Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Excuse me, Episode 5 - Sing for the Unicorn

Wall standing is the new blanking...

Today's episode opens with some carefree scenes inside the Northern Castle. King Harkinian enjoys the silent night and even supports Link to score a kiss from Zelda. Turns out that you only have to bring her flowers to get her royal highness into the mood, which for some reason Link never tries again after this episode, if I'm not mistaken. However, both get interrupted, because the good king gets abducted by Ganon... on a flying unicorn!

This episode had some of the craziest Ganon moments so far. In the beginning he appears out of nowhere on a unicorn Pegasus hybrid. You don't know, where he got it from, he just appears riding and laughing on it for some good old WTF. Turns out that a flying creature is all he needs to get into the castle and steal the Triforce of Wisdom. But because this would be too smart, he does steal the king instead in the hopes that he could blackmail Link and Zelda. That leads to some hilarious scenes between King Harkinian and Ganon, where Ganon stands horizontally with his feet on the wall, because the floor of the prison cell is slowly (veeery slowly) disappearing. That whole image looks just ridiculous, but it fits the humor around the character(s).

Link and Zelda chase together after the king, where they come to an area that looks like Skeletor's Castle, which probably is supposed to be Death Mountain. On their way they also meet some Mulan wannabe. Her name is "Sing" and she wants to rescue the unicorn, hence the title of the episode. She fights with two sai, where she is also able to shoot sword beams. Or shall I say "sai beams"? In general this episode has a lot of "zapping" going on, even Ganon zapping his own minions to get rid of Link. And apparently it takes two zaps to "de-energize" Ganon...

Now, Zelda was in a pretty good mood the whole episode. She agreed to kiss Link, twice, and she also saved his life, twice. The third time, where Link got himself into danger, however, he had to be saved by the other girl. Zelda apparently was out of ammo with her bow, but she then later reveals a boomerang, which she used to zap Ganon away... So, she probably just had enough of saving the hero.

But to be fair, she got him in danger at least one time by touching some gigantic Armos statues. Making the Armos so huge is certainly a frightening idea, something they may want to try in the games. Link also fought two Lynels, but he made it look easy. He got a "Magic Whistle" (a Recorder) as loot from the fight, which he uses at the end to get them all away in a giant tornado. He played the Recorder sound from the game, which had a nice touch. Even if it's cheap, I like how they incorporated sound effects from the game in the show.

Well, this episode had a little bit too much going on to a point, where it easily could have worked without its title elements, Sing and the unicorn. The unicorn existed in this episode for the sole reason to fly the king around and Sing didn't interact much with Link and Zelda, so overall it seemed quite rushed. But that's what you get with 15 minutes of runtime.

"I'll take a rain check on that kiss, princess!" - Link

Monday, May 30, 2016

Excuse me, Episode 4 - Kiss'n Tell

Believe me or not, but I'm actually enjoying rewatching this show. It's also good timing, because besides Game of Thrones pretty much all TV shows ended their seasons last week, so it's nice to have something to watch in the evening, even if it's just some 15 minutes of The Legend of Zelda Bizzaro-verse.

This episode starts out with Zelda saving a maiden from Gleeock, which she does by actually throwing fruits at the three-headed dragon. Yes, fruits. I liked, how they made the three heads talk with individual minds and then even get in each other's ways, it was an interesting way to display this classic foe.

Now, the maiden didn't want to be saved by Zelda, but by the hero Link. After the White Knight episode this at first gives the impression that this will be yet another jealousy thing, just the other way around this time, but the events change quickly after the "professional zapper of dragons and rescuer of fair maidens" appears. His words, not mine. The girl willingly made out with him, but then turned out to be a Gibdo, who put a curse on Link, who now looks like a frog. Zelda then gets kidnapped by Ganon and a tentacle-porn Octorok, while Link can't do anything.

The Rhymeforce of Wisdom guides the Hero of Frogs and Spryte to a weird witch, who lives inside a mosaic wall and even looks like one. There is also a tree made of steel for no reason and it's a very weird scene just to give some information, which the Triforce simply could have delivered in its rhymes. They obviously had some issues with filling all 15 minutes here.

Well, lifting the curse is "simple, but not easy". He has to get kissed by a princess to be put back in his original form. The Frog Prince says hello, but this looks like Link's one and only chance to steal a kiss from Zelda. She's even willing to help out, but both get interrupted by cock block Ganon. It's then Spryte, who saves the day by kissing Link and there's the revelation at the end that she's in fact a fairy princess. Cool thing is that this actually will be dealt with again in a later episode, where we also get to meet the fairy king, so it's not just some random fact that never will be important again. And that's something.

"What is this, ugly people day? - Spryte

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Excuse me, Episode 3 - The White Knight

This is probably one of the better episodes, which isn't saying much, but it's still entertaining. It starts with Link and Zelda in a village, which gets attacked by Darknuts and an Octorok. Ironically the latter is the real problem, because most of the Darknuts get zapped by Zelda with a crossbow (Zelda's Crossbow Training), while the Octorok is huge and looks like the scariest Octorok ever. Here again the show predates Ocarina of Time with its concepts: the Octorok fires a shot at Link, but he reflects it right back, which isn't something that you could do in the NES Classics. But it's now measly defeated by that and things get out of control.

Enter Prince Facade from Arcadia. Could they have given him a more obvious name? (It's also the name of the Level 6 boss in Link's Awakening, but those are not related.) He's all handsome and charming and steals the girl, as well as the "Ruby", which was left as loot from one of the monsters.

Around the noble and narcissistic prince Zelda acts all like a "snoot", which is how Spryte accurately describes her, while she tries to intrude in Link's bath. She really takes the role of Lana in all of this and you could almost feel sorry for her. It even creates some irony in the situation, because Link essentially treats Spryte, the same way as Zelda treats him.

We also get to see King Harkinian for the first time. He used to be the King of Hyrule in pretty much all the North American Zelda works, including the Valiant Comics and the CD-i games, but he never was canon. He's fun though, he's like this very carefree and dopey person, who's probably incredibly incompetent at his job as king (it's really Zelda, who seems to do all the work), but he means good.

Well, everyone laughs at Link, after he tried to impress the nobles with fancy clothes, and he finally stands up for himself, riding off with his horse Catherine. If she had white hair, she would actually look quite similar to Epona. Anyway, Ganon uses the chance to kidnap Zelda, where he has some "Zola" drag her through the mud, because that's where Prince Facade would never follow her in fear of getting dirty. It's over the top, but lets that sucker Link be the hero again and get the girl and the "Ruby" back at the end. Nice one.

"Woah, loot!" - Link

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Excuse me, Episode 2 - Cold Spells

Well, in this very well scripted and epic episode it's spring cleaning time in Hyrule. Zelda wants all of Hyrule Castle to be cleaned, Link bails by pretending to be sick, Spryte has then to do all the work and Ganon actually uses this clear opportunity to mess with Spryte's magic to cause chaos and steal the Triforce of Wisdom. Finally he has all two of the Triforce pieces!! That's funny, because the episode clearly shows a Moby enemy from Zelda II - The Adventure of Link and even calls it by its name, while completely ignoring the fact that the TRIforce is made out of three pieces. Who would have thought?

I think, they decided to simplify the whole Triforce thing for story reasons, since it was supposed to be a Kid's show. There are two parties, good and evil, each party has a Triforce and whoever gets both in their lair, wins. It's like Capture the Flag with Triforces and nearly every episode follows this formula.

Now, after Ganon got his hands on the blue Flag, errrhh... the Triforce of Wisdom, he let himself carried to the next Underworld entrance, exactly like he did in the first episode. But this time Link and Zelda actually used horses to pursue him. And I really wonder why... Weren't there any beanstalks nearby?

Anyway, interestingly Zelda is using some sort of Light Arrows in this episode. I take it that it's supposed to be the Silver Arrows, but it really looks like arrows made out of light and together with horses and companion fairies this again would predate a feature from Ocarina of Time nine years before the game got released. I'm starting to see a pattern here. There's no other explanation, but the development team of Ocarina of Time had to be inspired by the show!

Well, at least Zelda didn't end up as a total b*tch in the N64 game, because she really an unlikable person in this episode, all high and mighty. But this leads to the most hilarious moment of Episode 2, where Spryte makes farting sounds at Zelda, after the princess told her to clean everything. Good one. I wish, Navi would have been as entertaining.

