Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hyrule Warriors Review~!

...'Cause Zelda stuff makes me shirk personal projects and blog entries. D:
BUT DUDES...game is awesome.

WARNING!This entry contains spoilers for the following games:
-Hyrule Warriors

-Screenshots in this entry were taken by me and other players on Miiverse-

I can't recall when I first heard about this game...it was either by Nintendo Direct or E3...I don't know, but it doesn't matter. I'd been waiting for it for a long time. It finally released in North America this past Friday (September 26), and, having pre-ordered it, I picked it up after work.
Played for a few hours Friday, 8 hours Saturday, and another few hours today before beating it. 

I have so much to say, I'm not sure where to start. lol



This game made me really happy. It's not a Legend of Zelda game, it's a Dynasty Warriors game with Zelda characters and storyline. We can't legitimately include it in with Zelda's franchise and timeline, it wasn't meant to be that way. But it brought a lot of ideas forward that I feel could really evolve the real LoZ franchise.

There was a Narrator in between missions who actually spoke for us, and that's definitely not something we see/hear in Zelda games. A lot of people are saying it's a sure confirmation that Zelda NEEDS voice acting...instead of the mere grunts and giggles we're used to paired with visual text.
I have mixed feelings about that. While voice acting for characters would be a huge character development, omitting it leaves more for the imagination...which I have liked since 1998. So...who knows what change will make me think.

The button mashing beat-em-up genre isn't new to me - I've done a few arcade games like that plus Super Smash Bros, Jak & Daxter, and a few others. But I've never played a Dynasty Warriors game before. It was definitely different. It felt really satisfying to use Zelda-esque attacks to completely blow away a hoard of enemies at once. I felt really powerful. lol And the animation for leveling-up, defeating a key character, and dealing a crippling blow to Ganon was pretty epic.


One thing I felt the Legend of Zelda world benefited from with this game was the stronger incorporation of Link's personality! In early Zelda games it seemed Miyamoto wanted shy away from giving Link too much character as he was meant to literally be a "link from the player to the game." And so it made sense Link was pretty bland so the player could better use him as an avatar rather than a player. However, we've seen his personality grow and grow over the years, getting really prominent in Skyward Sword (portraying emotions of love, hate, anger, and sorrow). Now in Hyrule Warriors, despite the game not being part of the official timeline, we see Link display a vast array of character traits that we couldn't officially peg him with before.


Aside from his range of visual expressions, the game clearly narrates his inner persona. Cia mentions his "arrogance...ego...pridefulness..." which are the ingredients from which she creates his Shadow Link clones. Of course, we can also make the connection that that's how Ganondorf worked it in Ocarina of Time, forcing Link to literally have to "defeat himself."


Earlier in the game, after obtaining the Master Sword, the Narrator also mentions how Link grew overconfident, charged headlong into battle, and got ahead of himself. 
Seriously? Link, you brash son of a gun. :] I suppose we could've gathered he was that type from his more subtle actions in the Zelda games, but now we've got a more solid idea of what kind of person he is.


Look at that smirk ... LOOK AT IT.

You've probably noticed by now I'm posting my screenshots of Link in Ocarina of Time (Hero of Time) attire instead of his Hyrule Warriors getup. I preordered the game from GameStop and got the Ocarina of Time costume download pack for free. I'm totally happy about this...what with OoT being my favorite Zelda game. :] So, I used this costume as much as possible for him.

I swear this game created some pretty crazy scenarios I deemed akin to fan fiction material before the game's release. I feel that way even stronger now that I've played it. It linked various Zelda games (Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Majora's Mask, etc) quite literally, for one...and crossovers are something only fanfic authors have fanfic authors and fan artist have brought to life if their work.


Crossovers, Zelda taking special interest in a "knight" (Link) in her army, female versions of Link (there were originally plans to have a girl that looks like Link in the game...supposedly his daughter), Zelda fighting like a warrior, and even a character taking a serious romantic interest in Link other than Zelda (and Ruto...).

^^^ Are you freaking getting this??

Before now, you only ever saw these kinds of things in fan fics and fan art. And very prominently...to the point it's become cliche to write/draw about. It's just strange for me to see Nintendo actually letting it go in that direction. Smash Bros doesn't count IMO as it's not meant to focus solely on the Zelda universe.
We got to see how characters from different games interacted with each other...characters who'd never otherwise have a chance to meet. Like Midna and Ruto, Impa and Zant, etc. It was quite a site to see Fi talking to the Hero of Time, who, originally is from a time far in the future!



