Friday, March 31, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 21

Yesterday and today I was warping all over the world to find Cane Sugar, while I kept exploring Hyrule Castle for the third Royal Recipe. Two things in the game that apparently don't exist... But I did find various other things on my way.

This includes "Hero's Stash" at Kitano Bay, where Kass doesn't lead you to a new shrine for a change. Since I was around the area, I also visited the Hateno Ancient Lab. After beating the game it gives you access to "Elite Enemy" pictures (I don't think you could get those earlier), where I was still missing Master Kohga. He was one of the first bosses in the game that I took down and I wasn't really prepared at the time, so I forgot about taking his photograph in the heat of the moment. I did snap all the other bosses, but it's nice to know that you can still get their pictures for the Hyrule Compendium later on. So, unlike in the Metroid Prime Trilogy or the Wind Waker you don't have to worry about missing any scans or pictographs.

Overall it seems like there's nothing permanently missable in the game. From what I've heard, you can even still get the Heart Containers from bosses, if you left them inside the Divine Beasts earlier. They will be lying on the ground next to the Divine Beasts afterwards. But that you can't miss anything is really important for a game of this scale. You don't want to invest hundreds of hours just to learn that you missed something at the end.

Big Game Hunter

Also in Hateno I discovered this little deer hunting game that you can play. It's another symptom of the "I don't talk to people, unless they have red exclamation marks above their heads" disease, where I certainly could have found this earlier, if I would just take the time to talk to everyone. But there's so much to explore and so much to do in this game that it's easy to miss things.

I was also on the hunt for the big bads: Hinox, Talus, Silver Lynel, Guardians, you name it. I take them all down. It's impressive, how much stronger and more courageous you can get in Breath of the Wild after a while. It really puts more emphasis on growth than any other Zelda game and you can feel this. A while ago I hardly could face any White-Maned Lynels, by now I don't have trouble taking down the silver ones.

It's the same with Guardians, they don't hunt me anymore, I hunt them. But my main focus is finding all the Talus and the Hinox on the overworld. I know that there are some Talus that I simply dodged, because I wasn't in the mood for fighting them earlier in the game. Now I have to revisit all these places to see, which of the Talus I already had defeated and which ones not.

One of them brought me back to Dueling Peaks, where to my surprise I couldn't find the Talus at first, but I ran into a total of three Guardians roaming the area. If you read Entry 6 of this series, you will find that originally I only ran into the Talus, but I didn't notice any Guardians. Either the game adds more Guardians (and enemies) later on, which I haven't seen anywhere else yet (it only replaces enemies with stronger variants), or I again was super lucky by avoiding certain death early in the game. Anyway, I already had defeated the Talus, but I found another one in the area.

I also took down all three Guardians on horseback, which is the first time I fought them while riding a horse. And this is quite powerful, especially with the Master Sword. The Guardians hardly stand a chance, you can just hit them strong enough to tip them over again and again. And once their feet are cut off, they have nowhere to run. As I said, I hunt them now, not the other way around.

Hyrule Castle Revisited

My other big goal was exploring the rest of the interior of Hyrule Castle. I remembered that there was still a Stalnox in the Lockup, which I didn't touch during my first visit there. That was almost three weeks ago (see Entry 10) and I did miss a big catch at the time, because you can actually get a Hylian Shield in this place. And here I thought that this shield wouldn't be in the game...!

But I should have expected this, because otherwise the Hylian Shield would probably have been an amiibo exclusive, and part of me really thought that the Hylian Shield could be found inside Hyrule Castle somewhere. It did make sense. And while it certainly appears to be the best shield in the game, it doesn't seem to be indestructible, so Nintendo didn't make the same mistake as in Skyward Sword, where the Hylian Shield was too powerful and made all the other shields in the game obsolete. I still don't like, how ever since Twilight Princess the Hylian Shield gets treated like the most powerful shield of all times, because this was originally not the case in Ocarina of Time. It's almost as Nintendo has forgotten that Mirror Shields were a thing, even A Link Between Worlds replaced it with the Hylian Shield...

Now, I suppose that there is some NPC somewhere, who will make a new one, if you ever break it, similar to the Champion weapons. But just to make sure, I have put it on a stand in my house for now, so I'm not tempted to use it.

The other reason, why I went back to Hyrule Castle, was the "Royal Recipe" sidequest. I previously had found two recipes in the library, but since the Adventure Log didn't update any information, I thought I had to keep looking for another one. But it turned out that giving "Gotter" any of the cakes will complete the sidequest, where additional recipes just earn you more Rupees. And there might not even be a third cookbook in the castle...

I didn't realize this earlier, because I was lacking one ingredient: Cane Sugar. I expected it to grow in the wild similar to Minecraft, where I looked in all places that made sense to me without any luck. In the end I decided to check all stores, where the one in Rito Village finally had it, so I could complete the sidequest after all. From the description it seems that you can only get it from shops.

At least due to this misunderstanding I kept exploring most wet areas in the game, because I expected the Cane Sugar to grow next to some water. I found the Zalta Wa Shrine with the "Two Orbs to Guide You" puzzle during that, but I also explored all of Goponga Village, where the Guardian there now wasn't a threat anymore.

To the west I came across the Bottomless Swamp, where on top you have another spot that reminded me of the title screen of Zelda II - The Adventure of Link with the sword pierced into a cliff:

Close enough!

Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 66/76
  • Shrine Quests: 34/42
  • Shrines: 97/120
  • Koroks: 297/900
  • Talus: 10/40
  • Hinox: 17/40
  • Molduga: 4/4
  • Map Rate: 46.15%

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 20

After defeating the final boss and completing the story of the game, I have to admit that my motivation to go on sank a little. I haven't even played on Monday, which was my first day without the game since the release. Part of the reason is that there is mostly only generic / repetitive stuff left. Hunting down all the overworld bosses, finding all the Koroks, clearing all Bokoblin camps that have a chest, collecting stuff to upgrade all the armor and of course looking for shrines, where the latter is probably the most interesting thing left to do.

I've always been a 100% guy, when it comes to Zelda, but with this game it's almost a little too much. However, I managed to complete Adventure Mode in both Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors - Legends, so this should be moderate in comparison. The main problem is that there are no divisions on the map, especially with the Koroks. You might get stuck with 890+ Koroks and have no clue, where to look for the final ones. Here it would be better, if the game just told you the totals on a per-region basis like they did with the Gold Skulltulas, Poe Souls or Maiamais in previous games. But this might be the new map feature that is coming with the first DLC, who knows...