"Oh, boy, smooching time!" - Link

Friday, May 27, 2016

Excuse me, Episode 1 - The Ringer

Let's watch the Zelda Animated Series! I'm not kidding, with the announcement of a possible Zelda Anime movie, I thought it could be a fun idea to watch the Zelda TV series again and blog some silly thoughts about the episodes.

The show is essentially a "guilty pleasure" for me. I know it's bad, you know it's bad, but I still enjoyed the show for what it was. It's different from the CD-i games, which are entertaining, because they are so terribly awful and trashy. Here I actually enjoy the setting and the whole humor of the show, even if it's nothing like the actual characters from the games. Link is a horny jerk, Zelda is a Tsundere and Ganon is just nuts...

There already has been a post on this blog called The Adventures of Stink, which summarizes both the show and the Valiant Comics. This time I will go through all episodes individually, so there's going to be a lot more quantity and a lot less quality. I will make one post per episode and probably keep this going until E3, where we finally should get some new topics to talk about besides Hyrule Warriors. You can also watch the series with me, if you really want, where you can find a playlist by Retro Gaming Shows on Youtube.

Let's start with Episode 1, "The Ringer". I'm not even sure, what "the Ringer" means. It means "wrestler" in German, but instead of a wrestling contest, there's a wizard contest held in Hyrule Castle, which Ganon uses to sneak in by disguise to steal the Triforce of Wisdom. The Triforce actually talks in the TV series and this leads to the hilarious moment, where Ganon essentially tells the Triforce to shut it, because it lectures him about good and evil.

Another funny Ganon moment is towards the end, where he shows a Stalfos, how to go at Link and Zelda. Ganon doesn't really strike you as a fighter in the TV show at all, while Zelda really does. There are some other ridiculous moments in this episode, where the most ridiculous one is Zelda's attempt of catching up to Ganon. Instead of saddling horses to pursue him, she uses the magic of some newbie wizard from the contest to create a beanstalk catapult for Link and herself. Very smart plan.

Link also does have a fairy companion. At least in that sense they were ahead of their time, because something like a fairy companion didn't get introduced until Ocarina of Time in 1998, while the show aired 1989. The fairy's name is Spryte and she essentially is the Lana of the show, because she has a crush on Link, while he runs after Zelda. And she has this CD-i character quality close-up at the end of the episode, which is really creepy...

I do like, how they handled the beginning, introducing the whole setting. Link fancily lives in Hyrule Castle (which supposedly is the Northern Castle from Zelda II) and gets bored from staying inside all day long, having to protect the Triforce of Wisdom. But he does enjoy the view on Zelda in the morning, where he whistles at her like your average street corner jerkboy, which just made me laugh hard. It's all so completely out of character, which makes this entertaining to watch in its own unique way.

"Eat dirt, Ganon!" - Link

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Master Wind Waker Map Impressions

Another map almost completed. I cleared pretty much everything, except for Medli's Level 4 weapon mission. You can't use any magic there, while she's my weakest character and completely underleveled for the part and the game is just not fun, if you're too weak.

So far I could go through the game without grinding, thanks to fairies and the ability to chose secondary characters. My favorite character Cia even has reached Level 99 during the course of this map and Link is getting close as well. Now, on the Master Wind Waker Map I came to the inevitable point, where this backfired. All of my other characters are around Level 40 and this can be too weak for for the tougher missions. On the other maps you can compensate this with Fairy Magic, but the Master Wind Waker Map has the new "No Fairy Magic" and "No Magic" rules, which can be troublesome, if you're also locked to a weak character. That's interesting, because you're essentially just falling back to Wii U conditions. There you couldn't use other characters (without Co-op) and you didn't have any Fairy Magic...

It's funny, how much you can get used to these new comforts and rely on them. But it's a lot more fun, if you can just rush through the game without the need of grinding. So far I have spent about 160 hours with Legends and I have cleared four Adventure Maps in this time. On the Wii U I wasn't even finished with the first Adventure Map in the same time frame. That's how much of a difference it can make, alongside the rescaled difficulty. The 3DS version is a lot more enjoyable overall. Of course it will be necessary to spend some time grinding with the characters, but that's a lot more fun, if you have different costumes and their best weapons available. And I personally hope that they won't increase the level cap with the upcoming DLCs like they did on Wii U, because that's when the Wii U version really started to become tedious and unenjoyable.

The Master Wind Waker Map itself is very solid. I enjoyed the Great Sea Map quite a lot and the Master Wind Waker version stays close to the experience, whiling offering more challenge, but not too much. Playing this map after the Master Quest Map felt just right, but the first half you could also start right after the Great Sea Map.

They did revamp the entire course, which I liked. You now start on the west half of Outset Island and like on the Great Sea Map, the final mission is right next to you, on the east half of Outset. You can't get there in the beginning, because you need a Hookshot item card, which is found, where the final mission of the Great Sea Map used to be. And for this you have to go around the entire map again, only in reverse this time. You can first clear the west half of the map, which goes down pretty nicely, and the you get funneled in the south, leading to Forest Haven. Medli's Level 4 weapon mission is actually on Dragon Roost and from there you spiral towards the center. The also put all the dungeon battles in more obscure places, like the islands with star formations.

The east half of the Great Sea Map used to be a green starting area, which made the map quite easy, if not too easy. You also only got two red squares at the end. On the Master Wind Waker Map this is pretty much the opposite, nearly half of the map is covered in blue and red zones, which is good, if you need rare materials from some of the new enemies.

Item Cards are also well distributed. Only in the 2nd half I was short of some Salvage Arms, but for the most part there's no need to grind item cards to unlock awards, because there's usually something else to do, where you get the cards that you need. You just have to be willing to look for a different route, if you happen to run into locked rewards or hidden enemies.

Looking for a different route also helps with the Great Sea Rules. Those are back from the Great Sea Map and the work exactly the same, so if you don't want to play with the nasty "Don't Get hit!" rule, you just get a Boomerang item card and use it on the Big Octo on the square. But for the most part you can also completely go around and fully ignore them, because these missions don't yield any rewards. That's one of my biggest complaints with the map, because I don't like having empty spaces. Throw something in there, Koei Tecmo, even if it's just some fairy food.

In addition they also added Master Rules to all the other squares, similar to the Master Quest Map. You still have "No Healing", "No Guarding" and "Speed Run" and those are essentially freebies. "Don't Get Hit!" and "No Item Attacks" are exclusive to Great Sea Rules, so luckily you don't have to deal with them, if you don't want to. New are "No Special Attacks", "No Rental Skills", "No Magic" and "No Fairy Magic". And these try to teach you not to rely on all these powers too much.

Especially the "No (Fairy) Magic" rules usually caught me in places, where I really thought that it would be nice to use some. I wanted to try Shade in the "Balanced Attack" missions, because those are usually annoying, but naturally they prevent you from using Magic in them. And then they let you fight three Dark Volgas, which sting like oversized dragon hornets on Speed. With Shade you just could let them stand there and go cut some grass in the meantime. Luckily the Twilight Map doesn't have any Master Rules, so I can't wait to abuse fairies all over the map. Wait, that came out wrong...

Sadly, it seems that they also nerfed one of my absolute favorite mission types from the Twilight Map, the "Divisive Plan" challenge battles. On the Wii U those were godly to grind materials, weapons and Experience, because every clone would give you something. But that's not the case anymore... The more I hope that they won't go above Level 99 again, because I hate being stuck on the bottom left corner of the Master Quest Map with every single character.

The new Adventure Battle scenario is about having two forces, where you can make the yellow forces join your own by defeating their commanders. This can be fun, because you can conquer multiple keeps in an instant with this and easily double your forces, but it also takes away a lot from the potential K.O. count.

If you finish the Master Wind Waker Map's final mission, you will also be rewarded with another fairy slot. So, if all DLC maps do that, you will be able to hold twelve out of the 20 fairies in the game. The map didn't add any new fairies or new fairy food (it mostly just reused food from the Great Sea Map), but it did offer new fairy costumes, as advertised. I finally got a fire head gear (Keaton Mask) and a Darkness aura, so that Din and Demise are finally at their full potential.

Well, two months are left until the next DLC and my goal until then is to complete both the Twilight and Termina maps again, as well as getting all the characters as strong as possible. But I'm overall I'm looking forward to the upcoming DLCs.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Zelda Game Buttons Extended

Another small improvement on the this blog following the label expansion. Since the sidebar with the game buttons is one of the few visual highlights on this site, I decided to extend it into full glory.

