The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (3DS): COMPLETED!

And that, following its pair – Oracle of Ages – from a few weeks back, means that the two best Zelda games have been completed. Again. Like Ages, I originally completed Oracle of Seasons right near the start of this gaming diary’s life. Back then, I finished Seasons first, but this time reversed them.

It didn’t make a lot of difference. The extra heart carried over from the more puzzley Ages helped a little in the more combatty Seasons, but that’s all. I did make the mistake of not playing Seasons for just over a week, meaning I’d forgotten what I was supposed to be doing. I admit, I resorted to reading a guide but only to remind me. I did’t make that mistake again.

Seasons seemed easier than I recall. Backtracking was more of an issue than my memory suggests, mainly because of the lack of useful warp points (aka the seed trees). Warp points exist of course, but they never seemed to be near where I needed to go. I ended up using the same two or three and then walking the long walk instead. Maybe if I’d figured out the routes across Subrosia it wouldn’t have been such a trek.

After beating Onox, the final boss, I went on to fight Twinrova. You can only do this once you’ve completed both Ages and Seasons, but I’d done that. Finally, the half-developed form of Ganon needed to be defeated. I was sure Twinrova was difficult last time around, but it seems my memory was faulty again and it was Onox I struggled with before.

And that’s that. Definitely still the best Zelda game(s). Fact.

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The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages (3DS): COMPLETED!

Last time I completed Oracle of Ages was almost 12 years ago, not long after I started this gaming diary. You can read my post about that here. Since then, I’ve played a lot more Zelda games, but in my mind the Oracles games have always been the best. Would my memory hold up, in light of Link Between Worlds and Breath of the Wild?

Actually… yes.

Ages is not without faults. Changing weapons is perhaps the biggest issue, especially on boss fights. Swimming controls, in particular once you pick up the mermaid gear, could be much better. Warping between the past and present, once you have the right tune, takes just a little too long. Having to remember where everyone and everything on the map is, for later reference, is difficult.

But most of these don’t really matter. The item swapping is a product of its time: The Game Boy Colour only had two buttons, after all. What is still outstanding is the game itself. In particular, some of the puzzles are genius. I wonder about the brains of those who created them, notably the Mermaid’s Cave dungeon. Not only do you need to contend with some of the more fiendish riddles, but you also have to leave the dungeon, change era, and return. I also must have spent four or more hours in the multidimensional nightmare that is Jabu-Jabu’s Belly. Raising and lowering water and a one-way system broke my brain several times.

From what I recall, Oracle of Ages is the more cerebral of the two Oracles games. Difficult puzzles, but generally easy bosses, with Oracle of Seasons being the opposite. It certainly seems to be the case given what I’ve said, and that all of the bosses – even the final one to a lesser degree – were incredibly easy. The only problems I had were figuring out how to damage some of them, which again bears out the puzzle-based nature.

So is it better than Breath of the Wild? I mean, really? It’s certainly a better Zelda game, yes. It doesn’t have the scope, beauty or freedom of the Switch title, but it is a purer, tighter, more focussed Zelda experience. But then, Breath of the Wild isn’t a true Zelda game in my eyes.

Seasons next!

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

I think… I’m done with Breath of the Wild.

After completing the game, I’ve spent another 40 or so hours mopping up various things. I’ve found all the memories, and beaten every one of the 120 shrines. Most of the armour sets in the game are now done, I’ve explored about as much as I want to, and I’ve even beaten a Lynel. With all this, I walked back into the castle, and stomped all over Ganon as I’m stupidly overpowered now. Game completed. Again.

Certainly, I’ve some stuff left to do should I wish to return: Of the 900 Koroks, I have just 150-ish. There are at least ten side-quests remaining, and a few more shrine quests (which I’ve completed, but have to trigger the start of in order for them to register as completed, if you see what I mean). And I think I probably will return, at some point. Perhaps when the DLC is out and I can see what it actually contains. A new area of the map with more shrines and another boss would be good.

For now, though, it’s time to move onto other games. Is Breath of the Wild the best game ever? No 1. Is it the best Zelda game ever? No 2. Is it the best 3D Zelda game ever? Also, no 3. But is Breath of the Wild a fantastic game? Absolutely.

Notes:

  1. That’s Run Baby Run
  2. That’s Oracle of Ages and/or Seasons
  3. That’d be HYRULE WARRIORS

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch): COMPLETED!

Two big firsts with this game. The first first, is that it’s my first completed Switch game. The second first, is that it’s my first completed 3D Zelda game. Well, aside from HYRULE WARRIORS, but that isn’t a “traditional” Zelda game.

