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‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ – Timeline Conundrum

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It’s been on the minds of Zelda fans since the first footage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was shown at E3 2016. The original video shows a vast landscape with beautiful ridges and open grasslands; the ruins of what appears to be Hyrule tousled in the midst of such comeliness. Breathtaking as it is, the exact moment Breath of the Wild features in the timeline has pondered many questions, dividing avid fans into the three different timelines.

Surprisingly, there are even a few who believe it features before the divergence of the timeline. The unified timeline begins with Skyward Sword, released on the Wii in 2011, telling the tale of the defeat of the Demon King Demise. There are some that place Breath of the Wild after Skyward Sword. The similarities between the Hero of the Sky and the Hero of the Wild are certainly encouraging, plus the worship of Hylia seems to remain significant with many of the maps areas named after her.

breath of the wild

Where does Breath of the Wild fit in the timeline?

However, the prospect of Breath of the Wild being part of the unified timeline seems unlikely. The Temple of Time has already been seen in some of the footage, and that was built by Rauru sometime after Skyward Sword. More importantly, the main villain Calamity Ganon provides strong evidence that the game is featured sometime after Ocarina of Time. Also, the ruins shown in the Great Plateau seem to match up perfectly with that of Castle Town, suggesting the Great Plateau is Hyrule.

At the end of Ocarina of Time, the timeline is split into three different passages. After Ganon was sealed in in the Sacred Realm, Zelda used the Ocarina of Time to return Link to his own age before he drew the Master Sword. Link then returned to Zelda, and they convinced the King of Ganondorf’s treachery due to the pieces of Triforce they held. Since Zelda sent Link back in time, she altered the course of Hyrule’s history, forming the Adult Timeline and the Child Timeline. In the third timeline, Ganondorf defeats Link in an alternate reality, creating the Fallen Hero Timeline.

Fallen Hero Timeline

In a final stand against an impending doom, the Seven Sages sealed Ganon along with the complete Triforce in the Sacred Realm, transformed into the Dark World as a reflection of Ganondorf’s evil heart. The Dark World grew stronger, driven by the lust of the Hylians drawn to it by the lure of power and greed. Eventually, Ganon waged war on Hyrule once more, in an event called the Imprisoning War. Miraculously, the Seven Sages and the Knights of Hyrule were able to reseal Ganon in the Dark World. However, the power of the Seven Sages waned, and the Kingdom became a mere shadow of itself.

breath of the wild

The Master Sword location is similar to that in A Link to the Past.

The strongest evidence linking Breath of the Wild to the Fallen Hero Timeline is the Master Sword. A scene from one of the game’s trailers shows the Master Sword in an obvious reference to the famous location of the Master Sword in A Link to the Past. Even the flowers and the lighting seems to have a strong correlation between both of the scenes, suggesting the Master Sword will be found in the heart of the Lost Woods, similar to A Link to the Past.

In the Child Timeline, the Master Sword can be found in the Temple of Time, at least up until Twilight Princess. This same inconsistency is found in the Adult Timeline, where the Master Sword can be found in Hyrule Castle, up until The Wind Waker where it’s buried in Ganondorf’s head at the bottom of the ocean. The location of the Master Sword is significant, at least its location away from Hyrule is evidence of a great decline.

And a great decline of the Kingdom is certainly a major theme in Breath of the Wild. The old man who you encounter certainly talks about a decline in the kingdom and an abandonment of the city. An apocalyptic world would certainly match the setting of the period just after the Imprisoning War. Not to mention, the hairstyle of Link in Breath of the Wild matches that of every Link in the Fallen Hero Timeline!

Adult Timeline

The Adult Timeline can also be said to have its fair share of disasters. After Link returned to his own age, the Seven Sages weakened and Ganondorf managed to escape from his imprisonment. The people of Hyrule had hoped the Hero of Time would return but he did not appear. They were left to plead to the gods, who answered their prayers by flooding Hyrule, trapping Ganon and his army beneath the waves.

Curiously, footage has shown Link picking up rock salt, with a description suggesting it formed in the ancient sea. A clear reference to the Great Sea formed by the gods. There also appears to be a lot of water features present on the Great Plateau, as well as many ruins that could have been worn away by years spent under a vast ocean.

breath of the wild

This sure seems to be Elma, first seen in The Wind Waker.

