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Super Replay – Brütal Legend

After unequivocally completing Sonic the Hedgehog recently, we decided that it is definitely time to move onto a different game. We’re not going to play Sonic the Hedgehog ’06 anymore because it is a bad game that we don’t like and we watched the credits, so we don’t know what else you guys want from us.

Despite our pledge to play bad games on this show, for our next Super Replay, we decided to play a game we all enjoy – Double Fine’s Brütal Legend. Released in 2009 after a tumultuous publisher hand-off, Brütal Legend tells the story of Eddie Riggs (voiced by Jack Black) as he explores an open world inspired by heavy metal culture. It’s a hilarious rock ‘n roll adventure and we’re excited to definitely play through the whole thing start to finish, and never ever play Sonic the Hedgehog ’06 ever again.

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For more episodes of Replay, check out our Replay hub, or click on the banner below to watch episodes on YouTube.


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    Ranking Every Game In The Legend Of Zelda Series

    The Legend of Zelda franchise is among the most revered in gaming. Year after year, generation after generation, Nintendo's crack team of developers release consistently great entries that are almost always Game of the Year contenders. With the latest entry in the series, Breath of the Wild, right around the corner, we're looking back at the core games to this point and ranking them.

    Our Top 200 Games of All Time

    In our December 2009 issue, we ranked the top 200 games of all time. As you can imagine, several entries from The Legend of Zelda series appeared throughout that list. That list had different criteria than this one, but you below you can see how Link's adventures stood up to the rest of the list on our list of the top 200 games of all time in 2009.

    1. The Legend of Zelda
    12. A Link to the Past
    20. Ocarina of Time
    61. Link's Awakening
    63. Majora's Mask
    90. Twilight Princess
    94. The Wind Waker 

    For the purpose of remaining focused on the core entries of The Legend of Zelda franchise, several spin-offs and obscure titles are omitted. Titles like Hyrule Warriors, Link's Crossbow Training, and the CD-i games are left off. Even with those missing, we still have nearly 20 games where Link battles the forces of evil to save Zelda, Hyrule, or whatever equivalent exists in that respective game.

    Despite the large number of releases over the course of over three decades, the Zelda franchise has yet to strike out. Even the lowest ranked games on this list are worth playing. Because of this, the order of this list was highly contested from top to bottom. In 2009, we ranked the top 200 games of all time in our 200th issue (see sidebar). While that list was more about ranking games in terms of quality, importance to the industry, and cultural relevance, this list is just about the favorite games in the series according to the current Game Informer staff.

    If you want to read more of our rankings of game series, check out our ranking of the Super Mario series and our ranking of the Assassin's Creed series.

    18. Tri Force Heroes (3DS, 2014)
    As a game that encouraged players to work together to solve fun puzzles and progress through a colorful world, Tri Force Heroes is a fine game. Unfortunately, when stacked against the rest of the core Zelda titles, Tri Force Heroes isn't up to snuff. The humor and puzzles serve as the highlight, but the forgettable action sequences and repetitive gameplay loop prevent it from standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the other games in Zelda's storied franchise.

    17. Spirit Tracks (DS, 2009)
    Spirit Tracks stands out as a different take on the series that delivered inconsistent results. Using touchscreen controls, players guide Link as he travels by train from location to location. The dungeons and combat are generally improvements over the previous Zelda game on DS, Phantom Hourglass, but by having Link ride the Spirit Tracks in the overworld, the game removes one of the best parts of the series: the exploration. When combined with an inconsistent quality of level design, this makes it one of the lesser entries in the series.

    16. Four Swords (Game Boy Advance, 2002)
    Taking several cues from A Link to the Past, Four Swords delivers strong gameplay, but the multiplayer focus made it difficult to play due to the hoops to jump through to connect four Game Boy Advance systems. In addition, the randomized dungeons sometimes led to poorly conceived designs. To make it even more of an uphill battle, Four Swords was packaged with the Game Boy Advance version of A Link to the Past, putting it in direct comparison with that beloved entry. Despite this, Four Swords is a strong entry point for the series, possessing surprising depth and fun multiplayer. For those who want to play it now, the Anniversary Edition added a single-player mode and additional content.

    On the next page, we continue our countdown to the top Zelda game of all time.


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    Everything We Know About The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild’s Dungeons


    Pictured: concept art for the dungeon we played.

