Would you guess at first glance that the above screenshot is from a Zelda game? Link looks like some Sith Lord in that shot, but I do love, how the technological weapons look with that glow. I got a Thunder Blade and a Guardian Shield equipped here and it does look absolutely badass. The Sheikah Technology made Zelda "cool" again and I'm all for it. At the same time they still preserved the typical Nintendo quirkiness of it all in their character designs and the humor, so it's not like they were trying to make everything cool and mature for the sake of it. It has the right mixture and I like, how I can make Link look like some futuristic warrior or like a cross dresser with a broom as his weapon. In this game you can have it all.
The shrine at the Gerudo Tower contained the Sasa Kai "Modest" Combat trial, by the way. It was a lot tougher than the two easy Combat Trials that I did so far, but still manageable, unlike the one at the cliff near Hateno.
Retreat to Gerudo Tower
What looked as cool was the boss of the camel dungeon, but he will have to wait for a while, because I remembered about some shrines somewhere else or so... Cough. Well, I started with the Gerudo Tower to the north of the desert.
Thing with these towers is that you can spot them from great distance and you immediately want them to set as your next goal. But the way there often turns out to be much longer than anticipated and it's easy to get sidetracked. In this case I had to cross a sand storm area, where your Sheikah Slate will only display static on your map and where I had to ignore quite some treasure chests on pillars for now. Stay focused! And as I arrived at the tower, I was greeted with even more obstacles to my goal. They are really creative with these towers, I give them that, in this case it only had balconies at the very top and it was poking out of a bottomless pit (at least I think it's bottomless, like with the pit in the Yiga Hideout I haven't tried jumping down yet). So, you had to follow a spiral way around the tower to some scaffolds from where you could fly to the top. You really have to work for these towers.
But the same goes for entering some of the shrines. When getting closer to the top of the tower, I suddenly heard Kass, who motivated me with his accordion to keep going. He's on top of the tower for a reason, because he tells you another shrine secret. These Shrine Quests are rather cryptic and up to this point I wasn't able to solve one yet. In this case you have to shoot an arrow at the right time, which reminds me of getting the Fire Arrows in Ocarina of Time. But since I would have needed to wait half a day, I decided to go somewhere else first...
Well, how about Gerudo Town? I was only there briefly, but I could deliver the Flint for the Jewelry shop, which is an interesting feature. If you want Link(le) to look even more girly, you can let him wear tiaras and pretty earrings... Well, he used to be a Cheerleader once, so there's no going back for Nintendo now. And with this there's finally some use for the gems here, because these accessorizes can give you various boosts like increased defense, heat resistance and the like. The shop owner offers you one for free as a "sarqso", where you should definitely take the Sapphire! It's either that or the Ruby or Topaz jewelry, but both of them only cost 500 Rupees, while the Sapphire Circlet is worth 800. So, use this as the freebie! I even went back to my latest autosave, when I realized this.
Embracing the Wildlife
The mountain area northeast to Kakariko (called Rabia Plain) was my next goal and is simply beautiful, which is why I decided to stay there for a little while and explore it in detail, find some Koroks, loot stuff and so on. And I'm frankly amazed that you can hunt every animal and insect in the game for food. You see a fox, you can shoot it and it comically turns into meat. Well, if you also got a fur hat out of it, then PETA would probably storm the Nintendo headquarters right now. But in any case this game will certainly anger some people and to be fair, it doesn't seem very heroic to kill all the animals for your gain.
But you don't have to, you can spare all the animals, if you want, and live in harmony with nature. Or burn and bomb it all. You choice. But sometimes it's good to befriend the animals and there was a nice Shrine Quest related to this in the area, where I was surprised by the fact that you can actually mount and ride deer like horses:
Wow! I suppose that horses are the main mounts in the game, where can register and name them and they become available at all stables. But there are other types of mounts in various areas like the seals in the desert or the deer in the mountains. I would like it, if there really were some flying mounts and some mounts to swiftly cross the ocean areas as well.
Taming a deer is a little bit different from taming horses, where the deer is quicker to spot you. But it might also attack you, which you can use to jump over their antlers and land on their back. Now all you need is enough stamina to soothe it...
Close by is "Lanayru Road" - a mountain path to Mount Lanayru, where on a crossroad I met a traveler. Of course I'm always swift to talk to the travelers, because they might have some useful information or sell arrows, but this guy started suddenly to talk about the Viga Clan and joining them. And before you know it, he turns into a Viga Footsoldier! Those guys can be tough to fight and they now add a certain level of uncertainty to everything. It's like in Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, where townsfolk could turn into Ache and attack you. Only much worse here. The path ahead seemed to be crowded with Viga, so I decided to make a turn...