Koroks are also seen, and strikingly, they appear to be the same koroks from The Wind Waker. The Koroks were once the Kokiri from the Kokiri Forest, but after Hyrule was transformed into the Great Sea, they took on their new plant-like appearance. Their life is usually spent planting seeds from the Great Deku Tree. There has been no confirmation of the Great Deku Tree in Breath of the Wild, and the Great Deku Tree was certainly dying in The Wind Waker. How the Great Deku Tree is presented in Breath of the Wild will certainly help to confirm its whereabouts on the timeline.

Away from the sea, and the similarities between the old man and King Daphnes seem way too convenient. Other than the appearance, if you slow down the old man jingle from Breath of the Wild, it sounds similar to the Hyrule castle theme often used to represent the King. The importance of the old man will certainly be momentous, and the possibility of royal lineage cannot be ruled out.

Child Timeline

And certainly, the other side of Hyrule’s chronology has its fair share of royal drama. After the hero warned of Hyrule’s tragic future at the hands of Ganondorf, the King of Hyrule ordered his execution. The hero soon departed after, in search of his friend Navi, resulting in his disappearance into the parallel universe of Termina.

There are numerous justifications for Breath of the Wild’s apparent position in the Child Timeline.  Notably, a bridge that looks like the twin of the Great Bridge of Hylia is seen in some of the footage shown. The startling similarity is uncanny; the bridge even looms over a congruous lake. We’ve only seen the Great Bridge of Hylia in Twilight Princess, so it’s likely the bridge was made sometime between Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. The structure is therefore limited to the Child Timeline.

Keeping with Twilight Princess, Wolf Link’s appearance in some of the Breath of the Wild scenes is conclusive evidence. Observing closely, you can see the chain still around Wolf Link’s leg, insinuating that this is the Hero of Twilight. Importantly, and obviously, the Hero of Twilight is exclusive to the Child Timeline and Wolf Link’s presence in another timeline would be bizarre.

breath of the wild

Notice the chain on Wolf Link’s ankle, clear evidence it’s the Hero of Twilight.

Even Eiji Aonuma, the producer of the Legend of Zelda series, hints at the Child Timeline placement. He said, “I’m working on the new Zelda game now…And one thing I’ve realized as I’ve been working on it is that a lot of the things I want to do with this new Zelda game are things I thought on while making Twilight Princess. I can’t talk specifics, but to me, Twilight Princess was a starting point, making it possible to do what I’m doing now in a way.”

Seems almost certified from the producer himself that Breath of the Wild is destined to happen after Twilight Princess. But a lot of things don’t add up, certainly the inclusion of the Koroks from the Adult Timeline. These Koroks are the same Koroks from The Wind Waker, that much has to be certain. So where exactly does Breath of the Wild fit in the timeline?

Final Thoughts

There are some that place Breath of the Wild in the Fallen Hero Timeline, just after Ocarina of Time, and just before A Link to the Past. Whilst the gloomy setting of Breath of the Wild fits perfectly, plus the location of the Master Sword brings a strong case, there’s just too many other reasons against it. The downfall could have happened in any timeline and the Master Sword’s appearance in the Lost Wood could have happened in the other timelines. Whilst maintaining a strong case, the other two timelines provide stronger evidence.

The problem lies with the Koroks and Wolf Link. Neither has been seen in any other timeline. Both timelines began with the defeat of Ganondorf and were created due to the manipulation of time. Controversially, Breath of the Wild could be set in both timelines. It might just be that time is realigning itself with reality, fixing itself and combining two universes into one.

In the likelihood that both timelines don’t become one, it’s more probable that Breath of the Wild features after Twilight Princess. Whilst the Koroks provide strong evidence for an Adult Timeline, it’s also possible that the Koroks could have evolved independently in both timelines. The idea of the Hero of Twilight appearing in the Adult Timeline is less likely, it certainly would be much more difficult to fathom.

Either way, Breath of the Wild has provided fans with a fascinating conundrum. The anticipation is heightening and March 3 can’t come quick enough.

