It’s not that I wanted to actively quit The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It just…kind of…happened.
I can tell you exactly where things stalled out, too – the second gatehouse in Hyrule Castle. I want to say that it was mostly due to the Lynel, the second Lynel (one was in the first gatehouse, you see) in the level Link had to face. As long as the Lynel lived, there was no way to progress.
I hate fighting Lynels.
But I also have to admit that I was not having a very good time in Hyrule Castle, either.
Maybe I should back up a little…
After sinking my teeth into Breath of the Wild earlier this year, I felt as though there was no stopping me…no stopping Link, for that matter. I was having an incredibly good time with the game. The exploration, the discovery, the collecting…I found all it perfectly enthralling. The game offered expansive and changing environments, whereby each session of play felt unique. I battled my way through the intense and odd landscapes of each of game’s four divine beasts. I made friends, and enemies, along the way. I collected and cooked more foodstuffs than any one adventurer could need (although I never seemed to have enough!), and I roamed Hyrule’s openness with a wink and a smile.
It was all so very good.
Until I reached Hyrule Castle.
Oh, I knew the time would eventually come when I had to stop dilly-dallying in the fields and mountains and forests and actually beat Calamity Ganon, the game’s final boss. I delayed the inevitable for as long as I thought I could. And it seems it wasn’t long enough.
Aside from the Lynels, Hyrule Castle had been overcome by the dank, deep purple darkness that pervaded some of Hyrule’s otherwise picturesque scenery. Gone were the blue skies and green meadows, replaced by midnight and danger around every corner. Of course the only way to make Hyrule Castle a welcoming place again was to defeat its current evil resident, but once I started traversing the castle itself, the motivation to do so dissipated. I just wasn’t…wasn’t…
That’s not really the right word, but it’s the closest one that encompasses the malaise I felt (and still feel) about dealing with Hyrule Castle. For lack of better phrasing, I simply didn’t want to be there.
As I had been overwriting all my saves, I didn’t have one to reload – this thinking that maybe it’d be best if I just continued exploring Hyrule, finding shrines and secrets and such, until my mood lightened. With that option out, I also though about turning around, backing out of the castle. But seeing that I had gotten as far as I did, that didn’t make much sense either. So Link remains stuck, in the second gatehouse, with that Lynel in perpetual wait.
That’s a fitting metaphor for my own mindset, as well. Stuck in perpetual wait. The problem is I’m not sure if the wait is going to be worth it. I’ve not picked up the game in a few months, and the farther away I get from it, the less likely it feels that I ever will again. I know that’s not entirely true – the game will wait for me as long as I want it too – and I also know that I hate for the game to remain unfinished when I know I’m so close to the end.
(For the record, the exact same thing happened with Final Fantasy VII. I got nearly to the end and then quit for no good reason, except that I recall being quite low on health while facing a difficult boss. So maybe that was a good reason. Over the years I’ve wanted to return to the game but never have.)
Tell me, dear readers, have you ever almost finished a game and lacked the motivation to actually finish it? I could use a good consolation story right about now.
Lede image taken by cary from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild © Nintendo (2017)