But what keeps me going is that in general the fighting is a lot of fun in the game and so is the exploration with the ability to climb everywhere and to play around with physics. The primitives of this game are so good that I don't mind the "filler" content, which is now left, as much.

Stasis Canyon

In that sense I made it my goal yesterday to ride through Tanagar Canyon all the way from the west end to the Forgotten Temple... I do like, how even can go explore the big chasms in the landscapes. They are not just some bottomless abysses like in Twilight Princess, they are full valleys, where you can go down and explore.

This particular area was nice, because there were quite some use cases for the Stasis ability, which outside of fighting enemies seems to be rare. I mostly use it to "scan" the area for enemies, pick ups and treasure chests, where all of this will be highlighted in a bright yellow.

But here you can even find an entire golf course designed just for this ability, which was a fun little minigame distraction. There is also the Dunba Taag Shrine down here with "Build and Release" puzzle for the Stasis Rune. So, there's lots to distract you from your goal of reaching the Forgotten Temple, which already is quite the long tour on its own.

I didn't know what to expect from this place, but tons of decayed Guardians aiming at you wasn't on my list. Here they seem to have a similar range and field of view to the Guardian Turrets at Hyrule Castle, but all you have to do is simply glide through the place and enjoy, how all the beams miss you. And... you get another questionable blessing for this action, offered by Rona Kachta. I say questionable, because there is no way, how this Sheikah Monk could have foretold that this place would be riddled with decayed Guardians thousands of years later, unless they really possess the ability see the future. But in that case they would have been smart enough to not built an army of robots that would destroy Hyrule on day.

But whatever... I collected four Spirit Orbs and it was nice to have a Goddess Statue right behind the shrine to exchange it for yet another Heart Container.

Monster Hunter

When I talked to Kilton after beating the game, he offered a new section of dialogues about the overworld bosses: Hinox, Talus and Molduga. It seems there is a total of 40 Hinox, 40 Talus and 4 Molduga in the game, where he wants you to defeat all of them. So, this will be another big quests all over the game world.

I previously defeated three Molduga in the Gerudo Desert, where I thought for today I should be looking for the fourth one to see what happens, when you defeat them all. The thing was in an area called "Arbiter's Grounds", which other than the name doesn't seem to hold any references to the same place in Twilight Princess...

Back at Kilton's shop, I was offered with a "Medal of Honor" (seriously, Nintendo?) for slaying all Molduga. I'm not sure, if they hold any value other than bragging rights, but I would have done this quest anyway. Defeated overworld bosses even have a star and a "Defeated" next to their HUD entry, if you fight them again. So, at least I will know about the ones that I don't have to fight again immediately. Ideally the game would also mark their positions on the map, but I will simply do that on my own using the stamps...

Also, while looking for the last Molduga, I finally found out about the triple trees. I've noticed this several times in the game that there are spots with three trees aligned in a line. Those are rather conspicuous and I knew that a Korok would be hiding there, but I never could figure out, what I had to do here. But with the cacti in the desert it's a lot more obvious, what you have to do, so I finally figured it out.

Well, I feel like there are more Korok puzzles that I'm missing, because there are still so MANY of them left. I always loved the collectible quests in Zelda games and the Koroks seem to be like the ultimate challenge in this department. I've put over 180 hours into the game now and completed all the main quests, but I still haven't even found a third of the Koroks yet. Still, I did manage to get all weapon stash upgrades already, where I was surprised that it didn't take a total of 300 Korok Seeds to do so. I wonder, what the rest of them will offer at the end.

Cold Mounts

With the usual "I have too many good weapons" problem I decided to fight another Lynel, where I chose the north of the Tabanta Snowfields. I also wanted to test Urbosa's Fury on one, after I realized, how much damage this ability actually does. It's a lot! Well, I certainly wasn't surprised, when I learned that the White-Maned Lynel in the area already had been replaced with a Silver Lynel. It's probably the same already in other areas, so I decided to give it a go, where to my surprise it didn't seem to be much tougher than its white-maned siblings. Usually the silver enemies have a lot more health than the other variations, but this doesn't seem to be the case with Lynels. Well, I'm not complaining, because the White-Maned Lynels were already quite difficult already.

Other than that I've seen and mounted my first Stalhorse:

Sadly, much like the Lord of the Mountain, it doesn't seem to be a keeper. I didn't even have the chance to bring it to a stable, because it dissolved at dawn. But it's still nice to see that you can ride all kinds of crazy things in this game. And I also got a picture of it, where I could complete a sidequest at the nearby stable.

Current Progress:
  • Main Quests: 15/15
  • Side Quests: 63/76
  • Shrine Quests: 34/42
  • Shrines: 96/120
  • Koroks: 283/900
  • Talus: 9/40
  • Hinox: 15/40
  • Molduga: 4/4
  • Map Rate: 44.74%

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 19

Today I've went for the final memories and faced Calamity Ganon once again to witness the full ending of the game. That's about it, but still pretty significant. Spoilers ahead!

Full Memory

Most of my game time today I spent with further exploring Hyrule Castle to look for the recipe(s) and the last memory from the locations on your Sheikah Slate. The latter wasn't easy to find, because the place in the picture isn't really recognizable anymore. I looked for it around the entire castle walls with no luck. And in the end I just found it by accident...

During my time at Hyrule Castle I noted, how the Blood Moon didn't have any effect here. It was visible in the sky, but the cutscene didn't roll and enemies weren't revived. This might have been a bug, similar to the one, where a Blood Moon can suddenly happen out of nowhere, but this might also be intended. It had me thinking, if you can simply avoid a Blood Moon by entering a shrine for the time... (Update: you can, but the Blood Moon will keep coming the next night.)

Back in Kakariko you have this very nice revelation that the final memory location has been right in front of you all this time. I wonder, how this works exactly and if you could have gotten this memory any earlier. I've fully explored the corresponding area before this and didn't see it. Also, I did take a picture of the picture with my Camera Rune and the game did recognize this by doing the typical "look at the photo to trigger a memory" thing with the picture that I took just now. Either that's a really nice detail or you have to do this in order to find the memory...

