Thursday, June 29, 2023

Tears of the Kingdom Adventure Log, Entry 14

looking at the sunset from Tuft Mountain, with the thunder storm cloud in sight

After my adventures around Lurelin Village, I set my goal on the mysterious set of sky islands shrouded by thunderstorm clouds. This led to a couple of surprises, but also a different journey into the heart of the Lost Woods and to a certain legendary sword that you may have heard about. Spoilers ahead!


Into the Thunderhead

Last time I was headed right into the giant thunderstorm above the Faron region, where this is one of two persisting storms in the skies, the other above the Hebra Mountains, which I have been successfully avoiding for all this time now, probably to my disadvantage. But I can't help but follow my own curiosity, which led me right onto "Dragonhead Island".

Dragonhead Island - Faron Grasslands Sky

And I didn't know what to expect there. I first thought that the whole place might be home to a Thunder Gleeok, but there is one already on the plateau behind Malanya Spring, which I could see in the distance while flying up there. And two of them so close to each other might be a bit much, so it had to be something else...

You can see quite a lot when you first approach the thunderhead, but this luxury goes away once you've stepped on the land, where then it becomes similar to the sandstorm areas, so you won't be able to see far. But I accidentally fell right into the hole that leads to the shrine, where you can also find another door that requires a certain amount of hearts to open it. I don't remember the exact amount, but it was around ten hearts and I had more than enough.

Behind that door you'll find the mask of Mineru, Rauru's older sister and the Sage of Spirit. I already knew her from the memories and saw that she has a Secret Stone of her own, where she obviously was one of the sages, but it wasn't clear what sage exactly. Also, "spirit" wasn't mentioned in the Ring Ruins translations around Kakariko, at least not in the first four.

You can pick up her mask and it will work like one of the green crystals that you need to carry to shrines, where a green beam leads the way. This already brings you back to the surface, but I've returned to this place later to explore it more, where there is an additional group of islands, called the "Thunderhead Isles".

And I really hope that there is something there to dissolve the thunderstorm, like you could do with the sandstorms in Breath of the Wild, because exploring this place isn't much fun with the lack of vision. It's a different experience, for sure, but it's a shame that one of the few larger sets of sky islands is obscured like that. It's also going on my nerves after a while.

the Thunderhead Isles fully visible from above

On the other hand... the Thunderhead Isles are probably just the ever same boring sky islands without the thunderstorm, where it might be like exploring the Thyphlo Ruins now without the darkness. While it's nice to finally see something, it just doesn't have the same mystery to it any longer and in the end is just some ruins. And I think I've explored all of it already and couldn't find anything to make the storm stop.

Contruct Construction

Already while hiking around the Necluda region I noticed the new Zonai owl statue at the pond in the north end of Tobio's Hollow, but at the time I couldn't make much sense out of it. Well, I got my answer now and it reveals an elevator into the Depths, leading down to a construction site. As the Sage of Spirit, Mineru was able to live on for all these thousands of years, her mind residing in her own creation, where it serves as the head for a slightly larger Construct:

holding the owl mask in front of a golem Construct inserted into a round wall

This is another case where trailer expectations hit reality. We have seen this thing in the final trailer and everything about it screamed "boss", something similar to Gohdan, because it came out of a wall. It also looked quite big. But by now I should know better and it's just the case of the Steward Construct all over again, where the trailer made it look to me like some giant Eyegore enemy. The exact same thing has happened here and with trailers for future Zelda games I will have to be very careful with such assumptions about mechanical beings.

You now have to assemble the rest of her body, where four mini-dungeons await you in the proximity for the limbs. The limbs are all put in boxes and for whatever reason it closes the entrance once you've obtained that box, where now you have to get it across various obstacles by attaching Zonai devices. You will transport the thing in all possible ways, making it drive, swim, and fly, where this overall has been fun.

Link sitting on top of the Construct, looking at a Lightroot

And once you're done with it all, you're rewarded with a Construct companion, where you can mount and steer the thing at any time. You can also fuse things to its arms and the back, where each of these parts have a dedicated button. And that feels a bit like playing ARMS, especially since you can attach different weapons to each arm.

Mineru's Den

Once you've put together Mineru's Construct, your task is to use it to reach the Spirit Temple and obtain her Secret Stone. And I was absolutely ecstatic for a moment here. I didn't have any major expectations when going into the Thunderhead, but I found another sage there, one who is not on your initial radar and who gives you a cool robot mech, where the two of you are now headed to an additional temple...

Before the game came out, I was even hoping that bringing the sages back would lead to more than just four main dungeons, all in the same areas as in Breath of the Wild. I was thinking that Paya could be the Sheikah sage, for example... Well, they definitely did the Sheikah dirty in this game, but getting a Zonai sage with Mineru (since Rauru wasn't technically one of the six sages, he was the king) and your own Construct along with it is pretty sweet nonetheless. So, the whole situation made me very happy and excited.

getting ready to fight in the Depths with the Construct

But my happiness and excitement both didn't last long... First of all, the Construct itself is super weak and leaves you very open to attacks, unless you're blocking all the time. On the way I had to fight multiple black and silver enemies, while Link is just a sitting duck on top of that Construct, especially for Lizalfos spit. So, I often just dismounted and fought the monsters directly myself, because this is where I can properly dodge and do more than just two points of damage per hit.

It still has its use, where you can safely cross gloom on that thing and speed around with a propeller, which gives you a silly Naruto-style running animation, but the overpowered hover bike makes this obsolete anyway. Come to think of it, I could have saved myself the troubles and just flown to the Spirit Temple...

