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Bundling Up And Exploring An Icy Area Of Legend Of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

Clever dungeon and puzzle designs are nothing new for the Legend of Zelda franchise, but with Tri Force Heroes, Nintendo is hoping to try out a few new ideas. Resurfacing fond memories of the Four Swords games on Game Boy Advance and GameCube, Tri Force Heroes removes one from that equation, placing three heroes in a world that shares an art style with A Link Between Worlds.

With three characters traveling through the levels together, the designers have had a field day putting in puzzles that make you think about the levels using your numbers to your advantage. Players must stack, or totem, their characters on top of each other in order to reach high objects, or they must throw each other over obstacles in a particular order to solve a puzzle and make it passable for all. It’s a fun concept with quirky and humorous emotes that help players communicate if they aren’t sitting in the same room since there isn’t any voice chat.

In previous demos, we’ve journeyed through a straightforward dungeon and battled a spiky beast that required us to stack on top of one another to lob bombs into the monster’s weak point. In this particular demo, I joined two other heroes as we worked through an icy region. At the costume select screen, I donned the never-before-seen parka, which was being shown off for the first time. With this on, my character won’t slip on ice and can’t be hurt by ice breath – a perfect power to use in this level. From there we jump in and begin attacking the area’s many puzzles.

We find three items: a boomerang and two fire wands. I pick up one of the fire wands and immediately test it out. As the fireball blasts out, a familiar noise rings out from my 3DS’s speakers – the fireball sound from the Super Mario series. It’s a subtle nod, but it still brings a smile to my face.

We press on through the level with our items, lighting torches with the wands, melting ice obstacles, battling enemies, and using the totem formation to cross otherwise impassable chasms. The fire wands come in handy against the enemies and obstacles, but without the boomerang, which can retrieve any heroes who are left behind after throwing their partners over the gaps, we’d be stranded.

We ascend the mountainous region using our combined problem-solving skills, but as we reach the top, a massive, icy creature greets us. Our swords have no effect on its hardened exterior, so we resort to using the items we found earlier to melt it. While the boomerang was used to stun enemies and bring teammates over pits, it must now be thrown through lit torches to catch fire and then hit the boss. It’s trickier than just lighting the enemy up with the fire wand, but every little bit helps. My teammate and I use our fire wands to light as many surrounding torches as possible while dodging the monster’s ice projectiles. Thankfully, I chose the parka costume, so his most powerful attack, his ice breath, deals no damage to me.

After we light several torches, we turn our wands on the massive creature and begin a triple assault on it, melting it down piece by piece. After a few minutes, the creature is gone and we are rewarded with large amounts of rupees. It was a thrilling fight that was made more fun by playing with other people.

Tri Force Heroes also features a single-player mode for those who can’t find people to play with. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes releases October 23 on 3DS.

For more on Tri Force Heroes, head here for an interview with the game's director, Hiromasa Shikata.

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Bundling Up And Exploring An Icy Area Of Legend Of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

Clever dungeon and puzzle designs are nothing new for the Legend of Zelda franchise, but with Tri Force Heroes, Nintendo is hoping to try out a few new ideas. Resurfacing fond memories of the Four Swords games on Game Boy Advance and GameCube, Tri Force Heroes removes one from that equation, placing three heroes in a world that shares an art style with A Link Between Worlds.

With three characters traveling through the levels together, the designers have had a field day putting in puzzles that make you think about the levels using your numbers to your advantage. Players must stack, or totem, their characters on top of each other in order to reach high objects, or they must throw each other over obstacles in a particular order to solve a puzzle and make it passable for all. It’s a fun concept with quirky and humorous emotes that help players communicate if they aren’t sitting in the same room since there isn’t any voice chat.

In previous demos, we’ve journeyed through a straightforward dungeon and battled a spiky beast that required us to stack on top of one another to lob bombs into the monster’s weak point. In this particular demo, I joined two other heroes as we worked through an icy region. At the costume select screen, I donned the never-before-seen parka, which was being shown off for the first time. With this on, my character won’t slip on ice and can’t be hurt by ice breath – a perfect power to use in this level. From there we jump in and begin attacking the area’s many puzzles.

We find three items: a boomerang and two fire wands. I pick up one of the fire wands and immediately test it out. As the fireball blasts out, a familiar noise rings out from my 3DS’s speakers – the fireball sound from the Super Mario series. It’s a subtle nod, but it still brings a smile to my face.

