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

It’s Ganon down. I’m yelling timber.

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.

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

Take my breath away.

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.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Play ALL the things.

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.

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

It’s not Picross e7 though.

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.

tumblr_o56czgnfce1svmpf2o1_400

Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)

The beasts call him brother, the ghost who walks!

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.

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.

Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS): COMPLETED!

Dah dahdah dah-daaaah

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!

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Hyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)

Linkle, she come to town. Come to save, the Prince(ss?) Zelda…

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.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Lazy round-up time!

Puzzle & Dragons Z (3DS)

I think this might be in my top three most played 3DS games now, and I’ve not even touched the Mario themed option. I got stuck on a boss, then powered through a few more levels, then got stuck on the previous boss again when she cropped up later with another monster at her side. Too hard. I’ve been trying lots of dragon combinations and came close once to besting them, but then one of the two baddies almost completely healed both of them and that was it. Maybe some grinding is in order. Or some different dragons again.

Lego The Hobbit (Wii U)

We completed it, but since then we’ve been mopping up stuff. It’s pretty slow going though, and we haven’t even revisited any of the levels yet. Daddy Pig seems to voice half the characters in this, which is slightly absurd. Especially the blacksmith’s wife. With her beard. Hmm.

Ninja Usagimaru: The Gem of Blessings Demo (3DS)

A not very good puzzle game. I got bored before the demo even finished, to be honest.

Fairune Demo (3DS)

There’s a game called Witch & Hero on the 3DS which is the most ridiculous concept ever. You walk into baddies to kill them, but when you do, you take damage – meaning you’re inevitably going to die. It was rubbish.

Fairune seems to be by the same people and has the same mechanic, only instead of protecting a static character on a single screen, it’s a flip-screen RPG of sorts. And somehow, I’ve gotten a bit hooked on it. I’ve finished the demo and now will almost certainly buy the full game. This surprised me.

Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash Demo (3DS)

Everyone loves Chibi-Robo, right? And taking pictures of real things to include in the game and collecting junk just to tidy up because he’s a cute robot that does that? Awesome, right? Then why is this a slightly crap platformer instead of any of that? How disappointing.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes Demo (3DS)

Well, I tried to play it. But it said no. I was in some sort of lobby and there were a couple of people to talk to and I found if I ran into a wall a ball fell from the sky and I could play keepy-uppies with it for a while but then that was it. I assume I needed some friends online to play with.

tumblr_nxtmcz0iec1svmpf2o1_400Badge Arcade (3DS)

No way am I giving money to this, but so far, I’ve not needed to. I’ve done well enough in the practise crane games to rack up a few free plays, and so far I’ve bagged about 12 badges. Not that I can use the badges because I’ve barely any space left on my home screen. I was hoping it would expand again, as it does when you hit about 80% full, but not this time. Boo.

Fallout 4 (PS4)

Oh yeah, this arrived.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Fantasy Life (3DS)

I_m_a_pretty_boy__t_httpt.coZ9NL1XkMp4It’s like 8 RPGs in one! I chose my first life to be a Paladin, applying the logic that any combat required in the other lives may benefit from my skills as a trained killer. Or something. I’m not very far in, only a couple of hours, but I’m already engrossed in the seemingly endless number of sidequests (which, unlike most RPGs, actually affect your progression in the game in a big way), and the game is both charming and interesting. I think I’ve guessed the real identity of Flutter the butterfly already, though, but then perhaps I’m meant to.

A “doom stone” has just smashed into the roof of my house, which can’t be a good thing. Now I have to go off and find another one.

Persona 4 Golden (Vita)

tumblr_ngyez0p4no1svmpf2o1_1280It took a lot of attempts, but I finally managed to defeat the boss at the top of Yukiko’s castle. Having done so, I asked around about it and it seems that having all your characters on around level 15 (the same level Yukiko is when she joins your party afterwards) is recommended.

All mine were on 10 or 11. Yeah, that’ll be why it was hard.

Once_you_pop___t_httpt.cof7YNA00Kv7I’m a bit concerned about the inability to grind and the forced time limit on defeating each boss before the fog claims the next victim, but I’ve been assured that you can still grind as much as you want (until you run low on SP) by revisiting completed dungeons and never leaving. So, after rescuing Yukiko I spent some time redoing her castle to level up. Reached a new boss at the end of it, which can wipe out my entire party in a single hit. Methinks I should probably avoid him for a bit…

Super Smash Bros U (Wii U)

WIN (1)I’ve barely touched it so far, but have played through some of the single player modes a bit, and had a few fights online (which, sadly, were so badly lagged they were impossible to play), but I can already see that the huge amount of content and collectables will keep me coming back. Hopefully it’ll be a return to the greatness of the Gamecube game, as the Wii one wasn’t great (although I put that mainly down to the controls).

