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Breath of the Wild Expansion Pass Worth It?

Nintendo just announced the contents of the Breath of the Wild DLC Pack 1 which is the first installation of DLC available to Expansion Pass owners. I haven’t purchased the Expansion Pass yet, and after seeing DLC Pack 1… I’m going to continue holding off.

If you want a full list of what’s inside, you can check it out here.

It’s basically cosmetic outfits, a way to see exactly where you’ve been in the last 2 hours, a fast travel marker, hard mode, a korok seed location detector, and a horde mode called “Trial of the Sword.”

There’s not actually any ‘content’ other than Hode Mode — and that’s borderline content.

I’m going to wait until there are more areas to explore, more dungeons — maybe true dungeons — and see if purchasing later makes sense.

As for now, I’m actually on the last little bit before heading to fight Ganon. I’ve taken my sweet time combing the land for shrines and goodies. I’ve explored as much as I can, collected all I’ve seen, and really tried to comprehensively play with “no remorse” for having skipped anything. I’ll formulate an overall thoughts posts as soon as I finish.

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QuickCast Episode 1: Not So Quick

After a decade of wanting to take podcasting seriously, we finally got our act together and launched this sucker!  Introducing...

Keen and Graev's QuickCast

QuickCast is a video game commentary podcast where we (Keen and Graev) pick topics to discuss/debate/commentate and fire up the old (literally) mic!

Where did the name QuickCast come from?

QuickCast was inspired by the Dark Age of Camelot ability called -- you guessed it -- 'Quickcast'. Quickcast allows cloth wearers to cast a single spell with a quickened casting time, but costs twice the power. It cannot be interrupted by melee or spells. 

We decided it would be the perfect name for a podcast designed to be shorter in length. Most podcasts are ridiculously long, drawn out, and unfocused. QuickCast is going to be 15-20 minutes in length and push twice the power in one cast making it easier than ever to consume Keen and Graev's gaming content.

OMG is Graev actually back?

Yep! I journeyed far to where he was isolated in deep meditation to wake him. He was needed once again to bring balance to the force, fulfill his destiny, unite the clans, etc., etc.

Where can we listen to Keen and Graev's QuickCast?

Episode 1: Not So Quick

So.... about the whole 'quick' thing... We had some introductions to do and we got carried away. We combined two episodes into one due to recording difficulties. We're going to make them faster! I promise they'll be 15-20 minutes or even less.​

Episode 1 Notes

Nintendo Switch

  • Overall Impressions
  • Build quality - screen issues, controllers, etc
  • Handheld vs dock mode
  • Operating system
  • Upcoming games we wan to play

Breath of the Wild

  • Overall Impressions
  • Pros and Cons
  • Is it Zelda enough?

Episode Summary

Production note: Sound quality and overall production quality will improve with time as we learn more. We're figuring out microphone placement, recording hardware, etc. Keen will talk slower and Graev will talk louder. Thank you for your patience.

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Breath of the Wild Dungeons Depart from Tradition

Breath of the Wild is a radical departure from the traditional Zelda game formula. This is most apparent in how Nintendo handled dungeons. The ‘dungeon experience’ in Breath of the Wild is split between two main types of areas: Shrines and Divine Beasts.

Shrines

During the first four shrines, Link’s Sheikah Slate is empowered with Runes which grant game-defining abilities like bombs, magnesis, cryonis, and stasis. To best showcase how these are used, I made a quick video.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/9a0DK-WkNjc” width=”720″][/su_youtube]

Shrines are like micro-dungeons. And when I say micro, I mean as short as a minute or maybe as long as 5 min. These experiences are mostly puzzles with the occasional “fight a bad guy” type. They typically reward junk items you’ll break moments later, but some will give significant game-changing upgrades like climbing armor or other gear that will last.

Divine Beast Dungeons

These Divine Beasts are the ‘dungeon’ equivalent. However, they depart from the formula significantly. There’s a dungeon map, but that’s it. No big key, small key, etc. There aren’t items you’ll obtain in them like you would a Hookshot, Boomerang, etc. They’re more like giant puzzles.

I recorded an entire Divine Beast (Vah Ruta) to show you guys what they’re like.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/i34g1Rnwy20″ width=”720″][/su_youtube]

These Divine Beasts are a ~30-45 min experience.

The boss fights are really cool, and better than the typical Zelda dungeon boss. But other than that, the experience is very, very different. I keep saying ‘different’ because I don’t yet know if it’s a good or a bad thing.

Graev is leaning toward “they changed it too much.” I’m in the “I like the shorter ‘dungeons’ with emphasis on puzzles,” camp, but I too liked the formula. There wasn’t anything wrong with the way Zelda dungeons have always been.

The big winner for me has been the story and how these dungeons play into the bigger arch — more so than other Zelda games where the story was a tad bit nebulous.

I’m not done with the game yet, so these thoughts are just part of my bigger review with is forthcoming.

Breath of the Wild Cooking: What a Fun/Simple System

I really enjoy cooking in Breath of the Wild. Cooking is fairly simple, yet rewarding when you take a little bit of time experiment and whip up some culinary creations.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/pifwbBkPrSA” width=”720″][/su_youtube]

To cook you simply find ingredients in the world, hold them, then dump them into a heated pot. Ingredients can be found all over the world. Some ingredients are fairly simple such as apples hanging from trees. Other ingredients may require you to find a rare fish, defeat an exotic beast, or explore certain regions are a time of day.

My wife and I are playing Breath of the Wild together, and she’s a big driving force behind the time we spend cooking. “OOoo, try that!” “Mix in some mushrooms!” “Let’s see what happens when we do this!”  I enjoy the nudge she gives me to collect more resources. Sometimes I’ll just by running on my way to slay a Bokoblin and she’ll insist we stop to collect the mushrooms we needed for a steak we plan to cook.

