Stalled in Hyrule Castle

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)


  1. Drakulus says:

    I completed Breath of the Wild on Wii U and attempted to play it again on the Switch and couldn’t. I found it too dull to play through twice. I hope you can get past that Lynel because starting over isn’t something I would wish on anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Yeah, I can imagine it’s tough starting from scratch with this game. (I’ll wait till my motivation returns before considering it!) Those initial ooo’s and aaah’s probably don’t quite have the same sparkle the second time around.


      1. Drakulus says:

        To be fair I wasn’t really wowed the first time around. I’ve played better open world games than this :).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Matt says:

    That happened to me with some RPGs when I was younger: Golden Sun, Final Fantasy IV, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana come to mind.

    As for Hyrule Castle, I may be wrong here, but I am pretty sure there is a way to get to Calamity Ganon without having to beat a single Lynel. Have you tried entering the castle from the back? There is a waterway over there that leads to the inside of the main building. That way you don’t have to make your way through the gatehouses. Again, maybe my memory is foggy, but that was the way I took to Ganon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      Now there’s some advice I could have used months ago! 😜 I have to admit that I don’t recall exactly what path led me into the gatehouses, but with the way things I left things, Link was literally stuck inside the gatehouse with no way out except through the Lynel.

      Some of those older RPGs can be pretty challenging, so I can imagine the quit-rate can be fairly high. Having played through Chrono Trigger for the first time not long ago, I recall a number of spots that gave me more trouble that I thought they should have. But still, I made it through. Ah, if only I could conjure up some of that perseverance with BotW…!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. darthtimon says:

    I nearly gave up on a game called Typoman on the Switch, owing to a horrid final boss. In the end, I gave it another go and succeeded. With BOTW, one nice thing (without giving spoilers) is that you can beat Ganon then return to exploring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. cary says:

      That’s the big reason that I don’t want to leave BotW unfinished, because there’s so much more to explore after Ganon! (At several points, the game itself alluded to this.) Yeah, I really gotta get back to it at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cary says:

    Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:

    Y’know that moment when a game, a game that you’ve been having loads of fun with, just isn’t fun anymore? That’s right where I am with one of the most critically-acclaimed games of last year. See here on Virtual Bastion for more.


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