The Dumbest Part of Breath of the Wild

I’ve been putting off doing the last piece of DLC for Breath of the Wild for a few months now. I wanted to do it in my Hard Mode play-through, since that’s the one I plan to eventually 100% complete and I wanted to have all of the shrines and inventory expansions done before then so I could just saunter my way through the DLC. Having finally done all of that, and having finally sauntered through the DLC aside from a rather long hiccup on a spike-focused shrine on the plateau, I kinda wish I hadn’t.

The extra memories the second major DLC added were wonderful. I loved learning more about each of the champions and seeing different sides of them. I enjoyed reading their journals and talking to people who revered them. Even the most annoying, asshole of a champion, Revali (an egotistical, grandiose Rito who wanted nothing to do with Link and who was convinced he could save the world on his own) was redeemed once I got to know him a little more. His behavior and bravado made sense and his frustration with Link became clear.

The shrines were a ton of fun, aside from the aforementioned spike shrine. I died more times in that shrine than I did during the rest of the game put together. Being reduced to a quarter of a heart and then forced to run through a maze full of spikes that kill you if you so much as miss-step even once. There were a few weird moments where Link did the Assassin’s Creed style of pathing: he refused to just go straight and instead followed a different game mechanic to do some weird jump off to the side and away from where you’re going in such a way that you cannot recover without basically starting over again. There was a thing I should have been able to just climb up that Link not only failed to climb up five times in a row, but ran along it in such a way that he immediately fell to his death. It was frustrating.

The final boss and the new dungeon were a ton of fun, even if the final boss was annoying on account of its weird mechanics. I managed anyway, because I had an inventory full of weapons and I just kept throwing them at it. My roommate, who had already completed the DLC on his file, gave me a bunch of shit for opting to take the simple, inelegant solution for beating the boss but I was ready to just be done and discover what my reward way.

It was a fucking motorcycle. And not even an amazing motorcycle. Sure, it’s pretty fast, but it turns super slowly, bounces all over the place, loses momentum randomly, and generally sucks as a way to get around a large area. If horses aren’t available, it is definitely faster than walking, but neither horses nor Link’s legs randomly glitch when encountering certain terrain features like mild bumps or stairs. Furthermore, you have to fuel the motorcycle by getting off of it, grabbing a bunch of junk from your inventory, and then placing it into the motorcycle’s tank. Sure, I’ve got enough junk to keep it full no matter how much I use it, but it is rather annoying to need to stop the motorcycle and refuel it seeing as I might be using it to run from a monster or chase down a star fragment.

Honestly, I’m rather frustrated that the reward for all of the shrines and extra content from the DLC was this motorcycle. I doubt I’ll ever use it and now the joy of further information about the champions has been permanently tainted. I would still recommend playing through the DLC to learn about the champions, but make sure to rein in your expectations and don’t expect much for finishing the DLC.

Switching Skyrim Up

I mentioned last month that I was super excited that I was finally able to play Skyrim on the Switch and now I’ve finally done it. Skyrim was my first post-Christmas gift to myself and after letting it download over night, I finally started playing it a couple of days ago. While it was a little jarring to play at first, I eventually got used to playing it without the smoother control available on a computer. Tilt-controls for aiming my bow–I’m a sneaky sniper because I like to challenge myself to “unicorn” all my enemies by shooting them in the forehead–are super helpful, so I don’t really feel the “two sticks and several buttons” issue until I get stuck in melee combat. At which point I’m usually dead anyway, so it isn’t that much of a problem.

The thing I probably miss the most are my PC mods. Most of the mods I used where graphical changes or texture packs to make the world feel more real. I used to love wandering around Skyrim simply to take it all in. Killing things and going on quests were just added benefits to help pay for my tour of the world. The stars, the sunsets, the way the grass waved in the wind… All things I miss in this new game. I also miss the added carrying capacity and capes, but those aren’t as big a deal.

While I originally wanted the game so I’d have a pick-up-and-play console version of Skyrim, I have to say getting it on the Switch was definitely the right decision because portability is easily the best part of the game experience so far. If I’m going to my girlfriend’s place, I can bring my Switch along and start playing Skyrim while she’s playing Pokemon (literally did that a couple of days ago). If I want to go hang out in a coffee shop but don’t feel like writing or get bored with my book, I can play Skyrim (planning to do that sometime this weekend). If I’ve got a 15 minute break at work and want to maintain my “total nerd” status with my coworkers, I’ll bust out my Switch and Skyrim it up.

To be fair, I can play Breath of the Wild during all of those moments as well, but I feel like Skyrim has actually used the controller layout the best out of all the other games I’ve played on the Switch. The main reason I prefer my Pro Controller and TV for Breath of the Wild is that I’m often sprinting and jumping and changing camera direction all at the same time. This is an awkward button/stick combo on the Pro Controller and an impossible one on the Joy-Con (whether attached to the Switch or detached) for someone with hands my size. I tried doing it on the Joy-Con once and it was painful enough that I’ve never done it again and have zero intention of ever doing it again. Maybe if they ever make slightly larger Joy-Con for the large-handed individuals of the world, I’d consider it. Until then, I’m going to stick to Skyrim for mobile gaming.

