.

Talking about the Swift Sail... It happened to me today that I accidently jumped with full speed into a Big Octo and got insta-defeated, because I was too close to him when the battle started... lol. I guess, you have to look out at where you're going with the new sail.

And another change that wasn't reported by any big newssite is the fact that they updated the maritime battling. You don't get knocked off from your boat by enemies anymore, which makes fighting on boat A LOT easier and less annoying. Running into a group of sea Octoroks could be very frustrating on the GameCube, because you kept being knocked off your boat. Also, Gyorgs can now be killed with only one arrow instead of two. And the items left by killed enemies on the sea now fly towards you. There have been many improvements to make fighting on boat somewhat more enjoyable.

Forest Water

I like that the item now has a timer. It gives you 30 Minutes instead of 20. It takes the challenge out of the thing, I was doing all kinds of sidequests while delivering the Forest Water and still did it all with 10 Minutes left on the clock...

I had the problem though that there weren't any marks on my map. On the GameCube the map would display, which islands have the trees and which ones already got watered. This was completely missing from my map. Luckily I was able to remember most of the locations. Only the Fairy Island gave me trouble, because I couldn't remember which one of the five had the Korok. Without any marks on your map, the 30 minutes are completely justified, I guess.

However, I heard that other people still get the marks on their map when they collected the Forest Water. Don't know what exactly I did screw up... I didn't have charts of all islands at this point, because I was combining the Forest Water quest with some first time visits on certain islands. Maybe that was the reason. Or maybe I have to talk to the Deku Tree first. Talking to him, after I got the Forest Water, didn't do anything... So, I don't know, what went wrong exactly.

Miiverse Posts:

Dragon Tingle Statue 1
Dragon Tingle Statue 2
Some love for Tingle Bottles
Triforce Crest
Breaking Bad reference
Treasure Chart #43
Ghost Ship
Phantom Ganon figurine
Helmaroc King figurine
Tetra figurine

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Wind Waker HD Logbook, Day 2

Last night I kept playing until Jabun. In the Forbidden Woods I really like the rooms, where the sunshine falls in. The other rooms didn't look that great, especially with the all the fake lighting. I wished they would have opened up all of the dungeon's ceiling and let sun cast light in all rooms.

Hero Mode gave me a good time in this dungeon, for some reason I struggled quite a lot with the first double Moblin fight. I stil haven't died yet and at the point, where I am now in the game, I doubt, I'll ever will, but it's a lot tougher than the original game. Health can become a problem and you need to be prepared (or really good).

The Forbidden Tingle Statue inside Forbidden Woods can actually be gotten without bombs. There's a Bomb Flower in the room right above, where the chest would spawn. You can just throw it down (you might have to rebound it from the wall) and make the chest appear that way. Which is nice, because you don't have to backtrack there to get the Tingle Statue. You only have to do that with Dragon Roost Cavern. Usually I do like it, when there's backtracking in Zelda, but the entrance of Forbidden Woods is just really inconvenient to get to, so I'm happy about the fact that you don't have to backtrack for the statue.

Usually in Zelda games I try to do sidequests as early as possible. For me it's a kind of memory training. I try to remember, where I can what at every point in the game. And I pick things like Pieces of Heart up as soon as I can. However, The Wind Waker is one of the few exceptions here. Right after the Forbidden Woods, the entire world opens up. You can go everywhere (with the exception of Forsaken Fortress, I think). And there's something to do on every island. You can even get your first Triforce Shard right away. On the one hand this is pretty exciting for me and this is one of the things that really make The Wind Waker great. However, it's so much more convenient to wait until you get bombs and some other gear, because you can do more things at once at the individual islands and maybe even be done with one area in one run.

So, I continued the main quest until Jabun. Did the 999 hits on Orca though. Get the aweful stuff done early. This was also the last thing I did last night in zombie mode, before I fell asleep... xD

Today I continued the main quest right away and beat Tower of Gods. After this I started sidequesting. Usually just travelling, completing the maps, collecting Light Rings, conquering some platforms and visiting some islands (mostly the Fairy Islands). It seems like I have been right and all Light Rings now give you 50 Rupee. I guess, this makes them more worthwhile. However, there are still platforms, where you have to destroy four cannons, climb the thing, beat four monsters and in the end you get a 20 Rupees or a Boko Baba Seed... if anything they should have added more to the platforms instead of the Light Rings. They did add two new Treasure Charts (43 and 44, I even found 44 today) on platforms, but that's it. But those Light Rings give you so many Rupees... I have only gotten two or three big treasures yet, still I was able to effort everything in the golden Beedle shop... 50 Rupees per Light Ring is insane.

