Monday, September 29, 2014

My First Hyrule Warriors Experience - Button Mashing, Fountain Smashing, and Lana Thrashing

Hey there. Bet you weren't expecting to hear from me.

It's been a hectic past couple of months, and this is simply the result of a loss of interest in blogging that has been plaguing me since the end of 2011. I'll still keep Medli's Messages up and running, but it's certainly not going to be as frequent as it could be, and I'm not even bothering to post once per month anymore. I've got too much to worry about. (Such as the fact that I learned there are other fandoms besides Zelda that have really amazing fanfictions...)

Regardless, if there's anything that could bring me back to blogging... It's the release of a new Zelda title!

Or, erm, a Zelda spin-off title. Hyrule Warriors makes itself abundantly clear from the very beginning that this is not your typical Zelda game. Or, perhaps I should say that it really doesn't make it clear. It doesn't make anything clear. It throws you into this unfamiliar menu with unfamiliar controls before you start an unfamiliar game with no explanation whatsoever. The first thing it asks you is, "Warriors or Zelda?" which could really mean absolutely anything. I chose Zelda, but it took me forever to figure out HOW to choose Zelda, since they wouldn't let you select and option with the analog stick and instead forced you to use the D-pad. Also, it told me about a bunch of updates, such as adding "Challenge Mode". Excuse me, Koei Tecmo, but I just GOT this game. I don't care about what you added. You're probably not even going to let me play it right off the bat, and I certainly wouldn't want to START my Hyrule Warriors experience with a challenge. Just getting to the title screen was challenge enough.

And it doesn't stop there. I only had 15 minutes to play this game after picking it up; I had an event at school that I had to be at in the morning, so I really was just sneaking in as much time as I could. As a result, I didn't bother exploring the menu screen, where I would have found helpful things like a "controls" menu in the Settings area, which would have informed me of the Guard button that I didn't realize existed until I was six levels into the Legend Mode, or a "Tutorial", which I actually still haven't even looked at, because I'm totally a pro at this game now. I was taught by a lovely teacher called "trial and error".

So I booted up Legend Mode, started the first level, and let the events unfold.

The first thing I noted was the intro. I actually had already seen the intro a few weeks prior to the game's release. I actually started writing a blog post about it, but it developed into a 2000 word analysis and criticism of the Zelda fandom as a whole that I think would have had many fanboys angry at me so I never published it. It's... ehhh. I actually was pretty bewildered by its low quality when I first saw it. The beginning of that unpublished post, BEFORE I started complaining about Zelda fanboys, was a rant about how awful it was. It just... it made me laugh with its terribleness. I really could write a separate post about it. Maybe some day I will. I mean, really... Why is Impa staring out of Zelda's window while she's sleeping? Why is she even sleeping during the day time? Why is the very first thing out of Zelda's mouth "I keep having the same nightmare over and over again" and Impa immediately assumes, "Oh, it's obviously a prophecy, even though you probably haven't even told me what the dream's about yet!" There's no preamble. There's no build up. It's just, "I just woke up, but we need to look for the Hero!"

Though I must commend them for actually bothering to look for the Hero instead of letting him come to them as he always does. Points for being proactive!

Also, the guards imply that Link isn't supposed to have that sword that he leaves with, or that he isn't supposed to help out on the battlefield. Um, why, exactly? Is it because he's a trainee, I guess? Considering how many Bokoblins I inadvertently managed to take out in my furious button mashing on the first stage compared to how many Hyrulean Soldiers I caught just standing there doing nothing, I'd say Link is DEFINITELY worthy of fighting alongside the regular soldiers. And really, are they going to complain about having a helping hand?

Anyway. I was going to talk about the actual gameplay. I was expecting an explanation, a tutorial, a manual, ANYTHING -- but when I hit "Start Battle" it literally meant "Start Battle." I received no tips. No convenient NPC characters popped out to tell me that moving the analog stick makes you move forward or B is to attack or Y is your special attack. I was thrown in, head first, with no idea what was going on. I did what any experienced gamer would do in this situation and started mashing buttons, which quickly allowed me to figure out some of the button uses. Eventually, a fairy showed up and DID start helping me, but I was on my own at the beginning.

It was... kind of nice, actually. Zelda games don't usually let you figure things out for yourself nowadays.

I did some exploring in the pause screen and found the combo list, but... I didn't know how to read it, what with all the seemingly random arrows, and I just saw "B" and "Y" and a bunch of arrows, so every single one of my attacks was BYBYBYBYBYBYBY. And occasionally X once I figured out what that did, and eventually A to dodge because Volga was kicking my butt before I knew how to avoid him.

I began feeling more confident in my abilities after this. I still got buttons mixed up a lot (I always, always, ALWAYS pressed the item button to try and Focus Spirit) but I felt like I was finally carving my way through the forces of evil. There was only one really big annoying mishap. Zelda told me to go to the Fairy Fountain, so I followed her to where it supposedly was located. There was a cracked wall there, so, of course, my Zelda dungeon explorer instincts honed from years of experience kicked in and I instinctively threw bombs at it. The rock easily broke, and I wandered inside the newly opened Fairy Fountain.

And I stood there and waited. Finally, Zelda appeared in the doorway. She didn't enter. Confused, I wandered back out next to her.

She finally sighs and says, "Oh no! The path to the Fairy Fountain is blocked! If only we had bombs..."

A message popped up on the screen with a new mission: "Open the path to the Fairy Fountain!"

I was, of course, very confused at this point, since I had clearly already opened the fountain a full minute ago. I started running around in circles, wondering if I'd broken the game, before finally, FINALLY, a message popped up saying, "You opened the path to the Fairy Fountain!"

Seriously, game? I did that like an hour ago!

So THEN I hurried inside the fountain and stood on the obviously important glowing circle on the ground. Zelda STILL doesn't move. Groaning in frustration, I ran in circles again, before she finally says, "Quickly, follow me!" despite the fact that I'm already IN the fountain, way ahead of her, and have been IN the fountain for literally three minutes at this point. And then she says, "Now, stand on the Magic Circle!" and I desperately want to point out that I HAVE BEEN STANDING ON THE STUPID CIRCLE THE WHOLE TIME AND CAN'T WE JUST GET THIS OVER WITH?

Zelda expert instincts cause me simultaneous amusement and frustration in this game, apparently.

This isn't the first time the game practically punishes the player for working ahead. In fact, it was far more literal when something similar happened to my sister and myself while playing co-op. I suppose we're TOO good of a team, because while playing the Lake Hylia level, myself as Sheik and her as Midna, we overtook all of the enemies' keeps long before we were supposed to. What was meant to happen was that shortly after Ruto entered the Water Temple, she would get captured, and we would be instructed to capture the two southern keeps so that the water levels could be lowered. Unfortuantely, we captured those keeps, as well as every single other keep and enemy outpost accessible in the entire stage, long before Ruto finished her dialogue. This evidently confused the game and caused nothing to happen for a good four minutes with us merely running around like idiots on an empty stage before we realized something was seriously wrong. I actually looked up a walkthrough before figuring out that we'd messed something up and we were forced to reset.

Anyway, enough about that for the moment. What do I think of the game as a whole?

Well, I have not yet finished the game. I have had very little time these past few days (probably because I do stupid things like writing this blog post while I have, let's say, a Spanish essay to write), so I'm still on the... um... level after you get the Master Sword. Heck if I remember what it was called. Temple of the Something or Other, probably. I still haven't unlocked any extra characters in Adventure Mode, either, though I have played a little bit of Adventure Mode.

The game is fun. Especially when you play it with a friend. The story is pretty decent, too, once you get past the awful intro. Perhaps it's a bit repetitive, but it's certainly enjoyable. I finally figured out how to use combos and got a basic understanding of the how the Bazaar worked after my first two levels. And I learned that a guard button existed. Would've been nice to know.

I've played only on Normal difficulty so far. I only died twice, both times to Volga because apparently when he powers up you're not SUPPOSED to attack him, and you should listen when your allies are screaming at you to leave him alone and head to the Fairy Fountain instead. Oh well.

My favorite character so far is by far Fi. Her BBBY combo is so, so awesome for clearing enemies -- my favorite move in the game! I loved it the moment I accidentally used it. I also love the combo you get by constantly pounding B. She gracefully spins through hordes of enemies, knocking them down effortlessly. It's immensely satisfying. Link and Impa aren't bad, but I don't particularly like Midna. Sheik's okay, though I'm not very good playing as her, haha.