Spirit Temple - The Vessel of Spirit's Resting Place

But this would have cut the whole part very short, because this was like the biggest tease in the history of the Zelda series and I cannot possibly in any way or form understate my disappointment with this. The Spirit Temple was the most epic dungeon in Ocarina of Time and here it looked like they are going to mix things a bit with the Shadow Temple, because this is in the dark Depths and there are Poes everywhere. I was thrilled to explore this dungeon... only to find a boxing ring from ARMS:

Scourge of the Spirit Temple - Seized Construct

I'm not even kidding here. I know that I have made several ARMS jokes about the Constructs already, even before the game came out (see here), but this fight is literally just like playing ARMS. If you were to name the boss "Springtron", you wouldn't be able to tell any difference between the two games. Okay, true, there is one big difference: you don't have the stretching arms, which was always the best part...

But this entire fight was just one horrible gimmick experience. The worst part is that the "Seized Construct" gets its own Hyrule Compendium entry and the whole arena is covered in gloom. You can't take a picture from atop your own Construct, so you have to get down and try your luck. While there are some gloom-free spots, the boss will be right in your face, so it doesn't really help. You have to try to get some distance for a good shot and you only get one second, because whenever you take damage it takes you out of the photo mode... Ugh.

I swear, I took more damage trying to take a picture of this thing than in the entire rest of the game combined. Well... it was probably not that much, but it certainly felt like it and was just pure frustrations. Maybe I was doing something wrong here, maybe this is simply a photo you're supposed to get from Robbie (it won't let you make sculptures out of it), but boy was I pissed...

And during all this I had this thought in the back of my head that the game cheated me out of a proper dungeon. Sure, the part where you collect the limbs for a Construct was very much dungeon-like, but that doesn't count. If there's no dungeon map, it's not a real dungeon! Plus, with the Water Temple you also had the Wellspring Island before it, where this was already a dungeon-like area before the actual dungeon.

And the whole setting of the Spirit Temple was just so promising, I would have loved to get a whole dungeon in the Depths, where you explore the darkness with the light of Mineru's Construct. But instead all you get is a gimmicky boss fight. Well, at least you get to fight that specific Construct after all... It was just not the way I expected things to happen.


7 vs. 1

You get the full package from the Spirit Temple otherwise, though. There is a Heart Container to collect and there is another memory, which shows you the Imprisoning War in all its glory. Ganondorf has horns at that point, after the became the Demon King, to make him look more like a devil, but I can't take this seriously... On the contrary, if anything, it makes me question the whole thing in all sorts of ways.

Like, what's his relation to the Horned Statue? Can Ganondorf's horns be used as a fusing material if you defeat him? And why did he lose the horns when he became a mummy? Did he lose other things over time as well?

Rauru imprisoning Ganondorf

Ganondorf is sadly not the villain I was hoping for. It's simply a new incarnation for this version of Hyrule and he doesn't really know more than the other characters. He knew Princess Zelda, because she traveled back into the past, and Rauru told him about Link. So, he didn't know some other incarnations of Link and Zelda from an even earlier era and he is not aware of the Triforce, just like everyone else.

The fight itself was epic, however, where I love how active Zelda is in her new role as the Sage of Time. It was pretty awesome to see them fight all together, even if it was only briefly and even when most of the sages are sadly faceless (I guess they will keep this for the next Hyrule Warriors game).

In addition, you get Mineru's Vow, where from now on it let's you use her Construct as you please, just like Shadow Sidon. You can even use both at the same time, where I had been wondering if the game lets you do this... But it does.

Shadow Sidon, a Blupee and the Construct all by Link's side

And this would have been very inconvenient otherwise, because there are no buttons left to swap things quickly. So, if you had to go into the menu to activate whatever sage companion you need for his/her/its ability, then this would have been messy. But it can already get crowded with just the two of them, where I can only imagine right now how the game plays with all sages activated, so that might be a total mess as well.

Bypassing the Lost Woods

Mineru suggests to visit the Great Deku Tree next, because he can probably tell you something about where to find the Master Sword. So, my next goal was set, yet again postponing the actual dungeons, but at least I was going for another big milestone here. 

I've been to the Lost Woods before (see entry 6), but at the time I didn't understand what I had to do there. Now, I had the idea that maybe light can shine the way through, where using Mineru's Construct makes things easier, but this wasn't the case either, so I had to find other approaches...

flying towards an island with the hover cycle

There is another diving ceremony above the forest, where now I could get up there and complete the wingsuit set, but also try to dive down into the Lost Woods, where you can see a couple of shrines, but to no prevail... But this is when it hit me: maybe you have to go under it!

In hindsight it's even quite obvious, because there is a chasm right on the path into the Lost Woods. I've even been down there already, but I went into the opposite direction to the Lightroot below the Woodland Stable and then called it a day. I loved the idea of the horror forest filled with Evermeans, where it was a nice nod to what's above, but I didn't connect the dots, because at the time I simply didn't know that there are dedicated spots to ascend out of the Depths.

Lightroot, woods in the Depths with visible gloom

Well, the actual Lost Woods area in the Depths is a bit more horrifying than the Evermean forests, where I probably wouldn't have made it so early in the game anyway. But now I'm a lot healthier, better equipped, and also with a clear goal, so the game can only try to stop me. The best it can do is distract me, where in this case you have lots of Lightroots in a single spot.

The Yiga also lure you into another coliseum, where this time you only have to fight one Black Hinox. And this scored me the handy Korok Mask, where I'm sensing a pattern here and maybe these coliseums all will give you the different headpieces from the Breath of the Wild Expansion Pass, like Zant's Helmet. If this is truly the case, then Majora's Mask really might be well protected, which would be a good change... I also won't be using the Korok Mask for now, because I still enjoy looking for the Korok puzzles without any hints.

In the middle of this area you will spot some giant roots, coming down from the Deku Tree, as well as one of those Zonai towers that let you use Ascend to move back to the surface. So, I've found exactly what I've been looking for!

