Music You Have to Check Out – Hyrule Castle (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)

Hey gamers!

Just wanted to post a link to one of my favourite musical pieces from the newest Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

After nearly 150 hours, finding this song/medley waiting for me at Hyrule Castle was truly epic!

Here’s the link to an extended version, for all of you Zelda Music Study-Nerds: Hyrule Castle – The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Music

Until next time gamers, it’s been a slice!

  • Chris Pie

Nintendo Switch – IMPRESSIONS

When the Nintendo Switch was released on March 3rd, 2017, I eagerly rushed across the city to finally pick up the long awaited console.

Before I do a full audio review, I wanted to share a few initial impressions. Keep in mind that these are my opinions, but opinions that I formed with roughly 150 hours with the unit.

  1. The portability is key!

    Being able to take the console on the go, wherever you want, is the most important aspect behind the Switch. Nintendo was, and still is, relying on getting the unit into the hands of consumers so they can see how it feels. And honestly, it’s sells itself when you try it.

    credit-nintendo

    Having the option to take the game I was playing on the bus with me during my commute to downtown Toronto, is fantastic. The initial teaser trailer they released convinced me that the versatility of the console was the focus, and I’m glad it’s so catered to my lifestyle.

  2. Zelda is the “killer-app”

    Let’s not kid ourselves, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is the “killer-app”. Aside from the portability, it’s the biggest incentive behind buying the Switch.

    2017-03-14-15_13_00-The-Legend-of-Zelda_-Breath-of-the-Wild-Nintendo-Switch-Presentation-2017-Trai

    Sinking hours in Zelda, at home or on the bus, has never been so fun. It’s definitely helping the Switch in terms of financial success and marketability.

  3. The Joy-Cons are…

    Really comfortable! I played a 90% of my time on Zelda with the Joy-Cons separated, and it felt great. I separated the Joy-Cons from the grip so I could rotate the right Joy-Con to a more comfortable position, so that the right-stick wasn’t always directly below the A and B buttons. This made it super easy to navigate the camera in the game.

    nintendo_switch_joycon

    The connectivity issues have been voiced, and I barely had any issues. I could replicate the problem that the left Joy-Con was grilled over, but never did it happen naturally with me.

  4. The Internal Storage IS NOT a deal breaker

    Having only 32GB’s of internal storage, might sound like a draw back to the Switch, but rather, it’s a design obstacle. That may sound confusing but allow me to explain.

    The Switch is able to have expandable storage via micro-SD cards. This is good.
    Is it unfortunate that there isn’t more on-deck for the plethora of digital games incoming? Slightly.

    cartridgeandcardswitch

    Micro-SD cards are relatively affordable in today’s world, but that isn’t a sufficient excuse. People don’t want to buy more stuff to play their games; gamers want it simple.

    The games load directly from the cartridges themselves, which saves the console from having to save and load the games directly from the hard drive. This does drastically improve load times and internal storage.

    Ultimately, the long term game of the Switch is going to be the most interesting thing. What they have planned in terms of software will be what propels the console from being a unique concept, and a gaming mainstay, by my impressions!

    Until next time gamers, it’s been a slice.

    – Chris Pie

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – IMPRESSIONS

So after a mild hiatus, I’m back!

Tl;dr: School is/was insanely busy.

Anyway, I picked up the newest Zelda earlier this month and oh my goodness… Podcast incoming for sure. After nearly 3 weeks, I want to share a few things with you. Keep in mind, I haven’t finished the game’s story upon writing this blog post, but I have invested roughly 120 hours into Link’s newest quest.

Lemme list a few things that I want to note about this game:

  1. This game is BIG!

    The world is huge! Seriously.Coming from a guy who has played Skyrim for more hours than I care to share on this blog, Hyrule this time round is massive.

    And the best part is, it doesn’t feel empty. The world is truly immersive and alive. The NPC’s are colourful and reactive. The

    Don’t believe me? Check it out!

  2. The combat is fluid!

    Disclaimer: I consider myself a seasoned Zelda expert.
    However…

    I wouldn’t be honest with myself if I didn’t say that the formula wasn’t becoming repetitive. The differences between Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess are few, in my opinion. And what Breath of the Wild does is great for the franchise.

    The game meshes exploration and combat; eat your heart out, Egoraptor!

    egorapter

    The game brings back the targeting mechanic from previous 3D Zelda games, but liberates the gamer at the same time. No longer do enemies feel like they’re taking turns attacking you, or you can just spam the same attack to get by. Battle decisions have consequences and timing is everything.

  3. Be prepared!

    On the topic of combat, being prepared no matter where you go is essential in Breath of the Wild. If you don’t have enough arrows or any meals ready when walking into a new area, you might be in for a shock.There are various ways to approach each situation, but always be ready for things to go south. You never know how hard an enemy might hit you, ending your adventure in a blink.

    Always make sure to grill those veggies before hand!