Now each Zelda game has its own button. Before today certain games were combined into one (the NES Classics, the Oracle games and the Four Swords games). Those got split and Link's Crossbow Training now also got its own button, which got put between Twilight Princess and the Tingle spin-off(s). That one might not seem all that important, but it arranges an even row, because I tried to group games that are connected somehow. For example the Four Swords saga is on its own row (Update: not anymore, see comments), as well are the games from the Nintendo DS and Wii era. It all turned out pretty well.

I also redesigned some existing buttons including A Link to the Past, Skyward Sword, Tri Force Heroes, Hyrule Warriors and Tingle's button. Press F5, if you don't see the new graphics yet.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: DLC Character Material Drops

DLC characters in Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors: Legends don't seem to get materials on their own. Instead they will drop materials of similar or related characters. Twili Midna and Young Link used to drop Midna's and Link's materials on the Wii U DLC Adventure Maps, before they got their own materials in Legends. Medli now drops Ruto's materials on the Master Wind Waker Map, which is a nice reference to how she is a descendant of Laruto and how the Rito evolved from the Zora.

Tingle on the other hand originally got completely left out. While he has his own materials in Legends and can be fought in Adventure Mode on the 3DS, he was not to be found on the Wii U Termina Map, probably because they didn't know what material they should give him and him dropping useless new materials didn't make much sense. And hopefully characters like Marin won't follow this pattern, so let's think about what material replacements they could get...

In case of the Lorule trio it's pretty obvious: they could just drop the materials of their Hyrule counterparts. It's not even a bad fit, for example Ravio also has a blue scarf, Hilda has a diadem and Yuga has a crystal on his forehead. So, there's that.

Technically the characters in the A Link Between Worlds Pack could even get their own materials, where they would need each other's. Characters won't be sold separately anymore in Japan, so there's no reason to keep them completely autonomous. Like Medli they can have their Heart Containers, Heart Pieces and Weapon Upgrades on the new map. And they could be fought as enemies, where they drop new materials, which are also used for their badges. This would be fairly limited, but the same argument could be made against all Wind Waker materials in Legends. But either way should work fine.

The same doesn't apply to Marin and the new character from the Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks Pack (probably Linebeck), because they are on their own in their DLC packs, which are still sold separately. So, you can't have Marin require the next DLC character's materials and vice versa. As for Marin, she also could simply drop Zelda's materials, because Link confuses her with Zelda in the beginning of the game and she supposedly resembled the Zelda from A Link to the Past. Another nice reference would be Lana's materials, because both like to sing and both have a crush on Link.

As for Linebeck, he could get King Daphnes' materials, because boats. That's a stretch, but there isn't really any other character, who would make a better reference. Toon Link and Tetra might also be a possibility, because they both used to be on Linebeck's boat for a while and I like the idea of how he stockpiled Toon Link's stuff in his treasure chamber over the course of their adventure. That is, if Linebeck is going to be the new character. He has the best chance, but we can't be a 100% sure right now. But unlike the other candidates from the Nintendo DS Zelda games, he could actually have some meaningful material replacements.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hyrule Warriros Legends: Exclusive My Fairy Costumes

Not only the characters can have costumes in Hyrule Warriors: Legends, but also the fairies. These are even gameplay relevant, because the costumes can increase the damage and decrease the cost of the Fairy Magic. Each outfit only supports a certain element, which is why you want as many of them as possible to create a fairy to your liking. They are a really good reward on the Adventure Maps, but there were also four sets of costumes that only are available via DLC codes and not part of the Adventure Maps.

They were handed out as pre-order bonuses in Europe and Japan, as well as for some promotions in Japan. Here is what they look like and how they were gotten.

Classic Set:

I got this one as a pre-order bonus from Amazon Germany. I don't like it that much, but it was bundled with the Classic Costume for Link that originally was introduced in version 1.7.0 of the Wii U game last June. It's the only character costume that you can't unlock in Adventure Mode in Legends.

Twilight Set (Light):

This also came as a pre-order bonus in certain regions, I got it from Amazon Germany as well. And it's one of my favorites, currently decorating my Light Fairy. The game does offer Darkness and Lightning variants of this outfit, both found on the Twilight Map.

Demon Lord Set (Black):

You could only get this in Japan and Europe as well. There was a code in the Famitsu magazine that would give you this costume. It's just a black version of the already available Ghirahim outfit. Update: In Europe this was available in the Nintendo Zones of GAME in early May 2016.

Royal Set (Red):

You had to visit a 7-Eleven outlet in Japan until February 29th to get this. It's a red version of the Zelda and Hilda dresses that are already available in the game. It's for the Fire Element and it could be an amazing fit for the blonde Fire Fairy on the Termina Map.

As far as I know, none of them were available in North America so far. But like the Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Demon King pre-order costume sets that were available on the Wii U, I suppose that all of these costumes also will be purchasable for a small price at a later time.

Cia's Master Wind Waker Costume

Glorious! Color me a fan. Not only does Cia now have one costume for each of Link's typical colors, with the blonde hair it's also a reference to Pirate Aryll, which goes hand in hand with Lana's new recolor costume, which is based on Outset Aryll. That's very fitting, both cosplaying as Link's sister.

The Master Wind Waker Map offers a total of 16 recolor costumes. That's the same number of costumes that the DLC Adventure Maps on the Wii U had and I suppose that Koei Tecmo is simply keeping the same value up. It's still a shame that certain characters got left out. The ones, who apparently didn't get a new costume are Impa, Ganondorf, Agitha, Zant, Wizzro, Young Link, Linkle, Skull Kid and Medli.

Especially the last four seem disappointing, because the DLC and Legends characters only have gotten one costume so far, on the Great Sea Map. Medli doesn't even have a single costume yet and at least the adorable bird girl should have gotten one costume here, though it still might be that the Rewards Map has one for her.

They might have dodged a bullet, though. Those recolor costumes can be a mixed bag. Some of them look great, others are just absolutely hideous. Especially Twili Midna got blemished twice now. There's no value in these costumes, if they look bad. (You can find pictures of all new costumes in Koei Wiki, if you want to take a look.)

But I'm quite happy with Cia's collection so far. The only one that I don't like is her Master Quest costume in Link's colors. I get the idea, but it doesn't look good. But I really liked the blue Lana and the green Manhandla recolors. And in Legends I finally got my red recolor costume for her, as well as the nice blonde / purple Aryll one. The only other Cia recolor that I would like to see is some white Fierce Deity costume. And with the Link's Awakening Pack a Marin recolor for both Lana and Cia would be lovely, since she's basically one of Link's oldest love interests. And now that I think about it, they should also get a Zelda recolor at some point...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hyrule Warriors: Medli Impressions

Fun fact: "Medli" is actually spelled "Medoly" in other languages as a spin on "Melody".

Medli means a lot to me, since she's the center of my favorite part in the Wind Waker: the Earth Temple. She's just so adorable and I enjoy the team-up action between her and Link. I'm always sad to let her go at the end of the temple and of all the controllable characters other than Link throughout the Zelda series, she's certainly my favorite.

Therefore I was quite happy about the announcement that she's finally going to be playable again, as part of the Hyrule Warriors roster. But the outcome doesn't make me as happy. Like the other Wind Waker characters she's somewhat underwhelming and she sounds more squeaky than she used to, even though they apparently got her old voice actress back (Chiaki Takahashi). It's not as bad as Tetra, but it could have been better.

Anyway, her moveset is alright, but certainly not outstanding. I'm not a fan of tornado moves and she has two of them, her C5 and near the end of the attack string. The latter gets followed by a beam of light and while it seems like a good combination (the enemies inside the tornado get illuminated), I wish that the beam move was somewhat more accessible, because I enjoy using them with characters like Skull Kid and Wizzro. The Lyra was used like a Mirror Shield most of the time in The Wind Waker, so that functionality should have been a little bit more prominent. Her C3 seems quite useless to me and I would trade that without a second thought for more light beam action.

She also got a unique mechanic, where you can fill a bar with her Strong Attack or her C6 and then attack in the air with dodging during certain combos. It's somewhat similar to Tingle's Strong Attack mechanic, but different in execution, because you actually attack using the dodge button. However, to my experience this only seems to work with her C2 and C4.

Quite some of her attacks end with getting dizzy or clumsily dropping on the ground, which makes her even more adorable, but it's also an issue with her safety. She seems to be a very unsafe character. Especially her glorious C6 leaves her open for attacks, which takes away quite a lot potential. Some more dodge cancels and invincibility frames would make her a lot better. She also doesn't seem to do well against Giant Bosses. The C6 does take a way a good amount of the Weak Point Gauge, but it's not enough and you might have to throw in a Special to break the gauge in one go.

