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By Jessica Brown On 1 Oct, 2017 At 01:17 PM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Editorials, NINTENDO | With 2 Comments

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Let’s face it: when The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess made its debut back in November 2006 it had some really big shoes to fill. In terms of major console releases, it was following in the footsteps of some popular pedigrees: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (one of the most highly-regarded games of all time), its 2000 sequel Majora’s Mask, and the expansive, high-seas adventure that was The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker on the GameCube. The years 2001 to 2005 also marked an explosion of very popular entries on the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance that despite their small size were very much full-on epic adventures.

When I played through Wind Waker, I couldn’t help but wonder what was next for the franchise. In some ways, the game had an air of finality to it. Hyrule had been washed away deep beneath the waves and Ganondorf had been delivered a final death blow with the Master Sword, leaving both he and it sealed beneath the oceans covering what used to be Hyrule. If anything in the series had ever felt like a final moment in the timeline, this was it. Yet, as we came to discover, Nintendo was using the time-bending elements of Ocarina of Time as an excuse to split the timeline into separate branches. Wind Waker, it turned out, was just one of the possible outcomes.

With this in mind, Twilight Princess is set many years after the ending of Ocarina of Time. In this game’s backstory, when Link returns to the time period he was initially from, he warns Princess Zelda of Ganondorf’s plans for the future. The two then convince Zelda’s father, the King of Hyrule, that Ganondorf must be punished lest Hyrule face its eventual destruction, so the King has him executed. Only…Something doesn’t quite go right, and instead of killing him they end up having to seal him within the Twilight Realm. This fact plays an important role later in the game, when we finally come to understand why the Twilight Realm is imposing itself on Hyrule, and who is ultimately motivating its de facto leader, Zant.

I’ll be honest: when it comes to my active play-time with any of the Zelda games out there, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess takes the cake. While I’m sure that I’ll eventually sink in a lot more time with Breath of the Wild on the Switch once I properly dig deep into it, at present no other game comes close to Twilight Princess in terms of time invested into it. At the time, Twilight Princess felt like a large world with a ton of things to see and do. Certainly, it was much larger than Ocarina of Time and perhaps Wind Waker as well (since a lot of that game consisted of open seas). Yet, what caused me to spend more time with this game than any that came before it was the sheer amount of collectibles and upgrades you could get. Gaining all 20 heart containers was no easy feat in itself as there were many sub-quests you had to do in order to get all of them. Also, special upgrades like larger quivers or the magical armor that would make you invincible at the expense of a constant draining of your rupees also necessitated a fairly large investment of your time. But, despite all of this, I had a lot of fun trying to fully complete the game and I have no regrets for the time spent with it.

The dungeons in Twilight Princess are both well thought-out and massive. They are also quite memorable too. The Lakebed Temple and City in the Sky were particularly challenging and interesting to explore. Also, the boss fights were both intense and enjoyable. The boss of the City in the Sky, Argorok, was perhaps the most annoying and difficult boss in the game for me. I’d even go as far as to say defeating it was more laborious than taking down Ganon in the final battle!

One of the things that I remember sticking out to me when I first played Twilight Princess was the fact that the Twilight Realm mechanic felt like it was paying homage to the Dark World from Zelda: A Link to the Past. It was interesting to me to see how the pervading twilight managed to twist and corrupt the things that it came in touch with. I also recall finding it quite refreshing that the game felt more like an epic. In some games, it felt like Link was primarily alone on his quest to save Hyrule, but here you had people that were genuinely aware of what was going on and in some cases people who were ready and willing to help. In fact, there was an entire resistance of able-bodied adults who were with him at major points in the game, even helping storm Hyrule Castle in the game’s penultimate confrontation.

It also had an ending that was a bit of an emotional ride. By the adventure’s end, it was clear that Midna, revealed to be the rightful ruler of the Twilight Realm, had feelings for Link, yet in the game’s final moments when it feels she is about to reveal these feelings to the young hero, she destroys the mirror that connects their two worlds completely. I remember being very angry with that, feeling that she owed to both Link and herself, to be honest about her feelings, and yet she went as far as to destroy any hope they ever had of seeing each other again. It was quite powerful.

