Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Breath of the Wild Adventure Log, Entry 6

The End of the World

My next goal was getting into Goron City, but the home of the Gorons is located within the extreme heat zone of Death Mountain, where Link spontaneously likes to combust. Either you can get a Goron Armor somewhere or much stronger heat protection elixirs do the trick, but I don't seem to have the ingredients for the latter, so for the moment I decided to scout the entire perimeter the heat zone.

The Ignoe Pebblit enemies in the area drop Rubies and Ambers as a fast way to make you rich, if you keep hunting them down. They are easy to defeat with Bombs. And as I noticed later today, you will need some good ways of getting lots of Rupees in this game.

To the west of Death Mountain seems to be a very scary looking forest area that reminded me of the Tabahl Wasteland in Link's Awakening. Maybe this is the Korok Forest that the Adventure Pouch enhancing guy keeps mentioning, but I wasn't sure and from a distance the place didn't look inviting. However, that might be the point, if the Master Sword really is hidden in the center of this.

When I arrived at the north end of Death Mountain, one of the big mysteries of the game was finally solved for me. I always wondered, how they will handle the world borders or if it's all just one giant island in the ocean. But turns that the world goes on, but there is a giant chasm separating you from the rest:

Lazy Shrines

Since I didn't want this trip to be for nothing, I desperately started to search for a shrine in the area, so at least I would have some teleportation point. I even turned the Sheikah Sensor on, which I normally don't do. But I had no luck, until I arrived at the northeast corner, where I almost went full circle around Death Mountain.

I ended up by the Gorae Torr Shrine, but I couldn't just activate it, because some aggressive Goron sits there and wants you to play a climbing minigame first. Great. The minigame is alright, but what I didn't like was the fact that the shrine just offered you its chest and Spirit Orb for free. No trial whatsoever. According to the lazy Sheikah monk, who created the shrine, I've already proven myself worthy by entering it. Worthy how? I just could fly to it, no big deal. He can't possibly have foreseen a hundred years ago that a band of Goron thugs would worship the entrance and prevent people from getting in... So, where's my clever puzzle?

I then decided to do some more sidequests around Zora's Domain, where I had a similar phenomenon with one of the Shrine Quests there, where you're supposed to use Mipha's Trident (or a replica) at the Veiled Falls. Again the Shrine (made by the lazy Dagah Keek) didn't contain any trial, it was just a "Blessing". The silly thing is that the song that leads you to the shrine even says, "Your trial awaits". But where's my trial?

I'm beginning to understand, why the total number of shrines was always rounded down to "over a hundred" by Nintendo, because it seems a part of it doesn't feature actual minidungeons. And that's a shame, because I really like doing the shrines. But with such a large number, it hopefully won't matter in the big picture.

Anyway, another sidequest at Zora's Domain sets you off against a Hinox (at Ralis Pond), where I was surprised that they actually count as environment bosses similar to Steppe Talus. And the fight was not easy, that guy was very intimidating. The first Hinox in Link's Awakening for me always is one of the most dangerous encounters in that game, where I like, how the Hinox really got made into a massive threat in Breath of the Wild. If you like the fight, the Hinox will respawn with the next Blood Moon, if you want to do it again. But at the moment it cost me a lot of resources and the sidequest gave me only a hundred Rupees as a reward... Gee, thanks.

The sidequest overall seem to be one of the few flaws in the game. Mostly they are just very basic missions like fetch quests, gather quests or kill quests. Get someone 10 flint, kill that Hinox over there, look for a person, get a picture of something, etc. It's simple stuff, as if you're playing some MMORPG, where so far nothing reaches the quality of the better sidequests in the series. And it doesn't seem to be worth the effort either. For the most part you're only getting stuff that can be found otherwise. "Get me 10 junk, I'll give you one rare junk." Rarely you will get some special clothing like the Zora Greaves, but it does lack the Pieces of Heart that made you do stuff in the past.

When I was replaying Skyward Sword a week ago, I completely ignored all minigames that wouldn't give me a Piece of Heart. But at the same time I'm happy that I'm not forced to play them, so I'm not really complaining. I'm just a little worried that the sidequest part of the game is somewhat shallow.

The Great Lake

Another of the shallow Zora's Domain sidequests brought me down to Lake Hylia, where I could get a good close-up to the dragon that I saw yesterday. It doesn't actively attack you, but it's surrounded by energy balls, which makes approaching the head dangerous. I think you'll have to climb him or jump down at the right moment from the Bridge of Hylia, but I haven't tried and instead salvaged some treasure in Lake Hylia. It almost feels like the Magnesis ability is your "Salvage Arm" in this game, when you're on a raft.

There's the Ya Naga Shrine on an island of the lake, which has a nice puzzle, where you actively have to use both bomb types quickly one after another. It's easy to forget that the two bombs are separate and that you can place them simultaneously. The cooldown of one bomb type also doesn't effect the other, so you can keep throwing bombs at enemies in a fight by switching types.

Lake Hylia itself seems like a letdown - other than the giant dragon and the bridge there's nothing much to it, when compared to Ocarina of Time or Twilight Princess. No Lake Labority, Fishing Pond, cannon clowns or sunken temples... It's just a big area filled with water and no characters. Or none that I could find. Considering how amazing Zora's Domain turned out, it's a tad disappointing, how an equally meaningful place from the series got so little attention.

Afterwards I followed the river upstream a bit, where I reconnected with some of my earlier steps in the game. It all seems like ages ago already... What certainly happened an age ago are Link's lost memories, where I found another scene with Zelda.