I tried very hard to like Lana, since she's absolutely adorable, but I just can't. Her Deku Spear is alright, but I hate using her Spell Tome. Hate it. When my sister and I did co-op, her as Link, me as Lana, she got to 1000 KO's before I hit 500, and this is considering the fact that I was using the stage's recommended element and she was not. I just can't get the hang of her moveset... except that one combo where you jump on a box and roll over a bunch of enemies. That's so much fun.

Speaking of Lana, she was the first character I played as in a Legend Mode co-op session with my sister. We were at the Temple of the Sacred Sword. The required character was Link, but I was complaining that I didn't particularly want to play as him, so my sister offered to take Player 1 and I took up Player 2, who could select whatever character they wanted. Lana's Spell Tome was recommended, and I hadn't played as her for a while, so I thought, "Why not? I'll give it a shot."

As we started the battle, though, the screen proclaimed, "Lana is searching for a statue!" I thought, I am? My sister laughed at it too... until she suddenly pointed out that if I was Lana, what would happen? Was I supposed to carry out the CPU's actions? Or...

Or was there another Lana?

The latter proved to be true. There really was a computer-controlled other Lana running around. So I naturally had to swear to take her down and prove I was the one true ultimate Lana. (That didn't go well, since I already explained that I'm absolutely horrendous at playing as her.)

And then something interesting happened. Lana, as the story required, started uncharacteristically ordering people around, and Zelda commented that she didn't sound like herself. My sister and I joked that it was me, that the real Lana was merely impersonating me!

And then it turned out that there really WAS an imposter Lana.

No, seriously. That's how the stage's plot went. A fake Lana was running around the stage.

There were three Lanas. THREE.

So when Lana said, "That's not me! That person is a fake!" I had to scream out, "Oh no! They're on to me! I have to hide!"

Instead of hiding, though, I ended up hurrying over to my sister, who was already fighting the imposter Lana, and proceeded to crush her under my box of doom, the only combo I actually know how to control with Lana. I insisted on dealing the final blow, a request which my sister easily ignored due to how much I loved sniping her KO's just as she was using a Special Attack on them.

So. That was entertaining.

If you have read this entire post, I congratulate you. I'm not sure how you managed it, but you're probably some kind of Legendary Hero of Reading yourself. I'm not so certain this post is even readable, but I sure as heck am not proofreading it to find out. After all, mentioning that Spanish essay earlier wasn't exactly a joke...

I've exhausted my immediate reserve of fun Hyrule Warriors stories, though I'm sure I'll create new ones in the coming weeks. Or maybe I'll have Smash Bros. tales instead. Either way, you might be hearing from me again soon. (Or maybe I'll publish that E3 post that I wrote forever ago. It's there. The Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros. sections are complete. It's just the Zelda Wii U part I have trouble with, because I originally wrote it under the incorrect assumption that the main character in the trailer was not Link. Curse you, Aonuma...)

I hope you all go out and buy Hyrule Warriors. It's definitely fun. Not as good as a full Zelda game, but certainly an experience that you don't want to miss.

Have a wonderful day/night! See you next time, whenever that may be!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Smash-Fest Experience!

Okay, I know I still need to write an E3 post. I have one that's about halfway done, but... I've been considering breaking it up into parts for Zelda Wii U, Hyrule Warriors, and Super Smash Bros., because there's so much to talk about for all of them! But we'll see.

What I want to talk about right now is Smash-Fest! I am extremely lucky that there was a Best Buy in my state that I was able to go to in order to play Smash Bros. before its release! It certainly wasn't nearby, but it was close enough that I was willing to take the time. It was definitely worth it, too. So I just wanted to kind of talk about my experience for a bit.

I went with my sister and a good friend of mine. The event started at 4, but we arrived at 2:45 or so... and I was stunned to see that there was already a huge line of people extending all the way around the side of the building. So, of course, we had to sit in the hot summer sun and regret the fact that we didn't bring umbrellas and chairs like some of the smarter people in the line. Regardless, the waiting wasn't too bad. We waited for 4 to come by starting a 20-round Mario Party DS game. (I won, by the way. Serves them right. I was in last place until round 5 or so, when I won a Battle mini-game, got a TON of coins, and bought three different Star Pipes from the shop and used them to go to the star three times to get ahead. XD)

We even ended up kind of talking to the guy in line behind us. He asked what we were playing and we told him. He ended up watching us and kind of laughing about everything that happened in the game. It was pretty fun!

Finally, at long last, at 4 pm, we were allowed in the air-conditioned store. Luckily, despite behind around the side of the building, we actually were among the first group to enter the store. ...But that's not saying much. We had another three hours of waiting ahead of us still. That's right. Three. Four hours total including the time we spent outside. That's how many people came to this Smash Bros. event. The line extended way ahead of us. The store associates weaved the line in between all the shelves of merchandise, so we couldn't even see the back of Smash Bros. monitor for at least the first hour. The TV itself was facing the wall, so we had to be something like third in line to actually watch the battles.

Eventually, after the fabulous Princess Peach won our Mario Party game, my sister left to check out the monitor and see what was going on. I then asked the guy behind us if he wanted to play Spirit Tracks with my friend and I, and one of the guys right in front of us yelled, "Did someone say Spirit Tracks?" and held up the case to the game, which he had brought with him. So we invited him to play with us as well! Unfortunately, apparently everyone forgot to charge their DS or 3DS except for me, so our battles didn't last as long as they could have, but they did get us through 45 minutes or so. My friend won the first round, but I won all the others. (She and I have a lot of experience playing multiplayer Spirit Tracks... we used to play it every week at Pok√©mon League, so we're both pretty good. The other two guys had never even played it before, so you can't blame them for losing.)

Halfway through our battles, my sister returned and told us, "There's a rumor going around that a woman is passing around the 3DS version of the game." One of the guys playing with us joked that that's the kind of rumor he'd spread just to make everyone excited for nothing.

However, it was kind of good news that their DS systems died pretty soon, because we were actually approaching the woman with the 3DS! She had two of them that were connected to her belt and were playing Smash Bros. Excited, we all pushed ahead to get a chance to play it.

Me and the first guy that was behind us in line were up against each other... but we got confused with the Smash Run and regular modes and realized that Smash Run wasn't multiplayer in the demo. So I told him we should just do Smash Run separately because you couldn't do that on the Wii U version that we'd eventually be trying.

So we did, and I chose Zelda. Smash Run, if somehow you haven't seen it yet, is like Kirby's Air Ride, a game for the GameCube that my sister and I played to death as kids. You collect power-ups that boost things like Defense, Jump, and so on while running around an enormous stage and fighting enemies from various franchises. Roturrets suck. I'm just gonna say that.

At one point during my Smash Run, I actually found a Cucco, but it looked like its A Link to the Past sprite, which makes me think that the 3DS version might use that kind of Cucco instead of the Ocarina of Time one shown in Wii U screenshots. Either that or Smash Run is special. Anyway, I accidentally hit it, and immediately a swarm of them appeared and killed me. I was screaming the whole time, "I HIT A CUCCO! OH NO! I'M DEAD!"

After collecting the power-ups, which I received woefully few of, we entered a regular Smash battle with the abilities we'd gained. I think the types of battles you do vary; for example, my sister got a Stamina battle at one point. But I didn't notice if there was anything different about this particular one. It took place on the Reset Bomb Forest stage, and I failed miserably. I think... Zelda's either been powered down, or maybe it's something about the 3DS that just made it hard for me to play. Or maybe I'm just not as good as I thought I was, haha! Either way, I lost. I didn't get a chance to see my score -- I passed it off as soon as the match was over. But I was at least third or fourth, because two of the CPUs -- both Pikachu, by the way -- got into a Sudden Death. I think the other CPU was Fox.

For the record, all of Zelda's moves seemed the same, except her Down-B. That's now a Phantom. And uh, I never used it. Partially because I forgot about it (I'm so used to never transforming into Sheik!) and partially because in the Practice Stage that I waited in momentarily while initially trying to battle that other guy, I didn't like it very much. It seemed slow and had a delay before you could take it out again. It didn't even appear to do that much damage. Maybe I'll figure out some use for it when I have the chance to get my hands on the real game and experiment a bit, but for now, I didn't like it much.

After this, it was another long period of waiting. We talked with the guys in front of us about a variety of topics -- Zelda games (especially The Wind Waker), StarFox games (which actually convinced me to buy StarFox 64 3D a few weeks later), Portal (and how much I suck at it), and even Doctor Who (although I have never seen that show so I contributed very little to that conversation). It was quite fun, and before we knew it, we were close to the Wii U. And to our surprise, what did we find there?