We press on through the level with our items, lighting torches with the wands, melting ice obstacles, battling enemies, and using the totem formation to cross otherwise impassable chasms. The fire wands come in handy against the enemies and obstacles, but without the boomerang, which can retrieve any heroes who are left behind after throwing their partners over the gaps, we’d be stranded.

We ascend the mountainous region using our combined problem-solving skills, but as we reach the top, a massive, icy creature greets us. Our swords have no effect on its hardened exterior, so we resort to using the items we found earlier to melt it. While the boomerang was used to stun enemies and bring teammates over pits, it must now be thrown through lit torches to catch fire and then hit the boss. It’s trickier than just lighting the enemy up with the fire wand, but every little bit helps. My teammate and I use our fire wands to light as many surrounding torches as possible while dodging the monster’s ice projectiles. Thankfully, I chose the parka costume, so his most powerful attack, his ice breath, deals no damage to me.

After we light several torches, we turn our wands on the massive creature and begin a triple assault on it, melting it down piece by piece. After a few minutes, the creature is gone and we are rewarded with large amounts of rupees. It was a thrilling fight that was made more fun by playing with other people.

Tri Force Heroes also features a single-player mode for those who can’t find people to play with. The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes releases October 23 on 3DS.

For more on Tri Force Heroes, head here for an interview with the game's director, Hiromasa Shikata.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

MGS V: The Phantom Pain Review – A Legend Worth Waiting For

Metal Gear is a member of video gaming’s old guard. It has been consistently popular since its inception in the ‘80s, which is a rare distinction it shares with revered names like Mario and Zelda. Unlike its peers, Metal Gear has been telling a continuous story the whole time – a major strength and a strange weakness all at once. Invested fans adore the series for its narrative just as much as its tactical espionage action, but the sprawling story makes it intimidating for newcomers. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is different; it puts the saga of Big Boss and his sons in the background, emphasizing dynamic gameplay and a player-directed approach to progression.

The story is still important, but it isn’t the driving force in this installment. As Big Boss, you build an army and work against a villain named Skull Face (introduced in the MGS V prologue, Ground Zeroes). The premise of building Big Boss’ legend is interesting, and it evolves to include compelling and unexpected themes that I won’t spoil. However, Kojima Productions’ decision to offload key story information into optional audio logs means that major developments can occur without necessary context, only letting you learn more about them after the fact. As a longtime series fan, I would rather deal with a few more cutscenes than spend hours listening to audio tapes to get the proper background. Though all of the information comes together eventually into a tale worthy of the Metal Gear name, the ending didn't satisfy me, presenting few answers and a lot of questions. 

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The hands-off approach to storytelling is disappointing, but it also makes room for other elements of the game to step to the forefront. Without frequent interruptions for exposition, you’re free to immerse yourself in the addictive mission-based structure. You are presented with a staggering number of missions (split into story-critical and optional categories), and you plan and execute a series of operations at your own pace. The freedom is great, letting you choose the activities and rewards that interest you. Extracting valuable prisoners, stealing resources, sabotaging communications – each type of mission has a different flow. Getting into a rhythm is easy and fun, and you won’t run out of content quickly. I finished the game around the 45-hour mark, and I still have a wealth of things to do.

The transition to an open world is generally smooth, though getting around isn’t as easy as it could be. One fast travel system is buried and not clearly explained; You have to grab vouchers from certain shipping areas (which are not marked on the map until you find them), then get in your cardboard box to get shipped from one discovered location to another. Your other option is to spend a lot of time watching Big Boss ride on helicopters as you travel to and from landing zones. These mobility issues didn’t stop me from enjoying the game, but the inability to quickly and intuitively get to where you need to be is a weird and unnecessary problem that other open-world titles solved years ago.

Apart from the larger world, The Phantom Pain’s core mechanics are essentially the same as they were in Ground Zeroes, where they worked well. This time, you get to choose your weapon configuration before each mission. Your arsenal includes standards like guns and rocket launchers, as well as zanier options like water pistols and rocket-propelled cybernetic hands. Unlocking and experimenting with all of the different options is one of your main forms of progression, and is consistently entertaining.