Lost his ticket on the 'Number 9' Luxury Express Train to the Ninth Underworld. Has been left to write articles and reviews about games to write off his debt until the 'powers that be' feel it is sufficiently paid.

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Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019

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Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019

Awesome Mixtape Vol. 5

It’s that time once again in which I bring to you my awesome mixtape featuring the best tracks from the best video game soundtracks of the year. Last year, my mixtape featured tracks from Triple-A titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and indie darlings like Celeste. In 2017, my picks for best soundtracks included tracks from some of my favorite games including Cuphead, Breath of the Wild and Into the Woods, to name just a few. Well, 2019 has been another banner year for the industry and as always, the games were blessed with an astounding selection of musical scores— some would argue the soundtracks were even better than the actual games at times. As always, it wasn’t easy deciding which songs to include and what to leave out— and as always, I’ve also mixed in some audio clips from various cut scenes while trying to keep it spoiler-free. Feel free to share this link and let me know if you think I’ve missed any great soundtracks in the comments below.

Best Video Game Soundtracks 2019 Playlist

Death Stranding clip
Death Stranding
: Low Roar – “I’ll Keep Coming”
Life Is Strange 2 clip
Life is Strange 2: Seyr – “Colour To Colour”
Life is Strange 2: Jonathan Morali – “Into the Woods”
Life Is Strange 2 clip
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Sayonara Wild Heart”
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Wild Hearts Never Die”
Death Stranding: CHVRCHES – “Death Stranding”
Afterparty clip
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “Title and Credits”
Afterparty: scntfc – “Hades Gonna Hate”
Afterparty: scntfc – “Schoolyard Strangler”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “The Garden”
Octopath Traveler: Yasunori Nishiki – Main Theme
Octopath Traveler: Yasunori Nishiki – Cyrus the Scholar
Kingdom Hearts 3 clip
Fire Emblem Three Houses clip
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Yuka Tsujiyoko, Hirokazu Tanaka – “Main Theme”
Fire Emblem Three Houses: Yuka Tsujiyoko, Hirokazu Tanaka – “Blue Skies and a Battle”
Devil May Cry 5 clip
Devil May Cry 5: Kota Suzuki – “Urizen Boss Battle Music”
Untitled Goose Game – Dan Golding – “The Garden”
FAR: Lone Sails: Joel Schoch – “Colored Engine”
Days Gone: Nathan Whitehead— “Soldier’s Eye”
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “Easy Way Out”
Death Stranding clip
Death Stranding: Low Roar – “Easy Way Out”
Metro Exodus: Alexey Omelchuk – “Main Theme”
Resident Evil 2 Remake clip
Resident Evil 2 Remake: Masami Ueda, Shusaku Uchiyama, Shun Nishigaki – “Mr.X Theme Music (T-103)”
Sayonara Wild Hearts: Daniel Olsen – “Begin Again”
Life is Strange 2: Lincoln Grounds, Pat Reyford – “Morning Good Morning”
Life is Strange 2: Sufjan Stevens – “Death With Dignity”
Luigi’s Mansion 3 clip
Luigi’s Mansion 3: Koji Kondo – “Main Theme”
Ape Out: Matt Boch – “Intro”
Deltarune: Toby Fox – “Field of Hopes and Dreams”
Return of the Obra Dinn: Lucas Pope – “Loose Cargo”
“Star Wars: Imperial March” Hip Hop Remix
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order: John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra
Death Stranding: Silent Poets – “Asylum for The Feeling”
Catherine: Full Body: Shoji Meguro – “Tomorrow”
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening: Koji Kondo – “Marin’s Ballad of the Windfish”
Metro Exodus – Alexey Omelchuk: “Teardrops”
Sekiro: Yuka Kitamura – “Ashina Reservoir”
Return of the Obra Dinn: Lucas Pope – “The Doom”
Medley: Eye of Death / Wild Hearts Never Die / Dragon Heart / Clair De Lune

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Game Reviews

‘New Super Lucky’s Tale’ is Polished, Pleasing Platforming

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Streamlined, focused, and tons of fun, New Super Lucky’s Tale is a fantastic reworking for the Switch that absolutely nails the lighter side of Nintendo-style 3D platforming. Tight controls and a nearly flawless camera support running and jumping challenges which more often than not emphasize creativity over complexity, and it’s all set against a colorful, pun-filled, charming world full of quirky characters and light satire. Though the experience is not as epic or razzle-dazzle as something like Super Mario Odyssey, developer Playful has wisely trimmed the collect-a-thon fat that so many others in the genre employ in order to pad play time. The result lasts long enough to satisfy, yet also instills a fervent desire to see more adventures from its fearless, furry hero.