While I’ll admit that I haven’t played Twilight Princess HD on the Wii U before, but the 2016 remaster does indeed look quite gorgeous! It even has some nice easter eggs and special content that was added to it to make it stand out a bit more. Obviously, it was sort of a lead-in to this year’s Zelda: Breath of the Wild (which is also available on the Wii U in addition to the Switch), but I’d certainly love to see both this one and Wind Waker HD eventually get ported to the Nintendo Switch.

Ultimately, I think that Twilight Princess managed to pay homage to Ocarina of Time in quite a meaningful way, but it also built off of the successes of that game and created a large world that actually felt alive, begging to be explored. Because of this, 2011’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword felt like a step back in some ways. The way that the overworld had to be explored felt a lot more closed off and a bit less inviting. Thankfully, Nintendo seemed to listen to its fans and critics and took Breath of the Wild in a completely different direction.

So much of Twilight Princess can be seen in Breath of the Wild that I feel like we owe a bit of thanks to this entry in the long-running franchise. If Twilight Princess was born out of a question of “Where will this series possibly go next? ” I can’t help but think that Breath of the Wild will ultimately yield some of the same questions. Perhaps, though, that will mean that it will eventually yield another amazing follow-up, just as Twilight Princess managed to successfully follow both Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker. If that pattern is to be followed once more, then I can’t help but think that we are in for yet another treat in the hopefully not-too-distant future!

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If you’ve never played The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (or even if you have!), I hope this article gave you a taste of what made it a fantastic adventure that absorbed so much of my time when it first came out. This article is part of a larger series explores the history of the series and its major entries. Be sure to check out the hub article at NekoJonez’s Arpegi for links to all the great articles and retrospectives on this epic series.

(Image courtesy of ZoeF on DeviantArt)

By Jonathan Balofsky On 20 Jun, 2017 At 02:23 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Here is something surprising. The Nintendo Switch Firmware update 3.0.0 has made the Mayflash GameCube Adapter compatible with the Nintendo Switch. This is surprising as Nintendo’s own GameCube adapter is not Switch compatible yet.

This is likely due to the update also making the Pokken Tournament fightpad compatible, and this does provide some interesting opportunities. Maybe its time to pick one up for when Nintendo brings GameCube games to the Switch eShop? Or maybe it might be good to use this for Pokken Tournament? Or could this be a sign that Smash is coming? We will have to wait and see

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No GravatarWe at Real Otaku Gamer love giving back, and we love our friends and fans. Some of us are real fans of Nintendo and Animal Crossing. Since we have a working relationship with Nintendo, and we held a local Animal Crossing event at our home office, we are now reaching out to fans on the series and also collectors alike. Nintendo has sent us some of the Amiibo card binders that some of you have seen if you were at a local Nintendo event or if you bought your copy of the game at the Nintendo World Store in NYC. It is Giveaway time!! Let’s see how good your designs are! Share your Happy Home Network designs with Real Otaku Gamer!!

Here is the Animal Crossing Binder we are Giving away!

Here is the Animal Crossing Binder we are Giving away!

Here are the rules for the contest:

1. You must have the game to play.

2. You must “like” Real Otaku Gamer on Facebook. *

3. You must follow us on Twitter.*

4. Leave a comment on this post with your Twitter handle, Facebook Name and Happy Home Network Number here. (Please don’t post on our social media platforms.)

5. Cross your fingers!

Winners will be chosen after the deadline of March 20th! Good Luck!

*If you don’t use either Facebook or Twitter, say so in the Comments and you will still be entered in the contest.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 29 Jan, 2016 At 02:57 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarNintendo has released a new trailer for The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess HD that shows off the story in its improved visuals and textures. You can see the trailer below.