Inside the Deku Tree

Once you enter Korok Forest from down below, you are presented with a gloomy scene, where the whole place looks much darker and all the little Koroks are paralyzed and don't say anything. Oh, the poor, little Koroks!

at the Master Sword pedestal, all colored in a purple tone

The Great Deku Tree complains about stomach troubles, where as a fan of classic Zelda you might expect that he has swallowed a Queen Gohma. But it's actually worse this time, where there is now a chasm inside the tree, which goes all the way down where you've been before, inside the giant roots. The cross section of the Deku Tree must really look ridiculous, but whatever, there is no time to question the design choices, because the root of the evil is a Gloom Spawn.

taking a shot at one last hand

If you have successfully avoided fighting these things so far, then you will have to face your fears now. Well, my first approach was super skilled and elegant... I've screamed in panic, loaded a save that I had made right before jumping down into this chasm, attached a bunch of rockets to my shields, and then let it rain Bomb Flower Arrows! Well, that was a bit unnecessary, because there is a ledge nearby where you can save yourself via Ascend, but I didn't pay attention to this on my first trip down there.

Well, it matters not, as long as I could help all the poor, little Koroks. And the Deku Tree, of course, whose main role this time is to tell you all about the Master Sword.

Link holding the Master Sword with Zelda at this side, in the outfits from the game's intro

It starts with the first memory in your list, where Link and Zelda retrieve the Master Sword after another slumber, where its healing capabilities are highlighted... So, it explains why Link put it back there in the first place, since he still had it at the end of Breath of the Wild.

I was hoping that the first memory is more extensive, because I would love to see more of what has happened between Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, but these memories are always individual scenes and not a collection, so I didn't really expect it. There are still the scenes from the first teaser trailer, where Link and Zelda went spelunking with a Dondon through some giant underground ruins, where I would be quite sad if this didn't make it into the final game at all in any way or form... It feels like something that got cut, like an actual dungeon for the Spirit Temple.

The Dragon with the Sword Piercing

The Deku Tree then let's you know where you can find the Master Sword by marking it on your map. He states that he can sense it, but my theory is that he has a little Korok sitting in his ear, who has Purah Pad with a picture of the Master Sword and the Sensor+ set to it, where this is now linked to your Purah Pad... Not that it matters.

What matters is that I now have a point on my map and one that is moving. I already knew that Zelda became the Light Dragon and that she has the Master Sword, but I didn't know where to look. I think the point was at first even quite close to the Statue of the Eighth Heroine, where some Zelda theorists would lose it, and I simply assumed that it would stay there in the area above the Gerudo Highlands, where I haven't been yet...

But she is doing rounds and the next time I looked at the quest marker it was right above the Master Sword geoglyph. This felt like fate. There is no better location to go for it, so I teleported to the Thyphlo Ruins Tower and really met the Light Dragon, the first time since the tutorial.

flying above the Light Dragon with a Gleeok glider

I'm curious how the game handles this. Can you randomly run into the Light Dragon at any point and I simply never saw her until now? Or do you need to talk to the Deku Tree in order to make the Light Dragon spawn in the first place? This would be good to know for a second playthrough, but I'm guessing that it's the latter, because otherwise there wouldn't be a major incentive to go for Korok Forest at all, save for some shrines and side quests.

Anyway, the Light Dragon has the Master Sword for her horn and you can safely land on her to grab it. But first things first...

Camera: Save to album? Ok. Delete.

Gotta take that picture for Hyrule Compendium before the Master Sword is stuck in selfie mode! Though, I wonder what happens when you glitch-drop it somehow. In Breath of the Wild it essentially does a Fi, flies skyward, and returns to its pedestal in Korok Forest... Maybe it does something similar here and returns to the Light Dragon? It's details like this that I'm going to safely investigate once I'm done with the game (or feel free to comment – I don't care about spoilers in this case, because I'm not one for glitching and therefore not going to find this out myself).

Link grabbing the Master Sword on top of the Light Dragon near Death Mountain

Now, you have to hold onto the sword and what's easily the most adorable-looking dragon of all time, where this is now a test of stamina, instead of a test of hearts, like it was in Breath of the Wild. You need two full wheels and since I already had maximized all three stamina wheels, I didn't really have to worry.

the Master Sword coated with golden hair
Link raising the Master Sword on top of the Light Dragon

And this is an awesome scene overall. Getting the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild was very classic and also quite epic, but this is truly something new, where they've outshined every Master Sword scene in the entire series. Pulling it from atop a golden dragon is really the peak, there is no way that they can ever top this. (Unless they make the Master Sword golden again in addition, like in A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds.)

It also gives you a new memory, the very last one, where you can see where the artwork for the upcoming amiibo is coming from and I now fully get why they've went with this one, instead of the other(s).

the Light Dragon flying off

Zeldrana then leaves you at the Temple of Time in the skies, on the platform where the Master Sword time traveled, and hopefully I will see her again very soon. I still need some scales and stuff to upgrade my Champion's Leathers!

Shrine Forest

After obtaining the Master Sword, I had to go back to Korok Forest to talk to the Great Deku Tree again, who hasn't much left to say, and check some things. There is no "Place" interaction at the Master Sword pedestal yet. Good, very good. I couldn't stand another Trial of the Sword...

at the Master Sword pedestal with the Master Sword, you can see Hestu and a shrine in the background

But Hestu also has returned to the forest, now that it is safe there again. It makes sense, of course, where he only hung out at Lookout Landing, because he couldn't return home. But it was so much more convenient to have him there... If you can meet the Light Dragon before speaking to the Great Deku Tree, I will probably just wait with saving the forest until after I've upgraded all my inventory stashes in the future. But since my weapon stash is already maximized, it's fine, I won't have to return here very often.

