3DS Review: Hyrule Warriors Legends

 

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Linkle enters the battle!

Hyrule Warriors Legends is a hack-and-slash game for the 3DS developed by Omega Force and Team Ninja and published by Nintendo.  A spin-off of the Legend of Zelda series, it combines characters in the Zelda franchise and puts them in a game similar to Koei Temco’s Warriors series (Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors.)  It is a port of the original Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U with additional characters and levels.  It was released in North America on 25 Mar 2016.

(Note:  Pictures taken from the official site because there is no screenshot feature for the 3DS.  Used for review purposes only.)

In an original story, not related to any previous Legend of Zelda games, the world of Hyrule is once again beset with evil forces.  Princess Zelda (or her latest incarnation) raises an army to fight the tide of darkness, which is led by the evil sorceress, Cia.  Along with Impa, she is also looking for the returned Hero of Legend, the latest hero named Link.  She finds him within her own ranks as he steps up and battles the evil army.  With his allies, he seeks to reunite the Triforce, the ultimate power in Hyrule and what the forces of Cia seek.  To do so, they will find themselves not only fighting for Hyrule’s future in the present, but in the past as well.

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Gameplay with Toon Link

The main game is the Legend mode, in which gameplay is like other Warriors games, but with only one faction playable at first (and them it depends of the level you play.)  You control your character on a large battle field, fighting enemy troops and completing various objectives.  You start off with only Link playable, but as you progress you unlock more characters like Impa, Sheik, and newcomer Lana.  Perennial Zelda villain Ganondorf is also a playable character as you progress further in the game.  This is the same as in the Wii U version.  Unique to Legends are characters like Skull Kid, Toon Link. Tetra, King Daphnes and Linkle, a new character.  She believes that she is the reincarnation of the Legendary Hero and runs into battle to save Hyrule armed with twin crossbows.

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New characters in Legends: (L to R) Linkle, Skull Kid, Toon Link, King Daphnes, and Tetra.

Other modes in both versions are  Free Mode, in which you can re-play levels using any character that you have unlocked, Adventure Mode, it which you play levels with certain conditions to unlock items and characters, Gallery where you  can view unlocked artwork k and an extras menu.  New to Legends is My Fairy, in which you can collect fairies to gain special abilities in battle.

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Adventure Mode lets you take on different challenges

Graphically, it is a good as one can expect for a 3DS game.  Though the gameplay is the same as the Wii U version, obviously the visuals are not a nice.  But over all ,the characters are detailed, the colours are good and there has not been any noticeable slowdown, at lest not in the New Nintendo 3DS, which is the system this game is meant to be played on.

The game will work on any 3DS system, but it is meant for the new Nintendo 3DS due to the Z buttons and the C-Stick.  Controls are like the Wii U version (with a choice between Warriors style, which I use, or Zelda style controls) with regular attacks  on Y, strong attacks on X, Dodge is B and the special “Musou” attack on A.  The Left shoulder button re-centres the camera and the Right button uses you equipped Item (Bombs, Bow etc).  The New 3Ds adds the option of a lock on button (ZL) for fighting Boss Characters and the C-stick allows you to rotate the camera, with the lack of which had serious affected my enjoyment of Samurai Warriors Chronicles 2 for the 3DS.  My only complaint is the location of the C-stick which is a hardware issues and nothing to do with the game.

Another this about this release that I like is that Nintendo was kind enough to include some extras.  There were two download codes included in the game’s packages.  The first was a Hyrule Warriors Legends theme for the 3DS, which was a nice touch.  A free theme based on the game you just bought would be a nice bonus in all of Nintendo’s 3DS games.  The second is a code for the Wii U.  It adds all five for the new characters to your Hyrule Warriors game.  Though they are not playable in Legends Mode, you can used them in the Free and Adventure modes.  This is a nice gift that rewards those who had bought the original for the Wii U.

Overall, Hyrule Warriors Legends is a perfect game for the 3DS.  Though the levels can be long, the ability to just close the system to suspend the software so you can take a break for the action.  This game is also a good reason to upgrade to the new 3DS  and it takes advantage of the system’s improvements.   Fans of action games like Samurai Warriors and Zelda fans will definitely enjoy this mashup of the two series.

4/5

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Nintendo 3DS review: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson

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Kagura shows her ample assets

 

Senran Kaugra 2: Deep Crimson is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game developed by Tamsoft and published in North America by XSEED Games (now Marvelous USA).  It is the third Senran Kagura game on the 3DS, with the first game being Japan-Only and the second. Senran Kagura Burst, being a re-release with an additional storyline.  It was released physically and as a download on 15 Sept 2015.

Asuka and Homura team up!

