It’s been just over three weeks since I started playing Breath of the Wild, and it would be quite impossible to even make a guess as to how many hours I have dedicated to this game thus far. In that time, while I have managed to make some actual progress in the game’s story, the majority of my time has been spent exploring, and I have come to appreciate the sheer number of surprises Breath of the Wild has to offer. Of course, if you don’t want these surprises to be spoiled, you may want to look away….
The Lost Woods: To start…oh my gosh, the Lost Woods in this game is so cool! I was looking for Hestu, as I was in dire need of more room for weapons. I remembered last seeing him at this one stable, and I believe he said his home in Korok Forest was to the north of here. Mounting my trusty steed Rocinante, I began the journey northward, and it wasn’t long before I reached the infamous Lost Woods. Leaving my horse at the entrance, I headed into the forest’s misty depths.
It didn’t take long to realize that the torches were the key to navigating one’s way through the forest, but even with the assurance that I would not become the woods’ newest victim any time soon, it was a thoroughly creepy affair. The twisted trees were unsettling enough without catching sight of distant shapes through the fog. Often times, these shapes were merely a silhouette of a stag watching me pass by or crows startled out of hiding, but it was unnerving, nonetheless. And the music! It chills me to my very bones! What is that ghastly rattling sound!
Well, at one point, I stupidly stopped to take a picture of a crow, only to realize this had caused my torch to go out. I attempted to start a fire with some flint to relight my torch, but the flint disappeared as soon as I dropped it into the grass. Quite disturbed at this point, I stood there for some time longer wondering what I should do, until a realization hit me. I didn’t need a torch because I could simply follow the particles floating in the wind. This turned out to be indeed the correct solution, and I reached Korok Forest without further trouble, and I even got to see the Great Deku Tree!
And do you know what else? Huh, do you? …I can’t say. It’s just…too awesome to divulge. If you haven’t visited Korok Forest, then I invite you to do so.
The Zora Don’t Like Rain?: After completing all I could in Korok Forest and the Lost Woods (save for a shrine involving constellations, of which I have yet to make any sense), I finally decided to complete my first main Divine Beast quest of the game, the one with the Zora. I’ll spare you the details, but it was towards the conclusion of this quest that I got to encounter my first Divine Beast up close and personal, a massive mechanical elephant named Ruta. Apparently, it had been affecting the weather around Zora Domain by creating a nonstop rainstorm. While it baffles me that the aquatic Zora would be upset by this, I obliged their wishes that I put a stop to Ruta’s moist nonsense.
What came next was both a happy surprise and somewhat disappointing. I had been sorely missing the large dungeons from previous Zelda games, and it was to my immense delight when I learned that the Divine Beasts themselves are dungeons. What a clever way to incorporate traditional dungeons into a non-traditional game! As soon as I entered the mechanical monstrosity, I began my puzzling with gusto and found the whole idea of being able to control Ruta’s trunk in order to solve puzzles to be most ingenious indeed. Yes, I felt this way for a grand total of an hour before I realized I was already at the boss fight. This dungeon was more akin to the Great Deku Tree from Ocarina of Time than a full-blown dungeon, and it could have been truly magnificent indeed if only it had been a bit larger, like the dungeons from the latter half of Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess.
More Storying: Well, after Ruta, I got a slight head start on the Goron and Rito sidequests, as well. Reaching the Rito was a simple affair, while the Gorons were not so easy to locate. I started by visiting the tower near Death Mountain in order to gain a map of my surroundings. After that, I chose a spot on the map that looked the most promising, downed some fireproof elixir, and ran for it. Fortunately, my guess had been correct, as I managed to locate Goron City without much trouble or wasted time. As you might expect, I promptly bought some fireproof armor so Link won’t catch on fire anymore. Though, you must admit that his face when exploring the intense heat of Death Mountain is adorable. It wasn’t long before I got distracted, however, and the rest of this post shall be dedicated to my many heroic deeds!
Link, Animal Tamer: I have since gotten two more horses. The first involves a riddle I was attempting to solve, where the answer was clearly “hoof”. The first animal that came to mind was a horse, and I had recently heard a tale of a so-called “Giant Horse” in the Taobob Grassland. When one is playing a game where you can happen upon huge serpentine dragons or massive camels the size of mountains, I could only assume that the Giant Horse would be a gigantic beast I would need to fight to the death. Surely this is what was meant when I was asked to locate a hoof.