By the way, because there is so much open space in the vertically organized inventory now, I actually expected that the game would let you have 25 slots for each category, instead of just 20, but that's not the case, sadly... It's the same as in Breath of the Wild, but in the least you will have more space for bows this time, because there aren't the five other arrow types any longer. More space for all those Forest Dweller's Bows that you will find around here...

giant scary tree

You can go and explore the Lost Woods, which brings you back into the areas where the Korok trials took place in Breath of the Wild, without the annoying trials, but with the same amount of Shrine Quests. It's not as interesting, however, where for example the "Test of Wood" path can now be skipped entirely, because you only have to find some golden apples, and you should have plenty by now. So, in the end you just explore the long, winded area around Mido Swamp for some treasure chests with junk. Or you don't explore it all, because the shrine is right there at the beginning and basically a freebie.

a shrine in the dark forest

I don't blame them for trying something different, but they could have done more here. Why didn't they change the walkable paths through the Lost Woods entirely? There is this big chunk in the north of the woods that you can't access in both games now. Why not make use of this and let the play explore different routes? But this is just another nitpick...

in the middle of the Lost Woods

The path from the entrance of the Lost Woods into the Korok Forest also works again now. There are no indicators, like there were in Breath of the Wild with the torches, but the path is the exact same and you can get through there with some trial and error. There is seemingly no real point in doing so, however, because I couldn't find anything along the way. I really just did this to satisfy my own curiosity. I guess, it's nice to have for those who are allergic to teleporting.

Proof of Sage

There were some Koroks still waiting to be transported to their friends near the Thyphlo Ruins, where I haven't been since the early game. The stronger Constructs there were also a good test for my new Master Sword. For some reason, its attack power is not displayed, but it feels about the same when you first get in Breath of the Wild (30). It also can still break, despite sleeping tens of thousands of years on a magic dragon, and then comes with a ten minute cooldown, exactly like in Breath of the Wild...

standing on a wall in the Thyphlo Ruins

I never was a fan of that cooldown mechanic, because it gives you an incentive to wait things out, but in the least the powers of the sages don't take as long to recharge, from what I can tell at the moment. You can always use Mineru's Construct and Sidon's water powers don't take very long to recharge.

Speaking of, there is a small side quest around the Thyphlo Ruins, where you have to proof that you're in possession of the water sage's powers. That was a bit iffy, where it only worked for me after slamming a two-handed weapon on the ground to unleash the water attack... I guess you have to hit all six dragon heads with the water wave at once, but the game wasn't exactly clear about this.

hoverbiking through the Eldin Mountains

Well, there is more to find there once you have obtained the other sages and that was my cue for finally moving on. And they've even added a new "road" at this area, which leads from the Thyphlo Ruins right to Goron City. I wanted to go for the Gorons next anyway (since three weeks ago), so this is perfect. Next time we will see each other on Death Mountain! For real!


  • Sage's Vows: 2
  • Sage's Wills: 8
  • Memories: 12/18
  • Towers: 11/15
  • Shrines: 88
  • Lightroots: 55
  • Caves: 57/147
  • Korok Seeds: 276

Friday, June 23, 2023

Tears of the Kingdom Adventure Log, Entry 13

on a sky island watching the dusk, with the Great Sky Island to the right

The frequency of these posts became a lot lower, because making progress in this game isn't one of my talents, especially when I'm back to work life and when there are other things that I want/need do in my free time. Plus, it's really how this game keeps going for me, where one distraction leads to another, and writing these posts takes a lot of time as well, but it's worth the effort for me. Ideally, I would keep them smaller and post more often, but I usually end up having a journey around a certain area or a certain goal, where it makes sense to keep it all together.

This time I've ended up exploring the southeastern parts of the map, around the Necluda Sea and Faron, where I've hunted some "pirates", restored Lurelin Village to its former "glory", and more. No real story progress whatsoever, save for one new memory.

Sky Tablets

Last time I left off at Cotera after upgrading my second Hylian Hood. From there I've spotted a sky island where you can go up via a waterfall, near the Rabella Wetlands Skyview Tower, which leads you to a tablet island.

going up on a hot air balloon in the night

This is another activity that unlocks after completing your first dungeon, which I've failed to mention in the previous post. There is a new character, Wordsworth, who can translate the ancient Hylian for you, where you can find tablets in the sky on these star shaped islands. In the English version it reads like some Middle English dialect, but I'm no language expert, so don't quote me on that. You can still understand most of it, though, and you're given a summary, where these tablets essentially act as additional memories of Princess Zelda's time in the distant past, only without the fanfare of the cutscenes. But it's still interesting and I generally enjoy puzzling the pieces of what happened together.

flying towards some sky islands with the glider

From where I was, I could spot another set of islands right above the Great Plateau, where previously I didn't bother with those, because there was so much to do on the ground and below in the Depths already, but this should complete my exploration of the area. The sky islands also weren't particularly interesting, more of the same as everywhere else... You already know how I feel about that:

a fire in a large tree stump

There is another tablet to be found there, however, and I like that it marks which tablets you've translated on your map. This is very helpful, where I wish that both games would create more checkmarks like this, so you don't have to do it manually with the pins. For example, in Breath of the Wild it could have marked all the stone monuments that you've found around Zora's Domain. And it should automatically mark any overworld bosses on the map and add a checkmark once you've beaten them.

Off Course

My main goal for the next dungeon is still Death Mountain, but I couldn't resist to explore more in the opposite direction, where things started from Kakariko Village, after delivering the aforementioned tablets. From there I went through Lanayru Promenade, to the Cliffs of Quince, to another copy pasted Bokoblin fort, near where the Hateno Tower used to be.

It's even always the same guy that you're going to save and this time I just freed him right away to see what would happen... Well, it's quite hilarious, that much I can tell you, because the Bokoblins gang up and keep throwing shit at him, as long as you're hiding behind the corner. They are the angry Zelda fans and the guy represents the developer who thought it was a good idea to have the exact same encampments copied all over the world. It really was not. I don't mind it for smaller structures or buildings where it makes sense (like the shrines and towers), but to have the same fortifications, all built in the exact same way, on the exact same terrain, all prison to the exact same guy, simply goes too far and breaks the immersion.

Anyway, with a dissatisfied expression on my face, I moved towards the south, back to the Rabella Wetlands Skyview Tower, exploring the area there, which is now free of the Hinox brothers and with that a lot more peaceful. But they have simply moved elsewhere, as I would learn later, because I couldn't resist to finally check out Lurelin Village, which was taken over by pirates. How bad could it really be?

