Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 5

It's Always Rainy in Kakariko

Forget about what I said about the rain in Hateno earlier, Kakariko is as bad, if not worse. Whenever I go to this village, it's raining. The mountains around Kakariko are lot fun to climb and in general I just love the free climbing in the game, because it adds a level of never before seen freedom. But rain is your worst enemy in this new sport.

It seems, however, that there might be a story explanation for the weather conditions in both Hateno and Kakariko. But let's see about that, because it could also just be the randomization of the weather.

There's also at least one Yiga ambushing you in the hills, but it's all worth the trouble, because the tops around Kakariko hide several Koroks, treasure chests and even a sword in a rock. I thought at that moment that it would be amazing, if they recreated the place from the intro screen of Zelda II - The Adventure of Link somewhere in the mountains.

The Path at Zora's River

Back to the main quest, I was immediately greeted by Prince Sidon. Yesterday I was a little worried about the situation, because I didn't like Prince Ralis from Twilight Princess all that much. But Sidon is more like the complete opposite, he's the star of the Zora Kingdom, a very energetic and positive personality, who cheers on Link. I like him.

The big hazard created by the Elephant Divine Beast is now a constant rainfall, which might explain the terrible weather in the other villages, but which also brings you into a more classic situation, where you have to follow the path alongside Zora's River to Zora's Domain, because you can't climb the rocks around it.

The way is much longer than it used to be in Ocarina of Time, which shouldn't be a surprise, but it also feels so much more realistic. They did a really good job at designing the landscapes, because they feel very real.

Other than being a much longer and more realistic path to the Zora Kingdom, the Zora's River is filled with hostile Lizalfos, ready to fight. Many of them are using Shock Arrows, where electricity is again your big enemy here, much like in the desert. But this time I prepared myself much better, because I'm starting to use the various ingredients to create foods with resistances, which was a big help in the area. And that's not just because of the many Shock Arrows flying at me. During the fights a storm came up and I got hit by a lightning strike twice. The Lizalfos didn't survive the blast, but I did thanks to the electricity resistance. And that's what I call some good action.

I also successfully defeated my first Wizzrobe in the game and earned a Lightning Rod weapon in the process. So, the Wizzrobes are the source for rods, if you ever need more, which is good to know.

But other than the Wizzrobes, it feels like the enemy variety is a little dim. Like in Skyward Sword there are mostly Keese, Bokoblins, Moblins and Lizalfos to fight in this game. Most of the variety comes from the different variations, where there are either darker colors representing tougher foes (blue and black variants) or elemental variants based on fire, ice or electricity. And there are "Stal" versions of all the main enemies. And right here I was hoping that the game will offer more foes, even if it's just more of the classics. They have the Hinox in this game, it might be nice to see some Lynels in the mountains and Darknuts or Iron Knuckles inside Hyrule Castle later on.

My other complaint at the moment was that this game is missing something to repair and store weapons. Basically what you have in Skyward Sword with the Scrap Shop and the Item Check. You can find some really cool weapons in this game, but they might be too valuable to bring them to your next mission, where it would be handy, if you could just store them in some village. And it would be nice, if you could also repair them to keep them longer. Maybe there are shops in other towns, which allow you to do that, but this should be a more accessible feature right from the start...

Bigger, Better, Zora's Domain

While the Gerudo Desert offered a very fresh experience, everything about Zora's Domain in Breath of the Wild essentially screams that Nintendo wanted to do the same things as in Ocarina of Time, just a lot bigger, more glorious and much more epic. Twilight Princess tried the same on the scale of the entire game, but it utterly failed. While everything was bigger, it didn't have the same soul to it. For example Zora's River just turned into some unfun minigame tunnels. And while Zora's Domain was larger and certainly beautiful, there wasn't much to it.

But where Twilight Princess failed, Breath of the Wild succeeded. Mission accomplished. There are a lot of nods to Ocarina of Time here. It starts with the Zora's River path, then you have the classic Zora's Domain music in the background, a Zora Princess, who fell in love with Link, and some Zora Armor made specifically for him. There's even a sidequest about sending a message in a bottle down Zora's River to find your true love. But it's all so much more epic in this game.

