So in chapter 1 we had ventured outside the Great Plateau and we had reached the Duelling Peaks. A couple more Shrines had been polished off, and so in this latest installment, we would be continuing eastward. The objective? To find Impa, and see what she would tell us.
To that end, I managed, somewhat briefly, to gain myself a horse. I decided to take a trip further to the east, instead of heading off to the north at the fork in the road, and thus found myself discovering another Shrine, an entire village, and getting myself a hood to add extra protection against cold weather.
The village was pleasant enough and I have plans to head back there (in fact, you have compelling reasons to do so, which I’ll come to later on). I also found myself with the opportunity to buy a house – but 3,000 rupees is a bit steep!
So having spent a little time in Hateno village (including taking on a sidequest to help one young man woo the woman of his dreams – I need to find 10 crickets – yes, seriously), I decided it was time to move on and seek out Impa, in Kakariko village.
On the way there, I stumbled upon this strange fellow…
He’s some sort of Korok leader, though not the top of the tree – finding his maracas for him leads him to reward you with inventory expansions – the more Korok seeds you find and show him, the more he’ll expand the inventory – though from what I understood he was relocating after our first meeting. After this encounter, I made my way along the path, coming across Kakariko village and meeting with Impa. Here I learned a bit more detail around the history of Hyrule.
That history reveals that the fight against Ganon has been raging for a lot longer than originally thought. For 10,000 years the cycle of fighting him has gone on, and the key to stopping Ganon this time is to find the four Divine Beasts and their Champions.
Next up came the need to unlock some more features of the Sheikah Slate. To that end, it was back to Hateno village, where I met with an eccentric research Director who, after a roundabout process involving finding a specific blue flame, helps you to uncover stored photos within the Slate – which Impa (you head back to her) confirms were taken by Zelda herself, 100 years ago, and that they will help you reveal your hidden memories of what happened.
The first port of call? Well, the journey to the edge of Hyrule Castle was eventful and dangerous. It involved a couple of unique and challenging Shrines (including a marble maze, a combat trial and an expansive test of time control), and my first encounter with walking Guardians.
The maze test was a little frustrating at first – you rely on moving the Switch (or if docked, the Joy Cons) to rotate the platform and move the ball. The time trial (or lack of a better word) involved some clever mechanics that are new to the Zelda games – including platforms that would tip you off and lighting fires to free up giant balls that would then bulldoze a path for you.
This giant hammer was pretty fun to use – it reminded me of a giant pinball setup.
Perhaps the greatest revelation from part two of this adventure was finding the spot – just in front of Hyrule Castle – that was key to the first memory. Princess Zelda stands before a kneeling Link, with the Champions watching on as Zelda recounts the importance of Link and the Master Sword – how they represent two halves of the same spirit – and there is a brilliant reference to Skyward Sword, The Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, which provides a clue as to where Breath of the Wild is set in the timeline. I smiled at this nod to other events – it was subtle and clever and a nice touch.
From here I tried to get closer to the Castle, and stumbled across another Shrine – this is where chapter 2 ends, as I have just attempted this Shrine (a combat test) and spectacularly failed – chapter 3 will see a fresh attempt to take it on!