While the download for the game was way smaller than I anticipated (17 GB only???), the entire game seems to be there. I’m sure there’s stuff missing that I could find if I went looking for it, and I know game sizes tend to get a little bloated when it comes to PC downloads, but it still seems like a huge shrink in size for such a huge game. Which makes the 13.4 GB size of Breath of the Wild even more incredible. I should do some research into what makes games as big as they often are. I mean, Doom on the PC is about 55 GB and its only 13.4 on Switch. That’s insane. I’m either missing 40 GB of game or there was 40 GB of fluff on the PC version. Even taking out the supposedly 9 GB of multiplayer (from what I’ve gathered online), that’s still 30 GB difference. Cleaning up the code can’t account for that much difference and setting restrictions for consoles seems like it wouldn’t be enough to account for whatever was left.

That’ll be next week’s post. I’ll do some research and report back. In the mean time, enjoy playing Skyrim and I’ll try to get some screenshots of me “Unicorning” my enemies once I’m a high-enough level to snipe stuff.

Hike Up Your Pants and Climb

Every time I sit down to write, I’m reminded of the mountain I’ve got to climb to reach any of my goals. Publish a book. Make enough money to live off my writing. Update my blog 3 or more times a week for a year (haha, right??? I can’t even do this for a week). All of these things require a huge commitment from me in not only time, but in energy and self.

Every time I want to write I have to marshal my thoughts and set aside whatever else has occupied my day. I have to stop thinking about bills, student loans, doing laundry, trying to find a date, and whatever pointless bit of minutiae my anxiety has fixed on. Then, as soon as that’s done, I need to collect my thoughts about whatever project I want to work on. After that, there’s the constant need to spend a decent amount of energy keeping those thoughts collected and the incessant report of my anxieties knocking against my defenses, trying to worm their way back in. The act of writing itself takes a part of me that I keep from the world the rest of the time and puts it somewhere I INTEND people to see, so it can be difficult to do with the kind of confidence needed to actually do more than make a half-assed attempt.

Even when it was easier, when I was writing every day, there was never what you could call an “easy” day. I may have had an easier time getting myself to sit down and do it, but it was never easy to actually do. I’ve spent a huge amount of time thinking and writing about the difficulties associated with writing. I’m always interested in reading what other writers have written about the act of writing. I’ve got a whole sub-classification of my poetry that is specifically about my difficulties in writing or how often I feel like none of the words I produce are the right ones. I’ve got a whole blog that is currently themed after the concept of struggling to find and use my words with undertones of how much I struggle to actually do it.

I’m pretty well versed in this kind of adversity, clearly. I could probably write a doctoral thesis on it (and might someday, depending on whether or not I actually go for an advanced degree in the future).

It does get easier to do, the more often you do it. I know that. You probably know that. Its true of pretty much everything one can do. It’s also true that there’s a point of diminishing return where it stops being noticeably easier. I would like to get back to that point, sure, but that just means I’m better at getting on the mountain to work on climbing it. It doesn’t actually make the mountain smaller.

Even in an ideal situation, with time to write every day and a minimum of other worries to keep away, I’ve still got a daunting task to accomplish. Not only that, I’ve got two I need to complete in a row to really count them as the success I want to see. I can’t just write a book, I’ve got to get myself to the point where I can write full-time.

Sitting here, at the base of all three of my mountains, I can tell you it’s really hard to make myself start walking up any one of them, much less split my time between all three. It seems far more tempting to find a path with some nice hills and valleys, some easier treks to try before I really make an attempt at any of my mountains.

I’ve never been very good at letting myself off easy, though. As much as I really want to consider something easier, as much as I’d like to take the easy route, I know the only reason I’d ever wind up in those hills and valleys is if I fell off one of my mountains. I may doubt myself constantly and wonder if I’m as good as other people have said (one teacher had to pretty much beat it into me and I’ll be forever grateful), but I know I’m good at trying again.

As today literally showed me, doing something again is always easier than doing it the first time and, somethings, you’ve just got to hike up your pants and climb that stupid rock. I did. There was a great view at the top. Maybe, someday, I’ll be able to say the same thing from the top of one of my metaphorical mountains.

 

In more business-y terms, I’m in the process of setting up some streaming and video-recording capabilities on my computer, solely so I can make and upload a “1000 Ways to Die: LoZ Edition” video along with the review I eventually post of Breath of the Wild. I might link a YouTube account to this thing or just post all my videos here if people are interested. Other potential videos include a “Naked and Afraid” run-through of Breath of the Wild” which will likely be the source of many of the 1000 deaths and something to do with the Dragon Age franchise. I dunno. Maybe some kind of heavy RP and story-telling element video. We’ll see. I’ve got a history of planning bigger projects than I can accomplish, so take that all with a grain of salt.