Also, the boat controls are somewhat messed up. Sometimes it's like they don't react in time. I'm cruising the boat to change my locations to the right spot, but the crane won't come out...! Then the boat keeps cruising, so that I miss the spot again. On the GameCube, the boat would stop instantly whenever you brought the crane up. And I really miss that, salvaging is kind of a hassle sometimes now. Also, the cannon does the same strange thing, where I want to put it away, but it doesn't react at all. I keep hitting the button, but nothing happes. I think this happens, whenever you cruise (steering the boat without a sail).

I also don't like that you aim with the right analog stick now. If you have the Bow or the Boomerang assigned to X or Y, you can't shoot and aim at the same time. It's very inconvenient. Of course there's the gyro aiming, which is good, but in Ocarina of Time 3D I preferred to use a mix of both. I would use the slide pad, whenever I needed to make big movements, and then use the gyro aiming for precision. Works just fine. But not in The Wind Waker HD thanks to the messed up control scheme. And if you use the Pro Controller, there's no gyro aiming and aiming gets very problematic. And why? Just because Nintendo thought you needed some FPS mode? They did change a lot of the controls from the GameCube version and I have a hard time adopting to them... In first person mode it might even happen that I accidently walk off a ledge, because I still think that the left analog stick does the aiming. It would have been better, if they let you toggle what the left analog stick does by pressing L. Simply press L, if you want to walk around. Or include options for a classic TWW control scheme.

Here are my Miiverse posts from today:

Forbidden Tingle Statue 1
Forbidden Tingle Statue 2
Kalle Demos Figurine
Big Octo Figurine (Missable!)
Just had to...
Tetra's Cabin
Cyclos Figurine (Missable!)
Goddess Tingle Statue 1
Goddess Tingle Statue 2
Darknut Figurine
Gohdan Figurine
Link Statue!
Master Sword 1
Master Sword 2
Treasure Chart #44

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Wind Waker HD Logbook, Day 1

Played many hours today, I'm currently at the entrance of the Forbidden Woods, though I've done pretty much all available sidequests up to this point, which is why it took so long.

I'm not a big fan of the Wii U GamePad so far. It's quite heavy, playing with this thing for longer time periods is quite uncomfortable. And Zelda is a game, which you want to play for longer time periods. Also, it's not as helpful as I thought it would be. Changing your view between the TV screen and the GamePad can be confusing, it's not like with the 3DS, where both screens are right next to each other. You have to refocus your eyes constantly, which can cause disorientation in the game. I even switched to the GamePad only mode a couple of times, because it was more comfortable playing that way.

The Hero Mode does its job, at least early in the game it's quite challenging. Unlike in Skyward Sword here are rarely chances to heal yourself, in Skyward Sword you could heal while sitting, which made the Hero Mode there pretty easy, but you don't have this option in The Wind Waker. This must have been the first time, where the rats, who sell you Red Potions in Dragon Roost Cavern are actually useful and come at the right time. Also, it's a good move to assemble one additional Heart Container before Dragon Roost. It's doable, you can find one Piece of Heart at the Forsaken Fortress, you get one from the Killer Bees, one from Salvatore and one at Pawprint Island. You just have to make sure not to miss any. And at Forest Haven you can easily farm Blue Potions by giving the one Korok four Boko Baba Seeds. You even get your first additional bottle in the Submarine near Bomb Island. So, there's some strategy to overcome this.

I do like collecting the Tingle Bottles, but so far I haven't got any good messages yet. I for myself try to be useful, my first Miiverse message was an image of Kogoli (don't know if he's still missable, but just in case) and my second one was Gohma. Hopefully some people can make use of that.

I got the Swift Sail right after Dragon Roost Cavern, but not just that, I bought every other auction item as well... I got so much money so early in the game, it's not even funny. How? They changed the Light Rings! In the original those lose treasures mostly gave you only 20 Rupees, sometimes 50. Now it seems like they ALL give you 50. At least every Light Ring between Windfall and Dragon Roost and between Dragon Roost and Forest Haven gave me 50 Rupees. That's 700 Rupees already just from the first areas! I think, noone has reported this change yet.