    One of the highlights of our time with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for our cover story was the opportunity to play through one of the game’s dungeons. The world is full of more than 100 shrines, which Nintendo has shown in detail during many of its Treehouse live streams, but those are different than dungeons. The shrines are small, offering a few puzzles, usually in one large room. The dungeon we played is more in line with what we have come to expect from a traditional Zelda dungeon – a large area with a series of interconnected rooms and puzzles followed by a boss.


    A shrine entrance, seen from the outside.

    Below, you will find some of our discoveries from our time in the dungeon, whose location in the world and surrounding story remains a mystery. It’s not guaranteed that all of these elements will appear in all of the game’s dungeons, but these are some of the elements and mechanics we saw when we played.

    The map is different
    Dungeon maps in the Legend of Zelda haven’t changed much over the years. You swap between floors, locked doors are identified, and you can usually see where the boss is located early in your exploration. In Breath of the Wild, the dungeon map appeared as a 3D model. Specific locations you need to pursue are marked, but we couldn’t see the floor-by-floor layout we’ve come to expect.

    There is no compass
    The compass, an item that shows assorted chests and secrets in a dungeon, was nowhere to be found. We asked Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma about this and he said, “Dungeons have always been like mazes, so we needed that compass to let the user know where the bosses were placed. But then, as you probably saw, you can kind of see the goal right away. You won’t get lost – you just have to figure out how to get there.” Aonuma’s quote ties into another aspect, which is that…


    Link uses the Sheikah Slate to activate a Sheikah Tower in the open Hyrule.

    The dungeons are smaller and less labyrinthine
    As a point of comparison, I have been playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, which has some of the largest dungeons in the series. The dungeon I played in Breath of the Wild was smaller overall. That’s not to say it was shallow or easy – there were just fewer avenues for getting lost.

    You may not be alone
    Nintendo would not tell us whose voice we were hearing, but there was definitely a friendly voice guiding us through the dungeon. He offered general hints and told us to be careful of the boss. We never heard his voice outside of the dungeon, however, so it does not seem to be a consistent companion.

    You won't find a singular, dungeon-focused item
    In the past, dungeons have typically been designed around a singular item. Doors block your progress until you find, say, the hookshot. In our playthrough of Breath of the Wild, we did not find any new items. I had everything I needed to complete the dungeon when I walked in. Which leads us to another point…

    The boss won't be based around a singular dungeon-focused item
    Since we didn’t find an item specific to that dungeon, we only had the weapons we came in with to use against the boss.


    An example of a Shrine, which has a noticeably different color aesthetic from the dungeon.

    You need to prepare
    While fighting the dungeon’s boss, I ran out of arrows. I was still able to defeat it using a combination of bombs and my sword, but it made one thing clear – when you find a dungeon, you need to make sure you have everything you need, and lots of it, before going inside.

    Malice
    This is an aspect that might not be in every dungeon, but throughout the one we played were pockets of a poisonous, sentient liquid that hurt to touch. This substance was called malice. Little eyeballs would sprout from these patches of malice, but attacking the eyeball would clear away the malice and sometimes constituted a small puzzle.

    Crystal switches
    The diamond-shaped switches that can be activated with an attack were present in our dungeon. Similar to past titles, they responded to sword swipes, arrows, and bombs.

    Link had some control over the dungeon
    This falls in line with malice, in the sense that we don’t know if it will be an aspect of every dungeon, but after activating a switch with his Sheikah Slate, Link was able to control the dungeon slightly. When looking at the map, he could tilt the dungeon in order to open new paths or to make blocks and switches slide around.

    For all of our The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild coverage this month, click the banner below.

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    Exclusive The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Screen Gallery

    Every time Nintendo releases a new Zelda game, it's a big deal, and Link's next adventure is the biggest entry in the series to date. For our March cover story, we had the opportunity to play through more of the game than anyone else outside of Nintendo and speak with Zelda's guardians, Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma. However, since pictures are worth a thousand words, here are a few exclusive Breath of the Wild screens, along with some details you may have missed from our cover reveal.

    Click on each image to expand their size.


    If
    you're not careful, Link can get struck by lightning. During a storm,
    Link will want to unequip his metal weapons and items.


    Some of the random enemies that populate the world pose a significant challenge to Link during combat. Thankfully, if Link can take down these imposing foes, he’ll be able to use their most powerful weapons against them


    Each dungeon still has its own boss, and players will have to use clever tricks to take them down.