So, what did collecting all the memories gain? Certainly not the "Sheikah Heirloom" in Impa's house, that's for sure. I still haven't understood, what you have to do to get the orb here. For all this time I thought that getting all the memories would do the trick, but obviously I'm missing something. I haven't even gotten a Shrine Quest in my Adventure Log yet, while there should be one. It's probably very trivial and maybe even something that you can solve early in the game, where this might be one of these cases, where I'm totally blind. But I'll find out eventually and this is part of the fun!

And with all memories found, I now could revisit the ending the of the game. It's actually not an alternate ending, but a post credits scene. The rest stays the same (including the "Remember me?" catch phrase), so there's no reason to not collect all memories right away.

Current Progress:
  • Divine Beasts: 4/4
  • Shrines: 94/120
  • Koroks: 260/900
  • Shrine Quests: 34/42
  • Side Quests: 62/76
  • Map Rate: 42.05%

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 18

Final Preparations

My big goal for today was exploring Hyrule Castle and facing the Calamity Ganon, but before that I still did a couple of side quests and shrine quests, where for the latter I only had "A Brother's Roast" open for now. In this little quest, you had to bring one of the Gorons a "Rock Roast", which was similar to the "Rock Sirloin" in Majora's Mask. You even had to carry the thing, while avoiding some enemies. This led to Kayra Mah's "Greedy Hill" trial, which reminded of the boulder slopes from the Earth Temple in Skyward Sword.

I also got an Ancient Short Sword in the hopes that it might be useful around Hyrule Castle, where I showed it to Nebb to finally complete the "Weapon Connoisseur" side quest in Hateno. It doesn't strike me as any different from a Guardian Sword++, but it might be more durable. Otherwise it wouldn't really justify the high price.

My last stop before Hyrule Castle was the Woodland Stable, where I did the side quest with the little girl and the balloons. I didn't even know that you could tie them to things to make them float! That's funny and there seem to be many things that you can play around with. Other than food and wood I rarely ever take stuff out of my inventory... But it might be fun to investigate, what's possible with the various items.

Hyrule Castle Ascension

Nintendo certainly outdid themselves with this "dungeon". It's fully intertwined with the overworld, it's massive and completely non-linear. Many roads lead to Ganon. While I haven't explored the whole thing yet, I would compare it to the Great Palace in Zelda II - The Adventure of Link. If you know, what you're doing and where you're going, it's not as difficult and you can even avoid the tough fights on your way to the final boss. The only difference here is that you're going up, instead of down.

There are some rooms, where you get trapped together with a Lynel, where finally I found a blue one again, which still feels like the right difficulty at the time. However, it didn't drop his weapons or his shield, which has me worried about this upcoming "Cave of Trials" in the DLC. So far all enemies always dropped their stuff, if you beat them (sometimes also when you hit them hard). In a Trial Cave this would ensure that you never run out of weapons... But if the game also has the option to remove drops, then I have a bad feeling about this... (Update: when I fought the White-Maned Lynel in a similar room, he dropped his things. Might have been a bug / false alarm earlier.)

Well, instead of going through the tunnels like last time, I decided to simply climb the castle from the outside, which is plastered with Guardian Turrets. They seem quite sturdy, if you try to destroy them with the Master Sword. But it's possible to avoid them and thanks to the Zora Armor you can even quickly climb up the various waterfalls in the area. So, it didn't take me long to reach the top part, where I was hoping to find that last memory and maybe a even a travel gate, so you can quickly fight Ganon later on. Well, I didn't pay too much attention to the big glowing orb on the map that is labelled as "Calamity Ganon" and instead of finding some travel gate, I accidentally ran into the final boss himself...

At first I was afraid that finishing the final boss would eradicate your savegame, but luckily that's not the case. It even gets marked with a star and there doesn't seem to be a death counter, which is good. While I died quite a lot on the Great Plateau, I never died again later in the game, because I simply would retreat or load a previous savegame, when the battles turn too resource-intensive. And I wouldn't like it, if my savegame got tainted now after spending over 160 hours on this.

Well, after the fight the game put me right back to where I accidentally ran into the final boss, so now I could avoid the thing and explore some more of the top in the hope to find a Travel Gate.

While I had no luck finding a Travel Gate up there, I remembered the words of some guy at the Woodland Stable, who talks about some docks in the north and that there would be even a shrine there. You can't see these docks from the other side of the mold, but if you study the map, you can spot this cave entrance right in the water. So, I decided to go down there and check it out, where I really found the docks and even the Saas Ko'sah Shrine... looks like I found my travel gate after all. It's not on top of the castle for some fast access to the final boss, but it will have to do. It offers another "Major Test of Strength", whee the Guardian wields all three ++ weapons. Handy.

From there you can make your way to the library, which is connected to another sidequest about finding a recipe. While I haven't found said recipe yet, I did find another recipe, which seems to be a funny reference to Spirit Tracks. It's the Chancellor's favorite "Monster Cake", which motivates you to plan evil schemes! Ha, nice one! I wonder, if this really is from the times of Chancellor Cole or if chancellors in Hyrule just turn out to be evil in every generation.

After beating the game, it also gives you more information about your completion status. There is now a total for Side Quests and Shrine Quests visible and there is a completion rate on the map. It doesn't seem to be explained in the game, but according to IGN it includes Divine Beasts, Shrines, Koroks and place names. I'm at roughly 40% now, but I haven't even found a third of all the Koroks yet.

And for the completionist that I am, it feels like the game just has started...

Current Progress:
  • Divine Beasts: 4/4
  • Shrines: 94/120
  • Koroks: 252/900
  • Shrine Quests: 34/42
  • Side Quests: 60/76
  • Map Rate: 40.69%

Friday, March 24, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 17

Nothing major happened this week, which is why this is the first post in five days. My main goals for this week were exploring some of the areas, completing my armor collection and going after Link's memories. I found some interesting mounts on my way, fought my first White-Maned Lynels, destroyed lots of Guardians and did also a couple of shrines.

amiibo and Armor

Isn't it somewhat ironic that you fight a Blue Hinox at the Talus Plateau? You know, instead of an actual Talus? Well, I get that the whole area around Lanayru Bay is riddled with references to the lands from Oracle of Ages & Seasons, but it still would have been nice to put a Talus there.