However, there was one Light Ring from the chart, which I couldn't find. I don't know if this an error with the guide or if they removed this Light Ring. It's the one southeast of Dragon Roost. It might be that they removed some... I'll continue to investigate this.

The Swift Sail comes with a disadvantage. It's naturally harder to steer with this thing. I thought picking up the Tingle Bottles would be easier with this, but it's quite the opposite. I usually have to switch back to the normal sail to make precise movements. I think they removed the small boost that you got, when you equipped the sail. In the original The Wind Waker you would repeatedly turn the sail on and off to move faster, this doesn't work anymore. However, it seems to work with the Swift Sail. The Swift Sail seems to have some starting boost to it, so I think it's faster to mash A with this thing.

With the early Pictobox you can make pictographs of all Koroks right at the beginning, when they're all still at Forest Haven. I would advise doing so, because it's much easier than when they are all scattered all over the ocean. The Minintendo gallery now is a dream. It's nice to know in advance, when a shot is great, especially with bosses and other quick moving enemies. And that Carlov takes up to 12 pictures at once, makes it even better. No more playing Song of Passing hundreds of times. 12 Pictographs feels like the right number, you can usually cover everything inside one dungeon or an area with 12 pictures. The only exception would be Windfall and maybe Dragon Roost, but every other place can be done in one run.

Got The Wind Waker HD Wii U Premium Bundle + Limited Edition

Feels like Christmas. That's a lot of Zelda stuff at once and that's not even half of the Zelda merchandise coming out this year. But let's get this out of the way: if it wasn't for the limited stuff, I wouldn't have bought the game or the Wii U right now. I really bought all of this for the strictly limited Ganondorf figurine and the somewhat limited Wii U Zelda GamePad.

The GamePad itself is pretty heavy, much larger than expected. Buttons feel large and good. The Zelda design looks really good in real, similar the limited Zelda Nintendo 3DS those are not simple decals or sticker, it's high quality. And it goes really well along the Nintendo 3DS in the same style, like brother and sister:

I got the worst part behind me by installing the screen protector right away. Unlike with the NDS and 3DS there are official screen protectors from Nintendo and the screen is quite larger and a big target to bad stuff, so with this Limited Edition GamePad I really wanted to keep it safe. I hate installing these things, because it's hard to get it done without dust beneath it. I'm a very clean person and even cleaned my entire appartment yesterday, so everything would be as sterile as possible, but there's no escape from dust. I hate dust. But Nintendo added adhesive tapes to their package, which helps cleaning the screen from dust. And installing the protector went quite well, a lot better than the 3rd party protectors for the DS systems. So, I really advice buying the official screen protector, it's a lot better than the crap, I used to deal with on NDS and 3DS. My Zelda 3DS doesn't even have a protector, because those things are so bad. But I rarely touch the screen of my 3DS anyway and the 3DS Stylus is very soft.

The Ganondorf figurine is... cute... :D It's somewhat smaller than what I expected. But I like that the European version got a dome, which protects it from dust. (Have I mentioned that I hate dust?) Also, the European version has a dual sided cover, the other side shows the original artwork of the Ganondorf battle. I think the US version doesn't have the dual cover nor the dome. This let's me forget that they did have the digital version + console two weeks ago.

Haven't had the chance to play The Wind Waker HD yet, because the Wii U is still updating. I also had trouble with the system STAYING online, it connected, but disconnected after a while and then was unable to reconnected. Turned out manually setting up the security type did the job. I should be playing in a couple of minutes, so expect my first daily report from the game later on.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Aonuma Explains the Rental System in A Link Between Worlds

From Miiverse:

Hi everyone, I'm Eiji Aonuma from Nintendo.

Fans in Europe will have to wait a little longer, but it makes me happy to see so many of you using the Tingle Bottle feature to post in-game messages in The Wind Waker HD community. So thank you!

In today's Nintendo Direct, we revealed the name of the character in the A Link Between Worlds screenshot I posted here last time. His name is Ravio, and we also announced that you can rent and purchase items from his shop. You may be wondering what in the world we mean by "renting" items. Well, let me explain.

In Ravio's shop, each of the items you can use in the game are on display from the beginning. But Ravio only has one of each item in stock, so if he sells them he'll go bust! For this reason, he set the purchase price for each item at an outrageously high rate. Unfortunately, that means Link can't move forward and Ravio can't sustain his business, so he decided to start renting the items at reasonable prices. The rental period for each item is unlimited, so you can rent them for as long as you’d like, but if Link falls during his adventure and it's game over, the items will be returned to the shop. If you want to continue playing, you'll have to rent them again. After a while, you can eventually purchase the items, and once you do, you'll be able to keep using them even if you game over.

