London Ramblings

Musings of a London Migrant

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Admiring the Scenery...
Not in the real world you understand, although that is very nice now. A few weeks ago I was in Swansea and took a walk around the Mumbles and Gower coast, seeing the first green leaves and the gorse blossoming in the sun, filling the air with it's sweet coconut scent. It's out in force around the Woodford golf course too, took a walk around there a few days ago. All the trees now coming into leaf, the bright green of the hawthorn, the darker green of the horse chestnuts and the gold-green of the oaks all lining the fairways, bluebells in the shade underneath, lovely to see, but I digress.

The scenery I'm talking about is in Hyrule. Yes, The Wife gave in and got herself a Nintendo Switch and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The scenery in the game... It's gobsmackingly, breathtakingly beautiful and so huge in extent! We spend hours just wandering around admiring it, just standing on top of a mountain for ten minutes and watching the sun set and night fall. I thought Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword were wonderful but this isn't just a little better, it transcends them completely. The primary game itself is almost incidental and The Wife did that in a couple of weeks, freed the four Divine Beasts and then, purely by accident while exploring Hyrule Castle, wandered into the ceremonial chamber and triggered the fight with Calamity Ganon (the rootinist tootinist Ganon this side of Death Mountain), who promptly got his arse handed to him.

I don't call The Wife "Nintendo Girl" for nothing, she grew up playing Zelda games.

And all this without exploring more than a quarter of the game world, it's huge. Shrines to find (she's done 82 out of 120 so far), side quests to accomplish (over 50%) and things to kill. And eat. You spend a lot of time admiring the wildlife and then shooting it in the head to cook up later. When you start you are very low powered and spend most of the time simply running away from things and learning to dread the music that means that a Guardian (big robotic octopus things with a laser eye) has just noticed you. Most baddies are colour coded for your convenience, weakest to strongest- red, blue, black and white. A Hinox is a huge cyclopean giant who you flee in terror from when you first see. Now? She can take down a red Hinox in under ten seconds and even a black one didn't give her too much trouble. Guardians she cheerfully slaughters wholesale to get the parts needed to upgrade her armour, virtually nothing is a threat.

Except Lynels that is. Big minotaur/centaur beasts. Haven't even tackled a red one of those yet, they're on a par with a guardian. The rare white ones are even tougher than Ganon. Their AI makes them considerably smarter than most mooks as well. A challenge for the future, most of the time we just run around exploring and admiring the scenery though.

I say "We", but in truth the wife plays, I just watch and point out things she might have missed. Got the famous Hylean Shield now (the classic Legend of Zelda shield) 'cos I noticed a bombable wall in Hyrule Castle.

What's fun is that the game is so adjustable too, the costumes you can collect (and dye different colours), the interactions with the people you meet that will vary depending on what you wear as well. You can run around virtually naked save for the pair of pants Link (our hero) wakes up in and people will react to that too. The game will bear repeated replays because virtually everything will be different the next time around, the order you do things in, the places you go first, even the times of day or night you have your first encounters with enemies and people.

If you're not into gaming or the Zelda games then this is all just so much drivel to you I imagine, and apologies for that. But if you are and haven't got it yet I can't recommend it highly enough, it really does live up to the hype, a breath of fresh air. A Breath of the Wild.


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