Travelling to the grassland in question, I scan the area with the assumption that a Giant Horse would be quite difficult to miss. Instead, I spot a group of average horses, along with one horse that appeared slightly larger than the rest. It was just the perspective, I was certain, but when I took out my camera to get a closer look, this slightly larger horse was indeed called a Giant Horse. Giant Horse indeed! Pshaw, this was no horse of extreme stature at all! Nay, I had stumbled upon a Clydesdale! Well, I mounted the horse and managed to tame it thanks to Link’s uncanny ability to devour a good deal of stamina-restoring food while on the back of a wild and bucking horse. Bringing this imposter of a Giant Horse to the nearest stable, I decided to name it…The Ghost of Christmas Past or TGoCP for short. If you really want, you could even go so far as to name it “tuh-gock-pah”. I don’t know why you’d want to, but you could.
After taming the…somewhat big horse, I had no trouble at all taming the white horse on Safula Hill, which I went on to name Arctic Queen (or, because the game limits how many letters you can use, ArctcQeen). I also found out that Link can ride a deer, which was a pretty ridiculous sight indeed.
This next tale takes place at night. I was in the woods between Lake Hylia and…that tropical place with all the waterfalls. Yes, there. I began to hear distant music, and I knew that the Rito who plays the accordion must be nearby, so I began looking for him. Climbing a hill, I saw a shape in the distance. Surely this was the man…um, bird…um, bird-man I sought. I ran forward, only to stop in my tracks when I realized that the object of my attention was no feathered bard at all, but rather, a skeletal horse! Shocked and just a little horrified that I had so recently been sprinting head-on towards an equine corpse returned from the great beyond, I watched as the creature reared up and ran off. It was only after my initial surprise wore off that I managed to locate the beast again, sneak up behind it, and ride it. It saddens me to say that I hear you cannot register a Stalhorse, as they are called, as they return to the dust of the Earth with the arrival of sunrise. I’ve grown rather attached to the things, I must say, as these particular horses are easily tamed and instantly loyal. They can even eat apples. Somehow. Nevertheless, I will transfer the name The Ghost of Christmas Past to all my Stalhorse friends out there. Who knows what TGoCP’s initials stand for anymore. The Grove of Cryptic Puddles? Yes, perfect!
Surprises Come in All Shapes and Sizes: Of course, this game’s surprises are certainly not limited to horses prone to exaggeration or horses that have forgotten how to be dead. I have also discovered plenty of other things across the vast land of Hyrule that have given me pause. One of them…is the Horse God. I’m saying no more than that. Just…what the heck. Two, north of the Lost Woods, I encountered a surprising sight, a giant dome comprised of pure shadow. Stopping to stare at such an ominous phenomenon, it took me a moment to decide whether or not I should dare enter. I eventually gathered up the courage to venture within, where I found a place so dark, one can hardly see an inch in front of them. It didn’t help that I was currently playing the game at night…with the lights off, mind you. It was certainly atmospheric, to say the least.
I have also gotten the opportunity to explore two massive labyrinths, which was pretty awesome, as I’ve always been a fan of mazes. (Corn maze, count me in! Or as I like to call them, corn maize….) One was next to the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab and the other was…I think it was northwest of the shadowy dome. But I forget. It was at the latter that I had to leave my second loyal Stalhorse behind, which was about as difficult as the maze itself. You see, I’ve just…gotten so attached to these poor, pitiful Stalhorses. And…after I left it at the entrance, it started to walk away, only to turn back around and return to me, and… Oh, Ghosty, I can’t bear to leave you!
And then morning came. And it died before my very eyes. And that image will continue to haunt me until my final days. Let’s talk about something else now, okay?
Bonus Time: Well, Link has finally bought himself a nice little house in Hateno Village. I managed to get all the furniture and everything. Best of all, I can now sleep for free anytime I wish and store some of my stuff there. I also saw a Blupee. And…well, this last one is pretty funny. So, I was going to fight one of those mini-Guardians in a shrine, and I needed to equip Link with better clothes for the task at hand. I put on the circlet that makes him more resistant to Guardians’ attacks. Next, I decided he should wear his new barbarian pants because it would raise his attack power. Um…did you know that barbarian pants are more like shorts? Really short shorts. Rather disturbed by how much leg Link was now showing, I completed the outfit with knight armor, and…wow. It was…it was bad. Now his pitiful excuse for pants were hidden from view entirely beneath his armor, and he might as well have been wearing no pants at all. I couldn’t even start the battle quite yet because I was laughing so hard.
Those were just the highlights of my experiences with Breath of the Wild, and I have not even touched upon my growing prowess in battle. All you need to know is I defeated a Lynel. It was epic! I will continue to explore and fill in the rest of my map, and I’m quite certain the surprises won’t stop anytime soon. And now it’s your turn. What have you been up to in Breath of the Wild, dear readers? What is the most shocking thing you have seen thus far?
Image from Flickr User: Jeux Video