Monday, March 13, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 11

Akkala Citadel Ruins

Saying that the Akkala Tower is the best protected tower in the game would be an understatement. The other towers all have their quirks around them, but this place was a fortress. It starts with the Guardian Skywatchers, but luckily they really just focus on their red beams, so they are easy enough to avoid. You can just climb up the fortress on a safe spot, unless it keeps storming like in my case.

But it's not just the Skywatchers, the upper area and the lower third of the tower are covered in that cursed Ganon Goo, where you have to be a little creative to build a bridge. I saw a metal door at a lower level, which probably can be used for this and might even shield you from the sights of a Skywatcher, but I haven't tested this and just settled for some boxes and hurt feet instead. And there was my second fight against a Silver Bokoblin in the game, which are quite the tanks.

Akkala Assessment

For my troubles I got rewarded with the Akkala map, which is filled with Link's Awakening references, such as:
  • Kanalet Ridge
  • Malin Bay
  • Ukuku Plains
  • Ulria Grotto
And for this alone it was worth it, since this was my first Zelda game, where it always will have a special place in my heart. However, I couldn't spot a "Spring of Power" on the map, which was my goal yesterday, where I was on the way to complete the Three Dragon Quest (no, not the one from Skyward Sword, don't worry).

It seems that the names of the springs (and potentially other special places) will only appear on your map, if you've actually been there. So, it technically could have been anywhere and I was back to the start. But I noted, how in the Akkala region there is a spot, which resembles one of the springs, and I decided to head there next.

On my way there I also went to the South Akkala Stable and the Ze Kasho Apparatus Shrine, where surprisingly I hadn't been there yet. I saw the shrine a couple of times from a distance, but then usually went somewhere else.

Anyway, I did spot the Spring of Power on the map correctly, where even another memory of a frustrated Zelda awaits. Unlike the other two springs, the Tutsuwa Nima Shrine doesn't offer you a Blessing, but wants a "Major Test of Strength". I'll keep those for later, so I didn't collect all elemental spears yet.

I also wondered, what's the point of the Skywatcher maze that leads to the spring? You can just go around it and drop down at any site. Unless there's something hidden in the middle of the maze, it will be pretty pointless.

Tarrey Town

If you thought that this game doesn't have enough villages yet, you can help built a new one! I did enjoy the house quest at Hateno Village, so it's good to see that Hudson is up to something more here. As a help he needs some strong people to take care of the boulders, but with the company's policy of only hiring persons, whose names end on "son", you can't just ask anyone. Of course Gorons are best for the job and lucky for Hudson I wanted to head for Goron City next anyway...

But I already found him a first villager, even though that guy is more of an outcast...

Scary Mask Salesman

Some people in Akkala tell you about a weird guy named "Kilton" causing trouble, but for some reason I remembered his name as "Kilson", where I thought that he might also be a candidate to help out with Tarrey Town. But turns out that this is not what this was about...

Right when I was getting a little sick about all the generic NPCs in this game, suddenly this guy shows up and saves the day. I simply like it, when Zelda games have curious characters such as this one, because they stick in your memory.

Now, Kilton feels like they crossed Beedle with Batreaux and the Happy Mask Salesman. He's obsessed with monsters and buys monster parts from you, where you received his own currency called "Mon". With it you can buy some funny stuff, like masks for the four different main monster types:

There's the Bokoblin Mask, the Moblin Mask, the Lizalfos Mask and even a Lynel Mask. And with them you can supposedly trick them into thinking that you're one of their own. I wonder, if you can actually tame and ride a Lynel with this, but I haven't tried yet and apparently these masks don't work for long, because the monsters aren't entirely stupid. But it's funny to look at and I love, how Link imitates the typical poses of the monsters:

It's a nice feature and shows, how much variety the new armor system can offer. Kilton also sells some other stuff, like a joke weapon and some demonic horse gear, but I haven't really played around with horses that much. So far I just went with the standard stuff that I got from the stables.

