A double-header today, as I didn’t get around to writing up the Chinese GP yesterday. The simple story of the Chinese race would be yet another win for G Thompson of Black Arrows, cementing his place at the top of the standings. Behind him was J Hill of Mopar, scoring the best result of the season so far, for both driver and team. D Hill of Pulurburz was third, and then J Smith in the second Black Arrows was fourth. The top four were separated by only seven or so seconds, and just behind them came… me! Or more precisely, G Thompson of Meerkat Racing, scoring his best result so far (not to mention the best result I’ve had this season). Once again a two-stop strategy for G Thompson appeared faster – albeit only just – than the three-stopper used by some of the other teams. Someone is going to have to start taking chances if Black Arrows are to be beaten.
Fresh from a reasonable but somewhat stunted start for me personally comes round 2 of the iGP championship. The hot and bumpy venue of Malaysia is where the cars and teams have headed, with the weather pre-race looking set to be dry. Practice… well, see for yourself.
Being .758 seconds down on S. Mansell of Moe Corp didn’t necessarily mean anything. After all, J. Bernard, winner of the first race, was .555 seconds down of Mansell. However I wasn’t overly confident of challenging for a win. My car is very much a ‘work in progress’, not least of all because of tyre economy issues. I set up both cars on three-stop strategies, initially relying on combos of hard and soft compounds (two stints on each).
Long runs on the hard tyre mean a lot of fuel, so Thompson (starting on the hard tyre) qualified way down the field, however as the fuel decreased the car got faster, eventually pumping out competitive lap times and taking advantage of stops for cars in front. At one point Thompson was running in podium places, though it was always unlikely he’d stay there. Taylor meanwhile, started on the soft tyres but faded when he went onto the hard compound – he is young and still learning, though I wonder if a different strategy might be worth considering for him.
So how did the race pan out? For me personally, the target was P12, and I managed to beat that with a late piece of risk-taking. Rather than pit for soft tyres late on for Thompson, I took on supersofts for the last few laps. I was worried they would degrade too quickly, but they held out and allowed Thompson to climb up past cars on slower tyres.
Within the story of the race came a nice little conversation about coffee – Lou and George, I am pleased to say I now know your coffee habits! And sorry Lou for not pitting several times late on to help you out ;). Nicholas… I promised a mention and all I can say is, keep pushing! Time will yield results!
So who won? D Thompson of Black Arrows, who had been the dominant driver of the dominant team last season, won the race, but was only 1.883 seconds ahead of Australia’s pole sitter Schumacher. The pair were somewhat clear of the rest – Dudek completed the podium, seven seconds behind Thompson. Interestingly, Thompson won on a two-stop strategy, one of only two points finishers on a two-stopper (the other being Dudek). 8th place for my own Thompson was soured slightly by 24th place (out of 32 racers) for Taylor. He is very much a work in progress.
So after two rounds, the Constructor’s Championship looks like this:
1. Black Arrows: 63 points.
2. Badger Racing: 39 points.
3. RBHRT: 38 points.
4. 221op: 30 points.
5. Pulurburz: 16 points.
6. Meerkat Racing (yay!): 10 points.
7. Mopar: 4 points.
8. Melo Motorsports: 1 point.
9. kkrl3c4762551 (catchy name!): 1 point.
The Driver’s Championship looks like this:
1. D Thompson: 43
2. J Bernard: 35
3. R Dudek: 30
4. J Smith: 20
5. M Skaife: 20
6. M Schumacher: 18
7. D Hll: 16
8. G Thompson: 10
9. J Hill: 4
10. M Sato: 4
11. E Roberts: 1
12. M Wood: 1
As explained a little more detail here, I’ve got a game/app that is all about F1 management. These sorts of games have often failed to excite me, so it was nice to find one that is pretty good, offers real-time multiplayer, and even dynamic, real-time weather (if it’s really raining at Silverstone, expect a wet race on the game, and if the rain stops in reality, it stops in the game too). What I’m doing is keeping a record of the latest season, which is a 17-race event, starting with the Australian GP.
With a time of 1.24.881 M Schumacher (yes, I know, the players don’t choose the drivers’ names) of RBHRT set the quickest time in practice. My own best performance was from veteran G Thompson, setting a time of 1.25.265 and settling for 10th for Meerkat Racing, putting Thompson 0.384 seconds off the pace of Schumacher. Crucially, both cars were running the supersoft compound when their times were set and, intriguingly, the top 20 cars (yes, 20!) were all within a second of each other. With that in mind, strategy would become key for the race.
