In this series of articles, our staff discusses their unusual experiences and highlights playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
As with all games that are met with overwhelmingly critical praise, Breath of the Wild has received something of a backlash since its release with some criticizing the game’s lack of dungeons, weapon durability and paper-thin plot. I can’t argue with someone who for whatever reason isn’t enjoying Nintendo’s latest masterpiece but it seems some people are missing the point. Breath of the Wild is a game that begs you to keep exploring and it does this right from the start, immediately instilling a real sense of mystery, no matter how familiar you are with the series.
The game presents you with an incredibly large area to explore and gives you very little idea of where to go and what to do. The game’s story even goes to great lengths to put you in the same situation as Link, meaning that players know as little about this world as Link does. The best things about Breath of the Wild isn’t battling the four Divine Beasts, or facing off against the demonic Ganon, or even getting wrapped up in the story (although those are all great) – instead the best feature of the latest installment in the Zelda series is how it offers players an opportunity to craft their own adventure.
The game isn’t interested in telling you where to go. In fact, it rarely gives you explicit directions as to what to do. Instead, much like the original Zelda, it dares you to probe and gives players the ability to decide in what order they complete each mission. Where most recent Zelda games have become bogged down with needless hand-holding, Breath of the Wild lets players do what they want, how they want, when they want. And so what elevates Breath of the Wild above any other game in the series is how each and every player will have their own completely unique experience. In fact, one of the most surprising outcomes has been the individual stories shared online by Nintendo fans who just can’t get enough of the game – and that extends to the crew here at Goomba Stomp.
Those of us who have purchased Breath of The Wild can’t seem to put it down, and after hundreds of hours exploring Hyrule, we thought it would be a good idea to share some of our favorite experiences. What follows is a discussion thread between the Goomba Stomp staff describing the highlights of their journeys so far.
I was sold on Breath of the Wild the moment the game loaded and we were greeted with a short cutscene of Link awakening to the sound of Princess Zelda’s voice. I knew right then and there, I was in for something truly special. After 40 hours of playing the game over a period of four days, I wrote a piece stating that while I don’t like to throw around the word “masterpiece” all too often, Breath of the Wild is indeed that rare game that comes around once every ten years. It is that good and there isn’t an hour that goes by that I don’t discover something new. But to my surprise, the best experience I’ve had playing the game so far came after 80 hours of gameplay, and it didn’t involve any dungeons, boss battles or grandeur moments.
I was traveling left of Hyrule Forest, right of Tabantha Tundra, inside the Tanagar Canyon when I stumbled upon the Forgotten Temple guarded by a dozen guardians, you know, those enormous eight-legged machines that stalk the Hyrule landscape and make your life a living hell. I had just stocked up on supplies and was packing more weapons than Link should technically be allowed to carry. I didn’t know it yet but I was on my way to the Rona Kachta Shrine, a place that holds some incredibly valuable treasures.
I could have simply dashed my way across the ruins, past those vexatious beasts but since I’m stubborn and because I like a challenge, I charged into battle void of any armor (I like running around half naked), taking shelter behind the scattered ashes of a now lost chapel and using my bow and various types of arrows to destroy the guardians from a distance. And when I ran out of arrows, I charged in like a true warrior, a champ, and the legend Hylians speaks so fondly of. It took everything I had, every arrow, and every weapon (all smashed to smithereens) to battle those mechanical monstrosities – but I arose the victor. I gathered the leftover remains of the beasts and headed back down the canyon only to come across a Bokoblin camp. I could have easily teleported to any one of the many safe havens spread out across Hyrule to take shelter, replenish my health and purchase a sword (or two) — but again, I’m stubborn. Ever so cautious I slowly approached the Bokoblin base and planned out my strategy from afar. I needed a weapon and I needed it bad and the only way I stood a chance was to dash to one of the towers and use my Korok leaf to blow one of the Bokoblin soldiers off the lookout spot in hopes that he would drop his weapon. It worked… sort of.
By the time I made it to the tower I was surrounded by enemies and things weren’t looking good, to say the least. There were six of them nasty creatures surrounding me and four more nearby. And to make matters worse, Mother Nature decided to show her dark side. It began to rain and with the rainstorm came lightning and thunder. The darkest part of the cloud was directly overhead and the frequent dance of lightning bolts was getting quite close. Loud, crashing thunder followed as Link stood there, unable to take his eyes off the gluttonous savages hungry for blood. And then it happened …
After 80 hours of playing Breath of the Wild, I’ve seen many strange things and I’ve been struck by lightning several times but this one time, the Hylian Gods were on my side. A large bolt of lightning struck down killing every Bokoglin nearby, and by some video game miracle, Link’s life was spared. There have been some glitches here and there but this was something truly special. Normally, Link will die when struck by lightning, especially considering he only had six and a half hearts remaining, but not this time. This time, Link survived against all odds. I climbed down the lookout, gathered all the supplies and raced into the Skull-shaped Bokoblin home to take shelter as I waited out the storm and while there, I took the time to appreciate the sheer beauty and wonder that is Breath of the Wild. (Ricky D)
I want to talk about this big ass horse I found. The bastard is fuckin huge! Like twice the size of a normal horse. If you’ve done this particular side quest then you’ll know just how big he is…and that he’s basically Ganondorf’s horse.