Death Mountain Trail

Now I had to pick up, where I started about a week ago. When I first hiked to Death Mountain, I also came from the Akkala region and headed for Eldin Tower. I was constantly hindered by the burning hot zones and I viewed this as a big obstacle, where I had to find a good solution. So, I decided to focus on other areas first and went all around the world in the meantime.

But something felt fishy about this, where I knew that there had to be an easy way to get to Goron City. So, before I tried cooking up something random, I thought it would be best to return to the Foothill Stable and just gather information. And yeah, turns out that all I had to do here was talking to people. Since many of the NPCs in this game tend to be very generic, I ignore them all, unless they have a red exclamation mark bubble above their heads. But there's a girl at the stable, who sells Fireproof Elixirs to tourists. which you can use to walk through the burning heat and just continue the path to Goron City. It's that easy and looking at the elixirs in your inventory even tells you the recipe, where you just need some Fireproof Lizards, which run around Death Mountain. And yesterday I thought that I would need Naydra's Scale or something crazy...

So, that's it, now I all I had to do is keep walking and enjoy the nice remix of the classic Death Mountain dungeon theme from the first The Legend of Zelda game. I quickly arrived at the Southern Mine, where I already found the candidates for Tarrey Town: Greyson and his son Felison. That's almost too easy!

Goron City

After the traditional Death Mountain greeting that is caused by Vah Rudania, I finally arrived at Goron City. And I like, what they've done with the place! It's very different from Goron City in Ocarina of Time and they even have a different music theme going on here. It's all hard and rough, as you'd imagine a Goron's life. They have a mining operation going on and it all fits the Goron race perfectly. Sadly, it doesn't seem like I can ask anyone, where all their vais are or how they procreate, since otherwise Link was never afraid to ask the awkward questions in this game.

Well, there's the Shae Mo'sah Shrine on the hills with some fire puzzles and you can buy a Goron Armor (it's actually called "Flamebreaker Armor") in the shops, where the helmet is super expansive (2000 Rupees), but still entirely worth it, because it makes Link look a Goron. And all those gems that I had collected on the way needed to be good for something.

Come to think of it, I still haven't gotten that Zora helmet, where I probably should finish the monument quest. That might also make Link look more like a Zora, similar to the Zora Armor from Twilight Princess. But I'm quite happy, how silly the Goron Armor turned out to be, because it's just fitting with these guys.

You can also upgrade it at Tabantha's Great Fairy for a "Fireproof" bonus, where you need a dozen of these Fireproof Lizards. I set my Sheikah Sensor on them to locate them quickly. I don't like using the sensor for shrines, because it feels like cheating, even though it's far from being as ridiculous as the Dowsing in Skyward Sword. But it's nice for finding these little things and this led me back the Southern Mine, where you have a tourist, who grants you a piece of the Flamebreaker Armor for ten of the Fireproof Lizards... Could have saved me some money, if I knew this earlier... Again, talking to people helps. Just do it.

Well, with my shiny new armor I now finally could explore all around Goron City without the need of elixirs. There's the Daqa Koh Shrine near the Bridge of Eldin, which has a nice Stasis puzzle for a change! Often I forget that this Rune ability even exists in the game. Bombs and Magnesis see a lot of use, Cryonis is only useful in certain places, but Stasis seems more like the secret skill of the game. I'm sure that it has some good uses, I haven't even tried using the monster freezing yet, but the game doesn't exactly encourage you to use it.

I also wondered, how the Koroks survive in the scorching heat. Shouldn't they just go up in flames...?

Anyway, I continued in the Abandoned Mine after one failed round there. For some reason I was at first under the impression that all the cannons are defunct and merely decoration. Or something that you need to repair later on. So, I fought my way through the area by hand, where my arsenal of ice weapons certainly helped a lot. I then wondered, what you had to do with the trapped Goron, where I even returned to the ailing Goron Elder to talk about it with no luck.

But it turned out that you can just use the cannons to blow everything up. And I mean everything. It even destroys those skull caves that the Bokoblins like so much. It's a lot of fun to use this and fight your way through the area...

Divine Beast Vah Rudania

Taking down the Divine Beasts was so far always absolutely faced paced and glorious, where I expected that you would go all Groose-style here and mount a cannon on one of the minecart rail tracks to attack the thing. That would have been epic. But instead you're getting into a little stealth segment around Death Mountain crater, where you have to take out several Sentries - they are like a harmless variant of the Skywatchers.

The nice part about this is that you have the Goron Yunobo follow you around. You can even command him with the whistle button, which was a smart idea. This type of coop action is what I had imagined, when I first saw the artworks of the four Champions. Just that they would also use their weapons and fight enemies with their AI. (And that you might even be able to switch to them and control them.) But appears that the little segment with Yunobo here is all I get...

I do, however, understand that it probably would have been difficult to implement this coop play inside the dungeons like they did in the Wind Waker with the way how the dungeons are controlled via the map. Vah Rudania has the simplest controls of them all with only two options, but the most impactful change at the same time. The entire dungeon tilts by 90°, so that you can essentially walk on walls. Even more three dimensional thinking is required here than with the other Divine Beasts and I even got a little dizzy at times.

The running around revolving edges also felt very familiar to me, where only the Goron Mines from Twilight Princess came to mind at first. But it's something that you do in some levels of the later 3D Mario games, so that's where I already learned the skills.

And again, playing around with the Divine Beast felt super impressive. They really did something outstanding with the dungeons and finally got away from the typical temples and palaces of the series.

This particular Divine Beast also had a special segment in the beginning, where you're in completely dark rooms hunting those Phantom Eyes. I really liked that. But overall the difficulty of the dungeon was a letdown. There was only one measly low-level Guardian Scout in the dungeon and the boss was also not very difficult. In fact the fight was very similar to the one on the flying Divine Beast Vah Medoh. You just have to shoot the thing in the eyes...

I'm really disappointed about this, because the first boss that I have faced was the one of Vah Naboris, which almost had Dark Souls boss qualities to it. It was fast and frightening and you really had to master your combat skills with this fight. But the others couldn't keep up with that. They all look really cool, though. I give them that.

Well, now it was time for the "HERE IT COMES" Goron, whose name is "Daruk" and where "it" was in fact his Champion ability. That's completely not what I had imagined after the trailer... With this ability it makes the most sense that you can disable them, because you'd really want to save this for some big guys.

Interestingly, the game avoids to list the four Divine Beasts in any specific order. It's different everywhere on the interface. At first I thought that the loading screen lists the Divine Beasts in the order I've beaten them, but this was mere coincidence. So far it showed me Elephant, Camel and Bird, which is how I had beaten the dungeons, but now it's:


The Champion abilities on your HUD are ordered the following way, which is the same as when you order the Key Item in your inventory:


But the bosses in Hyrule Compendium are ordered as follows:


If anything, the Elephant might come first, which makes sense, because it's the closest to Kakariko. But it doesn't really matter, because this game has the same problem as A Link Between Worlds, where the difficulty of the dungeons is mostly on a low level, so you can do it in any order. Only the Camel and its boss really stood out in my opinion, where I'm proud to have chosen them as my first mission. Well, maybe the upcoming Hard Mode in the DLC will do something about the easy dungeons, I would really like that.

End of Day 11 Progress
  • Shrines: 66
  • Koroks: 119
  • Divine Beasts: 4

Note: Future Updates

Today was my last day of vacation and I'm really happy with the progress that I've made in these 11 days. I visited all the areas of this gigantic new Hyrule, did over half of the shrines and all of the main quests. Overall I've spent exactly 100 hours with the game so far. There's still lots to do in the game, where I will focus on doing sidequests in my home time during weekdays. Fighting the big bad is my goal for next weekend.

But from now on there probably won't be any daily posting anymore, because I simply won't have as much time. I will keep doing these posts on weekends and maybe some small updates in between. You'll see.

So far I've also been fully avoiding GameFAQs or other sources, which might tell me stuff about the game. I want to keep it that way, which is why comments still are disabled. I want to find out everything on my own and discover all the surprises on my own. This might lead to some stupid situations, where I can't figure out, how to get to Goron City for days, but that's all part of the experience.

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