The biggest difference from Ground Zeroes is the addition of the buddy system, which allows you to take an ally with you on missions. I was initially worried this would dilute the sense of solo infiltration I love about Metal Gear, but your buddies function more to support your playstyle than to dominate the battlefield. They offer a variety of benefits, from extra firepower to intel on enemy positions, and I enjoyed finding out how each one contributes in different situations.

Unlike the linear design of previous entries, The Phantom Pain rarely assumes you have particular weapons and equipment, so the missions are brilliantly designed with multiple paths to success. It’s not as simple as going all-out stealth or aggression; each operation is a playground that encourages you to experiment with the tools you have available. How will you extract that guarded truck? A simple Fulton balloon might do the trick, provided you’ve acquired the proper upgrades – but you need to subdue the surrounding sentries. Otherwise, you can try intercepting the escort tanks before they meet the truck, but you’d better have some rockets ready. Or maybe you ride in on your buddy D-Walker (a bipedal mech) and use its Gatling gun on the guard detail before driving the truck out of the hot zone. These are all viable solutions, but their availability depends on your personal approach to building the legacy of Big Boss.

Everything you do, from main missions to free-roaming hijinks, contributes to improving your army. It all folds into Mother Base, your offshore headquarters and the secret star of The Phantom Pain. This is where you reap the rewards for all of your exploits; Mother Base functions as your skill tree, your arsenal, and a symbol of your power. The soldiers you recruit are assigned to teams that help you develop better equipment. That equipment lets you gather more resources. Those resources expand your base so you can recruit more soldiers, and currency you earn from completing missions lets you invest in it all – the loop goes on and on. Peace Walker presented a prototype version of this process, and Dragon Age: Inquisition revolved around a similar concept. The Phantom Pain’s execution of this idea blows them both away. The depth of customization and the incentive to keep doing “just one more mission” is amazing, and being able to walk around the base and see your progress first-hand is remarkably rewarding. I was surprised when I realized improving Mother Base – not the main story arc – was the primary force propelling me through The Phantom Pain.

The Legendary Gunsmith
As you progress, your critical missions and side-ops are highlighted in yellow. However, one important sequence of missions looks like any other optional excursion on the menu. When it’s available, be sure to complete the side-op chain revolving around finding a legendary gunsmith. This is the only way to unlock the weapon customization feature, which is an invaluable tool that is strangely hidden behind these seemingly standard operations.

As if that weren’t enough, you can expand beyond Mother Base by establishing Forward Operating Bases. These are similar to your main base, supplementing its normal functions. The only catch is this is an online-only feature; if you create an F.O.B., it is open to attack from other players, who can steal the resources and staff members stationed there. You can let your A.I. security team handle the intruder automatically, or you can personally defend the base. The ensuing battles get intense, with the defender and the staff trying to find and eliminate the lone attacker. While I had fun attacking and defending my F.O.B. on Konami’s pre-release servers, the feature opens the experience up to a level of risk and interaction that I’m not usually looking for in Metal Gear. The mode is unique, and a good incentive for post-game progression, but you can ignore it and experience the best The Phantom Pain has to offer.

Hideo Kojima’s original Metal Gear was a top-down, screen-by-screen stealth title. Compared to the massive and ambitious world of The Phantom Pain, it’s hard to believe both games are products of the same creative mind. A series can’t survive this long without evolving, and The Phantom Pain is a testament to the importance of taking risks. An open world, a customizable base, a variable mission structure – these are not traditional aspects of Metal Gear, but they are what makes The Phantom Pain such an exceptional game. The gameplay, storytelling, and protagonists in Metal Gear may shift with each new installment, but Kojima’s ability to surprise and enthrall gamers remains unchanged.

This review pertains to the PlayStation 4 version. The game is also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

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Replay – Super Mario RPG: Legend Of The Seven Stars

1996 was a great year for Mario fans. We saw the release of Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64 among a strong lineup of other Nintendo games. But earlier in that year, Square (now Square-Enix) gave Super Nintendo owners one of the most beloved RPGs of that generation.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was the first role-playing game in the series, bringing turn-based battle sequences and 3D adventuring to the Mushroom Kingdom. And though it doesn’t have a direct sequel, Paper Mario is widely regarded as its spiritual successor. 

Join Andrew Reiner, Brian Shea, Kyle Hilliard, and Ben Reeves as they dive into this revered SNES game, all while providing meaningful and insightful commentary. Make sure you stick around for the second segment, it’s probably my favorite one this year.

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For more episodes of Replay, visit our hub below.