I do like, how she flies over the battlefield as her running animation. That looks really great and I had something similar in mind for Marin, who could transform into a seagull to fly around. But even if she doesn't, Medli gives me already my dose of fly-running.

I also like the design of the third tier of her weapon. It looks absolutely amazing and is certainly one of the best looking weapons in the game. Great job there. The fact that she actually uses a "Rito Harp" as the weapon type next to Sheik's Harp also opens some doors. For example a Hilda really could get a "Triforce Scepter" next to Cia's Scepter or a potential Nabooru could get "Gerudo Scimitars" next to Zant's Scimitars.

If Medli gever ets a second weapon type, I suppose the Grappling Hook would be the best fit, since it's a tool of the Rito and Medli originally gave it to Link. So, maybe that won't be Toon Link's weapon in the DLC, but something else, e.g. something with Phantoms. We'll see. Toon Link has more than enough possibilities for additional weapons and I hope that he won't take away from other characters.

Material-wise Medli seems to be a Ganon fangirl. She needs some Ganondorf stuff and a lot of Phantom Ganon materials, where I don't have all that many yet. I know that the new Reward Map battle has three of them, but I have yet to unlock this mission. Luckily the new Master Wind Waker Map seems to have a large portion of red and blue zones, where getting better materials from the new enemies could become easier.

On the Wii U she needs a lot of King Dodongo crystals and she's actually the third new character to do so, where she's the first new DLC character, where I couldn't afford all her badges right away. Luckily the Master Material Potion on the Wii U does a great job. I used it on the first Boss Challenge Battle with the ten King Dodongos and got nine gold materials out of it. They actually fixed the same potion with the current update for Legends, so it should work equally now, but it still costs way too much. 20 Silver Materials is nothing that I want to afford at this point. The Wii U version made much better use of the bronze materials, so you're not constantly stuck with 999 rubbish. And it seems like you can't get lots of silver materials from the "Divisive plan" battles anymore, which makes the whole situation on the 3DS even worse.

It's the similar with the Experience Potion. On the Wii U I used it together with Experience+ on the bottom left Master Quest square ("Rack up your K.O. count!" Lvl 12) and got Medli from Level 4 to to 37 in one go. Of course on the other hand there's still a long way to the 255 maximum with her... Which I probably won't do, because the real fun is on the 3DS with the new map and with less grinding. The Wii U version really lost all appeal to me at the moment and I probably will only use it to try out the new characters in full glory.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: 1st SpotPass Gift

Today Koei Tecmo hands out the following via SpotPass to celebrate the release of the first DLC:

  • 500,000 Rupees
  • 10 Golden/Delicious Weird Eggs
  • 10 Golden/Delicious Odd Mushrooms

This is great timing! My Darkness Fairy is at Level 99 and I wasn't going to refresh her, until I have enough food to get me the Double Shade ability back. And this should help A LOT. Thanks, Koei!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: Master Quest Map Impressions

Just in time for the upcoming Master Wind Waker Map I'm about to be finished with the Master Quest Map. I unlocked all squares, got all weapons and costumes, as well as all fairy rewards. There are only a few Heart Containers missing, as well as some Golden Skulltulas. The latter I will get, while unlocking the first seal on the Master Sword at the same time, which freshly got uncovered after I got all Level 3 weapons.

Some time before that (when I got the Level 3 Great Fairy) the game also started to give me Legendary Seals, which are still locked. Seals for Augment Skills started appearing right after collecting all Level 2 weapons, where I finally got "Hasty Attacks" for Cia, my main character. And you really can "main" someone in this version of the game, because it often lets you chose a second or third character, even for some of the Level 3 weapon missions, where normally you're locked to the corresponding weapon type. But e.g. "Artillery Fire" with Zant was always an awful mission, but here I could just breeze through with Cia. In addition she got many missions for herself on the Master Quest Map, so I was able to play with her quite a lot. She's Level 90 right now, way ahead of Link, who's at Level 75. All other characters are between Level 30 and 50, which means that some of them are heavily under-leveled, but you can usually compensate this with Shade Fairy Magic.

When the Master Quest Map was first released for Wii U, I really enjoyed it, because it introduced the nice "Rack up your K.O. count" missions. Especially the bottom left corner of the MQ Map is very nice for leveling your characters, but here they increased the difficulty somewhat. On the Wii U even with a Level 1 character you could easily kill the Giant Bosses in one go, which now requires some more levels for the same mission. But it was my first goal to get there, where I faced little resistance on the path.

Anyway, what makes the Master Quest Map special, are the Master Rules on each mission. Most of them can be easily ignored or even make the game easier. "No Healing" doesn't matter, because you want to have the A Rank anyway. It's the same with "Speed Run", where you now have 20 minutes on the clock. Again, that rule never really matters, because the A Rank turns all battles into "Speed Runs", in fact it's even handy to have a clock on the screen for that. And "No Blocking" makes the game even easier, because it takes away the damage requirement for A Ranks. I heavily enjoy these missions.

"No Item Attacks" usually doesn't prove to be a big issue, they even removed some more unfair scenarios with this on the 3DS. Only "Don't Get Hit" is a real problem and that one luckily is rare. I still hate it, but luckily there's now the "Water Wall" Rental Skill, which allows you to get hit a couple of times. It doesn't work with the "All Attacks are devastating!" missions, but the only real problem are the "Don't Get Hit" Adventure Battles anyway. Thanks to the Fairy Magic it became a lot easier on the 3DS, though.

They also added Owl Statues to some missions, which they curiously didn't do at all on the first Adventure Map. They are very scarce on the Master Quest Map, but still a welcome addition. Especially Owl Statues near Skulltulas and your base can be a huge help. In general everything feels "fresh" enough that I don't mind replaying Adventure Mode that much. It took a long time on the Wii U, but thanks to the changed rewards and character requirements and the more balanced difficulty I don't feel like dragging myself through the exact same thing again. I'm also making progress at a much faster rate.

Still, what really annoyed me on the Master Quest Map were the Item Cards... again. They were well done on the Great Sea Map, but here you constantly have to repeat missions to get the necessary item cards for rewards and making enemies appear. You especially need a lot of Bombs and the Compass is required more often than usual. On the other maps the Compass is rarely useful, but here the hidden spots are often in the middle of nothing. Though with the Recorder you can't actually use it on a wrong spot, so you can essentially just try until you find the right place. Bombs can be misplaced, however, and there are two spots right above the two screens at Death Mountain with rows of Armos next to each (where you would find the Power Bracelet in the NES game), where the cave entrances are one field next to where they originally were on the NES. That oversight was already there on the Wii U version and if you're using a map with all secrets from the original game, it might mislead you. And you're not getting enough bombs on your way, which is why you have to repeat the same missions over and over again.

The map also didn't feel as rewarding, which is weird. It has the Level 3 weapons and those are beautiful to have. One the Wii U those were the most important unlocks and here you have them all on one single map. This should feel like an amazing achievement to get it all, but they added the superior "Plus" versions to the game. They look the same, but offer more power, so you're not done with upgrading your weapons and can't get started building good weapons just yet. They are just another intermediate step before the real deal. Also, the Fairy Clothing for the most part was just Skyloft stuff, which got boring pretty quickly. I still need Fire head gear and Darkness make-up, where the Master Quest Map didn't provide anything... It was just differently colored Skyloft Shirts and Pants everywhere. Yikes.

Well, both the Termina and Twilight Maps got unlocked next, but I will go for the Master Wind Waker Map first. Hopefully, it will still be easy enough and not require all the Level 4 weapons already. But since the original Master Quest DLC map was also quite easy, I don't think that this will be the case. I just want something new, before I go at the dreadful Twilight and Termina Maps again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: 30th Character? Lorule Trio?

The current roster of Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends has exactly 24 characters and leaves an open spot in the lower right corner:

Back in January this already bugged me and at the time I suggested that Koei Tecmo will add one final character to fill the roster screen. And as it turned out, this character is going to be Medli, who will be available for free this Thursday. She fits this spot very nicely in a set of four The Wind Waker characters, which are all in the same column.

