Breath of the Wild: Initial Thoughts

First things first, Nintendo definitely delivered.  I spent most of my weekend playing this game and I was hooked from the first second of it.  Here are some of the highlights so far:

Plays great.  Any way you cut it, this game is a first for anyone playing it- the first Zelda game for Wii U or the Switch.  The game uses the console technology well, which up to this point (for the Wii U) was grossly underutilized.  By making the  most of the system, which includes the control scheme and the physics of the game, Nintendo was able to take what was a great game story-wise and follow through on things like how it plays which do make a big difference.

Huge map. A lot of this game is spent wandering from place to place, like in any Zelda game.  Yet, this one is different because of the added elements of food, hunting, and making your own elixirs and the like.   Yes, once you’ve visited a tower or shrine you can  warp to it, but walking through the various landscapes the game offers is the best thing to do to pick up supplies, weapons, and food.  And you will be doing a lot of walking,  because Hyrule is massive.

Story is a banger. I won’t go into too much detail here in case any of you haven’t played it yet.  I went in with a blank slate in terms of story and I will say I am blown away by it.  I really shouldn’t expect anything different from this series, but hey, after waiting so long, can you blame me for not having the highest expectation?  Anyway, I haven’t gotten too far into the game, so I can’t say how it will develop further, but so far, I could not be more pleased.

Music is awesome. No Zelda game is complete without a great soundtrack.  In terms of this one, I am blown away.  Many unique sounds and instruments were used to create this game’s soundtrack, and the results are fantastic.  Every area has its own music which fits perfectly with the feel and view of it.  And, of course, there are the timeless themes we all know and love, and they sound better than ever in HD.

Looks fantastic. When I first saw the trailer for the game, the graphics were the one thing I took away from it.  Kinda Windwaker-y, but less cartoonish, this game looks beautiful.  All the characters, landscapes, shrines, etc., look incredible.  The visuals to the game are important because they enhance the feeling of wilderness that Nintendo wants us to feel.  As soon as I started playing I fell in love with this game’s look.  It only got better once I found out how great everything else about it is.

Final Thoughts: if you haven’t already, go out and get it.  I can’t wait to come home from work today just so I can dive right back in.  If you l0ve Zelda like I do, you will feel right at home.  If you don’t have that same appreciation, this is a great place to start.  A perfect pairing of the old and the new, Breath of the Wild is easily my favorite game in recent memory.

What do you think of this game?  Do you share my sentiment or were you disappointed?  Let me know, and as always be sure to follow me on instagram: @keithscreen.

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Leaked Assassins Creed: Empires screenshot?

An image recently surfaced that could possibly be from the newest Assassins Creed game.  Known as Empires, the game is set in ancient Egypt and will release this year, after Ubisoft took a year off from producing a game in this series.

It is not confirmed that this screenshot is from the series, but there are a few hints that lead people to believe it.  The character has a shield on his back that has a symbol resembling the familiar “Assassin” symbol we’ve seen so many times.  Also, we know the game is set in Egypt, and it definitely looks like this character is walking into a pyramid.  Some have speculated that it is from a new Prince of Persia game that may be in the works at Ubisoft, but I’m convinced it is from the new AC.

Image from Reddit

The series trended downward after Desmond’s story ended, hitting a major low with 2014’s Unity, which was a disaster in almost every aspect, aside from its setting (at least in my opinion.)  The game was just absolute basura.  That being said, the  most recent release, Syndicate, was a solid game.  It did not get the series back to the level it was before the Desmond saga ended, but it was fun, captivating, and set up the major sci-fi storyline that has been missing since Desmond’s story ended.

I hope by taking a year off, Ubisoft got their act together and created a game that is worthy of bearing the Assassins’s Creed name.  I love ancient Egypt, so I may be biased, but I’m excited for this game to come out and to see if it can restore some glory to this franchise.

 

My top 5 Legend of Zelda games

A little less than a week until Breath of the Wild releases, I thought I might as well share my top 5 games from the series.

#5: Twilight Princess. Starting off my list is one of the more recent releases in the series.  This game was a launch day title for the Wii (and Gamecube) all the way back in 2006, and it holds up as one of the best titles on the Wii.   The story was pretty good, the graphics were great for the time, and it introduced some characters that fit really well within the whole Zelda canon.  It was nice getting back to some land after The Wind Waker‘s seafaring journey, and the game made the best out of the technology the Wii had to offer.  On a side note, holy crap, this game came out over ten years ago? Anyway.  I thought Wolf Link was overdone, but that’s really my only complaint. The game still feels good today, good enough to get a 3D makeover for Wii U virtual console.  Maybe that can be attributed to us only getting one real Zelda game for console after this one, but hey, it’s a strong game nonetheless.

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#4: Ocarina of Time.  I’m gonna catch some heat for this, but Ocarina is #4 in my opinion. Many fans would have this as a #1, but there are a few reasons why I have it at #4.  Again, this is a personal list, and I haven’t spent enough time with this game to truly love it like I love the higher entries on the list.  That being said, if there was one definitive Zelda game, this would probably be it for good reason.  The music is iconic, the gameplay is legendary, and somehow we all played this as children and didn’t get frustrated beyond belief, unlike how we get today when we can’t progress in a game.  Maybe that’s just me, but hey, I lie awake at night thinking how I ever managed to advance in games like this when I was a child.  At any rate, the game is a classic, and for good reason.

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#3: A Link to the Past.  Disclaimer: I’ve only ever played this for virtual console, but I love it nonetheless.  Going way back for this one, A Link to the Past is incredible, and even though it looks dated, the game itself is as fresh as ever.  The early games in this series prove that it doesn’t have to be high-tech to stand among the best in a series.  The story of this game is  so good, so consequential, and so important to the Zelda mythos that not putting it on this list is probably punishable by law.  When coming up with the list I felt obligated to put an older game on, but no obligation is necessary; those games can stand their ground with the best of the best. Also, it has a sequel for 3DS, which is worth playing as well.  To put it simply, the classics are classics for a reason.