With that in mind I decided to split my strategy. Young but talented newbie G Taylor would run a two stop race, predominantly on the hard tyre but with a stint on mediums toward the end. Thompson would run a three-stopper, involving stints on the soft compound. The key issue will depend on temperature. Melbourne is the venue that hosts the Australian Grand Prix and the temperature looked set to be low.
Having qualified 13th with Thompson and 23rd with Taylor, after five laps Thompson had seasawed and was 11th with Taylor still 23rd. Schumacher was nearly seven seconds ahead of the chasing pack. By lap 7 the gap was eight seconds, but how would the supersofts hold out? Thompson was up to 9th for me.
Schumacher dropped to 14th after pitting and this promoted J Bernard, on soft tyres, into the lead. Further stops and suddenly I had Thompson in the top four! In fact, at one stage Thompson was leading, but it was short-lived. Meanwhile, Taylor was leaden with fuel on long hard tyre runs, which in hindsight hurt his race. He would fail to score any points, whilst Thompson would finish 7th (pretty good, but the target was 6th). Bernard won for Badger Racing with last season’s champ D Thompson (there’s a few Thompsons) was second for Black Arrows. Dudek of 221op completed the podium.
Having racked up the hours on Breath of the Wild, and having encountered a great many different things, it’s now time I offer up whatever pearls of wisdom I can muster and present my archive of what’s what. Hopefully this will be of help to future players. It may well be of help to me!
What opposes you in this brave new Hyrule? What will give you a headache, and what rewards do enemies yield? We’ll start at the beginning.
The danger factor of these guys is defined by two things – their colour and their weapons. Red Bokoblins are the weakest, and by the time you make serious progress with weapons and defences, they are easily dispatched. Blue ones are a bit tougher, and early on in the game could be quite a problem, but the toughest ones are the grey ones, which are quite aggressive and much better shots with arrows. If armed with spears, Bokoblins might try to swing them around in circles, or lunge at you – with small swords they’ll make quick attacks and with larger, two-handed weapons, they’ll rely more on raw power. As already alluded to, these guys can use bows and arrows.
Watching these little guys from afar reveals that they like to dance around fires and, like a lot of enemies, will go to sleep at night, which presents the chance to sneak up on them and kill them with a single sneak strike. They give you, erm, body parts for killing them, as do a lot of creatures.
These are larger forms of the Bokoblins and display a lot of the same behaviour. They too are colour-coded and they too will use different weapons, which changes the nature of how they fight. Because they’re bigger they’re also tougher, but not dramatically so.
The threat level from these things depends on what variety you come across – some are garden variety nuisances – others can spit fire or ice at you, and still others have a powerful electrical discharge. This is on top of their ability to wield weapons and, oh yes, swipe you with their tails. These enemies can also swim, and attack from the water.
These guys go back to the very first Zelda game. They were annoying then and they can be annoying now. Depending on where you find them, you’ll face electrical attacks, fiery attacks or freezing attacks, which include not only direct shots at you, but the power to send these attacks raining down. They are best dealt with by sneaking up at them and using arrows – if you have the right sort of arrow, you can sometimes kill them with one shot.
Common enough creatures, these once again vary based on where you find them. Out on Hyrule field, the water ones will be the most frequent pests, though they are easily avoided. Killing them gives you ChuChu jelly, which has different properties based on which type you kill. Swiping at electric, fire or ice ChuChus will lead to them discharging their attack if they’re fully charged, and hurting you.
By now you’re probably picking up on the theme – there are several varieties of the same critter. This is true of these bat-like creatures, though with one difference – their ‘normal’ form sometimes operates in swarms.
The best way to describe these guys (found dotted around Hyrule) would be as giant Bokoblins. They are huge, but slow, and can be worn down slowly by the Sheikah Slate’s remote bombs, or by quickly running through its legs then slashing away at it once it’s tried to squash you. They tend to yield a lot of stuff, including weapons. It’s possible to sneak up and steal stuff from them without ever fighting them.
Literally a large creation of stone that throws boulders at you. Remote bombs (or later, bomb arrows) are the means to crippling them so you can hit their weak spot. They dispense a lot of precious stones once killed.
These actually look kind of adorable – they are mini versions of the Stone Talus’, but they do pack quite a punch! Fiery and icy versions of these also exist.