Another sales associate with a 3DS! We got the chance to play the 3DS Super Smash Bros. for a SECOND time! This particular version ONLY allowed Smash Run and multiplayer was not available, so I was forced to do it for the second time. This time around, I chose to use a new character. Rosalina, who I'd been wanting to try for quite a while, wasn't there in the 3DS version, so I went with the Wii Fit Trainer.

Again, it was just basic Smash Run. I fought a whole lot of Koffings, which frustratingly did a ton of damage when I didn't kill them in time. But I just did better in general, and when time was up for collecting our power ups, we entered a battle where we all started at 300% damage on the Animal Island stage from Animal Crossing. And please, extended 300% damage battles are my specialty. The CPUs didn't stand a chance. Despite having never played as the Wii Fit Trainer before, I spammed the heck out of my Smash Attacks and won the battle.

Now it was time for the main event, the thing we'd waited in line for four hours to see. The Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. 4!

Rosalina WAS on the roster of the Wii U version, so I played as her. I don't remember who my friends chose. I believe my sister was Mega Man, but I don't know who my friend was. But I do know that the fourth guy who played with us, some slightly younger kid that we did not know, was Sonic.

I convinced everyone to fight on the Skyloft course, and the battle began to a wonderful electric guitar cover of Ballad of the Goddess. I don't remember much of it, except that I never really figured out how to control Luma, haha. It wasn't really hard; I just didn't have experience with it. I kept getting confused as how to throw Luma and then bring him back. It's B to throw, but I kept hitting side B instead for whatever reason.

And that's what threw me off. Much to my shock, myself and Sonic got into a Sudden Death at the end, even though I felt like I'd done absolutely nothing throughout the battle since I didn't understand Rosalina at all. And I got it into my head that I'd be super creative and kill Sonic with Luma. So I tried my hardest to throw him, but I couldn't figure it out, kept hitting the wrong buttons, and eventually... I threw him in the air and Sonic took me out while I was stunned.

Oh well. Can't win everything, huh? At least I won once with Wii Fit Trainer! And second's not too bad...

We also got free stuff from the event! They gave everyone coupons and stickers, and then you were allowed to choose one other object. There were Bravely Default AR cards (I wish they had been Kid Icarus: Uprising instead), Mario Kart 8 flags, and some other small knick-knacks. I took a Super Smash Bros. pin and my sister grabbed some Kirby erasers. Pretty neat!

I really loved the new Smash Bros. I can't say I'm a huge fan of Smash Run, unfortunately; something about it just doesn't really appeal to me. I loved Air Ride and Subspace Emissary, but... I just had a lot of trouble with it for some reason. Enemies were hard to hit, platforms were hard to reach, and I was very lost. I came across some kind of bonus room at one point when I was Wii Fit Trainer, too, but I think I died there... Anyway. Maybe I'm just not used to the new physics and everything in the game, though, so I won't be too quick to judge it.

The other thing that really threw me off that I forgot to mention sooner is that the shield and the grab are now on different buttons. I've always used the L-trigger for both of these actions; I've just gotten used to it for some reason. As a result, I was very confused in my first battle as Zelda when my character kept making the grabbing motion instead of dodging. You may even contribute this confusion to part of the reason I lost that battle so badly. It took me at least halfway through to realize that they'd put the shield on the R-trigger, and grab was L. I was completely unused to it, so I had a lot of trouble dodging. Even after figuring it out, I would instinctively hit the L-trigger to dodge. This was slightly better on the Wii U, because there were both the L trigger and the ZL. One was grab, and the other was shield. That wasn't as hard to figure out, though I did frequently forget which was which still. But at least I didn't have to use the right side anymore; both actions could be found on the left.

Regardless, I am immensely happy that I had the privilege to attend this event. I'm very excited for the new Smash Bros., and I can't wait to play it on my own time and get more used to the new mechanics!

I'll see you in my next post, which will hopefully be about E3! Stay tuned and have a great night!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

E3 2014 - Super Smash Bros., Zelda Wii U, Hyrule Warriors, and more!

January 14th, 2016: This post was written back in 2014 in response to E3 at the time. However, I never ended up publishing it simply because I never finished the Hyrule Warriors section of the post. With the new Breath of the Wild trailer from the Nintendo Switch presentation, I wanted to revist what I thought about the original trailer, which led me back to this post. I figured that despite the title not matching the content of the post, I might as well publish this, since it has some fun reactions to Palutena and BotW's first reveals. Everything below is exactly as it was written back then; I didn't bother editing anything.

Here I am, as promised! I expect that you're here because you either clicked on this page by accident, thought you stumbled upon something useful, or you are interested in hearing my opinion! If you are in one of the first two groups, you are sorely mistaken, and you might as well leave now. (But... but you can stay if you want! That'd be awesome!)

So, as you know from my earlier post, I was very, very hyped up for E3. I was expecting great things from Nintendo. Great things! The best since E3 2011, I proudly proclaimed! But did they deliver?

Short answer: not really. I was kind of disappointed.

BUT... I highly suggest you still read the long answer. Because my gosh, this WAS one of the better E3 years, in my opinion. Not as good as 2011. But I think second place suits it well out of the E3 years I've bothered to watch (which are 2010 to present). So it's not bad at all, but I was definitely over-hyped.

Let's start with Smash Bros.! I was strongly hoping for some cool new villain reveals... like, maybe a Zelda villain reveal? Ganondorf hasn't been announced, so all we have are Sheik, Zelda, Toon Link, and Link. And that's kind of like only two characters if you really think about it. (Even if none of them really play the same...) I really would have loved to see something new for everyone's favorite franchise.

Alas, it was not to be... BUT WE GOT PALUTENA WOOOOO! ...Yes. I was so happy when Palutena showed up. To give you an idea, here's how Skype was just after Reggie said they were wrapping up their digital event (with only a few minor typo corrections -- such as changing "It" to "Pit" -- and removals of irrelevant comments):
[9:41:34 AM] Herine f Time: We still didn't get all the info I wanted. ;(
[9:41:45 AM] Herine f Time: I wanted new Smash Bros. characters
[9:41:56 AM] Herine f Time: Real characters that aren't a freaking Mii
[9:42:16 AM] odd300: One more little teaser........
[9:42:20 AM] Herine f Time: Metroid or StarFox
[9:42:24 AM] odd300: Nopeee
*Palutena appears on screen*
[9:42:27 AM] Herine f Time: PALUTENA
[9:42:29 AM] Herine f Time: PALUTENA
[9:42:34 AM] Herine f Time: YES PLEASE!
[9:42:37 AM] Herine f Time: YES YES YES!
[9:42:41 AM] Herine f Time: YEAH!
[9:42:45 AM] Herine f Time: PALUTENA!
[9:42:55 AM] Herine f Time: PLEASE PALUTENA I LOVE YOU
[9:43:12 AM] odd300: Pit, you suck.
[9:43:22 AM] Herine f Time: ALL MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS
[9:43:43 AM] Herine f Time: YESSSSSS
[9:43:47 AM] Herine f Time: SH
[9:43:53 AM] Herine f Time: Sh?
[9:44:10 AM] Herine f Time: YOUR FACE SUCKS
[9:44:26 AM] Herine f Time: Auto-reticle. XD
[9:44:40 AM] Herine f Time: Dude Mega Laser is my thing bro
[9:45:04 AM] Herine f Time: Dark Pit?
[9:45:08 AM] odd300: Well then.
[9:45:10 AM] Herine f Time: Lol okay
[9:46:28 AM] Herine f Time: I'm so happy
[9:46:34 AM] Herine f Time: I'm sooooo happy I love Palutenaaaaaa

Yeah. Heroine of Time (with the odd symbols) is obviously me.

I was hoping for Palutena to appear in Super Smash Bros. after all of this time! I'm not surprised in the slightest -- I thought we had pretty good chances, especially considering the very realistic supposed leak of her as a character back in January, and the other small indications, like the Pseudo-Palutena trophy, or the removal of Palutena from Pit's final smash. Also, Pac Man and Miis are characters, but I don't care. Aside from Zelda characters, I just wanted Palutena, and I got Palutena. I'm content as far as Smash Bros. goes.

I still would have liked more, though... the figurines were cool, but I wanted some info about what they're planning on doing specially for the Wii U version. The 3DS has... Smash Run? Is that what it's called? And that's an exclusive to that console. But the Wii U, so far, has not really been announced to have anything.