Well, I did the "Master of the Wind" Shrine Quest in the area and received Shai Yota's Blessing, as well as another Great Flameblade for the little trouble. Otherwise the areas towards the east coast seems to hold many Hinox, which includes the one on Eventide Island. I went back there for a little revenge and scanned my amiibo afterwards on the spot...

And I was really lucky that day. Almost all the amiibo that unlock exclusive armor pieces gave me one. The only exception so far is the Smash Link. I was probably quite lucky, when this amiibo gave me Epona right away, and it seems to be burned out on luck. But with the other sets I got two pieces each and I also got Sheik's Mask. And I wish that alternative head pieces would still count for the set bonus, because some of them look a lot better.

It's the same with the Ancient Armor set. I really like the Ancient Cuirass and the Ancient Greaves, but the helm just looks stupid, where I'd wish that the Diamond Circlet would give me the same effect and count as an alternative for the set bonus.

Well, other than the Ancient set, I also bought the Desert Voe set and the Radiant set from the secret shop in Gerudo Town. The first is what you need to resist that greater heat in the outer desert regions and it even gives some resistance to shock damage as a set bonus. The Radiant set on the other hand doesn't give any advantage in the Thyphlo Ruins, so it's not like the Light Armor in Tri Force Heroes. It looks funny, though... It makes Link look like a luchador in the light and like a skeleton in the dark. I suppose that this is a nod to how the Gerudo's Fortress in Ocarina of Time was influenced by Mexico with the design and the music.

Lord of the Mountain

Sometimes you can spot this glowing light at Satori Mountain. I saw this a couple of times in the game before, including at the time, where I was still at the Great Plateau. But when I first arrived at the mountain, it wasn't there and I also didn't understand the meaning of the pond with the big cherry blossom tree next to it.

Well, when I saw the light from a distance again I decided to warp back there via the Mogg Latan Shrine to investigate. And I was greeted with some ghostly presences around the pond. Lots of Blupees and this thing called the "Lord of the Mountain", where my first intuition was to shoot it with arrows for some Rupees. But luckily I didn't, but decided to mount and tame it instead...

It's like a super horse and underneath its glowing white skin it seems to be of a mechanical nature based on Sheikah technology. Hyrule Compendium also talks about this being a resurrected sage. So, it's all very mysterious, but this "horse" seems to have perfect stats, limitless stamina and offers full control right from the start. Riding it felt good. And it's a shame that you can't keep it...

But then this probably would be too much of a cheat... Anyway, at least I managed to find the "Royal White Stallion" around the area later on, where I still pretend that it's a "her" and gave her the name "Zelda", like I said I would.

She has five stars for Stamina, similar to how the Ganon horse has five stars in Strength. I suppose that the Lord of the Mountain has everything maxed out with five stars, if you could register him. And there might be a third special horse in the game that you can get with maximum speed. I'm not sure, whether normal wild horses can get five stars. Epona only has four stars with all stats and even made me believe for a moment that this would be the best. But maybe you can get lucky and find an even better horse...

Apropos special mounts, I found and rode a bear today... Because I can!

Cold Hiking

I wanted to clear some of the Shrine Quests, where two of them were still left around the Rito Village. The "Ancient Rito Song" led to another pedestal, where you had to do something around a specific time of day. And to my positive surprise it didn't just hand out a blessing, but let you play Bareeda Naag's little "Cannon" trial. It wasn't difficult, in fact I did both courses on my first try, but I still liked the concept.

The other Shrine Quest called "The Bird in the Mountains" led me back to the Hebra Mountains, where I explored the northwest area. And to my surprise these mountains turned out to be quite large.

I also encountered some enemies using Frostspears for the first time, which was quite the relief. After getting these elemental spears from the quests for the three dragons, I was afraid that you could only get these spears again by crafting them somewhere with a scale or a fang from said dragons, similar to the Champion Weapons. But luckily that's not the case and you can just find them in the right spots as well.

Apropos frost weapons, it's fun to freeze enemies and work with that. For example you can push them off an abyss, where the fall will potentially kill them off.

Anyway, after a long time of exploring and climbing I finally solved the Shrine Quest and made it to the Mozo Shenno Shrine, where "Major Test of Strenght" awaits. So, there were even more than just the four! In this scenario you have to use Magnesis to build some protections.

I also found the Shada Naw Shrine with the "Red Giveaway" trial, which is right next to Selmie's Spot. She's like this huge shield surfing enthusiast and you can play a little minigame here, which luckily isn't as unforgiving as the snowboarding in Twilight Princess. Curiously, I found it much harder to beat the time of the beginner's course than the time of the advanced course. With the latter you can just take big shortcuts with the Paraglider, while the beginner's track was pretty straightforward.

Selmie also made it sound like the Royal Shield is the best one - for shield surfing at least. She probably would have been super jealous that I have so many of them by now... I got lots of them by using the amiibo. But it also made me wonder, if you still can find Hylian Shields in this game. Maybe in Hyrule Castle?

Hot Hiking

After spending so much time in the cold, I had to warm myself up, where Death Mountain seemed like the best place. My main goal here was collecting some Smotherwing Butterflies to upgrade the Flamebreaker set, but that turned out to be a tedious task. While I enjoyed collecting lots of insects in Skyward Sword, here they are a little bit too small and realistic. It's hard to capture them with your camera and it's also hard to notice them in the first place. I often only see them, when it's too late and they are flying already away.

I also have to say that I'm somewhat underwhelmed by Goron City in this game. It was one of my favorite places in Ocarina of Time, but they weren't really able to capture its magic. It starts with the annoying trumpet music, but it just feels way too small, especially when compared to the new and glorious Zora's Domain. For this game they could have created Goron City as a huge mine pit on Death Mountain, where in its shape it would be similar to the original...

They also could have done a little bit more with the minecarts. It's fun, how you use them with bombs and they act entirely based on the game's physics, but there only seem to be the two tracks...

At least these tracks lead to a nice shrine, the "Blue Flame" puzzle by Shora Hah. That's a longer one, where I got more weapons than I wanted. Other than this shrine I also discovered the Qua Raym Shrine ("A Balanced Approach"), which was visually well hidden inside the lava lakes. And there was the Tah Muhl Shrine ("Passing the Flame") near the stable with a Shrine Quest leading to it. In this one I liked, how you had to use Magnesis on a traditional item in the series.