 

Our thoughts on the new trailer: The game is looking great and Tantalus did an excellent job of upgrading the game. With a couple of exceptions ( certain character’s faces) everything looks amazing and we are excited to play this game again. When you watch the trailer, make sure you view it in HD for the full effect.

 

No GravatarThis article is an opinion piece. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Real Otaku Gamer or the collective staff.

Yes, Its time for NX speculation. I like many others have thoughts on what the NX should be. Here are 7 things I think Nintendo needs to do with the NX.

 

  1. Move away from the Wii era: The Wii era of gaming was an interesting era of gaming since while the Wii did have many great games, most flew under the radar and weren’t well known. The Wii, for good or bad was associated with lesser gaming by most and that hurt the Wii U. In fact so many thought the Wii U was an add on for the Wii that it hurt sales. Moving away from the Wii brand would mark a great new direction for Nintendo.
  2. Large hard drive at launch: The Wii U came with 2 models, and 8 gb Hard Drive and a 32 gb Hard Drive. However in today’s gaming world, that just doesn’t work anymore seeing as some games are well over 30 gb and just getting bigger. With digital only titles like  Fatal Frame and more as well as the Xenoblade data packs taking up several gb, Nintendo’s own titles show that there is a need for a much larger native hard drive. It should come with no less than 1 TB, with an option for a 2 TB model.
  3. Region Free: Nintendo is at present, the only console maker to region lock their consoles. This may not seem like much but the truth is, Region Free consoles are far more appealing to hardcore gamers than region locked ones. With region free, you could play games that normally just stay in Japan. Its something Nintendo must consider for the NX.
  4. An Expanded Retro Catalog: The Virtual Console has been a major attraction for the Wii and Wii U but the fact is that on Wii U the service is rather lacking. The NX needs to have a large retro catalogue of games at launch and soon after. They need Gamecube games, more Nintendo 64 games, more NES and SNES and GBA games. They need Sega systems games and Turbo grafx games and arcade games and Square-Enix games outside Japan. Further it would be good if games people bought on Wii or Wii U automatically were available on NX’s equivalent of the virtual console
  5. More New IPs: When Splatoon was revealed at E3 2014 most were taken aback. Contrary to what many thing, Nintendo has made many new IP in the last few years but they are usually either smaller downloadable IP or games made by external devs (i.e. The wonderful 101, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower). Splatoon turned many heads as the first major new EAD developed IP in several years. Many thought Splatoon would fail due to being an online multiplayer focused shooter on a Nintendo platform, but it ended up being a major System seller. Xenoblade is another recent internally developed new Nintendo IP (albeit not from an EAD studio) and these are a nice start but what they show is that there is major interest in what Nintendo has to offer. If Nintendo can continue creating new IP, maybe letting Retro Studios try their hand at one, then they can bring a lot more attention to the NX.
  6. Revive more older IPs: Nintendo has a major library of games, the majority of which many don’t know about. There are lesser known titles with a hardcore fanbase like F-Zero, and then there are Japan only games like Nazo No Murasame Jo, which would make a great action game on a modern console,  For the Frog The Bell Tolls, a Zelda like adventure that Link’s Awakening was built on the engine of, and titles like Advance Wars which hasn’t been seen since the DS. In addition to making new IP, Nintendo could easily reboot a classic IP and make it seem like a brand new IP which will attract new fans.
  7. Backwards Compatibility: The sad fact is that not as many people have bought the Wii U as Nintendo would have liked. As such, Nintendo should make the NX backwards compatible, even if only digitally, to allow more people the chance to play these games, when and if they bring in a new audience to the NX.
  8. A strong launch lineup: The Wii U did not have a good launch lineup, lets get that out of the way. NSMBU was the 4th NSMB game and the 2nd in less than a year. It wasn’t anything new as an experience. The rest of the launch lineup was likewise lacking. The NX needs a strong launch lineup because if the games are not there, why would anyone have a reason to buy it?

But those are just my thoughts. Let me know yours and share your opinions in the comments.