Believe it or not, I found these to be among the most annoying enemies – they spit things at you, and they have very good aim. They also hide in the ground if you try to shoot them, though depending upon the type, you can use bombs and kill them from a distance.
Enemies of Link and the Sheikah Clan, the Yiga will pop up at random pretty much anywhere, and sometimes they are in disguise as ordinary travellers. They are also thieves of an heirloom you need to deal with one of the Divine Beasts. The two types you encounter are a scout who fires arrows at you, and an altogether more dangerous, sword-wielding fiend whose punch will send rocks driving at you. They actually give you rupees for beating them, as well as bananas (yes, seriously).
By now the image of the octopus-like Guardians has become one of Breath of the Wild’s most iconic pictures – but the large contraptions wandering about Hyrule are not the only versions of these machines. Smaller types await you in Shrines and the Divine Beasts. These wield swords, spears and shields, as well as possessing a cannon to blast you with. Some of them are pretty weak – others are extremely tough.
The only saving grace with these is that they cannot move! Their turret can rotate, but they aren’t very strong and hitting their eye with any type of arrow will disorientate them. Early on in the game you will want to give them a wide berth, but later on they become easy pickings for machine parts.
These are scary. Accompanied by intense music as a targeting beam lights you up, it’s usually best to seek cover – their beam weapons are not only accurate but they have a wide damage radius – even a near-miss will hurt Link. Once you have the Master Sword you can cut their legs off, but even then, they’re nasty. You ideally need Ancient arrows to dispatch them quickly.
Yup, there are flying versions of Guardians. Once again, Ancient arrows are the best weapon.
I’ve only found these at Hyrule Castle, and they are easily avoided because of their fixed locations, but combined with the other forms of Guardian that roam the castle, they can be a problem if caught in the open.
At night you’ll be visited upon by the spirits of slain foes – in this case, the skeletal forms of Bokoblins, Moblins and Lizalfos. There are even a couple of Hinox Stals around. These are much weaker than their regular forms, but if you don’t destroy the head they will reform.
Nothing else in the game compares to Lynels. Big, centaur-like creatures, they come in various colours (that as with other enemies, appears to define how strong they are, but they are all tough foes), and stumbling upon one before you are ready will spell instant death.
They have bows, and usually these are equipped with shock arrows, and don’t think you’re safe hiding behind a rock, because they’ll simply shoot upwards and ensure their arrows rain down upon you. They wield huge weapons, have massive shields, can spit fireballs at you, can send out waves of fire, and have an attack that is similar to your ‘ground-pounder’ move. Oh yeah, and they’ll charge at you sometimes too. Did I mention they’re pretty quick for such big brutes?
The safest way to deal with a Lynel is to avoid it. Don’t engage. If you absolutely must fight one (and you might end up having to in Hyrule Castle), keep moving, if you can, quickly shoot it with arrows to the face to stun it, and make sure your timing for dodging is perfect – you’ll benefit from the flurry attack. It helps to have earned a lot of hearts by this point, and you’ll want a few meals to restore all your hearts, and give you extra ones if possible.
So that’s it for the enemies. Hopefully this has been of some help!
I think this sums up how a lot of Switch owners feel, given Nintendo’s Pokemon announcement earlier today…
I mean, come on. The Switch is the perfect platform for Pokemon, and not the stadium games, but the actual, proper, ‘gotta catch ’em all’ games. Instead, Nintendo are re-releasing previous versions on the 3DS… I mean… whaaaaaaa?
Whilst I haven’t seen an official confirmation of this, it would seem that Nintendo’s pending online subscription service is going to weigh in at between £14 and £21 per year. This is pretty remarkable, given that Sony and Microsoft charge £39.99 for their annual subscription services. If the £21 a year price is accurate, that’s just over 40p per week. Whilst questions exist about the quality and nature of the service (Nintendo plan to ‘loan’ users games on the virtual console, rather than give them away), the price is certainly good.
Will this mean a more reliable, stable service when playing games like Mario Kart online? On the Wii it was more or less a good service, but the sophistication of the consoles and games using the service has increased, as has demand. If Nintendo are going to invest their money in making sure the infrastructure is in place to make the system reliable and quick, then great. If it proves to be unreliable, people will question what they are paying for. We shall see.
Alongside Breath of the Wild came something else – something I had craved since I first learned its true nature back in October. Previously known as the NX, Nintendo gave a glimpse of the Switch, a tantalising look at their home/handheld hybrid console.