I like the trial and error aspect of learning new recipes. Very early in the game you’re presented with an introduction to cooking where a character tells you to make a recipe for Spicy Meat Seafood Fry. He forgot the recipe and needed your help. I spent an hour mixing ingredients before realizing I forgot he said “Seafood” so I was mixing all sorts of meats together. The exercise resulted in my learning about all kinds of ingredients and how they all work together.

You can only have one food effect on a piece of food at a time.

 

Food Effects in Breath of the Wild:

  • Chilly – Head Resistance
  • Energizing – Restores Stamina
  • Enduring – Extra Stamina
  • Electro – Shock Resistance
  • Fireproof – Flame Guard
  • Hasty – Increases Movement Speed
  • Hearty – Restores Full Health
  • Mighty – Attack Bonus
  • Sneaky – Stealth buff
  • Spicy – Cold Resistance
  • Tough – Defense Boost

Trying to combine two will not work.

You can add these effects to a protein like a piece of raw meat, chicken drumstick, or an egg to yield a meal.

Cooking is also woven into other game mechanics quite a bit. For example, I’m about to venture to the top of a big snowy mountain. My warm coat is not enough to help me survive. Therefore I have to plan ahead and cook up several heat-resistant recipes. There are also deserts you’ll need to traverse with food to chill you.

Lots of neat and creative food interactions happen when you try new things. For example, try dropping a bird egg into a hot spring and you get a hard-boiled egg. You can also drop a steak into the snow and it will freeze yielding a cooling effect. Neat things like that make for fun “WOAH!” moments.

The cooking system provides just enough reason to go off the beaten path and explore as well as a gentle nudge to stop chasing after the quests or the combat to take a little time to experiment. I’m a fan.

Breath of the Wild: What I Love So Far

Breath of the Wild is such a massive game with so much to see, so much to do, and so much for me to talk about that I find myself daunted by the task of even beginning to talk about it with you. I truly do not know where to begin. So, at the recommendation of my wife, I’m going to simply start by telling you a little bit about what I love so about my journey into what has become a much larger game than I had imagined.

The Story

I’ve enjoyed the stories in the previous Zelda games, but something about this one feels more thought out. I’ve created a video containing the premise of the story which comes straight from the game itself.

WARNING: This video contains plot spoilers.

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/9kEmVXxFWVc” width=”720″][/su_youtube]

The story is definitely there, and definitely linear in the sense that you progress through it as you progress through the world and learn more. What I find so intriguing is how the entire world is crafted around it rather than just a world that feels like it was thrown together.

I have my own theory about the world. Slight Spoilers ahead. We know it takes place one hundred years after Link wakes up. I think that’s a couple hundred years after Wind Waker. From what I can gather, I think Link from Wind Waker was long gone and another Link reincarnated, did his save the world thing, and THEN this Link came about. I could be totally wrong.

Zelda Meets Skyrim

I kept telling myself, “It won’t be open like Skyrim. No way.”  Turns out, it’s pretty dang close. Way closer than I was letting myself hope. You can pretty much go where you want and do what you want. There are main story quests you’re given, but it’s all up to you how quickly you do them or not.

There are side-quests and areas as well as ways to progress your character — or not. The choice is yours.

Weapons and armor exist in the game. You can find gear or quasi-craft it. You can upgrade it, sell it at merchants, etc.

The World is HUGE. Too Huge?

I MIGHT be 1/4 of the way through opening up the world and I am already thinking the world might even be too big. Traversing the world takes a really, really long time on foot and still a decent time on horseback. Oh yeah, there are horses. You can teleport across the world once you unlock points (again, Skyrim) but even then there’s so much you have to see and find.

Exploration is crucial, and finding things you wouldn’t otherwise encounter feels like half the fun so far.

Combat is Hard, Yet Intuitive

At first I was thinking that maybe the combat was just too hard. Then I got the hang of it and realized how it varies depending on your weapon. There are so many weapon types in the game but once you learn how they ‘feel’ you’ll be able to topple harder foes. There’s a nice rewarding feel to how combat is involved. Compared to previous Zelda games, I feel like it’s maybe a step up while still maintaining almost that same feel.

Weather

Going into snowy cold areas requires you to bundle up and stay warm. Going into a hot area requires you to stay cool. These are managed by food, elixirs, and even the clothing Link is wearing. It’s a nice touch.

Cooking

My wife is constantly saying “There’s a cooking pot lets make some food!”

The cooking is so cool too. There’s way more than the surface level of simply combining ingredients. For example, taking a piece of meat and dropping it on the actual ground in a snowy area gives you frozen meat which you can then use for making heat-resistant foods. Taking and dropping it into a hot spring turns it into a hard-boiled egg. There are even benefits for cooking during a Blood Moon. Little things like that are so cool.

Even setting aside the subtle cool things you can do with food, combining food with recipes itself isn’t a bad thing. There are tons of recipes you can figure out and monsters are constantly dropping ingredients. I go out of my way to find new ways to combine food.

Early Initial Feelings

I’m overwhelmed. In a good way, really. I have to take Breath of the Wild bit by bit and just enjoy the journey. I can’t focus on being a completionist or rushing the story or doing ALL of the side-quests. I have to go through however feels natural. I don’t know that there’s much replayability like Skyrim would have because of making different characters and joining different factions, but this feels like a game that can easily continue on and build upon itself with DLC — which we already know it will.

I have multiple posts in the works for you guys where I break down some of the other things in more detail. Much more to come as I adventure on my quest to save Hyrule once again!

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