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#2: Majora’s Mask.  Ah, this game is a dark horse in the series for some reason.  Even by the series’ own standards, it’s pretty weird and it doesn’t really get too much love compared to other games in the series.  That being said, I love this game.  The puzzle aspect is as strong in this game as any Zelda entry, in no small part due to the constant 3 day cycle we have all repeated time and time again.  The game just feels different than any other entry- it has its own unique flavor with the Termina setting, all the different masks, all the tiny Easter eggs and other things that are so easily missed contribute to the game’s claustrophobic sensibility.  Plus, the art in this game is striking.  The moon, the Zora domain, and even the forest where the game starts all have their own unique look that are somehow related, which is part of the game’s allure.  Maybe not everyone’s favorite Zelda game, but it was and remains absolute fire.

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#1: The Wind Waker.  This was my first love in terms of Zelda games and easily the one I’ve spent the most time with.  Every time I play it I clearly remember the first time playing it at a hotel and being totally drawn in by it- it was so different than anything I ever played before.  This game is what I think of when I think of Zelda.  The game broke new ground in terms of the series, ditching dry land (because dry land is for bitches) and putting us on a boat and making us navigate the seas.  The story isn’t the greatest, even among the other entries on this list, but it still feels like it has consequences.  Oh, and did I mention how dope this game looks?  It still looks better than almost anything Nintendo has released since then, which is not knocking Nintendo, but praising this game in particular.  I am one of those people who do think graphics matter, and in this case, the graphics just take me to a simpler time, one where Nintendo didn’t constantly let us down.

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What do you think of the list?  Would you change the order?  Include different games?  Let me know, and also let me know if you would like to see more lists, I have  few things I’d like to make lists for.  As always, follow me on IG: keithscreen so you don’t miss anything.  The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild comes out Friday, March 3rd.

 

What Nintendo can do to make the Switch a success

Under two weeks away from the release of the Switch, there is a lot of speculation going around as to how it is going to do.  Early reviews of it have been promising.  I think the Switch can be how Nintendo rises out of the ashes in terms of its consoles, as they have not been popular ever since the Wii came out.  And considering how the Wii U was a failure- both in terms of lack of games and in console sales- Nintendo really needs the Switch to be revolutionary. Console gaming moved towards the Playstation and XBox, simply because those offered better technology and for the most part, better games.  However, by bucking the trends set by Sony and Microsoft, and keeping true to their past to make their future better, Nintendo can make themselves important again in terms of console gaming.  Here’s how:

Consistently release games.  I have a Wii U, and while it’s a pretty nice piece of technology, there’s nothing to play for it.  Sure you have your Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, but otherwise, there’s very little.  Super Mario 3D World was a nice title, and there are some virtual console games I play, but there is not one game that would warrant buying a Wii U just to play it.  If Nintendo can produce games- and I think they will based on what we’ve seen so far from them- the Switch will be successful because there will be too much for people not to play.  This begins with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.  The game looks great, and hopefully will live up to the hype.  Should Nintendo consistently release games like that, the Switch will be something that people pick up.

Don’t delay releases.  I pre-ordered Breath of the Wild months ago, when it still had a Fall 2016 release.  Even before then it was delayed a few times, and it would go on to be delayed further, now aiming for a March 3 release.  Nintendo has to set realistic goals for themselves with releases, meaning if something isn’t ready or they know it won’t be ready in time, they shouldn’t say it will release only to have them push it back multiple times.  I do understand that things come up during production, but this trend is way too consistent, and if Nintendo ever wants get some of their popularity back, they need to stick to a release schedule.

Translate mobile success into console success.  In recent months, Nintendo reached a much larger audience than previous by releasing Pokemon: Go and Super Mario Run on the mobile platform.  While they are watered down versions of the games we know and love, they captivated many people who maybe hadn’t played them.  I’m not saying Nintendo should make these games for consoles, but they should find a way to motivate mobile gamers into buying the Switch.  I’m not sure how exactly they could do this, but offering special characters, DLC, etc., would be a good start.  It also helps that the Switch is designed as a hybrid mobile/console system, so Nintendo should be doing everything in its power to combine that mobile success with the Switch’s innovative design.

Give the fans what they want.  It may sound like a no-brainer, but fan service is the easiest way to get back to the top.  Look at Rogue One.  Was it a good enough movie without the last five minutes?  Sure, definitely worth the price of a ticket.  But slap that last Darth Vader scene in there and you have an iconic moment, one that the fans would do anything to see, and now all of a sudden Rogue One is more than just a silly spin-off; its the iconic Darth Vader moment we did not get in the prequel trilogy.  Nintendo should look into fan service, and early reports indicate that they have in at least one respect- bringing Gamecube titles to the virtual console.  Realistically, I would play my Gamecube all day long if I didn’t have anything better to do.  We already know that virtual console won’t be available upon release, so I’m hoping that they’re saving it to make it flawless when it finally does come out.

Be themselves.  If I wanted to play Call of Duty or something like that, I’d buy it for my PS4.  What Nintendo needs to do is rediscover why they were popular in the first place- fun.  I can’t speak for others, but when I think of Nintendo, I get this nostalgic feeling of pure fun.  Staying up until all hours of the night playing Gamecube or Gameboy games was a regular habit, especially when it was for a new game with the characters I grew up loving.  All their games have a good sense of humor to go along with the adventure, so what Nintendo has to do is find those roots to introduce to a new generation and help the older crowd (relatively speaking) want to play their games again.