I also watched the whole Smash Invitational. I was rooting for Wii Fit Trainer but she didn't win. D: Ah, well, Zero Suit Samus won, and I was kind of cheering for her, too, but I liked the guy playing Kirby more than the guy playing Samus...

Anyway. How about we move on to Zelda Wii U?

Now, I wanted a trailer. A full trailer. Something gorgeous. I was expecting something mind-blowing, something beautiful... something I could rewatch a thousand times over and enjoy it every time, spot something new every time. Like the Skyward Sword trailers, or even the Hyrule Warriors trailers.

The Zelda Wii U presentation started off beautifully. They showed us a still image of the background -- and my breath almost left me. It was... so, so, SO incredible.

My first thought was immediately Skyrim. Skyrim has the large, swooping open fantasy world. The hut behind Link (or whoever that is -- we'll get to that) definitely gave me a Skyrim feel, as well as the mountains behind him. For anyone who plays Skyrim, they know JUST how often mountains get in your way. This is what I wanted. This is exactly what EVERYONE wanted! An open-world Zelda game! As long as they don't sacrifice story for this... this could be the best Zelda yet!

And then the actual footage they had planned began playing... and I think everyone had a rather similar reaction to me. But I'll let my Skype conversation give you an idea of everything once again:
[9:22:06 AM] Herine f Time: :D
[9:22:15 AM] Herine f Time: What
[9:22:19 AM] Herine f Time: Why is there a robot
[9:22:34 AM] Herine f Time: OKAY WHO IS THAT
[9:22:41 AM] Herine f Time: IS HE WEARING BLUE
[9:22:44 AM] Herine f Time: WHY
[9:22:45 AM] Herine f Time: WHAT
[9:22:51 AM] Herine f Time: HE LOOKS LIKE A GIRL
[9:23:10 AM] Herine f Time: He looks like older TWW Link in his freaking pajamas
[9:23:28 AM] Herine f Time: Dangit that was nothing Nintendo. XD

Yes, these comments could pretty much sum up the entirety of the reactions of the Zelda fandom.

I'll address each comment separately. The robot was really, really strange. We haven't seen very many things like it in The Legend of Zelda. I don't necessarily mind adding in some giant robots or anything, but it was still kind of surprising. And then... the character on the horse showed up. Of course, up until now, we were expecting our typical green-garbed hero... but instead he pulls back the cloak to reveal a head completely devoid of a hat, with hair much longer than Link's normally is (except in the Ocarina of Time manga -- that's actually EXACTLY what it looked like from behind in the Ocarina of Time manga), and wearing completely unfamiliar clothes. And Link... he looked different, too! He was wielding some kind of peculiar bow as well. It looked like the Hero's Bow, but then it did some... weird mechanical thing that caused an explosion. And his clothes were BLUE. As I pointed out, he strongly resembled The Wind Waker Link and his clothes, and, upon reviewing the footage, I think I'm reminded of Skyward Sword Link's outfit as well. Never mind that, all in all he looked NOTHING like our favorite hero. It was very odd.

Let me also point out that that horse does NOT look like Epona up close. I've rewatched this footage several times and I'm relatively sure that's not Epona.

I'm all open to change, of course. I do consider myself somewhat traditional, but hey, if Nintendo wants to try something new, I'll probably buy it anyway if it has Zelda on the cover. But I'm looking for a Zelda experience when I buy a Zelda game. And allowing you to play as customized characters... doesn't sound very Zelda.

Then again, neither does an open-world anymore, but oh my goodness am I excited to see where that goes!

Also they didn't give me a good picture of Link to put as my header on my blog or use for a signature/avatar on Zelda Dungeon, dangit. I don't even know if that's Link. I can't use his/her picture anywhere.

And this "trailer"'s biggest flaw is that it's so short. Shame on you, Nintendo. You supposedly had this ready last year. You could have shown us more! It was majorly disappointing.

Next... Hyrule Warriors!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I'm really darn tired, but I'm here for E3!

Okay, so, remember how last time, I only got five hours of sleep the night before E3? No? Good, because if you say you do, you're probably a liar. Well, today I beat my record and only gave myself four.

And it was because of Skyrim again. I just wasn't tired until 4 AM. Even then I wasn't really tired...

Anyway, it's 8:31 PT right now, and E3 starts at nine. I've got a half hour to try and wake myself up. I'm going to try and watch it on the official website, but it seems like the official website NEVER works properly, so we'll see how it goes. I'm going to have some backups just in case!

I think I should be more excited, but right now I'm more concerned with kicking myself for thinking staying up late was a good idea. Dangit. I don't even have an excuse for feeling tired this time. It's 8 AM. At least it's not 6 like last year.

Well, it's time to see the latest Hyrule Warriors trailer -- hopefully with some new story images --, some new Smash Bros. info -- likely with some new characters -- and of course Zelda Wii U.

I'm hoping that we'll get something shocking and innovative. Or at least fanservice. That'd be cool. Give us something that looks like the 2012 tech demo and most people will be happy. Except those losers who will claim that's unoriginal or something...

Like, what if we see Majora Mask 3D? I don't even think anyone will care at this point, haha.

I'll be back here later to cover it all, folks, including any surprise news that Nintendo might have in store for us that I find interesting. I have a strong feeling this will be a great E3. The last two haven't been as exciting for me, but E3 2011 was the BEST. With a bit of luck, that same childlike excitement that overtook me for Skyward Sword's pre-release days will come back again for Zelda Wii U, and maybe I'll post a bit more!

Hope to see you guy(s) soon armed with knowledge of a beautiful future! In the meantime, enjoy this lovely countdown clock that I've had up for the past two weeks on a separate tab on my iPad.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

All Aboard the Hyrule Warriors Hype Train!

I am so excited for Hyrule Warriors now.

If you don't follow Nintendo news, it's important to tell you that a HUGE flood of Hyrule Warriors info came last month, including screenshots, artwork, and story descriptions. And man... do they know how to hype an audience!

My last post for Hyrule Warriors, in all honesty, was an afterthought. I just needed my monthly post, and I was going to say Happy New Year, and I decided to mention Hyrule Warriors rather briefly just because it happened to be there. The first trailer was pretty cool, but it didn't show us very much. In fact, Hyrule Warriors kind of faded from memory after its initial announcement. Only a few weeks ago, I was marveling that no one seemed to be talking about it. No one seemed excited for it, and no new news had been released in quite a while. As a matter of fact, the lack of interest in the game was beginning to make me concerned that it could become a Japan-only release, especially when we heard that its Japanese release would be August 15th, with no word on an American or European date.

And then May came along.

My mind has been thoroughly blown, dear readers, and it seems that Hyrule Warriors is going to be far more of an experience than I was expecting. Back in December, it appeared to be your typical hack-and-slash game that just had a few Zelda characters, locations, and items involved. But now... rather than being a Dynasty Warriors game with Zelda elements, it seems like a Zelda game with Dynasty Warriors gameplay.

Let's start with the story. I really wasn't expecting much of one, but it seems they've actually put a bit of effort into it. We know very little at this point, but we WERE introduced to a few of our main characters, including the new villains. Cia seems to be the biggest reveal, as her design is... well, not Zelda-like at all! And I'm immensely excited for her.

According to her character description, she once guarded the three pieces of the Triforce. However, eventually dark forces invaded her heart and she became evil. Everywhere's been saying that it was because of her jealousy over Zelda. But I haven't found an official source that says that, so...

Regardless, it is true that her background seems to imply that there will be jealousy. According to translations of her character description on the official website, she's in love with Link. And I love this. So much. I've heard a few people complaining about her design and that it reveals a bit too much, but I think it's actually perfect for her character. As a girl myself, I see nothing wrong with her design, ESPECIALLY if her personality is meant to be seductive. Goodness, I can't WAIT. She just sounds amazing. I'm so eager to see what they do with her relationship with Link. We've never had anything even remotely like her in the Zelda series, so I'm interested in seeing what they do with her.

We also have Valga and Wizro, two other villains that are apparently her minions or something. Valga looks like Volvagia, which could either be really stupid or insanely awesome, depending on how they handle that connection. I'm kind of wary if they're planning on going the route of having Valga actually be Volvagia... that sounds like it could cause all kinds of continuity issues or even just end up sounding fake and forced. But... but... if they do it right, and put effort into it... I can't imagine how amzing that would be. It would be really neat to explore the background of one of the most memorable bosses of Ocarina of Time a bit more. (And not anything like that stupid backstory that the manga gave him. I know I like the official manga, but that whole chapter was pretty darn forced. You'll know what I'm talking about if you've read it.) Wizro, on the other hand, was apparently a ring given form by Cia. I'm... not fully sure what to think of that at this point. I think I'm going to hold off on really commenting on him.

