Just over two years ago Nintendo released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (BotW) on the Nintendo Wii U and the Nintendo Switch. And almost five months ago, I bought the Switch version and fell in love. Please note: This post will have spoilers from throughout the game.
Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to play games. The closest game I could play as a kid was The Sims. And even then, my parents hated that I spent so much time on it. My older brother, on the other hand, has grown up with the privilege of being the first son and that meant he was allowed to play whatever he wanted. And that meant excluding us, the younger siblings, from playing anything because it would cut into his game time. So, my experiences of games as a child was always through the view of a bystander.
I had watched my brother play most of the Zelda franchise and when I grew out of being the bystander, I turned to YouTubers who would post their walkthroughs online. When we had first bought Breath of the Wild (BotW), it was on the Wii U. I remember being captivated by getting to experience a Zelda game for myself, with me in control and not someone else.
But then school came first, I couldn’t play much and by the time, I got around to picking it up, my brothers had decided to sell all our Wii U games in order to buy the Switch. I had, of course, played games on the Switch but most of them were either shooting or platform games. It wasn’t until last year December that I came across a BotW video and I realised that I had to play it again. Now that I’m older, and with a job, playing games is a little easier now. Sure, my mum would cuss me out for spending money on games, but I didn’t care. So, I bought it and I cannot explain how captivated I was by the game. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against platform or shooter games, but it just wasn’t my style. Most of the ones I had played, I found them too fast paced and I didn’t enjoy the speed.
BotW was truly the game made for me. It was adventurous and fast-paced in a way that didn’t overwhelm me. The way the entire world was unstructured allowed me to move in a pace that worked for me. The beauty of BotW was that there was no one set pathway. I’ve seen hundred of videos ranging from people finishing the game 100% to people waking Link and rushing straight to Ganon. I’m over 150 hours into my gameplay and I still feel like I haven’t discovered everything in the game.
But, in honour of the games two-year anniversary, I wanted to share some of my favourite places and parts in Breath of the Wild, whether that be a side quest, location or person. My initial list went well over the twenty mark, so I decided to whittle it down to just ten, which was hard enough.
A Gift of Nightshade (Side Quest)
This side quest is located in the Faron Region and I found it by accident. It’s a pretty simple quest, you basically become a matchmaker for a Hylian and a Gerudo by giving the Gerudo woman a flower. I only climbed up this mountain because I was making my way to Faron Tower to unlock the map, and a Yiga clan members was on my tail and I did not have the hearts nor food to deal with him, so up I went. And there I found these two people standing at opposite ends of a river. At first glance, I was wary because I had expected something bad to happen to me. But then I went up to the Hylian to find that he was just being a chicken and couldn’t work up the courage to talk to a girl he liked. It made me laugh. The game, for those who don’t know, is set years after Ganon had ruined the Kingdom, villages and safe spots were sparse with Guardians and camps of enemies in most of the world. At first, I found it so odd, but I instantly loved it. And it’s a prime example of what makes BotW so good. There was something good to be found in even the strangest of places.
From the Ground Up (Side Quest)
This, for me, was the best side quest in the entire game. For some players of this game, it’s easy to skip. My brother’s playthrough of this game was only completed the main quests so I was shocked to see that he would miss something so emotional in the game. This quest took me the longest, requiring me to collect an obscene amount of wood and travel all around the map in search of new inhabitants for the newly constructed Tarrey Town, and ending with a cute wedding scene. It was just so satisfying and such a great addition to the plot. Like A Gift of Nightshade, it added such depth to the world and people of Hyrule after the attack of Calamity Ganon. Despite there being no post-ganon game content, it gave you an insight to the world once Ganon is defeated. A world that survived despite the danger and showed that Hyrule will thrive.
Look at his face. How can you not love him?
Divine Beast Vah Naboris/ Gerudo region
I don’t know what it is but the entire Gerudo arc of the game completely captivated me. I found this part of the game the hardest. I had spent most of my time in the coldest areas of the game so when I first interacted with heat I was completely unprepared but I went ahead. Despite the land mainly being deserts and mountains, there was something so interesting about this landscape. It also had some of the more difficult parts of the game to me. Electricity is my worst enemy in the game. Naboris took me ages to save, and the Yiga clan members were a pain in the ass. But Lady Urbosa was a highlight and Ruji is one of my favourite characters. The side quests in this region were really unique and intriguing. Also, Link in Gerudo (voe and vai alike) clothing was one of the top moments in the game.
Bokoblins/ Moblins/ others
Okay, this one is oddly specific but nothing entertains me more than creeping up to a camp of enemies wearing their mask or Majora’s Mask and just chilling with them and feeding them the odd raw meat. I love the way they act when they’re not in attack mode. I legit called one cute in front of my brother and he looked at me like I lost my mind.
This entire location is so stunning and gorgeous. I spent so much time in this one area because I genuinely didn’t want to leave. (Well, except for that Lynel on Ploymus Mountain. I ran the second I grabbed enough arrows) The Special Delivery side quest was so random and I loved the oddity of it all.
Another visually stunning location within the game. If it hadn’t been for videos about Eventide Island (Thank God I had most of the Champion’s ability by then otherwise I wouldn’t have completed it) it would’ve taken me a lot longer to find this area. I really love how different it is from the rest of Hyrule. It’s so idyllic and calming.
The top of Mt Hylia
This place is my favourite point in BotW. Visually, you can practically see the entire expanse of Hyrule and it really emphasises the open-world landscape. I used this place as a starting point for a lot of the game, it’s so cool seeing the contrasting areas and figuring out where you want to go.
The Stolen Heirloom (Shrine Quest)
I just loved how plot-driven this shrine quest was. The story behind Dorian and his wife is so mysterious and it was pretty interesting to see how the Yiga clan affected other people other than Link. It gave an added depth to the Yiga as a formidable enemy. Although, I did rather enjoy the more comical side of them.
I just loved his presence and the way he can be found in the weirdest of places. I enjoyed his part as a bard, travelling the lands of Hyrule to spread his teacher’s tale. It’s such a subtle way to develop the story of Hyrule, and I loved randomly hearing his tunes in places you wouldn’t expect. (Seriously, Kass, what are you doing at Horon Lagoon?)
Breath of the Wild was the first open world game I played completed by myself. I love how, despite the objectives, I didn’t have to follow the path given. I want to find more games like this. Despite how much I have completed in the game, my percentage is only 46%, and that truly excites me. I still think about what else have I missed? What is left undiscovered, waiting for me to find?