Early reactions were cautiously positive. Nintendo, who would often try out new ideas with varying results, were at it again. Just as the Wii was a radical departure from the power battle raging between Sony and Microsoft with its unique new approach, the Switch would attempt to once again redefine the console genre. It’s a clever idea – but does it work? The short-term answer is an emphatic yes! It’s far too early to say what the long-term prospects are, but the Switch has enjoyed a solid debut, and Nintendo have done a much better job marketing their new creation.
In terms of raw power, the Switch is miles behind the PS4 and XBone, but specs have never concerned Nintendo. What the Switch does is different – the Joy Cons can be directly connected to the console itself and the console can be held quite comfortably in two hands – or the Cons can be connected to the Grip, with the console slotted into its docking station (that connects to the TV via HDMI). The switch (get it?) between the two modes is pretty seamless, and there is more. The Cons can be unclipped from the console, which can be stood up on a kickstand, and you can play like that (or pop the Cons into the Grip and use the kickstand. Or hold the Cons and play via the TV). I’ve yet to put it to the test (I don’t have the right games), but you can use a single Joy Con for some titles, and some multi-player games require each player to have a Joy Con. Though the individual controllers are quite small, they are surprisingly easy to hold either vertically or horizontally.
So already Nintendo have scored points for creativity and versatility. What other pluses are there? Well, the Switch is, as to be expected in this day and age, equipped with wi-fi, and can therefore be used for multi-player gaming online. In a move that Nintendo have previously shied away from, a paid-for subscription service will soon be required to access most multi-player gaming experiences, and the details of the cost are not yet known. If this allows Nintendo to develop a more robust system then so be it.
The graphics of the system are surprisingly good, at least in respect of the one game I’ve played in earnest, Breath of the Wild. Nintendo’s flagship franchise is a powerful showcase for the Switch and looks gorgeous. It must be noted that this game was originally designed for the Wii U, so as good as it is, there is almost certainly more to come from the Switch in terms of performance. The interface is easy to use and links in nicely to the Nintendo eShop service. Sound quality is good, even when the console is used in handheld mode. The one main bugbear (and to be honest, one that hasn’t really been an issue for me) is that the battery life, when the console is used in handheld mode and when playing games like Zelda, is around three hours, which isn’t spectacular. This may well prove to be a limiting factor behind using the console during long trips – though I suspect most people would pack the charger.
Another gripe is less to do with the hardware and more the price of the add-ons. The Grip doesn’t charge the Cons – only the console itself does that. An optional charging Grip exists, but it’s not exactly cheap, and nor is the Pro controller. Additional Joy Cons are expensive, and the games are pretty pricey too. The cartridges that the Switch relies on are apparently even more expensive to produce than blu-ray discs, and the eShop prices match the retail prices.
Cost aside, the Switch is a clever, unique system that has the potential to open up new avenues for Nintendo and for gamers. The casual appeal is immediately obvious, whilst Nintendo have been trumpeting their third-party support for some time. If this takes off, it could be as successful as the Wii – a major accomplishment.
It’s been nearly a month since I got my grubby paws on the Nintendo Switch and Breath of the Wild. Nearly a month to savour the experience that I had anticipated almost breathlessly since the first trailer for the game dropped last year. Breath of the Wild was a game that I was prepared to get a Wii U for, but thanks to my amazing Mum, I was able to get it on the Switch instead. As such, any thoughts and observations are based on the Switch version, which has slightly different controls to the Wii U version, so if you’re reading this, please bear that in mind.
So, where do I start? I’ve defeated Calamity Ganon twice, but doing so doesn’t mark the end of this particular adventure, thanks to being able to reload the game from an earlier point and carrying on. There’s still so much to do that I don’t know if I will ever be done. Breath of the Wild is the Zelda game that redefines the genre, and gives future developers of open-world games a lot to think about. Let’s start with that particular point.
The very first Zelda game, all the way back in 1986, offered players a freedom to go more or less anywhere, right from the start. This wasn’t necessarily a good idea, given the challenges that awaited the player, but the option to go anywhere and do anything was a liberating one. Since then, Zelda games have become increasingly formulaic, with The Ocarina of Time in particular accelerating this trend, pushing the franchise into a linear path. There’s no denying that The Ocarina of Time was a ground-breaking, brilliant game, but Nintendo became single-minded in their efforts to repeat that success, and whilst a number of the entries after that were good, they became stuck in a safe rut, which culminated in Skyward Sword. With Breath of the WIld, Nintendo have broken the formula.
