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!