Strong Memories

Another thing that you can find around the area of Death Mountain was a memory of Link and Zelda. In this one Link took down an horde of enemies including multiple White-Maned Lynels, while only receiving a cut. So far I couldn't even take down one! It's like the Link of 100 years ago was on this whole other level and now you're trying to live up to it.

So, for me this was the incentive to finally defeat some White-Maned Lynels. That and the fact that I finally had to make some good use of my weapon collection. So, I went back to Oseira Plains, where you can find two of them. The first fight didn't go too well, I got hurt plenty and had to invest lots of food to beat this guy.

The second fight right after, however, went down quite smoothly. Of course I got a little bit better at fighting them, especially shooting arrows at their heads to stun them briefly helps quite a lot. But the main difference came from their weapons, where the first one used a "Savage Lynel Crusher" and other one a "Savage Lynel Spear". The crusher did a lot more damage and its shock wave could even kick you out of a Flurry Rush. The spear wasn't as bad and became a really nice weapon for the time. Still, I would like to practice more on easier models, but I can't find any blue ones anymore. There's only the red one on Ploymus Mountain, but there's no quick way up there.

I also grew more curious about the story and decided to look for the missing memories, which brought me right into Central Hyrule. There for the first time I went to the Coliseum...

This place is very interesting. During the Great Plateau phase of the game you can almost touch it, but from there it just looks like a mountain, where it would be a lot of fun to climb it. But looks can be deceiving. If you actually paid close attention, you could already spot the coliseum from the Great Plateau, right at a corner, but the full picture really unfolds, if you actually go to its front.

This place looks like a death trap, where to my unpleasant surprise a "Silver Lynel" awaits... So, there is one last stronger kind of these things! Oh, boy! I haven't engaged it yet, I want to grow more confident about fighting the White-Maned Lynels first (which are essentially "Black Lynels" in the hierarchy).

On the bright side, the coliseum walls hold lots of black enemies equipped with all kinds of elemental weapons. Flameblades, Great Frostblades, Thunderspears... They had it all! So, if you ever want to stock up on them, looks like this is the place.

Guardians Kaput

For the final memory in Central Hyrule I had to go right to the gates of Hyrule Castle Town, either avoiding or fighting the Guardians in the area. And the memory there probably wasn't worth the trouble...

Still, fighting the Guardians went surprisingly well. I did it on foot, which is probably a mistake, because they can easily run from you and keep shooting you. But you can temporarily freeze them with Stasis and the Master Sword wrecks them good. You have to focus on destroying their legs first, so that they are immobilized. Then they are as easy to fight as their decayed counterparts.

Being more confident about the situation, I decided to go even further and explore Hyrule Castle Town, while I'm there...

And I could stand my ground. Mostly because the Master Sword stayed active a lot longer than usual. I suppose, it has to do with its glowing light or maybe it doesn't deplete as fast while fighting Guardians, but it certainly was helpful. I destroyed around half a dozen Guardians (probably more) and only used a single Ancient Arrow. I even made myself feel at home and did some cooking within the middle of the Castle Town Ruins...

This also opened all gates in Akkala. I did the Lomei Labyrinth Island, where it turned out that I didn't have to worry about the Guardian Skywatchers at all. They only patrol the top of the walls and they don't see you inside the labyrinth. I had imagined that they would hunt you through the maze, which seemed like a nightmare scenario... You're also greeted with a Guardian Stalker right at the entrance, but in my case this wasn't an issue anymore. And if it was, you can probably just lose it in the maze.

Finishing the maze scores you Tu Ka'loh's Blessing and the Barbarian Helm, where now I should have all armor pieces that aren't amiibo exclusive. At least I think I do, there still could be some set in a shop, which I have forgotten or so.

Well, underneath the maze is some kind of Guardian Graveyard, where you can get a Diamond Circlet... It's good to know this, because saves you a lot of Rupees and diamonds in the end. I already bought the thing and didn't even get remotely enough for selling the duplicate.

There's another big Guardian Graveyard in the Torin Wetlands near Tarrey Town. There's even sidequest about destroy the two active Guardian Stalkers in the area, but the reward turned out to be a joke. However, I think I've trained enough. Unless Hyrule Castle is swarmed with Silver Lynels, I should be ready for Ganon. And I'm eager to learn, how the story ends...

Current Progress:
  • Shrines: 92
  • Koroks: 244
  • Divine Beasts: 4

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 16

Today I faced many Hinox, enjoyed the advantages of my newly obtained Thunder Helm and explored the sea to the southeast. No, Ganon fight yet. There's so much to do in the game and before I take on Hyrule Castle, I want to explore everything and also upgrade all important armor to the max.

After upgrading my weapon stash (I now need 55 Korok Seeds), I used the cooking pot inside the Deku Tree during a Blood Moon and every dish got this bonus, where the cooking music sounds like you did something especially right. This effect seems to be random, but at that time I got on every meal that I created. I might try cooking again during a Blood Moon...

And I need to find a good way to burn stronger weapons, because my inventory is full with strong weapons, where I don't want to use them on ordinary enemies, because that feels like a waste. Again, I'm repeating myself here, but this game would benefit from an Item Check like in Skyward Sword. Even a simple chest in your house at Hateno would suffice, as long as you can store good weapons there for later adventures. Right now I'm looking for challenges worthy of my arsenal, but I then just end up with even more good weapons after the fights.

In that matter I wanted to face some more Blue-Maned Lynels today, but I couldn't find any, because the game replaced them all with the White-Maned variant, which is still out of my league. But considering that I now have the strongest armor possible, they might always be... And here the game annoys me quite a lot, because I'm putting all this time into getting stronger for nothing, because it just keeps replacing its enemies with stronger types.

Hinox Hunter

I started hiking from Hateno Village and came across Mount Taran with the "Three Giant Brothers" Shrine Quest, where you have three ponds with a Hinox sleeping there. They are apparently brothers, where each of them is of a different tier, so you get a normal, a blue and a black one. They all protect an orb and at first I didn't have a clue, where I should bring them. The shrine with Tawa Jinn's Blessing is right in the center and gave me yet another Great Thunderblade.

On my way to the southeastern shoreline I stumbled over another Hinox, who sleeps at a pond in a "cave", where you can drop down from below right on him. Nothing all too special, but it felt like the game wanted to prepare me for the challenges ahead.