This may seem similar to the three day system in Majora's Mask where all your items are lost when you reach the end of the third day, but you'll be able to rent every item from the beginning if you can afford it. So unlike past Zelda games, you won't run into a scenario where you can't do something because you need a certain item that won’t be available until later. I hope all of you will experiment with many different items and play as you like.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds comes out on November 22nd. There’s still a lot more information to come, so please stay tuned.

Wait, what? I only lose the rented items, when I die? That means I'll never lose them, because when do you actually die in a modern Aonuma Zelda game? The games have been so super easy, most people don't even know how a Game Over in Zelda looks like. Or may it be that they actually amped the difficulty, so that you will die more often? It sounds like it and I hope so, but I also doubt it.

But if the game is as easy as any other Zelda game from the last ten years, the rental system will be a joke. Why should I ever purchase the items (except for completion)?

I thought the "you can only rent one item at a time"-system sounded a lot better.

(The above screenshot now confirms what the icons in the shop mean. The arrow meant that you rented the item and then there's a special "sold out" sign for items, which you have purchased.)

Also.. the comparison to Majora's Mask is "off". You don't lose your items there, the counters for Rupees, Bombs and Arrows just go back to zero and your bottles are emptied. But it seems like Majora's Mask is really on their minds lately, so I'm betting that they're currently working on Majora's Mask 3D.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Link Between Worlds: Map Revealed

I completely forgot to talk about the map screen, which Nintendo released today, in my last post. But I guess, it's worth it's own (thanks to Lankelink for the reminder). So, here it is:

Topography stayed the same for the most part. But there are some new buildings here and there. Nintendo already showed us the new dungeon on the island at Lake Hylia, which has windmills all over it. Kakariko seems to be missing the houses on the west side and some areas appear to be more "open". We've already seen that there's a new path at the southwest corner of the castle directly going to Kakariko for example, but the entire forest west of Hyrule Castle seems to be gone (maybe it got lumbered... or it might be that it just appears that way on the map, you can't see anything at the graveyard as well for example). And the witch hut now seems to be a witch tower, or at least it's somewhat bigger.

The desert seems to have the biggest changes, it even appears to be shut off. It might be that this time it's the opposite to A Link to the Past. In the SNES game the Swamp of Evil, where the Misery Mire dungeon is located, was completely shut off from the rest of the Dark World. And the only way to get there was through a portal from the desert. It could be that this time the Swamp of Evil is the area with an entrance and you can only enter the desert in the Light World with a portal from the Swamp of Evil. Or it might be that there are special paths on the cliffs, which you can only use as a painting. Or you enter the desert with the caves that are right next to each other.

It's hard to make out stuff on this map. But what's more interesting for now is the stuff around the map. The button on the bottom right seems to be a switch between Light and Dark World. And we can also see the Lantern, the propeller wind rod thingy and the Master Sword equipped on the right side. But then there's this red pin with a 20 next to it. Could this be a collectible? And there's a mysterious shell creature button above the pin. Could this be another collectible?

Maybe you have to collect shell creatures (similar to Gold Skulltulas or Poe Souls) and the button shows you, where you already found some (which would be really handy in combination with a guide). I don't know what the pins could be for. Maybe you can mark locations on your map, but you're limited to 20 markings. But 20 is a lot. Skyward Sword gave you 5 or so and it was more than enough.

Also, there's this bell in the bottom left corner of the menu, which appears to be its own sub menu next to the items and the gear screen. Maybe it's Miiverse related? The 3DS is getting Miiverse in the next update and it would be a shame, if A Link Between Worlds would leave it out after how greatly Miiverse integration proved itself with The Wind Waker HD.

Lots of mysterious things here. I'm excited to learn more.

The Legend of Hilda: A Ravio Between Shops

Hah, ... what a day. This always happens, when Nintendo does a new Nintendo Direct... information overload. I was expecting some clarification on the whole item shop thing, but we got so much more than just that. A fat Zora queen, a black haired version of Zelda named Hilda, a new Maple, a female Ganondorf and something that appears to be Link's entire family...