Of course, we also got more information about our heroes. Yeah. Heroes. That's plural. Dynasty Warriors is famous for having multiple campaigns and many playable characters, and you could expect no less from this beautiful Zelda spin-off. Currently, we have two playable characters unveiled. There's Link, to the surprise of no one in the universe, but then there's also... Impa!

Oh my gosh. We get to play as Impa now. I must say, that was a genius move on Tecmo Koei's part. I cannot think of another Zelda character except Zelda herself that is more worthy of being playable than Impa. She's been in plenty of games and has always given off this warrior vibe (except in those games where she's an old woman -- but we can ignore those and focus on the ninja versions). Now we REALLY get to see her in action!

I have to say, though, the one thing I thought upon hearing all this Zelda news is that this sounds completely and utterly like a fanfiction. And I've read a lot of fanfictions; I think I know what I'm talking about. A lot of fanfics will alter the backgrounds of the characters to fit their settings in unorthodox ways, and Hyrule Warriors has done just that, as they've now given very unique backgrounds to Link and Impa. Instead of being some nobody kid from a small village, Link is a knight-in-training. On top of that, he already has the Triforce of Courage, and it sounds like it's an important part of his character -- meaning people are probably aware of it and its importance. This is very interesting; it almost feels like we're starting in the middle of a Zelda game. And I couldn't even begin to tell you how many fanfics use that exact same set-up, haha. Impa, too, is now the captain of the guard. It's a surprisingly fitting position for her. Her importance to the whole of Hyrule has never really been stressed in a Zelda game before, so this is new, but due to her commanding demeanor and closeness to the princess, this makes PERFECT sense. Fanfictions will do things like this all the time, too -- taking an established character and giving them a new role based on their personalities and relationships in the official games.

Oh, and did I mention there's a love triangle between Link, Zelda, and the villain? Please, if that doesn't scream fanfiction at you, you've likely never heard the term.

We haven't gotten nearly as many updates on how the gameplay will go, unfortunately, since we haven't had any new gameplay footage, just screenshots. But some of the images have showcased absolutely gorgeous new moves that could add some complexity to the game. Interestingly enough, I actually do kind of like games with destruction every once and a while. I find Link's Crossbow Training surprisingly entertaining. So if they establish that kind of gameplay with a decent story, this could become of the best Zelda games -- and it's not even a real Zelda game.

Oh, and... multiplayer! Now isn't THAT exciting? We've had some limited multiplayer experiences for Zelda in the past, such as Four Swords, Four Swords Adventures, and the DS games, but maybe we'll finally get something concrete! ...I mean, I kind of doubt it, since they said one player would be using the TV and one would be using the Game Pad, or something to that extent... but still. There's potential there.

Nintendo's E3 Direct is coming up on June 10th at 9 AM PT, and we've already gotten a confirmation from Hyrule Warriors' official Twitter that there will be a new trailer shown there. I'm certainly hoping we'll get some news on Zelda's role in the game. For now she just sounds like a boring damsel in distress, but maybe she can become playable if we're lucky? Or maybe we'll be surprised by some more unexpected playable characters! I'm so hyped up for E3 now. We'll not only get Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros., but also the new Zelda for Wii U. This will quite likely be the best year since 2011, Zelda's 25th anniversary.

I'll see you all on June 10th! I'll be posting at least once or twice then as tradition demands, so stay tuned!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Looking forward to E3 2014!

I ruined my record today. I had two different posts that I wanted to write today, but I got distracted by Mario Kart and didn't look at the clock until 12:10 AM.

It's June. There will be no May 2014 post ever. Because I blew it. So now I can't say that I've had one post per month since 2009. I am surprisingly not as depressed about that as I probably should be...

Well, um... It's actually 1:40 AM right now. I was trying to finish a post, but I really have very little motivation right now. I probably should have started this earlier in the week when I was still fangirling over Hyrule Warriors, but I didn't soooo...

I'll give you guys a post tomorrow, alright? Well, not tomorrow, but in the morning, when I wake up. I'm too tired to trust myself to write a quality post right now. (I might end up deleting this post if I do.) And hey, we'll still have at least two E3 posts later in the month! Oh, yes. That's something to be excited about, right? Nintendo's press conference will be June 10th, and, shockingly, it's June 1st now! The summer seems to be passing so quickly. We've got PLENTY to look forward to at E3 this year -- but I'm going to talk more about that both in my later post of day, and in my "X amount of hours until E3" post.

I'll see you guys (guy? It's really only you, miniluigi. XD) later!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Skyward Sword - Hylia is a terrible strategist.

Lately I've realized some things about myself and my preference for games. I only care about story, storytelling, and atmosphere. Gameplay only bugs me if it gets in the way of these factors. That's why I enjoy games like The Legend of Zelda -- a series that gets a lot of its identity from its unique atmosphere. Its stories may not be the most complex and realistic, but they are always interesting, fun, and draw you into the world.

As you probably know if you read this blog frequently, my favorite games as of late have been Majora's Mask, Link's Awakening, and Skyward Sword. If you take into consideration what I just said above, this makes complete sense. At only four main dungeons, Majora's Mask is almost driven by nothing BUT story -- its sidequests, characters, and DEFINITELY the atmosphere are the main points of the game. Link's Awakening is the same; its gameplay did very little that was revolutionary, but in regards to not just story, but storytelling, it took a step up. A Link to the Past brought the story of the series to the next level, but Link's Awakening was where they really discovered how to tell it -- with entertaining, unique characters, foreshadowing, a fascinating plot twist, a lighthearted mood with a sad ending, and an incredible emphasis on music to match it.

Skyward Sword, I think, is much the same as Link's Awakening. It stepped up the storytelling to a whole new level. Twilight Princess started doing this, but Skyward Sword brought in even MORE cinematic cutscenes, small twists, and lovable characters. And then on top of it all, you had this grand, widespread story, dealing with new races and a sky city and gods and wishing on the whole dang Triforce as we hadn't done since A Link to the Past. It truly fascinated me. That tragic scene in the middle of the game -- you'll know EXACTLY what I'm talking about if you've played it -- and everything else just made it rise to the top of my favorites. Not to mention the motion controls, which I rather liked despite everyone else's protests. It brought a whole new sense of immersion.

I adored Zelda's character so much that I decided to write a fanfiction called Awakening based on her adventures. And it is here when I suddenly realized just how messed up Skyward Sword's plot ACTUALLY is.

Let's refer to our handy dandy Text Dump. This is how Zelda described the game's backstory to Link halfway through the game:

I think it's time you learned the whole story. Let me try to explain...
The old gods created a supreme power that gave anyone who possessed it the ability to shape reality and fulfill any desire. They called it the Triforce. In his thirst to make the world his own, Demise readied a massive army of monsters for war. He sought to take the Triforce for himself by force. The goddess feared for her people. She used her power to send both them and the Triforce into the sky on a slice of earth she cut away from the land. This floating rock became the new home of our people. In time, it came to be known as Skyloft.
After a long and fierce battle, the goddess, Hylia, succeeded in sealing away Demise.However, soon after the demon king was imprisoned, it became clear that the seal would not hold long against his fearsome power. Hylia had suffered grave injuries in her battle with the demon king. She knew that if he broke free again, there would be no stopping him.
And if the demon king were to free himself, it would mean the end of the world for all beings of this land.
In order to put an end to the demon king, Hylia devised two separate plans and set them both into motion.
First, she created Fi. She made the spirit that resides in your sword to serve a single purpose: to assist her chosen hero on his mission. Her second plan...was to abandon her divine form and transfer her soul to the body of a mortal....
She made this sacrifice, as you have likely guessed, so that the supreme power created by the old gods could one day be used. For while the supreme power of the Triforce was created by gods, all of its power can never be wielded by one.
Knowing this power was her last and only hope, the goddess gave up her divine powers and her immortal form.

Hyrule Historia gives us a similar tale.

Page 71: "In an attempt to destroy Demise, the goddess Hylia tried to use the power of the Triforce. However, a goddess cannot wield its power. Thus, the goddess Hylia decided to renounce her divinity and be reborn as a human."

