I finally did it! I beat The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but I didn’t stop there.
Let’s catch briefly: I fell completely head over heels for this game, in a way that no video game ever has since playing my very first video game (which, unironically, was Zelda, too). I didn’t just see how I was wrong to dislike Breath of the Wild for the past five years, I felt quite stupid and even embarrassed by how wrong I was about nearly everything.
Editor’s Note: Expect minor plot spoilers!
I noticed that my entire approach to playing the game had changed, and I realized that I had never felt so profoundly engaged and absorbed by another game before. I felt like every second of time that I spent even thinking about my playthrough, I was rewarded. There was something new to find any time I even put the slightest effort into looking for it.
So…boy, oh boy…I didn’t just play a lot of Breath of the Wild.
I didn’t just kill Ganon.
I didn’t just beat the main quest.
No, that just… wasn’t sufficient. I realized after about the first 50 hours that I would probably need to force myself to come to a stopping point long before the game was going to stop throwing new crap at me. So, I took care of all four of the divine beasts.
I went into Hyrule Castle and killed Ganon for the first time, but apparently, I had missed one of the 13 hidden “Memories” in the game, and I got to see the lesser ending.
So I immediately went and nabbed the last Memory so that I could actually see the true ending. I headed back to Ganon, but on my way, I found a new stable in central Hyrule, and I wondered… what else had I missed?
How the hell could I watch the true ending and put this game down without being certain that I had seen enough? I couldn’t. So I didn’t.
385 hours and counting
I decided I was going to find and beat every single Shrine. So I did. Then I completed every single Shrine Quest… and then all the Side Quests.
Then I found every single piece of armor in the base game. Naturally, I decided that I should probably upgrade them all the way to max level. So I did that for all but a few of the items.
By that point I had over 370 of the 900 hidden Koroks – that was far, far more than necessary, for sure.
I realized that if I didn’t just leave well enough alone, I was actually going to just keep going until I was convinced to chase the 100% Completion, which I think would have made me completely lose my goddamn mind.
So, after playing for well over 385 hours during my very first playthrough, I am finally done, and I couldn’t be happier about being so damn wrong about this game.
I’m so glad I gave it that one last try. If I didn’t, I would have completely nay-sayed myself out of the greatest experience I’ve ever had with a video game.
Zelda has always been special to me, and Breath of the Wild just completely reminded me of every single reason why that is the case. Now I can’t wait to play The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom!