Thursday, March 9, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 7

Avoiding the Middle

My next goal was the Korok Forest and I picked up the path from where I last met Hestu, at the Wetland Stable. I continued north, carefully minding my surroundings. However, it seems like the majority of the Guardians are all active in the central area before Hyrule Castle. So far I've only seen two stray Guardians, one at the Goponga Ruins and one at Death Mountain. And I've observed both from a safe distance without them spotting me. Otherwise my journeys have been entirely Guardian-free, where it seems like the trick is staying away from the center of Hyrule. At least for now...

The other common thing in the center are apparently stables. I made it quite quickly to the Woodland Stable, which isn't that far away from the Wetland and Riverside stables. In other areas I desperately keep looking for them, but here they are around every corner...

The teleportation point (= shrine) at the stable had another golf puzzle, but this time it emulated actual golf with an orb, a hammer, the Stasis ability and a distant hole. Again, this also had an additional room, where you can play a more difficult round for a treasure. And this busted two Iron Sledgehammers on my end, because you need to aim precisely at the center for the hole-in-one. There's an obstacle there with a small opening, where you can only get through with full power. But as usual there's some other way around it, if you're having as much trouble, as I did. In the end I placed the ball slightly to the left, so that the obstacle isn't in the way, and then gave it five hits, instead of the full six. And this worked splendidly on first try. So, again, if you're having trouble with a puzzle, try thinking outside the box! It was also worth it, because you get a Giant Ancient Core for the trouble.

Lost in the Woods

When I made my tour around Death Mountain, I already saw the upcoming area from a distance and it didn't look like a friendly place. It looked like death, a Skeleton Forest surrounded by a gigantic wasteland. But you can spot lots of cherry blossoms (or pink leaves) in the center, which gives away that there's more to this scary place.

And what awaits you there is easily the best version of the Lost Woods so far in the series. It even surpasses the Royal Valley in The Minish Cap, which showed an amazing atmosphere for a 2D game, but the trees with faces, the thick mist and the eerie music just nailed it. Very well done.

I instinctively knew what to do in both sections of the Lost Woods and I was rewarded by one of the most magical moments in the Zelda series. The transition from the scary forest to the lush green and friendly Korok Forest is just wonderful. I was stunned, how well this all turned out. They created this little paradise surrounded by a world of death, but it makes perfect sense. The Lost Woods will probably keep everyone except the brave Hero out, even Ganon's hordes, and this keeps both the Koroks and the Master Sword safe.

And it really feels like a safe haven in the game. You're surrounded by dozens of Koroks, who live a carefree life here, as if nothing can touch them. Not even the Guardians. There's really some good old magic in place from the times far beyond the creation of the Sheikah technology. And it just feels great being there. You also get a free bed and you finally have full access to Hestu for pouch upgrades. I made good use of it, but it still feels like I can't ever carry enough weapons.

To make sure that you can get back here quickly, there's the Keo Ruug Shrine right next to the Great Deku Tree, which has a puzzle about star formations. At first I thought, I had to go outside and check the sky, but you can't really see the night sky in Korok Forest, almost as if it's always day there. But the solution was in the shrine itself, where the puzzle won't offer any replay value, but I liked, how you had to be quite observant. Also, it's another shrine that can be done without Runes.

Master using it and you can have this

Of course the real object of interest in this place is the good old Master Sword, where for a moment I was afraid that I could have gotten it much earlier in the game. But it turns out that like with the White and Magic Swords in the first The Legend of Zelda, you need to collect a certain number of Heart Containers at first. They just made this much more exciting, because it essentially sucks your life force away, when you try to pull out the sword. It's thrilling, really, and you do get a Game Over, if you overdo it. I've tried. Not even fairies will revive you.

That's such a nice twist on the whole Master Sword paradigm. The Master Sword has gotten boring over the course of the series. You find it in some forest and/or at the Temple of Time, you collect three Pendants or Spiritual Stones to prove yourself worthy and so on. Problem with the Master Sword was that you always get it in a fixed point in the game, as an important part of the story. It's never really an upgrade, because the game goes on and simply throws stronger enemies at you to compensate your new power. But what Breath of the Wild did here, is quite different. They finally got it right. When you can get the sword is up to you and it all depends on what you've achieved so far outside of the main quests. And it's probably even optional, if you really can beat Ganon right from the beginning - it's just that the sword makes it much easier.