Okay, so we get it. We know that Hylia was entrusted with the Triforce by the Golden Goddesses, but Demise battled her for it. After sealing Demise away, Hylia sacrificed her own immortality so that she could use the Triforce to wish him away.

Let's repeat that.

Hylia sacrificed her immortality... so that she could use the Triforce.

And what does Zelda tell Link riiiight after that explanation she provided above?

You learned wisdom from solving devious puzzles and traps. You gained power by honing and tempering both yourself and your sword. And by overcoming the trials set before you by the goddess, you've found true courage.

Now that those qualities reside in you, you are worthy of wielding the power the old gods left behind for our kind. You can claim the Triforce.

So Zelda, tell me again... Hylia's plan was to sacrifice her immortality so that she could use the Triforce... and then have the Chosen Hero use the Triforce?

What the heck?

This is a glaring plot hole. It makes no sense. She is flat out contradicting herself here -- there's no getting around that. Hylia plans to use the Triforce -- both the game and Hyrule Historia EXPLICITLY tell us this -- but then Link just uses it.

Goddess, please tell me, if Link was just going to use the Triforce, why in Din's name did you sacrifice your immortality?

And to be completely clear, in case you have any doubts, she DID plan this. Trust me -- I've considered every scenario to get around this in my fanfic. It wasn't just the goddess planning to use the Triforce, and then discovering that she couldn't because she didn't have the right qualities; she says she planned it. She tells Link that only those with "an unbreakable spirit... can wield its might," and then soon after says "...the goddess, Hylia, needed someone with an unbreakable spirit. That someone is you, [Link]."

And there we go. She flat out admits that Hylia needed -- past tense, NEEDED -- someone with an unbreakable spirit. And the only logical reason she would need someone like that is so that someone else could use the Triforce.

So why why, why, why, WHY did she sacrifice her immortality?

Because her original purpose seems to have been hijacked by Link, Zelda's role in the game as the reincarnation of the goddess is to head to these springs, regain her memories from her immortal life, and then go back in time to keep the seal on Demise up and running. That's great and all -- it obviously works out in the end -- but there was no reason for her to be a mortal in the first place. Hylia could have just as easily put her plans for the Chosen Hero into motion without the Spirit Maiden Zelda ever coming into play. Hylia, as an immortal, would never have needed any of that stupid time travel stuff in order to maintain the seal -- which, by the way, screws up the plot just as much. I'll get to that eventually -- AND she could have remained a goddess, who I think has a WAY better chance of defending the world from a returning Demon King than fragile little Zelda does.

Now, I suppose you could argue that maybe Link needed motivation. Obviously, in the game, the reason he starts off on this quest is to find Zelda. But there are so, so many other ways that this could've been done. I'm not a goddess nor do I understand the logic in this Zelda world where goddesses sacrifice their immortality for no reason whatsoever -- but I can personally think of several far more sensical and less speculative ways to start Link on his journey. First of all -- Zelda getting sent to the Surface at that time was, as far as we can tell, never part of Hylia's plan. Obviously she was supposed to go there eventually, but it is pretty clear that the tornado that sweeps her away is Ghirahim's work. Therefore, it's evident that Fi would have gone and fetched Link at one point or another, regardless of Zelda being sent away. Maybe Link would have been reluctant to go, you say? Well, the goddess could have easily captured ANOTHER of Link's childhood friends to use as motivation if she was really THAT concerned. Though she probably needs a better hero if she can't trust him with something like that.

So, Hylia. Your plan is terrible. I never even noticed this the first time through -- it all made sense to me. But the moment I started analyzing it, I spotted this peculiarity and became very frustrated trying to get around it in my story. Well, maybe the goddess lost so much power that she HAD to become a mortal, right? Or... maybe her sacrificing her immortality was a backup plan in case Link failed, or vice versa. Maybe she was being like that stupid rip-off Hylia in the manga who sacrificed her immortality just so that she could be on the same level as a guy she literally met 19 pages ago. (Gods, I hate the Skyward Sword manga. I should write a post just on that next.) I really don't know.

My favorite part is how she says that she made Fi to help the Chosen Hero on his mission but never specifies what it is. She says that Link's supposed to be the one to stand up against Demise -- but why did she even think she needed a Hero in the first place? She was supposed to wish Demise away with her newfound mortality! She needed no hero to beat him down if she could destroy him with a thought. Besides, what in her absolutely insane self-sacrificing goddessly mind made her think, "Oh, and even though I'm becoming a human and happen to have an army of humans and Sheikah and plenty of other races, I should probably get another human way in the future to help me out"?

No. Just no, Skyward Sword. I love you, I love your storytelling, but your plot is absolutely NOTHING when the MAIN REASON for the entire game even happening makes no sense.

And I haven't even gotten to the time travel yet.

I think Skyward Sword actually has more time travel in it than the games named after time, Oracle of Ages and Ocarina of Time. Sounds pretty cool, right? Time travel was very interesting in those two games and allowed for both some fun plot points -- and Majora's Mask was Time Travel Central, right? The series has had plenty of experience with this. Surely they couldn't screw it up...

Oh, but they did. With Skyward Sword, you can bet your Beetle they found a way to mess with the plot's coherency even more.
Our first interaction with time travel is when Zelda uses the Gate of Time at the Temple of Time to go back in time to the point right after Hylia seals Demise. Then there's another Gate of Time later that Link unlocks at the Sealed Temple, which goes back to the same moment somehow. We already explained that that was completely pointless since, you know, the goddess could have just sealed herself and not had to have added this confusingly stupid time travel to the mix, but... whatever. Aside from that, I suppose it makes sense. It's going back and forth between two single points in the timeline. That's fair enough, I suppose.

But... What about Impa?

Just... Just Impa. In general. Impa ruins EVERYTHING this game ever tried to do with time.

As you know if you have completed the game, the woman at the Sealed Grounds is actually Impa when she grows old. As a result... she must know everything that's going to happen. It's highly unlikely that she suffered some kind of memory loss; not only does she still have Zelda's bracelet that our friendly-but-stupid goddess reincarnated gave her in the past, but she implies many times that she knows exactly what's going on. Now, I could complain about how she was just a jerk and didn't bother telling anyone about all the twists in the game -- for example, she could have warned someone that Zelda would be captured by Bokoblins when trying to reach the Earth Temple, or that Ghirahim was going to show up and ruin everyone's happy reunion after Zelda awoke. But maybe she just didn't want to mess with how the events had really happened as she remembered, you know? Maybe she was afraid that informing them of something they didn't know the first time would change the future for the worse.

But, when you consider that time travel stuff I told you about... things get extremely confusing.

At the end of the game, Link wishes Demise away in the present, and then goes back in time and kills him in the past. Then he returns to the present.

Impa must remember all of this. Therefore, when the younger Impa, who was present at Demise's defeat in the past, grows older... She must remember Demise dying, right?

So why would there ever be any need for him to be killed again?

Older Impa remembers Demise dying. She remembers Demise being wished away. She remembers him being eradicated from the world. But Demise... has apparently respawned or something?

Or... Maybe Impa is just stuck in some kind of weird segregated time loop that makes Demise's death be reset every time, allowing her to remember everything even though it happens over and over. She stays in this loop at the command of the goddess -- who, might I add, is quite often referred to as being in a place "at the edge of time" -- in order to guide the Spirit Maiden and the Hero on their (pointless) mission. And perhaps the reason that Impa disappears for absolutely no reason at the end if the game is implying that she's going back to guide the heroes because the loop is resetting, and the future has now changed. She can no longer exist in a timeline with memories of Demise being alive in the present, because that's no longer what the truth of that universe is.

I just came up with that now and I kind of like it. I like how it explains Impa's random disappearance. (...Seriously, why did she just poof into dust with no explanation?)

Of course, that doesn't change the fact that Hylia's poor planning made this game COMPLETELY AND NEEDLESSLY COMPLICATED. And all of Hyrule lost its goddess as a result. Excellent work, Hylia.

If you're still interested in how incredibly terrible Skyward Sword's time travel system is, I suggest you check out TheJWittz's video on Zelda time travel. Watching that video was what really inspired me to make this, and I borrowed a lot of his ideas for the second half of this post. Before I saw it I had already realized that a huge paradox was created by slaying Demise first in the future and then in the past, but that was when it really dawned on me exactly how incredibly paradoxical this time travel was. ...In fact, it's hardly even paradoxical. It's just... illogical.

Just like everything else in this game, apparently.