The moody atmosphere created by the constant rainfall creates a dire feeling and a sense of urgency. I like the character designs for the new Zora, especially King Dorephan is very impressive. And I like the way, how you interact with them, because they grow very old and know you from a 100 years back. That seems to be a new trait for the Zora, maybe something where they have evolved after the ages, because in Ocarina of Time Ruto was growing at the same rate as Link. But it's an interesting situation and the Zora seem like the best choice to create it.

I also like, how this game finally has multiple love interests for Link again. This was such a nice situation in Ocarina of Time, where other than Zelda you also had Malon, Ruto and to an extent Nabooru. Later Zelda games didn't offer this "harem game" quality, but it's back in Breath of the Wild, where the hero is finally desired by all the ladies in Hyrule again. Combined with the flashback memories the game is even able to create some real emotions here, where I find it both sweet and sad, how Mipha crafted the Zora Armor for Link as a marriage gift.

Apropos, the ability of the Zora Armor to swiftly jump up waterfalls is absolutely fun and amazing. I'm just a little disappointed, how it doesn't improve your agility in water otherwise. There are some matching pants for that armor, which increase the swimming speed, but it's hardly noticeable. By the way, you can have both enhanced by the Great Fairy at Kakariko!

A Scary Sighting

I went back to the Great Plateau to gather some basic materials, when I saw this dragon flying over Lake Hylia at night:

He looked like Shenlong from Dragonball and he might be related to the three Dragons from Skyward Sword. The Hyrule Compendium (yes, I took a picture) describes it as a dragon spirit serving a spring. Its name is Farosh and it is home in the Faron region. The Compendium lists it under "Monsters", but says it bears no ill towards people. Let's see...

Lynel Safari

As if the game was reading my mind earlier, the next mission really got me excited. I wanted Lynels, I get Lynels!! Well, just one for the moment, but the one alone left a big impression. The whole situation felt like it came from some Greek Mythology story. You have this centaur monster on the top of a mountain, attacking every traveler with "magical" arrows.

Nintendo did a great job of translating the Lynel into this 3D Zelda game. It looks perfect, just the way it should be (unlike those fire breathing lions in A Link Between Worlds). It reminded me of Ganon from Ocarina of Time and that's probably intentional. It shoots Shock Arrows as a replacement for the beams, while it also wields a large blade. And again you have very different options in this situation. You can either sneak around and try to collect enough Shock Arrows, without being noticed. Or you can try and kill the thing. Or you can just skip this mission altogether and get the arrows somewhere else. I already had eight Shock Arrows in my inventory, where I got a total of 30, when I was done sneaking around the mountain top...

But I'm starting to see a pattern here, how the Divine Beast quests go off. First you make contact with the tribe, where the Divine Beast causes some natural disasters. You meet an ancestor or someone other related to the Four Champions, who's willing to help you appease the Divine Beast, where in a fast paced action segment you're targeting parts with different arrow types. In case of Vah Naboris it was Bomb Arrows, here it is Shock Arrows. I suppose, the giant fire gecko in the mountains will be stopped with Ice Arrows and the flying Divine Beast with Fire Arrows. Or so. But before that you have to retrieve something in a (stealth) mission...

Divine Beast Vah Ruta

I already thought so earlier, but the vehicle for your fast paced water action in this part is Prince Sidon himself. I hope, I can get him to the ocean later on, but you couldn't steer him anyway. And I suppose, there are no water mounts and it's probably the same for flying, where you could just travel on a Rito to get the flying Divine Beast.

The fight against the giant elephant was as thrilling as the one against the giant camel, but somewhat more hectic, because you had to keep breaking all the ice stuff flying at you. I did set the camera sensitivity to "fast" already, but I'm still too slow with the GamePad aiming, if I have to make a 180° turn. But I liked jumping in the sky and shooting arrows at the thing. Very cool action!