The Koroks also prepared some trials, which supposedly help you with claiming the Master Sword. I did the hardest trial first, where you have to get through a swamp full of enemies without losing your wooden gear. The Forest Dweller Bow with the triple shots was nice, though. It's a little like the Kokiri Clothes in Tri Force Heroes and it's great that the different bows come with different abilities. Well, I didn't even mind that there was another lazy Blessing Shrine at the end of it, because you certainly had your trial with this. The other two trials were much more relaxing and fun, though... Following the spooked Korok was just adorable and the first trial was just another well done Lost Woods riddle, where you had to be observant.

Other than the fact that you can get one more Heart Container after visiting all shrines in the forest, doing the three trials did seem to have an effect on pulling out the Master Sword, where I was able to pull it out somewhat further. Maybe doing the trials reduces the total number of hearts that you need. However, there's still one trial left, where you have to bring a sleepy Korok objects that he describes in riddles. It's pretty much the same thing as the Riddle Quest in the GameBoy Advance version of A Link to the Past. The first two items were rather trivial and I even had them on me, so this was easy enough. For the third item he wanted some electric fish...

Fishy Quests

You need a Voltfin Trout and I remembered getting such a fish around Zora's River, but I cooked it into some electricity resistance food. So, I had to get one more and I used the chance to do two of the remaining sidequests at Zora's Domain, where they did offer a little more meat than the rest.

One has you looking for historic monuments all around Zora's Domain and Zora's River. One of these monuments tells the tale of Princess Ruto from the era of the Hero of Time and even confirms that the Devine Beast was named after her. That's interesting and it confirms that this game takes place loooooong after the rest of the series. If I now find historic texts about events from the three different timelines, I'm going to freak out.

Anyway, I'm noticing, how I have grown quite stronger in the game. The Blue Moblins around the area now pose no threat at all and I could use them for some dodging practice. Mastering the fighting in this game isn't so easy, because timing is very critical. It's a much more challenging combat system than anything the series had to offer so far.

I've also did the Bank of Wishing quest, where you have to follow Finley's love letter in a bottle. That one takes a while and gets a little tricky at the end, where the bottle gets stuck at some Lizalfos camp. But I made it and even got a Voltfin Trout on my way, so all went as planned.

I also did the Sheh Rata Shrine close by, which is completely surrounded by thorns. It has a solid puzzle with a rotating laser changing the water level, but the good part was that you were greeted with another treasure chest at the end, where the puzzle gets a little more complicated. But it's easy to forget about certain abilities that you have in the game.

Taming Ganon

The next and final item required for the Korok Riddle Quest was a hoof and this got me stumped at first. I really thought that you have to kill a horse for this, but this wouldn't be very heroic. Still, I decided to visit a place with horses next, where I went back to the savanna, where I first left the Great Plateau almost a week ago. The grass fields with the big Ganon Horse. And it was still there!

Instead of killing it, I gave taming it another try and thanks to two additional stamina wheels and some stamina replenishing food, I did it. I soothed the Ganon horse and was finally able to ride it!

It's long ways back to the Highland Stable, but last time I had to go on foot, because I wasn't able to tame any horses in the area. But I didn't worry about it, because all I remembered was some Moblin and a band of riding Bokoblins on the way, nothing I wouldn't be able to handle now.

Imagine my unpleasant surprise, when I saw a Lynel on the way! Where did this thing suddenly come from? I'm pretty sure that I saw a Moblin, when I first passed the area. I avoided it by going up the cliffs and if this always has been a Lynel on this path, then I instinctively avoided some traumatic experience on my first day of playing. Since I didn't want my Ganon Horse to be shredded into pieces by those Mini Ganons, I stayed close to the rock walls and luckily it didn't attack me. Later on the way there was another one, where I'm pretty sure that it wasn't there early in the game.

