My friend from DLI, Matta, was supposed to come by today after he got off work, but he called and said he was too tired and we'd have to try and coordinate for a day when we both have off. I understand, he's working 12 hour shifts too, and on top of that has to do army bull crap. (In other words he gets to work around 6:30 or so and doesn't get home till about 8:30 at night. Ick.) He does get 2 days off in a row though, which is cool.
Bad news of the day? My landlady, Diane (she's a great person), is looking for a new job because the property owners are forcing her to stop giving military discounts. They said to her, "What in the world do they deserve special treatment for?" That really sucks. I'm going to miss her, she made the complex a community. She really cared about people.
The good news, I beat the first real dungeon on The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It's a great game! Some notes on the game, my review thus far.
GRAPHICS: Ok, this is a big sticking point with me, but not, by any means, a make or break for a game. I still love Metroid (the original) and it's graphics are super primative. But graphics do make an impact. Flow, visibility, color, texture. All things to consider. Wind Waker's cell shading graphics engine is really a pretty amazing thing. Imagine the animation of a cartoon (American not Japanese), with all the rich motioin and original Warner Brothers feel. The guards on the Island where you have to go rescue your sister have these big pig snouts with these over exagerated lower lips that flop around as they walk with a wabbling gate that reminds me of Baloo from the Jungle Book. Take the old Dragon's lair games that had the pre-rendered cartoon scenes, make them a bit higher quality, and make them totally fluid. Link's eyes track where you are going, and he actually looks at who he's talking to. He has emotions and all kinds of things. Hair and clothes moving fluidly in the wind. All the while you feel like you are watching the old Zelda cartoon show only with a younger link and a talking boat. Even though I didn't like the idea of cartoon like graphics to begin with, they grow on you for this game. I wouldn't use them in race games (like the one to be realeased soon) though. Graphics: 9.
GAMEPLAY: Control of your character, camera angle, these are all important things in a video game. What did Nintendo do right here? They kept them 100% identicle to the ones in Ocarina of Time, with a few new moves and refinements that make an already excellent control system even better. I love it. Control: 9.
STORY: The story actually ties into the other games, and now they are starting to make some since why the Zelda games all seemed to be just a single game all to themselves (with the exception of Majora's Mask which I haven't played yet). It's 100 years after link sealed Gannon away in the dark realm. The hero from the Kokiri forest has long since died of old age, but his memory still lives on. Throughout all the land the legends are told of the "Hero in Green" who appeared from the forest as a boy and saved the world from the evil Gannon. On a small island out in the middle of the high seas of Hyrule there is a village where they honor the memory of the hero in green by having all the young boys dress up as the fabled hero on their birthday when they come of age. Our young hero Link (or whatever you want to call him) is your typical kid, he likes to play and have fun, and he really doesn't like being forced to wear the silly green outfit that is more suited to the forest than a tropical island, but he does as he is told. When he goes out to get his sister to bring her home for the party he spots a pirate ship chasing a bird. The bird has a girl who looks a lot like his little sister (and oddly enough a lot like Princess Zelda.). Long story short he saves the girl, and the bird takes his sister. Then he makes the pirates take him to the birds hideout to rescue his sister, and lo and behold, we suddenly realize that Link is the re-incarnation (they don't say that but it's very much implied) of the old hero who has come to save Hyrule from the evil Gannon who has found a way to escape the Dark Relm. So armed with a talking sail boat, a magical conductors wand called the Wind Waker (plays the role of the Ocarina, allowing link to cast spells), and his trusty sword and shield he sets off onto the high seas to save the land of Hyrul, because that is his destiny, that is why he was born. I like the story, though I don't like some of the characters, but that always happens. Story: 10
FUN FACTOR: Oh my, is it fun! I just love standing there with my grappling hook spinning in my hand as I take aim at that giant centiped, launch it away, snag him in the eye and jerk him down to my level and WHAM! Go off with the sword! ANd even more sword animations, Link is a badass! Very Very Very fun! Fun Factor: 10
REPLAYABILITY: Now this is a big issue. It is, like all other Zelda games, very free flow and has lots of side quest. This keeps you playing for a long time. I've heard rumors that there is an alternate world like the original Zelda. I have to rate it lower because it is finite, but it's got great lasting power if you ask me. Replayability: 8
Go buy this game.
I think I had something else to say, but I can't remember what it was. So oh well.