  4. It’s truly an open world.

    There is just no better way of saying it. The world is inviting in nearly every way.You can visit any region, in any order. You can challenge any dungeon, in any order. You can do nearly any side quest, in any order.

    And with Link being able to climb nearly anything, the possibilities are endless. No experience will ever be the same.

Anyway, my scatterbrain still has a lot of game left to process, and I don’t want to spoil anything for any new gamers.

But I just gotta say, this might just be my favourite Zelda game to date. Like ever!

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It’s been a slice guys!

Until next time!

  • Chris Pie

Soundtrack of the Week: Majora’s Mask

What’s up, gamers?

In a little segment I like to call “Soundtrack of the Week” (original, I know), we will be delving into the world of video game music. I usually talk about gameplay, story and graphics so often in blogs and podcasts, I figured it would be borderline criminal to ignore the tones that accompany the video games we love so much. So let me begin this new and exciting segment with a classic!

This week, I want to highlight the music behind one of my favourite games OF ALL TIME! The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is one of the most unique Zelda titles in the series, and its music is no different. Despite displaying the iconic, yet presently dated, electronic tones that it’s Nintendo 64 counterpart produced in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the music of Majora’s Mask is constantly thematic and never disappointing. Each track perfectly captures the tone that the game developers were trying to achieve. To summarize what is a genuinely dark and gritty game within a light-hearted adventure franchise, Majora’s Mask centers around the former Hero of Time, Link, as a child attempting to locate a lost and beloved friend from one of his previous quest. The game sees Link journeying through the Lost Woods only to stumble upon a mask-possessed Skull Kid, who not just disfigures our hero, but holds a small town and the entire world hostage.

Koji Kondo, Composer and Arrangement Director for the game knew just what parameters he was working within, and delivered some of the best pieces of cinematic music to date. He knew just what the developers were envisioning and he wanted to create music that would be a perfect soundtrack to Link’s perilous adventure to save Termina.

The theme of the game was about healing, forgiveness and grief, and the soundtrack embodies those themes. Kondo incorporated various other Zelda music inclusions that would bring joy to fans of the series, while introducing songs that directly affected the plot of the game. Songs like the “Song of Healing” provided restorative relief to those suffering in the games plot.  A good example is when Link finds and rescues a struggling Zora in the Great Bay waters. Mikau, the previously mentioned and injured Zora, explains that he was trying to save his band-mates future offspring from sea-faring pirates, but was mortally wounded while doing so; thus asking Link for mercy and assistance in the form of the “Song of Healing”. In turn,  Mikau’s spirit is put to rest, knowing that he can trust Link with doing what he could not. It’s kind of gruesome if you think about it, but the simple notes within the “Song of Healing” detail just how painful loss and suffering can be.

I could sit here and spit-ball all day about each and every track within the game, and I wont. However, what I will do is briefly detail some of the most notable tracks and explain why they are perfect for the game. Keep in mind, these are all of my opinion, and you are welcome to disagree, like always! (Links included, and puns intended!)

  1. Clock Town (Day 1, 2 and 3)
    I realize I kind of cheated right out of the gate by putting three songs in one, but it’s the same song, just arranged differently depending on the day in which it is being played. It helps to understand that Link is given three (3) days to save the land of Termina before Skull Kid crashes the moon into the earth. So it’s interesting to see Kondo arrange this track to accurately reflect the ever growing desperation that the characters, and the player feel while looking up in the sky at the gloom-and-doom moon. Its when Day 3 arrives, that you realize that you only have so much time left to do what’s needed, before ultimately resetting time, or challenging the powerful Skull Kid yourself. As the stakes increase, so does the tempo of the songs!
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0kXVfqPrLs
  2. Final Hours
    This is another piece of music that is heard primarily within the boundaries of Clock Town. Once the third and final day has concluded, the game REALLY, REALLY wants to set the mood by letting  church bells echo throughout the region, only to be met with absolute silence. That deafening silence is what makes this piece so epic, because the player realizes that there isn’t really anyone left in the town, because they’ve all abandoned ship and fled to safety. Essentially, you come face to face with the fact that you are the only thing standing in between the safety of the world, and it’s cruel destruction.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e056R97svz8
  3. Stone Tower Temple
    Talk about eerie… This track from Kondo accurately portrays the life and struggle of the Ikana Canyon. The area is described as the canyon of death, and this song echo’s a chilling sense of mortality. The final, and most difficult dungeon in the entire game has this song playing throughout it’s corridors, and to great effect. The unnerving sounds of the Ocarina as it plays on top of a ritual-like hum, drums and tambourine will quickly send chills down the player’s spine. The song’s bars capture the psyche-testing challenges and puzzles within the dungeon in pure melodic form.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ab60XEyA5OQ)

As I said, I could do this all day, but I want to save a little bit of Majora’s Mask excellence and brilliance for another post! Feel free to comment what you’re favourite Majora’s Mask song is. Hey, I’d even open it up to what your favourite thematic piece of video game music is!

Until next time guys, it’s been a slice!

– Chris Pie