Saving Lurelin Village

Not too bad, actually. Well, there are many Black and Silver Bokoblins to fight, but nothing that I couldn't handle at this point. Some of them probably got scaled up, so you might be able to approach this much sooner...

Occupiers of Lurelin Village - Monster Forces

It's also a good idea to start this quest at night, so you can use sneakstrikes to your advantage. Those pirates need sleep, where sadly the only thing that makes them look like actual pirates are the ships.

in front of the pirate ship

But these battles against monster forces are a pretty cool addition, with or without backup. If you can't see Shadow Sidon on any of my screenshots, then that's because I sometimes have to turn him off whenever I want to take a picture of a monster for Hyrule Compendium. Or in this case I simply didn't want to wake up the pirates, but I usually I just forget to turn Sidon back on again.

on top of a mast, looking over Lurelin

Lurelin also looks completely different with the sun coming from the south now. It's just overly bright and the palm trees really stick out, where it seems a bit unnatural and creates the wrong impression that the whole place is dried-up. It's of no concern, however, because the instant I've saved the village it started to rain again...

The constant rain in the area was already ridiculous in Breath of the Wild, where this has not changed a bit. Why would anybody even want to live there? Well, Bolson seems to like the place, still, who has been hanging out at Lurelin all this time and you can volunteer to become his new Karson to rebuild the town. But before that there was some exploration to be done...

For the Laughs

Right behind Lurelin Village you can find a new geoglyph, the one that looks like a Gerudo Dagger. In the corresponding memory Queen Sonia gets a Ganon Punch in the back and dies... This didn't came as a surprise to me, since I already knew about her fate from a later memory. It still would have been a shocking scene if it weren't for Ganondorf's goofy laugh at the end...

screenshot from the cutscene

That's just meme material right there and completely removed any seriousness from this moment, which is a shame, because it is certainly a turning point and Queen Sonia was a lovable character. It is a scene that should make you despise Ganondorf, and not find him hilarious.

Now, I've been told that I should try to discover the memories in order, where the walls in the Forgotten Temple indicate said order, which is something I've been totally ignoring so far. Like with Breath of the Wild, I enjoy puzzling together the pieces of what has happened, where going for whatever geoglyph comes across my way is part of the experience. But I can't deny the fact that this scene would have been more impactful if watched in the right order. According the Forgotten Temple, the Master Sword is the last one in the sequence, but I've already seen this one and can now only fill the gaps.

Taking Back the Sea

My next goal was to have a full view of the Lurelin Village geoglyph, because I wanted to see where the Korok could be hiding. And it wouldn't be me playing this game if this didn't led to a whole path of distractions. There is no sky debris around, so the Cape Cales seemed like the best spot, but there is this big cave below Mount Dunsel that took me forever to complete, because I kept running past by the hiding spot of the Bubbul Frog for some reason.

nearing Cape Cales

Once you've reached the top of Cape Cales, you will be greeted by a Korok, who wants to reach his friend... on Eventide Island. So, it was time to call the Korok Airlines and have a vacation trip.

flying towards Eventide on a glider with one fan

Since there is no longer some Sheikah monk around who strips everyone approaching the island naked, the whole place became a base for the pirates. And if you liked the battle at Lurelin Village, there is a whole lot more to have here.

at the shore, on the north point of the island

That there are fortifications on the island was already shown in the final trailer, but the true extent of this sets you on a mission to take out three whole enemy camps, in the name of the Monster-Control Crew, without the help of said Monster-Control Crew. And all this just because of some Koroks...

a Korok in the middle of a swamp on Eventide

Well, there is more in than just that. And it felt a bit similar to Breath of the Wild, still, where you had to get three orbs and two of them from enemies, but it certainly set itself apart with the finale in the giant underground cave.

pirate ship parked in water cave

The pirate ships are actually one larger asset where I don't mind that those got copied, because it makes sense that they would build the ships in the same way and it's a really cool addition. (There is another one in a similar cave below Cape Cales, with what you can really call a "skeleton crew", where they are defending the Tingle Tights for some reason... But the ghost ship feeling was pretty awesome.)

It's always a bit strange to arrive at a shrine in a cave and hear the old shrine music from Breath of the Wild, however. At least for me. While they have brought back various music pieces from the previous game, like for the villages, I always strongly associate this song with Breath of the Wild and its Sheikah Shrines, where I would preferred some new ambient track for the Shrines of Light. But this is really just a nitpick.

Another nitpick are the entrances to the Shrines of the Light that lead to a Blessing from Rauru, where there are plenty in caves. You can see this fake portal into the shrines, which always shows the tunnel leading into the normal shrines. And for those it's actually a cool effect, but it just doesn't match the Blessings at all. Also, it would have been a nice throwback to have a Proving Grounds on this island, but there are enough of those anyway.

Gladiator of the Depths

If you're still itching for a fight after destroying everyone and everything on Eventide, you can go into the Depths below the island to find an isolated area with a coliseum. It's similar to some floors in the Cave of Shadows from Twilight Princess HD, where it opens doors in the walls to release monsters, but here it goes through all types of Bokoblins one after another.

I guess that you can find other coliseums for the other types of monsters, like Bokoblins, Lizalfos, Horriblins, maybe even Lynels. (Though, I hope for the latter they don't release all types at once at the end.) And this soft-confirmed for me that there won't be any golden monsters, at least not in this mode of the game, because the Silver Bokoblins were the end of the line here.

With golden enemies they would have to come up with new types of horns, also, so it shouldn't just be a simple reskin as it was in Breath of the Wild's Master Mode. But this would also scale things a bit more nicely, where the previous Master Mode threw stronger enemies at you, but you only really got better weapons from the additional chests on the floating platforms. The enemies themselves didn't come with better gear, but now they would.

Anyway, I fully expected the chest at the end to give me a Large Zonai Charge, but to my positive surprise it was Midna's Helmet, which now gives you some gloom protection. In Breath of the Wild it had Guardian Resist, where this is not a thing any longer and I would even say that thematically this is a better fit now, protecting you from the darkness, even if it's just a single heart.

