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Readers head back to Hyrule and find it’s as thrilling as ever

Screenshot: Nintendo
Screenshot: Nintendo

Keyboard Geniuses is our weekly glance at a few intriguing, witty, or otherwise notable posts from the Gameological discussion threads. Comments have been excerpted and edited here for grammar, length, and/or clarity. You can follow the links to see the full threads.

Back In The Saddle

For my contribution to this week’s What Are You Playing This Weekend? thread, I talked a little about my experiences with The Master Trials, the first of two planned expansions for The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. As someone who had moved on from the game, I’ve found it to be a compelling reason to jump back in and a great opportunity to reacquaint myself with its incredible world. A few commenters have started on it as well. First up, let’s hear from Skull Kid, who has to be just ecstatic about the addition of Majora’s Mask:

I’ve started replaying on Master Mode, the new difficulty level the DLC adds, and it’s recaptured the joy of survival and discovery that I had during my first playthrough. Consider a little adventure I had on the Plateau: In the snow region, I discovered these new octorock-suspended floating platforms, which were not in the original game. Basically, an enemy will blow a horn, the octorocks will inflate, and the platform will float up into the air, giving enemies a sniper position. So I tried something. I waited until nightfall, snuck onto the platform stealthily, took them out, and then *whistled.* Whistling inflated the octorocks, giving me a nice view of the landscape. But by now, my cold-resistant potion was wearing off and the shrine was on a mountain many miles away. I took out a korok leaf and used it to create gusts of wind to propel the floating platform forward. Instead of laboriously climbing up mountains, I had used an enemy’s base as a flying machine.

But the great thing about Master Mode is that you have to use your intimate knowledge of the world to your advantage, because the enemies are stupidly hard. It became clear after the Plataeu that sticks and traveler’s swords weren’t going to cut it. So I went straight to the source of the best items in the game: Hyrule Castle. Sneaking silently into Hyrule Castle with nothing but three hearts and a tree branch was the most thrilling experience I’ve had with the game in my 200 hours of play. But my risk was rewarded: I walked out with weapons that deal 50 damage and the Hylian Shield. Basically, I love how Master Mode forces you to approach the game differently.

LittleMac had some thoughts on the 45-room Master Trial itself:

The Master Trial is glorious. I just cleared the beginner trials last night and made my first attempt at the completely awesome, wind-tunnel-based middle trials this morning. On the one hand, a challenge like this is well suited to my love of a good challenge and my general aptitude with video games. On the other hand, it’s perhaps uniquely unsuited to my preferred style of wild, improvisational recklessness. It’s great fun playing through the rooms, noting your errors, and devising optimal strategies for getting through them, but it might be even more fun when you screw up your plans, get surrounded, land a flurry rush to take down a moblin, drop a bomb in the perfect spot to send a whole pack of bokoblins flying, grab a boko bat that one of them dropped, and then just go whirlwinding through everyone that’s still standing.

Screenshot: Elite: Dangerous/Frontier Developments

And when they aren’t battling Disqus, Doctuar is getting lost in a massive world of a different sort:

The year is 3303. Faster than light travel is possible and the galaxy is a free market. Pirates, revolutionaries and governments struggle to find their power base in an uncertain universe. But one man, Commander Doctuar, has a mission; to deliver a consignment of fish to an orbital space station.

This is Elite: Dangerous.

It’s a kind of space simulator meets MMO, where you are plonked into the middle of the inhabited Milky Way and told, “Right, off you go! Go and do something!” The things you can do are basically trade, fight, mine (exciting!), explore or indulge in illicit activities, such as piracy and smuggling. There’s no real end goal, and there’s certainly no plot, though there is an in-game lore updated via the community and bulletin boards. To this end, you will know before you buy Elite: Dangerous if you are going to like it or if you are going to find it extremely boring.

I started off by shuttling data for various factions between systems until I had made enough dough to buy a new ship and upgrade it a little. Once I had done that, I went off into deep space to look for interesting stellar bodies, specifically a black hole. I found a black hole. It was impossible to see and it killed me. I guess Stephen Hawking was right. After that, I used some online trading tools to run a lucrative merchant route (which is incredibly dull, to be fair), and now I’ve got a pretty tasty new ship, which I am just pottering around the galaxy in.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. I’ve seen capital ships in orbit off a 4G planet. I’ve watched magnetic flares eject from the dying heart of a neutron star. I’ve flown to the edge of manned space and sat in my ship, gazing at the Pleiades Nebula. All those moments will be saved in my game and possibly stored in the cloud. Time to fly…

This isn’t the most exciting game in the world and despite its grand scope, the activities you can engage in aren’t all that numerous. The Horizons DLC lets you land on planets but not Earthlike ones, so all you can really do is look at big, brown planet surfaces and go, “Ooh.” There are secrets out there to be found and promises of more to come, but unless you find the idea of wandering into a binary star system exciting or spending 40 minutes hyper-jumping to find a weird-looking stone on a planet’s surface, then you might not be too enthused. But the vastness of the galaxy combined with the fact that the vast bulk of it is uninhabited and unexploited means that when you do find something unique, it really does make you sit up.

One More Thing

Tomorrow is July 8, which means it’s time for the Gameological community’s monthly Mario Kart 8 On The 8th gathering. Its stalwart host, DL, has posted the details, along with the pertinent info for anyone looking to hang out with fellow Gameologerinos through the community’s Discord channel. Here’s the gist: Fire up Mario Kart 8 on your Wii U tomorrow at 8 p.m. Central, get online, and plug in the code 0699-6646-7941. May the best racers win!

That’ll do it for this week. As always, thank you so much for reading and commenting. We’ll see you all next week!