    The world is full of various natural wonders. Even though this is the largest version of Hyrule to date, Zelda's game world is dense with activity.


    While
    Breath of the Wild ditches many of the series long-standing tropes, familiar faces – such as the shopkeeper Beedle – still populate Hyrule.

    You can see the rest of the screens by subscribing to Game Informer Magazine. Also, stay tuned to our entire month of online coverage for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We will be releasing more video interviews with Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma, sharing more details about our hands-on time, and even talking about what not to expect from Link's next big adventure. Click the banner below to visit our hub.

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    March Cover Reveal – The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

    This year brings the release of a new Nintendo console and a new Zelda game. Both are momentous occasions in the video game world, and we haven’t seen the two overlap in this way since the launch of the Wii and Twilight Princess more than a decade ago. With the Switch, Nintendo hopes to merge the worlds of mobile and console gaming in an innovative way. We spent lots of time with the new hardware to see how it aims to accomplish this goal.

    Early impressions for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild showed an impressive and surprising new direction for the series, and our extended time with the game only cemented that opinion. We experienced more of the game than anyone outside of Nintendo, playing through a dungeon in its entirety, exploring the sprawling open world of Hyrule for hours, discovering Shrines, appreciating the wildlife, and fighting surprisingly powerful monsters (including the dungeon boss, Wind Blight Ganon, and a Guardian). We may have not lived through our battle with the Guardian, but we can tell you about it. Finally, we spoke extensively with longtime Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma as well as Zelda’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto about Breath of the Wild and the larger Zelda franchise.

    Breath of the Wild releases for Switch and Wii U on March 3. To learn more about our planned month of online coverage leading up the game's release, take a look at our coverage trailer below or watch and share it on YouTube.

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    This is more than a future of Nintendo and Zelda issue, however. We outline the 25 games we’re looking forward to in 2017, teach you how to break into the competitive world of professional gaming, and ask Square Enix to reflect on the long-awaited release of Final Fantasy XV. We also traveled to ZeniMax Online studios to learn all about recreating Morrowind exactly as players remember for The Elder Scrolls Online.

    Print subscribers can watch for their issue to arrive in the coming weeks, but you can read the full digital issue now on PC/Mac, iOS, Android, and Google Play. You can also get the latest issue through third-party apps on Nook, Kindle, and Zinio starting tomorrow. To switch your print subscription to digital, click here, or to create a new subscription to the digital edition, click here.

    We’re excited about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and are eager to see if the Nintendo Switch can make console gaming a mobile experience. You can look forward to more online features throughout the month to see how Breath of the Wild truly re-examines the Zelda formula, learn everything we know about the new dungeons, find out what’s in store for the future of 2D Zelda games, and read about Aonuma’s personal favorite Zelda games, among many other Breath of the Wild-focused features. Click the banner below to visit our hub, and be sure to check back regularly.

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    The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Digital Issue Is Now Live

    If you subscribe to the computer, tablet, or mobile edition of Game Informer magazine, you can now read new, exclusive details about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Following today's cover reveal, our digital issue is now live on web browsers and will be coming to iPad/iPhoneAndroid, and Google Play throughout the day. You can download the apps to view the issue by following this link. All four of these digital options are included in a standard subscription.

    The issue launches tomorrow on our third-party subscription apps including ZinioKindle, and Nook.

    Not a digital subscriber yet? Convert your existing print subscription here or start a new subscription here.


    You can look forward to more online features throughout the month to see how Breath of the Wild truly re-examines the Zelda formula, learn everything we know about the new dungeons, find out what’s in store for the future of 2D Zelda games, and read about Aonuma’s personal favorite Zelda games, among many other Breath of the Wild-focused features. Click the banner below to visit our hub, and be sure to check back regularly.

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    Smooth McGroove Sings A Capella Rendition Of Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

    Smooth McGroove is a well-known YouTube singer who creates elaborate a capella renditions of popular video game tunes. Recently he posted a new video, tackling the Lake Hylia Theme Song from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

    The original instrumental song is mellow in tune and slow-paced. Smooth McGroove manages to capture these same vibes in his vocal rendition. Check out the video below to listen for yourself.

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    This isn't Smooth McGroove's first time tackling Zelda music. You can check out his version of Majora's Mask's Clock Town Theme here.

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    The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Switch Impressions And Equine Details

    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a lot to do with the potential success of the Nintendo Switch, which makes it no surprise that it was featured prominently on Nintendo's Switch showcase floor.