It can't be upgraded, however, and that's true for all of the previous DLC armor pieces I found so far, except for the Royal Guard set. I hope that at least the Phantom and Phantom Ganon sets can be upgraded this time, but it's already a shame that the Tingle set will leave you weak. Though, one might argue it fits the character perfectly...

Anyway, there is even more action waiting for you way above the Eventide, but it's so high up that I couldn't make it with the hot-air balloons that you can find on the shore of the island, despite my best Tingle-impression. Like the gliders, they will dissolve after a certain time, where this felt a bit like a tease. Why would they even put them there?

Rebuilding Lurelin Village

Back to Bolson, I first thought that this quest might turn into something similar to Tarrey Town in Breath of the Wild, where now you have to search for the original inhabitants of Lurelin Village all over the world, to tell them that they can now return home, but only if they change their names to something that ends on "son". But that's not the case, instead they just instantly appear once their houses are repaired. I guess, everyone has Purah Pads by now and can just teleport all over Hyrule...

However, I somewhat feel like I might be missing out now, because the people are returning from everywhere. I met some of the Lurelin people before, like the couple from Hateno Village, but certainly not everyone. Like, the owner of the inn says that she has been doing things at the Gerudo Desert, where I won't get to see that until my next playthrough. I guess, this is something you're supposed to do only very late in the game...

flying towards Lake Floria

Well, most of the repair work just revolves around logs. You first have to bring Bolson 15 logs from normal trees, where I had the "great" idea that I should get my horse to transport them, which meant another detour to the Lakeside Stable, so I got basically got distracted from the distraction here... And stables are now the kind of places that throw a lot of stuff to do at you all at once:

Korok: "I need to reach my friend!", Addison: "Here for you, even wet!"

Curiously, the dog there brought me to a small, hidden cave, not some treasure chest to unearth. I hope that this was intended and some sort of bug. Luckily, the backpack Korok waiting at the stable brought me right back on track, so I didn't waste all too much time there.

And this whole tour was by all means unnecessary, because having a horse with a wagon was not helpful in the slightest. Given, I probably shouldn't have picked up the pre-built small wagon, but a big one probably would have made things even worse, because you're going downhill and the wagon with the logs will just run over your horse or topple over or both... I tend to post the pretty screenshots here, but the next one summons up my experience that I often have with the game quite perfectly:

a wagon with three logs attached toppled on my horse in the rain

It's raining and nothing works... Well, of course I was stupid for going with this approach to begin with. There are enough trees on the hill behind the shrine above the village. Half of them might be Evermeans, but it's okay when the wood is basically dead monsters, right? Right...? Then you just stick them all together and throw them down towards the village... Someone probably got crushed by those, but at least they get their homes back now.

a bundle of logs transported with the Ultrahand
Bolson: "I smell high quality lumber". Link is holding a bundle of ten giant logs right above him

Son and done! Afterwards you can decide which buildings to rebuild in what order, not that it makes much of a difference. I thought it would be a good idea to repair the inn first, so I can skip through the bad weather more easily, but they will still charge you, like some random stranger, even though you've saved their village AND helped to rebuild their establishment. To be fair, this will change once you're done with everything and have rebuilt the entire village, but at this point this seemed a bit ungrateful.

I also expected Bolson to take it easy once the kitchen is rebuilt, where we would just sit at the fireplace all day long until someone approaches us, but he was eager to continue... How unlike the guy. And the flooded inn is really the only interesting part, because for the rest of the buildings you simply have to find a straight palm tree, where there is one right next to each of them, and then place it as a support beam.

moving a straight palm tree stem onto the treasure chest game hut

With the treasure-chest game this triggered some bad memories of the Korok who used to be up there. But with the Ultrahand you can finally move the felled palm trees around as you please, which again demonstrates its superiority over what you had in Breath of the Wild. At least when it comes to manipulating the positions of objects...

Lurelin Village

And that's it. With these efforts you can restore Lurelin Village to how it was in Breath of the Wild, kind of like Zora's Domain. I expect that it will be similar with the other places, except for Tarrey Town, where the disasters there have been caused by its inhabitants.

And Tarrey Town is a good cue, because you're still not done with Lurelin. Now, that it's back to its former glory, you can always add to it. And what better way than boat racing? Well, they give you other options, like a floating hotel, but these options all will be dismissed until you go for the last one. But for a race you need the racing experts, which will bring you back to Tarrey Town. But first things first...


With Lurelin saved, I first needed to explore how polluted the waters have become after all these years. And with "pollution" I'm referring to treasure chests, where things had been super bad in Breath of the Wild. You can spend hours in that area just picking up all the chests in or on the ocean, where there were like over 50 around Lurelin and the Necluda Sea. They really, really thought that using Magnesis and Cryonis this much would be fun.

Well, so I built myself a fancy motor raft, turned on the sensor for the first time and set it to treasure chests, where I had to take a picture of one at Lurelin, because I haven't bothered until now, but you are provided by Armes, who now leaves chests with treasures that he still finds while fishing for you. And he is really thorough, I can already tell you that much.

big blank with two logs and two fans and a steering wheel used as a boat near Lurelin shores

It doesn't show the sensor icon on the Pro HUD any longer, so you have to do everything by sound, which annoyed me at first, because I always liked the visual indicator and now I have to turn on the full HUD for this. But after a while I realized that the sonar sounds are now slightly better than they used to be in Breath of the Wild. Most importantly, it now makes a different sound when something is below or above you, which is quite helpful. And the range also doesn't seem to be as extreme anymore, where it's not constantly picking up something, but only if you're closer. And it's a bit easier to find the right direction just by sound now.

So, for the most part it works well without the sensor icon and this way it really keeps the screenshots clean, which I can appreciate. But I still think that a middle option for HUD, which works like the Pro HUD in Breath of the Wild, would be a good idea.