That's all I have for today, everyone! I'm going to repeat again that I love Skyward Sword. I love its characters, I love its cinematic cutscenes, and I LOVE its storytelling. Despite the numerous holes in its plot, I found myself completely enraptured with the game from start to finish and never noticed anything wrong with it until I thought about it. That's the sign of a good game.

This post is good news to my regular readers -- I started this early, so I didn't have to rush to get it finished by tonight. This is a genuine post, with real effort this time, ladies and gentleman. That fact alone actually makes me so proud I can almost ignore that it's on the last day of the month again.
Have a good May! See you on the 31st!

Monday, March 31, 2014

OoX Update - Another Game Completed.

It has been YEARS. But finally, FINALLY, I finished Oracle of Seasons.

I'm not very fond of that game. It wasn't bad -- I really don't think it's possible for a Zelda game to be bad -- but something about it just didn't appeal to me.

Usually Zelda games have some kind of story progression in between dungeons that breaks everything up, but this game didn't really have that, so it ended up feeling very formulaic and repetitive. Link's Awakening, which, as you know, is one of my favorite games, really did this well; there were beautiful, realistic, memorable main and side characters, there were what passed for cutscenes back in the day in between every dungeon... everything was paced so wonderfully. In Oracle of Seasons... Were there any side characters? Or main characters besides Link? I guess you could say there's Din and Impa as well but they're not there for very long... And Onox is the most boring villain ever. He's generic, he's bland, he's boring, and there is absolutely nothing memorable about him except for the fact that he turns into a giant freaking dragon which was surprisingly fun to fight. I'll probably talk about him later.

The gameplay was... okay, I guess. It was pretty much just Link's Awakening. I don't remember anything TERRIBLY innovative about it... except for the Magnetic Gloves, which were SO MUCH FUN. They were definitely my favorite item from the game and probably among one of my favorites in the series. Those would be very entertaining in a 3D environment. Twilight Princess gave us a taste of that in the Goron Mines with teh Iron Boots, but I think it could be taken to the level that Oracle of Seasons used it. There was also this moment in the game where the walls were closing in on you and you had to run as fast as you can with a Pegasus Seed to get to the other side before they crushed you. I thought THAT was cool, too. We should see more Indiana Jones-style stuff like that in Zelda, haha! ...Other than that though, there was nothing special. Now, of course, I played this in EXTREMELY fragmented bits and pieces, so perhaps I'm just not remembering the cool parts. Maybe after a replay I'll enjoy it more. But for now... it's at the bottom of my favorite Zelda games list.

Oracle of Ages on the other hand... So far, it's done everything RIGHT.

We've got Ralph, who already has more personality than the entire cast of Oracle of Seasons, who's fun and entertaining. ...Although he makes no sense. In my most recent session, just the other day,  I was speaking with some man who said he wanted to make the Flippers, and when I exited his house, which, keep in mind, was around a corner and over a broken bridge away from the regular path, Ralph just waltz up there. He says something like, "Hey, Link, what's up? ...Oh, that guy? Yeah, I think I saw his grave in the present time. Anyway, I'm busy, so bye!"


He says he's busy, yet he came up to ME, while I was coming out of a WAY out of place house. He seemed to have no idea what I was doing there, but he has just the information that I need before he has to rush away to attend to more important matters. ...And what kind of matters does he even have in he PAST? Shouldn't he have been off trying to save Nayru like I am rather than wandering around Labrynna aimlessly and nonchalantly pretending that meeting you was a total coincidence and he's "busy" when he makes a wrong turn?

What the heck, Ralph? Or should I say Mr. Plot Device?

...Anyway, uh... Ages really does do the character thing right. I swear. Ralph just had a... moment. Let me talk about Veran. Veran is amazing. I love Veran. I've always loved Veran, even before I played the game. She IS the first and only female Zelda villain in history, after all. ...No, the Twinrova don't count. And her ability to possess people really makes the game interesting. Possessing Nayru and using her to wreak havoc in the past is FAR cooler than "Me Onox. Me kidnap damsel in distress Din. You save her at my dark evil palace." And from what I've heard about the rest of the plot of Ages, it gets more and more interesting. Seasons' plot never changed. Ever. Eveeer. Your goal the whole game was to get to the next dungeon. The only thing in between that was getting to Subrosia -- which was kind of fun.

But still. Like, there's this part in Ages where you have to get to the next dungeon -- but when you try to in the present, you instead gracefully tear the entire place down. Excellent job. FORTUNATELY, it's probably hopefully still there in the past. So you go to the past -- but the entrance is blocked! However, the queen is offering a special item to those who bring her Mystery Seeds. So Link finds some Mystery Seeds and brings them to the queen -- who, as it turns out, is just being manipulated by Veran, who wants the Mystery Seeds for some unknown reason. You find out the reason later, of course. The queen gives you bombs as a reward, which you can use to access the dungeon. This is excellent. This is worldbuilding, foreshadowing... everything.

I'm out of time for tonight, but this is not the end of my Oracle tales. Oh no. Certainly not. I've got lots to say. I've also got a fun... review-type post planned, so be on the lookout for that.

Last day of the month post at 11:59 PM... out again!

EDIT: Yeah, my blog has the frustrating tendency to publish posts when I STARTED writing them, not when I actually published them... But hey, the fact that this originally showed up on March 18th proves to you that I actually DO attempt to write blog posts during the rest of the month and don't COMPLETELY procrastinate. ...Key word is "attempt".

Friday, February 28, 2014

Top Ten Most Underappreciated Zelda Songs

After last month's post, which was created out of a Zelda song so underappreciated that it apparently wasn't even in the Link's Awakening soundtrack (or at least the one I was looking at on Zelda Universe didn't have it), it made me start thinking that there are a lot of pieces of music in Zelda that are really glossed over. The Legend of Zelda is obviously known for its music. Sound has always been an integral part of gameplay and the music is praised and loved and brings tears to the eyes of Zelda fanboys and girls everywhere. Including myself, of course. I'm kind of a music person -- my YouTube channel has been a place where I can show off myself playing these video game songs.

But I want you guys to ahead and look at any "What's your favorite Zelda song?" answer anywhere. Topics about Zelda music spring up everywhere -- on forums and fansites and blogs. Just compare a few of them. And you'll quickly notice that a lot of the time, the same songs are repeated over and over again. Gerudo Valley, Midna's Lament, Ballad of the Wind Fish, Dragon Roost Island. These are awesome songs. I'd totally rank them at the top of any of my favorites, too. But sometimes, there are songs that are almost as good, or even equally good, that are just kind of pushed into the background. I guess they're just not as memorable or as beloved or something.

So I'm doing something a bit different today. Instead of just rant or... whatever I do on a regular basis, I'm going to make a top ten list. These are the songs that I felt were the top Zelda tunes that deserved far more love than they receive. I rarely see these ones mentioned. If you see them often... eh. Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places, haha. But I'm thinking that at least some of these, you might not even know off the top of your head without looking them up. They're ranked here according to both my personal opinion of them as well as their obscurity.

10. Wing Dungeon (Oracle of Ages)

Oh my goodness. I swear, this song is the catchiest song in the entire Zelda series. Like, seriously. I have only played two dungeons of Oracle of Ages, and this song is in the second dungeon. I haven't heard it in-game in over two years. BUT I CAN'T GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD. Any time I think of Oracle of Ages, this song just... pops into my brain. It's only 18 seconds long and it just loops repeatedly but it's so ridiculously catchy that... I don't know. It just kind of appeals to me. Some people might think I'm crazy and actually find this song more annoying than anything... and I can totally see where they're coming from. But I had to mention it here somewhere. It deserves more recognition where annoying/catchy Zelda songs come in.

Speaking of annoying/catchy...

9. Plum's Theme (Twilight Princess)

So... you know what I just said about Wing Dungeon? Forget all of it. It is NOTHING in comparison to the annoying catchiness of this impossible song.

Whenever I hear this, I have it stuck in my head for DAYS. It's gotten to the point where it's my generic song that I resort to when I'm playing the harp or piano. If I'm doing something else and just happen to be sitting at an instrument, one hand just automatically starts playing this song without me even thinking about it. It's just so... agh! Just listen to it! It's like a carnival but so much more... I don't know! You can't even tell me this doesn't at least KIND of get stuck in your head. You MUST want to hum it at some point. It's just that kind of some. And it deserves recognition for that! I mean, it's not a bad song -- at least I don't think so -- but it's sooooo memorable. But no one ever calls it their favorite.

In fact, I had this one time that I was humming this song so much that I got it stuck in my friend's head once, and she'd never even played the game it was from. It was pretty hilarious.