However, she's not going to be the last character to be added. We will get four more in the DLC: Marin in the Link's Awakening Pack, most likely Linebeck in the Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks Pack and two more characters from A Link Between Worlds. And with that we're back to having this ugly little open corner in the character menu again. 29 is a prime number, so there's no way that they could evenly re-arrange the roster. And we're back at the question, if Koei Tecmo might add "one final character" to make it an even 30.

Now, I've already mentioned the possibility in my DLC predictions, but after a similar discussion on GameFAQs I'm even more convinced that we're going to get the full Lorule trio at the end of the DLC:

Ravio, Hilda AND Yuga. Two of them will be paid DLC, one of them a freebie. The freebie characters so far always have been tied to the newly released Adventure Mode Maps. Cia, Volga and Wizzro all were available for free, but their hearts and weapon upgrades were locked on the Master Quest DLC Map. The same happens this week with Medli. You can get her for free, but if you want her stuff in Legends, you will need to buy the Master Wind Waker Map.

On the Wii U all DLC characters are autonomous by now, so she will be a real freebie there. But I suppose that the upcoming DLC for Legends will handle all paid DLC characters the same way as Medli. This time the characters won't be sold separately in Japan, so there's no reason to unlock all their weapons right away and tie all their hearts to levels. Koei Tecmo heavily listened to feedback so far and many people didn't like the autonomous DLC characters. You also want to unlock stuff with them, make real progress other than just leveling. Or else these DLC characters are not fully worth it.

Now, if they really decide to add another character as a free gift and as a "thank you" to the fans, then it will probably happen at the end and that's in November, where the A Link Between Worlds Pack will be released. And since the freebie characters are usually tied thematically to the simultaneously released Adventure Mode Maps, it makes sense to get another character from that game. And here it makes fully sense to complete the Lorule trio of Ravio, Hilda and Yuga. One of them will be free DLC. And the other two will be part of the DLC pack.

So, you might ask, why they simply didn't announce three characters for the A Link Between Worlds Pack, then. All upcoming DLC packs are evenly balanced. The Master Wind Waker Pack is the cheap one, which only has a new Adventure Mode Map. The following packs all give you a new Adventure Mode Map and two new movesets. They all also cost the same price. That's a good system and by releasing a third character for free alongside the last pack, it will make them look good, but at the same time it will be a huge incentive to buy the DLC for everyone, who hasn't bought it already. You suddenly have the pretty Hilda in your roster, but she looks so lonely... And you can add Ravio and Yuga to keep her company for just a small price! It's a good strategy and win-win for everyone. But of course they haven't announced a 30th character yet, because they want to keep it as a surprise for then.

If they want to keep the order of "Ravio, Hilda, Yuga" in the roster screen, the free character will probably be Ravio, while Hilda and Yuga are added to the end. But it really could be any of the three, though I personally believe that Yuga will be part of the paid DLC, because he has the most extraordinary moveset potential. He was also one of the first fan requests that Koei Tecmo has publicly addressed on Twitter around the time, when the first game was released. The other one was Linkle and we all know, how she turned out...

We'll see, but right now I'm convinced that we will get the full Lorule trio in the current Hyrule Warriors games. It would be awesome.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Zelda Movie a Possibility

Nintendo's new president Kimishima spoke to Asahi Shimbun about Nintendo's smartphone and movie plans. See all the details on Perfectly Nintendo.

With the NES and SNES eras Nintendo used to be absolutely everywhere. Yes, there was the bad Super Mario Bros. movie, but they also had TV shows, lots of commercials, even Super Mario cereals. The point is to get attention for Nintendo's actual products: their video game systems and games. It certainly worked for me as a kid. And today smartphones have become an important medium and Nintendo is using this to get attention back to their core systems by releasing free software on Smartphones to lure people back into the real fun. And movies and shows will always be popular, where it could be a good move to do something with their franchises in order to advertise. "Seen this amazing new Zelda movie? Liked it? You have to play the game, then!"

Now, Kimishima doesn't confirm that any Zelda movie is in the talks, but he acknowledges that The Legend of Zelda is in popular demand for such a thing. He also acknowledges that a live action movie didn't really work out so well, which essentially points in the direction of an anime (or animated movie). And this takes away my concerns. I couldn't picture a live action movie for Zelda. Even if it would have Lord of the Rings quality, they won't ever be able to get actors that are a perfect fit for the roles. It would just feel wrong.

An anime in the beautiful style of the new game, however, that is something I could easily picture:

I wouldn't be overly excited, but I certainly wouldn't be worried. It's not the 90s anymore and the Zelda Animated Series from that time is long in the past (though it can be a lot of fun and I might go through all episodes on this blog sometime). An anime worked really well for Bayonetta and if Nintendo can find the right studio (Ghibli may come to mind), a Zelda anime could become a great thing.

This was even something I considered for possible 30th Anniversary surprises, though right now it seems like I was too early with that. The 30th Anniversary might be off the table and all they do at E3 is doing an unscripted live show of the new game. No Zelda Direct or anything, where they could announce something like a Zelda anime in big fashion. But it's still possible that they might reveal something during this year. We'll see and this will certainly be an interesting topic in the future.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Zelda Game Labels Extended

This is just a small update to this blog.

Last night I refined the labels, which you can find on the right side bar and beneath each post. Previously multiple Zelda games were put under the same label, e.g. Zelda NES Classics. This is still in tact, but I also added labels for the individual games, whenever you want a more accurate search.

I also added labels for remakes and remasters, but these posts are still marked with the label for the original game. So, if you search for Twilight Princess you still get all posts about Twilight Princess, including the ones about Twilight Princess HD. With the Twilight Princess HD label on the other hand you will only get the posts specifically about the remaster. And of course there's still the Twilight Princess HD Diaries series from March, probably continued in Winter or whenever I decide to play Hero Mode. These posts have all three Twilight Princess labels, so it's a gradual refinement.

There's currently no way to filter posts that were only about the original game, not the remakes / remasters, but I feel like this won't be necessary. Whenever a new version gets released, it becomes the focus of this blog anyway.

The list of labels now might look a little bit long and cluttered, but that's what you get after eight years of blogging. Since it's on the bottom of the right side bar and ordered alphabetically, it hopefully shouldn't bother anyone. If you have ideas for additional labels, just let me know.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

An Ocean of Grass

In exactly one month the curtains will fall and we will finally see a presentation of the new Legend of Zelda game for the first since the Game Awards 2014. Back then the game certainly looked amazing, but also gave reason to be worried about its contents. The world felt empty.

It felt somewhat like The Wind Waker, but instead of sailing through the Great Sea you were riding on a horse through an ocean of grass. Now Link's tunic is blue and the water is green, but the game feels the same. And with The Wind Waker they certainly gave Zelda a feeling of vastness for the first time, a massive open ocean waiting to be explored. This world did have its problems, though, because Nintendo didn't manage to fill it with enough unique content. Instead they came up with certain structures that they simply copy pasted all over the map: the Fairy Islands, the Eyed Reefs, the Pirate Lookout Towers, the Submarines and so on. The world felt repetitive.

Twilight Princess wasn't as bad, but its Hyrule Field still felt quite empty and had some repetitive elements as well, such as the Rupee Rocks, Dig Caverns and Golden Insects. And while the surface world of Skyward Sword and the town of Skyloft felt dense and well crafted, the game still had a "sky ocean", where its islands were even less interesting than the ones in The Wind Waker. The world felt lazy.

Now, in the footage of the new game you could already something like lookout towers that are probably repeated multiple times. And to fill such massive game worlds with content is certainly no easy task, which is why the developers rely heavily on the repeated structures and elements. It's a problem of other open world games like Skyrim as well. If you have seen on Skyrim village, you have seen them all. And the most interesting and richest in variety 3D Zelda game world was also the smallest - Termina. The world felt dense.

Of course having a massive world like in the new Zelda game is also very exciting and only going for small overworlds in Zelda is not a permanent solution. Zelda has to try something new and different, something epic. And Nintendo most likely has heard the complaints after the Game Awards 2014, which is why the game got delayed last year. They probably wanted to make the massive world more interesting and rich in content (besides developing a NX version of the game). They will have had two years for this task, which is a long time - they created entire Zelda games in the same time frame. And I'm eager to see what they came up with. How the world will feel next month.

The Wii U's Biggest Issue

Not the name. Not the bulky GamePad. The Nintendo 3DS!

