TELL ME YOUR ZELDA STORIES, YOU GUYS! THIS GAME IS OUT!
I'm experiencing double wonderment here, because I've decided to play this game fully in Japanese. It's kind of a rude awakening, because I have nowhere near the level of skill one needs to actually play a video game in Japanese with any degree of fluency, but I figure what better way of studying a language than just jumping in? There are only so many kanji flashcards my brain can take in in a day. So I'm a stranger in a strange land just through the general premise of the game, but also because I only half-understand what anyone is saying to me and I have to refer to an online dictionary like twice every sentence. But, hey, maybe by the time I make my way to Calamity Ganon I'll actually have built some fluency. I hope.
Anyway, ZELDAAAAA! I finally made it off the plateau today, after hours just running around doing all the things I've been dreaming of doing since they first showed off the game at E3. I tried using Stasis to store a bunch of momentum in that big rock and ride it off the plateau (turns out you can't grab onto the rock, and standing on top of it when it shoots off just hurts you ), and I fought everyone I could find with every weapon I could find. I didn't manage to find the warm clothes, so I had to eat some roasted fire-flower things and scoot my way up the frozen mountain before the warming effect wore off.
But now I'm off the plateau, and I'm looking forward to spending the next fifty hours just finding shrines and horsies and secret stuff and maybe even moving the story forward. The first horses I saw were being ridden around by a band of Bokoblins, and after my initial plan to snipe one off his steed and sneak in to take it for myself went completely awry, I somehow made a one-in-a-million bowshot to knock a Bokoblin off his horse right as he was bearing down on me at full speed. It was the greatest thing ever, and now my horse and I are buddies for life. I tried taking him to the stable to register him, but they wanted 20 Rupees and I hadn't even seen a Rupee at that point in the game, so I just rode around some more until eventually I found a merchant. Now he's mine, though. I named him Hol Horse after that putz on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, because his was the first name that came to mind and it made me giggle.
Now I'm just lost in a loop of spotting a shrine on the horizon, heading towards it, realising it's actually more difficult to reach than I thought, but then finding another shrine on the way and jumping in there instead. It's great.
EDIT - I came across a Bokoblin camp that was being terrorised by a wild boar, and just sat there watching the spectacle for a few minutes. The boar took down half the Bokoblins before finally succumbing, so I just came in and cleaned up the stragglers with a poking stick, then looted everything in the camp (including a nice boar steak) for myself.
I find it really cool how natural geographic features can actually be genuine obstacles for you in this game. Like, in any other game a river is just something you swim across, y'know? In Breath of the Wild, rivers actually have currents, so even if you do have the stamina to make it to the other side, you aren't just going to cross straight over. You might have to cook yourself some medicine that'll increase your stamina or movement speed, or just go further downstream and look for a crossing point. Imagine that. This world isn't locked away from you by invisible walls or any other video game-y things; it's just hard to get places because you're a little guy in a massive world.
Hol Horse and I have been galloping all up and down the place having a grand old time. My new approach to Bokoblin camps is just to trample everyone under Hol Horse's hooves, which I feel is a nice way of getting loot without using resources. My weapons may degrade, but Hol Horse's capacity for brutal murder is infinite. At the last camp I massacred I decided to jump into some cooking, and it's the most wonderfully addictive thing. I WANT TO COOK ALL THE THINGS!
EDIT - So I haven't even done the first story objective after leaving the plateau, but I think I've actually stumbled across the route the story would have taken me by accident, which says a lot for the way this world has been crafted. Without following a waypoint or even being told which direction to go in, I've just sort of gravitated towards the areas Nintendo's designed for me. I was worried that such a huge world would feel pretty barren and empty, something like Metal Gear Solid V, where the world is basically just empty nothingness with the actual authored content dotted about at random. BotW just isn't, though; the world feels alive in a way I don't think I've ever experienced; it strikes this perfect balance between not feeling too empty, but also not feeling like it's been very stiffly designed to have X number of things per Y number of square miles, y'know? It's rly good.
I've come across some Shrines with a really awful motion control gimmick, though. You have to interact with some big gyro objects and flip and rotate a big object in 3D space to roll a ball into a goal or create a path for yourself, and it's terrible. For all Nintendo's talked up the Switch's motion controls, this feels like all the worst Sixaxis/Wiimote waggle rubbish I'd hope we were past by now. Eventually I worked out I could detach the JoyCons and just spin the right one around in my hands, but the control is so poor and imprecise, and it freaks out when you go upside down, that it's just an absolute chore. Worst part of the game by a long way, unfortunately.
EDIT - I've been trying to get back to Kakariko to see the big fellow with the maracas to expand my inventory size, but I keep getting distracted and before I know it I've spent three hours just exploring and I can't break free. There are so many amazing things to discover and I want to see them all. I just got annihilated by a terrifying Centaur on top of a mountain. I also fought my way through a handful of combat Shrines, which wiped out my whole inventory but then refilled it with some awesome Guardian weapons, and the chest in the last one had a sleeveless shirt that increases my climbing speed. Two tickets to the Link gun show, please. I'm never taking it off again.
EDIT - This game? It's pretty good, you guys. I haven't felt this way about a game since Witcher 3, which is not to say that they're all that similar, just that they both just own my soul. I want to explore every inch of this world. I'm finding so many incredible things and I'm loving every moment of it.