The game starts with a reprise of the end of the first game, with the Hanzon Academy girls (Asuka, Ikaruga, Katsuragi, Yagyu, and Hibari) facing off against, and eventually teaming up with the Hebjio Acaemdy students (Homura, Yomi, Hikage, Mirai and Harkura) to take down their sensei, Dougen.  They prevail in the end, but while the Hanzo students returned to their school, Homura and her friends find themselves as renegades from Hebijo,

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The Cast of Senran Kagura 2

Now calling themselves the Crimson Squad, Homura and the rest continue to train while working the odd job to survive.  They find themselves face to face with Asuka and her friends once again as a vacation turns into a mission.  Demons called Yoma have started to appear which put the Good Ninja Leadership on alert.  Somehow tied to the Yoma is a mysterious woman named Naraku and a little girl who when she absorbs enough “red orbs” from the Yoma, she ages up and becomes the legendary demon hunter, Kagura!.  Now, with the Hanzo girls ordered to slay Kagura and the Crimson Squad sensing a kindred spriit, are they two sides able to come to terms and find a way to both stop the Yoma and save Kagura from her fate?

Like there previous games for the 3DS, Senran Kagura 2 is mostly a side scrolling game.  Most of the time you move forward until you a blocked by enemies, and are only able to proceed once you defeat all of them.  Boss battles are in a large open area where you can move freely around the area.  Stages vary from city streets to crater and to a hot spring resort, just to name a few.  You can fight in both normal modes (school uniforms and street clothes) or transform into Shinobi mode where you can access you secret ninja arts for more damage.  Anyone who has played a Senran Kagura game would have no issue playing this one.

New to the series is the abilities to play as two girls at a time.  Some levels have you play as two of the girls, whom you can switch between by pressing A. In these battles you lose if both girls are defeated.  If one is knocked out, if your remaining character survives long enough your other character will revive with a small bit of health. You can also play local and online co-op play through WiFi.

Of course it would not be a Senran Kagura game without the stripping!  All the ladies of Senran Kagura games have destructible outfits and can be stripped to their underwear in battle. Some of the generic troops feature clothing damage but only when you fight one of the 10 main girls,, or Daidoji, Rin, Naraku or Kagura (in her adult form, of course!) do you get a close up of the action.  You character can be stripped too and any damaged is reset between rounds, except in the Yoma’s Nest mode, which I’ll get into next.

Besiudes the main game, there are other modes like a challenge mode, whenre you win under certain conditions, for which you get a Shinboi Stone to power up you character in the game.  The Yoma’s Nest mode is an endurance mode in which you fight match after match, facing increasingly stronger opponents, which regaining little to no health between matches.  There are also training missions and additional content can be bought from the Nintendo eShop.

You can also customize the girls, too.  Entering the dressing room you can change the characters look in her normal or shinobi modes.  Hair styles and colors can be adjusted and accessories added.  Even their bathing suits (what the game calls underwear) can be adjusted.  New costumes and accessories are unlocked as you play the game or when you download certain DLC packs.  You can also take phots or the girls, alone in in pairs, in various poses and save it to your SD card.

You can add accessories like eye patches, which for Mirai, is redundant
You can add accessories like eye patches, which for Mirai, is redundant

 

I like the Senran Kagura games and this one does improve on the last one for the 3DS.  However I do prefer the PS Vita version of this series ( Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus) and I can’t wait to play the new one in that series (Estival Versus, which I’ll review soon!).  As I said in my review for Shinovi Versus, this is the sort of game that we used to rarely see out here due to cultural differences and attitudes towards showing a little skin.  Though this game series is toned down compared to the anime and, to an extent, the PS Vita versions, I am still surprised that this is on a Nintendo platform.  A game like this wouldn’t have bee allowed twenty years ago or ten years ago, or, at least not released in the West five years ago.  Still, this is a game that the M rating was made for.  It is definitely not for kids. Still, it is strange when you think that society would rather show violence than show a nipple.

Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is available as a digital download or as a physical release.  The physical release, tactfully called the Double D Edition, comes with a two disc soundtrack featuring the music from the game.  It is available through online retailers such as Amazon and may be available in shop at EB Games.  Check online for details.

Review: “New” Nintendo 3DS XL- Hyrule Edition

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The Nintendo 3DS is the current line of portable video game consoles from Nintendo, following the Nintendo DS before it as well as the Game Boy family of handhelds.  Coming out in North America in 2011, it boasted a stereographic 3D system that was designed to made the graphic pop out.  I was an early adopter of the system and I was not too impressed with either the 3D or the available games.  In fact, In the 4 years I have had it, I only got 10 games, mostly getting AAA games  (Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS), remakes of older Nintendo games (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time) and niche Japanese games (Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers and two Senran Kagura games), not counting the 20 Virtual Console games I got as an early adopter thanks to the Ambassador Program.  Mostly, it was I was mainly using my PS Vita as my “To Go” console, taking it with me the last two times I was “out and about” in the world.