I've already discussed this in February in my post about Zelda U on NX, but I recently found (and modified) a nice picture on Emily Roger's blog that illustrates the problem very effectively:

The Wii U and Nintendo 3DS have a huge redundancy issue to a point, where the systems are cannibalizing each other. By now both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U share the same input configuration, they both have a touchscreen in addition to the main screen and in case of the New Nintendo 3DS even the exact same button layout. They also deal with 3D graphics most of the time. And both systems have a big handheld mentality, where the Wii U lets you play without a TV at any time. Handheld and console came very close to each other in this generation.

The result were many similar games for both systems. New Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors: Legends... This list goes on and on and you can see the bigger scope very clearly in the above picture.

However, the Nintendo 3DS and especially the Nintendo 2DS are much cheaper and practical than the Wii U. Kids getting Nintendo systems from their parents is still an important income for Nintendo, but why should the parents buy their kids a Wii U, when a Nintendo 2DS does the same job just fine for a much smaller price? Just because the games look prettier and may offer different levels? There are only very few exclusive titles like Splatoon or Super Mario Maker on the Wii U, which aren't available in some form on 3DS, while the 3DS has a much stronger library including Pokémon and even exclusive Zelda games (something the Wii U won't offer until its demise).

At the same time Nintendo is essentially splitting their resources in half to make similar games for two different systems, while one systems eats away the other...

This is why I believe the rumors about the NX combining handheld and console in one system will be true. That somehow NX games will also be playable on the go with some external device. Games will be developed for "NX" and then simply be available for both home console and handheld devices. It would solve many issues with the current Nintendo.

Another approach would doing something very different on the handheld section, something simpler, more back to the roots, where the handheld is truly its own experience. We certainly didn't have such problems with the GameBoy. But I would suspect that Nintendo will try more on the Smartphone market instead.

Now, for The Legend of Zelda the division between handheld and console still has been going strong. Remakes and ports aside, classic topdown Zelda games appeared on the handheld and the big new 3rd Person Zelda games appear on the console. This way you get very unique experiences with Zelda on both systems. I always liked this approach and while I think it will be best for Nintendo to "merge" everything with the NX, I truly hope that this won't be the end of topdown Zelda.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hyrule Warriors Legends: My Fairy Impressions

Let's talk about one of the bigger additions in Hyrule Warriors: Legends - the companion fairies. I've had some experience with this by now and it's certainly a great new feature. I was skeptical at first, because it looked like Koei Tecmo just wanted to put one of these online doll makers into the game, but the fairies have proven to be one of the most valuable assets in the entire game.

That's because the Fairy Magic, which on GameFAQs is usually referred to as "Fairy Nukes", triggers a huge explosion that kills all enemies within a certain radius, even ones that aren't rendered. Most attacks in the game only affect the rendered enemies, which is why it's a lot harder to get higher K.O. counts with Special Attacks on the Nintendo 3DS. But the Fairy Nukes wipe the area clean and give you high K.O. numbers with a single press on the touchscreen. It feels overpowered, but that's what makes it so fun and useful.

It can also be a life saver for your A ranks and it gives you a good additional use for Magic. I never have been much of a fan of the Focus Spirit mechanic outside of the "Rack up your K.O. count" battles, because it's so short-lived. I often ignored it altogether or just used it to quickly force weak points on giant bosses. But the Fairy Magic is so useful that in Hyrule Warriors: Legends I really go cut all the grass to find these little Magic Vials. With fairy clothing you can even reduce the cost of one nuke down to 60%, which means that after one nuke with a full Magic Meter, you only have to find one small bottle to use it again!

In addition, if you get a fairy to Level 25, it leaves a barrier within a small radius for around two minutes (or until you use the Fairy Magic again), where depending on the element the barriers have different effects on the troops (not yourself!). At Level 50 a fairy can use a 2nd elemental barrier simultaneously or double the same elemental barrier by radius and effect. Now, the different elemental barriers do the following...

  • Shine (Light):
    This regenerates your troops within the circle. In Adventure Mode this is rarely ever useful, but for hunting certain Hard Skulltulas in Legend Mode this comes in handy. For example there's Linkle's mission, where Darunia storms off to fight Volga and you have to keep him from getting in danger. And here the Shine barrier really does its job.

  • Shade (Darkness):
    This is probably the most effective Fairy Magic effect, if used right. All your enemies within the barrier get slowly damaged over time, until they only have one health point left. It's like a poison effect. It doesn't kill them, but you can easily pick them off as One-Hit K.O.s, which works whenever enemies stay within a certain area to take a nice Shade bath. In Adventure Mode this is very often possible, pretty much in every single Adventure Battle. After the enemy base opens up, you can just leave a Shade barrier there and go hunt for some hidden treasures in the meantime. When you come back, the enemy commander will be ready to be defeated in a single hit. In missions, where you have to take out certain enemies, your allies might even do this for you, so you just have to leave a Shade barrier around and go on with your business.

    It's also great for certain types of Challenge Battles. I usually despised all the "Team up and defeat the enemy forces!" missions, but here you can just leave a Shade barrier with the more annoying opponent (for example someone spawning Giant Bosses) and take care of the other in the meantime. It really helps with the "balanced attack" missions on the Twilight Map as well.

    The constant damage on enemies can have some weird side effects, though. Basically all plant enemies go nuts. Deku Babas hide all the time and you can't defeat them inside the Shade effect, but they still leave their poison fog as obstacles around. Manhandla also reacts weird, where it keeps retracting its heads, but this might be a good thing. And whenever you're using attacks with a tornado effect, the enemies may fly out of it and even out of your reach.

  • Bombos (Fire):
    This makes enemies take more damage from all your attacks and this is very useful, whenever you have to face enemies right away and can't just leave them where they are, usually in Challenge Battles like "Defeat all enemies!" or "Defeat all Giant Bosses!". Some people prefer this over Shade all the time, but it seems to be quite useless, if you're already doing lots of damage. Bombos is probably something that will get very interesting in the later Adventure Maps, when you're starting to be underleveled and you're simply not doing enough damage. But if your enemies are dealing too much damage, Shade is probably still the better alternative, because you can avoid them entirely. At least Bombos doesn't seem to have any weird side effects.

  • Ether (Water):
    This reduces the damage your troops take. It does not reduce the damage that you take and for supporting your troops the Shine effect seems to be the superior choice. There isn't much to say about Ether and probably no real reason to ever use it.

  • Quake (Lightning):
    This just slows enemy forces down. The enemies in this game are usually faster than on the Wii U, probably to make this appear more useful, but the only missions, where this might be actually useful, are the "Guard Allied Keeps" Challenge Battles. But even here an Ether barrier together with the Repair Rental Skill might prove to be more useful than slowing enemies down.

    It's also a little bit weird / bugging, how "Ether" is the name for Water Fairy Barrier Magic, while the Lightning symbol looks exactly like the Ether Medallion. Just a side note.

    But the effect supports my theory that Hyrule Warriors 2 might have "time" as the sixth element. A time barrier could speed your forces up instead.

Next to the Fairy Magic and its barrier effects, there are also many different Rental Skills to unlock by leveling your fairies. They are listed as items within the game, while depending on the skill it works either all the time, for a short time or with a limited number of uses. I haven't gotten much into the whole thing, but the most useful Rental Skills I've found are "Water Wall", which lets every character essentially have the ability of Sheik's water shield, and "Repair", which heals one of your keeps. "Water Wall" is probably my favorite and helps tremendously with collecting Gold Skulltulas or keeping the Sword Beams of the Master Sword. The only downside is that you lose it, whenever you change between characters.

Some people swear on the "Magic Fountain" skill, which gives you unlimited magic for a short time, which you can use for many fairy nukes in a row or a longer Focus Spirit, but I haven't had the chance to unlock this yet and I'm also not too eager about these time limited perks.

To get Rental Skills you have to increase certain traits of the fairy, but a fairy can only have five traits at a time. In order to change these traits (and also her name), you have to refresh her after reaching Level 99. This is something the later Dynasty Warriors games seem to offer for their characters, while here you get a fairy back to level 1, but she keeps 10 percent of her stats, your trust level and all her Rental Skills. And with this you can aim to unlock more and more Rental Skills over time, even getting a fairy with all the skills.

This, however, might take a long time and it's probably easier to focus on different fairies at the same time, because they all have different initial traits. At the beginning you can have up to three fairies, but for each Adventure Map, where you beat the final Ganon mission, you get another slot, which means you can currently have up to eight fairies at the same time. The DLC Maps might also add more slots, we'll see. But it doesn't seem like the DLC maps actually add new fairies, because otherwise they probably would have shown them in the trailer.