Scribble Shooter (Vita)

tumblr_ngwlhdv8j01svmpf2o1_1280This may be a demo, but it’s hard to tell. It’s a Playstation Home Arcade game, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to purchase the full version so I don’t know if it’s just very, very short or what. It was quite good fun but over very quickly.

Wipeout 2D (Vita)

tumblr_ngwk8xmxnc1svmpf2o1_1280Another Playstation Home Arcade game. It’s exactly what it suggests – Wipeout in 2D. It plays like Super Sprint, but the handling feels terrible and I didn’t really enjoy it. Motorstorm RC is a billion times better, and the similar F-Zero themed minigame in Nintendoland is what Wipeout 2D wishes it was.

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

One_left_to_open__Probably_6__of_the_game_complete_overall.Of course. This just keeps on giving! I’ve a single square in Adventure Mode left to open now, and it’s proving pretty difficult. I’m having to level up some rarely used characters to build up to another attempt, but I keep getting sidetracked and hunt for better weapons and stuff instead.

I’ve bought my first Amiibo this week, and, which Hyrule Warriors in mind, it had to be Link. He unlocked the Spinner weapon which is awesome to use. Sadly, it’s only a Level 1 weapon so only does 80 damage. It’s kind of made up for with Link himself being on Level 112, but a 420 damage Spinner would be nice!

Apparently I can use the Amiibo once a day to unlock more stuff, so I’ll be giving that a go.

Hello Kitty Happy Happy Family (Demo) (3DS)

tumblr_ngoy7mbxfj1svmpf2o1_1280Sadly, not a return to form for Kitty. I was hoping for something more like the fantastic (truthfully) Hello Kitty Roller Rescue, or even the GBA Happy Party Pals game, but no – it’s a sub-Cooking Mama set of rubbish minigames. What a shame, although I did expect this was how it was going to be.

Weapon Shop de Omasse (3DS)

tumblr_nh7nfs6h1d1svmpf2o1_400All the Level 5 Guild 01/02 games have been on offer recently, so I picked this up cheap along with The Starship Damrey. I haven’t played it a great deal yet, only through the tutorial and as far as the french bloke and the two girls returning from their quests. Seems quite good so far though – a sort of rhythm action game where you make the weapons and level them up by sending them out with adventurers. It’s pretty funny too, especially the almost Twitter-like Grindcast, which updates you on the quests your customers go on.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Roundup time!

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

Chain_Chomp_GET_With over 80 hours racked up now, this became my most played Wii U title some time ago. No matter how repetitive it seems to be, even playing exactly the same mission over and over with the same character, it never gets boring. I have now at least started the Master Quest from the first set of DLC, albeit to just play about four missions to see what they were like. Since then, there’s been another set of DLC which included another new character and a slightly smaller Adventure Mode map (which I’ve barely even looked at), but no Legend Mode additions, sadly.

I’ve still not finished Adventure Mode. In fact, I’ve still not even cleared the full map, let alone collected all the weapons, hearts and skulltulas littering the place. I have made some headway in ticking the lot off, but I estimate at least another 30 hours before I’ve done the whole thing. I have at least picked up some decent weapons for most of the characters now, although the likes of Wizzro and Midna are still woefully underpowered through lack of use. Link’s Lv3 Power Gauntlets, complete with Chain Chomp wrecking ball are a sight to behold though, and his apparently naked giant Great Fairy is ludicrous. In all: Best Game.

Persona 4 Golden (Vita)

tumblr_ngc51blbfz1svmpf2o1_1280Everyone seems to rate this as one of the best games ever. It’s one of the few games I wanted a Vita for, so when it was reduced to a silly price (on the same day as Akiba’s Trip) I snapped it up.

Even though I’d heard a lot of good things about it, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, aside from “an unusual RPG”. I thought this meant something along the lines of Contact or Earthbound, and as I’d been cautioned to avoid anything describing the actual game or plot as it’s apparently best to dive in blind, I wasn’t prepared for what I got.

The fantastic yellow submarine/katamari hybrid opening sequence segued into Shenmue before becoming something somewhere between Phoenix Wright and Eternal Sonata, via a Japanese dating sim and The Ring. Confusing and compelling, although (so far) mostly non-interactive, I’m just past the second murder (yes, it’s a bit grim in places) and, from what I’ve been told, have only about 78 hours left before I complete it. Erm.