Afterwards I arrived at the Chaas Qeta Shrine on Tenoko Island. I've already seen this shrine many times before from a distance, because it's basically a beacon in the middle of the ocean, but for some reason I never bothered with gliding down there until now, even when I hiked to the Muwo Jeem Shrine on the cliff above. But I couldn't have done much there anyway up until now, because this shrines houses a "Major Test of Strength". The Guardian uses all three ++ weapons instead of a shield, which should come in handy, if you ever need some.

As a reward I got the final piece of climbing gear, where I have been looking for this thing. But since the other two pieces were found around mountains, I didn't expect the third piece to be down there. I've also been collecting Rushrooms, Swift Violets and Hot-Footed Frogs today to upgrade the climber's set, but the set bonus only makes you consume less stamina while jump climbing. I was hoping that the entire set would allow me to climb during rain, but it only helps a little with the slippery walls. Too bad.


Using the raft found at the Chaas Qeta Shrine, I "sailed" towards Eventide Island for an interesting surprise. The Sheikah Monk takes away all your stuff except for the key items, so you're left naked with only your Sheikah Slate, Paraglider and spiritual upgrades. And again you had to collect three orbs to open a shrine and get your stuff back.

That was not what I expected. I hoped that this island would turn out to be some huge Link's Awakening reference and there certainly are some subtle ones, like the blue seashells at the shore or the bananas. But overall this was a pure survival based mission and I liked it a lot.

The survival aspect of Breath of the Wild is very well done. I enjoy playing games like Minecraft or Don't Starve, where the new Zelda offers a similar playstyle. And it was nice to return to the basics of the Great Plateau in a different environment, which fully fits the survival aspect. Now you have to collect fruits, simple weapons and everything you can find to best the strong enemies on the island.

Downside of this part is that you can't save your game. I started it in the middle of the night, because I just wanted to check out the island before going to bed. Big mistake. I ended up staying on a cliff for probably half an hour, throwing Bombs at a Blue Hinox...

How evil was that? I probably would have been more brave, if it wasn't a blue one. And there are certainly other ways of defeating him successfully. The Mighty Bananas for example can be used to cook some attack boost dish. And if you fight the Bokoblin camp on the mountain first, you will have a good selection of weapons. Also, it seemed like there was a scripted thunderstorm sequence, after the Hinox got hurt for a bit. The weather forecast only showed lightnings and it stopped, right after the Hinox was defeated. You could probably use Magnesis on a metallic weapon to fry the Hinox with lightning blasts.

Well, you receive Korgu Chideh's Blessing for all these efforts, but other than the Spirit Orb it only gives 300 Rupees... Come on! In the very least some armor piece would have been nice.

A Song of Storms

Apropos thunderstorms, Blessing Shrines and armor pieces. This all came together at the big waterfall around Lake Floria. This might explain, why it always stormed in the area, but with the Zora Armor and my now fully completed climbing set I could reach the top, where you have to cast a lightning stroke to reveal a shrine. Well, thanks to my new Thunder Helm all I had to do was stand there. This toy is amazing, you can get hit by a lightning and NOTHING happens to you. Not even a scratch. I love this item and it was so worth the effort.

I don't even have any use for these Rubber Tights that I got from Qukah Nata's Blessing for doing all this. But at least I have another armor set completed.

In the category of shrines, I've also found the Ke'nai Shakah Shrine today - it's well hidden, where I won't spoil it's location, but it does contain another "Modest Test of Strength". It seems like there are at least four strength tests per level, where I'm still missing another Minor Test of Strength somewhere.

I also explored more of the southeastern sea, where I took on two bigger Bokoblin camps. They were both related to some sidequests from the villages, "The Sheep Rustlers" and "Take Back the Sea". It's quite easy to take out the Silver and Black Bokoblins here, because you can just push them into the water, where they will die instantly.

A Dark Horse

Today I found an almost entirely black horse on the Sahasra Slope to the west of Kakariko. And this one might be a keeper, because she got similar stats to Epona. It's only one star missing for the speed, but that's okay.

As you can see in the picture, I gave her the purple mane and named her "Hilda", since I want to name the royal family's white horse "Zelda", as soon as I get her, where this will be her counterpart. To fully bond with Hilda, I rode from the Highland Stable to the various areas around, like through Faron Woods.

And this is, where I started to wonder, what happened to the areas shown in Game Awards 2014 footage. Aonuma rode through many landscapes in this video and it's hard to recognize any of it in the game now, but it's still there. For example near the end you can see him leaving Faron Woods and riding towards the Bridge of Hylia. It's just that the forest wasn't as thick back then and the hill on the left side didn't have the Lake Tower on it yet or any of the sharp rocks. It was just a blank hill.

Anyway, to accommodate my new steed, I finally got all the costume stuff from Kilton, the full Dark Link set, the Monster Bridle and the Monster Saddle. And it just looks superb:

Behold! The Rider of the Apocalypse!

I love what you can do with costumes in this game. Also, with the full Dark Link set equipped the people always react afraid, when they see you, as if you would be swinging your sword around them all the time. But it's attention to details like that, which makes Nintendo games stand out.

Current Progress:
  • Shrines: 84
  • Koroks: 196
  • Divine Beasts: 4

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 15

Sometimes in this game you just want to pick a point and then start wandering from there in any direction to see, what the day brings... Yesterday I stopped playing around the Lake Tower, which was a tough place, when I first arrived there early in the game. But now I just plow through the area, where it's nice to feel the growth every now and then, instead of running into Blue-Maned Lynels and lots of Silver Lizalfos in the area.

So, today I headed off from the Lake Tower and followed down the Menoat River, where after my journey I would be back at the Gerudo Desert, completing all the sidequests in the area and on the way.

Mounted Archery

Before you know it, you're stuck in another horseback minigame that takes a lot of patience. In this case it was the Mounted Archery, causing me quite some frustrations at first. But it is mostly a matter of finding the right bow. At first I used a Royal Bow most of the time, because I got lots of them, however, there's still quite the arc to the shots and it draws only slowly, which makes hitting the targets quite difficult.

