Bet you didn’t see THIS coming after yesterday’s post! Or maybe you did, if you read my blog daily. I have pretty clear habits, I feel. A spate of thoughtful pieces, maybe some poetry, a few posts about mental health, and then one of these. Can’t be sad if I’m thinking about The Legend of Zelda! It’s a good mood corrector for me, honestly, even if the sentence before this one sounds like an unhealthy method for avoiding my problems. Also, I just want to take a moment to mourn my hopes that I’d be able to play Breath of the Wild 2 in 2022 (the year of the 2 as I’ve been calling it) since it was recently announced that the game’s release was delayed to Spring 2023. Which will be rough, since I’m gonna be in a wedding that’s probably happening sometime not too long after that. Decisions.
I’ve been replaying Breath of the Wild again, on Master Mode. I thought I might try recording this play-through, to stream or to use for compiling funny videos of my antics, but ultimately I decided I just wanted to relax. As such, I decided that my personal gimmick for this play was going to be visual self-direction. Instead of running toward things I know exist in the world, instead of aiming for high efficiency, I am doing my best to recreate my original experience with the game by relying on the world around me to direct my exploration and playthrough.
It has already bourne interesting results. I’ve found a few places I’ve never been before and initially ignored my quest marker in favor of a shrine I saw. Instead of going east of the Great Plateau, I went west. Got absolutely wrecked by a Black Hinox, fell into the water right next to the shrine, died a few times trying to get away without teleporting, and then used an old glitch to climb a steeply inclined wall (sprint at the wall while also mashing the “whistle for your horse” button) so I could escape. From there, I’ve recreated my initial experience of being incredibly far from appropriately leveled enemies so every single actual battle I get into has zero margin for error. I thought about doing one-hit K.O. mode by wearing no armor and not getting any hearts, but I am still trying to enjoy myself. Maybe someday, but not right now.
It’s a lot of fun to play the game by trying to find my way past combat encounters or ways to win that don’t involve breaking every single one of my weapons when I come into contact with more than two enemies at once. Master Mode means the enemies I face have a ton of extra HP and recover HP if I don’t keep hitting them (such as when I’m forced to retreat because even a single hit will kill me because they do so much damage), so it tends to grind through my weapons pretty quickly. And since I’m not using Amiibo on this play-through, I don’t have easy access to a pile of powerful weapons (though I’ll admit I might break this rule because I’m missing some of my favorite outfits. Nothing like running around BotW dressed as Fierce Diety Link). As a result, I do my best to sneak past combat encounters if I can, use bombs as much as possible, and try to move every fight I can towards a body of water so I can blast the enemies I’m fighting into the water which will instantly kill them.
This one small change makes it a very different world, or at least it did until I got back on track, so to speak, and started running around the areas I’m the intended level for. There, my sharp reflexs and now-powerful weapons (claimed from the areas in which I was getting insta-killed) make short work of the enemies I find. Still, this style of battle is fun and I’m doing my best to keep it up even when I don’t strictly need to. And, since I’m running around more slowly, I’m finding more materials, food items, and interesting vistas than I have since my first time playing the game. Honestly, this playthrough, more than any other so far, feels the closest to reading a book for the second time. I’m really starting to get a feel for the world in a way I haven’t since it was all new. It’s really nice.