By Charles On 2 Sep, 2011 At 04:27 AM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Games You Slept On, Reviews | With 2 Comments

No GravatarThis title is so great to us, it has to be put in to categories, Best Game Ever and Games You Slept On.

Luffy only wishes he had girls like this following him around.

During its brief lifespan, the Sega Dreamcast was hardly known as a system for RPG enthusiasts. And yet, it managed to bring to the table one of the most satisfying RPG experiences of the era, a mix of solid gameplay, colorful characters, harmonious music and pirates. The game in question: Skies of Arcadia. And while it never achieved the status of super-hit, it did influence a generation of gamers and games who continue to recall it with fond memories (and the occasional cosplay).

Skies of Arcadia was something of a dark horse game on a dark horse system. It was one of only three “real” RPGs on the Dreamcast (the other being the grind-fest “Evolution” and the landmark “Grandia II”).  And yet, it managed to set itself apart from the others through a series of twists and turns that were unique at the time, but which would lay the groundwork for many subsequent games.

The story revolved around three characters: Sky-Pirate Vyse; his best friend, the bubbly Aika; and mysterious magical girl Fina. Their relationship was developed strongly over the 40 plus hours of gameplay. It never went down the romance path (at least not as much as many other games would have), and was focused more on the idea that three people could save the world if they tried hard enough.

Drachma. Fun fact: his name means "money" in Greek.

Well, more like four people. During the course of the game, the fourth character slot revolved between two more colorful folk: the grizzled “sea captain” Drachma and the urbane Prince Enrique, of the Valua Empire. Unlike the “main three,” these two additions were more cookie cutter: Drachma, a cross between Ahab and Cid Highwind, “swore” a lot and obsessed over a whale he needed to hunt, while Enrique was the stereotypical disillusioned son of a despotic tyrant who joined the Pirates because he loved the freedom, and hated the hypocrisy. While both played roles in the story, and indeed were necessary for progressing forward, they never exactly enjoyed the same amount of exposition as the “big three.”

The plot focused on the efforts of the Valuan Empire to revive these things known as “Gigas,” which were collossi of the ancient world that had great destructive power, yada yada yada. Fina was the last survivor of an ancient race sworn to protect the gigas from being used by vile…etc, etc etc. You’ve heard it before. Evil empire seeks great power, small band of rebels resist them. The small band has the “heart” to succeed, and they topple their foe, save the world, get the girl, happily ever after. The story itself was fairly straightforward, with few side quests, and was nothing really new. What made Skies of Arcadia such a wonderful game was what you could DO in the world while you were progressing along the main story. The world was a character, and it made the experience so much more validating in the end.

First off, it should be noted that Skies of Arcadia was one of the most beautiful RPGs ever made (and not just at the time). The developers put painstaking attention in crafting a flawless, visually stunning world that almost leapt off the screen at the player. Vivid colors, subtle sounds, intricately designed dungeons and towns, these all contributed to making the game lovely to look at. The “bestiary” was just as unique and varied, with nary a copy of anything to be found. Enemies were unique to their own worlds, and reflected the designs therein. The Pirates of the Blue Rogues were colorful and rough, the empire was silver, stoic and sharp. Despite being technologically “inferior” to the Playstation 2, the graphics on the Dreamcast were among the best gaming had to offer. Skies put to shame just about any game the Playstation had out from a visual standpoint. Just witness the first scene of the Gigas rising out of the forest, and you will see how much attention was paid to detail and execution.

Go for the legs, it's you only chance of stopping it!

But graphics are only part of the picture. Where Skies of Arcadia shone even more was in the gameplay. It was, in a word, simple. Simple, but also refined to a point where simplicity didn’t mean easy. Skies could best be described as very “stripped down” mechanics wise. No tactical placement needed, magic consumed only 1 MP each cast (2 if it was a powerful spell), combat was a seamless platform of attack, defend, item, retreat. But it also required the player to think. Blitzing all out for the victory might work sometimes, but at others, strategic uses of defense would ultimately make more sense. Each character had “charge” attacks that required the accumulation of turns building up a meter that could then be unleashed to devastating effect. Later in the game, this also allowed for full party special attacks that could end combat in a turn, provided the player was willing (or able) to endure turn after turn of pounding before the combo could be unleashed.