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Here’s What A Legend Of Zelda Film Would Look Like As A Western

Everyone’s favorite green-clad dungeon explorer has traveled through a variety of dimensions and ridden trains, boats, and horses, but he’s never strapped on a six shooter…until now.

Beatdownboogie gives us a fun little look at this Legend of Zelda-themed old west shootout. I'd play this game. For more Zelda fun, learn about Zelda: Majora's Mask's Run Lola Run inspirations, and then buy some of these sweet Nintendo-themed art prints.

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The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Arrives On Wii U In North America

The Legend of Zelda underwent an enormous change with the Nintendo 64. Today, you can relive that experience on your Wii U, as Ocarina of Time hits the virtual console.

Because this is virtual console title, it’s the Nintendo 64 original. If you’re looking for something with more recent updates, it’s the 3DS version you want.

Nintendo has priced the title at $ 9.99. You can download it right now.

 

Our Take
While Ocarina of Time doesn’t hold the same magic for me as it does for others (I’m a Link to the Past guy), this is great news. Many call this the best of the franchise, which means Nintendo is likely to see the money roll in.

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Link Will Go To Any Length To Collect Rupees In This Legend of Zelda Animated Short

Times are tough in Hyrule. The Hero of Time is in need of a new shield, but he's a little strapped for cash. An animated short by YouTuber Callegos Yavolitak shows exactly how far Link is willing to go to get his hands on a shiny new Hylian Shield. Smashing pots for rupees is only the beginning.

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The short film was made entirely in Source Filmmaker and manages to bring a lot of personality to one of the most famous silent protagonists around. Yavolitak’s YouTube page is packed full of SFM shorts about everything from BioShock to Team Fortress 2, so be sure to check it out as well.

Thanks to Nick for the tip!

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The Legend of Zelda To Be Played At 2015 Nintendo World Championships

With E3 2015 coming at us fast, Nintendo is continuing to give information about its 2015 Nintendo World Championships, which will be held during the expo. The event, which is happening 25 years after the Nintendo World Championships in 1990, will feature 16 of the best Nintendo players coming together to compete.

Today, Nintendo announced that the original Legend of Zelda will be one of the games that the 16 finalists will be competing in. Nintendo isn't quite ready to reveal how players will be competing in the classic, instead instructing us to stay tuned during the event, but it would make sense for it to be some sort of speed run or off-the-wall challenge like what is present in NES Remix.

The Nintendo World Championships 2015 are set to take place at 3 p.m. Pacific on Sunday, June 14 in Los Angeles. Also that week, Nintendo is hosting its annual Digital Event on Tuesday, June 16, where it is expected to deliver lots of new information about its upcoming titles. To learn more about Nintendo's E3 plans, you can check out the comedic announcement of the 2015 Nintendo World Championships here.

[Source: Nintendo]

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Revisiting The Legend Of Zelda’s Fairies Big, Small, And Trapped In A Bottle (You Monster)

While Link’s attire hasn’t changed much across three decades of The Legend of Zelda games, other elements have undergone more drastic transformations. In a video from YouTube creator Master0fHyrule (whom we’ve featured before), you can see how these mystical creatures have changed over the years.

The footage below features 25 games, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show cartoon, and the manga. As you’ll see the winged healers have matured through the years, across home and handheld consoles.

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And, in case you were concerned, Tingle has not been forgotten. He may not really be a fairy (or is he?), but the lovable and slightly creepy fairy fan has earned his place among the twinkling creatures.

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The Legend Of Zelda Collides With Game Of Thrones In Mashup Intro

Mashups have become an artistic genre unto themselves. And, like any style, there are good works and those you might just want to shuffle past. This is one of the better ones.

I’m not just a fan of this because it uses my favorite version of Hyrule (the one from A Link to the Past), but because it also does some smart things with musical flourishes. The video also doesn’t overstay its welcome at just a hair over one minute.

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Game of Hyrule was created by YouTube channel Megasteakman. The team’s videos feature a heavy dose of sketch comedy featuring pop culture, games, and movies.

For more Game of Thrones, check out previous coverage, including the intro sequence created in LittleBigPlanet, an intro based on Skyrim, and the theme song sung by Portal 2's turret chorus. If you’re looking for something a little more authentic, our review of episode 1, episode 2, and episode 3 of Telltale’s Game of Thrones series might fit the bill.

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