The dungeons itself was also very solid, certainly one of the more enjoyable water dungeons in the series, though I did like Vah Naboris slightly better. My main issue with this dungeon was that you have to go up the floors several times, if you fall down, though there is a good shortcut later on. And using Magnesis to turn winders proved to be a little difficult.

Other than that it was again a very clever dungeon, where you could control height of the giant trunk of the elephant to create a water flow in various places. The ability to move parts of the dungeon at any time via the Sheikah Slate is truly ingenious and feels very powerful. In this case it also enabled some good usage of the Glider over the whole place.

The dungeon overall felt a little easier than the one in the desert and the boss certainly was. I defeated him on first try, though the fight still was very intense and challenging. Difference is that this boss leaves a big opening with his giant lance, which I could use to land some good hits with some strong weapons (thank you, Viga clan, for that Demon Carver). You still had to master the Cryonis ability and the giant lance was hard to dodge, but the fight was still doable. So, first boss down!

Afterwards you learn that you can't re-enter the dungeon, after completing it. This sucks, if you want to get all treasure chests, but at least you get the option to stay for now and take your time to complete it. But treasure chests aren't even marked on the hard-to-read map and the Sheikah Sensor+ doesn't seem to work either... The chests don't seem to contain any items that you couldn't get otherwise, but as a completionist I'm still worried about missing something here.

I do like, how the elephant now gives an indicator of your progress visible in the entire overworld, but there should have been a solution, where you can revisit the dungeon nonetheless, because I really enjoyed walking through the cleansed Divine Beast and looking for additional chests there.

As a reward for defeating the boss you get a Heart Container (which means that they are not just tied to the Goddess statues, maybe two of the bosses even give you Stamina Vessels), as well as a healing ability from Mipha as a new key item. I just wonder, how this thing will work. It sounds like an overpowered fairy, but there should be only one use for this... So, I disabled it for now, because I don't want to waste it on some random enemies. You also get her trident, where you can buy a new one, whenever it breaks. Well, so much for playing as her. If they really will release amiibo for the Four Champions, I suppose that they could just give you the corresponding weapons for free once per day.

I also tried fighting the boss of Vah Naboris again, but no chance. I made it to the third and last phase, where he only had little health left, but I couldn't even hold on to a weapon during this... That boss is just plain evil, but it's nice to have a boss that poses a real challenge for a change.

Heading North

Starting at the cliffs to the west of Zora's Domain, I headed north in the hope to learn more about mountain region, explore around Death Mountain and maybe also make my way to the Goron tribe. There's an area to the northeast with a tower that is guarded by "Guardian Skywatchers". I didn't get close to them, but according to Hyrule Compendium they are an airborne variant of the Guardians. Great.

Well, I avoided that corner and headed straight for Death Mountain, climbing through large rock formations. I did get a good look at the Divine Beast that's climbing around the mountain top and seems even more impressive than the others. But after a certain point Death Mountain started to live up to its name with intense heat and tough enemies, even a Guardian patrolling the area. Neither my Sapphire Circlet or the heat resistance elixirs that I brought didn't do me any favors here, Link just starts to burn in the hot areas. So, you probably need some Goron Armor to move around freely.

Because I was lost, I wanted to make my way to Eldin Tower, but I had to avoid said Guardian, so I made a detour over the surprisingly nice foot of the mountain. There's the Foothill Stable there and the Mo'a Keet Shrine with a nice puzzle, as well as a lonely Ice Wizzrobe, which left me my first Ice Rod. Fire Arrows kill these guys with one hit, but I do wonder, what the weakness of electric enemies are. There don't seem to be Water Arrows in the game...

Well, from down south the tower was much easier to access and there's tons of ore in this place, where I even found my first Diamond. The regional map then give me a better understanding of the environment and how I can reach my goal of Goron City. Apparently I just have to follow the "road"...

To be continued...

End of Day 5 Progress
  • Shrines: 23
  • Koroks: 35
  • Divine Beats: 1

PS: Marot Mart, Marot Mart, come and buy at Marot Mart!!

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