After years of hand-holding in the form of various ‘assistants’ for Link (such as Navi, Midna and Fi), Breath of the Wild chucks players in and says ‘figure it out’. Whilst still in the Great Plateau I had a little assistance from the old man you meet, but after asking him the same question for a second time he firmly rebuked me – the message was clear – this game is going to be different.
Those differences are profound. Gone are hearts and rupees in the traditional sense. Killing enemies yields things that can be used in elixirs, and hunting animals and foraging for things to eat is a big part of the game. Experimenting with different ingredients is key to restoring more health or staving off extremes of temperature. Some foodstuffs can enhance Link’s stamina – others grand defensive or offensive boosts, among other things. Discovering these things for yourself is a lot of fun and feels very rewarding.
Another big change is the nature of the open world – you can go virtually anywhere that you can see, though some areas will be tough to get to without having first visited a few Shrines – Shrines are the means to expanding your hearts and stamina, so unless you’re a sadist (you can go from the Plateau to the final boss straight away if you want) it’s worth seeking these out. Related to the Shrines are the Towers – activating these reveals more of the game map, which in turn helps you to find points of interest. The Shrines are quite varied, with numerous challenges that require a bit of thought to figure out, but with all of them, the answer is usually hidden in plain sight. Any problem can be solved with a bit of patience – part from the combat challenges – these, naturally, require a bit of brute strength. Some Shrines are easy to find, whilst others require you to solve a puzzle just to find them – a great challenge involved giant statues of knights in the desert – I found this purely by looking at the map as I sought points of interest – as was the case with a few Shrines.
With tremendous freedom to go anywhere and do anything, came the challenge of how best to tell the story of this game. To that end, Nintendo have injected a few ideas and pointers that the player can choose to seek out, if you’re willing to put in the time to find out all the details. Some characters will tell you more of the history behind how Link ends up sleeping for 100 years – whilst you can also unlock forgotten memories by finding certain locations. The end result of this is quite revealing but I won’t say too much here.
Controlling Link and his various new abilities (like being able to climb and jump) takes a little getting used to – but given that you’re relearning pretty much everything else about the Zelda franchise, this is not necessarily a bad thing. You can still target enemies, but the manner in which you can control the camera and your weapons is a little different, especially if you’ve gotten used to the Wii’s motion controls. Once mastered, the game feels smooth, and handles quite well.
There’s not a great many different types of enemy in Breath of the Wild. Instead, there are variations on themes. The Bokoblin is the most common form of bad guy you’ll find, and they vary in strength, but the key factor is the weapon they use. They can pick up just about any weapon, and even throw rocks at you, plus they can carry shields, so be prepared for a variety of attacks. Plus, they will attack in groups as well. Often I would choose to avoid battle completely, given the odds, but you can exploit various things (from the landscape to the abilities of your Sheikah Slate) to deal with baddies.
Other enemies include the Wizzrobes (which date back to the very first Zelda title), Moblins (bigger Bokoblins) and Lizalfos, to name a few. Wizzrobes have different attacks depending on their type (electric, fire and ice), as do the Lizalfos. There are also ‘boss level’ enemies that you can stumble upon quite easily – which makes the game all the more entertaining – you have no idea what might be waiting for you at any given point. The gigantic Hinox is a sight to behold, and how about the Stone Talus? Those things do not go down easy.
Because the AI behind the enemies is smarter, you have to be too – as mentioned, sometimes it’s better to avoid battle completely, and I did this quite often. Of course, sometimes it’s fun to fight – and I did this too. The great thing is, you have the freedom to do either – the game doesn’t funnel you down a specific path.
There aren’t many dungeons in this game – depending on how you define dungeon. I would say six, but given the relatively small scale of them, I’m tempted to say there are no true dungeons in the game (if we go by typical expectations of dungeons). In one sense this is refreshing – and you don’t have to do any of them (save one) to complete the main quest. However, having something meaty to sink one’s teeth into might have been nice. This is a minor nit-pick – the nature of the dungeons themselves is quite unique, involving manipulating the layout of them, and you can tackle them in more or less any fashion you wish. Each one has a boss fight at the end, but none of these were especially challenging once you figured them out. Since Breath of the Wild dispenses with the classic dungeon/item/boss relationship (you know the key item from any given dungeon is the means to fight the final boss in most cases), you have to think your way around the boss instead.
