2018 began with my return to BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. While I had issues with the game when it first released in 2011, and while I still think it’s a buggy and clunky game, it does have some good qualities, namely: the storytelling, Force lightning, and lightsabers. Continue reading A Return to SWTOR→
Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild continues to wow and impress me with its huge world and Captured Memories quest.
After exploring Hyrule a bit more and filling in a fraction of the map via the Sheikah Towers, I headed back to Hateno Village to finally repair and restore my Sheikah Tablet.
To fix my Sheikah Slate at Hateno’s Ancient Tech Lab, I had to bring a blue flame from down the hill and across a brook to the furnace outside the lab. Fortunately, I was able to light some lanterns with it along the way to relight my torch because every time I stopped to talk to some villagers or pick some apples or, say, fall off a cliff while trying to get an awesome screenshot, the torch would go out.
I figured restoring the Sheikah Slate was going to be no big deal. Indeed, once it was fixed, all I got was a Camera Rune. As I had been taking screenshots constantly while on the Switch, I didn’t see how this feature was a big deal. Purah told me to take pictures of beasts and whatnot to add them to the slate’s database, and I’m just thinking this was all a bunch of busy work.
However, Purah wanted me to go meet with Impa back at Kakariko Village, and Impa actually gave me something interesting to do. Twelve photos previously taken on the slate by Princess Zelda had been restored, and I was told to find those twelve places in the world to regain some of Link’s memories from 100 years ago. Pikango, the traveling painter, pointed me in the direction of one of the pictures, but I knew the location already because, in typical open-world fashion, I HAD ALREADY BEEN THERE.
The ensuing cinematic showed Ganon’s return during a meeting between Link, Zelda, and the Four Champions 100 years ago. There was some point about Zelda unable to cast some spell after meditating on a mountain or something, but I didn’t quite catch it. The Princess, however, vowed to not seek shelter but to fight, and by now the game has established repeatedly that Zelda is in Hyrule Castle keeping Ganon at bay. This event has added some urgency to the game, which I like. Until this point, the game wanted me to solve some puzzles in some shrines and win back the four Divine Beasts from Ganon’s control. This recollection of Zelda and the Champions added some “human” and personal elements to Link’s quest, and the game would have been served better if this plot point had occurred far earlier in the game, like the first time Link arrives in Kakariko Village. Granted, I’m the one who went off exploring, but why the need to separate Kakariko and Hateno villages anyway? I explored both villages in the same gaming session and found it odd then that they were so near one another, and the quests have just been a back-and-forth between Impa and Purah. Fortunately, there’s quick travel to the nearby shrines, but still.
On returning to Impa in Kakariko Vilalge, she had apparently been rummaging through her closet and found Link’s Champion’s Tunic from 100 years ago. I don’t understand why, if she had had it this whole time, she couldn’t have given it to Link earlier in the adventure. I had already bought and upgraded a tunic equal to it in stats. Why I needed to recall a memory of wearing it before she gave it to me is just bizarre.
So while I have some gripes with Breath of the Wild‘s story structure, I am still overly impressed with the game. Recovering Link’s memories through finding the places in the photographs is the game’s greatest narrative strength at the moment and should have been introduced into Breath of the Wild way earlier. The freedom to explore a vast world and the short but oftentimes challenging shrines found along the way make for a fun formula.
Since my previous post, I’ve played Breath of the Wild, the latest installment in Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda series, quite a few times. From the Great Plateau to Kakariko Village to Hateno Village and back again, it’s been quite an adventure so far!
In the first of these sessions, I tackled two shrines for the Stasis Rune and the Remote Bomb. By this point, I was loving the concept of shrines as enemy-free, mini-dungeon puzzles. I’m assuming the game actually has traditional dungeons, but I’m waiting to encounter one at this point. I’m also liking that in this Zelda game you get some major abilities from the get-go so gameplay quickly becomes less of not having an ability to accomplish a feat but having to figure out the proper ability to utilize from your toolset.
The next night I played, I headed to the Forest of Spirits to hunt some animals and catch some fish. The reason for this was needing to cook up a dish for the Old Man to get a Warm Doublet so I could head up Mount Hylia to complete the fourth shrine on the Great Plateau. Having cooked up the Spicy Meat and Seafood Fry for the Old Man, he graciously handed over the Warm Doublet giving me some much needed cold resistance.
In my following session, with a better grasp of the game’s mechanics and having purchased the ergonomic Pro Controller (worth every penny), I headed to the fourth shrine where I got the Cryonis rune. This is easily my most favorite and most used rune. With it, you can freeze blocks of water, which is great for raising something out of the water or making blocks to hop across. It came in handy in a later shrine with freezing parts of a wall of water to help direct a rolling boulder.
With the four shrines completed on the Great Plateau, the Old Man revealed his secret and handed over his paraglider. Now, with a way off the plateau, the time had finally come to journey out into the wild and dangerous world of Hyrule!
Heading east between Dueling Peaks, I discovered Kakariko Village and shortly thereafter Hateno Village. I was pretty impressed to find some civilization in this game as my time on the Great Plateau had lead me to believe there wasn’t any civilization left. On the contrary, there are these two villages and apparently even a few more. There are horse stables and fellow adventurers all about. There’s even an accordion-playing birdman bard.
Feeling quite optimistic and adventurous, I decided it was worth seeing what all the fuss was about at Hyrule Castle. Apparently, there are deadly Guardian robots all around it. Even though a torrential downpour had begun, even though I got struck by lightning and thrown from my horse, even though my electrified sword exploded in my hand, I persisted. And then I ran across a lone Guardian. This mechanical nightmare SET MY HORSE ON FIRE. I was thrown from my horse and repeatedly zapped by the Guardian’s laser beam, exhausting my supply of fairies, before I finally had the good sense to teleport the hell out of there. I do not know the fate of that horse.
Since then, I’ve headed back to the Great Plateau to do some cooking and further explore the place as there were bokoblin-infested areas I avoided while first there. I’ve already seen a lot in Hyrule and have an abundance of quests to complete, many of them from villagers in Hateno. So, it’s just a matter of what to do first in this game, and there is just so much to do.
I’m extremely pleased with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and so happy I took a chance on the Switch Pro Controller. For me, Nintendo has gone from having the worst controllers for over twenty years to having the best with the Pro Controller. It was going to take something big to win me back to Nintendo, and they’ve done that with the Switch.
Between picking up my prescription and picking out yogurt at Walmart last night, I purchased a Nintendo Switch. I have not been more pleased with a Nintendo console since the SNES and have not been more pleased with a Zelda title since A Link to the Past.
After awakening/resurrecting and getting the Sheikah Slate (aka iPad), I ran around looking for an old man with a sword, but all the Old Man I found had was a baked apple. Oh well. Using the Sheikah Slate to burst some pillars out of the ground and make some shrines shine, I went off on my adventure to rid Hyrule of Calamity Ganon.
The Old Man wants me to get spirit orbs from four shrines on the Great Plateau in return for a paraglider to get off the Great Plateau. With the first shrine completed and in possession of the Magnesis Rune, I went about exploring and moving metal things.
After drowning myself and a metal plank repeatedly in mud, I finally placed it properly to get some fire and ice arrows. I was eager to continue exploring after that, but it was late in the real world and getting late in the game world. At night, nasty skeleton monsters come out, so I quick traveled to the top of the nearby pillar with my trusty Sheikah Slate. It has an app for just about everything.
Breath of the Wild is fun, the Nintendo Switch is a great piece of hardware, and I’m looking forward to continuing my adventure in Hyrule tonight. I’ve heard this game is huge, and I can’t wait to see what its world contains.