Luftrausers (Vita)

tumblr_ngaaqfyfrv1svmpf2o1_1280Or Love Trousers, obviously. I have the PC version, but I don’t play PC games. This is a free-for-a-few-weeks PS+ rental, and it’s a lot of fun. I’m terrible at it, but it has some addictive progression and that ever important “just one more go” factor. It’s like Time Pilot, only distanced from that title in a similar way to how, say, Pac-Man CE is from Pac-Man. And in sepia.

Mega Man 6 (Wii U)

Yamato_Man_I finished Mega Man 5, so started Mega Man 6. It’s just more of the same, which isn’t really a complaint, but even when they add new stuff to the formula it still doesn’t actually change the basic game. As the last NES Mega Man it’s a little sad to be nearing the end of the series, but I do have the SNES Mega Man 7 and Mega Man X2 lined up for the future, so it’s not really close to being over.

Instant Hero (iOS)

tumblr_nfyz6ge3o81svmpf2o1_1280What’s that? An iOS game that isn’t Slay? Well, the team behind this asked for beta testers, so I volunteered. And I’m pleased to say, that they’ve really responded to feedback from myself and the other testers, and quickly moved this from a  far too simple, slightly rough and seemingly pointless title to a polished, perfect for mobile play game. It plays a little like Peggle but with Super Kick Off style aftertouch. And your little man is the ball. And he can only beat the baddies (uh, like the pegs in peggle) if he (or she) runs into two of the smaller sized baddies first. Or you die. And there are bosses.

Look, I can’t explain it. It’s out soon, and is free with IAPs to buy continues (and remove ads) and it’s definitely worth a look. Not least to see me in the credits.

Titan Attacks (Vita)

tumblr_ngabs8h2x71svmpf2o1_1280Another PS+ rental. It’s OK, but really it’s just a relatively normal Space Invaders game with a few bells and whistles. Not that there’s anything really wrong with that, but come on – we’ve have Space Invaders games for years now, and some (like Space Invaders Extreme) are far better than this. Still, it was free.

Need For Speed Most Wanted (Vita)

tumblr_ngbsjgmamj1svmpf2o1_1280EA game this away for free. And it’s not even “PS+ Free” either – it’s actually really free. It’s also the same game, albeit smaller, lower resolution, and not quite as nice generally, as the Wii U version I’ve already played to death. It is still pretty and fun and everything, but I don’t know if I can be bothered to complete it again.

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric Demo (Wii U)

This_is_stupidNo. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

No.

Things I’ve been playing recently

It’s a been a little while since I posted, so a round-up of recent gaming adventures…

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

Best_Almost 50 hours have been spent on this now. It’s such an addictive game, and considering how few level maps there are (maybe 10?) there’s so much actual game content and variety. With loads of weapons still to unlock, and several characters still mostly unused, never mind a yet-to-be-started Master Quest mode, there’s a lot left to do.

Most recently, I’ve been trying to rank up Zelda, as there’s a mission in the bottom left corner of the map that I need her to A-rank in order to both get a new weapon, and to open up another section of map with another new weapon in. I’ve managed AAC and ABB a few times, but even though she’s level 42 now, she is still too weak to deal with some of the harder captains quickly enough.

StreetPass Garden (3DS)

These few remaining plants are proving to be somewhat elusive. Even when I’ve had a seed with an 80% chance of growing into a new species, I’ve ended up with something I’m already drowning in. Still, at least I’m making  a lot of money selling useless plants and seeds. Not that there’s anything left to spend it all on!

Ratchet & Clank (Vita)

tumblr_ne865ae88u1svmpf2o1_1280Lets just ignore that V word there shall we? I made a mistake and want to move on without much comment or fuss.

Well, someone noticed I’d acquired said handheld, and generously sent me a download code for the Ratchet & Clank Trilogy for it (and the PS3 – it seems to be cross-buy). I’ve put about an hour into the first game, and… it’s rubbish.

Sorry, but it is. Yes, I know it’s a PS2 game so is a platformer from a different time when this sort of thing was common and acceptable, but it’s dire. Graphically, it’s improved over the PS2 (or, at least, it seems to be), but the camera controls are terrible and the characters soulless and forced. Yet another anthropomorphic animal? Didn’t we tire of those in the late 90s? (Answer: yes, we did).