My next goal was the swamp area north of Kakariko, where I so far I avoided straying north, because even looking at Hyrule Castle gives me the creeps. And I don't think I would stand any chance against a Guardian right now, so it's probably best to avoid them altogether. But I thought I would be mostly safe thanks to the water. Well, I thought wrong! Right after landing there I saw my first fully functional Guardian gliding over the water like a Tektite... Yikes. Luckily I was able to avoid it and explore the area a little, where in the swamp lies the ruins of "Goponga Village". This is a very nice reference to the Goponga Swamp from Link's Awakening, my beloved first Zelda game. I wonder, if BowWow could eat a Guardian...
There is the Daka Tuss Shrine inside the swamp with some clever puzzles, where you had to use Magnesis on a giant metallic bowl to scoop orbs out the water and place them in hoppers. For the latter I was again frustrated that you can't rotate things around different axis with Magnesis, but I'm beginning to understand that this is part of the challenge. I also really liked, how they have hidden the chest in this minidungeon. It's a nice thing that every shrine has at least one chest, so I usually keep looking, until I find one. In this case I was rewarded with a stylish Zora blade, the Silver Longsword.
Afterwards I made my way to the Wetland Stable and the Kaya Wan Shrine, which has a nice puzzle for the Cryonis ability. But instead of heading further to Hyrule Castle (and potential death), I warped back to Kakariko to assess the way to the Zora tribe from above. (They are making so stylish weapons that I needed to meet them next.)
I wandered along the cliff of the Rabia Plain and ended up at the well guarded Rucco Maag Shrine with the very clever "Five Flames" puzzle. With Zelda games I have a problem with trivial puzzles, where the solution is either obvious or easy to remember. This just is pointless filler, when you (re)play a Zelda game. But so far the puzzle quality in Breath of the Wild has a good level, where even on multiple playthroughs these puzzles will make you think.
Later on (after almost being killed by a Black Lizalfos) I glided to the easternmost island of the swamp, where I finally figured out the meaning of the stone formations that I already saw around the Lake Tower. You're not supposed to land on them, but to complete them to reveal a Korok!
From here on it was stealth time to get to Lanayru Tower, which was heavily guarded by Bokoblins, Moblins, Lizalfos and even the first Hinox that I saw in the game. Luckily most of them were sleeping (it's nice, how the enemies have a life on their own) and it didn't come to a big fight that I was most likely going to lose.
The Map Data from the Lanayru Tower was a big price, though. So many references! So far I had spotted a few, but the Lanayru region is full of names of past characters and areas. Most of the islands around Goponga are actually named after islands and characters from Phantom Hourglass: Mercay Island, Linebeck Island, Zauz Island, Bannan Island, Molida Island....
Then there are various ponds and lakes named after past Zora: Ralis, Ruto, Mikau, Lulu, Toto... There's also a "Rutala" Dam and River, where I don't know, if the misspelling of Rutela was intentional or not (but after so many years some stuff ought to be lost in translation). But the same goes for the Tingle brothers, who had islands named after them at the coastline: Tingel, Ankel, Knuckel, Davdi. In that case each one has the last two letters reversed, which was certainly intentional.
And there's so much more. There's Crenel Peak, the Samasa Plain, Tabahl Woods, Veiled Falls, Brynna Plain, Talus Plateau, Lodrum Headland... That's what a map looks like, if some Zelda nerd like myself was ever in charge of naming places. I especially like, how there are so many references to the GameBoy Zelda games, because they often don't get as much attention as the big console Zelda games.
There's the Soh Kofi Combat Trial near the tower (you can just glide to it), which was exactly the same thing as the one in Faron Woods. Well, with 120 shrines in total and some very clever puzzles so far, I'm not complaining, if Nintendo copy-pasted a little, but some differences between these Combat Trials other than the stats of the Mini Guardian would be nice. At least it's a good source to get that awesome glowing gear.
It was also around Lanayru Tower, where I made first contact with the Zora. They are looking for a Hylian, who is willing to help their Prince Sidon... But I'm not so excited for this, because I really didn't enjoy the last time, where I had to help some Zora Prince in a Zelda game... But as long as I don't have to protect some carriage and he doesn't keep whining about his mother, I suppose it should be fine.
To be continued...
End of Day 4 Progress
- Shrines: 20
- Koroks: 30