Maybe the game adapts the difficulty in a way, where enemies on the overworld are replaced with stronger ones based on your progress, but I couldn't observe this anywhere else. For example the Great Plateau is still filled with cannon fodder.

But maybe those Lynels always have been there and I was just the luckiest fool, when I first left the Plateau and just ran by them. It even turned out that the Ganon horse was not just some lucky find, it's a special horse in the game for a quest in the area, which explains, why it was still there, while all the other horses seem to be randomly generated. And the guy, who wants to see this special Ganon horse, even explicitly mentions horse-like enemies as an obstacle... So, what a coincidence this horse was the first one I saw in the game.


Well, I finally got my Ganon horse and that's what counts! The horse itself is strong, but it's slow and you don't have the spurs to make it go faster. But as a compensation you can probably kill a Lynel with those hoofs.

Apropos hoofs, I still need one and afterwards I tried killing some random horse, but they don't drop anything. And killing a horse made me feel so bad that I went back to the last savegame. It's weird, how you can kill tons of things in this game for food, but this one animal makes you feel regret. I then went to the Rabia Plain to hunt some deer and goats in hope that they might drop hoofs, but without success.

So, what do you do, if you don't know, where to get something? Right! You consult Hyrule Compendium! It tells you, what resources are dropped by the various animals, creatures and monsters in the game. Horses don't drop anything, goats only drop meat, so what could it be... Wait, wasn't there some enemy described as "horse-like"? No. No! It can't be, right? Well... turns out that you need to kill a Lynel. And that even makes sense, because the Korok trials are all about proving yourself worthy for the Master Sword. Just collecting some fruits and fish isn't exactly difficult, so there had to be a twist like this.

But fighting Lynels is. Since I felt more confident about my power, I decided to give it a try, and as chance would have it, there was even one not far from the plain, at the Purifier Lake. So, let's fight this thing! No problem! I have tons of great food. Let's equip some Bomb Arrows and my best sword, and these hoofs will be mine!

Well... I already gave up in the moment, where I saw the TWO THOUSAND health points. The triple Ice Arrows flying at me didn't make it better, but I still charged at the thing, which really looks like a miniature version of Ganon from Ocarina of Time, equipped with Ganondorf's Great Swords from Hyrule Warriors. It's like how the Moblins were originally supposed to be made in Ganon's likeness, just much scarier and formidable.

Even though I practiced dodging earlier today, it didn't help much with the brutal and swift attacks of the thing. They are devastating and I wasn't prepared at all, so I admitted defeat and loaded my latest savegame to get all the food back.

Man. Just when I thought that I was getting stronger in this game, it puts me right back to my place. And these Lynels are treated as normal enemies in the game, not some overworld bosses! It even was indicated that there are blue (and maybe black) variants as well! But this Red Lynel alone was stronger than anything else that I have encountered so far in the game. Wow! Just wow!

Now, exploring and growing stronger always were the key aspects of a Zelda game, where Breath of the Wild hits the nail on the head. To think that I will be able to fight these guys as regular enemies later on, really has me excited. For now I had to retreat, but Breath of the Wild might be a game, where you can become stronger on a much more noticeable scale than in any other Zelda game. The challenges here are on a completely different level. But hopefully the Master Sword will do 100 damage or more, because otherwise killing these tanks won't get much easier.


After I ran from the Lynel, I traveled to Hateno and blow up some forests on the way to collect wood. It was time to do something pleasant and finally buy that house. With all the Rubies and Ambers that I got from Death Mountain and all the climbing, I easily could afford the house from the gay carpenter, Bolson.

And I love the sounds they make, when they built stuff. As if they are turning into Super Saiyajins at the end. Now, buying the house and stuff for the house gets a you nice base. So far Zora's Domain was my favorite "base", because there's a cooking pout right next to a shrine and an inn and you can find good weapons laying around, but with the house you get cool gear stands:

Cozy, right?

It seems you can hold up to three melee weapons, three shields and three bows with this. It's not a sufficient replacement for an actual Item Check, which the game very much needs, but it's better than nothing and it looks nice. And you can use it to store some better weapons for later use.

End of Day 7 Progress
  • Shrines: 38
  • Koroks: 72
  • Divine Beasts: 1

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