The platforming itself is rubbish, with jumps requiring guesswork and an unreliable double-jump. There doesn’t appear to be a character shadow to see where you’re going to land, either. Your ranged weapon targeting system is broken, as it automatically locks onto who it decided you want to kill, not necessarily who is in front of you or nearest. Didn’t Zelda teach the devs anything about how lock-on should work? (Answer: clearly not).

I’ve spent more time fighting the game than fighting the baddies, and that’s not a good thing at all. Maybe the sequels are better?

Tearaway (Demo) (Vita)

Apparently the saviour of the Vita. I fail to see how. It’s a dull platformer (sort of) with Daddy Pig chatting all over it. A lovely graphical style with unnecessary and nonsensical rear-touchpad bodgery, many seemingly optional tasks which are devoid of fun or purpose (throw the boxes into the hoops? Joy.), and worst of all frequent appearances of my actual disapproving face in the sun, like I’m the baby in Tellytubbies.

I’m really not surprised, as I very much disliked Media Molecule’s previous efforts with Little Big Planet, and although this beats it in style and form, matches it in tedium and disappointment.

Lumines (Vita)

tumblr_ne5q0nx3kr1svmpf2o1_1280It’s Lumines. Apart from the little face in the bottom left corner which does… something when you poke it, and some different colour combinations and music, it’s the same as the 360 Arcade game from many years ago. Which is fine, actually.

I’ve not played it a lot, but it plays well and the music is nice and I’m not very good at it. So much like the other version then, really.

Rogue Legacy (Vita)

tumblr_nea43b9cbk1svmpf2o1_1280Oh so good!

I’d heard this was eventually probably coming to the Wii U, so would have waited for that, but instead bought it from PSN for the Vita (and PS3, I then found out – needn’t have bothered with this Vita after all…). It plays like a Castlevania Roguelike, where you’re a knight who infiltrates a castle for treasure and, er, probably something else. When you die, you’re dead, but you get to try again as one of your children who inherits your stats and money.

Unfortunately, in order to enter the castle again, you have to pay a toll equal to your entire stash of gold. Boo! Thankfully, you’re able to spend your inheritance before then on stat and equipment boosts, as well as unlocking new abilities and character classes.

It’s very “just one more go”, and never frustrating despite the number of deaths (30+ now for me) and having to start over every time. I’ve just unlocked the ability to boost my loot gathering and also reduce how much I have to pay for another go, but haven’t managed to buy anything in each ability slot yet. I’ve also faced at least three different bosses, some more than once, who have all been completely overwhelming. I suspect I need to play a bit longer and boost my skills and stuff before trying again.

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Link__He_go_to_town__He_go_to_save__The_Princess_Zelda_I hope my B, and to a slightly lesser extent, Y buttons are OK. In my twelve hours running through the main Legend Mode campaign, I’ve pressed them rather a lot. I don’t think they’re worn out, but not since I played one of those “shooting watch” games have I hit a button so many times. Mash mash mash mash mash.

BBY. BBBY. BBBBY. Other variations, peppered with ZR (bombs, usually) and the odd X to pull off a special attack or (rarely) A to dodge. And block? Blocking is for girls. In fact, I didn’t even realise there was a block until I’d nearly finished the game. Once more, “There’s a block button?” returns. Apparently, pressing R triggers your magic and makes you do fancier attacks for a bit. I used it once, I think.

That_s_no_moonSounds repetitive, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. Well, it is, obviously, but it never feels like you’re doing the same thing over and over. You keep being pulled away to rescue or defend elsewhere on the map, or you have to swap secondary weapon to deal with a different foe, or you might need to run away for a bit and find some hearts. Or escort a bombchu. Or take down a massive boss who requires more skill than random button bashing achieves. And sure, you revisit the same locations several times, but the situation is different. Sometimes you’re a different character (and they all perform differently), or you have new tasks, so it never feels like a rehash.

WhatImportantly, it is a lot of fun. Swording/hammering/harping (really) your way through massive swathes of foes, knocking out 10, 20, 50 – even 100 – in one combo will never, ever get old or tiring.

Add to that the collection addiction where you collect weapons and materials that baddies drop to better your defences and attacks, adding new combo moves and perks, and even replaying missions isn’t a chore.

YES_I did spend a little while on the NES Zelda-inspired Adventure mode, both between missions on the main mode and after completing the game, and it too is pretty fantastic. And huge. You’re given smaller missions where you have to defeat only certain enemies, take down a certain number in a time limit, and assorted other challenges, but there are loads of them. How well you do determines which areas of the map you open up too, so you need to perform well rather than just win if you want to open up everything.

