The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BOTW) is a fantastic game. An open world game that is more about exploration and discovery than it is about defeating the main boss. And that’s not really a bad thing, but it is a bit of a let down.
Because that final boss fight against Calamity Ganon was a walk in the park. After spending hours and hours in the game, it doesn’t seem like Calamity Ganon scales with level unlike other mobs like Lynels and Bokoblins. In fact, fighting Lynels was more challenging. After spending hours to stock up on high level gear and getting past all of the Guardians, I was ready for an epic fight with multiple phases requiring varying tactics. But in the end, there were two phases that required very little thought made trivial by the Divine Beasts and Ancient Arrows. If one were to go straight to Ganon after getting off of the Great Plateau (the starting area of the game), I supposed it would be more a challenge since you’d have very few hearts and really weak weapons and armor. But doing so would rob you of a much richer experience of seeing all of what Hyrule has to offer.
BOTW was one of those games that I played heavily for the first few months after getting the game. Once I got past the starting area, all I wanted to do was unlock the map. Whatever tower I saw off in the distance, I was determined to go there, climb it, and see more and more of the map. Along the way I’d fight Bokoblins, sometimes avoid encampments, fight off Keeses, find treasures, discover an occasional Korok hiding, and gather herbs, mushrooms and anything else that can be picked up. It was fun. I had a blast. I completed side quests, freed the Divine Beasts, did just about everything I could do before entering the castle and fighting the final fight.
And then I stopped playing for about 5+ years. It became one of those games that I started and never finished. I’m fairly certain Splatoon 2 had something to do with it, then other games came along and then the probability of actually finishing BOTW seemed like it was getting smaller and smaller. Then along game Tears of the Kingdom and I didn’t want to leave BOTW unfinished anymore.
Getting back into the game was an adventure itself. I kept hitting L3 to try and run, a habit I picked up from God of War. Instead of running, I’d find Link crouching not getting away from the danger I was trying to escape nor sprinting towards the enemy that was stunned. It took a bit but I got all the kinks worked out and I was playing like
a pro an above average gamer again.
There were a handful of things I wanted to complete before retiring from the game completely: get every amiibo costume from the various Legend of Zelda amiibo, get every Korok poop so I can get the larger, smellier, giant Korok poop, finish the Master Sword Trials, and then finally beat Ganon.
The costumes task was completed easily enough. You can manipulate the system clock and advance it a day to keep scanning amiibo. I was already pretty lucky from before having obtained most of the pieces. I was only missing two pieces from the Hero of the Sky set, and one piece from the Hero of Winds set. I thought about upgrading all of them to max level too but that would have taken way more time and resources so I nixed that idea.
The Korok poop unofficial side quest was tedious but fun. I visited nooks and crannies all over Hyrule that I would never have otherwise discovered. Had this been one of my main goals from the get go alongside unlocking every tower, I think I would have found it a bit more enjoyable.
The large Korok poop you get for finding all 900 smaller poops is funny if you think about the Zelda devs giving you a dumb prize for doing a dumb thing. But I don’t think it’s dumb. You do get at least something. And if anyone reading feels like going for the giant poop trophy, I would suggest using the interactive guide over at ZeldaDungeon.net.
The Master Sword Trials were not as difficult as I thought they would be. There are three trials, Beginner, Middle, and Final. I played the first two very conservatively using bombs the majority of the time. By the end of each Trial, I’d have an arsenal of weapons and arrows that went unused that would have made each level far easier if I had just used them. Weapon durability had me scared. I felt like I needed to save the best weapons for later, for when I really needed them to bring down a tough enemy not realizing that every enemy was a tough enemy. In the main game, I had trained myself to use the weakest weapons first but that strategy was the wrong strategy for the Trials. It should have been the other way around and used the strongest weapons first. For the Final trial, I tried doing just that and breezed through it. I did save my Ancient Arrows I picked up. Knowing they were scattered throughout the levels told me that I’d be going up against some tough enemies and they came in the form of Guardians and Lynels.
And finally, with the Master Sword’s power fully unlocked, I went to go fight Ganon. Like I said, it was a bit of a let down because of how easy it was. The Divine Beasts knocked his health down by half. After that, there were two phases. Beat him down enough inside the castle, and you enter the second phase outside in a field where you’re given the Bow of Light. Hit these ridiculously large targets on Raging Bull Ganon with some light arrows and he’s defeated. It sounds simple because it was!
Something something joke about the journey along the way and when I look back at my time with BOTW, it really was about the exploration, the perils, side quests, and characters you meet more than anything else. Fighting Calamity Ganon may have been a cake walk but it really wasn’t about that. I suppose after playing the game for so many hours, having an easy fight to finish the game isn’t so bad. You can breeze through it and close that chapter of your life.
Things I liked:
- Seeing some thing in the far off distance and being able to travel to it.
- Cooking was surprisingly engaging.
- Travel medallion is extremely useful. It was locked behind the DLC so I’m glad to see it as part of the main game in TOTK.
- Last minute dodges and parries. It was extremely satisfying being to able to trigger a flurry rush and even more satisfying when you can parry a Guardian laser right back to its face.
Things I disliked:
- Weapon durability.
- The Hylian shield was subject to weapon durability and can still break
- Drop rates for some of the amiibo exclusive items (specifically, the Fierce Diety sword that I never got)
- Final damage rating for the Master Sword was not that high at just 60 damage. It did last longer but was still not high enough. And the fact that even unlocking its full power it can still lose energy. I mean come on.
- Final fight with Ganon
- Zelda’s voice
It gets a 5 out of 5 stars. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild converted a very linear game into an open world masterpiece. It may follow a similar formula of other open world games for better or for worse, but I found it to be so engaging and fun that it outshines the main goal of the game. Fighting Ganon is literally the cherry on top of a rich dessert, the rich dessert being everything else you can do. I really wanted to get everything out of the game that the game had to offer. Hence my obsession with scanning amiibo to get every outfit, finding every Korok poop, and completing every mission. The only thing I didn’t do was play the game a second time in Master Mode. Maybe someday I’ll go back and do that. The game is supposed to be much harder, but I kind of doubt Ganon will be any more difficult than he already is, or isn’t.
It’s a wonderful sense of closure I’m feeling right now, the kind that can only be felt from completing a long game, especially one in preparation for a sequel. Tears of the Kingdom comes out this Friday. My body is ready.