There are four different fairies for each element to be found on the five original maps (Termina and Twilight Maps share a set of five fairies), so 20 different fairies altogether. They all have a different look, though for each element you only get two different hair styles with two different colors. On Reddit you can find a neat little Location Guide for all fairies and foods, which even links to images of all fairies.

I personally would have preferred it, if you could built/design fairies on your own and unlock the different hair styles similar to the Fairy Clothing, instead of having different fairies all over the place. If you really like the designs on the Twilight and Termina Maps the best, you're in a dilemma, because you probably wouldn't want to wait using a fairy of the same element until so late in the game. So, you have to settle for the earlier designs.

Luckily I found my favorites for the five elements on the first two maps and this is my current fairy ensemble in this exact order:

  • Hylia: Light Fairy from Great Sea Map
  • Shady: Darkness Fairy from Adventure Map
  • Din: Fire Fairy from Great Sea Map
  • Nayru: Water Fairy from Adventure Map
  • Farore: Lightning Fairy from Adventure Map

As you can see, I named them after the Goddesses. The Lightning Fairy would be better with green hair to match Farore somewhat more, but otherwise it's quite accurate. Especially my chosen fairies for Din and Nayru look a lot like the two Oracles. I might also rename "Shady" into "Demise", just to fit the pattern better.

All my fairies are above Level 50 as of now and have a double barrier for their respective element. For the remaining three fairies I will try to raise hybrids. I have eyes on the Light Fairy on the Twilight Map for a Shine Shade hybrid. And the Termina Fire Fairy looks really hot, where I might give her a Bombos Shade ability (though Shine might suit her visually better). And a Bombos Ether mixture might also be useful, but I haven't seen a visually fitting fairy for this yet.

Fairy Clothing is another topic on its own. With it you can raise the Fairy Magic damage up to three times and reduce the magic costs down to 60%. The annoying part is that each clothing is set to a specific element and only works for this element. While you can dress your fairies in anything you want, only certain clothes will really buff them. And this heavily limits your options in this Zelda doll maker.

And as this wasn't already disappointing enough, I still wasn't able to get a complete set of clothing for both Fire and Darkness, even after completing the first two Adventure Mode Maps. The original Adventure Map didn't even have a single piece of Fire clothing! And right now I'm still missing some "hat" for the Fire Fairy, where the magic costs are still at 80%, as well as make-up / aura for my Dark Fairy. At least my Dark Fairy has the fully reduced costs, which is why I still prefer to use her over Din and her Double Bombos most of the time.

Next to clothing you can also unlock Fairy Food and like the bottled fairies it's hidden within the normal Rupee pots. On the Wii U I usually ignored those pots, but here you now have an incentive to check every pot in enemy keeps for all the missions with hidden food. This goes so far that by now I sometimes keep smashing pots out of habit, even in missions without any hidden fairy stuff. Like the Fairy Magic makes magic more desirable in this game, the hidden Fairy Food makes smashing pots more desirable as well. And it's certainly more interesting than just simply taking keeps all the time, though it's easy to forget about the pots sometimes. But overall the fairies added a good value to existing things in the game.

I would find it even better, if all pots could randomly drop Food instead of Rupees. The random food drops are way too rare in the game, which turns fully building your fairies probably into the biggest effort of grinding yet. Getting food from pots randomly would solve this issue somewhat.

Anyway, each food corresponds to a certain element and furthers specific traits. You have to use it strategically and with caution, if you want to unlock certain Rental Skills. Sometimes the fairies also ask for a specific food, where feeding them the right one increases your trust level a lot, but you have to be careful with the elements here, because they might ask for something of a different element than what you want the fairy to have after Level 50.


By the length of this article, which only provides an overview, you can already see what a complex addition the fairies have been to the game. It's certainly a welcome new feature and I hope it stays around for the sequels with a number of improvements.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Medli and Master Wind Waker Map Trailer

You can watch the trailer here. Medli is so adorable, I always really enjoyed playing her in the Wind Waker. The Earth Temple is easily my favorite dungeon in the game. And it will be awesome to get more into action with her. But similar to Tetra, I'm not a fan of her squeaking sounds. This might get annoying easily and this is something, where Koei Tecmo seems to have some issues. In terms of design and movesets the characters are all really well done, they do the source material great justice. But certain characters like Tetra, Twili Midna and now Medli are a little bit off on the sound department.

Anyway, the Master Wind Waker Map does use an 8-Bit variant of the "Cursed Sea" theme, which I really like. That's a good choice. Other than that it doesn't really look that different, it does have a different background and the red borders, similar to the original Master Quest Map, but overall it looks quite identical. But this shouldn't be surprising and if you consider that this map on its own only costs 2€, you can't really complain. I personally really enjoyed the original Wind Waker Map, so I'm looking forward to it.

I still hope that they go for the Link's Awakening 8-Bit style with the upcoming maps. They all revert the maps for the console Zelda games back to the NES 8-Bit style and it would make sense to go for the GameBoy (Color) 8-Bit style with all the handheld Zelda games. Also, the Adventure Mode doesn't have a complete overview of the maps anymore, so the maps theoretically could have any shape. However, going through Koholint screen by screen would be too large, twice as large as the original Adventure Map, but I suppose they could just use two screens together as one.

Of course the likeliest scenario is that they keep doing the NES style and just remake Koholint in classic 8-Bit. That could also look interesting, but as a fan of Link's Awakening I personally hope for a more accurate treatment. They haven't done stuff like villages on the NES maps (only rough outlines of castle and Clocktown), while I feel that areas like Mabe Village are too important to be lost in translation. And actually for Koei Tecmo it would be less work to simply reuse the world of Link's Awakening and its items, instead of converting it all into the NES style.

And they can keep using the style for the upcoming handheld Zelda maps. Portraying Lorule in 8-Bit certainly would work better with the sprites for Link's Awakening, because it's closer to the SNES style worlds. And if they do a rail map for the Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks Pack, they could use the rail sprites from the Oracle games.

We'll see about that in two months. The Master Wind Waker Pack and Medli are out next week, on May 19th.

Looking at the new materials a little more closely, you can see that Medli is getting her ugpraded weapons and her hearts on the map. This shouldn't be surprising, since she's a free addition similar to Cia, Volga and Wizzro. Overall this DLC seems to be quite close to the original Master Quest DLC on the Wii U.

The map even has "Master Rules", where one of them is "No Fairy Magic". I bet that this rule will always come into play, when fairies would be really useful, so you're really appreciating the feature afterwards. And I hope that they don't bring back the "Don't get hit" rule, because that one is really annoying on the Nintendo 3DS. It already was on the Wii U, but with the rendering issues of this game it's ten times worse.

Also, I hope that future DLC characters will be handled the same way as Medli. In Japan they don't sell the characters separately anymore, so maybe Koei Tecmo has listened to the feedback, where the Wii U DLC characters were quite boring on their own, without any missions.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Of Sheikah and Gods

Someone tweeted me this theory video by HMK about the Sheikah symbol and asked for my opinion about it. Now, when it comes to predictions and theories of Zelda, I'm more of a practical guy. I think about the gameplay and game elements first and rarely ever dive into the story. That's because the story is usually wrapped around the gameplay and in my 18 years as a Zelda fan I've learned not too care much about it.

When I saw Link in his blue outfit, the technical reason always was clear to me. This game has an ocean of green grass and they needed Link to give a better visual contrast than with his usual green tunic. Link had blue clothes like these in the Wind Waker and they probably seemed like a good fit for the aesthetics of the new game. Story-wise this could wrapped in many different ways. And some of the theories remind me of the old Valley of the Flood idea, one of the things that appeared in the early days of Hyrule Blog. Essentially it's about having a game, where you don't really play the Chosen Hero of the Gods in a time period, where the Goddesses are about to destroy the world.

Of course in certain Zelda games like The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess or Spirit Tracks Link started with a different outfit and then got this green tunic over the course of the game, usually early on. This still might happen here, though I would expect this to happen very late in the game, if that's the case. The problem with the contrast still stands and Nintendo has chosen the blue outfit for game reasons, not for story reasons. The story will just be there to explain it all.

But if the rumors about an optional female protagonist are true, this might be related. If this game doesn't feature the legendary Hero as we know him, a Linkle-type character, who just seeks out to be the hero, is entirely possible as well.

