Saturday, January 9, 2016

Tri Force Heroes? Huh?

(I still can't get over that spelling. It's always been Triforce. Always.)

Wait, what? There was a new Zelda game released 3 months ago that I haven't mentioned once on this blog? Huh. You learn something new every day.

Anyway, Tri Force Heroes. Pretty fun, I guess, although multiplayer isn't really my favorite aspect of the Zelda series.

Where to start, where to start...

Well, I got this game on launch day, as I tend to do for most Zelda games. As of writing this, I've 100%'d the game on singleplayer, and I'm waiting to finish Four Swords Adventures with my 2 friends before attempting to 100% multiplayer. I've beaten the game on both modes, though.

And yes, I have more than 2 friends. I swear. I just worded that weirdly.

As a whole, I'd rank this game above Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. That being said, I still believe the singleplayer is better in Four Swords Adventures, so if you're looking for a one-player experience, that's the way to go. Trying to play with one person in this game is, to put it simply, incredibly tedious. You can only control one Link at a time, leading to a lot of switching around. In theory, this should take triple the time. In actuality, it takes 1.5-2 times as long. It's still annoying.

The way I see it, to truly 100% the game, you have to beat every challenge both on singleplayer and multiplayer, due to the fact that there is an in-game chart that tracks your progress in both modes. I first beat the game and some challenges online with random people, but as the game goes on and the challenges get harder, this became a very unrealistic goal. With the 25% chance that you'll actually get the level you want, and then another 25% that you'll get the right challenge, it became infeasible. So, I decided to wait for my friends to get the game, and that I would go ahead and 100% singleplayer first.

I have to say, it took an incredible amount of patience to beat every level and every Drablands challenge playing by myself. There are 8 worlds, with 4 levels in each world, and 3 challenges per level plus the regular playthrough of the level. In total, that equals 128 times playing through various levels, not including failures that require you to start the level over.

So in short, it's tough.

Some of the later timed challenges are brutal when playing singleplayer. Controlling 1 Link means that you either have to walk everywhere 3 times, or stack all the Links together and carry the other 2. Both of those options takes time, and in some of the later levels almost speedrun-level preciseness is required to succeed.

Oh, and there's this one level that requires Links to balance on platforms. Normally this shouldn't be too much of a problem, but when you can only control one Link at a time, that means you have to rapidly switch back and forth just to keep both of them from falling. The miniboss of this stage is also built on this mechanic. And when it comes to the "Don't fall at all!" challenge, meaning 1 slip-up and you're back to the start?

Ugh. Kill me now.

You. I... I hate you.
Anyway, I'm on the other side now, and I have a feeling playing local multiplayer with friends won't be nearly as infuriating as playing alone, or with strangers online.

I noticed that I've been sounding mostly negative up to this point, but don't get me wrong, I still think this is quite a good game. Almost none of my complaints would even be applicable if I wasn't such a completionist, so many of those gripes are self-inflicted. Single player wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't doing each level 4 times, and online wouldn't be so infuriating if I didn't care so much which challenge got randomly selected. If you're not going for completion, this game is quite an enjoyable experience.

The level design is very clever. I love many of the puzzles, and the levels themselves (for the most part) are wonderfully designed. The boss fights are good fun to, and that final boss was spectacular. I can't wait to play through some of these with my friends.

Another thing I loved about this game was the challenge. Despite what I may have implied above, I love that this game is actually difficult. The last Zelda game I would go so far as to call "challenging," puzzle- or combat-wise, would probably be the Oracles or Majora's Mask. Maybe the Wind Temple in Wind Waker. This changes that. It provided a good challenge on many occasions.

Another thing that helps put this game above Four Swords Adventures is the costumes. I love the costume mechanic, and it really adds variety to the gameplay and how you go about solving puzzles. In a way, it reminded me of the masks in Majora's Mask. There are some instances in which a particular costume might break a puzzle or challenge, but the wonderful thing is that you had to play through the challenge regularly to even get the materials for that costume! It's a great mechanic, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 100%ing the costume collection is a LOT more enjoyable than 100%ing the challenges.

I still haven't touched the DLC content, so I can't really talk about that yet.

The graphics aren't much different from A Link Between Worlds, and the story is probably the worst in a Zelda game since Four Swords. But that's okay, because multiplayer Zelda games have never been about story. When playing Four Swords Adventures, I often found that my friends and I would button-mash through the story text just to get back to playing the game. This game is no different (although there is much less dialogue to button-mash through).

Overall, I'd recommend this game if you have 1 or 2 "Zelda friends," have an internet connection, or are a die-hard fan. It's got a great amount of replayability, and the gameplay is fresh and inventive.

Well, that's all I really have to say, I guess. Take care, everyone. Until next time!

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