That being said, neither is Breath of the Wild. It has Zelda lore, Zelda themes, Zelda music… but nothing about the gameplay is actual Zelda. This game is all about traversal, exploration, survival. There are no dungeons. You obtain all the “special weapons” (“runes”, here) within the first couple of hours play, rather than en-route to each boss. There’s no sequence to follow, as, in fact, it’s perfectly possible to legitimately skip virtually the entire story and literally just walk up to the final boss and beat him.

breath of the wild

This is not Zelda.

But, for me, that’s a great thing. I’ve always liked the idea of the 3D Zelda games. I enjoyed, for a time, Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, but never enough to ever finish them. I’d get bored or annoyed and just leave them incomplete. Breath of the Wild had me hooked the entire time, and I think it’s because of the major changes to the formula.

A few times, while playing, I thought “this isn’t fun”. In Twilight Princess, my options were stop playing, or force my way through it. Here, I could go and do something else instead and come back later. Much later, in the case of the iguana beast: I disabled it, went off to find some more weapons, then came back thirty hours later to carry on playing. Turns out it was a walkover.

After which I took on the bird beast, who was also a walkover, and emboldened by these two victories I decided to take on Ganon.

Who was also a walkover. Which was slightly disappointing. I was expecting it to be near impossible, and sure, I had some great armour and 16 hearts, but I only took one heart damage. One! And I still can’t parry properly!

Now the important question: Is this the best game ever? No. It’s a great game, certainly, but it still has issues. Is it the best Zelda game ever? Again, no. A Link Between Worlds and Hyrule Warriors are both better – Hyrule Warriors is more fun, ALBW is more focussed. But Breath of the Wild is wonderful, and has given me faith for the 3D Zelda series and Nintendo’s other series’ too – if they can shake up Zelda this much and come out with a winner, just imagine Metroid or Kid Icarus.

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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)

Just a quick post about Breath of the Wild. Firstly, it’s how Ubisoft would make Zelda. There are so many bits straight out of an Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry game. The plains, woods, and crafting – not to mention Link’s clothes – are straight out of the worst of all Assassin’s Creeds: III. Sneak up behind baddies for instant kills. You can even perform air assassinations of a sort.

breath of the wild

This is not Zelda.

I’m something like 15 hours in. I’ve done the “tutorial”, reached Impa’s village and then the village on the far right of the map. I’ve completed some side quests, upgraded my clothes, and made it up to Zora’s Domain. Here I had a chat with my dead fishgirlfriend, and boarded a giant war elephant, which I think I’m nearly finished on.

Thoughts? It’s hard. Very, very hard. Having to constantly find and swap weapons because they break so easily is frustrating. Having to cook food to make health items is tiresome. The framerate is all over the place at times. It doesn’t really bother me,  but is a little worrying for a brand new console. Especially since the same game is on the Wii U. Swapping melee, bow and runic items is fiddly (especially swapping arrows), more so mid-fight.

But… I am enjoying Breath of the Wild more than I expected to. It’s a million times better than Twilight Princess, but it lacks the fun, simplicity and immediacy of HYRULE WARRIORS.

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Things I’ve been playing recently

I’ve not done a roundup post for a while, but I have been playing quite a lot of stuff. Regardez:

BattlefieldBattlefield 4 (PS4)

I’m not a fan of shootmans, but I am a fan of bargains, so Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline together for around a fiver was a steal. Then I did an odd thing: I actually played Battlefield 4. Not only that, but I think I’m quite near the end. It’s been quite good actually, although at this point I’m finding it a little bit repetitive – enter area, snipe everyone, move on. Naturally I could mix up my play style and use some different guns but when I tried that it didn’t go well. Tanks and boats and stuff did add some variety at least. Online? No.

HYRULE WARRIORSHYRULE WARRIORS LEGENDS (3DS)

Which is still amazing. There’s more DLC this week, but in the meantime I’m nowhere near finished. I have beaten the boss on the first Adventure Map (unlocking a second) and unlocked most of the characters. It’s just so much fun – I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.

Unravel Demo (PS4)

I’ve actually bought the full game as a result of being impressed with the demo. That and 1) it was on offer, and 2) my daughter was quite adamant I had to. She’s played the full game but I’ve only done the demo. It feels a lot like Limbo so far, albeit brighter and cuter.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FETokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U)

Ever since seeing this when it was announced I’ve been interested. I wasn’t entirely sure why, as I had no idea how the game mechanics would even work – some sort of cross between Akiba’s Trip, Idolmaster and Fire Emblem? Maybe? Who knows. It didn’t matter. Turns out, having bought it on release, it’s Persona. And it’s very most excellent, even if I’m only a few hours in so far. I really should get back into Persona 4 Golden, actually. Stupid Vita.

Table Top RacingTable Top Racing World Tour (PS4)

This was a free rental on PS+, and it’s not very good. Somehow, though, I’ve been playing it off and on and I’m just over halfway through the game. It makes me pine for Micro Machines and how much better that is than this, which is slow and has boring (and very few) tracks.