    There were two ways to play: One was a 20 minute hands-on demo using the new hardware. The other was a hands-off demo from a Nintendo representative showcasing some later-game content.

    Hands-On
    If you've been following Breath of the Wild, then you're likely familiar with this demo as it was the same one playable at E3. You can actually see my full playthrough here. It opens with Link mysteriously waking from a 100-year slumber before being let loose on the open world. Nintendo had Joy-Con Grip controllers on hands, but you could also attach the Joy-Con controller to the Switch screens and play as though you were playing mobile. I tried all the variations and landed on leaving the screen on the base, while using the two Joy-Con controllers one in each hand without the aid of the Grip. I always enjoyed that Wii games allowed you to play with your hands separated, and I was eager to see how it felt with the Switch.

    My overall impressions are positive. The controllers are responsive and feel good. I was quickly fast-swapping weapons to beat up bad guys, sprinting, climbing, and collecting food without having to think about the controller. I didn't get far in my 20 minutes as I spent a lot of time picking fights and exploring.

    Re-attaching the Joy-Con controllers to the screen and pulling it out of the base had barely any pause at all. Reverse, however, sticking the screen back in the dock to play on the TV, did feature a few moments of black as the TV had to acknowledge a new HDMI device had been plugged in.

    Overall, however, the game feels great with the new controller and Zelda works as initially promised in the Switch's early commercials.

    Hands-Off
    For the hands-off demo, I was given three choices of what Nintendo's representative would like to me. We could see some general combat, explore a puzzle Shrine, or tame a horse. I went with the latter.

    Nintendo's representative started by ambushing a Bokoblin camp and clearing them out so they could use their grill to cook up a Sneaky Elixer so that it would be easier to sneak up on a wild horse.

    After finding a group of them, I watched Link climb a rock and leap off with his glider to land on the wild horses back. He soothed the horse to calm it down and wrote it to the nearby Riverside Stable, where he registered the horse and learned about its stats. Per my request, the horse was named Buttz.

    Using this method, Link can have a handful of horses on call at assorted stables. You will not have a single horse you ride through the whole game, but you can name every single one of your horses Epona if you want.

    Finally, I learned Link can call his horse to come closer to him by whistling. This is not a get a horse anywhere, anytime call, however. Your horse needs to be somewhat close in order to respond to your call.

    Visually, Breath of the Wild does not look dramatically different from the Wii U version of the game, but the two were not side-by-side making direct comparison difficult. Wii U still seems like a perfectly acceptable way to play Breath of the Wild, and my time with game today makes it seems like it will serve as a perfectly good excuse to get a Switch on day one.

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    Replay – The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

    The Nintendo Switch launches on March 3 with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild available on day one. This isn't the first time that a new Zelda adventure has been available at launch, and it isn't the first time that the game will be available on two different systems. Nintendo is repeating the same strategy for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which launched on Wii and GameCube in 2006. Yes, 10 years have already passed since its release.

    On this episode of Replay, we take a look back at Twilight Princess's opening moments, and discuss the Zelda series at large as Brian Shea struggles to win the affection of a cat. We also talk about the Zelda game we would like to see, and speculate about the Switch, a segment we knew would bring extensive mocking on your behalf.

    The second game we look at is a party game that we anticipated to be terrible, but ended up having a blast with. Enjoy the show, everyone. We'll see you again in seven short days.

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    For more episodes of Replay, check out our Replay hub, or click on the banner below to watch episodes on YouTube.

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    Nintendo Announces Special Editions, New Amiibo For The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

    After announcing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be a launch title for Switch, Nintendo also announced a couple of special editions for the game, as well as some of new Amiibo.

    The standard edition won't have anything special, but the image above does give us a glimpse at what Switch box art will look like. For $ 99.99, The Special Edition will have a Sheikah-themed carrying case for the Switch, a coin, a map detailing the game's world, and a soundtrack CD. For $ 129.99, the Master Edition includes everything from the Special Edition and a small bust of the Master Sword. 

    Additionally, a number of new Amiibo will release alongside the game, including Link as an archer or on horseback, Zelda, and a Bokoblin retailing for $ 15.99, the latter two of which were announced tonight. There will also be Guardian Amiibo (also previously announced) which will retail for $ 19.99. You can find images for the newly-announced Amiibo below.

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