Where to start? Well, let's start with Ravio's item shop, who only got "unintentionally inspired" by Nabbit. It finally got confirmed that the whole thing lets you chose the order of dungeons in the game. Finally some non-linearity! I was hoping for this for a while now. Interestingly you can't purchase the items right away, but only rent them.

This is another thing that reminds me of Ancient Stone Tablets. If you don't know, what I'm talking about, Ancient Stone Tablets was a Japanese exclusive Zelda title that got released for the Broadcast Satellaview expansion for the Super Nintendo. In this game they reused the overworld of A Link to the Past to make a new game that takes place some time after A Link to the Past. There are some changes and additions to the overworld including dungeons in new places. And there's a rental shop at Link's house, which lets you rent the Shovel, the Power Glove and a sword upgrade... Sounds familiar, doesn't it? There are many parallels between Ancient Stone Tablets and A Link Between Worlds. But since rarely anyone knows the first game, this will hardly get noticed.

I wonder how the renting will work in this case. With Ancient Stone Tablets the game had a clock and the renting was time based. But this doesn't work here, the items can't just go away after 10 minutes. Or is it more like that you can only rent one item at a time? So, if you want to rent the Hammer, but you're already renting the Fire Rod, you have to give back the Fire Rod first. I guess, this would make the most sense.

Of course such a system would limit you to one item at first. But they said that you can fully purchase the item at one point, which lets you keep it forever. It might be that you have to finish the according dungeon first. So, for example the Tower of Hera requires the Hammer, as we already know. And you can purchase the Hammer only after completing the Tower of Hera.

So, the more dungeons you complete, the more items you are allowed to carry at the same time. I guess, that later dungeons will require multiple items at once. They shown statues of the "Wind Rod" propeller item in front of a new windmill dungeon on the island on Lake Hylia indicating that you need the propeller item there. I could imagine that later dungeons will have more than one item shown at the entrace and that the final dungeon has statues of all items in front of it. That would be cool.

By the way, in the Nintendo Direct video you can actually spot Majora's Mask on the right wall of the shop. This is definitely a way better easter egg than yet another picture of Tingle and it also adds to the mystery of Ravio's character, who seems to be a normal human wearing a mask. And as I thought, he's actually living in Link's old house.

But it still seems like the bomb shop in the Dark/Other World will have a similar role. At least its locations gets treated with similar importance in the screenshots:

You can also spot a bird statues next to the houses. I guess, the Ocarina of Wind will return once again and the warp system will work similar to The Minish Cap. Also, it appears that they gave the monsters in the Dark/Other World their own design, which is not ripped from A Link to the Past.

We've also seen a bunch of new characters, which includes a dark haired version of Zelda with a staff with an inverted Triforce on top. She's probably Zelda's counterpart in the Dark/Other World and her name is "Hilda"... Hilda? Really? Zelda and Hilda? What is this, a new episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch? Come on!

Talking about witches, there seems to be a new version of Maple, who is called Irene. I really hope that she doesn't drop any random Pieces of Heart this time... :D But there's another witch shown in the artwork, who looks oddly familiar:

Seriously? First a they turn King Zora into a fat ugly queen and now a female Ganondorf? I really hope they don't get too carried away with all the gender bender. And I'm afraid that she will end up being yet another "I have to resurrect Ganon" pawn, but we will see about her. If it's a really she...

Also, there's a picture of what appears to be Link's family:

The father is wearing the same clothes, which Link got in the original screenshot of the item shop:

So, they should be related in a way. Maybe this is his little brother and his parents? Would be a new thing. Even though this contradicts my theory that Link is actually an old painting coming to life in this game. But the small boy also reminds me of the Flute Boy from A Link to the Past.

I have mixed feelings about some of the oddities like the female Ganondorf or Princess Hilda, but overall this games looks really promising. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

I really hope that Nintendo doesn't give us too much more info. I think the current mix of curiosity and mystery is making the game interesting enough. There's still some things, which I would like to learn beforehand, mainly if there's any multiplayer, but overall they shouldn't reveal too much this time. With Skyward Sword they spoiled 90% of the game at beforehand and that was really bad for the game.

Of course you can always just avoid any info from Nintendo. Sadly I do not have thix luxury as a reporter working for a Zelda website. Whatever Nintendo gives us, I have to analyse in great detail at beforehand.

Linkstagram ftw

Just leaving this here. It's absolutely hilarious and shows how great the whole selfie + Miiverse thing really is. Also, Toon Link rulez.