So many weird fantasies were realized in HW, and it had me (quite literally) rolling with amusement. Playing as characters other than Link = awesome.


I'm so glad Impa doesn't look like an old woman anymore despite the white hair. Her design finally suits her role.
 
I looove Ruto's design in HW. Perfection.

Hell, I love Zelda's design, too! Great artwork in this game.



Of course a fairy "Proxi" did all the talking for Link, 'cause our hero never talks ... yet!

I was really looking forward to playing as Fi ... she definitelt didn't disappoint!


I'm kinda bummed we didn't get Nabooru...maybe she'll be a downloadable character later? Here's to hoping. :]

Lana felt reeeally out of place to me. Honestly, she gave me a magical girl anime vibe...not Legend of Zelda material. But she is unique to the Hyrule Warriors game, so I suppose it's acceptable. I'm not really into the whole...SUPER KAWAII ANIME GIRL cliche, and some of those noises she makes I swear only belong in a hentai...lol But at least she's powerful. 



There were some other things I really didn't like about the game as well.
For instance...playing as Ganondorf and other enemies. While it's a nice thought, and some people really enjoyed it...I just got so frustrated that I had to fight against the good guys to achieve a goal that I was just going to undo again when I inevitably switched sides again. And you're forced to do it to advance in the game, t's not like you have a choice. 
And...fighting against Link? Come on...why would I ever wanna do that... 


And, random yet relevant: they kept calling Zelda a princess in game...when we were officially told she's supposed to be a queen this time. Kinda disappointed.



Those Gold Skulltulas we're supposed to hunt and kill in the middle of epic battles? Yeah, no idea how that's even possible if we want to win. Guess I'll be looking at a guide later.

And Cia. Let's talking about mother effing Cia. That bitch...
I'm about to get really personal with this, sorry I'm not sorry.

Nintendo got EXTREMELY bold with this game. Not only did they introduce some prominent sexuality in a Zelda-based game...they full on made a character who was so romantically obsessed with Link, that she sold her soul to have him. And I couldn't help but feel like every Link fangirl was being made fun of with this gesture. Probably just me being self-conscious, but I'm being honest. I've never seen anything like this in a Zelda game before, and they really took advantage of the "unofficial" situation.



Cia was supposedly a powerful sorceress who kept balance of the Triforce since the beginning of time.......aka a random-ass broad made up for the purpose of this Musou game storyline 'cause there's no way that makes sense in the official Zelda franchise. She watched Link's spirit be reborn over and over again through the ages to save the land and ended up falling desperately in love with him. When darkness entered her soul, it forced out the light which became Lana. So, Lana's also in love with Link, and we see some really awkward moments with her, Link, and Zelda (who also is obviously into him). 


It reeeeally doesn't help that they made Link extra gorgeous in this game. I was reeling the whole time 'cause it felt like they were providing some kind of insane fanservice for people like me who've had a thing for Link since childhood. Stop it. :C That's not fair.

It made sense, though, that Cia was overly sexual in her nature 'cause it was lust that caused her to deviate from the light. Still...in-your-face ass and boob shots? In a Nintendo game?? FOR REAL??? (Temla hardly counts...cleavage isn't necessarily sexual.)

Also, she's pedo for having statues of Kid Link. :p


Anyway...I gotta get to bed, but I've made my biggest points. I loved the game, and still have to go back and do Adventure Mode to unlock some characters plus get more badges and other fun stuff, but...I did enjoy the Legend. Provided me with a new experience and a serious challenge...and brought out a lot of feels I didn't know I still felt. lol That final battle had me on the edge of my seat nearly sweating. Kudos for that.

Maybe someday I'll find my own real "Link" so Nintendo won't have such a tight grip on my emotions. lol 
Nostalgia will always be there, though... fuck nostalgia...



~Uni

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Some Legend of Zelda Reviews~!

I reeeally need to knock out some of the blog entries I have lined up. I keep adding entries to be done on the list, and it just keeps piling with no action. As I keep saying, I really wanna do them in order, but...well, never mind. I won't repeat that again.