Now, what was super cool about finding him is that though I had accepted the quest to go get him, I wasn’t actually looking for him. So imagine my surprise when I went soaring down from a mountain top and landed in a lightly wooded area where I found a bunch of horses lined up, while a giant horse walked back and forth in front of them like a drill sergeant informing his troops of their orders for the day.
As soon as I saw him I just knew he was the horse from that quest, so obviously I wanted to mount that massive stallion or mustang or bronco or whatever the hell he is. Actually accomplishing the task would be another matter altogether. Every time I even got close to the horse (who I would eventually come to call “Duske”), he would take off at the kind of gallop that Lord of the Rings fans will recall as “the meaning of haste!”
So I cooked up a little stealth potion and returned. As I snuck up once more, watching the timer on my potion while I nudged the analog stick as subtly as I could, I waited for my moment. Then I saw it, the prompt I was waiting for: Mount. And so, I mounted!
But holy shit if I’d expected a fight, I sure as hell hadn’t expected a fight like that! Within a few seconds, I was thrown from the black beast with such ferocity that I didn’t know what hit me.
Right, stamina potions it was then! So I returned for one last ride, and this time when he tried to throw me, I was ready. Three stamina potions later I had the coolest horse in a game full of cool-ass horses.
I could run him at a gallop and dispatch an entire group of moblins, mounted or not, simply by overtaking them like a one man stampede.
I can tell you without a hint of exaggeration that my Breath of the Wild playthrough has been full of fun, fresh and exciting experiences but this is the one that stands out to me as the most memorable. (Mike Worby)
They Shoot Horses Don’t They?
I haven’t yet found this gigantic horse that everyone keeps telling me about and I honestly thought the internet was lying until I saw a picture of the horse posted over at Polygon. I now know he resides somewhere in the Taobab Grassland but I’ve been too busy horsing around to seek out the beast.
That said, the second biggest highlight for me also revolves around a horse. I normally don’t like to travel by horseback but I came across this stallion while venturing through the Tabantha Hills who was being horribly mistreated by his moblin master. I couldn’t stand the sight of the disgusting moblin abusing the poor animal so I decided to save it and ever since, the horse and I have formed a unique bond.
It’s hard to explain why, considering I ditched Epona only three hours after I started playing Breath of the Wild, but given the circumstances of how I saved the bronco, I decided to let him hang around. In fact, I became so attached to the stallion, I spent two hours trying to bring the horse back to a nearby stable, and believe me when I say, those two hours were among the most frustrating two hours I’ve had so far playing the game.
Even defeating any one of Ganon’s four creations pales in comparison to just how difficult it was to get this animal to follow my lead. If it wasn’t bad enough that he kept eating the apples that I arranged in front of statues (in order to get more Korok seeds), the horse decided to break the rules of the game, so to speak, and literally jumped off of a cliff. Now, anyone who has played Breath of the Wild knows that horses in this game are supposed to be smart enough not to run into objects nor run off cliffs, but for some reason, this stupid horse decided to ignore the rules put in place by the game’s creators and ran right over the ledge of the mountain.
Now, normally, I would just walk away and find another horse, but as I stated above, I’m stubborn and since I had already spent two hours of my time trying to get this damn horse back to a village, I was determined to save his life, yet again. I peered over the ledge and noticed the poor animal desperately holding on for dear life. The problem was, I didn’t know how to get the horse back to safety. I tried everything including Magnesis, hoping that maybe he was wearing some sort of metal collar so I could pull him back to safety, but it didn’t work.
In fact, nothing seemed to work and I was just about to give up before deciding to make one last effort. I climbed down the side of the mountain and began pushing the stallion up the hill. It took about ten minutes or so to get it done but the hard work eventually paid off. I finally had my horse back and rode off to finish my personal quest. I was sure the worst was behind us only, of course, it wasn’t.
On the way to the village, we ran into a moblin camp surround by dozens of explosive barrels. I leaped off the horse and made my way onto a giant boulder, drawing the moblins closer to the explosive barrels. I took a stand. I gripped on tight, placed the arrow on the bow, aimed and released. Unfortunately, at the very moment, the horse walked by and needless to say, there was nothing left of him when the flames died out. I never had a chance to give the horse a name, but he will always be remembered for providing me with my second biggest highlight so far.
RIP horse without a name. (Ricky D)