And it's not like I got a lot of beeps on the ocean. In fact, I don't remember any chests at all, which is quite the relief. It's not that you had to get any of the chests, I know, but I love to be thorough and opening whatever chests you can find in a Zelda game is a small must for me. From a story-perspective this aligns well here, where my Link has been scavenging all of Hyrule and whatever you can find now is new (or was taken by Armes). But in the end it's probably just because the Ultrahand ability has quite the limited range, so they can only make you pull out stuff from shallow waters, which is still the case at the shores of Lurelin Village.

There you can find some new sunken chests, which probably got dropped from the pirate ship, and one of them contains the Island Lobster Shirt, another former DLC piece. It was super valuable in Breath of the Wild, thanks to the increased raft speed, but I don't think it will have much use here with all the motorized boats. It's not just some random treasure, however, where there is a side quest at Lurelin Village about finding the shirt. This was just another case of "already did that" for me, but at least they explained how the treasure chest got there – it was dropped by the pirates!

Also, the sensor won't pick up the treasure chests from the Treasure Chest Game hut any longer, which is another good improvement. If there are no glitched chests to be found this time, I will be very happy, but we will see about that...

a fishing boat with a fan attached, Eventide in the background

I don't think that I've ever noticed this before in Breath of the Wild, because I was too distracted by all the sunken treasure chests, but there are swarms of seagulls above the ocean, which can only mean one thing... Big Octos! Well, it's more realistic than that, actually, where they circle above swarms of fish, mostly Mighty Porgy and Armored Porgy.

While you don't get the convenience of bomb fishing any longer, you can now just throw a single Shock Fruit into the water, which is even much more effective. But you also have to be more careful with it... In addition, the schemas for the Autobuild come with a fishing boat, which has a shock emitter attached to the front and lets you collect the fried fish. I don't think going that far will ever be necessary, but it still should be fun to give this a try.

Now, in the Necluda Sea you will come across floating rubble, with lots of Brightbloom Seeds leaving a trail, and a message in the bottle at the end of it. There is a nice side quest here where you follow the seeds to their origin and this closed the circle to where I already have been exploring around Mount Lanayru and Hateno Village.


Above the Necluda Sea you can spot another tablet island, but it's very high up, like that one sky island above Eventide Island. And this has been nagging me a bit, where I went to the nearest Sky Archipelago to fly over from there.

This made me master those stronger Flux Constructs, because one of them has been in the way. I previously struggled with their floating platform form, because the arenas suggested that you need something to land on top of them, like springs, rockets, or a flying machine. And this made these fights feel like a hassle, but none of this is required and it's actually super simple, where this was another case of "check what other abilities you have".

Guardian of the South Necluda Sky Archipelago - Flux Construct III

Well, they are too high up for Ascend (maybe not all of them), and this was the first thing I tried, but you can just use Recall on the blocks that they throw at you. And figuring this out made me feel both smart and stupid at the same time. Smart because I've figured this out myself, and stupid because it took me over 100 hours...

Not that this was a priority, because you can just get whatever the Flux Constructs are defending, may that be a treasure chest or a shrine crystal, by disassembling them once. The desired object then will be dropped and not picked up again, so you can just take it and run.

Before this post I've also been ignoring most boss battles, because I was too afraid to miss out due to the scaling mechanics. But I've been told in the comments that I shouldn't worry about this too much, and I can't just avoid everything forever, so the battles are on.

flying towards a sky island on a glider

With the grounds cleared, it made way to launch a glider at the tablet island, where it was just enough to make it. The steering wheel and the fans crashed onto the island and I would learn later that this is all it needs, but this wasn't of much use to me in any case, because it's one of those star islands where the middle falls down once you've stepped on it.

So, I had to do it all over again to get to the island above Eventide. Here the Zonai glider won't be enough, so you have to glide the rest yourself. And already when approaching the island I saw that it might not have been the best idea...

flying towards a sky island with a dragon above

There is a Gleeok there, and not just any Gleeok, but a "King Gleeok". It has all three types of heads at once for a deadly combo beam, which is pretty cool. I don't think you will be able to fully protect yourself from this, because this would require the Fireproof, Unshockable, and Unfreezable effects all at once. In Breath of the Wild you only could have one of these at a time. Well, you don't really need the full fire protection, but getting either shocked or frozen sucks in any case.

Still, this type of Gleeok feels a lot more approachable than the others right now for me, because it doesn't cause extreme weather effects, where I don't have any armor for the intense cold or heat yet and I don't like being dependent on food status effects. So, I've only fought the Thunder Gleeoks before, but they can limit your weapon choices quite heavily. And in this case I only had one good weapon with me, which wasn't enough, so I settled for taking a nice picture and then bailed.

I will have to return to this place, but in the least now I know the best way of doing so...

Introducing the Master Cycle Ω

While I'm not looking at any media about Tears of the Kingdom, I couldn't avoid the following Ultrahand construction, labeled as the most efficient vehicle in the game. It only requires two fans and a steering wheel:

a steering wheel with angled fans attached below a Lightroot

This thing went viral, where I love the amazing Akira artwork using it. But I still haven't bothered with trying this myself until now, because I didn't expect it to be this good. I thought it would let you hover the ground and water, but it's actually a flying machine with some very good control over your altitude. And it's ridiculous how good this thing is, so ridiculous that I consider this to be an oversight by the developers.

The big advantage is that it doesn't have any dissolving parts, like the gliders or balloons. So, as long as you have battery juice you're good to go, and it only drains your Energy Cell slowly, because there isn't much weight to this construction. It's quite the miracle and also cheap to make, because it only requires three very common parts (or nine Zonaite).

flying through the Depths towards a Lightroot

With it I could fly easily from one Lightroot to the next in the Depths. I started at the small chasm near the Riverside Stable and got to four Lightroots towards Crenel Peak / Hills in a matter of minutes. Below there was a Blue-Mained Lynel and a new type of Frox I havedn't seen before, but they couldn't touch me. It's by far the best experience I had with vehicles in this game so far and it honestly belongs into every Autobuild favorite list. It's so good that it does feel a bit like cheating, or using some exploit...

weird gloom mushrooms and sand

I think I also discovered the other three boss rematch arenas, where the one above should be for the Gerudo Desert boss. But they aren't there yet, so they only really appear once you've beaten their respective dungeon, which fully makes sense. And at least you don't have to purchase some DLC to fight the bosses again, where there is even a good reason to do so, other than the Hyrule Compendium pictures, which will look worse taken in the Depths anyway...

