Riding the Backlog - Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Part 8)

By Chris Pranger

Session 8: On the Road to Eventide

Hello and welcome to Riding the Backlog! I’m riding my exercise bike while playing Breath of the Wild, and I’ve just beaten a Major Test of Strength, so I’m feeling ready to conquer anything. Can I manage a further challenge on a southeast island of Hyrule? That’s what we’ll discover today!

I haven’t updated much regarding the exercise portion of things, have I? I’m finding it very easy to ride the exercise bike for extended periods of time while playing games, but weirdly when I tried doing the same while watching something on Netflix I was antsy the whole time. I’ve also mixed up my routine by heading into the garage and hitting a heavy bag while watching YouTube videos, specifically ProJared’s playthrough of the Pokemon Trading Card Game, which I highly recommend if you’re a fan of either him or the TCG.

But you’re here for Breath of the Wild, right? Of course! As with every session, we start by scanning my Zelda-related amiibo for some chances at legendary weapons and armor. Nothing stands out there with some new supplies and a bow from Zelda, perhaps, but nothing exciting. We try again tomorrow.

Since the last session a new major development has occurred. As a reward for getting accolades at work, I found myself in possession of a $50 Amazon giftcard, which quickly became a $50 eshop card, which just as quickly became Final Fantasy IX on Switch and the DLC pack for Breath of the Wild.

I never tried the DLC during my Wii U playthrough, so this is an entirely new experience. Right away I’m encouraged with numerous prompts of new quests, though only one has me salivating just thinking about it: find Tingle’s clothes. Yes, I’m a weirdo, so I absolutely love Tingle and anything to do with the middle-aged oddity in green.

In my immediate vicinity is a painter named Pikango. Pikango is the classic Zelda/Nintendo character, easily identifiable due to his look (I’m a painter, so my hair looks like a calligraphy brush), and he, like many others I find, have a red ! in their short conversation prompts, meaning he has a quest for me. His quest is another quest of necessity, though one that I’ve already dealt with. He wants a picture of the Great Fairy fountain, certain that it’s nearby but unsure exactly where.

Unsurprisingly, he wants to show me roughly where it is, so I follow him up the hill toward the Great Fairy (which I’ve already found), but he gets tired and stops, asking me to just go snap a photo of the Great Fairy fountain with my camera. I wish Link could just say, “Uh, hey guy, the Great Fairy is literally within eyeshot of you if you turn around and squint.” Oh well, I run over to the Great Fairy fountain, collect some fairies, take the picture, and run back to show him. My reward for what is considered a mainline quest is a hint as to where one of Zelda’s picture album locations is.

Did I mention how those work? When Purah unlocked the remaining features of my Sheikah Slate, I gained access to 12 landscape pictures taken by Zelda over 100 years ago. Showing these images to Impa in Kakariko confirmed that Zelda took these pictures and that I should go find these spots to try and reclaim my lost memory. This is a good quest as it will sustain for pretty much the rest of the game, though the payoff is arguably very poor. We’ll decide then.

Along with the DLC came a new feature, the Hero’s Path, which is a special overlay for your map that shows where you’ve been. It’s an extremely simple feature to add via the DLC method, but it’s also extremely cool. I love seeing where I’ve been and how often I’ve doubled back or where I decided to explore more carefully. This was a fascinating inclusion and while it should have been included for free, now that I have it I can’t complain.

My new quest is for Tingle’s clothes, which involves heading to a place called the Outpost Ruins, or more accurately, the smashed-up stone buildings first seen once I glided off the Great Plateau. I found myself enjoying a little spelunking in search of a master thief’s diary, a quest I have no experience with. New things are fun! The destroyed outpost is home to red Moblins, blue Bokoblins, and even a black Bokoblin or two. More good excuses to just roll over some enemies and steal their guts. I manage to find the diary, learning the locations of a handful of items, but can’t quite pinpoint where they want me to go yet, so I return to my previous quest.

I retrace my steps and warp back to Hateno, climbing up a cliff and seeing a shrine in an outcrop in the distance to the south, just as I predicted there would be. For good measure I ping it three times, just because I am a degenerate. But for that same degenerate status I can’t focus on the task in front of me, instead dinking around Hateno to find more quests.

One such quest involves a loser named Manny who thinks he’s super aloof just hanging out in front of the inn where his crush Prima works. He asks me to go find out what she likes since, you know, a friend of his wants to know. So I go into the inn and ask her, hearing her mutter under her breath that she’s just making something up when she says, “100 Silent Crickets.” I relay this information to Manny and he asks me to find 10 Restless Crickets to get him started. This guy is an even bigger degenerate than I am. I wish I had the ability to intimidate him and take his wallet.