New Super Lucky's Tale carnival

In the fine tradition of its gaming ancestors dating back to the N64 days, the basics of New Super Lucky’s Tale revolve around acquiring arbitrary objects sprinkled through various stages in order to unlock doors and move on to the next area. This time it’s pages from the mystical Book of Ages, which contains the power to travel between worlds, and is the endgame of an nefarious cat sorcerer named Jinx and his gang of cartoonish thugs, the Kitty Litter. As part of a secret organization sworn to defending this kiddie-friendly Necronomicon knockoff, it’s up to Lucky to track down as many of these clover-embossed pages as he possibly can, and hopefully complete the book before his nemesis can get his claws on it.

It’s doubtful that the story will be what compels most players to keep going, and to that end, New Super Lucky’s Tale‘s simple setup also fits right in with its genre brethren. Still, Lucky is an amiable and upbeat fox to follow around, and Playful does an excellent job of surrounding him with a cast of gibberish-spouting weirdo goofballs that includes hayseed grub worms, supremely zen Yetis, loyal rock golems, and slick carny ghosts. Though their dialogue does little to drive any sort of narrative, it is endlessly amusing and often witty in its cheesy wordplay. In other words, the writing has a very Nintendo-like feel in its eccentricities that adds to the overall fun.

New Super Lucky's Tale factory

Those jokes would be less endearing without fantastic gameplay, but New Super Lucky’s Tale delivers some of the best running and jumping this side of Mario. Though this fabulous fox can’t quite match the plumber’s precision, Lucky does feel extremely responsive, and has a nice sense of weight and momentum that never feels out of control. He also comes out of the den with a well-rounded moveset, including a nifty double jump, a swishy tail (a la Mario’s spin punch), and the ability to burrow under ground. These moves can be chained together to create a satisfying flow both when exploring 3D stages and side-scrolling ones alike, and will surely inspire players to use them in creative ways in order to access seemingly out-of-reach spots.

And they’ll have to if they want to find all four pages hidden in each stage. New Super Lucky’s Tale requires a bare minimum of these leaflets to be found (and simply beating the stage merits one as a reward), but it’s in rooting around those nooks and crannies where much of the fun lies, and it gives the developer a chance to squeeze every ounce out of the unique mixture of environments they’ve created. From the assorted carnival games of a haunted amusement park to a beach party dance-off, there are a surprising amount of different things for Lucky (and players) to do here, with hardly any two stages ever feeling alike. One 3D level might task Lucky with casually exploring a farm as he gathers up the members of country jug band, while a side-scrolling obstacle course sees him dodging canon fire from an airship piloted by a feline Napolean. Some stages have a platforming bent, while others emphasize searching out secrets tucked away in mini puzzles.

New Super Lucky's Tale farm

It’s an absolutely delightful mix, and that sheer variety keeps New Super Lucky’s Tale fresh all the way through to the epic battle with fat cat Jinx himself. And though platforming veterans might find the overall challenge a bit too much on the friendly side, a few of the later bosses and and bonus stages may make that 100% goal a little tougher than it at first seems. And yet, it’s hard not to want to go back to incomplete stages or that block-pushing puzzle that stumped the first time around; the brisk pace and clever design will likely compel many players to find every scrap of paper out there.

No, Lucky isn’t the second coming of Mario, but there are few 3D platformers that offer such a polished, concise, joyful experience as New Super Lucky’s Tale. It may have taken a couple of efforts to get there (and for those who have played the original Super Lucky’s Tale, levels and bosses have been reworked here), but Playful has nailed a balance between creativity and efficiency that begs for more. 

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How Do ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield’s’ Max Raid Battles Measure Up?

Max Raid Battles are one of Pokemon Sword and Shield’s premier new features. Do they live up to their full potential? Let’s find out.