Fun with Monsters

Since I was tasked to call the Gerudo racing nerds to Lurelin, this brought me back to Tarrey Town, where there is another neat line of side quests waiting for you. Kilton wants Hudson to make sculptures of monsters, where first you need to bring a Bokoblin and then a Horriblin. Afterwards you can already add your own suggestions, where I just had to put my King Gleeok encounter on display:

a raised King Gleeok next to Death Mountain

The nice thing is that Hudson will fully recreate what he sees on the photo – unlike Carlov with the figurines in The Wind Waker. So, the sculptures will be exactly like how you've captured the monsters. They will have the exact pose, weapons, and so on. You can have a Horriblin hurting his butt or a Gleeok shooting flames. It's pretty awesome and allows for a lot of creative freedom.

However, with that it's super important that the game makes sure that you can encounter everything still in the end of the game. So, it's good that you can re-battle the major bosses in the Depths. The lighting might not be the best then, but this won't matter for the statues, so that's not an issue in this case... Now, there still might be some minor bosses who won't re-appear, like the Sludge Like. Luckily, I kept its picture in my album, so I could theoretically use it to make a statue, but it's not recognized anyway... Some enemies apparently can't be turned into statues, where this is also true for Master Kohga, for example.

Kilton asks you to bring pictures of a Battle Talus and any kind of Frox, which earns you the Monster Bridle and Saddle as a reward. At the end he wants a King Gleeok, but I was already ahead of him...

Hudson: Huh? Didn't I already make a sculpture of that monster?

And by now this place is already getting way too crowded, where it sucks that this is restricted to this tiny patch of fake soil in Tarrey Town. It's an interesting feature limited by the little space you have for it.

a cutout cave replica

So, a great addition would be if you could place the statues on your turf to decorate your house with them. There could also be some terrain pieces in addition, like the slice of cave above, just to make things around your four walls more interesting, while also giving the monster statues additional usage. Two birds with one stone!

Since we are on the topic of Kilton, I have gotten the last piece of the mystic set from his brother Koltin, which is also the last normal reward from him.

I can sense 94 Bubbul Frogs out there. I muuust collect every one.

He now finally wants to eat as many as possible, where until this point he has asked for 46 Bubbul Gems in total and now there are 101 left, if I did the math correctly... I'm very curious what the final reward will be, but I should probably not expect anything meaningful. It would be nice if you had something where you can ride the Lord of the Mountain again, though, so I'm rooting for Koltin to truly turn into a Satori.


Lurelin Water Rally

Back to Lurelin Village, where Tali and Shabonne have arrived as well, Bolson is fast to build an entire beach resort, which looks ten times more inviting and relaxing than the actual inn at the village. The more I look at the thing, the more I think they should have gone with the floating hotel idea...

boat-shaped house at the shore
One room for the night, please!

But it's used for the new sea rally instead, where just like in Tarrey Town (or the Sand Seal Rally in Breath of the Wild) it's not an actual race between two competitors, but you just have to beat the course in a certain time, after putting together a vehicle of your choice.

driving a self-made boat with three fans towards a beam of light and with the sunset in the background

Again, it wasn't difficult at all, and I've cleared all the levels first try. I'm sure most players have. Plus, it doesn't seem like you're getting any unique rewards, it was just batteries and food for me. But I'm not complaining, there is nothing worse in a Zelda game than annoying mini-games, where so far everything in Tears of the Kingdom was a little distraction just for fun.

The only exception has been the horse race at the Highland Stable, where you have to pull something. But that's just consistent with Breath of the Wild, where my least favorite mini-game there was at the same spot, from the same guy – the horse obstacle course.

Dondon Airlines

While my adventures at Lurelin Village came to a closure, I couldn't leave the area without going for that huge Thunderhead above Lake Floria. I also had some unfinished business at the Lakeside Stable, so this was my next stop. Across the river is now a small zoo with five of the mysterious creatures that were mentioned at the Serenne Stable:

large armadillo-like creatures with two horns

They are called Dondons and on closer inspection this is really the creature that we saw in the original teaser trailer, where Zelda was riding one of them. It looked a bit larger there, especially in the first shot from behind, where I originally thought it was some kind of elephant. But sizes can be deceiving with these trailers, as I've already learned with the Steward Constructs.

Now, I'm happy to see that this being made it into the game after all, but this still makes me curious what happened to the rest of the trailer, where Zelda and Link were exploring an underground cave full of Luminous Stones. This must have been a feast for their Dondon, because they actually eat these stones and then poop out other minerals. Well, I haven't seen the last part yet, but that's how I understood it.

The Dondon pen is close to where the Faron Tower used to be and the sky debris in that area was my ticket to get up to the Thunderhead island. Well, it only brought me to some floating rocks nearby, but getting from A to B in this game is no longer an issue thanks to the wondrous flying cycle:

flying on a cycle towards an island in a thunder storm

As I approached the mysterious sky island cloaked with thunder storms, it actually started to thunder in real life for the highest level of immersion. But despite the perfect atmosphere at home, I had to stop there, because I don't run electronic devices during a thunder storm, just out of precaution... And this place leads to something a bit more important, where I think that this will be a great starting point for the next post. Until then!


  • Sage's Vows: 1
  • Sage's Wills: 6
  • Memories: 8/18
  • Towers: 11/15
  • Shrines: 82
  • Lightroots: 46
  • Caves: 56/147
  • Korok Seeds: 262