SO FOR NOW...
I just want to briefly talk about some Zelda things since I'm still hyped up from the franchise's E3 reveals this year. No, I'm not talking about the E3 reveals here, but instead a few other Legend of Zelda goodness I've been privileged to experience within the last year.

WARNING! This entry contains spoilers for the following games:
-The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
-The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

We'll start with the Symphony of the Goddesses that I attended in San Francisco June 10, 2013!





The concert hall was huge, and the audience was equally massive. Sooo many different types of people attended. Some dressed up, some didn't. Tons of people had their 3DS systems on them, so Street Passes abounded. I attended with a friend/fellow cadet from school. She didn't know much about the Legend of Zelda, but as a music major, she enjoyed the symphony quite a bit. She said she'd never seen "this side" of me before (the nerdy/giddy side), which she took great amusement to. 


The symphony itself was ABSOLUTELY. BREATHTAKING. Of course, no photography or video was allowed during the presentation, but it was just phenomenal. The music was played to Zelda adventure scenes on the big screen, and I damn near cried. I'm not easily driven to tears, and especially not by something like a symphony. But the atmosphere was powerful enough to tug at my heartstrings and the affinity I hold for the Zelda games. It felt like I'd been detached from reality and was reliving a childhood dream. Most of the pieces played there I'd already heard on the CD I got with Skyward Sword for LoZ's 25th Anniversary. But hearing it live in person...nothing compared to that. It really made the music come to life.

Afterward, I was able to meet up with an acquaintance from nsider2.com. I've had the privilege of meeting several "Nsiders" as we call them from the Nintendo community over the years. A few of them are my best friends today, and I even dated a couple! So, it's always nice getting to know these people. Alex (better known as Eliwood8), is a news writer from that site and is extremely dedicated to keeping the community informed on the latest Nintendo news and game reviews. I find his passion admirable~

Getting 3DS Street Passes from each other. :p


I bought a poster for commemoration and walked away extremely satisfied with the experience. I'd love to go again if they ever tour again. The conductor Eimear Noone was fantastic and full of energy and passion for the franchise. It was awesome getting to see her conduct with her own Wind Waker. She even followed me on Twitter for a bit. :p

Also, much earlier last year, I was able to get my hands on Hyrule Historia!

Bookmark made by me


The amount of content is incredible. Finally, Nintendo came out with an official timeline for the games in the series and let us in on some amazing exclusive content we'd never seen before. My favorite part was the concept art and getting to see the different phases of character design they went through before developing the final version.


The above two images are from the Japanese version and are courtesy of historyofhyrule.com
Box art history, the different languages of Hyrule, character information, story details, official graphics and poster art, item/weapon listings, and developer info were all included in 240+ pages of content ... complete with a large-scale GORGEOUS manga in the back telling the story of how the legend began.


Nintendo has since released a digital copy on their eShop, and it's extremely high quality. I'd recommend downloading it on your Nintendo console if you can't get a hold of a physical copy.
This was a dream come true as an artist who was very powerfully inspired by the series!

Now, on to some games!

Last holiday season I got to play and complete The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds!


Wow. What a game...!
ALBW has the charisma of the classic Zelda games paired with the beauty, technology, and innovation of current gaming. It was a phenominal experience.
I like to take bullet point notes while I play a new game, so here's what I jotted down for this one:


-I felt some of the puzzles were absolute genius. Sometimes I'd overthink something and get frustrated, but once I got it, I'd always appreciate the creativity. There was a metric shit ton of thought that went into this game, and it shows.

-The plot is riveting despite being predictable in certain places, the pace is quick and engaging, and I felt the difficulty increases reasonably

-The graphics are gorgeous. Pure eye candy. I am inspired. :]

-That hint system – I'm on the fence about it. Used it on occasion to speed things up, but at the same time wish the temptation wasn't even there.

-The new item and dungeon system (that whole freedom thing) is definitely a good move, I love the range of possibilities it presented, and the added challenge of choosing where to go, when, and how to accomplish the goal. Bought items as soon as possible for convenience. Yes. I died (you lose items you're renting when you die). Whatev.

-Dat MUSIC!!! omg! So well done – 3DS tech made it seem like surround-sound. Very engaging. I was THRILLED at the return of the underworld theme! It's my fave. The Sanctuary and Desert Palace themes gave me goosebumps, and I could just listen to those tracks forever. Love the mini boss theme with the techno and the Milk Bar renditions of the themes... I'm just sad ZREO isn't around anymore to do their own spin on these.