Can I take a moment to describe how beautiful this game is? Bearing in mind the Switch is not remotely as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One, Nintendo have done a remarkable job in crafting a huge world, that is filled with various landscapes that feel alive. There is wildlife everywhere. Trees and bushes and grass that flows in the wind. Snow-capped mountains and scorching desert. Incredible landscapes marked with lakes and waterfalls and beaches and villages and monsters. Considering this game looks almost as good on the Wii U as it does on the Switch, Nintendo have shown developers of future adventure games like this what you can do if you push yourself. The graphics are married to atmospheric sound – creeping through The Lost Woods was a nervy moment, that looked and sounded every bit what you might expect someplace like that to be.
There’s so much more I could say. I could wax lyrical about this incredible adventure until I was hoarse. I still have a long way to go before I can say I’ve 100% completed this game. If you get the chance, play it, and do me a favour – make your adventure unique to you. That’s something that’s a possibility on Breath of the Wild – every choice you make, every direction you turn, is up to you. You won’t be steered into a particular path. Instead, take control and go wherever you want, when you want. In giving players that freedom, Nintendo have made a Zelda game that finally knocks A Link to the Past off its perch – which given how much I love that game, is no mean feat. If this is the future of Zelda, it’s a bright future.
I was facing a choice. Did I take my time and continue to explore? Did I seek out all the memories and mysteries this vast game still held? Or did I take on the big bad?
To begin with, I looked for memories. I poked around for dragons. One of my finds was a skeletal Hinox – that actually broke off chunks of its own ribcage to throw at you. As I was doing this, I felt a desire to move forward, to head to Hyrule Castle.
If I were to do this, I would first need to stock up on a few things. Hyrule Castle crawls with Guardians, and this includes the fully mobile kind. The best weapon for dealing with these things is the Ancient arrow, but these don’t grow on trees – and ironically, to get the parts needed to make them, you need to take on and destroy Guardians! I tentatively did just that, actually cutting a few legs off one that I lured toward a small forest – and stocked up. I was committing myself to a particular course of action, even as I found another couple of memories.
I had already poked around Hyrule Castle once before, but this time I was going to be bold and march in through the front door. What would this be like? Well, the Castle wasn’t the labyrinthal structure I had hoped it would be, but I still had fun using my cryogenic power to scale waterfalls and bypass several Guardians. Not every such Guardian could be avoided, but the Ancient arrows proved extremely effective at handling these beasts. I did however, manage to get myself trapped with one of those horrible centaur things – this was a horrible fight, and I ended up using a fair bit of food to maintain health as I fought it.
Beyond that, this was not too much of a challenge – a few narrow scrapes with Guardians, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I had been drawn, instinctively, to Calamity Ganon – would I be able to beat him?
As I arrived, Zelda’s power failed. Ganon broke free of his prison, and the battle was on.
What can I say? Ganon is UGLY. He is a mismash of forms, and the stuff of nightmares. However, the end result of tackling all four Divine Beasts? It was an impressive and powerful barrage that blasted Ganon and gave me a fighting chance.
So, what was it like to fight this thing? Well, Ganon was armed with several weapons and moves. He wielded a huge sword, had a spear too, and pincers – plus, he could throw explosive fireballs at you, ice blocks, mini-tornadoes, and after enough damage, make himself invulnerable. Oh yeah, and he had a Guardian cannon. And he would routinely scale the walls to get out of harm’s way.
So perserverance was the key. A steady supply of food too. It was a case of wearing down Ganon and keeping a safe distance when warranted.
This took ages. Every now and then the chance came up to launch a flurry attack, but for the most part this was a lengthy slog. It was hardly surprising that it felt pretty satisfying to finally beat the fiend…
But recall what I’ve said throughout this story? This is a Zelda game. When you think it’s over, it’s actually not. Ganon’s essence left the Castle and Link’s swiftly followed, with both being deposited on the plains outside Hyrule Castle. Zelda spoke of the courage of the hero, and handed a Golden Bow with the famous light arrows – and it was time to face the final battle.
At first glance this looked like it was going to be horrific. Ganon was huge, and he would spit huge beams of energy that would set fire to the grass. My trusty steed Shadowfax was by my side, but how could I fight this thing? Well, Zelda would use her power to cast golden points upon Ganon – weak points that I had to shoot with golden arrows. Leaping from Shadowfax, time would slow, and I would shoot these weak points, until only one remained – a glowing golden eye that would open as Ganon prepared to fire his weapon.