Now I’ll work my way through that, while I wait for the DLC, all four pieces of which I’ve already pre-ordered…

Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

Um (1)For many years I’ve lamented how the the 3D Zelda games (that is to say, those that aren’t top down rather than those you play with glasses) are, well, pants. Over my time as a gamer, I’ve never got into the Samurai/Dynasty Warriors series. I’ve played a few, and even bought the 3DS one, but stopped there.

So why did I have a moment of weakness and buy a download code for Hyrule Warriors, a combination of all that is bad about Zelda games and a game series I couldn’t be more meh about? I don’t know. But I’m glad I did because it’s bloody awesome.

Fans of games known as “Musou” (at least, known as that to nerds who propagate the idea the series is niche and, well, non-Japanophile gamers wouldn’t like it) will see this is little more than a Zelda skinned example of the genre. Battlefields filled with forts, allies, and more enemies than a feeble little Nintendo console should really be able to cope with – let alone with no slowdown, and generals to defeat.

To_smack_or_not_to_smack_a_CuccoOnly with Zelda clothes on, these battlefields are areas like Hyrule Field and Death Mountain. The allies are Impa and Sheik. The enemies are ripped straight from Zelda games, and the generals, instead of being historical samurai warriors, are bosses Link has previously defeated in “normal” Zelda titles. Massive bosses, in some cases. And cuccos. Yay!

Gameplay is just like in Warriors, where you take ground by capturing forts and regions, lose ground by not paying attention to what’s going on elsewhere in the map, and your allies run round doing the same with not the best AI in their heads. Ultimately, you can’t rely on them to do anything, so sometimes you need to abandon your current objective to save their hide – again – before returning to the task at hand.

A Zelda twist is that you can pick up secondary weapons from treasure chests (complete with obligatory DA DA DA DAAAAH). These are instantly recognisable: Bombs, Boomerang, Bow, Hookshot, and so on. You can probably guess the rest. You can also play as any of your allies instead of just Link, and you recruit more warriors as you progress in the game. Additionally, there’s a crafting part to the game where you can upgrade and enhance your weapons, and choose new perks and abilities, for the price of some materials that enemies drop and a bag of rupees.

Somehow, it manages to feel just like Zelda without actually playing anything like any Zelda game before it. Which is A Good Thing, as far as I’m concerned.

Of course, I’m only about 4 or 5 hours in at the moment, so there’s still time for everything to head south, but what would appear to be a repetitive button masher is actually an addictive and surprisingly varied action title. More of this sort of thing with your game serieses, please Nintendo.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

tumblr_n0ags1xhol1svmpf2o1_400I’m done.

Well, OK. So I haven’t done Hero Mode yet, but for this playthrough, I’m done. I’ve done everything. Every dungeon finished, every weapon obtained and upgraded, every maiamai rescued, every treasure found, and every item counter (rupees, monster parts, hearts, etc.) maxxed out. Everything. All done.

And in just 23 hours too. I didn’t want it end so soon!

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS): COMPLETED!

Zelda-EndBoss1Yeah Hilda. You tell me a gooood story. I’m all ears. And not just because I’m an elf thing. Aha.

That’s it then – final dungeon done, final final dungeon done, end boss beaten. What a fantastic game. It’s just so perfect in almost every single way, and somehow manages to improve on the Zelda formula by getting rid of most of the linearity, by upping the pacing, and by making it somehow feel both very different and exactly the same as every other Zelda title. Yes, I know that sounds impossible.

The only thing that’s even slightly negative about the game that I can say is how easy it is. It’s very, very easy. It’s by far the easiest Zelda game and probably one of the easiest “big” games I’ve ever played. There’s simply very little challenge at all at any point. In fact, look:

ZeldaStatsThey’re my End Of Game stats. See how many times I was defeated? None. Not only that, but at no point was I ever even nearly close to dying. Not even in the “seems too difficult to do that early on” Ice Ruins dungeon. Of the seven main dungeons (which you can do in any order), I did the Ice Ruins second. I expected that the game would somehow ramp up the difficulty somehow (harder or more enemies, perhaps) as you progressed through the game, but it doesn’t. So, after completing the Ice Ruins I found that I’d done the hardest bit of the game (which even then wasn’t especially tricky) right near the start and it was plain sailing from then on. Even the end boss, which I faced before I’d even finished “tooling up” with all the best gear, was a complete walkover.

However, this is not a problem. It took away none of the fun and I still loved every minute. I’m even returning to it to get the remaining items and 100% it. It’s the best Zelda game since Oracle of Ages/Seasons. FACT.