Side tangent incoming! Both Manny and Prima do little asides in grey text that connote that they’re muttering under their breath, but if I’m to be believed that I’m in the role of Link and can hear everything they’re saying, then they’re both losers who for some reason believe I’m too stupid to hear them. I’m not. There’s a very low chance I’ll ever find Manny’s stupid crickets or ever stay in Prima’s stupid inn. Idiots.

A thought crosses my mind as I climb the cliff once more. “I haven’t climbed a Sheikah Tower in a while,” I say to the audience watching me at home. “I should go find the nearest one and climb that.” Then the APPLAUSE sign kicks on and a handful of the audience members feign interest while one coughs quietly in the back.

The nearest tower isn’t very far, in fact being a gentle glide away. It sits high up on a rocky hill with an enemy camp near its base. Along my way to the tower I run into a single red Moblin and red Bokoblin, making for easy pickings. I didn’t know that the enemies could interact with one another, but suddenly the Moblin picked up the Bokoblin and chucked it at me. That’s simply amazing, really. Fun to see the enemies acting like realistic versions of possessed monsters without a single decent thought in their monster heads.

The enemy camp between me and the tower has a bunch of Bokoblins and even a Moblin, all manageable but numerous. I take out a few, but then get frustrated when it starts raining, preventing me from lighting the exploding barrels near them. This forces me to climb up one of the tree platforms and glide to the other once since, in their infinite wisdom, the Bokoblins did not build themselves a bridge or ladder or other method to get up there.

Once I reach the tower I discover that it’s covered all around with thorns that snake their way up and around. Here we have another multi-solution puzzle. I can either look for the one correct path that lets me climb the tower from platform to platform, avoiding the thorns, or I can use option the second and just burn the suckers down with my fire arrows. Imagine you’re a degenerate like me, what would you do?

After lighting most of the tower on fire and climbing straight on up, I pull out my Sheikah Slate and update my map for the Hateno region, which covers a huge portion of the map actually. All together there are I believe 17 Sheikah Towers, so climbing each one isn’t overly difficult or time-consuming, but they’re best spaced out as you explore rather than going for the bing-bam-boom that you might be compelled to do with a Ubisoft title.

OK, no more fooling around, I really need to get to my destination. I leap off the tower, start gliding toward that shrine, then bail and warp back to Hateno to show a kid a sword I just found. Hey, he asked to see it, alright? This one kid is a multi-quest giver, asking to see a specific weapon on my person. I can’t just show him a picture, it has to be the real thing. He starts by asking to see a Traveler’s sword, a simple +5 sword, but after I show him that he wants to see a Fire Rod and suddenly I’m in the book If you Give a Mouse a Cookie? You want a glass of milk next, you little snot? You find your own Fire Rod!

OK, I’ll go find one, but not right now! The Traveler’s sword will have to suffice for now, kid!

Hateno is just full of kids. Rotten with them. One kid asks if I’ve seen the Bolson Dance, which I have not. She does this super uncomfortable little “dance” I suppose before posing with a “SHAKEEEEN!” She looks weird doing it and I want to tell her as such. Clearly the only person who could ever pull off that dance is Bolson himself and he hasn’t shown me yet, so I bid you good day, miss!

Finally, FINALLY I make it up the cliff and out of town toward the shrine. Along the way I discover another schlub wandering the wilderness, circling an almost heart-shaped pond. He’s looking for the Sweetheart’s Pond in an attempt to find his true love but, uh, as the picture shows, he’s definitely not in the right spot. Read the room, dude!

Along the way to the shrine I find three apples trees clearly lined up to tell me something. Two of the trees only had one apple hanging on a low branch while the third was full. I swiped all the apples from the full tree save for the one on the longer branch, causing a Korok to pop out and give me a Korok Seed. Remember to watch out for trees that need to match other trees.

With the shrine in my sight, I stumble upon another Bokoblin camp complete with sentries on little watch platforms and a skull-shaped cave filled with explosive barrels. Seems like poor planning. Also, are skull-shaped caves just naturally-forming in Hyrule or do the Bokoblins painstakingly carve them out according to the specifications laid out by the head Bokoblin?

