UPDATES - Last Updated 11:44 PM PST
12:43 - You ever have one of those mornings when you wake up, and you have no sense of what day it is? I woke up at like 8:45 this morning, looked around, wondered why my alarm hadn't gone off and why Jeff hadn't shown up to roll with me to work yet. Then I realized it was Saturday, slept for two more hours, and had roughly the same exact bit of confusion when I woke up later. Yeesh. Now I'm showered, shaved, and ready to get the Zelda on. Whoo!
12:52 - Yeah, this third temple is kooky as hell. Moving platforms, lots of traps you have to avoid, and an enemy type that won't take damage unless you scream into the microphone first to disable it. I'm just trying to envision someone playing this on a bus and screaming into their DS. Awkward to say the least.
1:00 - Oh invisible platforms, you will be death of me. Literally. Good thing I can sketch out the invisible pathway on the map. Got the bow and arrow. I foresee this coming in handy for the rest of the temple.
1:36 - Clever boss fight in this one. Not the toughest boss I've ever encountered, but very cool fight that uses both screens to great effect. Another solid temple all around. Lots of drawing stuff on the map, and I'll just say that there's a very specific order to it that becomes clear early on. Rescued the Spirit of Courage (who is oddly silent) and got another heart container. Ah jeez, I really hope I don't have to go back to the Temple of the Ocean King again. If I do, I think I may put that off a bit and do a little exploring first.
1:45 - Plot twist! No spoilers, just...you know...plot twist!
1:50 - Was about to head off toward the death fog to go find the ghost ship, when some crazy pirate lady attacked and started shooting torpedoes at us. I think Limebeck and this chick are previously acquainted. She caught up, we sword fought, I won, and off we go.
1:57 - Found the ghost ship. This seems like as good of a spot as any to pause and take a few questions:
In regards to the linearity of the game, the storyline definitely has a very linear flow to it. You are going from one point to the next in a very specific order. However, there's plenty of side ventures to take part in, it seems. Uncharted islands to explore, treasure to discover, etc. I'm pretty sure I could have gone through without ever picking up that cyclone slate, but it's come in handy thus far. It's worth exploring beyond the primary quests.
In regards to the difficulty, it's not very tough at this point. I've died a couple of times, but that's mainly because I keep forgetting to stock up on potions before I tackle a temple. The puzzles are clever, but I have yet to get truly stuck at this point. Usually the path to glory is at least somewhat clear.
In regards to game length, I think I'm about halfway through at this point. I still have two seacharts to find, which I imagine I'll start doing after this ghost ship bit.
In regards to those enemies that have to be shouted at, yeah, they look like a cross between a Pikachu and Buggs Bunny. Gigantic ears and fat and yellow.
In regards to how long it takes to eat a sandwich, 45 minutes, minimum. At least, that is if you're doing it correctly. Hmmm. A sandwich sounds kinda good. Time to call the girlfriend and see if she can bring me back some grub on her way home from work. After that, to the ghost ship!
2:24 - So, I'm inside the ship, and there are these sisters trapped throughout the ship. I have to escort them back to the first sister I found. There's something...unsettling about them. Something...sinister. I wonder if they're left handed...
2:55 - Yeah, I was right. After rescuing all the sisters, they turned into creepy ghosts and I ended up playing an evil game of table tennis with them until I'd smoked them all. They send me in the direction of Tetra. I find her, but without giving too much away, I'll just say all is not right. Gramps mysteriously appears again. Dude has a knack for getting around. He explains a bunch of stuff which I won't go into here. Again, plot twist. From here, big, big bout of plot exposition with more of the art cutout style cutscenes. Love the art on these.
3:03 - Some decent comedy in this game's dialogue sequences. Limebeck is a good comic foil. Anyway, long story short, I know who the ultimate evil is behind all these monsters and crap now. I've got to go see some blacksmith who has some idea of how to defeat it. But before that, I really need a burrito. More later!
4:35 - OK, I am fully burrito'd. To Bannan Island, and the blacksmith!
4:48 - OK, so that wasn't the right island. But I did find a mermaid and a weird target shooting minigame on that one!