And combat was a big part of the game. Skies had such a high rate of random encounter that it was feasible to enter battle every 4-5 steps. Yes, steps. Fortunately, the Dreamcast gave us a bit of warning, in the form of the disc suddenly stopping, then speeding up rapidly, announcing that we were about to get into it yet again. This high rate of battle was a bit annoying in dungeons, especially if time was a factor, but it also led to a lot of XP, money and drops that would benefit the players later on.

In addition to complex dungeons and unique zones, Skies of Arcadia also showed us that the sky truly was the limit. The world the game takes place on was more a collection of floating islands, joined together by sky ships that were necessary to traverse the immense expanse. Flying through the world, both above and below the clouds, introduced two wonderful new features to the game: exploration and sky battles.

Sky battles were one of the ways Skies managed to distinguish itself from other RPGs of similar style. You would encounter a ship while flying across the expanse, and suddenly it was on, with cannons firing, harpoons launching and magic being throw from bow to stern. These battles were a good deal more technical than the ground fights. Maneuvering was an issue, you had to keep within range or risk missing your shot. And since the ship’s weapons were so powerful, missing a shot then being hit in turn was a devastating blow, especially early on. Of course, you could just harpoon the enemy ship and drag it close, but then it turned into a battle of attrition, with each side punishing the other until one sank.

But sky battles were often necessary to upgrade your ship, earn gold and weapons, and prepare for battles later against bigger, more powerful craft. And of course, against the Gigas. Every single Gigas battle in the game was ship combat, with the first being downright scary to behold. They required you to think instead of blitz, and the careful execution of strategy would be rewarded in the end. All this led up to the final battle against…well, no spoiling here, but the first half of the fight was a giant sky battle that tested every skill the player had acquired up to that point.

The other joy of flying the “Skies” came in the form of exploring for hidden relics and monuments. While I can’t list all of them here, they represented “bragging” rights both in and out of game, and helped you recruit more members for your Pirate crew. Fly above the clouds, fly below them, scan the islands that appeared empty, who knows what you might find. And these discoveries even had an impact on gameplay: certain potential crew members required you to have found certain things or they wouldn’t join with you. Oh did, I not mention you get a pirate crew? Hmmm, perhaps I should rectify…

Over the course of the game, you obtain a small island of your own, which eventually turns into your base. At first, its little more than a lake, cave and some wood for building a house. But remember how I said you get a crew? Well, as you add more and more crew members to your ship, your little island gets bigger and bigger, with more buildings, shops and other facilities that you can use to further enhance your party. The joy of getting more crew parallels the joy of finding more relics, and by the end of the game…well, let’s just say a large crew can inflict a lot of damage in certain situations, where they might be called on to save their captain’s skin.

Uh, can I trade Aika for the girl with the purple hair?

While this game came and went on the short-lived Dreamcast, it was also one of the few that managed to get a second life on the Gamecube a few years later. Skies of Arcadia Legends, a full port of the original game, managed to “correct” a few of the “flaws” in the original game, through a stripping down of the random encounter rate, additions of even more crew and monuments, and wanted battles, which tested your resolve with extremely challenging fights against wicked pirates, imperial spies…and yourselves. That’s right, at one point you get to fight your own  “clones” in a knock down, drag out brawl that ends with you being rewarded with…a fish? Yes, it was indeed a fish. But one hell of a fish.

Seeing that both the Dreamcast and Gamecube have faded away into the sunset, finding a copy of this game might be a slight challenge, but it is a worthy addition to the collections of any RPG enthusiast. In an era when Final Fantasy was the standard bearer for what an RPG should be, Skies of Arcadia was something fresh and new, not a copy of what had come before. With freedom to explore, a colorful cast and varied encounters, it gave an experience that has yet to be matched by any contemporary game.