-Also on the fence about having that stamina meter instead of item quantity. I guess it's a challenge in itself, but hardly makes any sense. ^^; I know...Zelda and sense don't usually go together, but hey...

-Enemies can hurt each other! I don't know why this pleases me so much, but it does.

-Great sound effects. Some I recognized from Skyward Sword - like certain dungeon puzzle unlock sounds. And, yes, Link eating apples was awesome.

-I liked that the dungeons weren't painfully long – I didn't feel like I was dragging on in one forever, and I really appreciate the time I get to spend in the outside world in between dungeons.

-Ganon. wtf? I was a little peeved that he didn't gain consciousness and take over Yuga. This is motherflippin' GANON, okay... He was just used as a girly dude's puppet.

-Hilda intrigued me so much. My thought pattern of her since the moment I saw her in trailer to end game was kinda like: "Oh, evil person. Okay, maybe not so evil. Definitely not evil, totally awesome. Okay, sounds kinda like evil. Definitely evil. Okay, maybe not so evil. Totally awesome." Kudos, Nintendo, on throwing me for a loop.

-I was pretty overwhelmed at how many rupees, monster parts, and hearts Lorule Castle just...handed out.

And look! A Majora's Mask cameo~! =P


You can bet that as soon as Club Nintendo made the official posters available, I snatched them up for myself. Beautiful art to go with a beautiful game.


I even did some fanart of my own~!



This game has so much more to offer, including Street Pass Dark Link challenges, mini games, and intriguing story and gameplay. I highly recommend it to anyone with the 3DS.

Last but not least for this entry - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD!

It's Wind Waker remade to be way more pretty and awesome~! :D I'm gonna leave my bullet points of the changes I noticed from the original GameCube version and then share a video of my initial experience. The day I got this game is also the day my brother and I got the Wii U. BEWARE...you're about to see a side of me that...very rarely ever shows its bizarre face. >_>

Changes from the original (if you haven't played the original version, you may not have any idea what I'm talking about...):
-Faster boat cruising and barrel walking
-you don't have to equip the sail, the wind waker, the sea grappling hook, or the bombs to use them
-the wind song doesn't finish every time it's played so you're not wasting time
-when you take a pictograph, it tells you which photos are good to be made into figurines right off the bat
-the treasure in the sea is at shallower depths so you're not waiting forever
-Link can swim longer
-the Triforce trial is a lot less tedious
-new bomb aiming mechanism in the boat
-frickin...flying rupees. If you kill something in the water while you're in the ocean or on an island, the rupees that spawn from it fly at you so you don't have to go fetch
-shadows...there are shadows... Amazing.
-buildings and islands now actually block the wind
-you can set sail in the Tower of Gods now despite no wind...for some reason
-frozen Hyrule is a sepia color, not black and white
-Link usually stays on the boat when hit. Thank God.
-THE SWIFT SAIL. Easily the best part. Sail faster over that massive ocean.
-remastered sound. Beautiful.
-the Tingle bottles...oh dear God those wonderful things
-pictobox doesn't need a light for the forest for a color upgrade
-and now you can turn while swinging on the grappling hook. Nice.

I don't really need to tell you what I thought of the game. The video will say it all.
Mega fangirl warning. Seriously. Don't say I didn't warn you. 'Cause I did. Twice.
No, the hue wasn't really that blue (camera issues), and yes we were using component cables instead of HDMI.





(In the vid I mention bro will be keeping the Wii U when I move...yeah, that's not the case anymore. :3 )



That's all for now, folks~

~Uni

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bridal Hairstyle Photoshoot

I had the privilege of modeling for my cousin yesterday~! She works in cosmetology and is working on expanding her portfolio. She did the hair and makeup of me and another gal, and then we went out for a photoshoot courtesy of Nancy's Nature Photogaphy & Art.

Didn't realize until late in the game that I was actually her bridal model, but that's okay. :p We'll say I'm marrying the Air Force~

Visit Jessie's styling blog for insight on how to take excellent care of your hair - Great Hair Days

Photo touch-ups by me.



My hair is so red sometimes...lol














~Uni