Assassin's Creed UnityAssassin’s Creed Unity (PS4)

I’m still playing it! I completed it not so long ago, but I’m still having fun doing side quests and mopping up all the collectables. Been a few Assassin’s Creed games since I last did that, so it’s obviously pushing the right buttons.

ShantaeShantae and the Pirate’s Curse (3DS)

So many boobladies. In eyepopping 3D! But as well as that, Shantae is a fantastic platformer with metroidvania elements. I’d enjoyed the original GBC game on the 3DS Virtual Console so when it was available as part of that frankly ludicrous Nintendo Humble Bundle I was very pleased indeed. I’m quite a way through it too, having been unable to put it down for a whole weekend, and I’ve just one main area left to clear, I think.

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My Nintendo Picross – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (3DS): COMPLETED!

tumblr_o5dtar9lkr1svmpf2o1_400Gasp. No that really is the name of the game. It’s an eShop download that is available for free if you pick up enough Platinum points in Nintendo’s new “My Nintendo” service. If you jumped on Miitomo right away you should have enough by now so you’ve no reason not to get it.

tumblr_o54bemxz9y1svmpf2o1_400From the verbose game title, you should know what to expect. A Picross e game (it’s by Jupiter) only themed around Twilight Princess. There are 45 puzzles (repeated as Mega Picross puzzles, which is cheating a bit I suppose) and a pretty large Micross to solve in this package, which is roughly half the size of most Picross e titles in terms of content. Indeed, it took me just shy of 8 hours to complete everything.

Sure, it’s smaller, but it’s also free. And properly free as well, not like that Pokémon Picross nonsense from a while back – no game ruining IAPs here, thankfully – just lots of lovely Picross puzzles.

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Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)

I made an incredible discovery. After Cia’s story in Legend Mode (which was just the same as in the Wii U version), there’s an extension to the original main story! I suppose if I’d paid more attention to the game when it was announced I’d have realised this, but since I was going to buy it anyway I didn’t think to.

New Danger New Hammer New Map

What is important about this new set of story levels, is not that there are new characters (Tetra and King Boaty McBoatface) as I knew about those, but that there are TWO new maps! Two! I didn’t even realise there was one! On top of that, they come with a new secondary weapon – the hammer – and several new enemies. And Phantom Ganon as the end boss, who you need to fight by batting back the energy balls he throws at you. It’s excellent.

So I finished all that off, and then did some more Adventure Mode.

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Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS): COMPLETED!

Hyrule Warriors Legends
Ganon doesn’t really look like he’s built for running.

But you know this isn’t the end of Hyrule Warriors Legends, don’t you? Of course not. All I’ve done is complete Legend Mode, and even that still has Cia’s prologue yet to do – let alone track down all the hearts and skulltulas and stuff in levels I’ve already completed. Then there’s Adventure Mode, which I have given merely the briefest of touches, just to capture a fairy. I’m only 15 hours in, which is already much, much longer than many games but here I know there’s a good 100 more or so – at least – waiting.

As well as the main Legend Mode story, I’ve also played and completed all of Linkle’s missions which sort of intertwine with the main story. Not especially well, it has to be said, but the plot is totally irrelevant elsewhere in the game so it doesn’t matter. The bulk of the game is Adventure Mode anyway and there’s no plot there at all.

Hyrule Warriors Legends
Best. Warrior. Ever.

I mentioned it before, but it’s worth saying again: Linkle is superb. Her slightly ranged weapons, her speed, her aerial gunplay (crossbowplay?) all make her so much fun to play as. It felt a shame every time I had to play a level as another character after each of her missions, as although most of the other characters are great too, Linkle is best. Better than Link even. Hopefully unlocking her most powerful weapons isn’t too much of a task in Adventure Mode, as I want them as soon as possible!

Click to view slideshow.

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Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)

The best game in all creation is HYRULE WARRIORS for the Wii U. Probably. It came out of nowhere, wasn’t my sort of game in either respect – not a musou fan, and not a 3D Zelda game fan – and I bought it mainly because I had a funny five minutes when I saw it on the eShop. Somehow, it was fantastic, I’ve spent over 130 hours on it, and it just kept giving with the content.

HYRULE WARRIORS

And now there’s a 3DS version, with all the content of the Wii U version (at least, it seems so) and then some more. Squeezed into a 3DS? Impossible. Or perhaps not so impossible when you hear about those poor folk with a normal Not-New 3DS who have stunted framerates and no 3D. Thankfully, mine isn’t one of them and so the game is astounding. A couple of slight control and camera niggles, but nothing terrible, and it’s just as much fun as it ever was. Only more so, because it has MORE! More characters (Linkle is incredible), weapons and modes. A new fairy raising feature. And the 3D shouldn’t be underestimated either – it looks and feels great.

I’m but a toe in so far, with just 3 or 4 hours on the clock, but I can see this running and running, just like the Wii U one.

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