4:59 - Found the island with blacksmith. I need to get three pure metals for him so he can build the phantom sword, the weapon I need to dispell evil and all that. Three different tribes on various islands have them. I gotta go back to the Ocean King's temple to get a new seachart. Sunuva!
5:06 - Bought a quiver so now I can carry more arrows. Back at the temple, another earthquake hits. I go inside and the phantom dudes are now glowing red, which apparently means they're faster. Joy! I'm really beginning to loathe this temple.
5:39 - Oh sweet tapdancing Christ, there's a save point here at the next section of the Ocean King temple. That is the LAST time I will ever have to deal with those levels. I'm sure there will still be some repetition here and there, but at least that section's over and done with. Now then...
6:02 - Well, now I know why they added this midway save. The temple turns into a gigantic pain in the ass from here. Floors that make noises that alert the phantoms, weird ghost things that attack you from time to time, and of course, more invisible platforms. This might be OK if I didn't have to be constantly carrying around crystals to fit in holes to open doors. Sigh. I'm going to go put on a load of laundry and hope my head clears a bit before tackling this again.
6:46 - After doing a few household chores, I tackled that temple again and finished it with a couple of minutes to spare. Yeesh that section was annoying. Got the southeastern sea chart. Let's see about finding that first precious metal now.
6:48 - Just checked the hockey scores. LA trounced the Ducks. Who'da thunk it? That Bernier kid looks like he might be for reals.
7:17 - Gorons! I always loved these guys. Had to introduce myself to everyone on the island so the chief would accept me into the tribe...for a small fee, of course. Wandered around a maze for a bit until I figured out the slightly opaque solution, then headed off to the Goron's temple for the first metal. I wonder if this one will be markedly tougher than the previous temples...
8:07 - Nah, not much tougher. It's really only the ocean king's temple that kinda sucks at this point. Another solid temple with some good puzzles, most of which revolve around bombchus. You also get a goron helper at one point. And possibly my favorite boss fight thus far. Heart container woot! First pure metal woot! Sounds like the head Goron wants to see me before I leave. Let's see what he wants.
8:12 - Just more money. Oh well, nothing to sneeze at.
8:27 - Arrived at the isle of frost, which is completely encased in ice from the get-go, which means I've gotta blast it away with my ship. Doesn't help that weird flying eyeballs are attacking me. Finished that off, and now heading to the island to speak to the population.
8:40 - Well that was just silly. The Isle of Frost has two native inhabitants, the Anuki and the Yook. The chief of the ANuki thinks they have a spy in their midst, so I had to deduce who it was by doing the sort of process of elimination problem I haven't had to do since seventh grade. After doing that and then beating up some Yook on my way to the Ice Temple, I...uh...well, I went to the Ice Temple. I'm gonna pause here for a little while and take a break. For some reason, I have a very distinct and altogether perplexing desire to do some dishes. More later.
10:31 - Mkay, after a little break, I'm ready to get back to it. I'd like to at least bust through this temple before I crash for the night. Maybe we'll go further, we'll see.
11:24 - Definitely the toughest of the traditional temples so far, though the boss fight was wicked easy once I figured out what to do. Still, a few tough puzzles and challenges in this one. Got my stuff, and I'm heading out.
11:39 - While sailing around I discovered a really weird and kind of awesome secret island. No spoilers, it's just rad. You'll know it when you find it. Beyond that, it looks like I'm heading back to the Temple of the Ocean King for one more seachart. Not looking forward to that, so I'm going to quit here for the night and resume tomorrow.
Current impressions? I'm loving everything about the game except for one thing, and that's the slog that is the Temple of the Ocean King. I don't quite get why there is this insistance on making you jam back to this place over and over again. I certainly appreciate the challenge of the temple itself (not to mention the save point that pops up halfway through the game) but having to redo chunks of it multiple times is just not that much fun. Beyond that though, very few complaints. The controls are a dream, if you ask me. Love the responsiveness, and very rarely have they caused me to do anything dumb. Game looks amazing, as I've said, and while the story is contrived in a very stereotypically Zelda kind of way, I like the characters I've encountered thus far and I am legitimately excited to see how it all ends. Look more more updates tomorrow. For now, sleep. Because that's where I'm a Viking.