Last night – and the last few times I’ve played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I’ve found myself getting into some sort of flow state.
A few sessions ago, I found myself stumbling into tackling my last Divine Beast. My third one had felt somewhat easy, and the super power it granted a bit lacking, to the degree that I felt maybe I’d tackled them in the wrong order. This isn’t to say I wish the game forced me to tackle them in a certain order, mind you; one of BOTW’s best features is the ability to do – or try and do – just whatever you like, whenever you feel like it.
The great part is that, even though this game lets you pick and choose when you do dramatic things, at times it feels like a natural pacing – you stumble onto something just when you least suspect it, and yet it feels like exactly what you want to be doing next.
I’m now about 150 hours in. I’ve tackled the four Divine Beasts, and the game is starting to show signs of me entering an endgame of sorts. This trouble me – I never want this game to end. I haven’t exactly rushed things. I’ve spent a lot of those 150 hours simply exploring and hunting down landmarks to see what’s there. That’s the real beauty of this game.
With the addition of the DLC that shows on your map where you’ve been, I’ve been able to identify places I haven’t been, which has also added a huge amount of value to a game in which – much like in life – you tend to explore the same areas, and it’s easy to miss whole chunks of locations just on your doorstep.
I found it very interesting how a lot of the scenery really close to where the game starts was left unexplored until I saw the fact writ large on my map.
But as the game now keeps offering dialogue and items that hint heavily towards me heading off to defeat Calamity Ganon, I’ve been thrilled to find yet more diversions. I’ve stumbled on at least two quite large new games-within-the-game – one of which is, I think, only unlocked at this stage, and possibly is part of DLC, and the other is somewhere I could probably have visited at any time.
But, as with so many ‘discoveries’ in this game, the fact that you can stumble upon them at any time has this uncanny ability to make it feel like now is just the right time.
Well, apart from Eventide Island. I’ll go back there one day.
So as I found yesterday, and continue to find with this game, there is plenty more to be done, even at this seemingly late stage in the game’s main story. I’m not sure if I can doulbe my 150 hours in the game as the story comes to its conclusion, but I’m pretty sure I’ll crack 200 tracking down Korok seeds, shrine and looking for side quests.
What an amazing experience.