My wandering mind aside, the archers outside the cave are weak red Bokoblins, killed with a single critical headshot each. I snipe the lantern in the cave’s eyehole, dropping it down on the cave’s residents with an explosion, sending three black Bokoblins scurrying out like rats on fire.

Here’s where things get stupid and the game’s planning is utterly busted. I fight these three Bokoblins at once which is a nice little challenge considering their base strength combined with the really strong swords they’re carrying. One takes a swipe at me and chops through all my hearts, making me use a fairy. I do some fancy dodging and manage to kill all three, picking up their Knight’s swords, which have a power of like +28. Pretty good swords, and I get three all to myself. I only have room for two, but that feels like plenty. Then the battle chest dings, letting me open it as a reward for killing all the Bokoblins in the camp and I get a… +9 spear.

Um, game? You do know that’s extremely stupid, right? Why would you throw three high-powered enemies at me at once with really strong swords that immediately become mine and then try and reward me for my efforts with a weapon weaker than the stuff I was already carrying, to say nothing about the weapons the dead Bokoblins just yielded. That’s broken.

Further broken is the Muwo Jeem shrine, host to a Modest Test of Strength. My theory is holding up more and more that I was supposed to come to this shrine before gliding to the shrine on the little island where I encountered the Major Test of Strength.

As a Modest Test of Strength, the guardian warrior only has a battle axe and an energy shield. I now have a handful of fairly strong weapons, including the ancient weapons from the previous shrine. I pull out my ancient spear to start things off, then go to town on this punk. In almost no time at all I’ve won, gaining a new cool-looking shield and a second glowing blue battle axe for my trouble.

I’m now sitting with four Spirit Orbs, so I have the choice of a new heart container or more stamina. I warp back to Kakariko to offer the orbs at the little Goddess statue and decide that right now what I need most is some more health, bringing my total hearts to six.

Finally we warp back to the Muwo Jeem shrine to look out across the ocean at the island poking out at the edge of the world. The wind is in my favor, so I leap into the air and start gliding. My stamina begins to run out half way across, so my plan shift to trying to create an ice block while falling. Sadly this is when I learn that the cryonis rune doesn’t work that way, so I make an attempt to swim to the island, eating some stamina-replenishing meals along the way. Eventually it becomes apparent that I won’t make it, so I revert to my save point back at the cliffside and try again, this time without the stupid.

I take a second leap and a glide, now replenishing my stamina mid-glide, easily making it to the island on the first attempt. I land on the beach and suddenly hear the usual ominous voice that accompanies a shrine, telling me that I must now learn to rely only on my skills rather than what I have already collected. This is Eventide Island, and it is brutal.

Eventide strips me in every sense of the word. Link is once more in his skivvies, lacking absolutely everything that I previously had. No sword, no shield, no bow, no food, no nothing. All I have are my wits and my Sheikah slate, so that means bombs at best for attacking to start with.

The challenge I’m asked to accomplish is finding three big glowing orange orbs and placing them in the orb holes. I run up a small hill to find a little enemy camp that includes some Bokoblins and yellow Chuchu, the electric versions of the jumping blobs. Some basic spears are lying around, as are some explosive barrels, so I chuck a bomb at those to take out a handful of enemies, then grab a spear. As a Bokoblin and a yellow Chuchu rush me at once, I stab the yellow Chuchu, causing it to discharge its electricity, killing the otherwise fairly strong Bokoblin. So far so good.

I survey the land and see a hard roadblock in the form of a sleeping blue Hinox. Hinox are one of the game’s area bosses, much like the Stone Talos I fought on the Great Plateau except much deadlier and completely different. Hinox are giants with one big eye and a necklace of weapons. If done right, I can swipe weapons from the necklace and use them against the Hinox, or shoot it in the eye to stun it quicker. Sadly, I don’t have a bow yet, and my stupid wooden spear isn’t going to be much use, so after trying to do what little damage I could to the Hinox, I flee. It plucks a tree out of the ground and brandishes it like a sword, but I manage to escape.

In my escape I stumble into some tree cover and accidentally fall into a tar pit, all while trying to dodge stray shots from an Octorok. As I gurgle into the tar pit, I’m spit back onto solid ground with one heart left. The nearby Octorok fires a rock my way and hits me during my unskippable getting up animation, killing me.

The hardest part of Eventide Island is that death means returning to the previous save point somewhere off the island. I’ll have to start again from the beginning, but that is an adventure for next time. Join me then when I glide back to Eventide Island for a second attempt at the underwear island challenge. See you there!
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