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max raid battles

One of the most heavily promoted new features of Pokémon Sword and Shield have been their Max Raid Battles. These gargantuan fights are both a key part of the online experience and likely the first taste most players will get of Dynamaxed Pokémon in-game. So, how’d this take on Pokémon Go’s raid system pan out in the series’ first mainline entry on console?

Well, on the plus side, getting into the thick of a raid is super straightforward. After the opening hour or two, players are introduced to the Wild Area and can access Max Raid Battles straight away by walking up to a pillar of red light on the field. From there you can invite others, challenge the raid with NPCs, and choose which Pokémon you want to use.

Real Friends Raid Together

Playing with friends online, though, is a bit more convoluted. There’s no “Invite Friends” option to be seen. Instead, all social features are handled through the Y-comm (literally accessed by pressing the Y button). It’s here that players can Link Trade, Link Battle, exchange player cards, and more.

After actively connecting to the internet–which has to be done each play session and each time the Switch is put into sleep mode–it’s up to the host of the match to find a portal and send an invitation to everyone. A notification will pop for friends on the side of the screen, and then it’s up to everyone to join the match directly through the Y-comm interface.

If players want real people to fill in any remaining slots (all raids are four-person affairs), they’ll need to join before the room fills up. Setting a Link Code avoids this hassle by creating a room but, unlike Salmon Run in Splatoon 2, only computer players can fill remaining spots after friends finish joining this way.

After some experimenting and fudding about, my buddy and I were able to hop into matches fairly quickly without much issue. Nonetheless, it’s hard to shake the feeling that creating friend lobbies is only such a headache because it had to be tied to the Y-comm. Pair this with the fact that battling while waiting for a friend to create a room can cause the notification not to pop, and getting a group together is a bit more painful than it should be.

Max Raid Battle Rundown

The raids themselves are a surprisingly engaging twist on the classic Pokémon battle formula. Groups of four challengers work together to take on a Dynamaxed raid boss. Each raid boss has a different star rating, and even the 1-star battles are no joke the first few times around. These boss Pokémon are merciless, and regularly one-shot lower leveled ‘mons with ease.

To combat these monstrous foes, one random trainer in every group is granted the ability to Dynamax their chosen Pokémon and lead the charge. The Dynamaxed Pokémon gets the benefit of having extra-powerful moves and increased HP, though it’s rather disappointing that there only seems to be one Max Move per move type (one Grass move, one Dark move, and so on). Each of these has a secondary effect on the battlefield; some trigger sandstorms, others trigger a health regeneration field that heals everyone a bit each turn. Regular moves with type advantages deal a significant chunk of damage, but it’s Max Moves that can truly turn the tide of battle.

If one of the group’s Pokémon faints, that trainer has to sit out for a turn before it automatically gets revived (a smart design choice to keep all trainers actively involved). However, the fainting of each Pokémon triggers the storm above to become more and more vicious. After four faints or ten turns, everyone is booted out of the raid sans rewards.

max raid battles

The Fruits of Victory

Two of the easiest ways to better your odds are 1) Choose a Pokémon with a type advantage going into battle, and 2) Manage who Dynamaxes when. Each trainer’s Dynamax meter grows periodically and, though only one trainer can use it at a time, multiple players can activate it over the course of a raid. It also seems like each raid’s star rating is tied directly to the raid boss’ level, so bringing a generally powerful Pokémon to a lower-level raid is another viable strategy for success.

Aside from the chance to capture the raid boss itself (and some Pokémon are Max Raid Battle-exclusive), winning a raid nets players some very worthwhile rewards. These include everything from EXP candies and berries to nuggets and TMs. It’s not so much of a haul that it hurts the overall balance of the game, but there’s enough to make getting a few friends together and grinding raids for a couple of hours worth it.

max raid battles

Though Max Raid Battles are just a small part of the overall Sword and Shield package, they’ve ended up being a rather fun take on Pokémon’s traditional multiplayer offerings. For as unnecessarily complicated as playing with friends is, there are also a few cool ideas here, like being able to join a raid from anywhere on the map as long as the host is at the raid pillar. There’s some good fun to be had here if you prefer to battle alongside your friends instead of against them.

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