With that final blow, Zelda burst forth, and lit things up. Her power swept away the weakened Ganon, ending his terrible reign.
So, that was it. Hyrule and Zelda were saved. Ganon was destroyed. The story finished – but the adventure? That continues. How you might ask? Well, I simply reloaded the game from an earlier point and carried on exploring.
But, coming back to the story. How did I feel to have done it? I actually felt a little empty. Link had not recovered all his memories, and the end sequence was all too brief. It’s my hope to uncover other details and then, complete the game again. We’ll see what impact that has. In the meantime, that’s it – that’s my story, from start to finish.
We last left Link facing giant balls (ahem) that would crush him if he couldn’t find a way past. It turns out this Shrine, as with so many of them, was deceptively easy, and the combined use of magnetism and stasis allowed me to grab the metal ball and use it to bulldoze a path to safety. With yet another Shrine completed, the next point of note was to head back to the volcano and unravel the mysteries of the final Divine Beast.
Firstly, I also made another key discovery, one that should help me very much in the long-term. A science lab is to the north east and this offered up the potential to reward me with new weapons, in exchange for Guardian parts. A trip to get the blue flame needed to fuel the manufacturing process proved more eventful than expected – quite a few bad guys – Moblins mostly – were keen to interfere with my journey.
Once I’d successful run this particular gauntlet, I was able to acquire a new shield, a new sword, and some Ancient arrows (which would prove very useful later). After this, it was time to return to the volcano.
Armed with elixirs that would offer resistance to the intense heat, I moved more deeply into the lava-filled region and my Sheikah Sensor began alerting me to a nearby Shrine – a Shrine that just so happened to be right by the Goron village. Wasting no time, I found the Goron leader and he asked me to go to the mines and find a descendant of Daruk, the Goron Champion. This kid had been sent to the mines to get some pain killers for the boss – and hadn’t returned.
This is where I discovered several cannons, that you can arm with remote bombs. Aside from randomly blasting things, this proved most helpful in blowing away a blockage that kept this descendant from me. From there, we took a trip to Death Mountain, and faced the final Divine Beast. This one took the form of a giant lizard with flaming feet, and the idea was drive it up the mountain, by using the Goron as a cannon ball (don’t worry, he had a protective shield!) to pummel the Beast. I only found this out by accident – at first I’d climbed as high as I could, and along the way destroyed or avoided sentries deployed by the Beast (you would whistle to get the Goron to either move or freeze). This is where the Ancient arrows came in handy!
Once I realised how to drive the Beast higher, I kept shooting at it until it finally broke down. Now it was time to Enter the Dragon! Err, lizard…
To begin with the area was pitch black, save for a blue flame, which quickly became the source of light for my torch. A couple of pesky little Guardian fights and a few lit torches later, I’d found the map terminal and turned the lights on. As with previous Beasts, I had to seek out five terminals, and as before, this involved manipulating the Beast. On this occasion it would either be laying flat on its belly or tipped to one side, as though against the wall. A few well-timed jumps whilst repositioning the Beast, a few arrow tips set on fire and shot through holes, and the use of flame to reveal objects of use (such as giant metal blocks), and I had this dungeon figured out. It was time to head to the master terminal and awaken whatever nasty critter Ganon had left there.
Fireblight Ganon was easy once I figured out how to beat him. His first attack was pretty basic – swiping with a giant sword. Easy to avoid, and the Master Sword took chunks out of him. At the halfway point he started to draw in the superheated air and shoot easily-dodged fireballs at me, but was unreachable and seemingly immune to the handful of ice arrows I had. At first I had zero clue how I was going to kill this thing, but Daruk offered up some advice – bombs. At first I took this to mean bomb arrows, but these detonated in my face due to the heat. Common sense eventually prevailed and I used my remote bombs, which got sucked in along with the air. Setting these off brought Fireblight to his knees. With the Master Sword in hand, I smote Fireblight and consigned his ruin to the ether.
With all four Divine Beasts back under control, I had some choices to make. Initially I set out on a memory quest – and gave serious consideration to seeking out the other dragons. There was though, the temptation to go back to Hyrule Castle, and confront the Calamity. Which path would I take?
To Chapter 10