8. Mayor's Council Room (Majora's Mask)

Does this count as underappreciated? A lot of people kind of like it... eh. Whatever. I'm including it.

The Mayor's Office theme plays -- you guessed it -- in the mayor's office. Why is this song so good? Like, really, who cares about the mayor? It plays while Mutoh and Viscen are arguing about what the town should do with the moon descending upon them. And it's... likable. I like it a lot. XD It sounds quite heated and emotional and it really emphasizing the debate and the time it's wasting. Plus... I hate to say this, since I just said it about the previous two, but... it's catchy! It find myself humming it quite often without realizing it. I think it's the Majora's Mask Opera's fault, though, partially... they put lyrics to this song and brought it into the spotlight for me.

7. Maiden Freed (Four Swords Adventures)

This tune just makes me want to smile! Now, unlike most of these other songs, this is actually very common in its source game. However, Four Swords Adventures is one of the worst-sold Zelda games, so I feel justified in calling it at least someone obscure and underappreciated. After all, who has ever said that Four Swords Adventures has their favorite soundtrack? The majority of its songs were ripped off from A Link to the Past, anyway.

This is one of its few original tunes and it's so catchy and memorable! It occurs whenever one of the Shrine Maidens is rescued. Its music box-like charm really captures the innocence of these kidnapped maidens. It's kind of like a lullaby... it's very calming to listen to, but it's happy at the same time. Like I said at the beginning, a small grin just creeps on my face hearing this. Not only from the actual tune, but from the happy, relieved memories it inspires from finally completing all the levels of Four Swords Adventures.

6. Introduction (The Minish Cap)

This song is gorgeous. This is what I consider the main theme of The Minish Cap. And it is, quite possibly, one of my favorite Zelda songs of all time. It's right up there with Ballad of the Wind Fish.

But, weirdly, while Ballad of the Wind Fish always sticks out in everyone's memory, this song never does. Why is that? It's kind of the same thing. Like Ballad of the Wind Fish, it appears in the game over screen, some emotional portions of the game, and probably elsewhere as well. I mean, okay, Ballad of the Wind Fish was actually PLAYABLE in the game, and yeah, The Minish Cap wasn't nearly as successful in general as Link's Awakening, but still -- how come no one ever mentions this? I don't even think of it very often, but I always hear it with fond memories in my heart.

The only reason it isn't higher on this list is because... I don't really know if it's underappreciated, haha. Obviously it's in the game very often, and I'm sure that others like me really love it. Maybe it doesn't even deserve to be up this high. But it's very beautiful and I wanted to bring attention to how awesome it is. I highly suggest that you also listen to the other versions of this song. I kind of wanted to include them all and cite the melody in general as the "underappreciated" tune, but I just chose the intro for the sake of simplicity. But make sure you also hear Minish Village, which is a more cheerful take on the song, and Ezlo's Story, a slower, sadder version. The Game Over theme is similar, too, but not identical.

5. Royal Valley (The Minish Cap)

Yeah. Two The Minish Cap songs. That's a surprise, isn't it? Knowing me? I don't even like The Minish Cap.

But I couldn't help it. For the sake of writing this list, I went ahead and listened through the soundtracks of games I couldn't remember well. The top among them was The Minish Cap, because I really couldn't remember a thing from playing it. When this song began, I was completely caught off-guard by the... surprisingly realistic calls of mysterious animals, instead of actual music. It's so unsettling and out of place from the rest of the soundtrack that I was utterly confused for a moment. Then the low, minor chords started playing over top of the animal calls, and they match up so perfectly... I was stunned. I knew INSTANTLY that I had to include it. This song is so effectively creepy, unique, and pretty much the definition of underappreciated. I don't even remember what Royal Valley IS, for goodness's sake, and even though I am notorious for not really caring for The Minish Cap, I doubt that it's really a stand-out location in the series. I'm glad I heard this song. Its eeriness was really different from the rest of the cheerful songs that I was used to while listening to the game's music and it definitely deserves some recognition.

4. Sage Fado (The Wind Waker)

What an interesting spin on this song! You hear this song quite frequently through The Wind Waker. The game's opening backstory is told with this very same song, and the sage Laruto has a version of the same one. But this is my favorite variation. It is heard when Fado first introduces himself to Link after the hero plays the Wind God's Aria. I love the steady drumbeats and the melody played by the flute and then the violin. The violin's even Fado's instrument, so... good for them for referencing that, I guess. It's very catchy and lovable.

Unfortunately, this melody overall is very well known due to its frequency in The Wind Waker. Honestly, it probably shouldn't be ranked this high for that very reason, but... I couldn't help it. I even saw it mentioned on a "you favorite Zelda song" thread the other day, and that couldn't deter me from placing it here. It's so fantastic.

3. Sky Keep (Skyward Sword)

Perhaps this isn't obscure enough. In fact, like Fado's Theme, I just saw someone the other day say this was one of their favorits. I was looking at a thread on Zelda Dungeon about favorite Zelda songs, and this showed up. But... it only plays once in the entire game, in the first room of the final dungeon. That's pretty obscure. Not everyone who plays Skyward Sword is going to get that far, and most people won't even bother to listen since it's just in one room. (At least, I'm pretty sure it is.)

Sky Keep just has such a unique, unusual, and strange theme. It has an extremely ethereal feel to it that few other Zelda songs quite manage to capture. In some ways, it even feels ominous, which is good for a final dungeon. It excellently captures the mood of the weird room-changing puzzles that you'll encounter while listening to this song. I really love it. It's a shame that it's not more widely used.

2. The Final Exam (Spirit Tracks)

This song caught my attention recently, when I decided to start replaying Spirit Tracks. As I started the game and boarded my train for the first time, this song started to play. And I was stunned. I mean, I've advocated since the game's release that is has the best soundtrack, but... this is such a happy, upbeat song! It's in the classic Spirit Tracks style, which is known for its very... agh, I can't describe it. But it has this really happy mood to all of its songs. They're all very similar and catchy. This song certainly doesn't disappoint. I adore Realm Overworld and Troubled Realm, and this sounds like it fits right in.

This and the number one spot were, of course, the first two I immediately thought of when this list came to mind. This song really shocked me, since I'd never heard it outside of the game. Despite having played Spirit Tracks twice already, apparently it took me three times to really take notice of this gorgeous piece and enjoy it. The only time it plays is at the beginning, so it's easily missed, and I'm sure most people don't really know about it. That's why I'm here! Spreading uncommon Zelda songs to the masses with love and joy!

1. Zora Prince (Twilight Princess)

Holy Din, Nayru, and Farore. This song is gorgeous. Maybe it's just me, but... wow. How is this not more popular? I like it even more than other emotional tunes, like Midna's Lament or Fi's Theme!

Zora Prince seems extremely obscure. To the best of my knowledge, it plays only once in the game, when Link first finds Ilia again, watching over Ilia. It's there for such a short time; if you were reading through the dialogue quickly, this song would barely even have time to start. In fact, from what I saw, it appeared that it wasn't even included with the official Twilight Princess soundtrack. The only versions I could find were those that have Prince Ralis's deep breathing over top of them. Perhaps when you hear it, you might recognize it. But I really didn't think much of this until I heard the Twilight Symphony's rendition of this beautiful tune. I fell in love with it immediately. The strings are so beautifully done.

It's just such a subtle, soft song. And it's sad -- Ilia doesn't remember Link, the doctor can't help the sick Zora boy... it's really gorgeous and fitting. I can't get over how this doesn't get more attention. How did they not want to exploit the beauty of this song more in the game? I love it! You know what? THIS should have been Ilia's theme. Wouldn't that have been incredible? Ilia's current theme is so bland and... meh that I don't really care for her or her song. But this... come ON, Nintendo! You could have at least used it one more! At least given us a version that doesn't have breathing in it!

*sigh* But I disgress...

This is my number one underappreciated Zelda tune. I hope I'm not alone in loving the beauty of this song. You should also follow up listening to it by hearing Prince Ralis is saved, which, oddly, seems so much more popular. It's also beautiful and kind of follows the same style, but it's a remix of the main theme, so I didn't want to include it on this list.


That's all I have for today! I'm very short on time -- I started this too late, haha. I might come back and edit this later; I wanted to provide a brief list of some of my honorable mentions. For now... tell me what you think of this! It's different from what I usually do, but I really enjoyed it. I have an idea for another few lists like this -- especially music-related lists. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Have a nice day, everyone!