The best one in the end (other than the Great Eagle Bow, which I don't want to waste on a minigame) prove to be the Shallow Bow, where you can find some for free around Rito Village. It draws quicker than the Royal Bow and the shots have a good distance, so you can aim straight at the targets, but at the same time it doesn't have the zoom that comes with the Phrenic or the Golden Bow, which is rather annoying in this minigame. Only downside to the Shallow Bow is that it doesn't have much durability, where it only lasts for a little more than one round. So, it's best to work with savegames here.

For the five balloons at the end you want to use a Bow with a spreadshot (e.g. a Lynel's Bow) and use Bomb Arrows to destroy all five targets at once. Oh, and just let the horse do its thing, it will follow the road and you only have to make it go faster in the beginning. If you follow these tips, it's possible to get a perfect score.

You get the Knight's Bridle and Saddle here (the latter takes 23 points), so it's worth the trouble.

Gerudo Canyon Needies

Apropos horse stuff, you can only have a total of five horses in the game. I do want to have all the special horses, where there's Epona, the Ganon horse and seemingly also the white "Royal Steed" (which I will probably name "Zelda"). Maybe you can also have the Stal horse, I don't know. But if you want all the special horses, there's probably only room for one or maybe two horses of your own choosing in the end, which means that I will have to let go of some of them. I have a maximum bond with Firsta and other than being a little slow, I rather like her. And Bridga wasn't too bad either...

So, Contesta had to go first. I never really used her and I only got her because of the horse taming minigame at the Dueling Peaks stable. So, I decided to give her to the guy at Gerudo Canyon, who's looking for a new horse. He's picky about the size, but luckily she was a perfect fit.

Good Bye, Contesta! I never liked you anyway...

Other than that I also found the four friends of the guy, who's waiting at the Gerudo Canyon Stable. I first met him on my third day of playing, almost two weeks ago. And it's funny, how these guys survived for all that time. But it would be annoying, if there was a time limit on these kind of sidequests.

I've also collected the 55 Rushrooms for the other guy at the stable. You get a Diamond for your efforts, but it still feels like this was a little bit too much for one gather quest.

Desert Deeds

Back to my favorite part of the game, I decided to complete all the sidequests around Gerudo Town for the Thunder Helmet and explore all of Gerudo Desert, where I found a couple of shrines, but most of them were simple Blessings, because they were tied into some Shrine Quests.

In case of the Seven Heroines and Korsh O'hu's Blessing I don't mind the choice, because this already was a nice puzzle, where you had to pay close attention to the environment to solve it.

From there you can spot another shrine in the middle of the desert, but when I got there, the terminal was blocked by a Gerudo. She's all about some seemingly alcoholic drink named "Noble Pursuit", where you end up in a quest about delivering a block of ice through some ruins... It's a lot of trouble for one shrine, but it still doesn't justify that Misae Suma would give you yet another Blessing, because normally there would be no challenge of getting there. It was probably so hot in the desert that the Sheikah didn't want to design any puzzles, so they just hand their rewards over to the hero. There's no other explanation, because that Sheikah monk honestly couldn't have foretold that in the exact moment, where some hero would arrive, a Gerudo would block the entrance...

In the very least Kema Zoos delivered, where at the end of the "Silent Swordswomen" quest a nice little "Delayed Puzzle" awaited. Thank you. At least someone around here, who isn't afraid to think in the heat.

By the way, if you climb the rock walls behind the shrine, the game will simply stop you from walking any further...

Okay, that's a lame way to create a world border. I don't mind it, if they do this in the middle of the ocean, since the Wind Waker did the same and there's no point to keep going. But stopping me in the middle of the environment seems a little weird. I liked, how they solved the world border in the north. I wouldn't even think about crossing that gap. And the ocean to the east and south does the trick as well. But they should have done something similar to the west, instead of making you run into an invisible wall in the middle of nowhere... But of course it could also be that they might expand in this direction for the DLC. We'll see.

Also, the heat gets so strong in the outer desert regions that the Gerudo garb doesn't help you anymore, despite its Heat Resistance set bonus. The Goron Armor also doesn't help, which is a little weird, because it should be super hot around Death Mountain. But it supposedly only protects you from flames and catching fire. Well, for now I just used potions and food with Heat Resistance, but one Gerudo made it sound like there's proper gear for the area, which I haven't found yet...

What makes the areas so special are certainly the giant Molduga bosses, where I fought three of them. One at the Southern Oasis, one at Toruma Dunes and at the North Dragon's Exile. They create a similar thrill to the Moldworms in Phantom Hourglass at first, but once you arrived on a stone platform, they are easy to fight. You just have to lure them with bombs or explosive barrels and then you can take your strikes.

Only the enemies in the area might cause some problems. I had Bokoblins pushing me off the platform, a Silver Lizalfos that kept spamming his spit at me and several Electric Keese causing frustrations. I especially hate the latter, those bats are real brats. Unless you fight them off quickly with a spear weapon, they will make you drop your things and cause a lot of damage. Well, luckily all of this was for an item that grants you protection from electricity.

Anyway, one of these Molduga fights led to Tho Kayu's Blessing and there was Raqa Zunzo's Blessing as a reward from the Sand-Seal race. At least there they made it so that you claim an orb, where the orb could have been anywhere, so story-wise the Blessing works for me in that case. The Sand-Seal Rally also was quite fun, much more enjoyable than any of the horse-related minigames so far...

Last but not least, I made it to the Hawa Koth Shrine with the nice "Current Solution" puzzle, where in the area I found my first Great Thunderblade for my collection at home and my last Great Fairy. She needed 10,000 Rupees, where I had to sell a majority of my gems to make it happen, but I now can finally upgrade all armor the maximum (where applicable), where the final upgrade animation wasn't a letdown and as hilarious as usual.

It seems that there really are only four Great Fairies in the game (plus that horse god), which means that four stars is the maximum for your armor. I also discovered another maximum with the Stamina Wheels. I completed my third wheel today, where the Goddess Statue told me that I wouldn't need any more. I was hoping that this would be the case and even if it wasn't, I probably would have stopped at three wheels, because it's sufficient and I want to invest into more Heart Containers from now on. But it seems that with roughly 40 shrines left I could only get a total of 27 Heart Containers (three missing for two complete rows), unless the DLC will offer additional Heart Containers or Spirit Orbs.

In any case I completed today's task of helping all the Gerudo, where I finally claimed the Thunder Helm. It makes you "Lightning Proof", where from now on those Electric Keese shouldn't fry me anymore. I also liked, how you had this surrounding quest, where the goal was to do all the sidequests around Gerudo Town. It really adds to the fact that the Gerudo Desert is the best part of the game.