With the newer games, such as Smash Bros, I found myself playing my 3DS more, but wishing for a model with a bigger screen.  So, the “New” Nintendo 3DS XL (released in North America February 2015) is that, XL meaning that it is bigger and the “New” indicating upgrades to graphic and performance with addition features not found in the older version.

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“New” 3DS Xl next to original 3DS

The XL version is larger, no surprise there with the two screens being bigger as well.  The layout or the controls and buttons has some minor changes.  The D-Pad and thumb stick are still to the left of the bottom screen and the face buttons (A,B,X,Y) are still on the right, with the left and right bumper buttons on the top edge of the lower half.  The Home button is still bottom centre beneath the lower screen, but has an elongated oval shape.  The Start and Select buttons have moved and are now below the face buttons.  Additionally, the “New” 3DS has a C-Stick, a little nub at the top fight of the lower screen that can be used to move the camera in some games as well as two more buttons ZL and ZR at the top by the bumper buttons.  The C-Stick and Z buttons work like the ones on the Circle Pad Pro, an add on that was used for some games in with a second thumb stick would be useful.

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Both systems open

Since it has “3D” in its name, lets talk about the systems 3D system.  Like the older models, it still uses the stereographic 3D system (essentially, it show two copies of the same image, one on top of the other to create “3D”) with the new Super Stable 3D system that detect the angle you are looking  form and adjust the image.  Like the older system, it game make it seem like it is 3D, with the new system helping to keep the effect if you move your head.  It works okay, I guess, but I am not a fan of it.  I usually play with the 3D turned off.

Other changes are the placement of the cartridge slot and SD card slot.  The game slot has moved from the top of the low half, in the centre, to the bottom left of the lower side.  The slot for the SD card is no longer on the left side of the unit, nor does it use standard SD cards.  The slot is not underneath the casing of the bottom half, near the battery and requires a micro SD card, either standard or HC (High Capacity) versions.  The unit does come with a 4 GB micro SD card already in the unit, so you don’t have to go out and get one, unless you have a large card in you old 3DS and plan to transfer to the new one.

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Back compartment open to show micro SD slot

The Transfer process is pretty simple and the steps are laid out in the instruction manual that comes with the system.  Under System Settings-Other Settings, select System Transfer on page 4 on both systems and follow the instructions.  It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour so it is best if you plug both in.  You have the option of re-downloading any titles you have on you old SD card or transfer it to the new micro-SD card using a PC (a micro-SD adapter and a PC with a SD card reader is required.   While transferring you will be treated to animations of little pikimans moving you data. So if you plan to upgrade to a new one and you have stuff to transfer, buy the new system first and do the transfer.  If you reformat your old 3DS before transferring, you will lose all of your stuff.

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Size comparison between micro SD and regular SD.  Canadian Quarter is there for scale

Other than that, it is just like the regular 3DS.  The new is the same, with the newer firmware adding themes that can be downloaded form the Nintendo eShop (some are free.)  The eShop does require you to have a login which can be used on the Wii U as well. Most software is tied to the console downloaded on, unless System Transfer is used.  Spot and Street Pass works the same as does all the software that is preloaded in new consoles.

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The design on the Hyrule edition is based on The Legend of Zelda. Figma Link not included

The one I got was a  “Hyrule Edition”, featuring a Gold faceplate with the Tri-Force symbol from The Legend of Zelda series.  This special edition is only available at EB Games in Canada (Gamespot in the United States) and cost an extra $25 than the regular “New” 3DS XL model.  It was on sale during the run up to Christmas and again, at least in Canada, during EB Games Boxing Day sale, in which you save $30.

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Themes like this Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask are available to purchase

The “New” Nintendo 3DS is a great system and has definitely gotten me to play more of my 3DS games.  The 3D is better, but still not my thing but the bigger screens are great, especially when playing Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS (that the games official title!).  I wish there was a screenshot option of this system as I’d would do more review on 3DS games.  Some games do allow you to take pictures and save them to the micro-SD cards, but there is no way to transfer them to you PC wirelessly.  While I do still prefer the PS Vita in that regard, games for that system are becoming few and far between.  The Nintendo 3DS library has a few gems that are not Pokemon or other “capture the monster and fight ’em’ type of games.  With old favorite getting remake  and new games, both first and third party that are not too kiddish (though I do enjoy the new Skylanders game) I may add a lot more games to my library.  And I might have to bring my 3DS along the next time work takes me abroad.

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While there is no system Screenshot feature, games like Super Smash Bros lets you pause the games and save pictures to you SD card

 

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While Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson have a photo mode to take picture of the characters in various outfit.  Nice clean photos…
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Yeah, not dirty at all…