And when I see these circuits around the Sheikah symbol on the book or tablet that Link is carrying, I think about the Wii U GamePad and its touchscreen first. Drawing these symbols in a spell book or on some magic tablet is probably the new Ocarina of this game. You draw the "Scribble of Storms" to make it rain. Or something similar. (I still think that it's a book, by the way. It might be a tablet, but gameplay-wise that wouldn't really make any difference. It's something to draw on with your GamePad. Actually a "tablet" makes even sense here, since the GamePad is essentially a "tablet", so I can't really say anything against it.)

I do like the connections made between Gohdan and the new monsters. The theory from the video is that the monsters in the new game were created by the Goddesses and now wreak havoc on Hyrule to destroy it. I don't follow this impression, simply because it appeared that they specifically were hunting for Link and not randomly destroying everything. But it still might be that they were created by the Goddesses to "test" the Hero, much like Gohdan was.

I would also be careful about drawing connections via design choices, because there always will be similar designs throughout the entire Zelda series that just get reused. Like the symbols of the Goddesses came originally from the three tunes of Ages without any deeper meaning behind it. So, if I look at these circuits around the Sheikah symbol I wouldn't necessarily see something from the Twili (which was another theory around) or the Tower of the Gods, though the latter certainly would be a nice connection.

After all it was also the Thunder God Lanayru, who created the Lanayru Mining Robots. And we're certainly in a similar territory here, where we're dealing with some ancient technology. In Fantasy technology usually is a thing from the past with a deep mythology behind it and that these monsters were created by the Goddesses is certainly a possibility.

In any case I'm eager to learn the real story and probably won't put many more thoughts into it. We won't have to wait much longer anyway, it's only one month until the big reveal.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hyrule Warriors: Legendary Costume Collection

I love having many different costumes for all the characters in Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors: Legends, but most of them are just simple recolors and not all of them look good. The best and most interesting costumes are the ones based on the Zelda games and other characters - the costumes that also change the model of the character, sometimes even the entire appearance.

And if Koei Tecmo wants to do more of these, there will be plenty different appearances left from the various Zelda games. So, lets go through these to create the "Legendary Costume Collection". Most of them would be for Link, Toon Link and Tingle, so let's take a look at them first.

  • Classic (Blue Mail)
  • Classic (Red Mail)
  • Ocarina of Time (Goron Tunic)
  • Ocarina of Time (Zora Tunic)
  • Twilight Princess (Ordon Clothes)
  • Twilight Princess (Zora Tunic)
  • Twilight Princess (Magic Armor)
  • Skyward Sword (Skyloft)

While Link already has costumes for the classic games, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, he doesn't always look the same in these games. He has different armors and sometimes even casual clothes in the beginning of the game. And all of this is good enough for additional costumes. In case of the Classic Tunic and Ocarina of Time those are just recolors of the existing costume (and yes, I'm aware that there are already Goron and Zora Tunic variants of the default Hero's Clothes costume, though they are technically just called "red" and "blue" in the original). With the other stuff it would also alter the shape / model.

With the upcoming Zelda game for Wii U and NX, there will certainly also be more material for Link's costumes, but that's something for a potential Hyrule Warriors 2.

  • Ankle Recolor
  • David Jr. Recolor
  • The Wind Waker
  • The Wind Waker (Ankle)
  • The Wind Waker (Knuckle)
  • The Wind Waker (David Jr.)

I can already see him getting the Ankle and David Jr. recolors in the upcoming DLC maps. It's a no-brainer. The Master Wind Waker Map might also give him a true The Wind Waker costume. I always liked his appearance in the Wind Waker more and will probably use that costume most of the time. The rest would be simple recolors of the TWW costume, similar to the Goron and Zora Tunic for Ocarina of Time Link. Not a must, but still nice to have.

In any case I still think that Tingle should get his own unique Hyrule Warriors design in Hyrule Warriors 2, while his game appearances should be alternate costumes, exactly like they did it with Link, Impa, Zelda and Ganondorf. He's a recurring character and shouldn't be tied to just one game.

Toon Link:
  • Four Swords (Blue)
  • Four Swords (Red)
  • Four Swords (Purple)
  • Dark Toon Link
  • Spirit Tracks (Engineer)
  • A Link Between Worlds / Classic
  • A Link Between Worlds / Classic (Blue Mail)
  • A Link Between Worlds / Classic (Red Mail)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Bear Minimum)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Timeless Tunic)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Legendary Dress)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Cheer Outfit)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Goron Garb)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Zora Costume)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Tingle Tights)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Sword Master Suit)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Linebeck)
  • Tri Force Heroes (Fierce Deity Link)
  • ...
You get the idea. As for the upcoming DLC, I suppose they will go for the Four Swords recolors and the Engineer outfit. Dark Toon Link would also be great, since he's quite important in Four Swords Adventures. And that costume is already in the game, essentially, since every character has a dark version. I'm still hoping that you will be able to get all of those at some point...

And essentially any outfit from Tri Force Heroes could also become a nice costume for Hyrule Warriors. I've simply picked some of my favorites, which for the most part are outfits based on other characters. But as much as Link is the master of weapons in this game, Toon Link could become the absolute master of costumes. However, on a second thought, like the masks from Majora's Mask the individual outfits could just go to different characters, e.g. Torrent Robe for Ruto or the Cheer Outfit for Lana.

  • Classic / A Link to the Past - Zelda
  • Skyward Sword (Goddess Dress) - Zelda
  • Skyward Sword - Impa
  • Demise - Ganondorf
  • Goron Link - Darunia
  • Laruto - Ruto
  • Rutela - Ruto
  • Veran - Cia
  • Garo - Wizzro
  • Twilight Princess - Skull Kid
  • Skull Mask - Skull Kid
  • Toon Zelda - Tetra
  • Gaepora / Rauru - King Daphnes
  • Malon - Marin

Here we have various ideas based on alterations from the games or similar characters and I suppose none of them need bigger explanation. The "Skull Mask" would be another mask costume (like those we got on the Termina Map) and a perfect fit to create an Ocarina of Time version of Skull Kid. Together with a Twilight Princess costume this would cover all his appearances in the games, except for maybe a maskless version. They could do this as well, of course.

"Toon Zelda" could become her own character at some point, e.g. using the Spirit Pipes and/or a Phantom moveset, but like Toon Ganondorf for now she's probably best as a costume, in this case for Tetra (though Tetra does really weird squeaky sounds, which probably wouldn't fit that costume at all). The "Rutela" and "Laruto" costumes for Ruto wouldn't be just recolors this time, but some actual alterations, like Zelda's Ilia costume for example.

If you have any additional ideas, let me know in the comments! I might add them to the lists.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Book of Sheikah?

This Sheikah symbol is decorating Nintendo's E3 website for now. We've seen this symbol before on the book that Link was carrying in the short footage from last November's Nintendo Direct and in the new artwork from last week:

This book already caught many people's eyes in November and some even thought back then that the book will be important and could be in the title of the game. And right now it looks like they were right. In the past I speculated that the game might be called something like "Bow of the Goddesses", since the Bow seems to be important, but by now we can assume that the book might be the most important piece in the game and that it's likely related to the Sheikah in some way.

It could be a Spell Book. When I personally think about a huge Zelda game world, Zelda II - The Adventure of Link always comes to mind. This game still has the largest overworld in the Zelda series, but it also had a different way to use magic in the form of spells (instead of items), which may come back in this game. I suppose, you will be able to browse the book with the Wii U GamePad (similar to the Stamp Book in Spirit Tracks) and maybe even activate the spells by drawing symbols. We've already seen that the game has a Magic Meter (or at least a green meter) during the Game Awards 2014 presentation, so it's not too far fetched and could lead to some interesting things.

In any case, I like the mysteriousness of it all. This is great teasing! The Sheikah always have been the most mysterious tribe and people love their mysteries. So, this is ingenious marketing for Zelda fans. Nintendo just has to post a Sheikah symbol and every Zelda fan out there will be hyped. But it's the mystery itself, which makes the Sheikah so interesting and popular. If you take that away, it might not be that anymore. It's the same with Majora. It's all the mysteries behind the mask, which really makes it so scary. Lift those mysteries and you might get a disappointing and unsatisfying story, like the ending of LOST.

Though it seems that those mysteries around the new game won't be lifted in a "Zelda Direct". All they announced today was a Treehouse Live stream for June 14th. This supports my fears that there probably won't be any other Zelda news around the E3. No 30th Anniversary, no more Tri Force Heroes content and so on. Otherwise they would have scheduled a Direct before the livestream, but they really just want to show the game and nothing else.