Current Progress:
  • Shrines: 79
  • Koroks: 181
  • Divine Beasts: 4

Friday, March 17, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 14

Maze Runner

I haven't made much progress the last two days, mostly just exploring some environments. This includes the far north, where I visited the Sha Gehma Shrine with small, but nice "Shift and Lock" puzzle. And from there I made my way past a White-Maned Lynel to the North Lomel Labyrinth.

I didn't find it as impressive as the one in the south, mostly because it didn't have the same maze-quality to it. You could read most of the labyrinth on the map and you could probably skip to the end by climbing the walls. Exploring the entire labyrinth took much longer, but also didn't seem all that worthwhile, save for Qaza Tokki's Blessing at the end.

Next stop was the Thyphlo Ruins, where you can locate Ketoh Wawai's Blessing, if you make it through some really dark forest. And I mean REALLY dark...

This takes me back to the early Twilight Princess trailers, where Link explored some forest at night with his lantern. It's just a little bit more intense here, because you can't see anything without a torch. I want to fully explore this area, as soon as I got that glowing costume, which you can buy at Gerudo Town.

I haven't done the labyrinth at Akkala yet, but I did open the shrine for Ritaag Zumo's Blessing at the Rist Peninsula, where you have to carry an orb over a circling area through the water. There are lots of Black Moblins and Lizalfos here without any weapons for some easy prey, but they will try to grab on to your orb and throw it, if you're not careful.

Trying amiibo

This is something that I hadn't done so far, because it felt like cheating. But everything in the game has gotten so expansive now that I really can use all the materials, Rupees and so on. Upgrading armor is especially expansive and I reached a point, where I don't feel bad about using amiibo.

Also, I've heard that there are exclusive armor sets and weapons that you can get by scanning the various Zelda amiibo. Supposedly this includes many classic looks and weapons for Link, e.g. the Hero's Tunic or the Biggoron Sword. There's even a full Fierce Deity Link set in the game, however, you can only get it from some Majora's Mask Link amiibo, which hasn't been released yet. The same goes for a Skyward Sword set. See a guide with a full list of exclusives on Reddit.

I'm not sure, how I feel about this. On the one hand I didn't want the new Link to slowly transform back into classic Link during the game, where he gets the Hero's Tunic, rides on Epona and uses his indestructible Hylian Shield, because that would be boring. He has the Master Sword, but it's limited now and otherwise the game focuses on new things, which is good. Also, all these items don't make much sense in the game. So, adding this kind of stuff as amiibo presents might have been the right solution, because it doesn't really count and it gives the amiibo owners something special that is related to the figurines.

On the other hand I like, how you can get the Dark Link costume in the game, which isn't some amiibo exclusive, and there's no real reason, why the other stuff shouldn't be available on similar means. I'm not a fan of the practice of locking collectible items behind amiibo, where I was quite happy about the fact that Tri Force Heroes didn't go that route. Since I got all the Zelda amiibo, I won't miss out, but it certainly sucks for everyone, who wants to complete their armor collections, but doesn't want to invest as much money into figurines...

Other than those special armor pieces and weapons, you can also get Epona with the Smash Link amiibo, where I got her right away. And she's essentially a cheat horse with best stats, who is fully tamed right away:

She pretty much makes all the other horses obsolete and this is the stuff that I was afraid about. But since she's just an "amiibo cheat", I can live with it. It seems like the amiibo give you the things that shouldn't be in the game. You can't rename her, by the way, the stable owner will recognize her as the Horse of Legend. (Update: there are horses with better stats in the game and you also can't put saddles or bridles on her.)

Well, I gave the obstacle course at the Highland Stable another go, where the key to winning seems to not use the A button to speed up, unlike in past Zelda games, where you had to speed up to jump over fences. I'm not sold on the new horse controls and it took me many tries to finally beat this minigame, because the steering has similar issues to Twilight Princess HD, though it's not as bad. I also had it quite often that Epona would try to avoid the obstacles going either left or right, where then she would stop in front of the poles. Playing this minigame was rather frustrating, where I almost was about to anger that horse god around the corner...

But I haven't done much with horses in the game so far, to be honest. I usually just walk through the areas, keeping an eye out for Koroks. The obstacle course even gave me my first set of horse gear and the Archer Link amiibo gave me a second one. But otherwise I didn't find a single piece of horse equipment anywhere yet, except for the one in Kilton's shop. I suppose, most of it might be related to other horseback minigames like at the Mounted Archery Camp. By the way, those horse armor pieces were out into the "Key Items" menu, which feels kind of odd. It probably could have gotten its own inventory space.

Of course I also had to try Wolf Link and this is easily my favorite amiibo usage made by Nintendo. It feels really good having him around and he sticks quite for a while. You can even summon him again, e.g. after you teleported, as long as he didn't run out of health.

Major Tests of Strength

Breath of the Wild really is about getting stronger, much more than in any other Zelda game before. And I'm more and more invested in the fighting. I made my way through Lanayru Promenade today and for some reason I ended up with four or five Royal Broaswords with Critical Hits, which is a superb weapon. So, I decided to take on the Lynel at Purifier Lake with success. When I first fought it there, I didn't stand a chance. By now it was replaced by a Blue-Maned Lynel and I could beat the thing without any bigger losses.

However, when I tried taking on another Blue-Maned Lynel at Oseira Plains, I was faced with troubles once again. I also don't like, how quickly the game upgrades its enemies everywhere. I now felt ready to fight normal Lynels, but the game simply replaced them all with blue ones. It feels like you never make any progress.

Anyway, I wanted to burn through some good weapons somehow, where I decided to try the Major Tests of Strengths. I found three shrines so far that offer these and I avoided them up until now, because I didn't feel ready. Well, I'm ready now and the fights were absolutely enjoyable. I especially liked the rooms with water on the ground, where you could use Cryonis to shield yourself during the fight.

But it didn't really help with my weapon situation, because I just ended up with lots of good Guardian gear and the Flamespear from the dragon quest. So, there's even more nice stuff to carry around... Well, let's see, what I shall hunt next...

Current Progress:
  • Shrines: 73
  • Koroks: 163
  • Divine Beasts: 4