Like in the cutscene with Urbosa, this memory shows that Zelda is plagued with self-doubts about fulfilling her destiny. And I don't like that much. Self-doubts are usually the root of all problems within a person and it's not very attractive. So far she lacks the loveliness and positivity that her ancestor offered in Skyward Sword...

Towards Fear

Until now I avoided the center of Hyrule in fear of something that starts with G and ends with Uardian. I'm not prepared to face them yet, they would just hunt me down and kill me. But still I decided to sneak a little towards the center, because I spotted the Riverside Stable and Wahgo Katta Shrine from the road that leads to the Dueling Peaks.

There's another shrine in close distance that had an interesting scenario to it. It's located on the "Floret Samber" and there a woman (probably also plagued by self-doubts) let lots of flowers grew around it, where you're not allowed to walk over them. Well, I had a solution for that...

"Step on your flowers? I would never do that!" *hides Fire Rod*

At first it seemed, like she didn't react to my pyromanic tendencies, but then this triggered her going so mad that I honestly feared that she would turn into another overworld boss fight, lol...

(That was actually a Meteor Rod that I found at Death Mountain, but when I went to Nebb in Hateno, who wants to see various weapons, he didn't register this as a Fire Rod, even though it's an upgrade... Well, his loss.)

The shrine itself was also noteworthy, because you can solve it without Rune abilities. I'm keeping an eye out for these shrines, because I think Nintendo will make good use of them in the upcoming Hard Mode.

Concerning the Guardian situation... I got my first Ancient Arrow from Beedle as a customer gift at the Riverside Stable. There's more, where this came from and he referred to the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab, which was already mentioned by Purah. So, my next goal was set! Let's get more of these babies!

Arrival in Akkala

Easiest way to get to Akkala is probably from the north of Zora's Domain. You can just glide down to the region, which seems to be the "autumn area" of the game with all the colored leaves, where I speculated last year that the game also could have had seasons. There's another Combat Trial in the south with a "Minor Test of Strength", so it's basically telling that you're good to proceed. And while the way to the laboratory has a good share of enemies, mainly Blue Moblins, you could either avoid or fight them without the fear of death.

At the East Akkala Stable there was the "Katosa Aug Apparatus" Shrine with a nice puzzle, where you're basically playing mini golf. I liked that one and it even had an extra room for the treasure chest.

As with the Hateno Lab you had another "carry the torch" sequence here. However, rain isn't your only problem this time, you also have to avoid the many Moblins, as well as one decayed Guardian aiming at you. It's still doable and I could get the place with yet another crazy scientist running...

Other than getting three Ancient Arrows for free, it didn't do me many favors at the moment. Besides the arrows, all the stuff you can buy there seems to be end game and is super expensive. The Ancient Armor set costs a total of 6000 Rupees and several ancient junk. But it's certainly worth it. That's the stuff that you want for storming at Hyrule Castle.

Well, for now my Champion's Tunic will have to do, where I noticed that it shows health numbers of enemies. It's like the Hero's Charm of this game, only that health bars are always visible and this now adds exact stats. This should be nice for the people on GameFAQs compiling damage lists.

However, I did expect to also have the other runes upgraded at the Akkala Tech Lab, but it doesn't seem like Cryonis and Magnesis are getting their plus variants. In the very least they could have made it so that Cryonis lets you use more blocks at the same time and Magnesis has a longer range. I'm especially annoyed by the latter (yes, Magnesis keeps annoying me).

Other than the tech lab, Akkala seems to provide some good challenges. There is the tower on top of a fortress that's crowded with Guardian Skywatchers. Near the lab there's also a "Maze Island", which reminds me of Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, with at least one Skywatcher protecting it... Let's save these for later.

Dueling Heights

That shrine on top of the Dueling Peak kept nagging me, ever since I first laid my eyes on it, so I decided to go for it, since now I have a lot more stamina. There was this weird guy at East Akkala Stable, who fed me something undefined. Whatever it was, it also gave me one temporary extra stamina wheel, which is nice to have.

But the climbing turned out to be the least problem on the way up. The north site presented me with another Steppe Talus boss fight, the senior variant this time. Luckily you can use the steep terrain your advantage here, because it's easy to glide on top of him from above. But he wasn't even the most threatening entity up there, because on the south half Yiga Blademasters suddenly started to show up. The Footsoldiers can be annoying enough, but the Blademasters are terrifying. One cost me two fairies with one hit, because the blade killed me and send me off the mountain at the same time, where the landing cost me another fairy. He basically killed me twice with one hit... Good thing I went with the stealth route in their hideout..

Despite all obstacles I made it to the top, where fitting to the whole theme of the mountain you actually have two shrines (Shee Vaneer and Shee Venath) with mirroring puzzles. You can just take a photo to memorize the solution, which makes this easy, but this was still a very original idea for shrines!

Random Notes

I noticed, how in Gerudo Town one of the sand seal shops actually lowered its prices to compete. The one near the front entrance costs you 40 Rupees in the beginning, while the one in the back costs only 20. I bought my seals there and apparently the other shop then lowered its prices as a reaction. Nice detail.

Ah, and the Koroks that you've found actually do appear on the map, when you're on the lowest zoom level. I've never noticed this before, but it should be a great help, when going for the 900!

Apropos Koroks, I want to visit the Korok Forest next, because I found quite some Korok Seeds and I want to upgrade my pouch.

End of Day 6 Progress
  • Shrines: 32
  • Koroks: 55
  • Divine Beasts: 1

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